The Watermark, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 31, 1994



Dublin Core


The Watermark, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 31, 1994

Alternative Title

Watermark, Vol. 1, No. 1


Gay culture--United States


The inaugural issue of The Watermark was published on August 31, 1994, and focused on several hot topics that were abuzz in the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and others) community. Hit topics included the cover story interviewing Married… With Children co-star Amanda Bearse (b. 1958) who was promoting her new special Out There II, an all LGBTQ+ comedy special. Similar topics of LGBTQ+ public exposure are scattered throughout the issue, including Fran Pigone, a pro-LGBTQ candidate for Orange County Commission Chairman, "Florida’s Freshest Fruit," an all LGBTQ improv troupe, and Brian Fagan, a gay man and one of Orlando’s premier runners. This first issue also included national LGBTQ+ news stories such as California’s Spousal Rights Bill, Yale’s same-sex partner health care plans, and Maine’s anti-gay initiatives. Another major component of the issue was discussion about Orlando’s LGBTQ+ nightlife locations and opportunities. In this issue, it was discussed that Tracks, a prominent bar had closed, and that Boxcars had opened in its place. Boxcars subsequently published a full page ad on the final page of the issue.

Since 1994, The Watermark has been the cornerstone source of LGBTQ+ centered news for the Central Florida region. Founded by Tom Dyer in Orlando, the publication began generating bi-weekly issues beginning August 31, 1994. Since then, The Watermark has consistently published newspaper-style issues every other Thursday. Gaining traction, the publication expanded in 1995 to include Tampa and, in 1997, The Watermark became a permanent piece of LGBTQ+ culture when the publication initiated the first large-scale Gay Days Weekend event, the Beach Ball at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Before 1999, the publication printed 20,000 copies every week, distributing them to over 500 locations between its two major cities. Following 1999, the publication launched shifting to an online publication style. In 2016, Rick Claggett purchased The Watermark.


Bach, R. A.
Dyer, Tom
Fowler, G. K.
Kilgore, Michael L.
Liebman, Marvin
Maines, Ted
O'Lay, Lola
Schultz, Nan
Sheldon, Laurence
Singhaus, Sam


Original 24-page newspaper: The Watermark, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 31, 1994: Publications Collection, GLBT History Museum of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.


Date Created

ca. 1994-08-31

Date Copyrighted


Date Issued


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original 24-page newspaper: The Watermark, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 31, 1994.

Is Part Of

The Watermark Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




24-page newspaper






Orlando, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Augusta, Maine
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Sacramento, California
Boxcars, Casselberry, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher


Originally published by Watermark Media.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Watermark Publishing Group and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.


Smith, Robert
Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

"About/Contact.", accessed July 11, 2016.


