Orlando Derby Girls’ LGBT-inclusiveness puts them on track to compete internationally

By : Ciara Varone
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Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls are skating their way to high-stakes competition. On Jan. 22, the league was accepted alongside nine other teams – ranging in location from across the country in Hood River, Oregon to across the world in New Zealand –into an apprentice program for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the international governing body of a sport considered by many to be the fastest-growing in the world.

Completion of the apprentice program typically takes from six months to a year. If the league is then accepted into WFTDA, it will play against the best teams in the country and even the world.

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GAY DAY: YOUR DAY – LOCAL VIEWPOINTS

By : Kirk Hartlage
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More than any other large-scale Pride-type event, Gay Days Weekend attracts every shade of the LGBT rainbow. It also brings an equally vast range of scenic views, not just from taking part in the numerous events associated with the weekend, but also from behind-the-scenes if you’re making it all happen. We asked a variety of folks, with a variety of backgrounds with the Weekend, to share their favorite mental snapshots. We also asked: What does Gay Days Weekend mean to you, why has it lasted so long, and what impact do you think it’s had in all that time?

While you’re here we’d like to hear from you – tell us how Gay Day is Your Day!

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Central Florida/Orlando 2015 WAVE Award Winners!

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST
1. Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan
2. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
3. Former State Representative Linda Stewart

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBT COMMUNITY
1. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
2. Jack and Margo Dixon
3. Former State Representative Linda Stewart

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The ABCs of 2014

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Another year has wrapped, and that means it’s time to look back at what made 2014 memorable in the world of pop culture. So what were the ABCs of 2014?

Ass: Kim Kardashian got cheeky for Paper magazine, Charlie Hunnam’s backside went front and center on Sons of Anarchy, and Ben Affleck even flashed moviegoers in Gone Girl. But getting the most tail this year was everyone’s ears, thanks to Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”), Jennifer Lopez (“Booty”), and Nikki Minaj (“Anaconda”), who assaulted playlists with their ass-tastic songs.

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Screened Out – If I Stay

By : Stephen Miller
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Cloë Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Mirella Enos, Joshua Leonard, Stacey Keach

If I Stay is existential treacle aimed at 14-year-olds. In that sense, it’s a solid, average film. When compared to other films that dare to try something new, If I Stay is rudimentary and manipulative.

It’s perfectly fine to get emotionally wrapped up in such stuff, to smile at the many cute lines (mostly from Gayle Foreman’s best-selling book) and to sniffle at the melodrama. That’s the greatness of film, how it can make us feel.

However, I keep thinking that there are so many more chances this movie could’ve taken, so many exciting options left for dead.

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Gay Boy Scout fights for Eagle Scout status

By : Wire Report
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With the wave of a sign at a busy Bethesda intersection Thursday, Pascal Tessier joined about a dozen classmates in a demonstration against an organization he says he loves but knows doesn’t fully accept him and could, at any moment, throw him out.

Tessier, a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, is a poet, an electric guitar player and an ice cream lover. He is also a Boy Scout and openly gay, which puts him at risk of being denied the Eagle Scout ranking he has long pursued.

“The best word would be devastated,” Tessier said of how he’d feel if that were to happen. “I’d also feel betrayed, because it’s an organization I trusted, and I put my heart into doing good for them.”

In advance of the Boy Scouts of America annual meeting next month, where delegates from across the country will vote on whether to lift the long-standing ban on gay Scouts and leaders, those in favor and against the change have spoken out passionately.

A coalition of 42 conservative groups, including the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Family Research Council, bought an ad in USA Today urging the Boy Scouts to keep its membership standards. “How will parents be able to entrust their children to the Boy Scouts if they trade the well-being of the boys for corporate dollars?” the groups asked.

Petitions posted on Change.org by Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, urge executives at AT&T, Intel, Verizon and UPS to withhold donations if the scouts don’t lift the ban. They’ve been signed by thousands of people.

But among the voices, few have as much to lose than a 16-year-old with braces who sat cross-legged on the couch in his Kensington home one recent afternoon.

Last year, a gay Scout in California, Ryan Andresen, was denied Eagle Scout status, the group’s highest ranking, even after completing all the requirements. And in Ohio, den mother Jennifer Tyrrell was forced to step down by her troop because of her sexuality.

Thursday’s demonstration, which was organized by students who belong to B-CC’s Gay Straight Alliance, took place at Wisconsin Avenue and East-West Highway, within walkable distance of the high school. It was also, not by accident, a mile and a half from the headquarters of the National Capital Area Council, which oversees 687 troops between Frederick and Fredericksburg and which will send delegates to vote in Texas in May.

Aaron Chusid, a spokesman for council, said Tessier has reason to worry about his status. “Under the current policy, if he is out about being gay, he is not eligible for being a member, which would make it impossible for him to complete his Eagle,” Chusid said.

At the same time, Chusid praised the teen for displaying the lessons that are taught in Scouting. “It’s easy to talk about being brave when it doesn’t cost you anything,” he said.

Tessier uses two words to capture his experience with the Scouts: “Life shaping.”

