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YOUR LGBT LIFE.

ISSUE 17.05 | MARCH 4-MARCH 17, 2010 WATERMARKONLINE.COM

BOYFRIENDBEATING COP

FOCUS ON

MARRIAGE:

goes to court in Orlando

A gay couple plans their big day

ST. PETE PRIDE

hires another new E.D.

Pieces of the marriage equality puzzle Inside tips from a gay wedding planner Florida’s top wedding destinations

Coco Montrese MISS GAY AMERICA 2010

FINDS

D AY T O N A B E A C H

ORLANDO

• TA M PA

HER

FA I RY

S T. P E T E R S B U R G

TALE

S A R A S O TA


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| March 4-March 17, 2010

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watermark | preview

| March 4-March 17, 2010

issue 17.05

4

BITCH 29

PG.

After appearing in John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 film, Shortbus, dreadlocked alt-rocker Bitch became half of the media’s favorite indie dyke power couple. But now, with her relationship over, Bitch has focused on her music and brings her Blasted! tour to Gemini Lounge in St. Petersburg.

6 | Orlando News

Miss Gay America 2010 Coco Montrese poses in a wedding gown to help promote our marriage issue. Montrese, who was originally crowned as firstalternate in this year’s pageant, officially claimed the title in St. Louis Feb. 27. See her story on page 27. Photo by Angie Folks

Cop’s abusive behavior toward his boyfriend gets examined in court; Kissimmee Commission considers domestic partnerships; more.

8 | Tampa Bay News TAMPA BAY NEWS

8

St. Pete Pride loses one executive director and immediately hires a new one; Pinellas Equality Florida Gala raises more than $100,000; more.

12 | Nation/World News Army officials oppose immediate overturning of DADT; Australian Mardi Gras is festive, but still a protest; more.

30

25 | Publisher’s Perspective SCREENED OUT

27 | Miss Gay America 2010

KNOW+TELL

54

Watermark publisher Tom Dyer tackles the copyright road blocks built by the creators of Orlando’s gayest weekend of the year.

39

BILLY MASTERS

Orlando resident and Flamingo Resort performer Coco Montrese is the 39th person to wear the Miss Gay America crown. She was crowned Feb. 27—four months after the official pageant was held. The popular female impersonator shares her story and some behindthe-scenes information about her journey to become a “symbol of excellence.”

39 | Marriage Spring is almost here, which typically means weddings are in full planning mode. However, since the unions of gays and lesbians aren’t legally recognized in Florida, we sometimes have to do a little extra work. We document one couple’s wedding planning journey and look at exotic Florida locales that welcome same-sex ceremonies. We provide a glimpse at where our unions are legally recognized here and abroad and talk to gay wedding planner Beau Fodor about planning that special day.

10 / SARASOTA NEWS 11 / STATE NEWS 14 / TAMPA BAY MARKETPLACE 18 / ORLANDO MARKETPLACE 24 / MAIL 27 / SCENE AND HEARD 30 / FILM REVIEWS 34 / EVENT PLANNER 36 / TAMPA BAY OUT+ABOUT 37 / ORLANDO OUT+ABOUT 50 / TRANSITIONS 51 / ADVICE 52 / SPORTS 53 / CLASSIFIEDS 54 / GOSSIP


watermark | preview

March 4-March 17, 2010 |



editor’sdesk I

Steve Blanchard EDITOR

SteveB@WatermarkOnline.com

When we returned home, my partner’s brother-in-law was unhappy to learn t seems like all we talk about these days is marriage. that while he was out of town, I visited his three children, who are 12 to 26 and The minute we get the right to marry in a state voters in that state who happen to call me “Uncle Steve.” He informed us that while my partner decide to overturn that right. Other states say we can’t get married within will always be an uncle to his children, I never will be. their borders, but their governments will recognize same-sex unions legalized At first that comment stung, but then I realized this poor guy was judging in other states. me based on what he had seen on television and one three-minute meeting with My frustrations with marriage inequality turned into confusion while me two years ago. He, like so many Americans, needs a reality check. pulling together this Marriage issue of Watermark. Keeping the legalities In order to truly win the fight for marriage equality, we have to be true to of it all straight—no pun intended—can really give your mind a workout. ourselves and to our families. Too many people are opposed to LGBTs because And laws surrounding the controversial subject of two men or two women they don’t know any. I find that truly hard to believe. The reason people say marrying seem to change daily. As the editor of a large, regional LGBT newspaper, I constantly find myself they don’t know any LGBTs is because we don’t tell them we’re nearby. I’m committed to changing my brother-in-law’s immersed in LGBT news, events and gatherings. mind, and the minds of those who think like him. That’s not a complaint, although there are times we Andconstantly talking about marriage equality is the need to take a step out of the rainbow spotlight to see There are times we only way to make that change a reality. things from a different perspective. Sometimes my bubble of gayness becomes so need to take a step out commonplace that I forget about the motivations In February, producers for Dennis Talk Revolution of the rainbow spotlight invited behind the deep-rooted views of those who oppose me to be a guest on the new LGBT-themed us. to see things from a show, the format of which is similar to The Tonight In February, my husband and I visited my family Show. When I walked into the non-descript building on different perspective. and my in-laws. Both families are full of conservative Fifth Avenue South in St. Petersburg. I was pleasantly Focus On The Family-following people whose surprised. A familiar face greeted me and led me inside feelings against same-sex marriage are just as strong to a newly renovated studio with seating for more than as my feelings for it. While there were a few awkward moments, the trip went 70 people and a decorated stage complete with knick-knacks, a desk, a coffee very well. My parents have yet to totally accept our relationship, but they did table and two chairs. This was indeed a real talk show. allow us into their home for several meals and extended conversations. We My role was to sit down and chat with host Dennis Esposito about LGBT opted to stay with a friend and took the comfortable dinners as a major step life in Florida and, of course, Watermark’s role in covering our community. forward in our relationship with my folks. My sister, however, did not visit Producers hope this one-of-a-kind show gets picked up by a major network or with us, despite my two young nieces pleading with her to see me, their only at least makes it into mainstream syndication later this year. uncle on our side of the family. Granted, Dennis Talk Revolution hasn’t officially played on any While visiting my in-laws, my husband and I shared a bed and acted television stations yet, but the potential for it to do so is very real. If you completely as ourselves. It gave me hope that if this family, which at one time live in Tampa Bay or are visiting over the weekend, I encourage you to completely opposed homosexuality, could come around to accept their son check out DennisTV.com to get free tickets. It’s a taste of Hollywood right and his partner, families everywhere could do the same. here in our own back yard. | l |

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watermark | orlando news

| March 4-March 17, 2010

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Deputy faces charges he beat boyfriend, but keeps job for now stephen miller Orlando | On March 2, a judge issued a one-year “no hostile contact” injunction against an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy. Master Deputy Bryan Villella, 46, faces allegations that he abused his boyfriend of four years, even forcing his partner at gunpoint to clean up his own blood after one altercation. The court order allows Villella to continue to work while criminal inquiries and a sheriff’s office internal investigation are proceeding against him. “I came here for protection, and that’s what I got,” Villella’s ex-boyfriend Angel Joel Carrion stated while leaving the courthouse with court papers in hand. “Bryan is a cheat and a liar and he needs to be stopped.” Carrion initially filed his petition for a temporary domestic violence protection against Villella in spring 2009. According to Carrion, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office refused to launch an internal investigation at that point. “Back in May, they were calling him one of their ‘valiant officers,’” Carrion said. In November 2009, local news coverage revealed more of the 23-year veteran deputy’s problematic behavior. The sheriff’s office then started cooperating, according to Carrion. Carrion re-filed for protection on Feb. 18 this year. However, Judge Sally D.M. Kest—the same judge who presided over the March 2 hearing— denied the request pending this upcoming court appearance. Captain Angelo Nieves of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed an internal investigation is also underway. “Once the investigation has concluded, it will become a matter of public record and we can provide investigative conclusions and findings” Nieves said. Because of that investigation, Villella and his lawyer declined to answer questions after his March 2 court appearance. The “no hostile contact” injunction allows Villella to carry his gun during duty. However, it denies Villella the right to act as off-duty security at other events, lucrative side work for many deputies. Because his brother is the head of Disney World security, Villella—who until late 2009 was stationed in Orange County’s theme park area—had worked many special events for extra income. During the March 2 hearing, Villella’s lawyer asked Judge Kest to reconsider, but the judge refused. Sherriff’s internal investigations previously found Villella guilty of public sex while working one such event. In November 2009, Villella’s employers docked 150 hours from his pay and placed

him on disciplinary one-year probation for having semi-public sex with a male guest in an abandoned Royal Plaza Resort conference room. Villella was supposed to be working as an off-duty security officer for Gay Days. Investigations found that he’d been wearing his officer’s uniform and gun. Villella was them re-stationed to the downtown Arena area. The internal investigations report states that Villella “violated the moral code” of being an officer. “That was terrible for him,” Carrion says of Villella being put on probation for public sex. “Up until that point, he had not been out of the closet at work.” “I’m not sure what Bryan would do if he wasn’t an officer,” Carrion says. “It’s his whole identity.” The injunction does allow Carrion and Villella to still have contact, but when asked after the court hearing about that possibility, Carrion replied, “There will be no contact.” Carrion states that emotional and physical abuse started after he found out about Villella’s infidelity. Up to that point—two years into their four-year relationship—Carrion said Villella had been suggesting a third sexual partner to for two years, but Carrion always refused. Carrion said he also ignored small clues that Villella was having sex with multiple other partners. Carrion says that most altercations would occur after Villella had spent time in online chat rooms or away from home with other partners and that Villella made him clean up his own blood after one particular fight. Carrion said he decided to end the relationship in February 2009, after he found out at his birthday dinner that Villella had lied and taken another man on a three-day cruise weeks earlier. At that point, Carrion’s attempts to obtain a restraining order were denied and he had trouble obtaining personal property from Villella’s residence. “Law enforcement has been protecting its own,” Carrion said of his previous difficulty. “All that changed, I suppose, after the Gay Days incident.” It’s not the first time Villella has faced problems stemming from sexual relations. A Feb. 23 Orlando Sentinel article stated that in 2001, Villella’s ex-wife, Helen Mackenzie, made claims of domestic abuse during their five-year marriage. He was reprimanded by the sheriff’s office in 2002 for transferring $552 from his ex-wife’s account to his. The final official report could not confirm her allegations of abuse but did state, “It is clear Villella and Ms. Mackenzie have a history of domestic disturbances.” | l |


watermark | orlando news

March 4-March 17, 2010 |

7

MBA names first transgender VP

School official quits over student relationship

jamie hyman

staff report

Orlando | The Metropolitan Business Association has elected Gina Duncan to the position of board vice president, making her the ďŹ rst transgender person to ďŹ ll that role. Duncan is the second transgender board member in the MBA’s 18-year existence. Duncan has been involved with the MBA for several years. She said her initial interest was based on diversity and getting the transgender community involved in organizations around Orlando. Duncan wants to get the different boards she sits on working together effectively. She also wants the MBA to re-focus on networking, shifting some of the focus away from the MBA’s other role of organizing Orlando’s Pride event. “Because Come Out With Pride is so big, we’ve turned into an organization where that’s all we do all year,â€? she said. “But we were formed to promote businesses, like an LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and I’m hoping to head back in that direction.â€? Duncan’s politically also motivated. “I want to use this platform to give some foundation to taking LGBT, especially the transgender platform, to city government

and pushing for further improvements in the city as far as equality ordinances and gay rights,â€? Duncan said. “That dovetails into giving the transgender community a better voice. She was elected Feb. 18 to ďŹ ll a vacancy on the MBA Board. “I am very proud that the MBA continues to represent all persons within our community and we are very excited to have [Duncan] serve this position,â€? said MBA president Dr. David Baker-Hargrove. Duncan is a mortgage banking sales manager for Wells Fargo. | l |

Eustis | A Eustis assistant principal quit her job in February after a relationship with a female student was made public. A Lake County high school claimed Kristine Durias was having an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old student. Supervisors had warned Durias “to pull back from the relationship,â€? school ofďŹ cials told Orlando Sentinel, but it continued for 15 months. A school district report shows that Durias sent messages that included, “I love you like a mother,â€? “My dearest baby girl,â€? “I

Kissimmee commission to consider domestic partner benefits jamie hyman Kissimmee | Sometime this month, an item allowing Kissimmee city employees to purchase health beneďŹ ts for their domestic partners will appear before commissioners. According to Mayor Pro-Tem Cheryl Grieb, who proposed the change, city staff is still working out some policy details but the plan is for the commission to consider the proposal at either its March 9 or March 16 meeting. Grieb said those policy details include carrying over a current policy that doesn’t allow spouses to supervise each other and deciding whether the children of domestic partners may be covered as well. “There are no costs to the city but maybe some ancillary costs because city employees will process the applications,â€? Grieb said. She said she’ has also heard some concerns that if people are added who have a lot of health issues, the city’s premiums could go up. Grieb pointed out that adding healthy people could make the premiums go down. Grieb said most of the feedback she’s received has been positive. However, at least some are against the change. A group of protestors led by an assistant pastor of a Buenaventura Lakes evangelical church stood in front of the Kissimmee City Hall Feb. 23 with signs stating its opposition to the proposal. | l |

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miss you like crazy,â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;I really love you more than you thinkâ&#x20AC;Śyou are everything I would want in a daughter.â&#x20AC;? Amid the allegations, ofďŹ cials placed Durias on administrative leave effective Jan. 20. Her status was changed to an unpaid suspension ďŹ ve days later. At the end of February, Durias was allowed to resign instead of being terminated. The school district has wrapped up its criminal investigation since there is no evidence of an illegal or sexual relationship. The state Department of Education is still investigating. | l |




watermark | tampa bay news

| March 4-March 17, 2010

St. Pete Pride names IMMIGR ATION new ED after resignation steve blanchard Rudisill ATTORNEY plans to attend Representing All Clients Fairly! •Business Immigration •Family Immigration •Asylum •Citizenship •Permanent Residency •Deportation/Removal

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St. Petersburg | After only five months on the job, Shayna Bruce suddenly resigned her position as St. Pete Pride’s first-ever executive director last month. Her resignation left a gap in the organization just four months before the state’s largest LGBT Pride festival returns to Central Avenue June 26. Fortunately that gap was filled only weeks after her decision to leave the organization. “We interviewed several candidates for her position,” said Pride Past Co-Chair Jeff Klein. As of Monday, March 1, Chris Rudisill is the Executive Director of St. Pete Pride. “He may be new to St. Petersburg but he is definitely not new to community service,” said Pride co-chair Scott Turner in a prepared statement. “He has long been a voice for the LGBT community and an avid volunteer.” Rudisill, 33, moved to St. Petersburg in October and was active in Myrtle Beach Pride in his native North Carolina and in CareTeam Inc., an HIV/AIDS prevention organization. “Pride isn’t only about one day, me or the board of directors,” said Rudisill, who lives in St. Petersburg with his partner, Jacob Hamm. “It’s about the entire community and building that community every day, all year long.”

