Orlando artist Nick Smith turns literary classics into original works of art

By : Jeremy Williams
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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away known as Orlando, an artist by the name of Nick Smith was rediscovering his love of art and began creating original pieces based on classic novels and popular stories.

“I’ve been drawing since I was a wee little lad,” Smith says. “I actually started tracing, that’s one of the things I always tell people, learn how to trace when you’re young so you get an idea of shapes and figures.”

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Author Rob Sanders revolutionizes picture books with ‘Stonewall’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Self-described “writer who teaches and teacher who writes” Rob Sanders appreciates anniversaries. In celebration of the LGBTQ pride flag’s 40th in 2018, he released “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,” the first picture book detailing the LGBTQ symbol’s origin. Now, just ahead of the Stonewall Uprising’s 50th, he’s made history again with “Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.”

The openly LGBTQ author’s follow up is the first picture book to detail the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Its story of strength, unity and equality was released April 23 from Random House Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books; the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher.

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2019 Orlando Fringe Review: “Pack Animals”

By : Danny Garcia
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S.E. Grummet and Holly Brinkman bring the comical story of two summer camp scouts lost in the woods to life in the quirky comedy “Pack Animals.”

Brinkman is a highly skilled camper and is paired up with Grummet who is, well, not a highly skilled camper.  Grummet actually has no clue  about camping and doesn’t really want to be there. These two embark on an adventure reminiscent of an 80’s sitcom, but raunchier and more fun. To fully explain what this show is about would require a few bites of some questionable berries found in the woods. This hilarious comedy includes ukuleles, musical numbers about mansplaining, a bear attack and even sex with mythical woodland creatures. Not to mention the show also features animal puppets.

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2019 Orlando Fringe Review: ‘Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard’

By : Danny Garcia
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There’s something so dandy and a little dark how Dandy Darkly masterfully delivers his stories, hence the name. In “Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard” he goes back to his Southern roots and tells the tale of Lil’ Biscuit, Aunty, the Colonel and the sleepy little Southern town they reside in.

Like a symphonic locomotive, this storytelling drag clown skillfully wove several stories together of various topics including racism, mysticism, gender identity as well as an observation of our world’s obsession and addiction to technology.

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2019 Orlando Fringe Review: ‘A Briefs History In Time’

By : Danny Garcia
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Our favorite Canadian burlesque boys are back with their new show, “A Briefs History In Time.”  The adventure begins with Furry Rosa (emcee and host, Shangina Twain) having traveled back in time from the year 3000 during Fempocalypse, an event that has left men (not the species but the gender) extinct. Rosa has come to our time to observe, study and find male specimens, so why not the male specimens of BoylesqueTO.

“A Briefs History In Time” is a departure from what Orlando Fringe patrons may have seen with “Oh Manada!” and “‘Mo Manada!” but this latest show is still very entertaining.

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2019 Orlando Fringe Review: ‘Daphne and Me: A Boy Meets Girl Story’

By : Danny Garcia
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Real, raw, passionate and—thanks to the Rainbow Venue—up close and personal.

BeeJay Clinton’s autobiographical, one-person show “Daphne and Me: A Boy Meets Girl Story” is all of that and more. A brutally honest look into the psyche of a man who is as unsure of himself as BeeJay as he is sure of himself as Daphne, his drag persona.

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HUD proposes rule change to gut trans protections at homeless shelters

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In an abrupt reversal after assurances that non-discrimination policies at Department of Housing & Urban Development would remain in place, the Trump administration is proposing a rule change to gut protections for transgender people seeking to stay at federally funded homeless shelters.

In a notice published Wednesday by the White House Office of Management & Budget, the administration proposes a rule in which shelter providers with sex-segregated facilities — such as bathrooms or shared sleeping quarters — “may establish a policy” consistent with state and local laws in which operators consider a range of factors when determining where to place individuals looking to stay, including “religious beliefs.”

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LGBT ‘fallen heroes’ honored at National Police Week event

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Between 150 and 200 LGBT members of law enforcement agencies were among the more than 25,000 police and law enforcement officers from throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries who came to D.C. last week to participate in events associated with National Police Week.

Among the events LGBT law enforcement members and their families and friends attended was the annual LGBT Fallen Heroes Memorial Service, which was held May 13 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial located in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Human Rights Campaign close to naming next president: sources

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Current HRC president Chad Griffin, who announced late last year he will depart the organization.

Fresh from the successful U.S. House vote on the Equality Act, the Human Rights Campaign is close to naming a new president to lead the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, insiders have told the Washington Blade.

LGBT advocates said this week they’ve heard board members for the Human Rights Campaign, which began a search for the organization’s next president after Chad Griffin announced late last year he’d depart the organization, are nearing their decision. One person familiar with board deliberations said the process is “going well.”

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Orlando’s Big LGBTQ Weekend still has something for everyone

By : Jeremy Williams
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The newly created KindRED Pride Foundation is bringing some of the weekend’s most anticipated events, but the kickoff weekend to Orlando’s big Pride Month is packed full of some returning favorites and big surprises.

Just as with the last several years, RED Shirt Pride Days has a designated Disney theme park for each day from May 30-June 2.

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RED Shirt Pride Day looks to continue Orlando’s traditional Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom

By : Jeremy Williams
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In June 1991, a group of LGBTQ Central Floridians—led by openly gay Orlando resident Doug Swallow—decided to meet at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to say to “The Most Magical Place On Earth” that “We’re here, we’re queer and we’d like to see Cinderella’s Castle!”

“[Doug said] ‘let’s go be somewhere where we can be ourselves and let people see that we’re normal people, but let them know that we are gay … we’ll do something like wear a red shirt so we can know who each other are.’ That was totally Doug’s idea, to make that day what it is,” said Michael Wanzie, a Central Florida entertainer who was at the very first event, in an interview with Watermark in 2018.

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Proposed LGBTQ health organization clears Connecticut House

By : Wire Report
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) | Legislation aimed at better matching members of Connecticut’s LGBTQ community with health and other services has cleared a key vote.

The House of Representatives voted 130-6 May 20 in favor of a bill that creates a new organization to recommend to state officials ways to build a safer and healthier environment for the LGBTQ community. The Department of Public Health would provide funds to help the network develop a statewide needs assessment and ultimately help coordinate care with nonprofit agencies.

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