Longtime Off-Broadway hit launches full-frontal assault at the Parliament House

By : Billy Manes
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And, they’re off! Within approximately five minutes of musical pleasantries and coy sideways glances, the entire cast of longtime Off-Broadway bachelor/bachelorette-party revue Naked Boys Singing sheds its clothing and reveals its combined parcels of manhood. At the show’s Feb. 4 VIP/press engagement in advance of its Feb. 5 opening, the sound may have been a little bit quiet in the Footlight Theatre at Parliament House, but the message was writ large: Nudity isn’t just titillation; it’s bold and honest, especially on a stage in front of a packed house.

“I think it celebrates the male anatomy, but we do it in a humorous way,” William Bruce, he of the Prince Albert affectation and the cojones to match, tells us over an arranged lunch in advance of the performance. “It’s also really poignant.”

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Is St. Pete Pride on the move?

By : anonymous
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Tampa to host the NAGAAA Softball World Series
The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance has named Tampa as the spot for the Softball World Series, well in 2018, so you have a few years to get ready for it. The NAGAAA is an international sports organization (that’s right, they play with Canadians!) that got its start back in 1977 as a way to provide opportunity and access for the LGBT community to participate in organized softball competition in a safe environment. The league is currently working with over 13,000 players from 43 cities, including Tampa. So let’s get out there and throw them balls and swing them bats and make sure that in 2018 Tampa gtes to say they won the whole damn thing in their own backyard.

Is St. Pete Pride moving?
Facebook was all asunder after several members of the community started to voice concerns about where and when St. Pete Pride would be holding the annual Pride celebration this coming summer. In the past, the parade route has started in the empty lot across from Georgie’s Alibi and would move through Kenwood and down Central Avenue through the Grand Central District where the festival would be, but with the closing of Georgie’s it has been speculated that the parade and festival may make a move to downtown. Officially nothing has been announced, and no final decisions have been made (St. Pete Pride’s website still shows last year’s route), but that didn’t stop the battle from waging as the fact that the lot across from where Georgie’s once was is not (and never was) owned by Georgie’s came to light. Many came to the defense of St. Pete Pride calling the other side “keyboard warriors” and stressing that everyone should wait and see before getting upset. An announcement should hopefully be coming soon from the St. Pete Pride camp and once we know, you will know.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard

By : Anonymous
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Masquerade, paper faces on parade

Balance Tampa Bay is presenting a masquerade ball Saturday, August 8, to benefit ASAP/Empath Health. Just to give you an idea of the scale for this ball, they will being having the event in the spectacular District 3 which is decked out to the nines with elegant chandeliers, classic mirror balls and an unrivaled sound/light package with lasers. Let your creative flag fly when deciding what to wear to the ball but regardless of what you do make sure you have your mask on (if your face is just too pretty to cover up don’t worry, they’ll still let you in without a mask on). Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. To get your tickets early go to www.BTBMasqueradeBall.com. The event is 21 and up.

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Screened Out – Mad Max: Fury Road

By : Stephen Miller
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Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne

Mad Max: Fury Road is chock full of testosterone – the real deal, not the fake stuff that tries too hard to cover how gay it is (see 300). My very gay best friend swore this flick made him straight for a few minutes. I mean genuinely straight, not “Republican minister straight.”

Fury Road is also filled to the brim with grit, gore, and apocalyptic car chases. Even for the dark, hopeless world it shows, it’s actually really fun! Not only a great reboot of the Mad Max franchise, this B-movie bonanza is the first great guilty pleasure of the summer.

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Gay soldiers more at ease after restrictions lifted

By : Wire Report
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – While the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military, it didn’t mark radical changes to the way the fighting force looked or behaved.

Instead, it brought the possibility of marriage and spousal benefits to soldiers that were previously denied. And, an opportunity to live more freely.

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Thinking Out Loud: Letter to me, age 14

By : Abby Dees
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AbbyDeesHeadshotDear Abby,
As another year begins, I realize that I’ve owed you a letter for way too long.

I know that you feel hopelessly awkward and out of sync with people, but you haven’t been around long enough yet to know how well you’re actually doing. You know how people keep saying,”Be yourself”  And how they don’t seem to give a damn when you do just that? Maybe they’re hypocrites, but try not to take it personally (in time you’ll see that we all have hypocritical moments).