LGBT functions throughout the upcoming months to reach out to the community, its organization and its leaders. An e-mail to Bruce seeking St. Pete Pride named Chris comment on her Rudisill executive director resignation was after Shayna Bruce resigned the position last month. not immediately returned to Watermark. Turner did say, however, that she resigned to pursue other opportunities. During her tenure she oversaw several fundraisers and the InterPride Conference on St. Pete Beach last October. St. Pete Pride 2009 brought more than 80,000 people to the Kenwood District of St. Petersburg. Organizers expect at least that many in 2010. The eighth annual St. Pete Pride Street Festival and Promenade is Saturday, June 26. Several Pride events are scheduled throughout that month. For more information and updates, visit StPetePride.com. | l |

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watermark | tampa bay news

March 4-March 17, 2010 |



Pinellas Gala nets $100K for Equality Florida greg stemm St. Petersburg | The Annual Pinellas County Equality Florida Gala Dinner raised more than $100,000 on Saturday, Feb. 20. The money will go directly to the organization’s anti-discrimination lobbying and other efforts focused on equality issues for the LGBT community, according to Nadine Smith, executive director. The event was held at the home of Coda Roberson and Jack Herald in the Old Southeast section of St. Petersburg. “We are very excited about the success of this year’s event,” Smith said. “Nearly 300 people attended the Gala and we are impressed and moved that so many people are contributing to our important work.” The Gala was the fourth annual event for Pinellas County. Smith said that there are currently 11 similar galas in other Florida communities, with the likelihood that two more will join the ranks by the year’s end. The Gala in Key West, now in its seventh year, is the oldest of all of the galas statewide. Smith said this year’s Pinellas Gala attendance was almost double last year’s and was the biggest ever for Pinellas County, putting it in the ranks of the top others in the state both in terms of attendance and giving. A number of elected officials attended the Gala including St. Petersburg City Council Chairperson Leslie Curran, and newly elected St. Petersburg City Council Member

Steve Kornell. Other dignitaries on hand included Florida Chief Financial Officer and Gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink, Pinellas County Superintendent Julie Janseen, Pinellas County School Board Member Linda Lerner, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, and retired judge Charlotte Anderson. “This gathering is important from a political stance as well as a great opportunity for activists to come together,” said Smith. “It not only holds elected officials accountable, it’s a way for those in office or seeking office to connect with an important constituency.” A feature of this year’s event was the presentation of the Voice for Equality award to Steve Kornell, who is openly gay. Previous recipients of the award have included Lerner, Sink and Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Commissioner. “I’m honored to receive this award and humbled to be in such good company with other recipients,” Kornell said. “I just want to remind everyone that my term is really only a half term since I took the seat vacated by Jamie Bennett when he left to pursue his bid for mayor of St. Petersburg. I’m going to need the support of the community and my constituents, both gay and straight, to help me get re-elected in November 2011.” Castor said that Kornell represented the entire community, not just the LGBT portion of St. Petersburg. “I’m here tonight to pay tribute to my

briefs Sir Jerry, Bad Boy Dan, take leather titles

Dennis TV wraps three shows in St. Pete

Sir Jerry and Bad Boy Dan took the Sir and Boy titles, respectively, in the Tampa Bay Leather Sir/Boy Contest 2010 at the Flamingo Resort Feb. 27. The two men were among nearly 10 contestants vying for the two titles. First runner ups were Master Mark in the Sir category and Boy Michael in the Boy division. Sir Jerry and Bad Boy Dan will both advance to the Southeast Division Leather finals in Fort Lauderdale later this year.

The Dennis Talk Revolution television show has successfully taped three shows in its new downtown St. Petersburg studio. Pioneer Studios is packaging the first-ever all-LGBT talk show hosted by Dennis Esposito for potential network airings. While the show is on temporary filming hiatus, it will return soon and is in need of audience participants. For more information on the show or to learn how to become an audience member, visit DennisTV.com.

FORGE seeking donors The Florida Organization Regarding Gender Equality is looking for donors to assist female to male transsexuals with the cost of chest reconstruction surgery. The non-profit group will hold its next fundraising event at the Gulfport Casino on Saturday, April 3. Sponsorship packages are available and door prizes will be available at the event. For more information on FORGE or to donate to the organization, visit ForgeFl.org.

(L-R) Amy Greene, Nadine Smith, Steve Kornell and Kathy Castor were on hand for the Pinellas Equality Florida Gala which raised more than $100,000 on Feb. 20. | Photo by Greg Stemm

friend Steve Kornell who is not only a great voice for the LGBT community, but to the St. Petersburg community in general,” Castor said. “I’m also here to pay tribute to Equality Florida which is a focal point to communicate and educate on a wide variety of human right issues. What I’d like to pay particular attention to in Washington is to getting EDNA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) passed. I am heartened by the passage of the Hate Crimes bill and that it looks like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will probably be repealed, but it’s only through efforts like those of Equality Florida that those things happen.”

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Gay dance instructor donates services to Metro Out dance instructor Tom Stango will offer ballroom dance lessons at Metro Charities’ St. Petersburg location beginning Monday, March 8. Stango has taught ballroom dance in Tampa Bay for the past 12 years and is a group fitness instructor in Clearwater. All fees collected for the classes are donated to Metro Charities. For more information on classes, times and fees, visit MetroCharities.org.

Sink said the sole reason she was attending the event was because, “I simply don’t believe in discrimination of any kind.” Sink also said this was not the first such gathering she had attended. Equality Florida is a statewide education and advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, gender and class. The organization reaches over 50,000 LGBT and allied households in Florida, making it one of largest civil rights groups working at the state level. The organization’s next fundraising gala is in Tampa on Saturday, March 6. For details, visit EQFL.org. | l |

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watermark | state news

| March 4-March 17, 2010

Sarasota Opera hosts LGBT Night at the Opera staff report Sarasota | The Sarasota Opera will hold its first special event for members of the LGBT community and those who support them on Friday, March 12. The first-ever “LGBT Night at the Opera” begins at 7 p.m. with a pre-show wine and cheese mix and mingle in the Peterson Great Room in the Sarasota Opera House Pavilion. Attendees will then move into the Sarasota Opera House for a performance of the double-bill of Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. The two one-act operas portray peasant

briefs

CAFE

Suncoast Cathedral to hold homecoming

Haines City ‡ Florida

Suncoast Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church in Venice will officially move into its new home on Sunday, March 27. A 5 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony will feature guest speakers Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson and Rev. Elder Lillie Brock. Entertaining will be Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota. For more information

Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director Susan T. Danis, Executive Director

2010 Winter Opera Festival

Now through March 21

Cavalleria rusticana Pietro Mascagni

& Pagliacci

ruggero LeoncavaLLo

The Magic Flute W.a. Mozart

Hansel and Gretel engeLbert HuMPerdinck (Sung in English)

2010 production of Pagliacci. Photo by Rod Millington

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61 N. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota

life in southern Italy. The raw emotions of works are depicted in some of opera’s most passionate and popular music including the famous tenor aria “Vesti la giubba.” A special discounted ticket price of $75 seat includes the wine and cheese reception and an orchestra seat for the opera. Tickets and more information are available at the Sarasota Opera box office at 941-3668450, ext. 1, and mentioning LGBT night. Tickets may also be purchased online at SarasotaOpera.org by using the promotion code “LGBTOpera.” The LGBT Night is part of the Sarasota Opera’s 51st season. The Sarasota Opera is located at 61 N. Pineapple Ave. | l |

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Registration opens for AIDS Ride Trinity Charities will once again hold its AIDS Bike Ride on Legacy Trail on Saturday, April 24, at 8 am. Registration for the charity ride is now open. Interested cyclists of all abilities are encouraged to register at TrinityCharities.org.


watermark | state news

March 4-March 17, 2010 |

11

DCF appealing adoption by gay woman staff report Hollywood | A Hollywood lesbian is battling the state over custody of her infant cousin. Vanessa Alenier became a parent after child welfare workers seized the child from one of her relatives and extended family suggested she take custody. A half-year later, Alenier asked the court to approve the boyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adoption and the judge concured. Last month, the Department of Children and Families appealed the adoption, creating the third challenge to Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gay-adoption law. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Until there is a unified appellate court decision on this issue, we are bound by Florida statute to defend and adhere to the law,â&#x20AC;? Joe Follick, spokesperson for the DCF told The Miami Herald. During a previous appeal, the DCF wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t able to offer a single witness or any testimony to suggest the child was receiving anything other than love and secure home from Alenier and her partner, Melanie Leon. Alenierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attorney, Alan Mishael, has handled two of the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s three successful adoptions by gay people.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Instead of leaving this family alone, DCF wants to break it up and is spending taxpayer dollars trying to do so,â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Mishael told The Miami Herald. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All I want to do is be a mother to this baby,â&#x20AC;? Alenier said in a statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was hoping that this was a signal that [DCF] Secretary George Sheldon might do the right thing in our case, but I can now see that I was mistaken. All Melanie and I can hope is that we are being put through this to help clear the way for others.â&#x20AC;? There have been other rulings against Floridaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s antiquated law banning adoption by gay people. On Aug. 29, 2008, Monroe Circuit Judge David J. Audlin signed an order declaring the law unconstitutional, clearing the way for Wayne LaRue Smith, a Key West lawyer, to adopt a son he had been raising in foster care. The next month, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman allowed Frank Martin Gill, a North Miami man who also declared himself as gay on adoption papers, to adopt two half brothers. Like Smith, Gill had been raising the boys in foster care. The DCF did appeal that case, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s currently under review by Third District Court of Appeal in Miami. | l |

Two cities among The Advocateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gayest staff report Los Angeles | Two Florida cities are listed in The Advocateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s search for the gayest boroughs. The LGBT publication used criteria such as numbers of same-sex couples, statewide marriage equality, gay bars per capita and even gay films listed in regional Netflix favorites lists to create their list of the Top 15 Gayest Cities in America. Ft. Lauderdale came in at number seven. According to The Advocate, the suburb of Wilton Manors alone has 1,270% more gay men per capita than the national average, and Fort Lauderdaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mayor, Jack Seiler, is an active supporter of gay and lesbian equality.

The Advocate also claims that Gainesville is the 11th gayest city. In addition to a vast LGBT cultural presence and tolerance organizations, the home of the Gators also has an openly gay elected official. Craig Lowe, who was recently chair of the successful campaign to stop repeal of the Human Rights Ordinance, is currently running for Mayor. In a departure from previous years, a number of secondary cities dominated The Advocateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s list of gay meccas. They include Asheville, N.C., which came in at number 12; Austin, Tex., at number nine and Bloomington, Ind., the fourth gayest city in the U.S. | l |

St. Petersburg | A state representative from St. Petersburg is adding his voice to those who want to see â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Ask, Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Tellâ&#x20AC;? repealed. Rep. Rick Kriseman has filed a bill urging Congress and the president to adopt legislation that would remove the policy prohibiting gay people from serving openly in the military.

