Palm Springs

Hunky Men, Australia, RuPaul, World Travel--All Part of Instinct's Best Nine of Instagram 2017

As December comes to an end, and we bid 2017 farewell, you may have noticed your Instagram feeds flooding with people’s Best Nine of 2017. This is each profile’s top liked images of the year that are posted as a retrospective of what has transpired in 2017.

Visit 2017 Best Nine to create your collage of memorable moments and trending pics.

As we look back on 2017, we can see that Instinct Magazine’s Best Nine includes a lot of our top stories and images that created buzz on social media and beyond.

Here’s a look at Instinct Magazine’s Best Nine of 2017 and the topics that you all liked the most! #2017bestnine

1. Australia Votes YES for Marriage Equality!



The hottest debate in Australia’s history resulted in a public survey where 61.6% voted in favor of legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in the land down under vs. 38.4% voted against. A huge win for a huge country that many already felt had legalized same-sex marriage.

This public vote led to parliament where the public vote held strong and the official vote made Australia the 24th country to legalize same-sex marriage!

Marriages even started before the necessary 30-day waiting period due to special circumstances.

Possibly some of the best news in a year that was full of tragedy, natural disaster, and sad social/political climate. Congratulations again to all the Aussies!

2. Meet the Man Hand-Knitting Jockstraps



When we found out about this guy from Southern California who has been hand-knitting jockstraps we couldn’t wait to share it with all our readers. JR Carrillo who runs Haus of Betch, first started knitting the sexy undies to win over someone he was crushing on. Learning how to knit a scarf quickly turned into making a jockstrap, which catapulted him into our thirsty Instagram feeds. It’s no wonder this sexy photo of one of his creations—and the hottie who’s wearing it—made it into our Best Nine of 2017.

3. Travel Thursday: Ready for That All Boys Trip to Palm Springs?



Palm Springs has been one of our favorite travel destinations of 2017. The desert oasis has a little something for everyone. It makes for a perfect romantic getaway or even if you just want to take a quick and fun trip with all the boys. You won’t want to leave! With awesome places to stay like the INNdulge and Tortuga del Sol and delicious places to eat like Trio Palm Springs, Peabody’s Café, Watercress Vietnamese Bistro or exploration like the Palm Springs Aerial tram, Oscar’s Cabaret or the Palm Springs Art Museum—it’s the best place to go during any season. But one of the best things about Palm Springs is their nightlife. So were we surprised when this cutie from Hunters Palm Springs made it to our Best Nine of 2017? Well—just look at him!

4. We’re Going North to Learn More About ‘The French One’ – Bruno Costa



In this feature article one of our favorite sites, MR JOEL, we learned about Bruno Costa—who is known on Instagram as the_french_0ne. He is a social media influencer, model, and super sexy! In this article we learned about what inspires him, what are some of his fashion must-haves and how he uses social media to make us all drool. That’s why  this piece of eye candy made it onto our Best Nine of 2017!

5. Kathy Griffin Bares All in Shocking New Photos!



2017 has been an intense year that has seen protests and demonstrations of all kinds. One of the most vocal and controversial celebrities of 2017, who has been very public about her opinion of our current president, is Kathy Griffin. From her photo with a decapitated Donald Trump head to her feuds with Andy Cohen and ex-BFF Anderson Cooper, Kathy has been all over the place this year. But nothing could possibly compare to the photos she released when she shaved her head in support of her sister who was undergoing chemotherapy earlier this year.

6. RuPaul’s Drag Race Receives Emmy Nomination for Best Reality Show



After 11 seasons (9 seasons and 2 All-Stars seasons), RuPaul’s Drag Race was nominated for an Emmy for Best Reality Show this year! Although the show didn’t take home the win, RuPaul did win for best host again this year, proving that we still want more of Mama Ru! The last few years have been pivotal for LGBTQ representation in mainstream media and RPDR has been a pioneer in the drag game as well as creating dialogue about LGBTQ issues—all with wigs and death drops! RPDR and all its alumni are some of our favorite topics to discuss here on Instinct and can’t wait to see what 2018 holds for these queens and their fans!

