Fit for Print: The warm familiarity of the rainbow flag

By : Steve Blanchard
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Recently, and for the first time in my life, I traveled to another country. My husband and I spent two weeks in Ireland, where we toured historic sites, drank plenty of Guinness and mingled with the locals in several of the country’s beautiful cities and towns. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Ireland is a welcoming country and was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote back in 2015. Knowing that marriage equality was voted into place by the citizens of the country, I knew that we would be welcomed and respected as a couple. In fact, we didn’t see or hear any negativity toward the LGBTQ community during our travels.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2018

By : Maia Monet
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Tampa | The 4th annual Tampa Pride occured March 24 in all its glory on the streets of Ybor City. Leading things off in the morning was the Festival Marketplace on the campus of Hillsborough Community College Ybor. Filled with vendors, artisans, churches and theater groups, there was a lot to take in and enjoy for the rainbow-bedazzled public greatly enjoying the perfect early spring weather.

The action shifted in the afternoon to the Diversity Parade led by Grand Marshals Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw, Jane Castor and Christopher Sean. As the parade participants slowly made their way down 7th Ave. through the heart of Ybor City, they were met by thousands of cheering people dressed-to-express their LGBTQ pride and waving rainbow as well as transgender pride flags. Watermark was lucky enough to have a float in the parade and capture some of the sights for your viewing pleasure. Check out our pics after the jump below.

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Tampa Bay Overheard: PRIDE-MINDED

By : Anonymous
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The fourth annual Tampa Pride is just around the corner, and the popular event has revealed this year’s theme: “Diversity Creates Community.”

In addition to the announcement, they’re also calling for all potential vendors, sponsors, and partners to get involved now—while they still can.

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Blessing of the Animals at Historic Ybor Church

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On Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 10 AM Our Lady of Perpetual Help will be hosting the 4th annual Blessing of the Animals.  In honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, we host this event where we welcome everyone to bring pets (leashed or in a carrier).  Our Pastor, Father Hector Cruz, will have a short message and bless each pet.  Since our pets are a blessing, we want to return the favor! The event is also to raise the community’s awareness of OLPH.  We encourage all to take a peek inside the church to see one of Ybor City’s jewels while visiting.  There is NO fee or charge for attending the Blessing of the Animals, and parking is also free while it lasts across the street from the church.

 

Here are the specific details:

 

Anyone with a well-behaved pet is welcome to bring that pet to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 1711 East 11th Avenue, Tampa, FL  33605 at 10 AM, Saturday, September 30, 2017 for a special blessing in honor of St Francis of Assisi.  Dog treats and kitty treats will be provided to owners, and water dishes will be placed around the property to be available for those pups who get thirsty. Any pet spiders are on their own. 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church is situated on land in Ybor City, standing on the site where the original church, Our Lady of Mercy, was completed in 1891. In 1937, a new Romanesque style church was constructed on the site of the original wooden church, Our Lady of Mercy. The new church was named Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) at that time.

The other side of life: Cosmos

By : Jason Leclerc
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This season marks the fortieth anniversary of the launch of Voyager toward the edge of the universe. American spacecrafts Voyager 1, currently in interstellar space, and Voyager 2, currently in the Heliosheath, set upon different trajectories in 1977. They will re-converge, the first manmade objects to leave our solar system, sometime in the mid- 2020s. 1977 is also the year that a thoroughly unsexy Carl Sagan made cosmology sexy as he speculated upon the vastness of the universe and the unlimited, promising expanse of humanity’s role within it. His 1980publication and PBS series, Cosmos, have informed every generation since, tracing timespace from Eden along dandelions’ windswept seeds to the farthest reaches of the universe, billions upon billions of miles into the not-yet-known.

Anybody who’s spent more than an hour in Ybor City in the presence of a local knows all about the two dollar martinis at Bernini’s. Patrons order, sometimes two at a discounted time, their favorite Ruso-derived cocktails. Olive-averse, and otherwise a gin drinker, I’m all in for the bargain: the fruitiest—and pinkest–of all concoctions, the Cosmo. I drink them until the price goes up and then coast into the rest of the night with a healthy, sugar-induced inebriation. That journey into the unknown, into the the insular potential of 12th Ave, carries the same danger and exhilaration as a trip into interstellar space.

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Tampa launches its inaugural festival of freaks and fun with the Tampa International Fringe Festival

By : Billy Manes
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It didn’t come out of nowhere. Trish Parry and William Glenn – both of the revered 2014 Orlando Fringe show A History of Beer – knew the ropes, the challenges and the fun of a Fringe Festival without even having to think or drink too much. While Orlando’s Fringe is touted as the oldest in the country at 26 years now, Tampa has never had one before. That changes on May 11.

“Three years ago, we brought our show to Tampa, because my show partner William Glenn, he was from there, and I went to college there,” Parry says. “We brought our show there and we were produced by this company called Jobsite Theater. We sat down with the artistic director of that and told him all about Fringe and we told him all about how we had been touring with that after college on the Fringe circuit.”