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In a statement, Kriseman mentions his wife and two children, saying he wants them to grow up in a safe world. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wish this for all Floridians,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no doubt that this policy makes us less safe and compromises the readiness and expertise of our great military.â&#x20AC;? Kriseman said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Ask, Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Tellâ&#x20AC;? is a â&#x20AC;&#x153;failed policyâ&#x20AC;? and that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;past time to endâ&#x20AC;? it. . | l |



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Army opinions differ on DADT would have to decide how to implement the changes. Among the questions to be answered through broader legislation is whether the military would recognize gay marriages and extend benefits to gay partners. Meanwhile, Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commanding general in Iraq, says he thinks everyone—gay and straight—should be allowed to serve in the military “as long as we are still able to fight our wars.’’ Odierno said that he has not had much time to think about whether gays should be allowed to serve openly. He said the policy of DADT has been a “non-issue” to him. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said previously that he thinks the law unfairly forces gay troops to compromise their integrity by lying about who they are. Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander overseeing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, also has said he’s not sure that troops in the field care about the sexual orientation of fellow service members. | l |

Thousands celebrate Australia’s Gay Mardi Gras steve blanchard Sydney, Austrailia | Thousands of people in lavish costumes and various states of undress danced and partied their way through Sydney’s streets on Feb. 27 in Australia’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. The parade—one of the world’s largest and most flamboyant gay pride events—had 9,400 participants and 135 floats and featured the theme, “History of the World”—a look at gay history.

Hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators watched the procession. Spectators crowded the route of the parade through Australia’s largest city. The parade began as a protest march in 1978 by homosexual and transsexual men and women. Katrina Marton, head of events at Mardi Gras, said the parade had special importance after a same-sex marriage bill was voted down in the Senate earlier this week. “Under the glitz and glamour it’s still a political march,” she said. | l |

New arguments advanced in gay marriage trial Lawyers in the first federal trial to examine whether state bans on same-sex marriages are constitutional have submitted new written arguments to Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker. Lawyers for the sponsors of California’s gay marriage ban offered new claims that gay marriage could undermine man-woman unions. The potential harms they cited included giving bisexuals a legal basis for pursuing group marriages and unmarried fathers an incentive to abandon their children.

Maryland AG issues opinion on gay marriage State agencies in Maryland must now recognize out-of-state gay marriages until the Legislature or courts decide otherwise,

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briefs according to Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s long-awaited legal opinion. Gansler’s opinion concluded that the state’s highest court likely would rule that legal gay marriages in other states are valid in Maryland, but he noted the matter ``is not free from all doubt.’’ Gansler believes “this will be ultimately resolved in the courts.”

N.H. House rejects 2 antigay marriage measures New Hampshire’s House has rejected a bill that would have repealed the state’s 8-week-old gay marriage law. The House voted 210-109 to kill the bill—almost the same margin it defeated a proposed constitutional amendment about an hour earlier that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Gay marriage opponents vowed voters will have their say in the fall election.

13

Thank You Orlando Watermark Readers!

staff report Washington, D.C. | Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, the Army’s top uniformed officer, has “serious concerns” about overturning the 17-year-old “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military, and supports a yearlong study into the matter before any changes are made. Casey’s carefully crafted comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee indicate reluctance by some within the military’s senior ranks to President Barack Obama’s plan to repeal DADT. Obama says the policy is wrongheaded and should change. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees but wants to move slowly and has tasked a lengthy assessment on how to lift the ban without affecting the force. Casey’s testimony as a service chief is considered crucial to the debate. As the top uniformed officials in each service, a service chief is in charge of recruitment and preparing troops for deployments. If the policy on gays is overturned, the chiefs

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watermark | viewpoint although I could be totally wrong about this. There’s a vintage Newsweek column that’s making the rounds. Back in 1995, poor Clifford Stoll took it upon himself to write about why the internet will never be more than a clunky, confusing “ocean of unedited data,” doomed to remain the disorganized cacophony it was 15 years ago. It’s easy to make fun of Stoll’s How we predictions. Probably the most damning connect line is when he sniffs that a director at MIT “predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the internet. Uh, sure.” But when it comes to his observations about human contact, Stoll Jamie Hyman has some valid points. He argues that CDonlIne edItor ROMs will never replace great teachers Jamie@WatermarkOnline.com and he’s probably right. He denounces cybersex in favor of the real thing and he’s definitely right on that one. However, when he declares that “computers and networks isolate us from one another,” he’s partially right, but he’s missing a key piece of the equation. My personal theory is that in most cases, we still need that human connection at the center of the online interaction if it’s meant to move offline. An example is if I’ve met you at happy hour or a networking event and we’ve chatted for a bit, and then Facebook gives us a chance to interact more casually and frequently, which helps develop our friendship. Another example is when a mutual “real life” friend gives us a reason to cross f you are my friend on Facebook, you paths online, which opens the door for our know that last week I received a letter interactions to evolve beyond the mere from a man in federal prison. (He’s casual. Those are just two examples as to probably reading this. Hi, Jacob!) Even how the internet gives us tools to push a though it was my first time to receive a friendship past the point of “Hi, nice to letter from someone in prison, it’s not unusual for prisoners to write letters to meet you, now we’ll never see each other again.” newspapers. They have a lot of time on I’m not claiming that it’s impossible their hands. This particular letter was for people who are strangers online to thoughtful, well-written and contained a request: He wants advice about the form amazing relationships, because I can think of dozens internet in general, of examples. I just and specifically, think that when it how to use it to make friends. comes to making We still need that friends, the internet Since receiving human connection at works best when it’s his letter, I’ve been a tool people use thinking about how the center of the online we connect. to enhance human interaction if it’s meant contact already in Two issues ago, place. I talked about how to move offline. So what do I tell one of our primary goals for Watermark my lonely prisoner? I’m not going to Online was to create send him to CraigsList.org, the web site a virtual gayborhood where LGBTs can communicate with each other about what’s which probably most closely represents going on in the gay community. One Stoll’s vision of the internet from way back in 1995. Assuming my pal in the pen of my jobs is to monitor the comments isn’t just in it for the sex, hook-up sites posted on the site, and while there is fun aren’t going to work. back-and-forth between commentators, I think I’m going to offer my prisoner as far as I can tell, no real connections have been made. That’s not to say it’s not friend some starting points. Search for possible or in the cards. I just don’t get the familiar names on Facebook. Become a blogger’s smartest commenter. (I’m impression that people are hanging out at betting he brings to the table life WatermarkOnline.com to make friends,

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March 4-March 17, 2010 |

experience to which few of us can relate.) And yes, I’m going to include WatermarkOnline.com, then encourage him to join the conversation, because who knows where it could lead? After all, now he has me, the human connection at the center. Together, we’ll test whether my theory is right. *** One small announcement about Watermark Online: Are you familiar with the Transitions page? It’s located on page 50 of this issue and announces community birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, new jobs, etc. I thought it might be useful to have a clear and easy way to submit items at WatermarkOnline.com so I built a

form. You can find it by going straight to WatermarkOnline.com/Transitions or by heading to the far right on the site’s top menu navigation bar. It’s in the dropdown menu under “Contact.” Oh, and are you my friend on Facebook? If not, you totally should be. Just make sure you mention that you’re a Watermark reader in your request so I don’t think you’re a random stranger and ignore you. And hey, who knows? Maybe we’ll become “real” friends. | l | Jamie Hyman is the Online Editor for Watermark.

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The Princess and the Pee-Pee Anthony Paull

crew me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. Screw me three times, we’re dating! Yes, isn’t it a wonder how fast we slip into relationships? Sure, we take our sweet-ass time in so many other aspects of our convoluted lives— forever pondering the purchase of a phone, car, or house. But when it comes to acquiring a partner, a life commitment, why do we so fall so fast for a beautiful face when we know the ugly truth? Relationships are never perfect, and eventually, loved ones are destined to reveal a flaw, imaginary or not. “But everything looked perfect on paper!” Drew drunkenly slurred, guzzling his third beer of the evening. Home from college for the holidays, he had his fancy, black Prada scarf wrapped coiling his neck like an anaconda—a gift from his rich, sugar-daddy boyfriend. “Well, perfect until I saw his pee-pee. For the love of God, it’s so gross!” Yes, meet Drew. He’s, um, well, special. Yes, since he was a wee, little bitch, he’s earnestly portrayed the princess role, disturbed by even the slightest bit of an imperfection in each of his string of boyfriends. The problem is he finds the most trivial

heading into Bath and Body Works, things to pick apart. Take his last where he found a bottle of mint boyfriend, for example. Drew ended their relationship because of the poor exfoliating cleanser, moments after purchasing a grooming kit at J.C. chap’s table manners. Penney. Texting his boyfriend to “He brought his face to his spoon check on his cats back home, he instead of his spoon to his face,” informed me, “I’ll just, you know, Drew said. “You should see how he prune his pubes with scissors and eats soup, with his nose to the bowl. soften his pee-pee veins with this How could I live with that?” cream.” “But you can’t keep sabotaging “What?! Who wants a soft dick?” your relationships over stupid shit,” I “Well…,” he began. argued, as we departed from the pub, “You’re being stupid. This is en route to the mall for some holiday fucking stupid!” I stated, losing shopping. patience. Fanning his face with his scarf, “Stupid enough to be in your Drew silenced me with a slap on the column?” he bit back. arm as we greeted mid-day traffic. “Ugh! Don’t you get it?” I Gridlocked in between snowbirds responded. “Everything in life can’t and a semi-truck, he told me, with a be perfect. Life is ugly!” slight whimper, that his boyfriend’s There, frozen in place, he torched penis looks like a bonsai tree. me with his baby-blue eyes, deflated “You don’t understand. It’s by a hit of reality. So to ease the like, all crooked, and the hair is pain, I reminded him of beautiful bushy, like in clumps. And veins things—like the gifted scarf around everywhere. Really hard veins. Like his neck, and the “I love you” texts his shaft is made of bark.” from a doting boyfriend who cares “How awful,” I callously replied for his cats. with an eye roll. “How ever will you And in my boggled mind I make it work?” wondered if this is where the “Not funny,” he cried. Feverishly conveniences of modern time have fanning his face, his baby-powder led us? Are we so cushioned by scented perfume filtered throughout our pretty houses, the labels on our the car. “You need to help me. What clothes, and our designer Starbucks should I do?” coffee mugs that we can’t be “Turn out the lights and squeal bothered by the shadow of something when you feel it.” less than ideal? So your boyfriend “That’s not helping,” he said, far has an “ugly” dick. So what? from amused. Meanwhile, text upon Enlighten me. When will we evolve text, his iPhone was lighting up with “I love you” from his boyfriend. “It’s to the point where we realize that we’re human, and not every trivial serious. We’re not even having sex thing needs to be fixed? Lately, it anymore. Well, at least, not naked.” seems we’ve Afraid begun taking to inquire cues from the about what media, inventing that means, “When will we evolve problems during I remained life’s lulls or quiet as Drew to the point where exacerbating small came up with we realize that we’re ones, leading us a bright idea to a world where as we headed human, and not ugliness primarily into the mall, every trivial thing comes from surrounded within. by a sea of needs “Fine! You’re frantic holiday to be fixed?” right. You win. shoppers. So what should “I got it!” I do? Should I he announced. still buy this?” “What do Drew asked, clutching the exfoliating gays do best when presented with cream to his heart. a problem?” Bored, I stalled with a “Nah, you better save your reply. “Decorate it!” he answered. money.” “You know, make it pretty. That’s “For what?” he asked, flustered. how we raise the market value And for once, I don’t sugarcoat of neighborhoods. We buy a the ugly truth, because I know it horrid house, hollow it, honor it won’t help. with enhancements, and reap the “Therapy.” | l | rewards.” “I’m not following,” I admitted. “Well, maybe I can…I don’t Anthony Paull is an actor, filmmaker and syndicated columnist. He lives in Sarasota. know…manicure it,” he said while


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24

watermark | viewpoint

| March 4-March 17, 2010

top web comments

Save it. Spend it/shopping spree Pay off debts/bills. Give it to charity.

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AT WATERMARkOnlInE.COM, WE ASkED yOu:

What will you do with your tax return? A new poll will be posted to the homepage this week. Be sure to visit WatermarkOnline.com and let us know what YOU think!

On Watermark’s (in conjunction with Mark Baker) Gay Days weekend Stratosphere party: I hope this year is great. Some of the best parties I’ve ever been to were Chisholm’s events. Mark has some big shoes to fill, as do others, if Johnny doesn’t return.” —MichaelForton “I am excited to see how Mark Baker does things this year. I think that the cheaper pricing will definitely help because the events were getting way too expensive even though they had top notch lighting and sound. —gayparty “Very excited about the new/former direction. Trust in Mark. Period! But let’s get real, Johnny never offered top notch lighting and sound or entertainment or anything. He screwed the Orlando over area over and over again with the help of his criminal P.R. people.” —RyanFa

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mail Reality is gray In the 2010 Sex Poll compiled by founder/ publisher Tom Dyer, it states “...it proves that we’re deluded. Just about everyone describes themselves as ‘versatile,’...” I agree that most (if not nearly all) gay men are versatile to some degree or another. Does the article mean to imply that we should conform to an artificial binary system and be only top or bottom? All of us classify aspects of our experiences as good/bad, yes/no, or black/white out of convenience, but this is not reality; reality manifests itself as shades of gray. Travis Pilch Via e-mail

Thanks for appearing

is outrageous and unfounded. They claim he should recuse himself from the trial because “a homosexual justice constitutes an unacceptable bias in a case that will determine the constitutionality of California’s ban on gay marriage.” If they are using this as an argument for him to recuse himself then all heterosexual judges should recuse themselves as well because a heterosexual justice constitutes an unacceptable bias that will determine the constitutionality of California’s ban on gay marriage. Either everyone should recuse themselves or no one should. Larry B. Orlando

“The hypocrisy and hate of the rightwing evangelical Christians continues to puzzle me.”

