Watermark’s Most Eligible Singles 2020: Michael Womack

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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AGE: 25

BORN IN: Tampa, Florida

IDENTIFIES AS: Gay male

PRONOUNS: He/Him/His

SIGN: Capricorn

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Mary Kate Morrissey talks ‘Mean Girls,’ ‘Wicked’ and queer representation

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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When self-described tomboy Mary Kate Morrissey walked into her audition for the musical adaptation of “Mean Girls,” begrudgingly wearing pink and a pair of heels, she wasn’t expecting to see Tina Fey.

Having dressed to mirror the production’s popular “plastic” lead Regina George, she also wasn’t expecting the comedy icon to insist she play the reclusive Janis Sarkisian on the show’s first national tour. “It was the craziest thing,” Morrissey says. “She’s a legend. I originally auditioned to replace Regina on Broadway and my agents told me, ‘Please, please, please go buy something pink and a pair of heels. If you wear your sneakers to this audition, it’s not going to be good. I was like, ‘Oh, fine,’ and I walk in and it’s Tina Fey. Right there.”

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PHOTOS: Watermark’s Swipe Right Party Tampa Bay 2020

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Watermark celebrated love and the release of our third annual Most Eligible Singles issue Feb. 6 with our latest Tampa Bay Swipe Right Party held at The Garage on Central Avenue.

The LGBTQ singles mixer welcomed Tampa Bay’s most eligible singles, with delicious dishes provided by Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, St. Pete and a wide array of music by DJ Bill Kody. Attendees were given bracelets to represent if they were looking or taken.

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‘Hadestown,’ ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Wicked’ and more featured in Straz’s 2020-2021 season

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “Hadestown,” photo by Matthew Murphy, “Hamilton” and “Wicked” photos by Joan Marcus, courtesy the Straz.

TAMPA | The Straz Center for the Performing Arts announced its 2020-2021 Broadway season Feb. 7, detailing  a wide array of new and returning fan favorite productions.

“We have a tremendous season ahead, truly a remarkable line-up of fantastic shows,” Straz Center President and CEO Judy Lisi said in a statement. “When we say the best of Broadway, we mean it.”

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Barbara and Morgan Banno

By : Tiffany Razzano
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Barbara and Morgan Banno were friends before they ever started dating. In fact, Morgan was a regular at Barbara’s popular Gulfport restaurant, Stella’s.

When they first met, Morgan owned a shaved ice business with an ex. “We would try to frequent Stella’s to support local,” she says, “especially female-owned and operated businesses like the one I had.”

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02.05.20 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I’ve never had a particular affinity for cars. I’ve always been grateful to own the ones I have, of course – from my first, a 1991 Ford Thunderbird to my current, a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt – I’ve just never been one to covet the latest make or model to move about town.

That likely began with my Thunderbird, graciously gifted to me by my parents in the early 2000s. It was far from new, though its James Bond-esque keycode entry was clearly ahead of its time, but I was thrilled to have it. All it needed were regular oil changes and a cassette tape adapter for my portable CD player.

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St Pete Pride proudly boasts $67.2 million economic impact

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride has released the economic analysis for its 2019 celebration, unveiling an impact of more than $67 million on the local economy last year.

The 2019 St Pete Pride economic impact analysis was conducted by marketing firm Destination Analysts, Inc. on behalf of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, a member of both the U.S. Travel Association and the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association. Research data was collected utilizing three integrated survey techniques.

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Tampa Pride announces inaugural concert, celebrity headliner

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Martha Wash will headline the sixth annual Tampa Pride’s inaugural Pride at Night March 28. (Photo from Facebook)

TAMPA | The sixth annual Tampa Pride will feature an inaugural Pride at Night concert on March 28 from 6 p.m.-midnight at The Cuban Club, welcoming headliner Martha Wash.

“Tampa Pride 2020 will be bigger than ever,” organizers have shared. “Our street festival will feature more room for community participation and our diversity parade will also be bigger, with more room for bands, floats, horses, music and much more. But that’s not all … this year’s star will be Martha Wash, performing ‘It’s Raining Men!’”

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Transgender and nonbinary discrimination in the LGBTQ community

By : Alec Reynolds
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The LGBTQ community celebrated a milestone in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was an uprising born of exhaustion and fury over the NYPD’s incessant raids on the LGBTQ bar.

Almost nightly, officers harassed and arrested Stonewall Inn patrons simply for gathering at the Greenwich Village locale. Until June 28, 1969. That’s when LGBTQ patrons stood up and fought back, led by two transgender women of color: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

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ReadOut presents third annual festival of lesbian literature, events

By : Tiffany Razzano
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Sapphic fiction isn’t necessarily known for its high quality, Gulfport author Alison Solomon says.

“Lesbian literature doesn’t always have a good name for itself, unfortunately,” she explains, adding that of course there are many talented lesbian authors. Readers just need to know where to find them.

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PHOTOS: Sarasota Pride celebrates 30 years

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride was held Jan. 25 at J.D. Hamel Park, the first January outing in the celebration’s 30-year history.

Enthusiastic crowds and more than 40 vendors filled the downtown locale. The St. Petersburg-based pop/rock duo Halcyon and the Sarasota-based rock group Divine AF proudly captivated audiences, flanked by emcee Lindsay Carlton-Cline and fellow drag performers Anita Cox, Savannah Lynn and Grandma Pearl.

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Watermark’s 2020 WAVE Awards Final Round – Tampa Bay

By : Watermark Staff
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Our WAVEs 2020 vision has gotten a bit clearer. You nominated, we counted and now we have your Top 3!

The Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, or the WAVEs as we call them, recognize the best in Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community in the areas of activism, service, entertainment and more. In each category, we asked our readers to write in who best represents the values of the LGBTQ community in your area. You have spoken and here is the final round. Now tell us your favorite from the Top 3.

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