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5.4.17 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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In the dirty-fingernail days of the late ’90s, replete with cheap beer and cheaper ambitions, I came to learn about Orlando Fringe – which had much longer hair and some kind of backpack back then – by simply walking among the freaks that used to populate downtown’s major thoroughfare, Orange Avenue. Conditions at the time were Spartan, to say the least, but emotions were high.

Nobody wanted to be surrounded by some TRL conflagration of boybands and cropped tops; they wanted to be entertained in a sound manner, one that implied intention, grass roots and ambitious plans. Or they just wanted to be high and left alone.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: The Flamingo turns 8 and Tampa Pride celebrates 3

By : Anonymous
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The Bronze Age

Time to wrap a lovely present and get ready to flock to the Flamingo Resort as it is celebrating its eight-year anniversary. I believe an eight-year anniversary gets either pottery or something bronze, so maybe cover singer-turned-politician Clay Aiken in some bronzer as a possible gift to the party? Just an idea.

Anyway, Flamingo’s Eight-Year Anniversary dinner happens April 6 and includes a three course meal (will you be having the chicken or the steak? And what meal wouldn’t be complete with some cheesecake… thank you for being a friend) and a meet and greet with the amazing and talented Flamingo cast, as well as a special performance by Iman. The dinner is just the opening act to a night of celebration which includes “a little burlesque and a little drag, all in one night” with performances by Mayven Missbehavin and Ashlee T. Bangx.

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Tampa Pride has a Grand time in GaYbor

By : Jeremy Williams
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The streets of the Ybor City Historic District were filled with people spanning every spectrum of the rainbow for the third annual Tampa Pride celebration March 25.

From the street festival on 8th to the parade down 7th to the live entertainment that featured out-singing sensation Steve Grand; the crowds cheered, waved flags and showed Pride.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Lady Chablis and GaYBOR Days

By : Anonymous
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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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Tampa Bay Overheard: Masquerade Ball, Metro grant and the Best of the Bay

By : Anonymous
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The heroes Tampa Bay deserves

After one of the most talked about parties last year, Balance Tampa Bay kicked it way up Saturday night, Aug. 6, for the second annual Masquerade Ball, presented by the AIDS Heathcare Foundation. This year’s Masquerade Ball had the theme “Rio,” and stepping into District 3 in downtown Tampa was like taking a step into Brazil’s Carnivàle. This year’s event benefited Francis House, a Tampa HIV supportive service charity serving about 450 clients each month, and early estimates have the event raising $30,000 for them. The “Masquerade Ball: Rio” was attended by more than 400 people and featured stilt walkers, scantily clad beauties and more feathers than the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony. Once the party cooled at District 3, Balance Tampa Bay took the dancing to Southern Nights in Ybor City for an after-party that went on into the wee hours of the night. But helping the community doesn’t allow for sleeping in, not even on the weekends. A dozen or so of those dedicated Balancers got up at 7 a.m. Sunday morning and took to Hyde Park United Methodist Church to help feed the homeless. Charitable actions all weekend long; the power of Christ compels you!

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Janet Jackson, a Ybor City impostor and Santa’s little helpers

By : Anonymous
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Janet-Concert-T-shirt-Tampa
Janet Jackson came to Tampa and all she got was this T-shirt, and she could not have been more excited about it. While performing on stage at the Amalie Arena during her “Unbreakable World Tour,” a fan threw a T-shirt on stage. Now gifts being thrown on stage by adoring fans are nothing new to Ms. Jackson, but this one left her visibly giddy as she opened up the shirt, and it read Penny-Charlene-Cleo-Justice, those being the first names of her iconic characters from Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, Fame and Poetic Justice. The T-shirt was designed by St. Petersburg artist Chad Mize, who was unable to attend the concert, and was tossed on stage by his friend Ryan Prado. The T-shirt design, which lists four similar people, places or things, is becoming quite iconic itself with the World Tour shirt (Paris-London-Tokyo-St. Pete) being all the rage last year. The design even made appearances at this year’s TIGLFF events with the Sundance-Cannes-Toronto-TIGLFF t-shirts. HIGH FASHION!

Can the real Ybor City please stand up?
Hollywood is coming to Ybor… well, sort of. The rights to Tampa Bay writer Dennis Lehane’s novel, Live by Night, were bought by Oscar-winning writer/director/actor/producer/Batman Ben Affleck who will turn it into his next project. The story is set in Ybor City during the 1920s and ‘30s and is about a Boston thief’s rise to power as a Gulf Coast rum runner. Don’t dust off those acting chops just yet though my local performers. While the story takes place in the bay area, the lack of state tax incentives for movie productions has caused Mr. Affleck to head north some 270 miles to Brunswick, Georgia where he is building a fake Ybor City for the film. If you build it, they will come and come he will. The set designers have been busy building since early September preparing for Batman Ben’s arrival to begin shooting the first week of November. Sorry real Ybor and thanks Obama… oops, we mean thanks Rick Scott!

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