7. Study Reveals the Average Age Gay Men Are Getting Married!



We love to analyze studies on Instinct Magazine and one of our favorite of this year discussed the average age at which gay men were getting hitched! The Knot conducted a survey with almost a thousand LGBTQ married couples to find out the details! After the survey, they discovered the average marriage age for gay men is 46! Should I have waited until then?! Check out the rest of the results HERE. This image of two men celebrating their nuptials made it to our Best Nine of 2017 because in a world full of negativity, its beautiful to see that love, and commitment, is still alive and well.

8. Travel Thursdays – Miami Beach is Red Hot This April With Tons of LGBT Events



Another of our favorite locations for travel in 2017 was Miami! We visited throughout the year and found that the city was thriving with LGBT events in the month of April. It was enough for us to return to the Whisper Out Loud event later in the year at the W Miami where we were greeted by this pair of hunky fine specimens providing welcome drinks to everyone at the Meet and Greet! See why we love Miami?! Get there—fast!

9. Travel Thursday: We Are Still Recovering From Our Trip to Israel and Tel Aviv Pride



Enough said! Now, over six months later—we are STILL recovering from Instinct’s trip to Tel Aviv Pride. The excitement of the festival, wrapped in the beauty and rich history of the city was an unforgettable trip that made for great photographic evidence and the best Instagram shots! The trip was enough to make up multiple articles because there was too much to talk about. Just check out Travel Thursday: An American Bear in Israel. Are Tel Aviv & Jersusalem Safe for LGBT American Travelers? To see what we mean. Do you now understand why this cutie with rainbow suspenders made our Best Nine of 2017? We are still trying to figure out who he is because one of our writers wants to marry him.

As 2017 comes to an end, at Instinct Magazine we are eternally grateful for our readers. You all are the reason for sharing these LGBTQ narratives and without the dialogue with all of you, it wouldn’t be the same. We look forward to what 2018 has in store—and look forward to bringing you the best and up-to-date from the LGBTQ world! Check us out on Instagram to make it happen!

Palm Springs Swears In Newly Elected All LGBT Council

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, the City of Palm Springs swore in the two most recent elected council members, Lisa Middleton and Christy Holstege. Middleton and Holstege are the two local politicians that had a record-breaking win last month and made Palm Springs, the gay Mecca, the first California city with an all LGBTQ council.

Holstege is the youngest councilmember who identifies as bisexual.

Middleton is, remarkably, the first transgender person to be elected to a non-judicial office in the entire state of California.

After her win, Middleton shared with the Desert Sun:

We’re very proud of being an inclusive community. And I’m absolutely convinced that commitment to inclusivity is one of the factors in the growth and the Renaissance of Palm Springs.



Middleton and Holstege join Mayor Robert Moon & Councilmembers J.R. Roberts and Geoff Kors.

Here’s a video posted by a council meeting attendee that welcomes the two councilmembers to the city.



Palm Springs: Longtime Gay Video Bar Changes Name to QuadZ

Even in small California desert towns famous for “a dry heat,” a longtime Hollywood legacy and global gay tourism, change happens. Gents: the Palm Springs gay video bar formerly known as Spurline is now…QuadZ.

What’s the name mean?

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Eric Stahl, 47, one of the managers of the bar said via phone.

Owners Michael McCartney and Jim Osterberger, who opened Spurline more than ten years ago also own the original QuadZ in Las Vegas, a bar with a website homepage stating that they have “some of the best and strongest drinks at some of the lowest prices Gay Vegas has to offer.”

Why did they revamp and rename? “It’s part of the transformation of Arenas Road,” Stahl said.

Indeed, competition for customers is intense. Tourism has grown by leaps and bounds as the region has recovered from the Great Recession, and today’s (often younger) patrons from markets such as LA, San Diego and San Francisco demand ever more upscale environments. 