Accidental terrorism?

It was a If someone flew privilege to have an airplane into a the opportunity to building full of people work with Steve to protest the Afghan Blanchard during war, it would be called the taping of show an act of terrorism. #3 for Dennis Talk However, when Mr. Revolution. Joe Stack flew his —Larry B. I just reviewed plane into an IRS his segment and he building and killed was absolutely people, the news brilliant in his media calls it “the accident.” The local Texas presence, interaction and delivery. Thank you prosecutor declared that Mr. Stack was not so much for participating and bringing new a terrorist. But what should you call it when a perspective to the show. man pens a manifesto proclaiming, “violence Chris Kelso is the only answer,” then kills people because St. Petersburg they work for the government? Regardless of the media’s politically correct posturing, the simple fact is this: Joe Stack was a suicide bomber. Even though his name was Joe, and not Mohammed, and even though he was protesting taxes, The hypocrisy, ignorance, and hate of the not Israeli foreign policy, Mr. Stack was a right-wing evangelical Christians continues murderer of the innocent. to puzzle me. Their latest rant concerning Arthur Plum Judge Vaughn Walker who is a gay judge Via E-mail presiding over the Prop. 8 trials in California

Conservative hypocrisy

Send all correspondence to Editor@WatermarkOnline.com. Letters may be edited for space or clarity. Opinions expressed in reader mail do not reflect those of Watermark’s staff.


watermark | viewpoint

publisher’s

perspective

had morphed into the huge multi-faceted and multi-venue event we now know. It is the biggest annual multi-day gathering of gays and lesbians in the nation, with overall attendance surpassing six figures and an annual economic impact estimated by the Orlando Sentinel at more than $50 million. Watermark sold Beach Ball and got out of event planning altogether in 2002. But this year we’re back, producing one of the biggest parties of GD Weekend 2010—Saturday night’s Stratosphere Party at Universal Studios. Here’s why. The way I see it, GD Weekend has Pivotal parties four separate but symbiotic principal components: Saturday’s still-big Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom; hotels and events booked by Chris Alexander-Manley and Tom Dyer Tommy Manley’s GayDays, Inc.; the Girls Tom@WatermarkOnline.com in Wonderland hotel and parties produced by Alison Burgos; and nightly theme park super-parties and after-hours parties that draw from 2-6,000 mostly male attendees each. Like a chair, GD Weekend needs these four sturdy legs. Last year, the superparties got super wobbly. New Orleans-based promoter Johnny Chisholm has been the principal producer of the super-parties—including Beach Ball—since 2007. Last year, Chisholm was denied access to Disney and other venues due to non-payment of prior fees. He shuffled venues and announced the changes just weeks before GD Weekend. Confusion reigned, attendance entral Florida’s bona fide LGBT plummeted, and loyal ticket-buyers were mega-event is just 90 days away. In left questioning whether they would ever this pivotal 20th anniversary year, return to Orlando. I’m excited—and still a little surprised— Amidst all that, the other legs held that Watermark will once again play a steady. Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, production role. which Disney enjoys but does not embrace, It started as a simple, grassroots drew an estimated 30-50,000 of the red gathering of people identified by red tt-shirt persuasion. Always professional shirts at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom GayDays, Inc. filled their hotel and expo on the first Saturday in June; kind of a to overflowing, sold out numerous sitegay Kumbaya at the based events and Castle. To give you pronounced the an idea of how much year a big success. it’s changed since And women lined The young man in front then, I can no longer up for blocks to string the two words of me turned to his get into Girls at ‘Gay’ and ‘Days’ Wonderland parties, friend and said, “I think together without mostly at Disney’s this is the happiest I’ve risking legal action Pleasure Island. by a respected local Meanwhile, ever been in my life.” LGBT entrepreneur. Fort Lauderdale (See footnote.) promoter Michael It’s not bad, Christ secured just way bigger and more complicated, Typhoon Lagoon at the last minute and and Watermark is more than a little made a success of his “Let’s Go Play” responsible. Back in 1997, and with Gay super-party. And back in Orlando, a Day at the Magic Kingdom attracting packed Parliament House used buses to crowds in the tens of thousands, we hit on shuttle people to necessary off-site parking the idea of buying out Typhoon Lagoon for throughout the weekend. a ticketed LGBT event the night before. These key players are all back for The success of Beach Ball, and Jeffrey year 20. They compete for turf and Sanker’s One Mighty Party the following ticket-buyers—sometimes like extreme night, illuminated the potential for growth. fighters in a no-holds-barred cage Within just a few years, GD Weekend match—but they acknowledge their mutual

C

March 4-March 17, 2010 |

interdependence. No one wants to see a GD Weekend with gaping holes in the super-party lineup on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday night. Enter Mark Baker, the promoter of groundbreaking GD Weekend events like the Coliseum Party at Hard Rock Live and the Starz Party at Universal Studios. With a reputation for dependability, showmanship, and brilliant sound and light design, Baker has a devoted following. When he announced his return to GD Weekend with major events on Thursday and Sunday night, many breathed a sigh of relief. But that left Saturday. Universal Studios reportedly wanted nothing to do with traditional party promoters after their experience with Chisholm, but were receptive to the idea of working with a community-based producer. When Baker urged me to contact them I resisted. Been there, done that. As Chris and Tommy and Alison and Mark—and even Johnny—will tell you, planning and promoting GD Weekend events is a lot of work. There are endless meetings and discussions and decisions. There’s substantial expense, with no guarantee of recompense or profit. It’s stressful. But Mark talked me into visiting the gloriously festive Universal Studios Music Plaza, proposed site of what was already being called the Stratosphere Party.

25

As I stood there watching the lighted Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit rollercoaster twist and turn above the stage, I recalled a moment from a prior Beach Ball. I was standing at the top of a hill at Typhoon Lagoon watching 5,000 partiers dance and frolic when the young man standing in front of me turned to his friend and said, “I think this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” Watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, I thought how important—how cathartic—it is to come together in celebration. The tanking economy has made the last couple years tough on everybody. For the LGBT community, there has been the added frustration of gains and then setbacks in our frustrating struggle to achieve full equality. On Saturday, June 5, I say let’s party together. | l | My friends at GayDays, Inc. have given me permission to use ‘Gay Days’ journalistically—as long as I acknowledge their registered trademark each time. It doesn’t sit well with me and they know it, because the phrase has been used for years to describe much more than their substantial lineup of events. So I’ll use ‘GD Weekend’ as a substitute for now. Besides, it’s more fun to tweak them a little.

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| March 4-March 17, 2010

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March 4-March 17, 2010 |

After

Happily Ever

27

Photo by Angie Folks

steve blanchard

COCO MONTRESE IS CROWNED MISS GAY AMERICA 2010

H

istory is important to Coco Montrese—and now she’s a part of it. Montrese performs in clubs around Florida and the country and is a permanent cast member at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg. But the Miami native never considered a career in female impersonation until studying theater and education at Alabama State in the 1990s. That’s where she met Mocha Montrese, who was immediately mesmerized by the young student. “I was in the crowd and was just amazed by her,” Montrese says. “But she walked up to me and said I was beautiful and that she wanted to put me in make up.” The next thing the young college boy knew he was in a gown and wearing full makeup and getting tips from everyone in a nearby Alabama bar. “I had never had a job,” Montrese said. “I focused on school and my parents took care of me. I saw this as an opportunity to make some money and not interfere with my school work.” Soon, Coco was born, thanks to the mentoring of Mocha, and Montrese has continued to perform while holding down a day job as a performer with Walt Disney World the last 11 years. But that job at Disney isn’t what will make Coco Montrese go down in the history books. Coco Montrese is the 39th performer to wear the Miss Gay America crown. A bittersweet crown On Saturday, Feb. 27, Montrese was crowned Miss Gay America 2010—nearly four months after the annual pageant was held in St. Louis, Mo. Alyssa Edwards of Continued on page 32 | uu |


28

| March 4-March 17, 2010

PRESENTS

Sign up to be a: Sponsor, Team Captain, Walker or Volunteer Also participate in the 6-legged walk with your dog! For more information or to register, visit

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watermark | bitch

March 4-March 17, 2010 |

29

the b word(s) SInger “BITCH” launCHeS Her BlaSTed! Tour In ST. PeTe

lawrence ferber

B

reaking up can be a bitch. After appearing together in John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 film, Shortbus, The L-Word star Daniela Sea and dreadlocked alt-rocker Bitch became the media’s favorite indie dyke power couple. But when their relationship came to an end, a development not so widely covered or easily Googled, Bitch turned to her music. Released on her own Short Story Records, Bitch’s second solo effort, Blasted!, served as a lyrical catharsis for her break-up and internal reconciliation. Melodic and sonically dynamic, it traverses rock, punk, and folk, a la the work of Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray, with prominent doses of electric violin (she was classically trained). Raised in Pittsburgh and Michigan by British expats, Bitch studied acting at Chicago’s Depaul University before moving to Brooklyn, N.Y. Her first albums, with former band mate Animal, were released on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe label. In 2006 she saw her solo debut, Make This/Break This (Kill Rock Stars), and in 2008 Bitch produced and released Ferron’s Boulder. Trademark dreadlocks now clipped (“They’re fucking heavy!”), Bitch is energetic and playful, laughing frequently while discussing her album, Daniela, her tour that stops at Gemini Lounge in St. Petersburg on March 10 and an upcoming project with Margaret Cho. BITCH: Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Why the name? WATERMARK: You know, my mom was a cunt. (laughs) It’s so much better than the real answer. The name is a part of me. We all go through times when we ask, “Is this the right thing? Is this crazy? Am I giving myself an extra burden by having a cuss word for a name?” But it’s absolutely a plus; it helps me remember my own strength and it carved out a place for me in a way I can’t quite articulate. Second elephant—the breakup with Daniela. I guess it went fairly peacefully. The album was definitely a part of me working it out. It wasn’t big, dramatic, screaming and throwing boxes on the street. It’s just painful like any breakup. You’ve got to sit there in your pain for a while, and the album is like a letter to myself in a way. What’s the most liberating song on the album, and why?

“Bugs,” because there’s more rage in that song. For some reason it’s easy for me to get in a more angry place than a wistful place. I try to get myself out of a wistful place. I’m an Aries—fire is one of my elements.” Singer/songwriter Bitch has shed her dreadlocks to start a new single life and her brand new Blasted! tour.

What other issues do you touch on lyrically? “Staying Alive” is a song about hope. “Cats Kills” is an old breakup song about Animal, my old band mate. “Wisdom” is a prayer for me.

play it and they finally let me. Nobody else in my family played instruments.

Does this album represent an artistic evolution for you, and if so, how? It’s definitely an evolution for me as a producer. It’s the first time I’ve produced my own music, so I feel like there’s a filter gone. There’s a certain confidence and directness about it I haven’t experienced before. It’s like an unveiling. Putting myself more into the world.

You also have a few side projects. Tell us about them. I made a 39-track album called Sound Bites. It’s an experiment and you can download it (at BitchMusic.BandCamp.com) for a sliding scale, from free to a million dollars. The tracks are 10 seconds or less, mini orchestras and poems and should be shuffled through peoples’ iPods. I’m also working on a track with Margaret Cho. She’s doing a music album, writing the lyrics and her musicians of choice

You raised the money for Blasted!’s release through the internet and Bitch’s Bitches section on your web site, BitchMusic.com. Can you talk about that process, and what was its biggest challenge? When people search for “Bitch” a lot of stuff comes up. I had just stepped into all those new mediums for connecting with fans, so it was interesting to see how much contact and energy really was there. They basically funded my being able to put it out on my label. I made videos with me tap dancing with my mom and it forced me into a playful energy about it—it was successful.” How was early life in Michigan and Chicago and what influence did it have on you? I had moved to Michigan from Pittsburgh, Pa. I lived there until I was about 11. My parents are from England so I had a bizarre take on it. Mom was running a tap dance school and I would help, so we were always involved in musical theater and stuff. I moved to Chicago at 18 to go to acting school and it was kind of a shock to everybody because I had been a classical violinist and really studied it. I feel like I went to acting school to learn how to be in my body, and now when I look back on it, it makes sense. My live show is very performance-themed instead of about guitar solos. Why the violin? I have no idea. Sometimes I think it was like a past life thing. I saw [a violin] on Sesame Street and relentlessly begged my parents to

Photo courtesy BillieJo Cavallaro

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write the songs. My song is a duet between Margaret and her parents. Her actual parents! I am going to L.A. to record her parents singing! She’s putting it out next fall. I love her. | l |

see+hear Who: Bitch Where: Gemini Lounge, 2315 Central Ave., St. Petersburg When: Wednesday, March 10. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets: $10 at the door


30

watermark | film

| March 4-March 17, 2010

screened out IT’S A MAD, MAD, MEDIOCRE WORLD

stephen miller

Stephen@WatermarkOnline.com

Shutter Island

(Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams)

★★★★★

S

ome audience members left this two-hour noir thriller shaking their heads and saying things like “Ugh” and “Good lord!” Others were profoundly fascinated by this undisciplined psychological puzzle by legendary director Martin Scorsese. Both are good reactions, because Shutter Island—based on a book by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone)—is gloomy and super-chaotic, but it’s also interesting most of the time. In the beginning, we are led to believe that U.S. Marshals DiCapro and Ruffalo are at a remote Massachusetts island for the criminally insane. They’re investigating an inmate/patient who has disappeared into thin air. Of course, there’s more nefarious work

afoot. Plus there’s a storm coming, cutting the marshals off from the mainland. Also, DiCaprio has his own demons to face— demons that directly affect the outcome of his investigation. Besides its nifty noir style, Shutter Island has a couple perks. The performances here are really exceptional, even when the plot goes completely haywire. Without a question, even in this mess, Scorsese always has an unparalleled gift with the camera. Too bad no one took red editing pen to the overwrought script. Shutter Island includes Nazi death camps, a hurricane, infanticide, psychotropic drugs, a prison outbreak, migraines, pyromania, violent hallucinations, Civil War history, and World War II politics. You wonder how the actors and director got through filming so many aimless convolutions. Some of the audience didn’t make it.

