Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Lady Chablis and GaYBOR Days

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More than two tears have fallen as Lady Chablis passes away

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil scene-stealer and Savannah legend Lady Chablis died Sept. 8, according to Club One in Savannah, Ga. where Chablis was a performer.

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Overheard in Orlando: Pour it up at Savoy

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GoFund yourself
A GoFund me account was recently created for Danielle Hunter, which you may have read on WatermarkOnline.com had claimed mistreatment for being transgender after being admitted to the Lakeside Behavioral Center after a suicide attempt. She has since been moved to a new facility, but according to her GoFund me, which was created by Terry DeCarlo at The Center, Danielle’s bank account is in the negative and she doesn’t have any insurance to cover the cost of her treatment. Danielle is the Entertainment Manager for FMI (Funky Monkey & Divas). Although there has been a slew of well wishes and support, the GoFund me page had at least one very Negative Nelly who made some incredible accusations we’re not going to repeat here. The comment and a rebuttal have since been removed. The fundraising goal is set at $5,000; just over $1,200 was raised as of press time.

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-MONEY!
Walt Disney World Resorts showed more than 100 organizations the money, to the tune of $4.5 million in grants. The Zebra Coalition and the Orlando International Fringe Festival were among the recipients, allowing them to continue to positively affect families and children in Orlando. The Mouse gave a total of $4.5 million worth of grants to 102 organizations in Central Florida at a ceremony held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on March 30. The Zebra Foundation for Youth, which funds Zebra Coalition, received $20,000, and Orlando Fringe received $5,000. Now that’s what we call some Disney Magic!

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Lance Bass invades Ybor

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Retirement, again!
More than two years ago, Suzanne Noe announced that she was stepping away from the operational side of ProSuzy.com, the lesbian mega-list of events she created more than a decade ago. Now, Noe is ready to enter into full retirement. On Friday, March 27, Noe will hold a second retirement party that will completely sever her ties with the incredibly popular women’s website. As with her first party, the celebration will be at the Gulfport Casino and will have a “White Party” theme. Noe tells us she’s looking forward to retiring and plans to leave the area. She hopes to move to The Villages later this year. We secretly hope she’ll start another website in the notably socially conservative community. Seriously, we wish her well and thank Noe for her amazing contributions to the women’s community of Tampa Bay.

All about Lance Bass
Liquid Tampa turns three years old in April, and it’s celebrating in a very big way. The popular Ybor bar on 7th Avenue and 15th Street announced it will host Lance Bass of N’sync fame the evening of Saturday, April 11. Limited meet and greet tickets are $30 and advance general admission tickets are only $10. Bass is expected to perform as well as serve as party emcee throughout the evening. We’re not sure if his husband, Michael Ruchin, will be in attendance, but maybe they can make a honeymoon out of it. The couple did, after all, recently tie the knot in front of cameras for a reality show. Why not make a sequel and set it in Ybor City?

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Baxter’s Lounge opens its doors

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Finally re-opened
Everything was set for the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Baxter’s Lounge the last weekend of February—except that construction wasn’t quite finished. These things happen, and fortunately dates for celebrations can be changed. So the new date to celebrate the re-grand opening of Baxter’s Lounge was shifted to March 5, and it was a success. The newly renovated and historic club is now owned by Kurt King, who also owns the area’s two Hamburger Mary’s restaurants. The club on Dale Mabry has been part of Tampa’s LGBT community for more than three decades, and on the grand opening night, 100% of the proceeds benefited the upcoming Tampa Pride.

Big time wedding
On Feb. 18, Ybor City was turned into a wedding reception when Chou Chou Guilder and Tiffany Erica tied the knot in properties owned by Radiant Oil Company. Each woman had 12 attendees and each bride wore a matching Vera Wang wedding dress. After the vows, the party moved into The Honey Pot for a massive reception. The location made sense, since Guilder has tended bar at the popular club for nearly eight years. The couple say more than 600 people were invited to the celebration and at least 400 made it to the actual party. 

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Overheard in Orlando: Local LGBT bar gets a ‘lucky’ makeover

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Minj and Minx take over Mary’s
On March 2, fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Ginger Minj flocked to Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando where Minj was joined on stage by The Minx. The LOGO show’s Season 7 premiere introduced a gaggle of gals, including our local favorite. The audience quietly watched the show and were entertained by Minj and The Minx during the commercial breaks. Minj provided some fun stories, none of which unfortunately revealed the final outcome, The second showing was just as packed and featured former contestant Detox, who is now based in Los Angeles. We definitely suggest booking your tables in advance each week.

