Parliament House celebrates 40 years

By : Jamie Hyman and Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Parliament House, Orlando’s iconic gay resort and nightclub, is marking four decades of gay inclusiveness, balcony debauchery and first-class entertainment.

A week of gaiety (pun intended)
There was a week-long celebration July 20-25 that kicked off with The Footlight Players Anniversary Reunion Show featuring more than thirty alumni. Midweek there was an employee turnabout benefiting Joy MCC Food Drive and then on July 24, Parliament House hosted a 40-themed nostalgia night with $40 rooms, 40 cent shots and 40 prizes for guests. No cover, but they did collect a 40 cent donation at the door benefiting Hope and Help of Central Florida, Inc.

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In tragic times, friends Sam Ewing and Hattie Wolfe found a way to make a difference

By : Tom Dyer
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Headdress Ball holds a special place in Orlando’s glittering fall social season. Part Las Vegas and part La Cage, the splashy event attracts gays and straights—including some of the biggest movers and shakers in town—to share a gloriously unlikely evening of costumes, beefcake and drag. In 25 years Headdress Ball has raised millions for the Hope and Help Center, now Central Florida’s largest AIDS service organization.

Most know that Headdress is the creation of respected interior designer Sam Ewing and his dear friend and fellow designer, Hattie Wolfe. But few know the moving story of its inspiration.

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Issue 21.17: Remembering Paul Wegman

By : Jake Stevens
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Remembering Paul: 10 years after his death, Central Florida commemorates the invincible legacy and laughter of Paul Wegman and his alter ego, Miss P, Tampa pastor stands by cancellation of gay man’s funeral, Southern Nights set to reopen in Orlando, Sarasota welcomes back fourth Fab Film Fest, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events, and much, much more!

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10 years after AIDS complications took Paul Wegman, Central Florida reflects on his loss, his influence and the invincibility of his character

By : Scottie Campbell
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The knowledge that we will one day die is what truly separates us from the animals and we are never more keenly aware of that fact than when we realize the mortality of our heroes. During the filming of the posthumous documentary Paul Wegman: A Tribute, I was asked to describe Paul in one word and I replied: “invincible.” In the months leading up to his death 10 years ago, I retreated to the uncomfortable land of denial, clumsily clinging to that one-word perception.

The Teacher
I was 24 when I actually met Paul Wegman, though I had seen him onstage. Making magic as Prospero on the shore of Lake Eola, one unseasonably cold April, in the inaugural season of Orlando Shakespeare Festival (now Orlando Shakespeare Theater). I also saw his lauded return to the title role in The Elephant Man at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College), having been urged by theatre friends not to miss it. He was one of the few actors I’ve known to make you believe the word splurge of playwright Len Jenkins, which I saw him tackle in Dark Ride performed in the 1990’s nightclub Big Bang in Downtown Orlando.

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Stepping out of the Spotlight: Drag legend Lorrie Del Mar retires

By : Kirk Hartlage
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The Palace Club. The Diamond Head. The Parliament House. They’re all part of Orlando’s LGBT nightlife history, and soon, one of its legendary performers will be too. Lorrie Del Mar, preeminent drag artist and multiple title-holder, has announced her retirement from the stage. Known for her extreme over-the-top performances, Del Mar’s triumphs in the spotlight took a tragic turn in the mid-1980s when a car accident left her partially disabled. Del Mar’s career – and Larry Ligori, the man behind her – will be celebrated in “A Farewell Tribute,” Mon., July 21, at the Parliament House. An all-star cast of presenters and performers, including several of her former fellow Footlight Players costars, are scheduled to appear in the 9 p.m. show. Advance tickets are $8 at or $10 at the door.

Born and raised in Tampa, Larry Ligori’s parents were a stay-at-home mom who worked odd jobs and a construction planner father. Pressures of being raised Catholic at a time when homosexuality was kept hush-hush, Ligori says he never thought of being gay until well after high school. Ligori was once even engaged to a girl, but before the two could get married, his fiancé committed suicide.

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The Center's library dedicated to â┚¬Å”Miss Pâ┚¬Â

By : AlejandPate
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The library at The Center is now the Paul â┚¬Å”Miss Pâ┚¬Â Wegman Memorial Library, after being dedicated on April 3 to the facility's very first librarian who passed away eight years ago.

â┚¬Å”Miss Pâ┚¬Â was the headliner at the Parliament House for decades. Her ashes are placed under the stage at The Footlight Theatre.

MissPPlaqueâ┚¬Å”So every time you see a drag queen trip, that's Paul grabbing their heel,â┚¬Â said Miss P's brother, David Wegman.

â┚¬Å”She was a mix between Tallulah Bankhead and Don Rickles,â┚¬Â said Center Executive Director Randy Stephens. â┚¬Å”She was definitely an icon that a lot of people remembered.â┚¬Â

At the dedication ceremony, Wegman donated books from Miss P's personal collection, a commemorative plaque was hung and attendees watched the screening of a video memorial of Miss P. Stephens said the library now contains 3,500 volumes, which members of The Center can check out for free.

â┚¬Å”Her brother donated some of her personal books including her own personal dictionary and a few other reference materials that she used,â┚¬Â Stephens said.

He said The Center has had five librarians over the years and â┚¬Å”each one of them have brought something very valuable to it,â┚¬Â so Stephens plans to write a brief history of each to be distributed to The Center's members.