Southern Nights, Parliament House to honor Carmella Marcella Garcia with ‘A Celebration of Life’

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: George Timothy Reed (L) and his drag persona, Carmella Marcella Garcia. (Photos from Reed’s Facebook)

ORLANDO | George Timothy Reed, better known in the community as Carmella Marcella Garcia, passed away on Oct. 15 after a long-fought battle with cancer. He was 57. Reed was known in the drag community as the “Grand Ole Gal of the South,” or just Mella to friends.

Reed was a regular performer throughout Central Florida for many years frequenting the stages at Parliament House, Southern Nights and Pulse. Perhaps Reed’s most endearing legacy in Central Florida was the creation of Orlando’s Easter fixture Babes in Bonnets more than 20 years ago. Thanks to Reed’s vision, Babes in Bonnets has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the LGBTQ youth of Central Florida since its beginnings.

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‘Sweet Dreams’ raises $71K for Bliss CARES

By : Jeremy Williams
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Bliss CARES had a successful night at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Orlando on July 13 with its inaugural “Sweet Dreams: Dancing for TRANSitional Housing” fundraiser.

The event — which partnered 11 amateur dancers, all LGBTQ community leaders in Central Florida, with professional dancers for a night of fast-paced, fancy footwork — raised $71,344, which will go towards creating semi-permanent housing for the transgender and gender nonconforming communities where they can have access to health services, life skills and career counseling to prepare them to live on their own in their own safe space.

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PHOTOS: Parliament House gets Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend started with PI@PH

By : Danny Garcia
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The tradition continues! PI @ PH returned to the Parliament House in Orlando, kicking off their big gay weekend loaded with entertainers, libations and so much more.

Early in the evening, Parliament House hosted a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” finale viewing party as an amuse-bouche to the night.

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Parliament House’s Darcel Stevens wins Miss Continental Plus 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Parliament House Entertainment Director Darcel Stevens has been crowned Miss Continental Plus 2019.

Miss Continental Plus is a part of Continental Pageantry Systems, described as the ultimate female impersonation pageantry system throughout the world. The system began in 1980 and expanded to include Miss Continental Plus in 1990. The 2019 pageant featured 23 contestants, including Stevens, who was crowned in Chicago on April 23.

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PHOTOS: Orlando recognizes Jazell Barbie Royale with city proclamation

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Mayor Buddy Dyer recognized the current Miss International Queen Jazell Barbie Royale with a proclamation to the city declaring it “Jazell Barbie Royale Day” in the city of Orlando on April 11.

Dyer and Royale were joined on the steps of City Hall by City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Parliament House Entertainment Director Darcel Stevens, Orlando Police Captain Jim Young, Bliss CARES Medical Director Dr. Roberto Ortiz and many of Royale’s family, friends, fans and supporters.

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Miss International Queen Jazell Barbie Royale to be recognized by City of Orlando

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | The City of Orlando will recognize Parliament House entertainer Jazell Barbie Royale, who made history as the first black transgender woman to be crowned Miss International Queen in Thailand, with a ceremony at City Hall on April 11.

“We always see trans rights in such a hostile way,” says Darcel Stevens, Parliament House’s entertainment director. “There’s so much brutality in the community, so it is wonderful to see trans issues in such a positive light.”

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Parliament House’s Jazell Barbie Royale crowned Miss International Queen

By : Jeremy Williams
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Jazell Barbie Royale—a performer at Parliament House in Orlando—was crowned Miss International Queen on March 8. Kanwara Kaewjin from Thailand and Yaya from China were named first and second runner-up, respectively.

The Miss International Queen Pageant is a worldwide beauty pageant for transgender women held every year in Pattaya City, Thailand.

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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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06.14.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As you are reading this it has been a few days since the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, but because of how deadlines and press days fall, I am writing this the day before the June 12 date.

June 12 carries a weird energy with me now. For those who don’t know, I share my birthday with the same day that a disturbed individual decided to take 49 lives at Pulse. Last year at the one-year mark, while attending memorials and vigils, I was receiving notifications of Happy Birthday and messages wishing me a fun and happy day all while grieving with my community and consoling friends.

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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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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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