5.5.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

It was a sweaty, stinky mess lingering beneath swaying light bulbs and an odd sense (scent?) of danger – bathrooms not necessarily included. At least that was the hurry-up-and-wait feeling that I got upon my arrival via tarnished spaceship in Orlando in 1997, plopped down in the middle of theater festival without a theater or air conditioning. The Orlando Fringe never existed on pretense, though, so postscript stands second only the euphoria of the moment, right next to that strange guy looking at you like you’re a strange guy, then laughing and the barriers being broken on stage. Orlando and Fringe were a match made in heaven. In the late ‘90s, the Fringe stood in stark contrast to the Lou Pearlman boy-band brigade seeking to whiten the city’s teeth. It was Haight-Ashbury more than hating ass-berries, and as such, it was the de facto cultural clutch the city needed.

Make no mistake, the Orlando Fringe is this town’s matted underdog made good. For every quizzical glance into maladroit disorders and kinky extroversion, there have always been bright eyes staring toward trails of glitter lighting up the path to the colors of its venues, the talent of its participants, the magic of theater on a shoestring. It’s a messy affair, but most good things are. It’s also the place where performance comes from: within not without. And as such, Orlando’s Fringe festival, the longest winding road in this country (if you don’t count actual roads but only the histrionic ones), it’s earned its place in Central Florida’s kaleidoscopic pantheon.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Thank God for the Godless!

By : Michael Wanzie
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Michael Wanzie

On Thursday January 11, 2016, scientists announced they had finally discovered “Gravity Waves,” which Albert Einstein insisted existed exactly 100 years ago when in 1916 he formally presented his Theory of Relativity. It took a full century for the science to catch up to the vision and brilliance of Einstein’s magnificent mind, but as of mere weeks ago, his hundred year-old “theory” is no longer that. It has been proven. It is fact.

Now, I ask you: What do Albert Einstein,Elton John, John Lennon, Emma Thompson, Billy Joel, James Cameron, Sir Ian McKellen, Kathy Griffin, Woody Allen, Warren Buffet, George Carlin, Carl Sagan, Richard Strauss, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, Mark Zukerberg, Steven Wozniak, Steven Hawking and Michael Wanzie all have in common?

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Panasonic a pioneer for LGBT rights in Japan

By : Wire Report
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TOKYO (AP) – For decades, Panasonic Corp. has shaped Japanese corporate tradition – be it morning exercise routines or lifetime employment. But don’t hold your breath waiting for other Asian businesses to emulate its latest policy announcement: Recognizing same-sex partnerships.

Much of Asia remains far behind the West in such attitudes. Panasonic’s move is rare, although bold, and seems unlikely to herald a sea change.

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Changes Coming to St. Pete Pride?

By : Aaron Drake
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The tumult in the community over big changes happening to the St. Petersburg Pride Festival and Parade can simmer down a bit: It appears St. Pete Pride isn’t going anywhere in 2016.

There is no doubt a shift on the horizon, with chatter that Pride is moving the parade and festival to Downtown or possibly the new pier once it is completed, which is estimated for fall 2018. And there’s a possibility St. Pete might be building to become a candidate to host World Pride in the near future, which will take a literal village (or city) to make happen.

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Oscar speeches look more like presidential debate at 88th Academy Awards

By : Jeremy Williams
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Oscar night is often filled with award shocks and surprises and the 88th Academy Awards did not disappoint as Sam Smith becomes the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. Well, okay so he wasn’t, but he wasn’t sure about it so he said it anyways.

Sam Smith was among the winners considered an upset by Oscar experts. The winner of the Best Original Song for “Writing’s on the Wall” from the James Bond film Spectre was as shocked as the rest of the viewing world when his name was called instead of Lady Gaga and Diane Warren for the emotional song “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape in the United States.

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Win a VIP Divas of Drag prize package from Watermark!

