Overheard in Orlando: Disney gets a little gayer

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Billy & Alan nominated for Best Documentary in Daytona
Billy & Alan, a documentary about the struggles of a gay man navigating the system following the suicide of his partner, has been nominated for Best Documentary at the Daytona Beach Film Festival. The film, which tells the story of writer Billy Manes, was directed and produced by Vicki Nantz. It was an Official Selection at both the 2013 Global Peace Film Festival and the Ft. Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. It will screen at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Daytona. For tickets, visit DBFF.org.

Converge Orlando partners with Disney Destinations
With a contribution of more than $25K, Disney Destinations bought itself a seat at the table on the board of Converge Orlando, Inc., Central Florida’s LGBT-inclusive Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Disney will officially join at the President’s Level in 2014. “This partnership opens to the door to endless possibilities for LGBT Tourism to Orlando,” Mikael Audebert, President and Executive Director at Converge doing business as OrlandoGayTravel.com announced on Facebook. “I have held my tongue back for weeks now…But I no longer can (and I was told IT’S okay to talk about it)! Yes, it is true. Disney through Disney Destinations has become the largest member of Converge Orlando, joining this new & fresh organization at the President Level ($25,000) and thus having a seat on the Board of Directors in 2014.”An official press release will be shared with the media once its finalized by both parties,” he added.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: City Side could be yours!

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City Side for sale
If you have a spare $300,000 laying around, you could become the owner of one of Tampa’s oldest LGBT bars. City Side Lounge, located on Henderson Avenue near Dale Mabry, is officially on the market. The newly-renovated bar was home to Watermark’s recent “Watermark Wednesday” fundraising event for the Suncoast Softball League and has been a long-time supporter of several teams within that organization. While there was no mention of the status of the property during that event, a reader sent us a link to the commercial real estate site LoopNet.com, which plainly shows the 3,100-square-foot building available for purchase. No word yet on if there are any pending offers, but here’s to hoping it remains an LGBT establishment regardless of who throws down the cash for new ownership!

A grand opening
We’ve written in this space before about the new Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Clearwater. But nothing is official until there’s a ribbon cutting, and it’s especially noteworthy when the mayor makes an appearance. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos was surrounded by restaurant management, investors and a couple female impersonators to make the official declaration that Hamburger Mary’s is open for business in Clearwater. Cretekos made it to the restaurant located just north of Countryside Mall on Thursday, Oct. 17, to cut the red ribbon. The restaurant is operated by Kurt King and Brian DeChane, who also run the Ybor City location.

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Overheard in Orlando: John Waters new BFF

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Disenchanted Held Over!
Following weeks of sold out performances, the 2011 International Fringe Festival darling
Disenchanted! has been held over through Nov. 3 at The Abbey. The play focuses on Disney’s princesses and their unhappiness at being portrayed as damsels in distress in today’s pop culture. They are: brassy Snow White, ditzy Cinderella, weight-obsessed Sleeping Beauty neurotic Belle, tipsy Ariel, butch Mulan and buxom Pocahontas. For tickets, call 866-468-7630 or visit AbbeyOrlando.com.

Happy 50th Birthday, Doug (let’s rake you over the coals)
Friends of Doug White decided to surprise him on his 50th birthday. So, they invited him to a night of trivia and bar hopping starting at the Parliament House Footlight Theatre. Instead, he walked into a surprise birthday party and roast. Roasters included: Nico, Gidget Galore, Bridget Galore, Sam Singhaus, Jeff Jones, Carol Lee, Billy Flannigan, Janine Klein and Michael Wanzie. White, a staple in the LGBT theater community, turned the big 5-0 on Oct. 8.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Leather fight!

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Countertenor or eye candy?
The very handsome and rugged Jacques Snyman returned to Tampa Bay on Sept. 29 with a concert held at Studio@620 in downtown St. Petersburg. The former rugby player and fitness model is raising money for an upcoming trip to Europe, where he hopes to audition in front of international directors. Snyman, who turned 40 just days before his St. Pete concert, lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his husband, Victor, and previously performed in Tampa Bay as part of the Tampa Bay Bears Masquerade Ball two years ago. Snyman used his impressive vocals to belt out selections from classical composers Vivaldi, Beethoven and Handel. He closed the concert with a Stephen Sondheim song from the 1986 production Into the Woods. After the concert, Snyman hinted that he may return to Tampa Bay over the upcoming holiday season, but he said he couldn’t elaborate on details just yet, as the concert is still “in the works.”