“I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Boy Scouts, which sounds cheesy, but it’s true,” he said. “It’s a big part of my life, and I love it. I love the camping. I love the people. I especially love the lessons I’ve learned, life lessons and survival ones.”

Even before he was old enough to join the Scouts, Pascal was taking part in the organization’s activities. Pictures in the family’s red-leather-bound photo albums show a boy with platinum hair standing in front of a fire during a camping trip for his older brother’s Cub Scout pack.

“Look how tiny he is,” said Pascal’s mother, Tracie Felker, flipping through the album. “He’s 4 here.”

A few pages later, a 6-year-old Pascal, T-shirt tucked into his jeans, is shaking hands with a boy who beat him at the Scouts’ annual Pinewood Derby competition.

A couple pages more, a 7-year-old Pascal, donning a full blue Cub Scout uniform and a yellow handkerchief around his neck, smiles wildly.

“For those who are against including gay youth in the Boy Scouts of America, they don’t see a continuum in someone’s life,” Felker said. They don’t see that little boys who think kissing anyone is gross discover only later who they want to be on the receiving end of that gesture. “What is it about that person’s character that suddenly makes them incompatible with the core values of the Boy Scouts? They didn’t change from being cute little Cub Scouts into being morally questionable adults. They’re still good guys. They still really care about the social good.”

When Felker and her husband, Oliver Tessier, who was also a Scout, enrolled their sons in the organization, they had no idea that both  – yes, both – would later tell them that they were gay.

Lucien Tessier came out first. He was in 10th grade, and his mother overheard him talking on the phone to a boy in way he wouldn’t to a friend. Pascal came out two years later, in eighth grade, after his father noticed his Facebook status update change from “single” to “in a relationship.”

Each time, Felker said, she was shocked, mostly because she realized she didn’t know her sons as well as she thought. But she didn’t reject them.

“It was complete acceptance,” recalls Lucien, 20. “I told my parents one night and the next day everything was the exact same as it was the day before. That is the ideal reaction.”

Lucien, who is now a student at Northern Virginia Community College and works part time at a law firm, has achieved Eagle Scout status, which can’t be taken away. But he said he worries about his brother, who has completed almost all of the requirements needed to become an Eagle Scout.

Pascal said his decision to take part in the demonstration comes from realizing that many gay Scouts across the country are not as fortunate as he is. He lives in an accepting community and belongs to a Chevy Chase-based troop where many people know about his sexuality but don’t make an issue of it.

“I’ve never had any negative experiences with being gay,” he said. “I’ve never been bullied or had anyone tell me it’s wrong.”

That is, except for the Boy Scouts, whose policy was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000. Many troops are sponsored by Mormon, Baptist and Catholic churches, which traditionally consider homosexuality a sin.

“Even if I do get banned from the Boy Scouts, I still think it’s worth it,” Tessier said. “I’d rather put myself out there than not.”

Several nights before the demonstration, he and his mother sat in the kitchen after dinner, brainstorming slogans for the signs the students would wave at passing cars. They wrote down one idea after another. On Thursday, in front of the Bethesda Metro station, teenagers in flip-flops and tennis shoes waved white poster boards that read, “Badges 4 Tolerance .?.?. Scouts Are Kind .?.?. Love Conquers Hate .?.?. A Scout Is Equal.”

They would stay there for more than an hour, handing out fliers and cheering when cars honked, before heading their separate ways, aware that only one among them had to worry about what might happen next.

Savoy under new ownership

By : Jamie Hyman
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Savoy’s new owners bring decades of bartending experience, a vision for upgrading the nightclub and a desire to increase Savoy’s community outreach.

Chris Hannay, Brandon Llewellyn and Patrick Razo purchased Savoy on April 1, a transaction that’s been in the works for a year. Hannay and Llewellyn continue to work behind the nightclub’s bar, while Razo enters the equation as a big fan of Savoy.

“I just spent my time there,” Razo said. “I purchased the bar previous to purchasing the bar.”

SavoyUnderNew1He’ll handle the business side of Savoy while Hannay and Llewellyn hope to enrich the venture with their bartending experience – 11 years apiece. Razo has owned two other companies, “a subcontracting company for a new home builder and a real estate company back in Illinois.”

The trio purchased Savoy from original owners George Butler and Randall Lambright who established it in 2004.

“We’re already changing drink specials, our nights throughout the week,” Razo said. “We are going to be making some cosmetic changes, freshening it up, making it more exciting.”

That makeover includes a renovation of the attached Tattoo Lounge, which will reopen as a sports bar called “Locker Room at Savoy.”

SavoyUnderNew2Some things will stay the same, though. They’re keeping the name “Savoy,” because “It’s a very well-known brand,” according to Razo. They’re also hanging onto their bartender staff.

“It’s an Orlando staple we want to make better,” Hannay said. “It was stagnant for a while; it needed a little fresh look. The additions we’re planning to make are going to make it significantly better, I believe.”

He said the feedback from the community has been good.