Amanda Bearse is well known as the flighty, flaky Marcy D’Arcy on TV’s Married.. .With Children. Many also know that she’s very comfortably out as a lesbian. In the past she has stated, “I feel no shame about being a homosexual. I live my life in the light. The more we stand up and be counted, the harder it will be to discount our community. We need to put a face on gay America.” She was an active participant in this summer’s gay pride festivities in New York, and she will host Comedy Central’s upcoming gay and lesbian comedy special.
Many don’t know, however, that Amanda grew up right here in Central Florida, attending Winter Park High School and acting at the Central Florida Civic Theater. Her sister still lives in Winter Park. In conversation, Amanda is funny, upbeat, intelligent, articulate, and clearly committed to gay equality. Her comedy special, “Out There II”, will begin airing on Comedy Central on National Coming Out Day, October 11.
Would you talk a little about your role in the television series Married...with Children?
We’re starting our ninth season. Doing a show for 8 years, all of the characters have evolved in different directions. All of the women on the show are portrayed as sort of overly sexed, aggressive “types”. Our show isn’t something you could call positive when it comes to female role models, but then I don’t know that it’s positive about male role models either (laughs). Everybody has their faults...[they are] very visible to the audience at home...and that’s where we try to get the comedy from.
What about Marcy?
My character is probably the most polar opposite from the lead character A1 Bundy and that makes for a lot of good conflict; we just have to find excuses for us to be in the same room at the same time. I like Marcy very much [although] we’re not really that much alike. We have the same eye color (laughing)...and the same legs, which they make fun of, usually on a weekly basis!
What about the future of Mar?
I’ll be with the show as long as they’ll have me. I plan on going down with the ship. [Not only] because it’s been a great job, but also because of the group of people I’ve been working with. It’s really sort of a family situation and I’m not quick to say goodbye to those folks. Although I do hope there’s life after Married with Children.
Since you came out publicly, what has been the response of other cast members?
We know each other very well...and the cast knew that I was gay before I made that sort of “professional” political statement last year. They were very supportive of the fact
interviewed by Nan Schultz
that I did what I did by making such a public statement. That support continues to this day.
What about being out in your personal life?
I’ve been out of the closet for many, many year s, and as people come to know me, they come to know that about me. It’s not something that I wear as a badge or on my sleeve or anything. It’s definitely a part of who I am, [although] it’s not all of who I am. It’s more like a one-on-one relationship that I have with people. As you make new friends, you get
to know one another, and certainly that’s something to know about me.
Do you feel that shows like “Out There II” are good public relations for gays and lesbians?
Well, most definitely, but it’s not limited to that. That’s what was so wonderful about the success of the first one,
“Out There”. Yes, it was a gay lineup of talent, both men and women, and a lot of their material is oriented toward the fact that these are gay people, but they had great success in crossing over into the heterosexual audience. Comedy Central had great response to that show both from a gay and a straight audience
So, is it important in some larger context?
Yes, I think it’s important first of all to put more faces to the gay community because the more of us who are visible and out there, the harder it is to sort of pass us by. Gay people are really good at being invisible and what our movement is about is putting that visibility out there so that we cannot be discriminated against. It’s easier to discriminate against something you don’t Know. So, I think in that way, to show that these are people who are talented, who are funny, who are working professionally, and who are successful at what they do, [and] who also happen to be gay, I think it’s an important statement to make.
I understand you’re going to host the show.
Yes, we taped the show at the Stonewall celebration in New York City this summer. It went very well; it was an exciting week to be in New York and be a part of the Gay Games, as well as the Stonewall event. They deliberately chose that venue to tape this special. The first “Out There” was taped on National Coming Out Day in San Francisco and shown later, so it’s nice that this one will be aired for the first time on Coming Out Day.
You also participated at the Gay Games this summer. How did that feel?
I was very busy with the work that I was doing for “Out There II” so I didn’t get to go to any of the sporting events. But I did get to participate in the closing ceremonies at Yankee Stadium. I got to walk out onto the field at Yankee Stadium all by myself. It was awesome to look up at the thousands and thousands of people, mostly gay, and have them respond to me because of who I am and what I’ve done.
And the Stonewall activities?
I marched and I got to be onstage at the rally. I hosted an hour at the grandstand in Central Park. Just to look out over all those people...unified with one purpose. To say simply, “Yes. We’re here. Don’t count us out.” It was a very powerful experience.
You graduated from Winter Park High School. What impressions do you still carry from there?
I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Winter Park. It was a wonderful place to grow up...a very safe place for me so I have a lot of good memories. The strongest one in terms of high school is that I really got a lot of direction in my life from one of my teachers there, a woman by the name
Continued Page 3
WATERMARK / August 31, 1994 2
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by Tom Dyer
Talking with Fran Pignone is like playing a good video game. Both are stimulating, unpredictable, and difficult to quit. She has intelligent, often unexpected opinions, expressed with none of the conversational reticence endemic to politicians.
Fran Pignone wants to be Orange County’s next Chairman; responsible for 8000 employees and a $2 billion budget. She faces an uphill battle against incumbent Linda Chapin, who has raised twice the money and is spending it as the election draws closer. But Pignone has adopted a bold “take me as I am” approach to the election, Preferring to lure voters with her candor rather than tiptoeing through the campaign mine field without setting off any voting blocks.
