‘I’m dedicated to keeping the arts alive’: Harriett Lake dies at 96

By : Layla Ferris
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Harriett Lake, a philanthropic lover of Orlando’s arts scene, died July 10. She was 96.

With the establishment of Harriett’s Charitable Trust, Lake has given millions of dollars to organizations that help keep Orlando’s art world alive.

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Orlando Ballet pays a fitting tribute to local Orlando hero Harriet Lake with a Broadway spectacle

By : Billy Manes
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At 3 p.m. on a late Tuesday afternoon watching January fall from the calendar, high kicks and paper top-hats are the name of the buzzing game for the Orlando Ballet.

Nestled in their current home at Loch Haven Neighborhood Center, the members of the ballet corps are sweating out a rehearsal to “One,” the famous crowd pleaser from A Chorus Line, as director Robert Hill does the hand gestures and the shouts of “one, and two and three” from the sidelines. “And stop! Now go!” A disco ball swings overhead.

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Editor’s Desk 2.9.17

By : Billy Manes
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This is how it goes. There is an initial spark of horror – in this case, the abject realization that our country had elected a television and real-estate mogul into its highest office in November – and then come the stages of grief.

It is no hyperbole to state that the election of President Donald Trump has already been a source of anxiety for progressives and people who follow either history or politics. These things happen, we tell ourselves. It will get better, we sigh. Maybe we’ll be safe; maybe Trump does like the LGBTQ community; maybe Vice President Pence has a switch on his back that will allow some kind of social diplomacy between the others and himself. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

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Top 5 Orlando Stories in 2014

By : Staff Report
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Changes at The Center
What didn’t change at The GLBT Center of Central Florida in 2014? In January, it shed the property next door that housed a Chinese restaurant and used the money to help pay debts. Over the summer, The Center saw some personnel changes, with the resignation of five-year executive director Randy Stephens. In September, new ED Terry DeCarlo started and then at a gala event in October, it was announced that a $200,000 renovation will update every portion of The Center’s headquarters, scheduled to be complete by the spring.

Still no GSA at CMS
The fight for a Gay Straight Alliance at Carver Middle School in Lee County kicked off way back in January of 2013, when a bisexual 8th grader fought for her right to a GSA. That student has moved onto high school, but other CMS students picked up the battle and the ACLU continued to push for their right to meet. A lawsuit moved forward in March and in August, attorneys asked for a judgment but as of press time, still no joy for CMS’ LGBT students and allies.

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Watermark’s 2014 Halloween Roundup!

By : Watermark Staff
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It’s that time of year when you get to dust off your costumes, load up on sweets and have loads of scary fun — Halloween! Not sure exactly how to spend your Halloween, or do you want to find out about other festivities happening toward the end of the month? Well, Watermark has you covered.

Here is a roundup of some events happening throughout Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Sarasota where you can get into the Halloween spirit!

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Orlando Ballet: Vampire’s Ball

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Watermark attended the media preview dress rehearsal of Orlando Ballet’s Vampire’s Ball Oct. 16.

The show is Oct. 17 – 19 at Bob Carr Theatre.

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Party over Pride? Gay Days sees a shift away from community celebration

By : Chris Stephenson
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Orlando – Just as the United States has seen a rapid shift toward marriage equality in the past year, so appears to be a shift in the annual Gay Days celebration weekend.
Record crowds for Gay Days party events met with low turnout of LGBTs for Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom on June 7.

“We are staying at the host hotel and when we said we were coming to Disney, everyone asked us why, that Gay Days is about a party,” Shawn Stearns, a visitor from New York City said.

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Line-up announced for the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

By : Veronica Brezina
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Line-up announced for the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The 2014-2015 Broadway and ballet line-up for the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was announced June 12.

The center will be open starting Nov. 6, 2014. The show line-up will include the Jazz Roots Series, featuring music from Ray Charles, Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes, plays such as Phantom of the Opera, I Love Lucy on stage and even shows for kids.