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the population is dropping like flies due to a recent zombie epidemic. The Crazies is a solid remake of the (Starring Logan Lerman, Pierce Brosnan, 1973 George Romero original, both of Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman) which function like prime examples of typical walking-dead mythology. Olyphant ★★★★★ and Mitchell are a down-to-earth married In Percy Jackson’s world, the Olympian couple—the sheriff and doctor of a small gods are still around. However, except for town under a biological siege. The actors schtupping mortals and then abandoning handle this clichéd horror with Midwestern their offspring, the gods don’t really care that sensibility and commitment. The humanity has forgotten them. filmmaking is fairly gritty and gory. The Percy Jackson (Lerman) is a regular kid script has humor, but it could’ve used more. living in NYC with his single mom (Keener). There’s also quite a bit of nobility, which Then, one particularly rough day, Percy gets is probably something the otherwise goofy accused of stealing Zeus’ famed lightning flick could’ve done with less of. bolt, and his mom gets kidnapped by a Questions abound—loads of them. How Minotaur and taken to Hades. Oh, and Percy come no one seems to get infected through finds he’s Poseidon’s long lost son. That open wounds, though blood is flying cruddy day begins an ambling quest everywhere? Why doesn’t a to find the bolt, get his mom back, massive plane crash disturb the and claim his destiny. land around it? When people Director Chris Columbus know there are zombies (Home Alone, the first two wandering about, why do Harry Potter flicks) knows it’s they insist on checking fun to see Greek mythology out dark barns all by come to life in modern times. themselves? After shooting The effects are nifty, and a zombie, why does the Brosnan makes an excellent person always pause 180centaur. Medusa (the superb Scream, Radha Mitchell; degrees away from the Thurman) just might own a here come The Crazies! supposedly lifeless body? statuary shop in New Jersey. Then, there’s the ending—if It’s probably more difficult that’s where we were heading, we sure took to believe kids renting motel rooms, running the long way, didn’t we? around a casino, or easily stealing a Maserati. Most of these quandaries are scarcely What’s very uncomfortable, though, is important to the people who get a kick out how this choppy, episodic story is chockfull of films like The Crazies. They just want to of abandoned children. All the parents seem know if it provided some frights and gore. flawed and selfish, and their adolescent As the good people of Iowa would say, offspring are left to clean up the mess. “Yepper, that it did.” | l | The movie awkwardly dances around this fascinating theme in its aim for entertainment, but it could’ve more honestly explored the ★★★★★ Overflowing uncontrollably hearts of these discarded young adults. Then with glittery fabulousness Percy Jackson would have been both epic and Pretty damn good, but ★★★★★ emotionally affecting. it’s no Sunset Boulevard

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watermark | performance

| March 4-March 17, 2010

| uu | Coco Montrese from p.27

Mesquite, Tex., was initially crowned in October and Montrese was named first alternate. “I knew I was at my best,” Montrese says. “It was a bittersweet moment because I was so close. There were only eight points between us. I was confident of myself and I knew I could win.” Shortly after the New Year, Montrese got a call that the title had been stripped from Edwards, and she was the new title holder. “I was driving when the owners of the pageant called to tell me I was Miss Gay America 2010,” Montrese remembers. “I had to pull over. I had tears in my eyes.” Montrese says her partner of two years, Alfonso Hestele, immediately asked her what was wrong. “I had to tell him, ‘I’m Miss Gay America!’” Montrese says. The Miss Gay America Pageant hasn’t officially released details surrounding the removal of Edwards’ title, but Montrese was able to say that business dealings that conflicted with her reign were part of it. “I love Alyssa and we are good friends,” Montrese says. “But we both had to sign a contract—they were identical—that state we are able and willing to fulfill the role of Miss Gay America. It’s a job.” Edwards, who has been in entertainment for some time, had several side projects already in the works and was unable to S T .

P A T R I C K ’ S

focus solely on the Miss Gay America title. Edwards runs a dance studio and her dance team appeared on America’s Got Talent and MTV. Similar projects may have been a conflict of interest with her role as Miss Gay America. “I knew there was a possibility that I would be Miss Gay America,” Montrese says. “You have to put your other endeavors on hold. She had other things lined up already. “[Miss Gay America 2001] Charity Case said it best,” Montrese recalls. “‘In order to be Miss Gay American you have to think and act like Miss Gay America,’” Montrese said that before the pageant, she went to speak with her supervisors at Disney to explain her plans to pursue the title. “I told them that this is a title that I felt I could win and that if I did win it, it would require some time off,” Montrese says. “Disney was great and very supportive. They gave me everything I needed to be able to do this. “And make sure you let your readers know that I will still perform at the Flamingo Resort,” she adds. “I just won’t be there every weekend.” Pentecostal beginnings “My parents knew I was gay—kind of,” says Montrese, who lives by day as 35-year-old Martin Cooper. “My father was a Pentecostal minister and he and my D A Y

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Florida native Coco Montrese is crowned Miss Gay America 2010 at the Grey Fox Bar in St. Louis on Feb. 27. Photo courtesy Colin Murphy

of obtaining equality, she believes, is mother caught flak because they didn’t cast accepting things we may not completely me out because I was gay. They were never understand. ashamed of me.” “We are striving so hard for marriage It wasn’t until later that the elder equality, but we deprive ourselves of Coopers, who have since passed away, equality in our own community,” Montrese learned their son performed as Coco says. “I know many cross dressers and Montrese in the evening. some people may not understand it—but “I was hesitant at first because I wanted it’s not for us to understand. They are a part to make sure they were ready for it,” of the community that we need to embrace Montrese says. “I’m headstrong, so when and love them.” I told them about Coco, I said, ‘You are For those who don’t have an appreciation either with me or against me.’” for the art of female impersonation, Fortunately for Montrese, the entire Montrese has a special message. Cooper clan was supportive and his sister“You have to get past they why and look in-law is one of Coco’s biggest fans. at it as what it is—an art form,” she says. “I “I invited all of my family to the night I am a man in a samegive up my crown sex relationship. in Ohio,” Montrese But I have a career said the week impersonating a before traveling to “You don’t have to female. We have St. Louis. “I think understand ever facet to come together they’ll all attend— and get acceptance especially my sisterof somebody, you just before the overall in-law.” have to love them.” community accepts us and grants us the …And —CoCo Montrese rights we deserve.” world peace Montrese says she When Montrese hopes to build on told family members the momentum of her crown and begin a about her performances, she says she production company in the next few years. learned a lesson that she lives by every single day and plans to share throughout her She also says several potential business partners are lining up to support her future reign as Miss Gay America 2010. endeavors. “My parents told me that it’s all about One thing she won’t do, however, is love,” Montrese says. “You don’t have to understand ever facet of somebody, you just pursue another crown. “When I’m in a relationship, I’m have to love them.” monogamous,” Montrese says. “I’m Miss Montrese has met several people during Gay America and I don’t need anything her career that just don’t get the art of else. This is my happily ever after.” | l | female impersonation, she says. But part


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watermark | event planner

| March 4-March 17, 2010

boom!

Michael Buble

Jobsite Theater of Tampa asks what happens when a gay man and a straight woman try to bear a child during the apocalypse in boom!

The sexy sounds of handsome Michael Buble will grace the halls of the Amway Arena and the St. Pete Times Forum in March.

Taylor Swift Award-winning country star Taylor Swift brings her tour to Orlando, Tampa and Sunrise this month.

art

Roll Hall of Fame inductee will kick off the show at 7:30 p.m.

[SARASOTA] Paintings from a Sketchbook

Air

Artist Robert Baxter will exhibit his Paintings from a Sketchbook at Dabbert Gallery in Sarasota March 5-April 30. The illustrator has worked for several magazines, including Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal and will be on hand for an opening night reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more information on the exhibit, visit DabbertGallery.com or call 941-955-1315.

music [ORLANDO+TAMPA] Michael Buble

Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Buble and his huge voice will take the stage at Amway Arena on Wednesday, March 10 and the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday, March 13. The concerts begin at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $49.50 - $89.50 and are available at TicketMaster.com.

[ORLANDO, TAMPA+SUNRISE] Taylor Swift

Kanye West target Taylor Swift brings her country pop schtick to Central and West Florida in early March. She’ll perform to sold-out crowds at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa on Thursday, March 4; Amway Arena in Orlando on Friday, March 5, and the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise on Sunday, March 7. All shows start at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit StPeteTimesForum.com, AmwayArena.BoxOfficeCenter.com, or BankAtlanticCenter.com.

[ORLANDO] Eric Clapton

Blues-rock performer Eric Clapton is holding a concert on Saturday, March 13 at Amway Arena. Tickets cost between $45 and $125 at TicketMaster.com. The Rock &

Catch some Air at Hard Rock Live on March 14. Tickets cost $28 or $32.50 and are available at Hard Rock’s box office. The French duo performs electronica and their music has been featured in the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides.

[MAITLAND] Shamrock Shakedown

Get into the fighting Irish spirit at the Copper Rocket. Knock Down Drag Out, Copper Stepe and Nova Rays take the stage on March 14. The Shamrock Shakedown runs all day, from 1 p.m. till 6 p.m. The $5 cover charge gives you access to the five-hour concert.

theater [TAMPA] boom!

Jobsite Theater presents the explosive comedy boom! beginning Thursday, March. 11. The play is about the end of the world and begins when Jo answers a casual encounters Craigslist ad for “sex to change the course of the world.” She has no idea that grad student Jules actually fears the apocalypse is at hand and is looking for a partner to repopulate the species. That he’s gay and she hates babies is the least of their problems. The hilarious spin on the apocalypse runs through March 28 at the Shimberg Playhouse within the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit JobsiteTheater.org or TBPAC.org.

Little House on the Prairie It was only a matter of time before the Ingalls got a musical makeover. The story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the citizens of Walnut Grove will sing and dance at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts through March 7. In this version of Little

House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the 1970s television series, will play the part of the mother. For tickets and information, visit TBPAC.org or call 813-229-7827.

[LARGO] Gypsy

Eight O’Clock Theater takes on the iconic story of Gypsy Rose Lee, who is forced into showbiz by her overbearing mother, when it premiers Gypsy on Friday, March 12. The Stephen Sondheim-penned show features several local LGBT actors and allies who will perform in the show at the Largo Cultural Center until March 28. For information and tickets, visit EightOClockTheatre.us or call 727-5876793.

[VENICE] RENT

If you know how many minutes are in a year, then you are a fan of the gay musical RENT, which lands at the Venice Theater Thursday, March 11. The story of friends living in 1980s New York and struggling to survive has been a smash Broadway play and a box office success on film. The play runs through April 11. For more information on the local production, visit VeniceStage. com or call 941-488-1115.

[ORLANDO] Garden Encore!

The Garden Theatre in Winter Garden celebrates its second year in business with two nights of gala celebrations. On Friday, March 5, the theatre celebrates several historic milestones in its history. It begins at 7 p.m. with a wine reception on the rooftop of Green Sky Growers, followed by a theatre presentation and concert in the Theatre. The Saturday, March 6 event continues with a community give-back concert, for which tickets are available from City of Winter Garden Commissioners, Winter Garden Heritage Foundation and Garden Theatre board members. More information, including

ticket prices and how to get them, is available at GardenTheatre.org.

spoken word [ORLANDO] Henry Rollins

Singer and spoken word artist Henry Rollins has brought his spoken word tour to Florida, where he played to a packed house at Clearwater’s Capitol Theater March 2. The former Black Flag front man has been an advocate for LGBT rights for years—and he isn’t exactly difficult to stare at for two hours either. Rollins continues his tour at the House of Blues in Orlando on Thursday, March. 4.

special events [ORLANDO] Roller Derby Recruitment Event

It’s the last recruitment event of the year. The Psycho City Derby Girls want those interested in participating to show up at Universal Skating Center on Sunday, March 7. A 4:30–6 p.m. demonstration of derby and its basics will be coupled with information about joining the league. Both men and women are welcome and the Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls are looking for skaters, referees and volunteers. Skates will be available for rental.

Festival of Chocolate

It’s heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth—Festival of Chocolate weekend at the Orlando Science Center is Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March. 7. Vendors will display and offer samples of all sorts of chocolate treats and creations from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Tickets are $17. Need to justify your sugar splurge? Stick to the dark stuff. It’s where all the antioxidants hide.

Got an event you’d like to see listed in Watermark? At least two to four weeks in advance, send all pertinent info—date, time, place, cost, contact information for readers to get more details, and what the event is about—to Editor@WatermarkOnline.com, and we will feature it in the paper on a space-available basis.


