Issue 22.18: Keys to the Kingdom

By : Jake Stevens
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Keys to the Kingdom: President George Kalogridis and the quient evolution of the LGBT culture at Walt Disney World, Janine Klein walks into a bar, Nadine Smith walks in to the future, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Editor’s Desk 8.27.15

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Beyond all of the “It’s a Small World” and “Be Our Guest” tropes of Walt Disney World and the screaming children behind them, a stronger tide of inclusion has washed over Central Florida’s largest employer, one that threatens to make a believer out of even this cynic. That’s why it’s a Magic Kingdom, right? Shut up, turkey leg.

This week, it’s all about the shifting culture of acceptance and celebration of diversity at the park of all parks, thanks in no small part to WDW President George Kalogridis, our cover model. Kalogridis was kind enough to offer up his personage in order to discuss the park’s expanding acceptance of LGBT individuals; he is one.

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A Gay Bar Star Reborn: Janine Klein brings self-effacing cabaret madness back to Parliament House

By : Billy Manes
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Local off-off-off-Broadway (like downtown Orlando’s Broadway Avenue for purposes of context) sensation Janine Klein has popped into our living space and plopped onto our couch as the summer storms have inclined her to. She’s not running away from anything. She’s just running.

“That’s God talking,” she laughs, tugging from a drink. “He doesn’t want me to do this show again.”

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Overheard in Orlando: Remembering Tweeka and a mysterious anniversary

By : Anonymous
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O-Town dot com Shoutouts
Everyone who is anyone knows our local gem, Blue Star. From her DJ work, acting and singing talents to her incredible dancing skills and of course, the Venue.The Venue plays host to many local entertainment events, including her Peek-a-Boo burlesque. Recently, in an online feature on USAToday’s 10Best – the Venue and Blue were praised for bringing the burlesque scene into the spotlight of the artistic side of the Ivanhoe Village. Thanks to Blue and many others, the #OneLove campaign has been making its rounds these last few years,named for the passing of John “Tweeka Weed” Barber – truly a talent whose light was taken too soon due to complications with an aggressive form of cancer.

Tweeka/Barber was recently the subject of an article of Georgia Voice in an article by old friend Bill Kaelin titled “The Drag Queen who changed my life.” Kaelin mentions when he was hanging out with Tweeka/Barber, he knew he was hanging out with royalty, and through his street wise and larger than life personality, he learned a lot about the community and the Atlanta scene. Two local legends, both praised for being talented and real people.

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Overheard in Orlando

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Deadbeat drag?

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 2 winner Tyra Sanchez wants to make a film called Drag Dad, documenting his life with his nine year old son. The problem is, according to TMZ, Sanchez, whose real name is James Ross, owes a lot of child support. According to TMZ’s sources, Sanchez has been asked to turn over financial records and sources also say that Sanchez has not paid any child support and rarely sees his son.

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Overheard in Orlando: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts… there’s an app for that!

By : Anonymous
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Orlando boys and their balls
Orlando was well represented this past holiday weekend in Fort Lauderdale during the 20th Annual Hurricane Showdown Softball Tournament.
The Orlando Sliders were the big winners for the D division. Over the same weekend, Fort Lauderdale was also host to their very first ever Fort Lauderdale Gay Days. Reports say the inaugural event wasn’t nearly as well attended as Gay Days Orlando or Gay Days Vegas.

Happy Barber-Days
The Barber fund that helps those living with cancer, honoring John “Tweeka” Barber is benefiting from some funny fundraisers. On Dec. 8, Miss Comedy Queen Holiday Spectacular, Tweeka was a former Miss Comedy Queen. And on Dec. 19, a Fringe Festival Pepe returns with a slew of his “beetches. Pepe’s Christma-Kwanz-Kah, special features performers Blue, Janine Klein, Lady Raptastic and many more. Both hysterical holiday events will be held at the Venue.

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Overheard in Orlando: John Waters new BFF

By : Anonymous
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Disenchanted Held Over!
Following weeks of sold out performances, the 2011 International Fringe Festival darling
Disenchanted! has been held over through Nov. 3 at The Abbey. The play focuses on Disney’s princesses and their unhappiness at being portrayed as damsels in distress in today’s pop culture. They are: brassy Snow White, ditzy Cinderella, weight-obsessed Sleeping Beauty neurotic Belle, tipsy Ariel, butch Mulan and buxom Pocahontas. For tickets, call 866-468-7630 or visit

Happy 50th Birthday, Doug (let’s rake you over the coals)
Friends of Doug White decided to surprise him on his 50th birthday. So, they invited him to a night of trivia and bar hopping starting at the Parliament House Footlight Theatre. Instead, he walked into a surprise birthday party and roast. Roasters included: Nico, Gidget Galore, Bridget Galore, Sam Singhaus, Jeff Jones, Carol Lee, Billy Flannigan, Janine Klein and Michael Wanzie. White, a staple in the LGBT theater community, turned the big 5-0 on Oct. 8.