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Orlando’s loss, Baltimore’s gain: Cultural leader Ron Legler announces new job

By : Tom Dyer
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Orlando- There had been rumors, and close friends may have been quietly in the know. But on Feb. 18, when the Orlando Sentinel announced that Florida Theatrical Association (FTA) president Ron Legler was leaving for Baltimore, the news hit the local arts community like a ton of bricks.

“It’s like people were reading my obituary,” a still-stunned Legler says. “There were something like 400 comments on Facebook. I felt like Tom Sawyer peeking in at his own funeral.”

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Overheard in Orlando: Elton John burn!

By : Anonymous
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Dissed by Elton John
After interviewing her twice by telephone, Watermark publisher Tom Dyer finally got to meet Billie Jean King in person at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits tennis fundraiser at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. But his most memorable encounter was with Elton John, who threw him an unexpected – and hilarious – barb during the pre-tennis press conference. Dyer, who has light hair and a thick white goatee, asked Sir Elton if he planned to teach his two boys to play tennis. His response: “Before I answer, I just want to thank Kenny Rogers for being here today.”

Lambert turns 60… in a casket
Those who know Winter Park hair stylist Gary Lambert expected his 60th birthday at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park to be sensational. But he surprised more than 300 attendees when he was carried into the banquet hall by members of the Orlando Ballet-in a casket! Lambert spent the first part of the evening in party drag – think Marilyn Monroe meets Honey Boo Boo. But after he changed – and the Orlando Ballet led a flash mob on the dance floor – Lambert dropped to one knee and asked his partner of 21 years, Shawn Hunt, to marry him. To everyone’s relief – and surprise – Hunt said ‘yes.’ Their good friend, WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe, emceed the event, which was a benefit for Bears Who Care and the Orlando Youth Alliance. Like Auntie Mame, Lambert encouraged everyone to live life to the fullest…as he certainly has.

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Orlando: Gay for president?

By : Anonymous
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Out Candidate on National Ticket?
Too soon to talk 2016? Not for Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe, who was the guest of honor at an April 16 reception hosted by Bob Poe, who sits on the organization’s board. Wolfe touted the organization’s accomplishments, including almost doubling LGBT representation in Congress from four to seven, and electing the first out U.S. Senator, Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin.

And he noted that out state legislators were elected for the first time in several states, including Florida. Wolfe said his immediate goal is helping elect the first out mayor of New York City, Christine Quinn. But he couldn’t resist biting at a question about the 2016 ticket. His projection: Jeb Bush backed by John Huntsman for the Republicans, and Hillary Clinton and Gavin Newsome for the Democrats. And Wolfe went even further, projecting that an out candidate will be on the national ticket by 2032.

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April 2013: Orlando news briefs

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Transgender victim shot, killed at mobile home park
Witnesses say four shots fired from a black sedan in the early morning hours of April 4 were intentionally pointed at a transgender resident of a mobile home park on Nimrod Lane. That victim, who authorities have not yet identified, died at the scene. The park is in the Oak Ridge area. Deputies said that the victim was 30 years old and that they are still looking for clues to the killer’s identity. Anyone  with information is asked to call CrimeLine at 1-800-423-8477.

Lake County Schools to revisit GSA
The Lake County  School Board will hold a final vote on whether to allow a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School at its board meeting on April 22. On March 11, in a preliminary vote, the board voted 3-2 in favor of allowing non-curricular clubs, which would pave the way for the GSA. The issue made headlines when the ACLU got involved after school officials ignored an 8th grade student’s request to establish the GSA in an attempt to combat bullying.

Kings opening benefits Orlando Ballet
A new, upscale bowling entertainment venue, Kings, will host Bowl-erina, a night to celebrate the grand opening of the new complex and benefit the Orlando Ballet on April 16 at 7 p.m. The mid-century themed alley will have a red carpet area, cocktails and special food just for the celebration. For more information, visit KingsBowlAmerica.com/BowlerinaTickets.