2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Orlando Immunology Center

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

CENTRAL FLORIDA’S FAVORITE LGBTQ BUSINESS NOT A BAR/CLUB (OVER ONE YEAR), FAVORITE LOCAL HEALTHCARE PROVIDER (DR. EDWIN DEJESUS), WHO SHOULD BE ON THE COVER OF CENTRAL FLORIDA’S WAVE AWARD ISSUE (DR. EDWIN DEJESUS)

The Orlando Immunology Center, commonly referred to as OIC, has been a part of the Central Florida area for more than 40 years. They are the oldest and largest infectious disease clinic in Central Florida—one of the largest in the state—and specialize in the medical needs of the LGBTQ community. It’s no wonder that they were voted Central Florida’s favorite LGBTQ business.

The readers also named OIC medical director Dr. Edwin DeJesus as Central Florida’s favorite local healthcare provider, as well as the person they wanted to see on the cover of this issue.

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Alexis De La Mer

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LOCAL PERFORMER: DRAG, WHO SHOULD BE ON THE COVER OF WATERMARK’S WAVES ISSUE

“Coming from New York, my drag is a little outrageous and a little more colorful than most of the drag queens in the Tampa Bay area,” Alexis De La Mer says. “Drag is an art form to me.”

The queen’s name stems from her favorite soap opera Dynasty, and in particular its character Alexis Carrington. “She was always dressed up in beautiful evening gowns and business suits with furs,” De La Mer says, “and dripping in jewelry. She always had a beautiful, hot young man by her side… I said, ‘I want to be just like her.’”

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Fairvilla Megastore

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

CENTRAL FLORIDA’S FAVORITE ADULT NOVELTY STORE

Fairvilla and the LGBTQ community have something in common: we have been open and honest about our sexuality long before the mainstream caught up. Fairvilla was established as a retail store in 1991; prior to that it was the location of an adult theater.

“It was a walk-in twin cinema and our owner Bill Murphy began showing some of the racier movies at the time,” says Debra Peterson, Fairvilla’s director of purchasing. “Then along came VHS and video rental. He started to see the transition taking place and that motivated him into retail. The next thing you know we have one of the largest big box retail stores that caters to adults in the country.”

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Iberian Rooster

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LGBTQ-FRIENDLY STRAIGHT BAR/CLUB

Russell Andrade introduced the Portugese fusion restaurant and speakeasy Iberian Rooster to St. Petersburg in November 2016 with a clear purpose.

“Everyone was afraid of what was going to happen,” Ana Corsi-Travali, the location’s catering director says. “Is my loved one going to be deported? Is my loved one going to be banned from a bathroom? Is my best friend going to get their marriage revoked because something might get overturned?”

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Zebra Coalition

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

CENTRAL FLORIDA’S MOST EFFECTIVE LOCAL LGBTQ ORGANIZATION

Zebra Coalition embodies every bit of their 2018 WAVE Award title as the most effective local LGBTQ organization. They have a very simple and direct mission—support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth—and they have been very effective in doing so.

“It’s such an important mission,” says Heather Wilkie, Zebra’s Executive Director. “We serve LGBTQ+ youth here. We provide housing services, mental health counseling support and really wrap-around all-around services for the youth here in Central Florida. I think it’s a critical service and clearly the community agrees.”

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Tyler’z Barbershop

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE LOCAL HAIR SALON

Tyler Cochran and Zeyra Sanchez adore one another, in and out of Tyler’z Barber Shop.

The duo shares and cultivates a mutual love and respect that radiates all throughout the business, something that began long before Tyler’z opened in 2015 when they met at the American Institute of Beauty. “Zeyra’s been in every decision making process, down to our design, even before we opened,” Cochran says. “She’s been in the shop since day one.”

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Central Florida

By : Jake Stevens
Comments: 1

The 2018 Central Florida WAVE Awards Party at Celebration Gardens was a star-studded event. Local dignitaries Patty Sheehan and Anna Eskamani attended along with entertainer Blue Star and the WAVE award winners. Providing the entertainment were Doug Bowser, Miss Sammy, Lacie Browning, Gidget Galore and the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard. It was a chilly night, but the copious outdoor heaters, fire-pit and adult beverage offerings, kept everyone warm.

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Central Florida Step-and-Repeat

By : Jake Stevens
Comments: 0

Celebration Gardens was the site of the Watermark 2018 WAVE Awards Party for Central Florida. The “favorite” winners as voted by you, our readers, came out to be honored and mingle with their fans. Watermark was on hand to capture the special moment the awards were bestowed.

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

Continue Reading >>

It’s time to celebrate your favorite picks for Tampa Bay and Central Florida’s best!

By : Watermark Staff
Comments: 0

The curtain is falling on award season, but not before we announce your favorite picks for the best in Tampa Bay and Central Florida. The Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence results are here.

In record numbers you listed your favorite people, places and things in our freeform ballot. We took the top three vote getters and opened up the competition for a finalist round. In record numbers again, you spoke and we listened.

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – TAMPA BAY

By : Watermark Staff
Comments: 0

FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

Second: Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO

Third: Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

Second: Joanna Garcia Parkin, ESQ., St. Petersburg attorney

Third: Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – CENTRAL FLORIDA

By : Watermark Staff
Comments: 0

FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner – District 4

Second: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Third: Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House Representative – District 49

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Second: Anna Eskamani, Florida House candidate – District 47

Third: Darren Soto, U.S. House of Representatives – Florida’s 9th District

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Out of the Closet

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA BAY’S FAVORITE NEW LGBTQ BUSINESS

It’s hard to miss Out of the Closet Thrift Store’s St. Pete location, with its sea foam-colored facade and bright pink exterior. But even more obvious than its paint job is the organization’s dedication to the community it serves.

Each of its 21 locations across the country offers gently used clothing and wares, but unlike some thrift shops, it serves a greater purpose—benefiting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Beside the shirt that catches your eye or the couch that’s perfect for your den is a pharmacy, and the location offers a safe space to get a free and private HIV test.

Continue Reading >>