The Last Page with Founder and Guiding Light Tom Dyer

By : Rick Claggett
Comments: 0

Founder Tom Dyer sold Watermark two years ago, but remains and will forever be the newspaper’s guiding light. His law office is next door, so we see him several times a day when he crosses the parking lot to raid our refrigerator and steal office supplies. Always the diplomat, he offers opinions when asked and reassurance when needed.

Tom first envisioned Watermark back in the spring of 1994. “I was in Atlanta having lunch at a restaurant in Virginia Highlands, where everyone seemed to be reading Southern Voice,” Tom recalls. “I started fantasizing about people sitting in cafes in Thornton Park reading Central Florida’s LGBT newspaper. The idea was so invigorating that I drove to Southern Voice’s offices and asked to meet its publishers. They loaded me down with all kinds of information, and for the next several months it was all I could think about.”

Continue Reading >>

The Last Page with Art Director Jake Stevens

By : Rick Claggett
Comments: 0

Jake Stevens is approaching his 11-year anniversary with Watermark, making him the most senior staff member outside of the owner.

“I needed a job where I not only could push myself as an artist and contribute to my community in a meaningful way, but feel valued as an employee,” says Jake. Watermark provided him the space he needed to do just that.

Continue Reading >>

2016 was the worst year ever, and 2017 was the year we found our footing

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

In these very pages one year ago we proclaimed 2016 to be the worst year ever. It started off with so much promise and optimism, with the official passing of the torch as the former owner of Watermark turned the reins over to new owner Rick Claggett and Watermark Media became Watermark Publishing Group.

President Barack Obama was heading into the final year of his second term and everything seemed in place for another torch to be passed, that of the first black president passing the country off to the first female president.

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s 2018 WAVE Awards – Tampa Bay nomination round

By : Watermark Staff
Comments: 0

Welcome to 2018! It’s that time of year where we make New Year’s resolutions, set goals and do the WAVE!!!

The WAVE Awards, or as Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, recognize the best in Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community in the areas of activism, service, entertainment and more.

Continue Reading >>

10.5.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
Comments: 0

On June 11, 2016, I was out celebrating the birthday of a co-worker and friend. We had plans to have dinner, see a movie and possibly hit a local hot spot to end the festivities. We had a friend with us who spent every Saturday night at Pulse and we were prepared for him to drag us older fellows out there.

The restaurant was crowded so the wait for the table was over an hour. This changed the course of the evening. We missed our movie and had to settle for a later, more obscure film called The Lobster. The birthday boy was ecstatic because we ended up seeing the movie he wanted to see anyway.

Continue Reading >>

7.27.17 Founder’s Forum: Remembering Billy Manes

By : Tom Dyer
Comments: 2

Share this story:

Tom Dyer Watermark gay

Billy Manes wore sweaters on the hottest summer days, often with a scarf and beret. He was quirky in that and so many other ways.

With his gangly body and loose-limbed walk, and that shock of peroxide blonde hair, he was like an elfin Muppet. Strange in a stylish and wonderfully appealing way. Disarmingly honest. Transparently vulnerable. Self-effacing to a fault. But also passionate and courageous when moved by injustice.

Continue Reading >>

Orlando LGBTQ icon and former Watermark editor, Billy Manes, dies at 45

By : Staff Report
Comments: 0
Billy Manes

Billy Manes

ORLANDO | Billy Manes, iconic Orlando LGBTQ activist, former longtime columnist for Orlando Weekly and former editor-in-chief of Watermark, died July 21 just after 4 p.m. from a sudden onset of pneumonia. He was 45. He is survived by his husband, Anthony Mauss.

Manes was from Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 1997. He began his career in journalism in the sales department at Orlando Weekly and eventually became a staple in the paper, writing the “B-List,” “Blister” and “Happytown” columns. He also attended Orlando city council meetings and recapped them in the column “Council Watch.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Allan Hero-Shaw and Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw

By : Samantha Rosenthal
Comments: 0

“Jakob is the kindest and most compassionate person I have ever met in my life,” Allan says. “He’s such a wonderful person.

“I’ve never seen anyone who can relate to other people and give them spiritual support and emotional support. He’s always there for his friends. They look to him for that kind of role. He’s just willing to just drop everything and help someone who needs some help.”

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Bay celebrates Watermark’s 2017 WAVE Awards at Flamingo Resort

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

Watermark celebrated with the Tampa Bay winners of the 2017 WAVE Awards at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg March 9.

The Flamingo Resort hosted the event in their new Blu Room Theatre with flowers designed by The Flower Centre of St. Petersburg. First place winners took home awards in beautiful frames courtesy of Tyrone’s Frame and Mirror.

Continue Reading >>

Jake Stevens defines a decade at Watermark

By : Rick Claggett
Comments: 0

Share this story:

img_9450-2016headshots_ppOrlando – February 8 marked the 10-year anniversary for Watermark’s art director, Jake Stevens.

Tom Dyer, Watermark’s founder and guiding light, remembers the day he met Stevens. “I’ll never forget Jake’s job interview. He radiated New England, down to the brown corduroy jacket. And he had this wonderful, ornery self-confidence. He wanted the job, and I could tell he would give it his all. That’s exactly what he’s done these past ten years, under four very different editors and two publishers,” said Dyer.

Continue Reading >>

2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – WAVES FINALIST ROUND

By : Watermark Staff
Comments: 0

Watermark spent the last week sorting through and counting every ballot, and here it is – the FINAL round for the 2017 Watermark WAVE Awards!

Below are links to the FINALISTS for Central Florida and Tampa Bay/Sarasota.

Continue Reading >>