OYA and Parliament House’s Easter tradition continues with Babes in Bonnets

By : Abigail Brashear
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ABOVE: A sample of the bonnets auctioned off at the 2018 Babes in Bonnets event. Photo by Tabitha Widby

ORLANDO | The Parliament House will once again host the Easter holiday auction Babes in Bonnets, which fund raises for the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA).

Each fundraiser over the past several years has continued to surpass the one before it, with last year’s auction bringing in a record $32,171. The fundraiser itself has been around for 21 years and was started by the legendary drag queen Carmella Marcella Garcia.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Blue Star

By : Jeremy Williams
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Share this story:

AGE: 44

HOMWTOWN: Marietta, Ga.

IDENTIFIES AS: “Me, just me.”

PRONOUNS: “Me.”

SIGN: Aquarius

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Come Out With Pride announces intent to host WorldPride during Pulse 10-year mark

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced in a press conference at The Venue Jan. 23 that they plan to bid to host WorldPride in Central Florida in 2026.

InterPride, an international organization that ties Pride together globally, brings WorldPride to major cities across the globe every two to six years. This year WorldPride will take place in New York City to coincide with the 50-year mark of the Stonewall riots. Several members from the COWP board will be in attendance at the event this June.

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Issue 26.02: What’s Up, Doc?

By : Jake Stevens
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We look at some LGBTQ-specific healthcare concerns you should bring up with your doctor, Orlando’s Blue Star begins the search for The Venue’s new home, anti-LGBTQ activists target Pasco County Schools, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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01.23.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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The beginning of a new year is a lot like me sitting down to write this column every other issue. As the day approaches I am filled with so many thoughts and ideas; and then, when it actually comes time to do it, I spend far too much time staring into the void trying to clear out the clutter.

That is why my first New Year’s resolution of 2019 is to be more organized. More organized with my thoughts, more organized with my ideas and more organized with my desk. The stacks of papers, magazines and toys (yes, I have toys on my desk) are a bit overwhelming.

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Blue Star begins the search for The Venue’s new home as Ivanhoe shopping complex nears completion

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Central Florida entertainer and local business owner Blue Star announced Jan. 21 that she is looking to relocate The Venue, a theater space in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village, after more than six years at its current location at 511 Virginia Drive.

The Venue’s location was part of a multi-acre purchase by Colliers International in 2015. The area is the future site for The Yard at Ivanhoe—a 31,000 square feet living, dining and retail space expected to open in fall 2019.

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PHOTOS: Equality Florida Action PAC hosts fundraiser for State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Equality Florida Action PAC hosted State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith’s final re-election fundraiser before the Nov. 6 general election at The Venue in Orlando on Oct. 23.

Dozens of Central Florida voters listened as The Venue owner Blue Star and Smith’s partner Jerick Mediavilla spoke about the importance of voting for the self-professed “proud progressive, liberal, feminist, gay, Latinx, democrat.”

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PHOTOS: COWP and QLatinx screen international short film ‘MAR’ at Reel Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A week of Pride continued on Oct. 10 when Come Out With Pride, in partnership with QLatinx, presented the inaugural Reel Pride at The Venue in Orlando.

Reel Pride screened the international LGBTQ short film “MAR (The Sea),” directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria. Vitoria was on hand for the event and held a Q&A session after the audience watched his film.

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William Vitoria’s “MAR (The Sea)” to make US film debut at Come Out With Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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“MAR” director William Vitoria

Come Out With Pride’s expansion to a full week of events partners Pride with QLatinx to present Reel Pride, an international film screening of the LGBTQ-themed short film, “MAR .”

“MAR” is directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria.

“I was born in Toronto where I lived until I was seven years old, then my parents moved me to Portugal,” says Vitoria, 28. “I lived there for 14 years and moved back to Toronto.”

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Central Florida Overheard: Who run the world?

By : anonymous
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ABOVE: President of the Barber Fund and owner of The Venue, Blue Star.

Orlando Magazine has named its Women of the Year in Central Florida and a couple of familiar names popped up on that list. “They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all they are leaders, who step forward to help keep our community strong,” says Orlando Magazine of its 23 individual selections.

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Blue Star puts gender fluidity in the spotlight with The Lady Boys of the Peek-A-Boo Lounge

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando performer Blue Star is one person who embodies empowerment and being comfortable in your own skin. Blue came to Orlando in 2000 to attend Full Sail University after a successful dancing career in Atlanta and New York. She planned to stay for just 13 months; she never left. In 2012, Blue opened the theater The Venue.

“I just wanted a place to put on my shows,” Blue says. “But as I say now it’s not my Venue anymore, it’s Orlando’s Venue. It’s a safe place for performers to try out new things and new shows and take risks and really grow themselves.”

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3.22.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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The first person I ever came out to was a complete stranger. It was surprisingly easy. The journey to get to that moment was not easy, nor the mountains I would have to climb after; but coming out to a stranger wasn’t difficult. It was freeing and desperate.

It was the early 1990s and he was a mentor with the Delta Youth Alliance, now the Orlando Youth Alliance. At the time, it was the only resource for gay youth to meet and support each other and it remains a vital component of the community today. My involvement with the group gave me the courage to come out to my high school best friend. That was difficult because it was someone close to me. It was a bigger gamble as there was more riding on her reaction than that of the stranger.

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