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Swan song

By : Anonymous
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Fringe Finale
A lot of people in Orlando’s cultural community slept in last week. Orlando’s Fringe Festival ended the day after Memorial Day, capping almost two weeks of non-stop theatrical creativity. As usual, LGBT offerings were among the most popular. In fact, six of the twelve Patron’s Picks (most popular shows at each venue) had LGBT themes: Pillow Talk, A Field Guide to the Gays, Blue and Tod: In the Black, Fetish, God is a Scottish Drag Queen and Celebrity Match Game. Mike Delamont’s Scottish Drag Queen was also named Best Comedy by a panel of reviewers.

Wanzie Gets Serious
During performances of Celebrity Match Game, playwright/producer Michael Wanzie announced his intent to create a “serious play” for next year’s Fringe. But fans won’t have to wait that long. Wanzie just announced he will produce Lizzie Borden: The Musical at Theatre Downtown for three weeks starting Aug. 23. The show, with book and lyrics by Wanzie, music by Rich Charron, and directed by Kenny Howard, will also be an investor showcase for a potential New York production. The cast includes Andrea Canny as the infamous axe murderess, Becky Fisher, Frank McClain, David Dorman, and Blue. Listen to Wanzie & Doug’s movie reviews on Mondays at 4:50 p.m. during the Philips Phile on Real Radio 104.1.

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The 22nd Annual Orlando Fringe Festival arrives in Orlando May 15

By : Erik R. Caban
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My, how things have changed.

In 1992, when three guys got together to put on the first Fringe Festival in downtown Orlando, almost nobody knew what to expect. Talk of 28 performing companies from around the world putting on 160 shows seemed pretty mind-boggling. And when 14,000 people showed up downtown that spring to catch one or more of those shows or simply to take in the sights, everybody was pretty darn impressed. Fast forward 21 years later and the Orlando International Fringe Festival is an institution, the highlight of the theater year.

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Monday Ripples: Best Use of a Gun

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â┚¬Å”I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.â┚¬Â â┚¬â€œ Audre Lorde

I've recently ventured into to world of Twitter and, I have to admit, I'm hooked. I admit all this reluctantly because for a long time I made fun of it; I would cleverly refer to people who used Twitter as twits. (Yeah, I know, â┚¬Å”cleverâ┚¬Â is clearly a relative term in the confines of my mind.)

Let me explain why I am hooked. First, the celebrity tweets are fascinating. I have long been in love with Steve Martin and to get the chance to experience him cracking wise on a regularly has made my life that much better. Alec Baldwin is quite prolific on Twitter, answering questions from fans with his characteristic smart ass humor.

It's not just about entertainment, there's lots of good information being shared. For example, yesterday Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted that there are now more captive tigers (5000) than there are in the wild (3200). I was floored by that fact and it got me curious about one of Leo's pet causes Save the Tigers Now. Ah, Leo! Adorable, talented, and working to make the world a better place â┚¬â€œ my kind of man.

Now let's take cue from him and see what kind of good we can get up to this week, shall we? Below are a few links to some things that I hope will inspire you in the week ahead. Click, surf, do, share, repeat.

Time to TED!
I know you are already excited about November because I'll be growing that ridiculous moustache again, but there's another reason to be excited, if you live in the Central Florida area, that is. TEDxOrlando conference is back! It will be held on November 4 at the Garden Theatre in beautiful Winter Garden, FL and the focus is â┚¬Å”The Creative Spark.â┚¬Â You can explore their site see the speaker line up so far; I was particularly excited to see one presenter is Ben Hoyer, founder of Downtown Credo where we hold The Do-Gooder's Coffee Klatch!

Roast for Good
The 50th Birthday Roast of Janine Klein
I'm not a huge fan of roasts on a local level. They're hella fun to watch on television when celebrities are being roasted, but what makes them fun is the awful things that are being said are about a persona, not really that person. On a local level, the cracks wind up being personal and, whether admitted or not, end up hurting feelings. Be that as it may, I'll be attending one tomorrow night because it's raising money for a good cause, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and because the person being honored is the vivacious Janine Klein. By the way, Janine isn't turning 50â┚¬Â¦you see, the comedy is starting already.

Best Use of a Gun
Slideshow: Violence Prevention Coalition Turns Guns to Art
I hate guns. Hate them. I've listened to pro gun arguments ad nauseam and I have yet to hear one that makes any sense. Naturally this is one of those things in life that I've come to realize will never be resolved, at least not in the manner I would like. These photos give me some hope, though. The Violence Prevention Coalition melting down the hateful contraptions and making them into anti-violence awards. I love this.

Saving Himself
CNN Impact Your World: Nick Jonas
Cutie Nick Jonas has taken a downer in his life and made it a positive. He is dealing with diabetes and, rather than being closeted about, he has created a dialogue with his fans and has been able to use the Jonas Brothers charity Change for the Children Foundation to raise awareness and funds. Take a look at Nick's video from CNN's awesome Impact Your World initiative.

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