Watermark Film Company’s new documentary ‘Greetings From Queertown’ shines a light on Orlando’s LGBTQ history

By : Christen Kelley
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From KKK members threatening Pride-filled parade marchers to a sea of red shirts ascending on Disney World for Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom to standing “Orlando Strong” around Lake Eola, Central Florida has come a long way for the LGBTQ community. It’s a rich history that Watermark Film Company plans to detail in their upcoming documentary, “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando.”

Spearheaded by Watermark owner, publisher and editor Rick Claggett, director/producer Sandi Hulon, director of photography Tye Belcher and others from Team Watermark, the film company was created to share the story of “Queertown.”

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Watermark owner creates film company, premieres first movie’s trailer

By : Staff Report
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ORLANDO | Watermark Film Company premiered the first trailer to its documentary film “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando” at a private fundraising event at The Venue in Orlando Aug. 23.

Watermark Film Company was launched by Watermark Publishing Group owner Rick Claggett as a way to create, produce and distribute films that inform and educate audiences on the LGBTQ experience, according to a press release.

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08.09.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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“Guys in Orlando suck!” “The gay community in Orlando is so transient.” I heard these phrases way too often in the early 2000s, but I never bought into that way of thinking.

I moved to Central Florida in 1986. This was back in the days when the 408 was just two lanes each way, The Winter Park Village was an enclosed Mall and Ronnie’s was serving the Mogambo Extravaganza (a sixth grade ice cream lover’s dream dessert). I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on track to meet some amazing people with incredible stories to tell, and who would disprove the notion that Orlando was not a strong LGBTQ community.

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‘I’m dedicated to keeping the arts alive’: Harriett Lake dies at 96

By : Layla Ferris
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Harriett Lake, a philanthropic lover of Orlando’s arts scene, died July 10. She was 96.

With the establishment of Harriett’s Charitable Trust, Lake has given millions of dollars to organizations that help keep Orlando’s art world alive.

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Central Florida Overheard: Who run the world?

By : anonymous
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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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Watermark on the Fringe: “Blue Star presents: VarieTEASE… Spellbound”

By : Kathy Ruiz
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Spellbound was a captivating performance inspired by Orlando’s famous Blue Star’s battle with Post Traumatic Stress disorder and her journey with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy.

No detail was too small for this cast, and costumes were no exception. Glittery, feathered, clowns donned the stage for “Spellbound’s” second performance in Fringefest 2018.

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Come Out With Pride announces new board president

By : Jeremy Williams
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New Come Out With Pride board president Jeff Prystajko.

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced the appointment of Jeff Prystajko as the board’s new president March 19 after Brian Riha completed his two-year term in the same position.

Prystajko has been with COWP for several years, most recently serving as director of marketing and communications. He has also held leadership positions with both the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA Orlando) and the Human Rights Campaign in Orlando.

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Babes in Bonnets sets record in fundraising for OYA

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Babes in Bonnets, The Parliament House’s annual Easter fixture, set a fundraising record bringing in $32,171 for the Orlando Youth Alliance March 26.

The previous record was set last year when Babes in Bonnets brought in $28,000 for OYA.

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Blue Star puts gender fluidity in the spotlight with The Lady Boys of the Peek-A-Boo Lounge

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando performer Blue Star is one person who embodies empowerment and being comfortable in your own skin. Blue came to Orlando in 2000 to attend Full Sail University after a successful dancing career in Atlanta and New York. She planned to stay for just 13 months; she never left. In 2012, Blue opened the theater The Venue.

“I just wanted a place to put on my shows,” Blue says. “But as I say now it’s not my Venue anymore, it’s Orlando’s Venue. It’s a safe place for performers to try out new things and new shows and take risks and really grow themselves.”

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Central Florida’s Easter tradition Babes in Bonnets celebrates 20 years

By : Randa Griffin
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Babes in Bonnets, an annual fundraiser event benefiting the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA), is back for its 20th anniversary at the Parliament House Footlight Theatre March 26.

The event, hosted this year again by Ms. Darcel Stevens and Blue Star, was originally created 20 years ago by the legendary drag performer Carmella Marcella Garcia.

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The Center announces 2018 Orlando Diversity Award recipients

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. announced March 9 the recipients of the 2018 Orlando Diversity Awards which will be presented at the sixth annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

State House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith was named as the Champion of Equality recipient, the Orlando Police Department’s Chief John Mina was named as the LGBT Ally of the Year and Orlando performer and activist Blue Star was named as this year’s LGBT Trailblazer.

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – CENTRAL FLORIDA

By : Watermark Staff
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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

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