“These are nice guys and that’s a positive for our neighborhood,” said Scottie Campbell, executive director of Ivanhoe Village, the neighborhood where the bar is located. “They’ve already reached out to see how they can be more involved with the community.”

Razo said they’re going to “thank the community by giving back to the community” and an AIDS Walk team and presence in the Come Out With Pride parade in October are in the works.

*Skaters spread around the track and coaches demo each skill, allowing skaters 2 mins to practice each:
Stationary and in derby form, lean forward until you feel like you will fall, then pull yourself back to derby form. Vary your stance (feet together, feet shoulder width, feet wide as possible) to find the position that allows you to lean forward the furthest without falling.
Do the same, but lean to each side.
Do the same, but lean backward.
Close your eyes and lean forward, sideways, and backward. Remember to vary your stance to find the position that allows you to lean furthest without falling.
Stand on one foot and lean forward, sideways, and backward.So, that takes us to teaching the transition activity. Remember, we have to divide them into groups of 4 and talk them through it and there will be questions – I’d give that till at least 8:50.

8:50-9 Crossover/hopping. It’s brilliant that these are quick – why the hell do we always do stuff like this for like, 10 minutes? Boring. About 2 min/each, done. I’m confused, though, by what you mean by “Phoenix drill.” Are you talking about that strength/balance thing she took us through?

Trans/H2O

9:03-9:20 Hip blocking/arm swinging

Trans/H2O

9:23-9:45 Jammer on the Outside

Trans/H2O

9:48-10 Recycle

Trans/H2O

10:03-10:10 Greenbay toe stop drill

Trans/NO WATER

10:12-10:18 Fast skate to music, PERFECT DERBY STANCE

10:18 – 10:25 Group Stretch

Adventure runs are Florida’s hottest fitness trend for 2013

By : Jamie Hyman
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We are running through colored powder. We pay good money to be chased by zombies. We alternate chugging beers with our running.

It seems like no one can just run five kilometers in a straight line any more – themed, adventure runs are the hottest thing to hit west and central Florida and they are big business. According to Outside Magazine, America’s top three obstacle racing brands are Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and the Spartan Race, which had 41,000 participants in 2010, jumping to 1.5 million runners in 2012. All together, those three races brought in $150 million last year alone.

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Mo’ Movember Fundraising!

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â┚¬Å”I’ve been a rock star since you were very young. But I’ve never encountered anything as powerful as cancer.â┚¬Â â┚¬â€œ Melissa Etheridge

Thanks to Mother Falcon Clothing, this year's Movember got off to an amazing start. On November 3, they host the Movember Charity Kick-Off to raise money for the Scottie Saves the World Team. Attendees got a first look at original mo-centric art that can be purchased and/or have the art put on a t-shirt with a portion of the proceeds going to the cause. That alone is a generous contribution, but Mother Falcon's Melissa and John Felcman ramped things up a bit on top of that.

For one thing, they enlisted the help of fellow Thornton Park business, Lambs Eat Ivy Salon, to paint mustaches on people. Each person donated $5 to the cause! Positioned on the sidewalk between Mother Falcon and their sister (brother?) company The Falcon, Lambs not only raised money, they got passersby curious about the goings on.

Speaking of The Falcon, it was open and hopping. Like Mother Falcon, the bar displays artwork that can be put on t-shirts. The collection of art is so stellar I wouldn’t be surprised if people come to think of it as a gallery first and foremost. In addition to chatting with locals over brews, you can get your culture on at The Falcon. The Felcman's brilliantly asked Fish Out of Water Sushi food truck to park right outside the bar and do their thing.

As you can imagine, having the corner abuzz with this activity added up to a fun night. I don't know how much we've raised yet, but I do know it's going well. (We'll have a total once closer to the end of the month when Mother Falcon's show closes.) I do know that my little Brendan sold all of his pieces that night and many people have told me they're purchasing shirts.

I thought it was fun that one of our neighbors got one of Brendan's pieces put on a onesie for their future baby. Personally I have my eye on a t-shirt with Bob Kodzis' tetraptych â┚¬Å”Goodstache, Badstache, Madstache, Rockstacheâ┚¬Â featuring the disparate faces of Gandhi, Hitler, Dali, and Zappa respectively. To get in on all the wearable art fun, visit Mother Falcon at 817 E. Washington St in Thornton Park, call them at 407.423.3060, or order online here.

When we thought of having an event to beef up our Movember fundraising, we didn't realize it would grow into three! Thanks to my editor, Jamie Hyman, today the Psycho City Derby Girls are contributing to the Scottie Saves the World Team in a big way. Go to their game wearing a moustache â┚¬â€œ real or faux â┚¬â€œ and $3 from your admission will go to our team!

What: Arkham Assailants vs. Serial Thrillers
When: November 20
Doors: 4:30pm
Where: Semoran Skateway, 2670 Cassel Creek Blvd., Casselberry, FL 32707
Admission: $13

Then, the day before Thanksgiving, Dechoes Resale will have a special Movember Edition of their popular Wine Not Wednesday. Check out the Facebook event page for details.

To make a donation directly to the Scottie Saves the World team, go to my MoSpace