Watermark Film Company’s new documentary ‘Greetings From Queertown’ shines a light on Orlando’s LGBTQ history

By : Christen Kelley
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From KKK members threatening Pride-filled parade marchers to a sea of red shirts ascending on Disney World for Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom to standing “Orlando Strong” around Lake Eola, Central Florida has come a long way for the LGBTQ community. It’s a rich history that Watermark Film Company plans to detail in their upcoming documentary, “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando.”

Spearheaded by Watermark owner, publisher and editor Rick Claggett, director/producer Sandi Hulon, director of photography Tye Belcher and others from Team Watermark, the film company was created to share the story of “Queertown.”

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Florida heat and summer schools

By : Michael Wanzie
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michael wanzie atheist

Why is it when a svelte, smooth-chested, swimmer-type guy goes jogging shirtless on a scorching Orlando summer day, it is said of him that his luscious perspiration, glistening in the sunlight, gleefully beckons adoring tongues to lap up his liquid masculinity from a bronzed canvas of sensual, sun-drenched flesh, but when a big boned (read: fat) guy like me does the same thing the only thought it brings to anyone’s mind is, “Christ that tub of lard sweats like a fucking pig!?”

Never mind your snarky answers. It was a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer all too well—and thus Summer is in full stride in Central Florida. Thus continues my annual stint of carefully navigating my way into various pools at various parties with my shirt still on because I have body issues regarding my man boobs. Too much information? OK then, we’ll move on.

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Watermark owner creates film company, premieres first movie’s trailer

By : Staff Report
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ORLANDO | Watermark Film Company premiered the first trailer to its documentary film “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando” at a private fundraising event at The Venue in Orlando Aug. 23.

Watermark Film Company was launched by Watermark Publishing Group owner Rick Claggett as a way to create, produce and distribute films that inform and educate audiences on the LGBTQ experience, according to a press release.

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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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