In the past couple of years new arrivals to Palm Springs’ gayest avenue include Chill Bar, right next door to QuadZ, and Blackbook, half a block away. Across the road, Hunters invested in an extensive renovation about a year or so ago, installing a new DJ booth and world class sound system. 

QuadZ’s arrival can be seen as a continuation of the gay desert revival that began about five years ago, when Ron deHarte took the helm at Palm Springs Pride. It was deHarte who lobbied city hall to close off Arenas Road between Indian Canyon and Calle Encillia for all-day outdoor entertainment during Pride weekend, annually held on the first weekend in November.

For Instinct readers who travel to Palm Springs, you may remember how Spurline was famous for its beloved show tunes and musical theatre nights on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Patrons would sing along to videos of musical numbers from classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to newer films like Chicago and many numbers recorded from the annually broadcast TONY awards.


“We haven’t changed those,” Stahl said. And Sundays will continue to have karaoke, hosted by “none other than Jeff Bosco,” a longtime Spurline employee.

Will anything new be happening? “We’re looking to liven up a couple of the other nights,” is all Stahl would say regarding programming on the remaining nights of the week.

Now that the bar has a fresh look inside, “We will be looking to reach out to the gay community more,” Stahl added. He means event and group business. LGBTQ enthusiast and athletic organizations like the International Gay Rodeo Association that come to Palm Springs, or that may have local chapters, are prime business targets.

What has the customer response been? Stahl said both regulars and newbies to QuadZ have given him positive reviews. And if you check out their Facebook page, you can read supportive comments from local fans.

QuadZ opened in early October, prior to Halloween and the annual Leather Pride and Palm Springs Pride weekends. High season in the Coachella Valley, where Palm Springs is, officially started November 1 and, depending upon whom you ask, generally goes until March/April. That’s when that world-renowned “dry heat” descends and QuadZ will be serving the locals. Happy hour pricing, anyone?

Below: an example of the kind of video patrons will see on QuadZ's popular show tune evenings.








Travel Thursday: Palm Springs, Your Next Romantic Getaway

After what felt as an eternity of planning a wedding with my partner, we finally were able to celebrate our marriage with our closest friends and family in what felt like the autumn day. We worked round the clock, down to the last detail, to make sure our guests felt the personal touches for them in gratitude for sharing in our special day. But as the weeks prior to our big day loomed over us we realized that we had forgotten one HUGE detail—we hadn’t even thought about any type of honeymoon.

Our year had already been packed with travel and huge projects, so we must have missed this one important aspect of the newlywed life. With the expenses that we made and the post-wedding fatigue, we weren’t ready to look for last minute flights that probably would have reached insane prices. So after a couple of days of coming down from our #Groom4Groom wedding bliss, we figured a quick road trip would be the best way to get away and explore as husband and husband.

For Orange County natives, a 2-4 hour road trip could take you anywhere, but naturally as the temperature was dropping and the summer pool hoppers were starting to disappear, Palm Springs (California’s gay Mecca) was the right place for our simple and sweet hubbymoon.

Nestled in the Coachella Valley between Los Angeles and San Diego, Palm Springs is a desert oasis known for its resorts, mid-century modern architecture, boutique shopping, hip and stylish hotels, spas, golf courses, and most importantly its vibrant gay lifestyle rich with nightlife and entertainment. We knew we were headed to a place where our agenda would be widely spread whether we wanted to lounge by the pool, have a drink at a bar, get a massage or dance the night away—we were looking forward to exploring the culture of Palm Springs since we had only ever scratched the surface of what this desert sanctuary has to offer.

