Greeting from Queertown: Orlando fundraising event

By : Danny Garcia
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Watermark Film Company invites you to the premiere fundraising event for “Greetings from Queertown: Orlando”, a documentary on the LGBTQ history of Central Florida.

This is an opportunity to be a part of history! Support the making of this film dedicated to honoring those who made #OrlandoStrong.

Film crew will be on hand for you to share your love of our local community.

The event, hosted by Moira and Jorge Estevez, will be on Monday, May 13 from 6-8 p.m. at The Abbey Orlando.
Lite bites provided by John Michael Exquisite Weddings and Catering and cash bar by The Abbey.

For more information or to share your videos and pictures of Central Florida’s history, visit GreetingsFromQueertown.com or email info@GreetingsFromQueertown.com.

Hope & Help bumps gala to 2020, launching new event to honor donors

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Hope & Help had a successful event with the AIDS Walk Orlando thanks to all of the people who opened their pockets and donated what they could, and for that they want to say thank you with a celebration.

Hope & Help’s community developmental director Joshua Myers says that the nonprofit will be pushing its annual gala, typically held in September, to next year and instead this October will hold an invite only event called Hope & Help Society.

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The Orlando Ribbon Project releases new enamel pin

By : Lauren Lee
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Famous figures including Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and HRC’s Chad Griffin have worn the now famous rainbow-colored ribbon, now the Dissent Pin Company has partnered with the Orlando Ribbon Project to create enamel versions of the ribbons that traveled the world in memory of the 49 lives lost at Pulse Orlando.

“Its been rather amazing watching the project grow from just a handful of fabric ribbons for volunteers to a worldwide symbol of love and hope,” says founder of the Orlando Ribbon Project, Ben Johansen.

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Drag Queen Story Hour comes to life with Gidget Galore at The LGBT+ Center in Orlando

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Central Florida drag queen Gidget Galore was not on her usual stage March 21 at The LGBT+ Center in Orlando, but instead sat in a circle with nearly 20 children reading stories to them.

“I look like a clown. I’m big, bright, sparkly and colorful and kids love it,” says Galore. “I have been looking forward to this since [we did it at] the Kids Fringe Festival and George [Wallace, The Center’s executive director] asked, and I said ‘Yes, this is for me!'”

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Jonathan y Jorge salsa their way to ‘World of Dance’ and onto a national spotlight

By : Jeremy Williams
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NBC’s dance competition series “World of Dance” premiered with a new season on Feb. 26. The hit series—led by the trio of dance superstar judges Jennifer Lopez (who also serves as an executive producer), Derek Hough and NE-YO—gives dancers the platform to showcase their talents and the opportunity to receive a life-altering grand prize of $1 million.

On the show’s third season premiere, the world witnessed the amazing dance talents of Orlando native Jonathan Troncosco and Peruvian dancer Jorge Valcarcel—collectively known on “World of Dance” as Jonathan y Jorge.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Aaron Bailey and Vincent Santamarina

By : Aaron Drake
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“We had bumped into each other once out and about, then we reconnected online,” Vincent Santamarina says about how he and his now-husband Aaron Bailey first met. “We made plans to meet up for a formal introduction. Our first date was at Busch Gardens on a perfect summer day! It was July 22, 2013.”

“During our first date I wanted the day to go on forever,” Santamarina continues. “Just talking and having fun gives you the gut feeling that you really know someone. I wanted the connection we made that day to be around forever.”

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Watermark Giveaway: a pair of tickets for Taylor Dayne at Hard Rock Hotel

By : Meghan Sweeney
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Don’t miss your chance to see Taylor Dayne at the exciting Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, performing hits that include “Tell It To My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back,” “Prove Your Love” and more.

Before the show, sip on specialty cocktails, munch on fabulous finger foods and mingle with other Session’ers. It’s all included with your Velvet Sessions ticket!

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The Other Side of Life: Lent and the Twin Abstentions

By : Jason Leclerc
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My fellow God-fearers, know that we are two days into the Lenten season, bookended by Mardi Gras and the Resurrection. Like Jesus fasted in the wilderness before launching his ministry, we are to give up something that sates us. Although my usual self-denial is metaphorized by 40 days without swearing or chocolate, I’m giving up on something much more gosh darn important and savory and much more central to who I am.

Abstention one: I’m giving up on defending Republicans. Abstention two: I’m taking a break from actively bashing Trump.

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2019 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Patty Sheehan

By : Jeremy Williams
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Central Florida’s Favorite Local Activist, Favorite Local Artist, WHO SHOULD BE THE CENTERFOLD OF WATERMARK’S WAVE ISSUE

Patty Sheehan has a couple of things she is particularly passionate about: her community and her art. So it is rather fitting that Watermark readers recognized her for being their Favorite Local Activist and Favorite Local Artist in Central Florida.

There is one other recognition the Central Florida readers of Watermark bestowed upon Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner: The person who should be the centerfold of Watermark’s WAVE issue.

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2019 WAVE Award Spotlight: Pom Moongauklang

By : Amanda Espinosa
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Central Florida’s Favorite Local Chef, Favorite Local Late Night Dining (Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria)

Walking into Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria in Orlando is like stepping into a blend of Willy Wonka and The Mad Hatter. The restaurant’s colorful decor mixed with owner Pom Moongauklang’s amazing teas, sandwiches, salads, desserts and more are only limited by Moongauklang’s pure imagination.

It’s no wonder that she was voted Central Florida’s Favorite Local Chef. When opening Pom Pom’s—which took first place as Favorite Local Late Night Dining and second place as Favorite Restaurant—Moongauklang says she wanted a place with “no hate, no side eye, no discrimination; just a place to eat really good food, have a good time and have good conversation.”

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The 2019 WAVE Awards: Central Florida

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN
First: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor
Second: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner
Third: Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida Representative- District 49

FAVORITE LOCAL ACTIVIST
First: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner
Second: Dr. Edwin DeJesus, Orlando Immunology Center
Third: Ben Johansen, The Ribbon Maker

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Orlando to host LGBTQ Leadership Summit

By : Abigail Brashear
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ORLANDO | Featuring LGBTQ leaders from all throughout Florida and the Orlando area, a day of intensive training for political advocacy and advancement will be held in Orlando during the annual LGBTQ Leadership Summit on March 16.

The free summit is hosted by Victory Institute, the only national organization specifically focused on assisting open LGBTQ leaders on all levels of government, and Equality Florida, the largest political advocacy group dedicated to LGBTQ equality in Florida. It will be held at the Double Tree hotel in downtown Orlando and is open to anyone who wishes to attend, including high school and college students.

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