Issue 22.06: WAVE Awards

By : Jake Stevens
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A Brand New WAVE: Our readers’ favorites unveiled inside, Orlando filmmaker puts Grindr under the lens, Second GSA lawsuit at Carver wraps up, Zebra Coalition racks up $21K for scholarships, Christine O’Leary brings laughs back to St. Pete, TIGLFF to require venues to provide gender neutral restroom, St. Pete Pride announces grand marshal nominees, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Tampa Bay/Sarasota 2015 WAVE Award Winners!

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST
1. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman

2. Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith
3. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBT COMMUNITY
1. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman

2. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
3. Hillsborough Clerk of the Court Pat Frank

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Jane Castor, Kurt King named Tampa Pride grand marshals

By : Staff Report
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Tampa – Organizers of the new Tampa Pride announced via a press release Feb. 18 that Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Hamburger Mary’s owner Kurt King would be the 2015 grand marshals.

“We are honored to feature such high profile community leaders in our first pride parade and celebration in 14 years,” said Carrie West, Tampa Pride president.

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Chamber’s Diamond Gala expands, adds after party

By : Staff Report
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Clearwater – Business owners, community leaders and elected officials will all be on tap Jan. 17 during the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Diamond Awards Gala. The dinner ceremony will be at the Holiday Inn on Ulmerton Road in Clearwater and will have a much different feel than the organization’s regular dinner meetings held on both sides of the bay throughout the year.

“The purpose is to have an exciting celebratory event to recognize the community leaders and the businesses that have made such an impact on the community,” said Ashley Brundage, vice president of the TBGLCC and the organizer of the gala.

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Chamber set to recognize business leaders with Diamond Gala

By : Staff Report
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Clearwater – On Jan. 17, the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce will hold its first-ever Diamond Award Ceremony. There, the organization—formerly known as the Tampa Bay Business Guild—will honor Tampa Bay community and business leaders with an awards ceremony at the Holiday Inn on Ulmerton Road.

“These awards highlight the impact by community and business leaders and celebrate the achievements of the best of the best in Tampa Bay,” explains TBGLCC Vice President Ashley Brundage.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tis’ the season

By : Anonymous
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Christmas Pride
It’s December, which means the holidays are approaching us like a freight train. Fortunately, with the stress comes parties, and St. Petersburg’s biggest is happening Dec. 6. Red & Green, St. Pete Pride’s annual holiday fundraiser, returns to Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. The night of festivities will include appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus and performances by local drag performers and choirs. Entry is $35 and includes an open bar and some light bites. Every dollar earned goes toward funding St. Pete Pride and it’s community outreach programs. Get more information at StPetePride.com.

Softball eyeing “E” division
There’s a chance that the Suncoast Softball League could create a whole new non-competitive division in 2015. Due to ratings guidelines, some players get forced into different divisions each season, meaning teams get split. To avoid that trauma, the league is entertaining a new recreational league that is unaffiliated, in effect, with the national NAGAAA rules that places ratings in place and guide teams to the World Series each year. The league has asked members to take a survey to determine interest in such a division in the spring. A decision should be announced by the end of 2014. Visit SuncoastSoftball.org to keep up to date.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Boots, buckles and chaps

By : Anonymous
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Gay World Series coming to Tampa?
Well, it’s way too early to say for sure, but there is interest in bringing the Gay Softball World Series to Tampa Bay in the not-too-distant future. Organizers of the Suncoast Softball League met this week to discuss the dynamics of bringing the national tournament to Tampa Bay. Details are scarce, and the GSWS certainly wouldn’t come to us in 2015 since it’s already scheduled for Aug. 17-22, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. But the league has discussed the pursuit been discussing pursuing the long-running series for nearly a year now. Things like the economic impact of the series has helped other cities embrace the tournament. With Tampa Bay’s welcoming cities, we’re hopeful this could become a reality!

The cowboys/cowgirls are coming
It’ll be boots, buckles, Stetson hats and chaps on the stage in the Flamingo Blu Room Nov. 8 as the Florida/Georgia Gay Rodeo Association holds its Mr./Ms./Miss/MsTer FGRA competition. The royalty competition puts participants in several categories, including personal interview, public presentation, horsemanship, western wear and entertainment. The four divisions, in case you are wondering, are for men, women, drag queens and drag kings. The title holders will have the responsibility of promoting the sport of rodeo while being an advocate for charitable organizations and causes. Contestants don’t have to be members of the LGBT community to participate. Boots, Buckles, Crowns and Sashes begins at noon on Saturday, Nov. 8. Get details at FGRA.org or visit Facebook.com/FGRARodeo.