STAYTortuga del Sol

We checked in to Tortuga del Sol, a quiet clothing optional gay men’s resort where we were welcomed by one of the resort’s owners, Robert. Robert made us feel right at home, showing us around the resort that was beautifully kept. We met Rick, Tortuga del Sol’s other owner and Robert’s partner later in the day and he was just as nice! The word Tortuga, meaning turtle in Spanish, comes from the couple’s love for turtles—which is apparent from the desert décor spread throughout the grounds. They even have a coy pond with several turtles for you to pet—if they let you! The 12-room resort was converted from a studio housing complex, but you’d never know it because it has been transformed into a serene location to relax poolside while enjoying breathtaking mountain views. Each room has its own full kitchen and dining area, which was ideal for us since we like to stock up on snacks. Our favorite part of Tortuga del Sol were their therapeutic cabanas which shaded us from the hot sun while allowing us to sip on our cocktails in between naps. So soothing! After dark, we took a dip in the hot tub and enjoyed the dimly lit cubes lining the resort’s pool.



EXPERIENCEOscar’s Cabaret

To kick off our hubbymoon weekend, we decided to go out for a romantic dinner that only Palm Springs could deliver. Oscar’s Cabaret is the longest running show in Palm Springs since The Follies. Every Friday night, Oscar’s Palm Springs presents a cabaret show hosted by the world famous James “Gypsy” Haake who has appeared in films and television for over 50 years. Gypsy takes guests on a journey through musical history, providing anecdotes that lead to performances by world-class celebrity female impersonators. On our particular night, we were entertained by Liza Minnelli, Gwen Stefani, Dionne Warwick, Bette Midler, Judy Garland, Madonna, and Whitney Houston—all interwoven by Gypsy’s hilarious wit and commentary. The entire team at Oscar’s was welcoming and made us feel at home, especially the owner Dan, who greeted us at the host stand and even returned to chat with us throughout our evening.



EXPERIENCE - Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

One of the most incredible things we experienced while in Palm Springs was a trip to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—one of the most popular attractions in Palm Springs. Located right at the South entrance of the Palm Springs strip, we took a quick drive up the road from the city and to the foot of the San Joaquin Mountains. At the doors to the tramway, you could already feel that the temperature had slightly dropped. After getting our tickets, we waited outside gazing up at the trams make their way to and from the peak. Once we boarded, we took a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon, overlooking all of Palm Springs and past the white wind turbines that are iconic of the area. The 10-minute ride up 2,643 feet was spectacular. Upon arriving at the top, the temperature had dropped at least 30 degrees and we felt the nice autumn breeze. So if you go, don’t forget to bring a light sweater or jacket. There was an amazing change in scenery with miles of forest trees. We trekked down the pedestrian walkway and spent a few hours hiking the trails and stopping for photo ops.

TASTE - Peabody’s Café

Breakfast has always been our favorite meal of the day and when it comes to breakfast, we like to sit and enjoy some soul-filling food with a cup of coffee. Peabody’s Café was the answer. Located right on Palm Spring’s Palm Canyon Drive strip, Peabody’s is a staple for locals and travelers. It first began as a coffee house in 1992, but over the years has grown into a full restaurant and bar that specializes in simple American food. We loved it! We were pleasantly surprised to meet Peabody’s owner, Debbie, who greeted every customer and went from table to table to ensure everyone was enjoying their morning. She gave us some recommendations that we tried: Lox Benny (Benedict) and Cinnamon French Toast—amazing! While we waited for our breakfast we absorbed their huge cups of coffee and ordered one of their famous Bloody Marys. They have nine ingredients and they have coined them as “The Best Bloody Mary Ever!” Debbie shared with us her love for all things old Hollywood—a woman after my own heart! Old Hollywood glamour adorns the restaurant’s walls with photos of starlets that basically become an extra guest at your table. We were enamored by the café’s vintage appeal. We even discovered that Peabody’s offers karaoke on weekend nights! We are definitely looking forward to returning and trying one of their gigantic omelets and of course another Bloody Mary.