By : Jamie Hyman
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Watermark is giving away a VIP experience for Divas of Drag when the show hits House of Blues April 10!

Winners will receive dinner for two in the House of Blues restaurant, a pair of tickets for VIP Loge seats for the Divas of Drag show, and admission for two to the House of Blues Gospel Brunch. Find out how to win: 

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Sordid Lives creator Del Shores wants the dating world to know that it is hard out there for a “minor gay celebrity” in his 50s

By : Jeremy Williams
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Few filmmakers write LGBT stories with equal parts humor and heart and even fewer are able to take that story to cult status, but one who seems to do it with ease is Del Shores, writer/director of the successful 2000 cult film Sordid Lives. Shores is heading to The Cuban Club in Ybor with his one man show, SINgularly SORDID, where he talks about politics, religion and returning to the dating world after getting divorced in his 50s. Tinder and Grindr and Scruff, oh my! Shores was gracious enough to speak with Watermark ahead of his Tampa Bay show about Oscar diversity, election coverage and a much talked about sequel in the Sordid franchise.

SINgularlySORDID is your one man show that you are bringing to Tampa. What can we expect to see from you?
I always consider myself a storyteller or a humorist: I observe, I sometimes steal from my own life and other people’s lives and talk about it on stage. This piece has become very personal, because I have gone through a divorce in my 50s and getting back into the dating scene has been crazy, so a lot of that is the SINgularly Sordid part of this. I just tell tales about Leslie Jordan and Dolly Parton and people I have had encounters with, good and bad. I love politics and controversy. My dad was a Southern Baptist preacher, so we’ll cover religion.

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Issue 23.04: 2016 Primaries

By : Jake Stevens
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#wearewithher: Watermark’s presidential primary endorsement along with some other candidates and races to watch in the coming months, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi“My favorite thing about Candace is she has a beautiful heart,” Melissa says. “She has so much love in her, and not just for me but for everybody—and it just shines.”

Candace Salemi, who is a senior higher education specialist, and Melissa Crispo, who is a musician/songwriter and paramedic, hung out in the same circle of friends for 15 years. Candace came to see Melissa perform regularly, but they only ever considered themselves acquaintances.

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The tender activist: Why Bernie

By : Scottie Campbell
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scottie campbellWe’ve often heard the phrase “survival of the fittest” bandied about to the point that it is a concept we readily accept. But in his epiphany-fueled book Life’s Operating Manual, comedy film director Tom Shadyac points out Charles Darwin only used this phrase “twice in The Descent of Man but used the word love 95 times.” Darwin actually emphasizes mankind’s ability to cooperate and sympathize as keys to our survival – physically we’re inferior to many beings on the planet, so it stands to reason.

My guess is our most easily accessed emotions, fear and anger, have distanced us from Darwin’s reality. Industrialization and technology have left most of us ill-equipped to survive in actual nature. Through conditioning and training, we have arrived in 2016, collectively, as a reluctantly-huddled mass of selfish fucks.

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Sexual politics: Money, money, money and the LGBT community

By : Stephen Miller
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Our community is becoming more and more aware of our political clout, especially as public sentiment has slowly shifted and gay and lesbian couples are combining assets. In fact, one major force for change in the political landscape has been brought to you by LGBT donations into political campaigns.

A good indicator for how things have changed was Obama’s run for re-election in 2012, where LGBT money made a significant difference.
In the early 2000s, LGBT donations had, overall, been dropping, both in 2010 and 2014. The Center for Responsive Politics states that funds dropped 58 percent from the 2006 election cycle to the 2010 cycle. It dropped another 12 percent between 2010 and 2014 for most candidates.

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Partners in prevention: HIV prevention drugs available in more Central Florida locations

By : Jamie Hyman
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Central Floridians interested in HIV prevention medications now have several options.

Planned Parenthood announced at the end of 2015 that they offer both PrEP and PEP (pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis) at local clinics.

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