Central Florida Overheard: Who run the world?

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ABOVE: President of the Barber Fund and owner of The Venue, Blue Star.

Orlando Magazine has named its Women of the Year in Central Florida and a couple of familiar names popped up on that list. “They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all they are leaders, who step forward to help keep our community strong,” says Orlando Magazine of its 23 individual selections.

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Central Florida Overheard: Quilt of memories

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The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a massive quilt started in the 1980s by LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones to bring awareness to how bad the AIDS pandemic really was. Each panel was personalized for someone who lost their battle with the disease. It is meant to honor the dead and bring healing to the person’s loved ones.

This year, the Orlando VA Medical Center is raising awareness for HIV/AIDS and letting the community know the fight is still not over by creating a local quilt to be displayed later this year. “We are going to unveil the quilt on Worlds AIDS Day,” says Freda Johnson, a social worker with the VA’s Infectious Disease Team. “Then it will be displayed at the various VA locations around Central Florida.”

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06.14.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As you are reading this it has been a few days since the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, but because of how deadlines and press days fall, I am writing this the day before the June 12 date.

June 12 carries a weird energy with me now. For those who don’t know, I share my birthday with the same day that a disturbed individual decided to take 49 lives at Pulse. Last year at the one-year mark, while attending memorials and vigils, I was receiving notifications of Happy Birthday and messages wishing me a fun and happy day all while grieving with my community and consoling friends.

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Central Florida Overheard: Fringe Forever

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The Orlando International Fringe Festival wrapped another hugely successful year with an awards celebration and party on the Fringe lawn at Loch Haven Park this past Memorial Day.

Fringe had well over 100 sold out performances during the course of the 13-day festival, they announced. Then Watermark took the stage to present our readers’ choice 2018 Splash Awards. The big winner of the night was AJ Prats’ “PeeVira’s ScareVan Singalong: Disney Addicktion” which won both Favorite LGBTQ Show and Favorite LGBTQ Lead Performer for Prats.

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Central Florida Overheard: $2 million for the arts

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For the ninth consecutive year, United Arts of Central Florida’s 2018 Collaborative Campaign for the Arts exceeded their fundraising goal, raising more than $2.07 million for local arts, science and history organizations.

Over the course of three months, United Arts and 14 other organizations local to Central Florida received donations from patrons, most of which saw their gifts matched by 15 percent by United Arts. This announcement comes after statewide budget cuts to the arts heavily impacted local cultural organizations. The donations from this fundraiser will help bring 2.7 million cultural experiences, including 970,000 K-12 student experiences.

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Central Florida Overheard: The Minx says goodbye

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About six years ago a pair of talented drag queens, along with an entire bunch of local performers, came to the Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando on a Sunday to entertain diners during a quiet brunch. Those queens were Ginger Minj and The Minx. They, along with their Broadway Brunch Bunch, have gone back every Sunday performing a send-up to live theater and making Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch one of the most successful and beloved brunches across the country.

Ginger Minj left Broadway Brunch after appearing on season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and now the announcement has come that the other half of Broadway Brunch’s original dynamic duo is leaving as well. In a Facebook post, Hamburger Mary’s owner wrote “I am sad that we will be losing one of the most talented, and more importantly one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

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Central Florida Overheard: The Center’s summer reads

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A new book club dedicated to exploring the LGBTQ experience is coming to The Center Orlando in June.

“Queer Quills: Summer Reading Club” will have its first meeting at The Center on June 28 with the book “Some Hell.” The club will also delve into the novels “Here Comes the Sun” and “Life Beyond My Body: A Transgender Journey to Manhood in China” over the course of the season.

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Central Florida Overheard: All Hail the Queen

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ABOVE: Eveleena Fults is the new queen at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Orlando. Image from Eveleena Fults’ Twitter.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is quite the spectacle. For those who have never been to the family-friendly dinner attraction, you head back to the 11th century when people dined without utensils and watched knights slaughter each other to please the ruling king. But now, for the first time in the show’s 34-year history, the king is no more. The king is dead, long live the queen! Medieval Times announced that Eveleena Fults, better known in these parts as the burlesque performer Ivy Les Vixens, becomes the kingdom’s (or should we say queendom’s) new ruler — her Majesty, Queen Doña Maria Isabella.

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Central Florida Overheard: Church Closure

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Reeves United Methodist Church, a church that has been in Orlando for nearly 100 years, permanently closed their doors leaving parishioners without a place to worship. The church was scheduled to close May 1 to be re-opened later this year as a daycare center, but decided to shut down a couple weeks early. Church volunteers were left to pack up their belongings while a locksmith was changing the locks, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The church was not just home to the roughly 30 church members, but was also home to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups, as well as a rehearsal and storage location for the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band & Color Guard and a meeting space for the Orlando Youth Alliance.

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Central Florida Overheard: Southern Dumplin’

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Late last summer we told you how Orlando’s very own Josh Eads, a.k.a. Ginger Minj, was making friends with one of America’s most famous “Friends,” Jennifer Aniston. It was announced they were both set to star in “Dumplin’,” a film based on the novel of the same name that follows a confident, plus-sized teen who, to spite her beauty queen mom (played by Aniston) and the other girls in school, enlists in a local pageant.

While producers have not yet set a release date or said what Eads’ role will be in the film, it was announced that the one and only Dolly Parton, would be involved in the production.

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Central Florida Overheard: A film for “family”

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“Love, Simon,” which opened in theaters March 16, is a teen dramedy about a high school kid named Simon coming to terms with being gay after starting an email conversation with another closeted gay teen from his school. The film is based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It is also the first major studio release of a film that focuses on a teen gay romance, which is why celebrities across the country have been buying out screenings of the film and giving away tickets to anyone, particularly young LGBTQers, who want to see it.

Local celeb Sacha Kljestan, a midfielder for the Orlando City Soccer Club, and his wife bought out a screening at the Regal Winter Park Village for March 29 and packed the theater with kids from the Zebra Coalition. “The movie spreads the message of tolerance, acceptance and equality. We were inspired by other people who did this, so we just want to pay it forward and help spread the love to the people of Orlando,” Kljestan wrote on his Twitter. Kljestan is now a part of an impressive list of celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer and Kristen Bell who are spreading the word of love and acceptance through this amazing film.

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Central Florida’s Overheard: Remembering Billy Manes through activism

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The Pride Fund To End Gun Violence’s Orlando Reception, held at The Abbey on March 14, was not only an event to kick off the Political Action Committee’s 2018 election efforts, but also to officially launch the Billy Manes Advocacy Fellowship.

“Billy was on our board and he had such a history of activism and advocacy when he passed away, in his honor we created Billy Manes Advocacy Fellowship,” says Pride Fund founder and executive director Jason Lindsay. “D.C. is where a lot of people love to go for their internships, which is great because they can gain valuable work experience there, but it’s expensive. Now most internships are unpaid, so we created a fellowship program with the specific goal of helping with that financial burden.”

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