Pignone is outspoken in her belief that the present county administration has attended to growth and development while neglecting quality of life issues. A longtime Orange County resident, she asserts that, “Since I’ve been a child, two things have always been left behind; the declining school system and the lack of a rich cultural life.” She’s quick to point out the paradox. “The
stellar landmarks for attracting new business to a community are the quality of your education system and the quality of your cultural richness.”
Pignone is also outspoken about the loss of our symphony. “It takes political leadership. I was one of the few who voted for that last $50,000 to try and keep the symphony alive because I knew intuitively that its easier to try and keep something alive than to recreate it.” She also faults present local government for not addressing the issue of a performing arts center. “I’ve been in Bob Carr when the sound was so distorted that it was a worthless experience.”
She faults current leaders for not sufficiently tapping some conspicuous local revenue sources; Orlando’s mega-tourist destinations. “We’re like a third world country. The conquerors have arrived to extract the riches, then they go home. Disney, Universal, Anheuser Busch...they make their money here, but none of them have their headquarters here. Each provides enormous support for the arts in what they perceive as their home community.”
Inevitably, Pignone has run into a few
mines during the course of her high energy campaign. Pignone has been criticized by many for her support of the gay and lesbian community and participation in June’s Gay Pride Parade. According to Pignone, some of this criticism has come from her peers on the county commission.
But Pignone firmly asserts that, “Political campaigns ought to be about what’s going on in the community. And among other things, government ought to be about access and diversity.”
Pignone’s opinions are often punctuated by personal experience. “I’ll tell you what I found to be the most extraordinary thing. Last summer my son and I were at a museum in New York on a Sunday and we ran into their Gay Pride Parade. We stayed there on the sidewalk absolutely spellbound for three full hours. I’ve never seen such an enormous diversity ©f people and such a tremendous feeling of good will, among the paraders, the police, the spectators. I was absolutely transfixed.”
When asked whether politicians had been present, Pignone nods. “Yes. Every candidate and elected official was walking in the parade, and probably would have been considered somehow derelict in their duties if they didn’t. Quite different from what people in Orange County apparently expect.”
Refreshingly, few of Pignone’s opinions are restricted to sound bytes. “Some in our community try to preach a certain moral and ethic, while at the same time the whole community is changing. These people want to keep their blinders on. We say out of one side of our mouth, ‘Move here.. .come here and have your vacation.. .all of you of every culture, race and experience’...and these people would say, ’Come here but only be a certain kind of person.’”
It is rare that a politician and elected official in Central Florida openly accesses the gay and lesbian community. But Pignone is clearly not campaigning on this issue; she is simply being true to her value system. “I mean it sincerely. Regardless of how the election turns out, I don’t want to look back at my life and say, ‘Gee.. .these folks asked me to do something and the first thing I thought about was my political future, and not what it felt like or whether it was congruent with who I am.’”
Note: Watermark requested an interview with all candidates for County Chairman prior to the September 8 primary election. Linda Chapin declined, citing scheduling difficulties. Tom Dorman did not respond to our request.
On any given day, dozens of couples apply fora marriage license, and hence, a change in their legal status. They become presumed heirs and guardians. They can file taxes as a unit. They gain access to insurance coverage. And perhaps most importantly, their love is made legitimate.
On August 12,1994, Rocky Ward and Tony Childress sought this status for their committed relationship. Accompanied by TV and radio news crews, they walked up to the county clerk’s office and asked to apply for a marriage license. A clerk directed them to another clerk, this one with an office, who referred them to Florida Statute 741.041. “No clerk of the circuit court shall issue a license for marriage unless.. .one party is a male and the other party a female.”
Ward and Childress are the third same sex couple to apply for a marriage license in Orange County. Like one female couple before them, they have decided to challenge this statute. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing both couples.
Ward and his companion took this step because, “every individual should have access to the same benefits as citizens. Tony and I are as much a couple as most men and women who get married.” After widespread news coverage, Ward says, “We’ve received all kinds of cards and letters of support” One threatening caller also left this message: “You fucking faggots deserve to die just like the abortion doctor.” Ward and Childress have notified law enforcement.
Front Page 1
my life from one of my teachers there, a woman by the name of Ann Derflinger. She passed away in the early 80’s at far too young an age...she was only 44. She was the director of the theater department, and she was one of the strongest mentors I had in my life.
So you began your association with acting and theatre at Winter Park High?
I was immersed in the theatre department, which was a very safe place for someone like me. You can be who you are. You can be different and you can be creativeand there doesn’t seem to be the judgement that can accompany other cliques, other circles. However, I did have friends outside of the theater department. My brother was a “surf rat”, so I knew a lot of the beach-types. Plus I grew up, in Winter Park, so I went to elementary and junior high with all the same people.
Did you identify yourself as gay while you were there?
No, I wasn’t out of the closet. I mean those terms weren’t even defined then. As far as I knew, I was the only gay woman anywhere. At some point in time, I started sleeping with other women. Even then you still sort of feel like you’re very much alone in it. I identified myself in terms of what was inside own feelings. It was a part of me that I was already beginning to
explore. I also explored dating boys, and I knew there was something else going on...something beyond that for me.
So what effect did being gay have on your personal life, your social life?
Well, I didn’t go to Winter Park’s Prom! I didn’t do a lot of the, I guess “traditional” things one might do. My time was occupied by doing theater. Not only did I do the theaterat the high school, but also I worked at the Central Florida Civic Theater, the Edyth Bush Theater. I was very active in that direction. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, my life was very full. But I felt like I was doing something subversive, something that wasn’t going to be generally accepted, so I was closeted.