March 4-March 17, 2010 |

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| March 4-March 17, 2010

watermark | tampa bay out+about

shot on site

Photography | Steve Blanchard, Tom Dyer, Anthony Paull, Michael Silock and Greg Stemm

1

2

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1- (L-R) Nadine Smith and Steve Kornell enjoy themselves at the Pinellas Equality Florida Gala in St. Petersburg on Feb. 20. 2- Rev. Phyllis Hunt, center, and fellow golfers pose for a group shot at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Tampa during the Second Annual 18 Fore Life Charity Golf Tournament Feb. 20. 3- Performer Alexis De La Mer shows her Leather Pride during a performance at the Flamingo Feb. 27. 4- Lesbian performers Tegan and Sara took the stage of the Tampa Theater on Feb. 20. 5- Tampa Leather Club Sir/Boy winners Sir Jerry and Bad Boy Dan, left, pose with runner ups Master Mark and Boy Michael at the Flamingo Resort on Feb. 27. 6- Players for the D-Division Dog Pound make a play during opening day games at the Woodlawn Fields.

tampa bay overheard More reality stars in the making Tampa Bay seems to becoming a hot spot for reality shows. According to our friends Mark Bias and Carrie West of MC Film Festival, Home and Garden Television is filming a new “clean up your street” series right in the heart of Ybor City in the next few weeks. Two straight couples and one gay couple are scheduled to appear in the filming at local stores, parks and clubs. Tony LaColla and Jose Garboza, Brian Clements and Jenna Becker and Steve and Lauren Ericson are all reportedly on board for the new show. Hopefully, the folks at HGTV will showcase the recent renaissance of Tampa’s historic district in the last few years. The Cigar Capitol of Florida has had a myriad of crime troubles over the last few decades but has seen renovations and improvements of late, especially since the inception of the GaYbor District Coalition a few years back. Here’s to showing the nation how to literally “clean up the streets.”

Mamma Mia! come back tomorrow After audience members waited more than an hour in the lobby, the Van Wezel was

forced to cancel the Feb. 27 performance of Mamma Mia! The company presenting the ABBA-based musical with a huge gay following had technical difficulty with its sound equipment and, after immediate efforts to fix the problem were unsuccessful, patrons were told the show was cancelled. The LGBT-friendly venue opened the show on Feb. 23 and it had a successful closing day on Sunday, Feb. 28. Patrons who were at the canceled show were given the opportunity to see one of Sunday’s performances or get a full refund.

Partners reopens under new ownership After nearly a year of sitting vacant, Partners Sports Café in St. Petersburg has reopened its doors. The LGBT sports bar at 2924 5th Ave. N. closed suddenly last year when its former owners planned to remodel. Soon, however, a “for sale” sign appeared on the marquee and another LGBT business was in the history books. Fortunately, new owners have stepped in and the new Partners Sports Café has opened its doors as a bar/bistro and still caters to the LGBT community. The neighborhood establishment is open daily and offers a full menu.

Got juicy gossip or amazing event photos? E-mail the dish or your photos (with full names of everyone pictured and event details) to Overheard@WatermarkOnline.com


watermark | orlando out+about

shot on site Photography | Mikael Audubert, Tom Dyer, Jamie Hyman and Randy Stephens

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1 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A gang of models, led by MBA vice president Gina Duncan (center), take five at a Feb. 28 photo shoot for Come Out With Pride 2010. 2 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Local filmmaker and activist Vicki Nantz (left) and her partner and fellow activist Mary Meeks rub shoulders with Congressman Barney Frank at the fundraiser for Alan Grayson. 3 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; MBA Marketing Director Jason Holstein and AIDS Walk Orlando Committee Chairperson Nayte Carrick talked fundraising at the AIDS Walk Orlando Kickoff Party Feb. 25 at the Gallery at Interlachen. 4 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tom Zaizar, David Lee and Catherine Goodson get down at Musical Mondays at Stonewall Mar. 1. 5 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Beef(cake) is whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for dinner at the annual German athlete BBQ cookout hosted by Randy Stephens and Dennis Beek on Feb. 17. The canoe-paddlers and kayakers come to Florida every winter to train. 6 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; (L-R) Congressman Barney Frank mingles with hosts Ted Maines and Jeff Miller, plus Frankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partner Jim Ready, at the fundraiser for Alan Grayson held Feb. 26 at The Sanctuary downtown.

orlando overheard Fuming at the fundraiser With Rep. Barney Frank as featured guest, the fundraiser for Rep. Alan Grayson at The Sanctuary on Feb. 26 had all the makings of a memorable event. It was a success at raising moneyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;more than $15,000 from close to 100 mostly LGBT attendeesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and creating high drama. Dozens of vocal â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tea Partyâ&#x20AC;? protestors greeted attendees. Frank and Grayson flew in together, so it was a surprise when Grayson was a no-show at his own party. Turns out his oldest child, Skye, was injured while Grayson was in transit and so he high-tailed it to the emergency room. But State Rep. Scott Randolph, the event organizer, was furious that Grayson had been in the Sanctuary lobby and declined to come up five floors to make apologies to his supporters. So when Randolph later discovered that Grayson had emailed him about another matter during the fundraiser, Randolph went offâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and copied everyone on the fundraiser host committee. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You are a pathetic person,â&#x20AC;? Randolph said, adding far more colorful and bridge-burning language. The following day there was an apology to Grayson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I obviously let my judgment and true feelings about you fall to the wayside and let the wine do the talking,â&#x20AC;? Randolph wrote in his e-mail. Grayson responded with

a stilted e-apology of his own regarding his absence. With handsome partner Jim Ready at his side, Frank carried the fundraiser. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always amused when people talk about the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;radical gay agenda,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Look at what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to make it possible for gays and lesbians to do: get a job, get married and join the army. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d call that the opposite of radical.â&#x20AC;?

Sheehan exposes Facebook fakery In a completely unrelated political e-matter, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan sent out her own mass email warning that someone had opened up a fake Facebook account in her name, with a fake campaign PayPal account as well. Sheehan is not currently campaigning for office. Her biggest beef with the perpetrators: that they made her older.

Bye bye Betsy Sincere best wishes to Orlando Sentinel theater critic Elizabeth Maupin, who retired after 26 years in the position. She has been a champion of local LGBT theater, and that should come as no surprise: she is the sister of Armistead Maupin, who wrote the gayiconic Tales of the City books.

Got juicy gossip or amazing event photos? E-mail the dish or your photos (with full names of everyone pictured and event details) to Overheard@WatermarkOnline.com

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| March 4-March 17, 2010

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March 4-March 17, 2010 |

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(L-R) Married-couple-to-be Wes Miller and Mark Catlett, along with maid of honor Shannon Bilo-Zepf, discuss catering options during a day of meeting with potential wedding vendors. | Photo by Jake Stevens

A WEDDING MARCH jamie hyman

AN ORLANDO GAY COUPLE PREPARES FOR THEIR BIG DAY

I

t might seem like a futile effort to plan a gay wedding in a state where same-sex marriage is illegal. But for gay couples in the Sunshine State who have found true love, there are compromises and workarounds—just like any wedding. Wes Miller and Mark Catlett are in the thick of planning their October wedding. They’re expecting about 100 guests to attend the backyard ceremony followed by cocktails, a buffet dinner with a carving station and dancing until 10 p.m. The Orlando couple invited Watermark along to observe their process: deciding what they want, who is the best vendor, and how they’ll carry out their plans without succumbing to the “Groomzilla” pitfall. History and law Miller and Catlett are already past the seven year itch. They met in fall 2002 at the University of Florida, where they were both

students active in theatre. The couple lives in Orlando but got engaged at a resort in Key Largo, at the end of a pier over a pizza and a bottle of red wine. “We exchanged rings which will be replaced by wedding bands when the ceremony happens,” Miller says. “It had been a washout of a trip based on the weather but the last day we spent at the beach, trying to cram a whole Keys vacation into one day. That was the end of it; a perfect sunset and we talked about going to a fancy dinner but pizza and wine sounded better.” Catlett said the question of “Who asks?” was a non-issue. “No one else around and not a cloud in the sky, we both brought out the rings at the same time and proposed together,” he says. Once the couple’s intentions were settled, the two men had to come up with a plan to get married in a state where their

union is not legally recognized. Catlett has family ties in Chicago so Miller and Catlett are traveling to Iowa in May where they’ll get a license and have the legal, courthouse ceremony. After that, they’ll head to Chicago where Catlett’s 90-yearold grandmother has offered to throw them a party because she is too old to travel. Once their marriage is official, Miller and Catlett will both change their names by hyphenating, although they still haven’t decided whose last name will come first. Family matters—a lot Miller and Catlett both stress that their families are very supportive of their upcoming union, but like any couple preparing to legally blend their lives, they have to figure out the best way to blend their very different families. Miller is an only child whose parents are divorced, while Catlett’s family is large and involved.

“We’re very much attached to his family, the big family, and it feels like I have brothers now,” says Miller. “I had a little resistance from my father [about the wedding] at first but he’s since come around.” Miller said Catlett’s parents treat him like a son (“At Christmas, I go to their house and they have a stocking for me!”) and both sets of parents will be attending their wedding in October. “We know how lucky we are and we don’t take it for granted,” says Miller. “We have friends who are not as lucky.” Another family matter is children. Catlett’s nephew is lined up to be their ring bearer and their guests are invited to bring their kids. “It will be completely normal, and it’s nice to know people are willing to bring their kids and field [their children’s] Continued on page 48 | uu |


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a minute with...

Beau Foder

steve blanchard

GAY WEDDING PLANNER

L

ast year, Beau Fodor had his career figured out. He was excelling in his career with International Professional Relations, Inc., an organization that assists families relocating to Iowa due to career moves. But then something happened in 2009. His home state of Iowa legalized samesex marriage. Literally within minutes of the court’s rulings, Fodor knew he wanted to change careers and focus on planning weddings for same-sex couples taking advantage of the new law. Fodor, who is single, started his own business (GayWeddingsWithPanache.com) and has helped gay and lesbian couples from around the country create beautiful and memorable weddings. The 42-year-old refers to himself as Iowa’s premier gay wedding planner and blogs about his experiences and ceremonies on his web site. The former window decorator and Salvation Army employee spoke with Watermark about what it takes to make a gay wedding special and what to expect when you’re planning your big day. Do you do gay weddings exclusively or do you plan straight weddings as well? Since the ruling, I’ve focused exclusively on gay weddings and will continue to do so. You’re based in Iowa, but most of our readers are in Florida, where gay marriage is not legal. Would you plan a gay ceremony here? If so, what’s involved? I would plan the wedding reception in Florida. I suggest all couples marry legally, in a state where it is legal, and then go home and repeat those vows in a second ceremony with friends and family present—followed by the wedding reception. This may be a stereotype, but after watching an episode of Bridezillas, it makes me wonder if having two brides or two grooms would be just too much to handle. Can you share a horror story with us? Well, fortunately, not really. It has been a sense of gratitude and accommodation that I’ve experienced with the 19 couples I’ve planned for thus far. But families can be high maintenance; you’ve got all those perceptions and suggestions to deal with. Okay, on the flip side, is there one ceremony or wedding that stands out for its fabulousness? Probably the most fabulous one was two young grooms traveling in the cast of the Broadway show Wicked with the cast and the grooms’ families all in tow. It was very chic, very glamorous and featured a vegan menu, a wedding cake and was held in the ballroom of an historical hotel. You can read about it in my October blog on PanachePoints.BlogSpot. com. Are gay weddings really all that different than straight ones? All I can share is what I’ve experienced, and that surrounds issues related to some form of homophobia on very different levels. Almost every wedding couple has shared intimate thoughts and experiences with the issue of

having a same-sex wedding, at least on some emotional or psychological level, and I don’t think the heterosexual couples ever have to deal with that. Some may think hiring a wedding planner is just adding an expense. Why do people need a planner like you? I think you deserve to be a guest at your own wedding, especially so you can relax and be a good host. It is the day you get to be in the spotlight, a day you’ve spent your whole life dreaming about. Why would you try to do it all yourself or burden yourself? You, your spouse and your friends and family are the real guests. You used to work with the Salvation Army. What did you do there and is that organization homophobic? I started at an adult rehabilitation center, doing education and intervention, focusing on chemical dependency and HIV-related issues. The men I worked with changed my life and made me a better human being. I traveled the Midwest, from Michigan to Texas, and was treated with respect and

Photo courtesy Beau Fodor

kindness for more than seven years. Research shows that you planned a gay wedding expo in Iowa. Are wedding expos really that helpful, even though we have the Internet to Google everything we need? Meeting vendors face to face, along with the visibility that this is a true industry are imperative to this movement. And the true sense of community and support for our basic human right that I felt with Iowa’s Gay Wedding Expo was a dream come true. Some places still aren’t thrilled with gays and lesbians holding commitment ceremonies. How should couples approach venues/parks when they want to inquire about it hosting a wedding? First and foremost, do some homework and think gay. Find a gay or gay-friendly

event or wedding planner, have a one-hour consultation, and take their suggestions and go for it. When a couple first hires you to plan their wedding, what is the first piece of advice you give them? Budget, budget budget! And read my blog, starting with the first one from last April. If you could plan anyone’s wedding, who’s would it be? Martha Stewart's. When you find Mr. Right, will you plan your own wedding? I would have to plan my own. I’m sure I’ll be a “Bridezilla.” | l |