Cher brings back Bobby York
Much like the iconic figure she impersonates, Bobby York seems to never fully retire. The performer known for her Cher impersonations returned to the stage of the Flamingo Resort on Sept. 29 with a high-energy performance of both a compilation mix of classic Cher songs and a headdress-wearing take on the superstar’s newest single, “Woman’s World.” York was the original show director at the Flamingo Resort when it opened four years ago and was invited back to the stage by current director Iman, who also performed that evening. Fans of York’s packed the main bar of the resort and afterward, they lined up to have their photos taken with her. York was her regular gracious self, and strategically positioned herself by a box fan to stay cool as she smiled for every camera.

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7 Sins gay dance party!

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Crowds pack 7 Sins
The LGBT community welcomed a new night spot to Largo in a very big way on Friday, July 26. 7 Sins Night club brought a huge LGBT Friday Night Dance Party to a 10,000 square-foot space within Los 2 Pebes Restaurant and Bar. A VIP area, a boom boom room and an outside Tiki bar stayed busy throughout the night. One attendee told Watermark that the club atmosphere was reminiscent of clubs found in New York. The night of entertainment presented two shows with host Madisyn Michaels and featured Nae Nae Dominatrix, Star Montrese Love and Natasha Possh. A rotating cast will bring the party back every Friday night and each week, popular Billboard magazine reporting DJ Greg Anderson (who is also a WAVE Award winner) will be in the DJ booth. You can keep up to date on 7 Sins by following it on Facebook at Facebook.com/7SinsNightClub.

Prom-oting memories
It was a busy weekend for Largo. Quench Nightclub held its very first “Prom You Wish You Had” on July 27, and the bar was packed with tuxedo-clad men and women and several prom dresses. There was even a King and Queen, King and King and Queen and Queen ceremony, all emceed by the hilarious Alexis Mateo and Madisyn Michaels. Prizes were awarded for “best prom attire” and several area businesses donated to the cause, including Georgie’s Alibi, Simply Delicious NY Deli, Lucky Star Lounge, The Garage, Nardo’s Naturals and Dunedin Lanes. Quench also provided two bar tabs as prizes. Quench was decorated with white balloons and celebrity cardboard cutouts and bartenders were looking hot in their tuxedo Speedos.

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Prom you wish you had…

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The prom you wish you had
We all have that photo from our high school prom. We’re sporting bad hair, not-so fabulous tux or gown and we’re in that awkward pose with someone of the opposite gender wearing a flower that’s way too big. What if you could do it over? Well, you can.

Quench Lounge is hosting the “Prom You Wish You Had” on Saturday, July 27, and it will be complete with a Prom King and Queen. Well, actually, a King/Queen, Queen/Queen and King/King. It is, after all, the prom you wish you had.

Hostesses Madisyn T. Michaels and Alexis Mateo will ensure a fast, fun-filled evening and contests for best Prom attire will be rewarded with gift baskets and drink specials.

This prom is open to everyone-that is everyone over 21 years old-and those participating are encouraged to bring photos from their original prom to help remember the old days while celebrating the new. For details, find the event page for “The Prom You Wish You Had” on Facebook.

Manatee Players get Governor’s nod of approval
Love him or hate him, Governor Rick Scott loves to recognize those making a difference in Florida. And the latest recipient of his praise is the Manatee Players. The theater group was honored as the 2013 People’s Choice Award winner and Scott acknowledged the company as an “At Your Leisure” pick.

Scott wrote the Players, saying, “Your efforts, along with the Sunshine State’s economic turnaround, are making Florida the best place in the nation to live, work and raise a family. Your efforts in your community are making a difference. You have my best wishes for the greatest success.”

Hedda Lettuce brings the green for TIGLFF
The hilarious Hedda Lettuce returned to St. Petersburg’s Palladium Theater last month to present her sing-along and live commentary with the film Valley of the Dolls. The packed theater laughed hysterically throughout the night and helped raise a ton of money for the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

According to Todd Richardson, who introduced Hedda Lettuce that night, the night garnered $4,500 for TIGLFF. We can hope that with such a successful event, TIGLFF will bring Hedda Lettuce back. We’d love to hear her commentary on Blackula or The Exorcist.

Dance fever at Push
The annual Red Ribbon Dance will return this August to help raise money for the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas. This year’s celebration will be at Push Lounge in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday, Aug. 17. Each year the dance party gets more fabulous and organizers sometimes incorporate a theme. This year’s dance will be catered by Cafe Alma and VIP tickets, which include an open bar, are $100. General Admission tickets are $50 and include two drink tickets.
For details, visit ASAPServices.org or find “Red Ribbon Dance” on Facebook.

