With changes to Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend coming in 2019, we look back on the history of Gay Day

By : Jeremy Williams
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Outside of Pride parades and festivals, one could argue that no other LGBTQ event in the world is as recognizable as the one that occurs on the first Saturday in June every year at the happiest place on Earth.

Gay Day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom has gone through many changes and obstacles in its 28-year history. What began as one day at the park ballooned into multiple days of events from many groups who bring circuit parties, concerts, expos and pool parties every year that encircle the original event and carry the same message of visibility that Gay Day at Magic Kingdom was founded on.

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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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Orlando Fringe expands their winter festival after a successful first year

By : Jeremy Williams
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After a successful inaugural year, the Orlando International Fringe Festival is returning with an even bigger Winter Mini-Fest Jan. 3-7, expanding on the number of venues they had in 2017.

“Instead of three venues we have four total and instead of four days we are going five. So it’s a little bit bigger than it was last year to keep up with the audience that was there, and we hope they will come out even more this year,” says Michael Marinaccio, the Orlando International Fringe Festival Producer.

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12.14.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Here we are in the thick of the holiday season. It’s sometimes hard to tell that the holidays are approaching in mid-Florida. There is so much to be done this time of year that the days fly by, and it doesn’t help when the weather is in the 70s and 80s. Luckily we are in what Floridians would call a “cold spell” right now, giving us a small taste of North Pole weather.

Christmas has become my favorite time of year. My fondest holiday memories are of when I was a kid. Christmas Eve was a special night for us. It was a night for the whole family to be together. We’d enjoy the lights my dad and uncles put up and snack all night on my mom’s famous date-nut bread. I was in charge of mixing the sherbet and ginger ale, a concoction I apparently couldn’t get enough of when I was young. When it got late, mom would tuck us into bed and read us Luke’s Christmas story from the Bible until we would fall asleep. Sometimes we were too excited so she’d have to read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas as well. We’d wake up to a wonderland. I remember nothing but warmth, happiness and love. It was magical.

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Orlando Overheard: Phile Under Phantastic!

By : Anonymous
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Despite the public announcement he was retiring in Jan. 2018, LGBTQ Ally and multi-WAVE award winner, Jim Philips recently announced he was sticking around as the host of “The Philips Phile” for at least one more year.

The show will keep the same format with the exception they will only be on the air Monday thru Thursday in the 3:00 -7:00 p.m. slot. 

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09.07.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Musical theater is god to me. Yes, I subscribe to the idea that theater is spelled with an er not re at the end. Theatre is like pineapple on pizza. It’s weird. It just doesn’t belong. I digress.

Broadway ranks at the top of the list of my favorite things, right next to Air Supply, of course. I’m holding out for the day I get to see the Broadway show based on Air Supply songs. Can you imagine? My gay heart would explode! Until then, it’s enough for me sit in the park and watch American Stage Theatre Company put on Hairspray, or go to the Calvary Church to see Central Florida Community Arts’ concert version of Titanic: The Musical. Both were incredible, by the way. We are lucky to have such amazing local talent bringing to life Broadway shows that many people don’t get a chance to experience. We are also fortunate to have fabulous venues for Broadway tours to entertain us.

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Wanzie’s 2008 Fringe hit “When Pigs Fly!” screening to raise funds for sick family member

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Michael Wanzie will be screening his 2008 Orlando Fringe hit When Pigs Fly! at The Abbey Sept. 18 to help raise funds for his nephew, whose daughter is battling leukemia.

Devin Miko, who is 11 years old, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia last May.

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Savoy Orlando’s Starlite Room gets into the theater game

By : Jeremy Williams
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Savoy has been the LGBTQ bar with a small town feel for more than a decade. In fact, it celebrates 13 years as Orlando’s small town gay bar this month.

In the last few years Savoy has undergone renovations and upgrades to its interior, and while the main bar has maintained its success with cool drinks and hot dancers, the other half has struggled to find its identity. Enter Orlando’s theater god Michael Wanzie.

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Hope & Help move into new facility, prepare for annual Headdress Ball

By : Natalie Caballero and Rachel Dececco
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ORLANDO | Hope & Help opened up shop in a brand new location Aug. 1, with the launch of their new and improved website to follow shortly, all less than two months before their biggest charity event of the year, the annual Headdress Ball.

The non-profit organization, which opened in 1988, is now located at 707 Mendham Blvd in Orlando, and is Central Florida’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS testing, education and care center.

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“ThanksKilling: The Musical,” “Wanzie with a Z” win in first ever Watermark Splash Awards

By : Jeremy Williams
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Watermark handed out the first ever Splash Awards during Orlando Fringe’s 2017 Closing Ceremonies and Awards at Loch Haven Park May 29.

The Watermark Splash Awards, or “The Splashies” as some were calling them on the Fringe lawn, allowed our readers to vote on their favorite LGBTQ and LGBTQ-themed shows from this year’s amazing selection.

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Watermark on the Fringe: Wanzie with a Z

By : Rick Claggett
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Who can tell a story better than Michael Wanzie? Three Wanzie’s can.

Wanzie with a Z is the real-life journey of actor/playwright Michael Wanzie from age six to 60. Josh Lefkowitz stars as young Mikey Wanzie age six to 17, and he lays the groundwork for what will certainly become a multi-award-winning Fringe fave. Mike Wanzie, age 17-30, is played by Joshua Roth, who gives us the coming-of-age story. The cast is completed by Wanzie, played by himself from age 30- 60. His role helps the audience, as much as Wanzie, make sense of the first 30 years.

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Orlando 2016 Fringe Review: IN CLOSE QUARTERS A Story of Love and War

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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in close quarters

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IN CLOSE QUARTERS: A Story of Love and War
Silver venue, find showtimes

While it may be safe to say that almost any show Michael Wanzie puts on is worth seeing, you won’t want to miss going to see this one—simply because it could easily win this year’s “Best Show” award or “Best Drama” award.

Many associate Wanzie shows with comedic plotlines, musical parodies or over-the-top productions, but IN CLOSE QUARTERS: A Story of Love and War breaks that mold, and it does it in all the best ways. There were gasps and plenty of tears shed from the audience.

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