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Overheard in Orlando: Disney gets a little gayer

By : Anonymous
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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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Screened Out: Riddick

By : Stephen Miller
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Vin Diesel

Riddick is brave, strong, scary, macho and extraordinarily stupid.

This violent sci-fi thriller is fashioned for the subtlety impaired – mostly males who like cracking sexist jokes and talking about each other’s balls. It’s the perfect example of what I call Testosterone Films – gory, demeaning and brainless – films that use machinery, muscle, and mass gore to pump up audience’s adrenaline.

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Rutgers fires coach after ESPN shows video of violence, anti-gay slurs

By : Staff Report
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It only took one day for administrators at Rutgers University to fire its head men’s basketball coach after ESPN showed footage of Mike Rice yelling gay slurs at players and hurling basketballs at their heads.

The video was originally seen by athletic director Tim Pernetti back in December, who at that time suspended Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to sensitivity training. But after the video was shown on ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Rutgers fired Rice.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Pernetti in a statement released by the school.”Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong.

“Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

This isn’t the first time that fans of the university’s basketball program have heard allegations of the mistreatment of players. Former basketball development director Eric Murdock made accusations in the 2010-2011 season, only to have his contract not renewed for the 2011-12 season.

The video, aired on April 2, showed Rice manhandling players, pushing and shoving and pulling them by their jersey. He fired balls at his players, including one instance where it appears that he threw a ball at one player’s head. He called his players every name imaginable, including one instance where he can be heard yelling “f***ing fairy, f***ing faggot.”

Several politicians have spoken about the videos, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who said he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage. Christie, and a number of state politicians, had called for Rice’s firing.

According to NBC Sports, Rice is the fourth consecutive Rutgers men’s basketball coach to leave under a cloud of controversy. In 2001, Kevin Bannon left after forcing his players to shoot naked free throws as part of a practice contest and in 2006, Gary Waters was let go when he missed a game when he was snowed in at Kent State after a ceremony honoring him. Kent State was his previous school. And in 2010, Fred Hill was bought out of his contract after he made a scene at a Rutgers baseball game.

The string of strange behavior in its coaches have led to a string of players leaving Rutgers’ basketball program. Last year five  players transferred out of the program. At the end of last season Austin Carroll (American) and Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) left, with Malick Kone, Vincent Garrett and Jerome Seagears saying they intend to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, NBC News reports.

Tampa Bay: Radiance, balance and balls

By : Anonymous
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Fundraisers bring $100K to PCF
After holding, organizing and hosting several fundraisers last fall, The Radiant Group – which is the parent company of The Ritz Ybor – proudly presented a check for $105,000 to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation earlier this month. The organization has funded more than $3.8 million to researchers targeted less toxic, more targeted treatment of pediatric cancer worldwide. In late December, The Ritz Ybor hosted its annual Miracle on 7th Avenue spectacular, which featured local music and dancing acts, catered refreshments and Mr. and Mrs. Claus as a way to launch the 2012 holiday season. Watermark was a proud sponsor of the celebration and the event was emceed by none other than Watermark editor Steve Blanchard and life and business coach Carla Vaughan. The two have known each other for years and most recently emceed Talent Quest Florida, which is owned by Blanchard and his partner, at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City earlier this month.

Playground finds ‘Balance’
The guys and gals from Balance Tampa Bay participated in a massive public service project on March 2, helping to build a large playground in Tampa Heights. Most volunteers spent more than eight hours constructing the equipment and making the area safe for local children. Balance Tampa Bay teamed with national, non-profit KaBoom to complete the project. In all, nearly 150 volunteers worked on the project. Balance Tampa Bay has helped several local non-profit organizations and in February, it teamed with Watermark for Watermark Wednesday at Ceviche in South Tampa.

Ball of their own
Lady Gaga fans were crushed when word spread that Mother Monster herself had to cancel her Tampa appearance because of her hip injury. But that didn’t stop her Little Monsters from going on with the celebration. On March 13, a Born This Way Ball of Our Own was held at Factoria on 7th Avenue in Ybor City. Scheduled performers included Blayze Le Shade, Pleasure Pixels Burlesque Troupe, Kora Lane and Jade Embers. The night was emceed by Domonic Botto.