EXPERIENCE - Palm Springs Art Museum

To add a bit of culture to our hubbymoon, we ventured out to the Palm Springs Art Museum. Even before we parked, we were already appreciating the work of art that is the architecture and structure of the museum. An organic form and water installation welcome visitors up to mid-century modern building. Inside, the museum offers 28 galleries and two structure gardens. The museum has everything from photography, Mesoamerican, but if you’re a fan of contemporary art, the Palm Springs Art Museum will be a dream come true! A couple of our favorites were Robert Therrien’s No Title (stacked plates, butter) and Duane Hanson’s Old Couple on a Bench (which really freaked us out! Super life-like!) But the show that really drew us in was their visiting exhibition Kinesthesia: Latin American Art, 1954-1969. The works in this exhibition were surreal, touching every part of our senses and often making us feel like we were in another world because of the incredible use of light, movement and use of space. Kinesthesia is an in-depth examination of international Kinetic Art from the 1950s and 1960s that will leave you immersed in negative space and not wanting to come out.

STAY - The Avalon Hotel and Bungalows

We arrived at The Avalon Hotel and Bungalows for lunch and a spa treatment. The Avalon is a chic hotel that was giving us our porcelain-loving life! With white tones throughout the lobby and hotel corridors, this relaxing sanctuary was definitely a spot we will be returning to. It’s perfect for boutique hotel aficionados. The pools had a lively atmosphere that transported you into a spa-like oasis with vintage flair.

TASTE - Chi Chi @ The Avalon

While waiting for our spa treatments at Estrella, we sat poolside at Chi Chi, the fresh and clean restaurant inside The Avalon Hotel. Their menu is focused on wellness and has a nice list of items that are organic and have an authentic West Coast twist. From the menu we tried the poke and turkey burger which were both fresh substantial despite their refined plating. We also tried their Revive wellness drink which is a rich mixture of kale, mint, ginger, celery, apple, and turmeric—just what we needed before our moment of relaxation.

EXPERIENCE - Estrella Spa @ The Avalon

The Estrella Spa is hidden at the back of The Avalon Hotel and Bungalows where serenity meets the foot of the mountains. Before entering we were received by private hot tubs and cabanas where we lounged before entering. While we waited for our appointment, the spa offered us a glass of champagne while we decompressed in our fluffy white robes. My one-hour facial was glorious! If it’s possible to request an aesthetician, I recommend Lorena! She had the perfect touch and was careful in measuring how much or how little pressure I could handle. I also enjoyed our conversation during our session. She kept me relaxed and when she was done my face was glowing and I floated back to the showers. Definitely something you want to do when in Palm Springs to keep you mellowed out—especially if you’re there with your hubby.

TASTE - Watercress Vietnamese Bistro

If you’re as big a fan of Asian food as we are, you will LOVE Watercress Vietnamese Bistro. We caught this place in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs, in a spot that as lively as can be. The restaurant is primarily inviting because of the tropical atmosphere with green accents and water mist calling your name. When we walked in we were greeted by one of the co-owners, Dr. Phong Nguyen. He welcomed us and took us to one of the best tables in the patio—perfect for people watching while we sipped on our Vietnamese Mule (You have to try it!). We tried so much food here! From the Coconut Shrimp to the Brochette and Steamed Pork Belly Buns, the appetizers were mouthwatering. But the entrees were beyond words! We ordered the Yellow Curry, Watercress Beef Salad, Garlic Butter-Soy Shrimp and the Wok-fried Steak Cubes—Did I mention we love Asian food!? We will absolutely be returning to Watercress thanks to Dr. Nguyen and his incredible wait staff.

Our weekend hubbymoon came and went and we were amazed that we were able to get in some rest in-between our exploration itinerary. Our trip to Palm Springs proved to be an eye-opening experience, one that we shared for the first time as a married couple. We learned so much about this gay travel destination that we had never had time to learn. Maybe we were still on our wedding high, but we fell madly in love with Palm Springs—so much so that we think we may buy a home there in the future. For anyone who hasn’t been there, what are you waiting for?

For more information about Palm Springs, go to