Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater announces temporary closure

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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CLEARWATER, Fla. | Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater has announced it will temporary close until April 1 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“Due to the new CDC Regulations regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic, Hamburger Mary’s Clearwater will be unable to host our evening shows and bingos as usual,” the restaurant shared via social media March 18. “We are very supportive of any regulation that would keep this virus from spreading further, and want to do what’s best for the health and safety of our guests and staff!”

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2020 WAVE Award Spotlight: Tech Data

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Favorite Local Corporation for Equality

Tech Data, a global technology distributor, celebrated $37.2 billion in sales last year. But the Fortune 500 company’s most valuable asset is arguably its workforce – 14,000 people in more than 100 countries worldwide, including nearly 2,000 at its Clearwater headquarters.

“Tech Data’s people are the best and brightest in the industry and as diverse as the products and services the company provides,” the corporation shares. “A cornerstone of the company’s culture, Tech Data believes Diversity and Inclusion in our global workforce produces more innovative results and provides a competitive advantage.”

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Watermark celebrates its silver anniversary with a look back at the LGBTQ headlines of the past 25 years

By : Jeremy Williams
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For 25 years, in nearly 700 issues, Watermark has been telling the stories of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ communities.

First premiering in Orlando in 1994, and then expanding into Tampa Bay in 1995, Watermark now covers more than a dozen counties across the state. We can be found in many Florida cities including Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Sarasota—and thanks to WatermarkOnline.com, we have developed an international audience which relies on us for news, politics, sports, arts and entertainment as it pertains to the LGBTQ community.

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Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray talks tours, country music and performing live with a symphony

By : Gregg Shapiro
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Years in the making, “Indigo Girls Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra” is a breathtaking experience. Even if you don’t like live albums—you weren’t there, were you?—this one is an exception.

Comprised of 22 songs, representing nine of the Indigo Girls’ (Amy Ray and Emily Saliers) baker’s dozen studio albums, the Indigo Girls do an excellent job of representing the expected hits like “Power of Two,” “Galileo,” and “Kid Fears.” They also showcase popular deep cuts and a generous supply of more recent numbers like “Sugar Tongue,” “Able To Sing,” and “Happy In the Sorrow Key.” The stunning symphonic set closes with a rousing rendition of “Closer To Fine,” complete with sing-along. As familiar as your oldest friends, you’ll never hear these songs the same way again.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Aaron Bailey and Vincent Santamarina

By : Aaron Drake
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“We had bumped into each other once out and about, then we reconnected online,” Vincent Santamarina says about how he and his now-husband Aaron Bailey first met. “We made plans to meet up for a formal introduction. Our first date was at Busch Gardens on a perfect summer day! It was July 22, 2013.”

“During our first date I wanted the day to go on forever,” Santamarina continues. “Just talking and having fun gives you the gut feeling that you really know someone. I wanted the connection we made that day to be around forever.”

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Classical singer Jackie Evancho talks about love of music, movies and her transgender sister

By : Gregg Shapiro
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Singer Jackie Evancho may be just shy of her 19th birthday but she’s already had enough of a performance career to last a lifetime. A young woman with a soaring operatic range, Evancho began participating in talent competitions when she was still in the single digits.

Evancho’s big break and greatest exposure came when she placed second during season five of NBC’s hit reality competition show, “America’s Got Talent.” From there Evancho became a popular classical crossover artist, releasing EPs and full-length albums, including 2017’s “Two Hearts” and the upcoming “The Debut,” out in April 2019.

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Metro announces grand opening for state-of-the-art health and community center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness and Community Centers will welcome the public into its new, state-of-the-art health and community center during a grand opening celebration Feb. 9.

Metro currently offers personalized health and wellness services in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater and New Port Richey. The organization first began transforming its St. Petersburg location after purchasing the 47,000-square-foot building it called home in partnership with CAN Community Health in 2016. At the time, they utilized only 18,000 square feet of the campus.

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Activist and actor Eddie Izzard on comedy, politics and the end of the world

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Photo by Amanda Searle, via EddieIzzard.com.

Activist, actor and author Eddie Izzard’s 30-year career has been as proactive and fabulous as the comedian himself.

That’s evident in “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens,” published in 2017 to critical acclaim. Izzard’s intelligent humor dishes on historical and sexual politics, mad ancient kings and chickens with guns, all while reflecting on the childhood loss of his mother, his time in boarding school and his sexuality. It also details his time in comedy, film, politics and philanthropy.

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Florida Orchestra conducts first Pride Weekend

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The Florida Orchestra (TFO) will hold its inaugural Pride Weekend across two performing arts centers Oct. 5-6.
TFO, which launches its 51st season Sept. 28, is Florida’s largest professional symphony orchestra. The organization performs nearly 100 concerts annually in and outside of its three main concert halls—Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

Pride Weekend will highlight “Bernstein’s Broadway,” honoring the centennial of American composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth. Its three performances, one at the Straz Center Oct. 5 and two at the Mahaffey Theater Oct. 6, will feature selections from “West Side Story,” “Candide,” “On the Town” and more.

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Watermark is looking for the Most Remarkable people of 2016

By : Watermark Staff
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Every year, Watermark chooses stand-outs from the LGBTQ community – remarkable individuals who made a mark in the past year, whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

2016 has been a difficult year for all of us, both politically and personally, especially considering the marriage victory last year, so we’re looking to honor those who have made the most change, been the most inspiring and helped to make our LGBTQ community that much stronger in the face of adversity.

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Win tickets to see Todrick Hall in “Straight Outta Oz” LIVE!

By : Jeremy Williams
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Watermark is giving away 2 pairs of tickets to see Todrick Hall Presents: Straight Outta Oz. One pair of tickets for July 25 at Capitol Theatre in Clearwater and one pair of tickets for July 28 at The Beacham in Orlando.

Simply comment on this post and tell us which pair of tickets you want to win, the show in Clearwater or the show in Orlando.

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Melissa Manchester talks about her incredible career and the influence LGBTS have had on it

By : Stephen J. Miller
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It’s hard to pin Melissa Manchester’s style down—that’s what becomes immediately apparent in her newest album, You Gotta Love the Life. The Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter isn’t scared of shaking it up. With over four decades in the business, Manchester has embraced the new and crowd-funded her latest work, loaded with many musical styles.

“It’s about show business. The challenge is the key component of an artistic world. You’ve got to be okay with this version of normal—the unsteady, insane and unsure path. I am, and I’ve always been,” says Manchester, who’ll turn 64 on Feb. 15.

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