Nighty-night, Orlando Nights

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Orlando Nights shutters its doors
One day it was open and the next day it closed-leaving booked acts with nowhere to go. Orlando Nights Bar and Lounge at 1300 Mills Ave. has shuttered its doors, apparently for good. Angry booking agents posted on its Facebook page in search of new venues, and they didn’t hold back their tempers. Lynn McClintock Gabel, whose family has owned the building for 35 years, said Orlando Nights was simply a tenant. Owners of the club “bought” the business last November from the previous owners “Paradise” for $50,000, she said. No word yet on what might replace the club.

Orlando bids adieu to Kristopher Reynolds
Local model, celebrity and impressive photographer Kristopher Reynolds is packing up and moving back home to San Diego, and his well-attended farewell party was held on Wednesday, July 17, at Pulse Orlando. Reynolds announced his plans to move after sharing news about his separation from his long-time partner. He said he wishes his ex nothing but the best but feels he must move West and re-establish his photography business there. He also has aspirations of working regularly in Las Vegas. In his regular, good-natured way, Reynolds invited friends and foes alike to say goodbye to him. “If you like me, come have a drink and say goodbye,” he posted on Facebook. “If you don’t, come have a drink and tell me how you really feel. Either way I’m leaving. San Diego or bust!”

Bayli on the small screen
Openly bisexual teenager and LGBT activist Bayli Silberstein has made her small screen debut. Bayli made headlines during her fight for a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School in Leesburg. (A battle that is still ongoing, see full story page 8). She was featured as one of the “Everyday Heroes” as shown in the new “Nick News” special that aired July 15 on Nickelodeon. The show was hosted by award-winning journalist and author Linda Ellerbee. Congrats to Bayli, a truly inspirational 15 year old.

Are you the perfect plaintiff?

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Dreamgirls to close after successful run
All good things, as the saying goes, must come to an end. So must the incredibly successful run of Mad Cow Theatre’s Dreamgirls, which opened last month and closes July 7. The local production, featuring local actors, has won critical acclaim and the audience seems to agree. Representatives of the theater say that sell-out shows have become common-place and that some fans even come back for a second showing. Watermark is the sponsor of the show and we introduced our readers to the cast and director in issue 20.13 last month. We feel like proud parents! Congratulations to the theater and its cast.

Plaintiff and simple
Equality Florida (EQFL) is looking for a few good plaintiffs. Looks like the organization is taking the first steps toward organizing a marriage equality lawsuit against the state of Florida. “When we launched Get Engaged, our campaign to change hearts and minds toward supporting the freedom to marry, we asked you to tell your story,” the request reads. “As we explore the very real potential of going to court to protect our families, we want to know if you are willing to tell your story not only to the public but also to the court.” The form for potential plaintiffs is pretty simple ““ name, partner’s name, contact info, location, whether you’re willing to talk about your story in court and a description of your family situation. Interested? You can find it at ImEngaged.org.

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Bye L-Train, Hello Hemingway

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L Train closes
A chapter of St. Petersburg LGBT history closed on Sunday, June 30, when the L-Train Bar located downtown held a final, farewell celebration. Owner Laura Cipriani decided to close the doors to the bar after struggling for several years in its location at 900 Central Avenue. Cipriani said her heart was heavy with the decision, but that she was ready to move on to the next chapter of her life. Cipriani first opened the bar as a movie theater, called Pink Pelicans, back in 2009. When her partners bowed out of the business, she renamed the facility and opened the doors to fundraisers, drag shows, movies, live theater and singing competitions. The L-Train also offered specialty beers from throughout the world. We wish Cipriani the best of luck in her next endeavor. The L-Train will be missed.

Hemingway’s Grill opens at Flamingo
On June 20, the Flamingo Resort officially introduced the community to its newest addition, Hemmingway’s Key West Grill restaurant, with a special VIP introductory gala. The new restaurant resides in the space that was once called the “Blu Room” and the varied menu offers a sample of Key West cuisine. Staffers shelled out offerings of Paella Valencia, Snapper Catalana, Steak Salteado and Pork Milanesa while the bar offered complimentary Spanish wines and sangria to those invited. Many attending the grand opening were heard complimenting the food and offering congratulations to Resort Director David Baker on the new digs. Baker took a few minutes to welcome the crowd before introducing entertainer Iman, who sang live as people sampled the array of menu items. Hemingway’s is open throughout the week but is closed during Country Line Dancing night on Fridays.

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