Feeling lucky
When the Brink suddenly brunk’ed and closed its doors, many wondered what would happen to the popular location.  But it seems there’s word of a new guy in town who will resurrect Brink and add Lucky’s Lounge to the mix. Lucky’s Lounge will be the happy hour bar and is also known as the front bar. It’s scheduled to open sometime in late April. New GM Brian “Lucky” Smith says Brink will reintroduce its Friday and Saturday  nights with themes. Smith recently returned to Orlando but promises to tell us more on the new venture as soon as he can. With a nickname like “Lucky,” certainly things will go smoothly. 

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Overheard in Orlando: Sam Harris comes to Central Florida!

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From Barry to Boone
Local lawyer Barry Miller’s foundation is known for assisting the arts, like the Orlando Fringe Festival. Now, Boone High School’s Thespian troupe is counting on donations raised from To Boone, with Love: A Benefit Cabaret and Silent Auction and the Miller Foundation. The funds raised on Feb. 20  will assist the talented Boon Braves as they head to the Thespian Society’s state competition. The Barry L. Miller Foundation of the Arts and Education offered to match up to $2,500 of the money raised. The foundation was founded in 2013 with the goal to provide financial support for scholarships and quality programming to individuals, artists, students, educational institutions, community groups, theatre companies and other artistic endeavors. Break a leg Braves!

G is not Good to Go
Recently Watermark reported Rick Kowalczyck, owner of Southern Nights, was in the market to purchase G.Bar in Tampa. The tips were received by reliable sources in both Orlando and in Tampa’s Ybor City. However, by the time we last went to print, Kowalczyck wasn’t available to verify whether or not he was looking to buy. Since the last issue, Greg Skeen, manager at Southern Nights, stated that the story was false and that Rick was not looking to make a purchase at the Ybor city hot spot. G. Bar owner Stephen Moss, however, said inquiries were made, but negotiations didn’t go beyond that. 

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Getting freaky on Facebook

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Get Erotic on Facebook
Facebook has strict guidelines when it comes to photo content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t promote An Evening of Erotica through social networking. The annual celebration of all things sexy returns to the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts Feb. 17 and is presented by the genius minds of Spathose. The night features erotic imagery, fashion and art ranging from photographs to lingerie. Guests are encouraged to capture the evening digitally and post to Facebook using the hashtag #SPATHOSE. Whoever gets the most likes by Monday Feb. 23 wins a piece of Spathose wearable sculpture. Tickets to the event are $25 for MFA members and $25 for non-members at Fine-Arts.org/RSVP.

G Bar could see new ownership
We’ve heard through the grapevine that popular Ybor club G Bar could be under new ownership soon. What first grabbed our attention was a set of liquor reduction blowout nights at the club on Ybor’s 7th Avenue. Getting information has been difficult, but we’ve heard from reliable sources that Rick Kowalczyk, owner of the newly remodeled Southern Nights in Orlando, could be prospective buyer. There are also rumors of the Honey Pot’s impending sale, but we haven’t had any luck getting in touch with anyone to verify or deny that just yet.

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Overheard in Orlando: Gay Days eye Artegon Marketplace

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[UPDATE! Since publication of this post, Watermark has been contacted by Southern Nights manager Greg Skeen, who has informed us that Southern Nights is “not in the process of purchasing any other establishments.” We appreciate the update, regret the error, and will be sure to post any new information about G.Bar’s sale as it becomes available. — Editor]

No singing for OGC at Magic game
It was set to be a beautiful night inside the Amway Arena when the Orlando Gay Chorus entertained a massive crowd Feb. 25. But unfortunately, it’s not to happen. According to a spokesperson with the chorus, miscommunication with the Magic fouled up the plans to perform at halftime—apparently when you’re asked to perform a $2,000 sponsorship is implied. Last-minute negotiations pitched a pre-game performance, to which the OGC denied. Orlando Magic owner, the DeVos family, has a long list of anti-gay moves. We’re hoping this truly was a miscommunication and not something more devious.

Walker joins Hope & Help
The Hope and Help Center of Central Florida has a new event director—and the Center will soon be looking for a new assistant executive director. Russell Walker will leave The Center and begin his new job with Hope and Help on Feb. 16. He will fill the position previously held by Christopher Hessler.

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Overheard in Orlando: Bacon goes to the Big Apple

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When Justice wins
Recently OutLoud Orlando’s Justice has sported a new sleek look. Instead of his usual, dark curly head of hair, the DJ decided to shave his head. On a recent broadcast he shared that the decision came after he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins High Grade B Cell Lymphoma. That diagnosis came in November and in mid-December he began an aggressive chemo treatment. Justice tells us he’s happy that it’s a treatable form of lymphoma and he’s keeping a very positive outlook. The shock-jock will continue his work on 91.5 and webcast.

