Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tampa Pride’s celebrity

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Tampa Pride snags its celebrity
With about a month to go, details for Tampa Pride are starting to come in and get finalized. After last year’s huge success when 40,000+ attendees filled the streets in Ybor the pressure is on to try and be bigger and better. Tampa Pride held there Miss Tampa Pride pageant and selected their queen. The grand marshals have been plunked from the community – Fox 13 News morning anchor Russell Rhodes and CEO of Metro Wellness & Community Centers Lorraine Langlois – and now we have our celebrity grand marshal, photographer and designer Mike Ruiz. You might remember Ruiz from Logo’s reality series The A-List, or his appearances on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ruiz has also been recognized and praised for working to help LGBT homeless youth.

There be Mormons outside this theater
One of Broadway’s biggest hits, the Book of Mormon, paid a visit to the bay area and had a sold out run Feb. 16-21 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. If you were lucky enough to get a chance to see the show, you probably noticed something charming occurring right outside the theater. A group of well mannered, clean cut, real life Mormons! That’s right, the light hearted Latter Day Saints were parked outside saying “Hello!” to guests as they entered the show. Unlike many conservative, religious groups who would set up camp with picket signs and yell out ignorant chants, these young lads hung out Two by Two with a sign that read, “have your picture taken with the real thing.” They smiled, they shook hands and they talked with anyone about anything without pushing any agenda, only talking about the All-American Prophet and handing out the Bible Part 3, if you so wanted to. They even hung out after the show, asked theater goers if they had a good time and enjoyed themselves and never once condemned anyone to a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream. Well done boys.

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Manatee Players look to explore forbidden love in World War II with the musical Yank!

By : Jeremy Williams
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Yank! is many things: A musical that honors the song and dance of the 1940s; a play that tells the story of sending young men off to war. More importantly though, it’s a history lesson for how World War II was the frontline that created a community that would later become the movement for gay rights.

“I think with a lot of people LGBT history starts with Stonewall, but our history starts far beyond Stonewall,” Yank! director Kenn Rapczenski says. “Many of the soldiers, especially ones who were court-martialed for being homosexual, couldn’t go back to their small towns and farms, so they settled into big cities like San Francisco. This was the first time gays and lesbians were able to be with each other in a united way and started to form communities.”

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Screened Out – 45 Years

By : Stephen Miller
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Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay

45 Years is currently running in Tampa; it will open at Enzian Theater in Maitland Feb. 26.

What makes a marriage last? There are thousands of answers, meaning there are none.

After all this time, a 70-year-old wife still has doubts about her husband’s old flames, their past decisions, and her own self-esteem. It shakes her to her core the same week she plans for a big party. 45 Years is a devastatingly intimate portrayal of a long-term marriage in crisis.

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Longtime Off-Broadway hit launches full-frontal assault at the Parliament House

By : Billy Manes
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And, they’re off! Within approximately five minutes of musical pleasantries and coy sideways glances, the entire cast of longtime Off-Broadway bachelor/bachelorette-party revue Naked Boys Singing sheds its clothing and reveals its combined parcels of manhood. At the show’s Feb. 4 VIP/press engagement in advance of its Feb. 5 opening, the sound may have been a little bit quiet in the Footlight Theatre at Parliament House, but the message was writ large: Nudity isn’t just titillation; it’s bold and honest, especially on a stage in front of a packed house.

“I think it celebrates the male anatomy, but we do it in a humorous way,” William Bruce, he of the Prince Albert affectation and the cojones to match, tells us over an arranged lunch in advance of the performance. “It’s also really poignant.”

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LGBT films among those enjoyed by President Bill Clinton in White House

By : Jeremy Williams
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Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, which allows previously unreleased government documents to be disclosed to the public, we are able to learn many secrets of The President of the United States… like what kinds of movies the president enjoys.

That’s right, the heavily guarded information of which films are played in the White House’s Family Theater has been released for the Clinton administration and it seems The Big Dog-in-chief may have been the first U.S. president to watch some LGBT-themed films.

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James Corden to host the 2016 Tony Awards

By : Jeremy Williams
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CBS announced that The Late Late Show host James Corden will be hosting to a bit of a larger audience this summer as he has been tapped to emcee the 2016 Tony Awards.

Corden took over hosting duties of The Late Late Show last March from Craig Ferguson and gone viral recently due to a hugely popular segment on his show, Carpool Karaoke.

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Radio City Music Hall attorneys send Wanzie cease and desist over “Christmas Spectacular”

By : Jamie Hyman
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When one sits in Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre and watches The Orange Blossom Trail Living Nativity Christmas Spectacular, featuring Blue Star’s naughty angel, a drag Joan Collins and three wise men pulled from the audience, usually still clutching their cocktails on stage… well. It is almost exactly being in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, watching their annual Christmas Spectacular.

Except not at all. Too bad Radio City’s attorneys don’t agree, as they’ve sent Watermark columnist and Orange Blossom Trail Living Nativity Christmas Spectacular creator Michael Wanzie a cease and desist letter. 

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St. Pete mayor gives State of the City speech at The Palladium

By : jeremy williams
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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke of change and progress at the State of the City address at The Palladium Jan. 23.

“The state of St. Petersburg is strong and sunny,” Kriseman said reading a list of words posted to the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts by people describing the city, even managing to get another dig at presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

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Words to Live by: Aging gracefully

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

By the time this article publishes, I will be 41. I’ve never been the type to dwell on age, well, not my own age. “I won’t fight aging,” I told myself. I will age gracefully. No plastic surgery, no covering up gray hair. Of course I made these promises when I had no wrinkles and my hair was a solid dark brown. Now I stare in anguish at the wrinkles near my ear and do my best to hide the variety of “Just for Men” products in my bathroom.

But aging gracefully isn’t just about your appearance; It’s about your way of life.

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The Real O’Neals loosely based on life of Dan Savage

By : Wire Report
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Pasadena (AP) – A producer for ABC’s new sitcom “The Real O’Neals” wanted a gay actor for the role of a teenager who comes out to his shocked Catholic family but was prevented by a law designed to protect gays and lesbians from asking those auditioning about their sexual orientation.

“It was very important to me and I was in a panic,” said Todd Holland, an executive producer for the series that debuts March 2 before settling into a regular Tuesday time slot a week later.

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Ellen DeGeneres to receive People’s Choice Humanitarian Award

By : Wire Report
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Hollywood (AP) – Ellen DeGeneres is receiving a humanitarian award, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is reaping the benefits.

Producers of the People’s Choice Awards announced Jan. 4 that she will be recognized as the Favorite Humanitarian at their Jan. 6 ceremony. The honor comes with a $200,000 donation from Walgreens, which DeGeneres is directing toward the hospital.

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Watermark Year in Review: March 2015

By : Jamie Hyman, Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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As they celebrated their 25th year, the Orlando Gay Chorus also named James Rode as their new artistic director and conductor. Rode, who is also the vocal director for Celebration High School in Osceola, was excited and pleased to be at the helm for the OGC’s 25th year. Rode showed what he was capable of with his inaugural OGC concert One Voice at the Plaza Live which celebrated a quarter century of music in the LGBT community.

The Hope and Help Center raised funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS for the 20th year with the Orlando AIDS Walk March 28. The two-mile march around Lake Eola brought more than 1,400 walkers and raised over $120,000. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence led the walk followed by 89 registered teams and individuals.

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