‘The Buffalo Kings’ uses an LGBT-hate crime to tell the story of comedic family interactions

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – Anti-LGBT hate crimes is the last place one would expect to find comedy—but when such an event brings together a family unit, there are bound to be comic elements.

That’s according to Natalie Symons, the author of The Buffalo Kings, staged at freeFall Theatre through Feb. 8.

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Meet the couple who led to the federal ruling that Florida’s marriage ban is unconstitutional

By : Wire Report
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Chipley, Fla. (AP) – Steve Schlariet and Ozzie Russ say they never sought the spotlight of social activism, the spotlight found them. The rural Florida Panhandle couple could become the first gay men granted a license to marry in the state when a judge’s order takes effect Tuesday.

Together nearly 20 years and united during a commitment ceremony in Fort Lauderdale in 2001, the men live a quiet life raising horses and dogs on their central Panhandle ranch. When friends approached them about joining a lawsuit challenging the state’s gay marriage ban, Schlariet, 66, and Russ, 48, were a bit reluctant – Russ jokes about how Schlariet briefly balked at walking into the county clerk’s office and requesting a marriage license back in March.

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12.1.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185On Christmas morning I found myself wrapped in my brand new robe and glued to a documentary on the gay rights movement.

Seriously—my life is just that gay.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: The importance of the Chicken & Biscuit

By : Michael Wanzie
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Michael Wanzie

Michael Wanzie

I was discussing New Years plans with George Wallace, The Executive Director of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, who shared that his mother, “a hot mess in the kitchen” cooked only one dish that anyone thought to be of any quality. That dish was a secret recipe meat pie which he intended to make for his own New Year’s celebration this year.

This topic brought to mind a story from my youth revolving around a chicken potpie of sorts and the part it would play in a New Year’s gathering hosted by none other than Katherine Hepburn. After regaling George with this tale, he insisted people would be willing to buy a book of my short stories. Of that, I am surely not convinced. But since I was just about to sit down to write this column with nothing in mind as a topic, I decided to relate the incident herein to the readers of Watermark to test viability of short story-telling skills.

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Santa Speedo Run 2014

By : Bruce Hardin
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Men and women in skimpy attire returned to Ybor City’s Centennial Park for The Santa Speedo Run and Mrs. Claus in Bras on Dec. 14.

This is the fifth year for the event and the contingent of runners was slightly larger than last year.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: St. Pete Pride logo gets a makeover

By : Anonymous
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Tampa PFLAG recognized again
It’s been a big year for Nancy and John Desmond. The couple who rebooted the Tampa chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), received a Hero award from the Human Rights Council of Hillsborough County on Dec. 12. If the two look familiar (pictured above) they should—they were also grand marshals in the 2014 St. Pete Pride Parade in June. The couple have a gay son who lives out of state, and have helped expand PFLAG’s influence around Tampa Bay and in multiple counties. The 41st Annual Awards Breakfast was held at the Westshore DoubleTree hotel in downtown Tampa.

Dogs and Drag? This bar says yes to both
There’s a new LGBT establishment in town—right on Memorial Highway in Tampa. Dachshunds Bar and Grill is open for business and has given long-time performer Stephanie Shippae her newest starring gig. Shippae (Hey Everybody!) is the emcee and headliner of the Friday night drag shows at the club, located at 5915 Memorial Highway. The shows start at 8:30 and features a recurring cast of special guests. The club, which opened in August, is LGBT friendly, obviously, and also welcomes our four-legged kids since it neighbors a dog park. Visit Dachshunds.bravesites.com or find them on Facebook for more details.

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Eric Davis continues to lead freeFall Theatre Company on a rapid ascent

By : Joseph Kissel
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St. Petersburg – Define the word freefall.

It’s certainly not winning multiple awards and strong audiences for 2014’s diverse line-up of shows, including Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and upcoming The Buffalo Kings.

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NC church members face charges in beating of gay man

By : Wire Report
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Spindale, N.C. (AP) – For Matthew Fenner, a crowd of parishioners gathering around him in a church sanctuary after a prayer service was a sign of trouble.

Within minutes, he said they began to berate him because he was gay. One woman told him he was “disgusting.” Then for two hours, they pushed and hit Fenner, screaming at him as they tried to “break me free of the homosexual `demons,”’ he said in a police affidavit about the Jan. 27, 2013 attack.

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Light up the Courtyard 2014

By : Patrick O'Connor
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Parliament House’s annual festival of holiday lights Dec. 6 featured performances by the Sounds of Freedom marching band, the Orlando Gay Chorus and The Orlando Sisters – Abbey of St. Gertrude de Nivelles. Santa and Mrs. Claus took some time out of their busy holiday schedules to make an appearance!

Photos by Pat O’Rourke of Bears in the City.

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Santa Claus is gay. Deal with it.

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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A new documentary called “I Am Santa Claus” gives a peak into the lives of five Santa impersonators when it’s not the “most wonderful time of the year”—and one of the Santas is gay.

Jim Stevenson, in his 70s, is a Santa impersonator from Texas. Beard, who says he loves being Santa because he doesn’t have kids and it allows him the chance to give back. The documentary features shots of Stevenson spending time with his boyfriend and the couple sharing a kiss. 

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tis’ the season

By : Anonymous
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Christmas Pride
It’s December, which means the holidays are approaching us like a freight train. Fortunately, with the stress comes parties, and St. Petersburg’s biggest is happening Dec. 6. Red & Green, St. Pete Pride’s annual holiday fundraiser, returns to Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. The night of festivities will include appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus and performances by local drag performers and choirs. Entry is $35 and includes an open bar and some light bites. Every dollar earned goes toward funding St. Pete Pride and it’s community outreach programs. Get more information at StPetePride.com.

Softball eyeing “E” division
There’s a chance that the Suncoast Softball League could create a whole new non-competitive division in 2015. Due to ratings guidelines, some players get forced into different divisions each season, meaning teams get split. To avoid that trauma, the league is entertaining a new recreational league that is unaffiliated, in effect, with the national NAGAAA rules that places ratings in place and guide teams to the World Series each year. The league has asked members to take a survey to determine interest in such a division in the spring. A decision should be announced by the end of 2014. Visit SuncoastSoftball.org to keep up to date.

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Win tickets to see “Home for the Holidays”

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Win a pair of tickets to see “Home for the Holidays” — a celebration of Christmas through music from the ’30s  and ’40s.

The production is performed put on by members of the Central Florida Community Arts Community Choir and Symphony Orchestra. Follow a hero and his family as he makes his way home for the holidays, as the music that brought them together helps tell the story.

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