Get soaking wet
Speaking of Watermark Wednesdays, the popular networking and social returns this month to Quency Lounge in Largo on Wednesday, March 20. The social begins at 6 p.m. and like with other events, expect a large number of raffle prizes and door prizes to be awarded throughout the evening. This month’s Watermark Wednesday will take on a theme, thanks to the upcoming touring production of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert, coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Word is that club manager Steven Rodriguez has a few surprises up his sleeves, which we hopes translates to some impressive Pricilla performances from local drag icons. For more on Watermark Wednesdays, find the event on Facebook.

Gay pilot-in-training featured in Presidential Inauguration

By : Wire Report
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President Barack Obama is featuring eight Americans as “citizen co-chairs” of his inauguration, a new role created to highlight his first-term accomplishments with examples of lives that have either been improved by his actions or inspired his presidency.

Inaugural planners say the honorees include a woman with a brain tumor who no longer is denied health care for a pre-existing condition; an autoworker who got her job back after the General Motors bailout; and a gay pilot-in-training kicked out of the Air Force before the president repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Inauguration officials said Wednesday that the president has met most of the eight individuals during his first term and their inclusion in inaugural events is meant to showcase his administration’s core values through real-life examples that people across the country can relate to.

It’s a time-honored presidential practice to illustrate policy ideas with such anecdotes, and Obama frequently does so. He had those who say they were helped by his priorities introduce him at campaign rallies, and he frequently sprinkled their stories throughout his speeches. On Wednesday he announced gun control legislation before families of those killed in the Connecticut elementary school shooting. But inaugural planners say this is the first time people affected by a president’s policies have been given such an official title at an inauguration.

The eight will participate in the National Day of Service on Saturday that kicks off the inaugural events over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. That’s the president’s call for Americans to serve their communities to honor King’s legacy. After Obama’s swearing-in ceremony Monday, the eight co-chairs will ride on an inaugural parade float highlighting the inaugural theme of “Our People: Our Future,” then attend the official balls that night.

“Every day, I’m inspired by the determination, grit and resilience of the American people,” Obama said in a statement provided by his inaugural committee. “The stories of these extraordinary men and women highlight both the progress we’ve made and how much we have left to do. They remind us that when we live up to the example set by the American people, there is no limit to how bright our future can be.”

The list of co-chairs and their descriptions by the Presidential Inaugural Committee are:

  • Ida Edwards of Petersburg, Va., a retired nurse and advocate of Obama’s health care law who lived through the civil rights movement that inspired Obama’s career.
  • Erica Chain of San Francisco, who was diagnosed at 27 with a life-threatening brain tumor and was denied coverage from every health insurance provider she applied to. She was able to get coverage because of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of denials of coverage due to pre-existing conditions and was able to get the surgery she needed to stay alive.
  • Lily Griego of Denver, a single mother whose son has been able to attend college because of Pell Grants for low-income families for which Obama increased funding, other financial aid and her work at two jobs.
  • Kenyetta Jones of Toledo, Ohio, a 27-year veteran of the General Motors Powertrain Plant in Toledo who was laid off for more than a year in 2009 but was called back to work because Obama approved a second auto industry bailout that year.
  • Liz McCartney of New Orleans, who co-founded the nonprofit St. Bernard Project after Hurricane Katrina and has helped rebuild hundreds of homes for hurricane and tornado victims with the support of volunteers and AmeriCorps members. Obama met her when visiting New Orleans for the five-year anniversary of Katrina and promoted the work of the St. Bernard Project in his speech that day.
  • Rob Hach of Alta, Iowa, who started a small renewable energy business called Anemometry Specialists and like Obama supports the extension of a wind energy production tax credit.
  • David Hall of Washington, who was training to be an Air Force pilot but was kicked out for “homosexual conduct” in 2002 and went on to work for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Morris of Joint Base Charleston, S.C., a bomb disposal expert and native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who became a quadruple amputee after stepping on a bomb while serving in Afghanistan. Obama met him on a visit to Walter Reed hospital last year and surprised him with the Purple Heart while on a White House tour over the summer.

4.12.12 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotA new study shows that a majority of homophobic people turn the inner turmoil they feel about their own same-sex attractions outward to attack the LGBT community. The study, which is set to be released in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology this month, is the third such study in recent years to come to the same conclusion.

If you’re wondering about that sound you just heard, it was a loud, collective Duh! from LGBT people everywhere. We figured out a long time ago that the ones who seem to hate us the most are the ones battling their own similar, inner desires.

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