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watermark | marriage

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wedding day should be magical and memorable. But since marriage equality has yet to make it to the Sunshine State, many LGBT couples find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Do they abandon friends and go to a state that affirms gay marriage, or should they just have a symbolic ceremony and a party to remember right here in Florida? A wedding day is a special day—and Florida offers many exotic and memorable locations to ensure a day you and your fiancé won’t soon forget. But finding the right location that is LGBT friendly can be difficult. So we did the work for you. There are tons of options. So why not get married… On a cruise The romance evoked from cruise lines can make for the perfect wedding setting. And while most cruise lines do offer samesex wedding ceremonies, not all of them can offer you the legalities of a marriage. Big names like Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian all offer samesex wedding services, but unless a ship operates from a country that allows legal same-sex marriage, the ceremony is just symbolic. In Florida, Charter One in Fort Lauderdale offers custom-tailored commitment ceremonies and other LGBT

celebrations. Company co-owner Lauren Talchik said that while the State of Florida doesn’t recognize gay marriage, gay or lesbian couples should not refrain from celebrating their commitment to each other. She says the crew is gay-friendly and partners with local gay-owned vendors to create the shipboard events. The fleet includes a number of ships, from intimate 65-foot yachts to ships that can accommodate up to 400 guests. For more information, visit YachtChartersNow. com or call 953-771-0102. In a garden Florida’s warm weather and exotic plant life combine for the perfect setting for an outdoor, botanical-themed wedding. Parks and gardens throughout the state provide lush settings for vows and some even offer wedding planning services. The trick to finding the right garden for your same-sex ceremony is determining who actually owns the property. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, for example, is privately owned and therefore not under the jurisdiction of local law. A spokeswoman for the park said same-sex ceremonies are permitted, even though same-sex marriage is not legal in Florida. Hollis Garden in Lakeland, however, requires a city permit for a wedding, which means getting permission for gay couples


watermark | marriage could be tricky. Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg is listed as a “destination wedding location” and has accepted same-sex couples wanting to announce their devotion to each other for years, according to Sarah Carvalis of the St. Petersburg Downtown Enterprise Facilities Department. “As far as I know, same-sex ceremonies have always been welcome here,” Carvalis says. “We have straight and gay couples using the gardens throughout the year and different packages depending on what they want.” Sunken Gardens is officially owned by the City of St. Petersburg, which has a non-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation. Carvalis said she was unaware of any protests or backlash related to a same-sex union at the gardens. “Since we are part of the city, everything that happens here is public record, including commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples,” Carvalis notes. “No one has seemed to care that much, which is great.” For more information on Bok Tower Gardens, call 863-676-1408. For details on wedding services by Sunken Gardens, call 727-551-3106. In a castle The United States isn’t exactly known for its castles. But same-sex couples can have a fairy tail wedding on castle grounds right here in Florida. Solomon’s Castle in Ona offers weddings for gays and straights alike, according to a spokesperson there. “We welcome everyone,” said Dave, who answered the phone at the rural castle. “They just need to let us know what they want done.” Solomon’s Castle was built more than three decades ago by Howard Solomon on a remote Florida swamp deep inside Hardee County. The castle is Solomon’s home, which is built from discarded press plates of the local daily newspaper. It sits right next door to the Boat in the Moat restaurant, which offers catering services to wedding parties. If couples want a wedding that’s over the top—this is the place to say “I do.” For more information, visit SolomonsCastle.org. At an amusement park Disney sells approximately 2,000 wedding packages each year to both gay and straight couples, and has since it began offering domestic partnership benefits to gay couples in 1996. But it wasn’t until late spring of 2007 that same-sex couples were allowed to be publicly “married” at the Magic Kingdom. “We believe this change is consistent with Disney’s longstanding policy of welcoming all guests in an inclusive environment,” Disney Parks spokesman Donn Walker wrote in a press release. The decision to allow same-sex couples access to all wedding venues was prompted when

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a male couple complained they were denied equal access to the parks. Disney parks haven’t received much opposition to the policy of allowing samesex partners to marry, mostly because the unions aren’t legally recognized. If the Disney thing isn’t to your liking, you could always get married with a few mermaids in your wedding party. Weeki Wachee Springs in Spring Hill has welcomed same-sex couples for years, according to John Athanason, public relations director for the mermaid-themed park. “We’ve offered same-sex marriages for as long as I can remember,” Athanason says. “The process is no different than any other wedding ceremony we’ve had here. Everyone who comes here customizes their ceremony to be exactly what they want.” For more information on Disney weddings, call 321-939-4610 or visit DisneyWeddings. com. For information on Weeki Wachee weddings, visit WeekiWachee.com or call 352-596-2062. On the water There are wedding cruises, and then there are weddings on the water. Weddings on Water, based out of Sarasota, offers America’s first floating wedding chapel, where it cruises into Sarasota Bay for each ceremony. The floating church used to be docked in St. Petersburg, but was sold late last year. However, the chapel still offers commitment ceremonies to same-sex couples. It’s a beach wedding without the beach, according to its web site, WeddingsOnWater.com. | l |

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e can get married in Massachusetts, but we can’t in Florida. At one time we could be wed in California and Maine, but voters decided against marriage equality and took it away. Elton John can have a civil union, not a marriage, with his partner in the United Kingdom, but they could be legally married in Sweden and it would also be recognized by Israel. Piecing together the dos and don’ts of LGBT “I do’s” is a frustrating challenge. While the world as a whole has taken amazing strides to legalize same-sex marriage since Denmark first offered domestic partnerships to same-sex couples in 1989, we still have a long way to go. Today, seven countries legally recognize same-sex marriage and 20 others offer domestic partnerships or civil unions that are mostly identical to marriage. Right now, five U.S. states and Washington D.C. allow gays and lesbians to be legally wed and seven others offer civil unions in varying degrees. But on the federal level, the Defense of Marriage Act still denies same-sex couples federal marriage protections. That is blatant discrimination, according to Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, an organization advocating for federal recognition of same-sex marriage. “Marriage is much more than a bundle of legal protections and responsibilities,” says Wolfson, who is also the author of Why Marriage Matters. “There’s a whole vocabulary and understanding that society has about who you are in relation to the person you’re building your life with.” When someone hears the term marriage, it immediately opens doors in all kinds of ways, Wolfson points out. Even if a different term such as civil union or domestic partnership provides

the same legal protections, there are still hurdles to overcome. “The intangibles of marriage are as powerful as the tangibles that come with that marriage license,” Wolfson says. “People just understand marriage and treat it with respect.” More than 1,000 legal protections and requirements come with legal marriage. For LGBT people who cannot get married legally, they must take extra steps and precautions to protect their spouse and family. Even the most thorough planning, however, can have its challenges. According to People for the American Way, legislation on the local level can prevent LGBT discrimination, but it’s still an extra step married couples don’t have to take. In 2008, in Coral Gables, a lesbian couple raising four children applied for a family rate membership at the city’s War Memorial Youth Center. The couple was denied the rate because of the policy on the books. “Family consists of husband, wife, and all dependent children through age 17,” the director of the facility told the couple in a letter. “The staff apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause you, but the Department operates under these guidelines for all membership categories and definitions at this time.” The women eventually contacted an attorney, who reminded the facility of the Miami-Dade County ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the women finally received their membership cards at the family rate. While the result was positive for the women, it was still an unnecessary step to take considering a married couple would never have encountered the issue to begin with. Most LGBT people wanting marriage rights think about death bed scenarios involving their partners. Married couples


watermark | marriage are immediately granted the right to visit a sick spouse or to make decisions relating to care. Unmarried couples— namely GLBT partners—do not have that right. The term marriage immediately provokes people to view a couple as a team or as a unit, Wolfson told Watermark in a 2008 interview. Without that title, getting denied benefits on all levels is a part of daily life. “You have couples who have lived together for a quarter century or more who have to worry about what will happen when their health begins failing,” Wolfson said. “Married couples know exactly what will happen to their pensions and retirement programs. Unmarried partners don’t have that kind of control and it’s not fair.” Same-sex marriage has taken hits in the past two years with 36 states voting to ban same-sex marriage in their constitutions and the referendums in California and Maine that successfully overturned the legalization of gay marriage. Wolfson remains optimistic and says that to gain marriage equality, LGBTs must share their stories. “We’ll change people’s hearts and minds and the laws by helping them hear our personal stories,” Wolfson says. “We have to engage people and push them past their discomfort level on the subject. We are the human face to the issue.” | l |

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where do we stand? Countries that allow same sex marriage:

Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain and Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway and Sweden (2009).

Marriage on the horizon

Nepal has judicially mandated same-sex marriage but it has not yet been legislated. Portugal’s parliament passed legislation legalizing samesex marriage in January, and it could become law in April 2010. Iceland has begun making strides to legalize same-sex marriage. In December, the government approved a bill allowing same sex-marriage and sent it to parliament.

Luxembourg has also announced its intention to legalize same-sex marriage, but no bills have been passed as of press time. Argentina is currently working on a gender-neutral marriage law to send before congress. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

States that allow same-sex marriage

Massachusetts (2003), Connecticut (2008), Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. (2009). The Native American Coquille Tribe of Oregon also recognizes same-sex marriage and, since it is federally recognized as a sovereign nation, partners are not bound by the Oregon

Mexico’s views on same-sex marriage

Constitution, which bans gay marriage.

Had it, but it was overturned by voters Maine and California

Civil Unions

By state: New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Maine, Washington State, Nevada and Oregon. By country: Andorra, Austria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, Wallis and Futuna, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

While still not legal on the federal level, same-sex partners can legally wed in Mexico City beginning this month. The Mexican states of Morelos, Puebla and Sonora have proposed legalizing same-sex marriage, and the states of Michoacan, Tabasco and Tamaulipas are expected to do the same later this year.

Recognize gay marriage but don’t offer it:

By State: New York, California, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. By Country: Israel.

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watermark | marriage Sprinkles will be providing their cake, and owner Larry Back said this isn’t his first gay rodeo. “We’ve done more than 5,000 weddings, about 50 of those same-sex weddings, and some of them have been real doozies,” he said. “We had a lesbian couple and their cake topper was Beauty and the Beast.”

Altar-cations Planning hasn’t all been cake and roses, as the couple found with one food vendor. Initially, Bilo-Zepf wasn’t going to make the appointment but at the last minute, her schedule allowed for it. When Miller and Catlett arrived at the caterer’s, they immediately approached an employee to inform her of Bilo-Zepf’s change of plans, to make sure it was all right that she joined them for the tasting. When the employee heard a woman would be present, she pointed at the couple’s (both obviously male) names in the appointment book, looked at Wes Miller (left) and Mark Catlett, pictured below with Shannon Bilo-Zepf, get a little messy with cake tasting while trying to narrow down their bakery selection. them pointedly, and said, “Oh, we were wondering…” | uu | Wedding Planning from p.39 Miller and Catlett were upset and left before they tasted any food that day. The questions,” says Miller. “When my nephew management was apologetic and the couple goes into a voting booth at 18, he will never didn’t automatically rule out the caterer, have known anything different and our although they did eventually decide to go relationship will be just as normal as any with someone else. The couple agreed that other.” they hope vendors will take something The couple’s “adopted” family is also positive from this and look at it as a planning to be heavily involved. Maid of learning experience. honor Shannon Bilo-Zepf is weighing in “Our photographer apologized for his as the couple makes most of their planning form because it said ‘Bride’,” says Miller. decisions. “Maybe he’ll have another form made!” Their officiant is an old friend of In an effort to Catlett’s. She is a sniff out and curb black woman who dealing with any married a white man anti-gay reactions, “We know how lucky in 1979, back when Miller said he tried interracial marriage we are and we don’t to pre-screen the was still illegal in vendors by being take it for granted.” many parts of the upfront about their country. The couple —Wes Miller type of wedding in said they feel she will his initial inquiry bring understanding and including a and empathy to their questionnaire asking ceremony. things like whether they’ve worked samesex weddings before and how confident Vendor madness they are that all their employees would be Miller and Catlett knew their venue open and professional on the day of the of choice right away. They booked the event. Dr. Phillips Mansion at Lake Lucerne Catlett said telling vendors up front that downtown because it perfectly fit their they’re dealing with a gay wedding is his vintage-inspired theme. On a drizzly gray key advice for other gay couples planning day in February, that’s where they set up their big day because it gives both parties camp in front of a roaring fireplace while an out if the vibe is cold. meeting with vendor after vendor to decide “There are too many options out there to who they would hire to carry out their settle,” he says. “They might not be okay plans. Miller is the obsessive planner and with it, they might say something or offend did most of the talking. Catlett had opinions someone on the day, and it’s not worth it.” | l | and clearly cares about the decisions they are making, but all of the “Groomzilla” jokes made by Bilo-Zepf and Catlett were directed at Miller. Catlett and Bilo-Zepf To see the full list of wedding vendors the frequently huddled together and whispered happy couple chose for their celebration, to each other while Miller fired multiple visit WatermarkOnline.com. questions at the vendors.

