Last night’s Pulse Orlando celebration was raw and inspiring. Few knew they would be entering the gates of the nightclub, and the presence of the out-of-servic building only made it that much more emotional. It didn’t help that Pulse owner Barbara Poma was on the verge of tears when we spoke with her. Also in attendance were Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan, House candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith, the Orlando Gay Chorus and families of victims and survivors of the June 12 attack. We cried a lot. You would have, too. “Don’t be afraid,” indeed.
Watermark is giving away a pair of tickets to attend the 7th Annual Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Saturday, Oct. 29.
You and a guest will stroll the causeway where you will be tempted with a diverse selection of delectable delights prepared by award-winning chefs and sample fine wine, beer and spirits from around the world. This is a great opportunity to sample beverages you may not have thought to try before.
Watermark endorses Jennifer Webb for District 69 and Beth Tuura for District 47 in the Florida House of Representatives, Come Out With Pride reschedules in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Metro Health and Wellness plays host to the third annual Trans Pride celebration, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!
We made our list and checked it twice, and now Watermark’s endorsements are here.
We covered key national, state and local races as well as a few state constitutional amendments. Be sure to read our interviews with Florida House of Representatives hopeful’s Jennifer Webb in District 69 and Beth Tuura in District 47.
Don’t forget Election Day is Nov. 8 and early voting in Florida runs Oct. 24 – Nov. 6. On to the endorsements.
As director of community partnerships at the University of South Florida, Jennifer Webb knows her way around the cacophony of dissent. She cuts a friendly character when we meet up in St. Petersburg, but she’s got the wonk-like traits that make a candidate a real politician, a life in academia notwithstanding.
“I went back to get an advanced degree, specifically because I wanted to have one foot in academia and one in the real world,” she says. “We need more really thoughtful people engaged in our process, whether that means coming up with common sense solutions through community work or through developing policies, that’s where I think certain people do the impact. That’s why I went back to an advanced degree for anthropology. And the anthropology that I do is anthropology in public policy, which is how certain policies can impact local communities and local businesses.”
Going head-to-head with state house candidate just prior to a photo shoot with Beth Tuura at Langford Park, just south of downtown, could seem more intimidating than it actually is. After all, her background is in sports broadcasting, a career that has seen her covering eight Olympics, the Kentucky Derby and the Super Bowl.
As a broadcasting veteran, Tuura has seen her share of fouls and bad behavior, but given the recent controversies involving the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his flaring penchant for insulting women and their physical privacy, her very presence as the Democrat in the hotly contested race for Orlando’s District 47 is impressive. Tuura, who is a married lesbian (“My wife wants nothing to do with this,” she jokes when we notice her wedding band), finds the recent appearance of “locker-room banter” into the political fray amusing and horrifying, but only to a certain point.
My first time meeting current senatorial and failed presidential candidate Marco Rubio was at a princess party. It was 2008, we were in the upstairs area of the legislature where people come to be actual people, and we shook hands while his daughter’s friends leapt around in pink taffeta. Rubio, who is just one year younger than me by a week, was playing dad, and all of that was fine, as it should be.
I watched Rubio when he led the House floor, gavel in hand. I looked into his eyes as he made it certain that he really didn’t care about what wrath he was enabling from the far right, about what women he was ignoring, about what princesses would never be real princesses according to his flight of Floridian fancy. Rubio, a linchpin for the Republican Party if only for his looks and his connection to Hispanic voters, came off as a fraud. And, yes, these are mere observations. But sometimes staring someone in the eyes is the shortest distance between speculation and fact. Rubio, as a U.S. Senator, has been widely reported as a derelict to the justice he was elected to embody. Sift the records all you want; Rubio missed 41 percent of the votes he was elected to oversee. Rubio is not qualified for his job. Rubio is a plant.
Glenn Douglas Packard has been in the entertainment business for 25 years; as the GBF to Hulk Hogan’s daughter Brooke in VH-1’s reality-series Brooke Knows Best, as a performer in the music group twONEty in Europe during the boyband crazy of the early ‘00s and as a world-class dance choreographer to everyone from Usher and Pink to the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.
Packard has made a name for himself in many facets of pop culture, and now he is adding another to the list: film director. Packard took his story of growing up gay on a Michigan dairy farm and his coming out to his family and turned it into the new horror film Pitchfork.
Some of the faces may have changed, but the Village People remain a constant in parties – especially wedding parties – nearly 40 years after the first spangled crowd-participation extension of arms marking the chorus of the group’s signature hit “YMCA.” The band rode the zeitgeist of the sexual revolution, specifically the gay fringes of said movement, into the living rooms of families who had no idea what they were signing up for. Subversive? Yes. Important? Indeed.
Watermark spoke with founding member, he of the Native American feathered headdress, Felipe Rose in advance of the group’s current incarnation performing at the Aspire Health Partners gala on Oct. 29 in Orlando.
It’s always with a sense of consternation that we face down these weeks leading up to the November political sweepstakes, especially in presidential-election years.
The white noise can overpower the progressiveness and inspiration that leadership is meant to ignite; the television advertisements find their way to the nearest drain to see just how low they can go before the gutter becomes the wall; the erosion of trust becomes its own beast, as conspiracy theorists draft their narratives as a means of leveraging their distaste with nearly everything. Meanwhile, pies meet skies in overstated narratives of importance, polls slip into their margins of error and apathy, inevitably, reigns supreme. It’s an ugly story and it always has been. It’s also the key to the core of our nation, and should be treated as such: with respect and the sense of duty that public service requires.
When it comes down to it, I probably have more quality experience than either of the (realistic) presidential candidates in at least one thing: oral. I’ve been performing it for decades.
They just aren’t as eloquent. They just aren’t listeners.
We have an Easter tradition in my family. Annually, we search the house for Easter baskets left by Jesus, a rabbit or – most likely – my mother. The Easter basket tradition is one of my favorites, and continues to this day when we are able to get together for the holiday.
The search begins the same way every year. Mom walks up to you and says, “I have it on good authority the Easter Bunny came and left something for you. It’s somewhere in the house.”