Love handles
When XL 106.7’s Johnny’s House challenges different businesses to get fit, the staff at the Parliament House accepts! The staff of the P-House—including Anthony Gray, Drew Sizemore, Darcel Stevens, Bryan Granatstein and Randy Justice—are finalists in the ehgiht-week fitness challenge presented by Planet Fitness. They jokingly say they have joined together to fight the battle of bulge as Team Love Handle! This is the type of challenge where you hope to be the biggest loser. And really it’s not a matter of winning or losing this time around, but by how good you look by Gay Days.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: TBGLCC is ‘mixing’ it up

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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New band forming for Tampa Pride
If you plan an instrument or have ever twirled a flag or a rifle, you have a chance to be part of the brand new Tampa Bay Pride Band. The new organization, led by John Davis, David Rosa and Nancy Corporon, are looking for charter members to join Tampa Bay Pride Band. The new group rehearses every Monday at 7:15 p.m. in Ybor City. The group plans to debut at Tampa Bay Pride on Saturday, March 28. If you can’t play an instrument and don’t want to twirl, your services could also be utilized in the form of a social media leader. For details and more information on rehearsals, email TampaBayPrideBand1@gmail.com.

Flamingo’s new head bird
The Flamingo Resort has undergone some renovations to its rooms, and now it has shaken up its hotel staff. The hotel welcomed new manager Robert Bowden at the beginning of January, and the new man in charge has some plans for the popular resort. Expect some new headlining, out-of-town entertainers in the coming months and more themed weekends, he told GSHRadio.com during a recent show. You can also expect a few other improvements, like a larger dinner menu at the resort’s restaurant and expanded hours to feed those after hours crowds. For more information, visit FlamingoFla.com.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Pageant season is among us!

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Bangkx takes ASAP crown
Performer Ashley Bangkx was crowned Miss ASAP 2015 at Blur Nightclub in Dunedin, becoming the 10th impersonator to claim the title in as many years. The pageant featured three local performers from Tampa Bay and four former title holders were either at the judges table or performing special numbers throughout the night. Outgoing Miss ASAP 2014 Monica Moore served as emcee for the evening and pointed out that everything she wore was red—in honor of the AIDS Ribbon. One outfit—a sparkling red pants suit, could be made into the iconic ribbon, she explained, after standing with her legs slightly apart and her hands clasped above her head. Bangkx will begin her reign as Miss ASAP immediately and will be at the organization’s fundraisers, like AIDS Walk Tampa Bay, Dining Out for Life and the Santa Speedo Run.

Atwell shows support on wedding day
Upon first glance, one would have thought that the two women embracing and laughing were getting ready to tie the knot on the morning of Jan. 6 in Sarasota. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be Sarasota Pride chairperson Cindy Barnes and Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell celebrating the historic day. Atwell has been a long-time supporter of LGBT equality and initiatives in Sarasota and a personal friend to Barnes. Atwell has appeared at Sarasota Pride every year it’s been at JD Hamel Park and also makes it a point to appear at other LGBT events and festivals like the Harvey Milk Festival in May. Atwell could be overheard telling Barnes, “I wouldn’t miss this. We’ve worked so hard to achieve this day.” Thank you, Commissioner. We couldn’t have done it without advocates like you.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: St. Pete Pride logo gets a makeover

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Tampa PFLAG recognized again
It’s been a big year for Nancy and John Desmond. The couple who rebooted the Tampa chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), received a Hero award from the Human Rights Council of Hillsborough County on Dec. 12. If the two look familiar (pictured above) they should—they were also grand marshals in the 2014 St. Pete Pride Parade in June. The couple have a gay son who lives out of state, and have helped expand PFLAG’s influence around Tampa Bay and in multiple counties. The 41st Annual Awards Breakfast was held at the Westshore DoubleTree hotel in downtown Tampa.

Dogs and Drag? This bar says yes to both
There’s a new LGBT establishment in town—right on Memorial Highway in Tampa. Dachshunds Bar and Grill is open for business and has given long-time performer Stephanie Shippae her newest starring gig. Shippae (Hey Everybody!) is the emcee and headliner of the Friday night drag shows at the club, located at 5915 Memorial Highway. The shows start at 8:30 and features a recurring cast of special guests. The club, which opened in August, is LGBT friendly, obviously, and also welcomes our four-legged kids since it neighbors a dog park. Visit Dachshunds.bravesites.com or find them on Facebook for more details.

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