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watermark | transitions

Orlando theater maven, rabble-rouser and bingo caller Michael Wanzie celebrates his birthday March 6.

transitions anniversaries Orlando’s Metropolitan Business Association turns 18 on March 12 and held its first general meeting in 1992. Restaurant manager Jeremy Indomenico and Watermark ad sales rep Don Williams celebrate their ninth anniversary together on March 14.

passings Tampa Bay resident Cindy Shaw passed away on Saturday, Feb. 20. The founder of the Cindy Shaw Halloween Softball Tournament and the Senior Singles Ladies Luncheon event through Pro Suzy was instrumental in promoting lesbian involvement in the LGBT community. A memorial will be planned soon.

local birthdays Tampa Bay singer and comedian Judy B. Goode, Sarasota resident and activist Mark Kidd and Tampa mama to twins and lactation counselor Patty Cannon (Mar. 4); Orlando playwright, actor, columnist, Bingo caller and rabblerouser extraordinaire Michael Wanzie and Rollins College theater director Thomas Ouellette (March 6); Tampa Bay fashionista and husband to Project

Runway contestant Ben Chmura, Robert Chmura-Pappadeas and Campaign manager for Gulfport City Council candidate Stanley Solomons, Randy Smith (March 7); psychologist and coowner of E.M. & Voss Solutions Event and Wedding Services, Eric Muenks (March 8); St. Pete mail carrier Derek Wilkins and Watermark Sarasota liaison Misty Smeltzer (March 9); Halcyon singer/songwriter Deb Hunseder and Tampa Bay licensed mental health counselor Blake Williamson (March 10); smooth-pated O-Town actor Kevin Kelly, straight-but-not-narrow Orlando activist/arts supporter Margo Dixon, Orlando Sentinel art columnist Terry Hummel, Orlando hubby to Ron Ellstrom-Oliver, Jeff Ellstrom-Oliver and Dunedin Dentist Mike Hopkins (March 11); Mr. Florida Gay Rodeo Association 2010 Todd Garrett (March 12); Tampa muscle stud and Pensacola native Danny Watson and Orlando Hamburger Mary’s co-owner John Paonessa (March 13); Largo’s Christopher Street bartender Mitch Demmons and ConceptBait Tampa Bay director of sales and rentals Tim Thompson (March 14); Tampa nutritional biochemist Debra Roche (March 15); aesthetically pleasing Orlando esthetician and pageant guru Tabor Winstead, Sarasota karaoke superstar and Nick2 Entertainment co-owner Nicholas Foster and St. Petersburg city councilman Steve Kornell (March 17).

Send news about birthdays, passings, anniversaries, promotions, commitment ceremonies—and whatever you commemorate—to Editor@WatermarkOnline.com.


dothis!

watermark | advice

Navigating opinions ADVICE FROM

The Truth

Truth@WatermarkOnline.com

M

Dear Truth, y girlfriend Ellen and I have been together for about eight years. Last month my gay best friend from college, Timothy, moved to the area for a new job. Timothy was my financial and emotional savior when we were younger, but he’s had a lot of setbacks lately. He needed a place to stay, so I told him he could stay with us (with Ellen’s approval, of course). Now Ellen is acting all jealous and weird. She barely speaks to Timothy when we’re together, and she picks fights with me for no apparent reason. Timothy has tried to get along, but I can see he’s hurt and embarrassed. I’ve reassured Ellen that the situation is temporary, but I’m not going to ask Timothy to leave until he’s back on his feet. How can I get them to get along? —Gulf Coast Girl

pull her aside and gently explain to her the contribution to your well-being Timothy provided and at just the right time. You owe him and apparently, you were raised well enough to repay that debt. Cheers to you and your parents. As your life partner, Ellen should see that as a sign of your generosity of spirit and your character. Yes, she didn’t sign on for this. But here comes the Truth, baby: when you partner with someone, you blend your responsibilities. Your dear friend Timothy helped you and now it’s your turn. If he’s truly as sensitive and respectful as you imply, she shouldn’t be having such a problem with it, given that it is a temporary arrangement. Giving her some context for the favor may snap her out of her selfishness. Dear Truth, My boyfriend Kristof and I are in our 30s and we’ve been together three years. When we first met, I was concerned that he was HIV positive and I was negative, but we talked openly about it, did some research and realized it wasn’t prohibitive. It has its challenges, but it’s only a small part of our wonderful relationship. The problem is how other gay men treat us. My friends who are negative seem to think I’m on some kind of suicide mission, and Kristof’s friends, many who are positive, constantly remind him how great it is to be able to bareback. We even get unsolicited (and uneducated) feedback from strangers when we go to the clubs, usually advising me to either seroconvert or break up. You would think gay men would know better! I’m tired of explaining and defending my relationship—what should I do? —Frustrated in Hillsborough

Dear Egg-White Frustrata, First of all, who are these assholes who are extolling the virtues of barebacking? They need a lesson in public health, not to mention tact. I don’t love that this is the quality of friends he’s chosen. Bragging about raw ass sex to a poz/neg couple is patently passive-aggressive. But let’s put that aside. At the end of Dear Sunshine “Bragging about raw the day, the opinions Skyway, ass sex to a poz/neg of the outside world My first reaction are mere gnats to is: these are two couple is patently swat away. You adults. They should passive-aggressive.” and Kristof have be able to figure negotiated your risk it out themselves. and have struck the But I do realize proper balance in your relationship. If this such a belief is more aspirational than it is your only issue, I say you’re playing with is realistic. Truth is, your lover agreed house money. to house this person; and your friend has The natterings of all the queens needs been there in your times of need and you to be taken with a shovelful of salt. Here are now in a place to reciprocate. That’s a comes the Truth, baby: people will always beautiful thing. By your description, your have opinions. What you do with them—or friend is doing all the right things and Ellen not—is up to you. | l | is doing all the wrong ones. You need to

March 4-March 17, 2010 |

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watermark | sports news

| March 4-March 17, 2010

NBA teamto host Gay and Lesbian night staff report San Francisco | The Golden State Warriors organization will host its first ever official Gay and Lesbian night at Oracle Arena on March 11 when the Warriors take on the Portland Trailblazers. Participants of the evening not only get to watch Golden State take on the Portland Trailblazers, but can partake in an open gym at arena earlier in the day. The open court play will allow ticket holders to play basketball on an NBA court. The Rockdogs, a gay basketball team based in San Francisco, will host the pre-game festivities. The move leverages the strong gay and lesbian community in the Bay Area, which

includes Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. The Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus will sing the National Anthem before tip-off and Cheer SF, a local gay cheerleading squad, will entertain at halftime. March 11 is the first LGBT community night with the Golden State Warriors, but isn’t the NBA’s first. The Philadelphia 76ers hosted the first Gay and Lesbian community night in 2004. The Toronto Raptors held an LGBT night dubbed Rainbow Hoops, a in Toronto in 2007. A portion of ticket sales from the Warriors game supports the HIV/AIDS organization Positive Resource Center and the San Francisco Rockdogs. | l |

Gay softballers attacked in Austin staff report Austin, Tex. | According to NBC affiliate KXAN, two members of an all-gay softball team were assaulted by four men because they were gay. Police are investigating it as a hate crime. According to victim Matthew Morgan, he and a teammate were wearing their jerseys near Austin City Hall when four men attacked them while yelling anti-gay slurs.

“I’m not going to go through this and [have] no action taken,” Morgan said. “This is a walk that I’ve made that probably everyone on this field has made numerous times and felt safe.” Both victims said their attackers seemed surprised when they fought back. “We want people to know that it’s not okay to do this and we’re taking a stand because we don’t want people to live in fear,” said victim Emmanuel Winston. | l |

Golf Tournament raises $8,400 for charity staff report Tampa | Twenty-one teams and 84 golfers supported the Francis House, Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa, and Metro Charities at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course on Saturday Feb. 20. The Second Annual 18 Fore Life Golf

Tournament saw Team Gramatica from Bioscrip take fist place. The Norma Nixon team finished second and Jane Keys’ group placed third. Nearly $8,400 was raised and was split among the three charities. Each charity provides HIV/AIDS services to the Tampa Bay community. | l |

Olympic president comes out staff report Vancouver, B.C. | The president and CEO of the Vancouver Olympics thanked his partner for his support in a very public way during a reception for LGBT athletes. Philip Steenkamp began his speech at the reception by thanking his partner and adding, “He is a true Olympic widow. I really want to thank him for all the support that he’s given me.” For the first time in Olympic history, a very public and very large venue has been set up to honor the Games’ LGBT athletes. Pride House was the brainchild of Gay Whistler, which wanted to promote the area’s Gay Ski Week. The gay-themed ski event begins the day after the Olympics close.

The Pride House is not only a resource for gay athletes and fans, but also a statement to fight homophobia in sports. “Anybody with an open mind is granted to come in,” Gay Whistler CEO Dean Nelson told Outsports.com. “We anticipate that quite a few people streaming through will be straight people who are curious about what we’re doing and what it’s like to be a gay athlete.” The support the house has received from the public, media, athletes and Steenkamp could arguably make the Vancouver Games the most LGBT-friendly Olympics in history. While Nelson hopes gay athletes will use the Pride House to declare pride in their sexual orientation, the house is open to all. “We hope it will give more confidence to our athletes to be authentic,” he said. | l |

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watermark | gossip

| March 4-March 17, 2010

billymasters

54

“I hope you die, so I can be the last Golden Girl!” —According to the New York Daily News, this is the card that accompanied the flowers Betty White sent to Rue McClanahan, who is recovering from a stroke. We’re told Rue laughed out loud—and looked over her shoulder!

S

Heading outside the box Billy Masters Billy@BillyMasters.com

exy Nick Adams is returning to Broadway—as a chorus girl. Yes, I said chorus girl. The boy with the rock-hard abs (to say nothing of the rest of him) has joined the cast of the upcoming revival of La Cage aux Folles as one of the glamorous “Cagelles”. While I certainly look forward to his appearance in drag, I have to say it’s a surprising career move. Obviously the boy needs to pay the bills. But for someone who has been building a resume with featured parts on Broadway (and on the road), it’s a curious step. I know “Cagelles” on both sides of the Atlantic who say their time in the show was amongst their happiest professional experiences. But I dare say none of those people became household names. My buddy Greg Louganis will be appearing in The Little Dog Laughed which is part of the Broadway Series at the Indian Wells Theater on Cal State’s Palm Desert campus. This is interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all, he’ll be playing a devastatingly handsome up-andcoming movie actor who is the last person anyone would think is gay. Tom Everett Scott was 36 when he did it on Broadway. Rupert Friend is 28 and is current playing the part in London. So given Greg just

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turned 50, this will add a fascinating dimension to the play. Then there’s the question of the nudity, which I know you’ll all be particularly interested in. Needless to say, I’m going to head out to see it sometime during the run (April 16-25), so I will definitely give you a full report. Someone else hitting the road this summer is Barbra Streisand. Although she’s already turned down $100 million to play the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Vegas, the success of her latest CD has prompted a return to the stage, after two farewells. We hear that Babs has recaptured the joy of singing in public and just wants to have a good time. Although the tour will likely play arenas, she’d rather play more intimate venues if she had her druthers. This brings up two questions. Why not? And who, pray tell, has taken Streisand’s druthers? I know it’s too early to have a favorite story of the year, but this one is definitely in the running. On Feb. 4, male model Nick Snider was arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct in Batesville, Ark. When the police first approached him, he told them, “I am a very famous model.” And he’s right. Snider was named the world’s fifth most successful male model by Forbes in 2008. This didn’t impress the cop, who arrested Nick and transported him to the county jail where he would be charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Then, Snider allegedly told Deputy Brian Luetschwager, “If you stop [the car], I’ll suck your dick and balls if you let me go.” Shockingly, this approach was not successful. He repeated the offer to policemen at the jail (and, I’m guessing, to some of his fellow inmates). He did manage to accomplish one thing—he was also charged with illegally attempting to influence a public servant. Our “Ask Billy” question comes from Christian in London: “I’m sure you’re familiar with Katie Price,, who models as Jordan. Her now-husband was on Celebrity Big Brother and friends of mine said you could see his willy during the live feeds. He’s stunning and I’d love to see. Pretty please?” First, some

Legendary performer Barbra Streisand turned down a $100 million gig at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas so she can plan her upcoming international tour.

background for my U.S. readers. Katie Price is an infamous British Page 3 Girl who has enormous implants and is quite a personality. She was previously married to the gorgeous pop singer Peter Andre and they divorced last year under mysterious circumstances. Now she’s with Alex Reid, a cage fighter who likes to dress up in drag under his alter-ego “Roxanne” and be dominated! He refers to himself as “trisexual,” meaning he’s tried it all. And, oh yes, he’s gorgeous with a rockin’ body. As to his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother (which he ultimately won), his penis did make two appearances on the telly. Once, the housemates surprised a naked Alex in the loo and dumped a bucket of cold water on him. Far more interesting was when he was sleeping and the night vision cameras were filming him. When the sheet got pulled away in a spontaneous moment (that looked intentional to me), his naughty bits were exposed for all to see. And it was certainly worth seeing. If you have any questions, just drop a note to Billy@BillyMasters. com and I promise to get back to you before someone gets their hands on my druthers! Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible. | l |

Hard-bodied Broadway star Nick Adams should get used to the eye lined look—he’s on board to be a “Cagelle” in the upcoming revival of La Cage aux Folles.


March 4-March 17, 2010 |

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Watermark issue 17.05: Marriage  
Watermark issue 17.05: Marriage  

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