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LGBTs—and a restricted number of allies—vie for World Series rights

By : Chris Muscardin
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Every Sunday morning—since 1993 in Tampa and 1996 in Orlando—LGBTs and allies wake up early, put on their softball gear and head to the fields.
This year is no different, as both leagues are in full swing of their spring season which serves as a qualifier to the Gay Softball World Series, slated for Dallas this summer.

The Central Florida Softball League in Orlando threw its first pitch of 2014 on Feb. 23 at Lake Fairview Park, where well over 100 people gathered. The “Sounds of Freedom,” the local LGBT marching band, played the national anthem proudly at full blast as Parliament House owner Susan Unger threw the first pitch of the day.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: We always suspected Gasparilla was super gay.

By : Anonymous
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Singing Snyman
It was an intimate crowd at the Jacques Snyman concert at Studio620 in St. Petersburg on Jan. 26, but the heartfelt performance by the former Rugby player brought huge applause. The counter-tenor returned to the venue after a successful concert tour of Italy. His songs were all dedicated to “Love Through the Ages.” Love, he explained, is more than just an emotion. He shared the stories behind each song, mostly from opera pieces many of which end tragically. But it wasn’t all serious. Snyman also managed to talk about the positive side of love, dedicating one Ludwig Van Beethoven to his husband, Victor, whom he married a year ago. Following the concert, Snyman spoke with Watermark, and shared that his immigration status is nearly complete after meeting with officials the day before arriving in St. Petersburg. He expects to become an American Citizen any day, thanks to updated laws that recognize same-sex marriages on a federal level.

Softball pitches in to help its own
Last summer, Suncoast Softball League’s treasurer, Scott Lenker, learned he had pancreatic cancer. He spent most of the season in the hospital and, at times, word spread that he may not make it out the doors alive. Fortunately, his health improved and he’s continuing on the path to recovery. However, his medical bills have stacked up. That’s when the league teamed up with Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City for Drag Queen Bingo, which raised more than $4,000 to help with Lenker’s bills. The night was hosted by Esme Russell and several raffle prizes were donated to not only help Lenker, but to raise awareness on pancreatic cancer.

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Clearwater preps for a new LGBT softball league

By : Zach Caruso
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Clearwater – Clearwater is stepping up to the plate, and swinging for the fences. The city’s Parks and Recreation Athletic Department is currently working to develop an LGBT softball league for its community.

“I did a lot of research reading NRP [National Recreations and Park Magazine] and came across a few articles about the economic impact that an event or a league can have on a city, not only in regards to the community but to visitors as well,” said department intern Anthony Brenneman.

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2013 Tampa Bay WAVE Awards Results

By : Watermark Staff
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Favorite local politician/activist
1. Nadine Smith, Equality Florida
2. Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Commissioner
3. Congresswoman Kathy Castor

Greatest straight ally to the local LGBT community
1. Pam Iorio, former Tampa Mayor
2. Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor-Elect
3. Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor
4. Congresswoman Kathy Castor

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: City Side could be yours!

By : Anonymous
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City Side for sale
If you have a spare $300,000 laying around, you could become the owner of one of Tampa’s oldest LGBT bars. City Side Lounge, located on Henderson Avenue near Dale Mabry, is officially on the market. The newly-renovated bar was home to Watermark’s recent “Watermark Wednesday” fundraising event for the Suncoast Softball League and has been a long-time supporter of several teams within that organization. While there was no mention of the status of the property during that event, a reader sent us a link to the commercial real estate site LoopNet.com, which plainly shows the 3,100-square-foot building available for purchase. No word yet on if there are any pending offers, but here’s to hoping it remains an LGBT establishment regardless of who throws down the cash for new ownership!

A grand opening
We’ve written in this space before about the new Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Clearwater. But nothing is official until there’s a ribbon cutting, and it’s especially noteworthy when the mayor makes an appearance. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos was surrounded by restaurant management, investors and a couple female impersonators to make the official declaration that Hamburger Mary’s is open for business in Clearwater. Cretekos made it to the restaurant located just north of Countryside Mall on Thursday, Oct. 17, to cut the red ribbon. The restaurant is operated by Kurt King and Brian DeChane, who also run the Ybor City location.

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