Overheard in Tampa Bay: Introducing Miss Tampa pride emeritus 2015!

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Russell is Tampa Pride’s emeritus
Tampa Pride is only a month away. And who better to serve as queen for the inaugural pride festival on March 28 than Esme Russell. Russell, a performer, radio personality, Hamburger Mary’s hostess and all-around activist for equality, was selected as Miss Tampa pride emeritus 2015. A formal crowning and ceremony will be coming soon, but expect to see Tampa native of Cuban descent all over the pride festivities in an official capacity

G.Bar isn’t going anywhere
We can admit when we jump the gun on things in this column. When we recently reported that all signs pointed to the forthcoming sale of G.Bar to a bar owner in Orlando, we truly believed our sources. But, the always gracious G.Bar owner Steve Moss set the record straight for us, sharing that the bar hasn’t been sold and that it isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. We were right, though, when we reported that owners of Southern Nights in Orlando expressed interest in the popular Ybor club. Moss said there were inquiries made and a few discussions, but nothing ever came of it. There was a liquor inventory reduction sale, which led us to believe a sale was in the future. But apparently, the sale was exactly what it said it was—a way to reduce inventory and make room for more booze.  We’re relieved the Ybor staple is sticking around!

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Overheard in Orlando: Sam Harris comes to Central Florida!

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From Barry to Boone
Local lawyer Barry Miller’s foundation is known for assisting the arts, like the Orlando Fringe Festival. Now, Boone High School’s Thespian troupe is counting on donations raised from To Boone, with Love: A Benefit Cabaret and Silent Auction and the Miller Foundation. The funds raised on Feb. 20  will assist the talented Boon Braves as they head to the Thespian Society’s state competition. The Barry L. Miller Foundation of the Arts and Education offered to match up to $2,500 of the money raised. The foundation was founded in 2013 with the goal to provide financial support for scholarships and quality programming to individuals, artists, students, educational institutions, community groups, theatre companies and other artistic endeavors. Break a leg Braves!

G is not Good to Go
Recently Watermark reported Rick Kowalczyck, owner of Southern Nights, was in the market to purchase G.Bar in Tampa. The tips were received by reliable sources in both Orlando and in Tampa’s Ybor City. However, by the time we last went to print, Kowalczyck wasn’t available to verify whether or not he was looking to buy. Since the last issue, Greg Skeen, manager at Southern Nights, stated that the story was false and that Rick was not looking to make a purchase at the Ybor city hot spot. G. Bar owner Stephen Moss, however, said inquiries were made, but negotiations didn’t go beyond that. 

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Getting freaky on Facebook

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Get Erotic on Facebook
Facebook has strict guidelines when it comes to photo content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t promote An Evening of Erotica through social networking. The annual celebration of all things sexy returns to the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts Feb. 17 and is presented by the genius minds of Spathose. The night features erotic imagery, fashion and art ranging from photographs to lingerie. Guests are encouraged to capture the evening digitally and post to Facebook using the hashtag #SPATHOSE. Whoever gets the most likes by Monday Feb. 23 wins a piece of Spathose wearable sculpture. Tickets to the event are $25 for MFA members and $25 for non-members at Fine-Arts.org/RSVP.

G Bar could see new ownership
We’ve heard through the grapevine that popular Ybor club G Bar could be under new ownership soon. What first grabbed our attention was a set of liquor reduction blowout nights at the club on Ybor’s 7th Avenue. Getting information has been difficult, but we’ve heard from reliable sources that Rick Kowalczyk, owner of the newly remodeled Southern Nights in Orlando, could be prospective buyer. There are also rumors of the Honey Pot’s impending sale, but we haven’t had any luck getting in touch with anyone to verify or deny that just yet.

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Overheard in Orlando: Gay Days eye Artegon Marketplace

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[UPDATE! Since publication of this post, Watermark has been contacted by Southern Nights manager Greg Skeen, who has informed us that Southern Nights is “not in the process of purchasing any other establishments.” We appreciate the update, regret the error, and will be sure to post any new information about G.Bar’s sale as it becomes available. — Editor]

No singing for OGC at Magic game
It was set to be a beautiful night inside the Amway Arena when the Orlando Gay Chorus entertained a massive crowd Feb. 25. But unfortunately, it’s not to happen. According to a spokesperson with the chorus, miscommunication with the Magic fouled up the plans to perform at halftime—apparently when you’re asked to perform a $2,000 sponsorship is implied. Last-minute negotiations pitched a pre-game performance, to which the OGC denied. Orlando Magic owner, the DeVos family, has a long list of anti-gay moves. We’re hoping this truly was a miscommunication and not something more devious.

Walker joins Hope & Help
The Hope and Help Center of Central Florida has a new event director—and the Center will soon be looking for a new assistant executive director. Russell Walker will leave The Center and begin his new job with Hope and Help on Feb. 16. He will fill the position previously held by Christopher Hessler.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: G.Bar turns 9 years old!

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Buy Georgie’s Alibi for $895,000
It looks like the rumors are true: the space currently occupied by Georgie’s Alibi is for sale. According to Earnest Realty in St. Petersburg, the property is available for $895,000. The 6,500-square-foot club and it’s liquor license are both for sale and in the listing, it’s clear that the property—not the business—is what’s up for sale. Earlier this year, rumors circulated that the building would transform into a new Hamburger Mary’s location, but that deal never solidified. So does this mean no more Georgie’s Alibi in the near future for St. Petersburg? Phone calls to the bar weren’t immediately returned to Watermark. Georgie’s has been a staple of the LGBT community for 14 years and began as a franchise expansion of its mother business in Fort Lauderdale.

More royalty for Tampa
Tampa Bay’s entertainment community continues to rack up royalty titles. The latest is Jeffery Abess of Tampa, who took the Mr. Gay USofA 2014 title at The Saint bar in San Antonio, Tex., the first week of November. Abess is well-known for his incredible dancing and dashingly good looks throughout Tampa Bay, and is often spotted side-by-side with his partner, Alexis Mateo of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. Abess took the crown in Texas after securing the top scores in both “Interview” and “Club wear” during the competition. “I want to thank my team, the judges, mu supporters and especially Alexis Mateo. Thank you so much and thank you for believing in me,” Abess posted on Facebook following his crowning. We know this handsome entertainer will make promoters of USofA proud this coming year.

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