But my first job out of acting school was on ’’All My Children”. I played a high school kid...a very straight high school kid, so I got to go to the Prom in Pine Valley! I got to date boys...that sort of thing so, I sort of made up for it.
What about your current relationship to Central Florida?
Well, I still have strong ties to that community because my sister lives in Orlando. I actually spent a couple of weeks down there this summer with her and her family. I brought my daughter and we just had a nice, easy time. We did Park Avenue, and hung out at Cocoa Beach .
In closing, could you tell us a little about the recent adoption of your child?
Zoe, my daughter, is now 16 months old.
I have always been somewhat ambivalent about carrying a child. Some women know biologically, physiologically, that this is something they want to do with their bodies in this lifetime. I’ve gone back and forth about it. The fact that I’m the wage-earner in my family also factored into this. You never know how you’re going to feel with a pregnancy. If I had to go to bed for three months, it would certainly affect my job, my income. Doing what I do for a living it’s so very public. And being lesbian... it was just too precious of an event to have it exposed in that way.
And so you began looking into adoption?
The more I read, the more seminars I attended, the morespiritually “right” this decision became for me. I knew that if and when I made a match with the birth parent, this was going to be the child I was supposed to raise. I’m very providential that way. I did make a match with a young woman who was in her sixth month of pregnancy. We had the opportunity to make a connection which we hold onto to this day. Despite the fact that we live in different states and her life is hers, there’s still a very strong that I don’t think will ever go away. I hope that my daughter has the opportunity to know this woman and her family because it’s a wonderful heritage.
That’s terrific!
Yeah! I think it’s important for a child to know who they look like and where they come from. It was a highly emotional ex-
perience...I’m sure a very difficult decision for this young place her child [for adoption]. But she had the maturity to know that she wasn’t ready to parent at this time in her life. She said to me that she definitely wants to be a parent some day. I think she feels very good about the home, the family, that Zoe has. Life is good; life is really good. I feel very lucky.
WATERMARK / August 31,1994 4
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An Alabama judge has ruled that three children would be better off in the stable Orlando home of their lesbian mother than in the troubled and sometimes abusive home of their heterosexual father. Family Court Judge Sandra Ross, citing the lack of expert evidence on such cases, awarded custody of the children to Gretchen Chateau even though she lost custody six years ago because she physically abused them.
Fred Chateau said he never expected a judge to put the children with his ex-wife since she openly lives with another woman. “Judge Ross has sent a message to my children that homosexuality is OK,” Chateau said. “Two young girls going into puberty and putting them with two lesbians in a gay neighborhood. Is that smart?”
Ms. Chateau admitted she thought her chances were “pretty slim.” “My main concern was they are three very bright, intelligent kids who deserve to be cultivated for their adult life and that’s not going to happen with my ex-husband,” she said. Ms. Chateau’s ex-husband conceded that other than her lifestyle, which he disapproves of, she has overcome her past problems and become a good and stable person.
He also admitted having used harsh discipline in the past, that the house had been disheveled and had little furniture, and that two of the children slept on the floor. The children - a 9-year-old boy and girls 12 and 14 - had been living in Chateau’s home near Columbiana, 20 miles south of Birmingham, until the judge ruled in May. All three children testified they wanted to live with their mother.
An Orange County Judge has rejected a former Disney employee’s claim that his supervisors violated Florida law by disclosing his AIDS status. The former Disney employee, listed as John Doe, alleged that he informed his supervisor of his medical status to facilitate absences from work. Doe claimed that his supervisor then disclosed his medical condition to others, worsening his medical condition and forcing him to quit his job.
Circuit Court Judge Gary L. Formet found that, if anything, Doe’s supervisor only confirmed suspicions already held by fellow employees. “Because it is commonly known that the plaintiff was a gay male, a number of witnesses speculated he had AIDS after he took medical leave.” Formet ruled that Florida Statute 760.50, which requires confidentiality of employee medical records and information, is not applicable “when that information is given to [the employer] by [the employee] for reasons other than administration of health and life insurance benefits.”
Doe’s attorney, Jonathan Holingshead, feels this construction of the statute is unfortunate. “The kind of disclosure alleged in this case is exactly what the legislature hoped to prevent. Employees with AIDS should not be afraid to share this information with their employer for fear that it will be gossiped about.”
The Hope & Help Center dedicated their new Winter Park facility on Sunday, August 14. Winter Park Mayor Gary Brewer was among hundreds, including new neighbors, who welcomed the AIDS resource center to its suburban location. Located off Lakemont Avenue near Winter Park High School, the new center doubles their available space.
According to development director Michael Fuchs, Hope & Help needed more room. “We’ve grown from 7 employees when we moved downtown, to 23 employees now.”
Hope & Help has an annual operating budget of approximately $ l million.
Hope & Help’s major fund raising event, the outrageous, elegant, and wildly popular “Headdress Ball”, will be held Saturday, September 17 at the Hilton Walt Disney World Village. For tickets call (407) 645-2577.
The Board of Directors at Gay and Lesbian Community Services has created a new administrative position, appointing Bart R. Zarcone as Center Director. Mr. Zarcone will have overall responsibility for management of the GLCS Center. Lyle Miller will continue as Office Manager.
GLCS is also reconvening a young adults group for gays, lesbians and bisexuals between the ages of 18 and 25. Called the “Rainbow Connection”, this group will begin Thursday meetings on September 8th at 7:30 PM.
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Congratulations to Watermark on Your Premier Issue
do not deserve die same civil rights as Pickman (D) - State House Dist. 35;
everyone else and I will do whatever I Linda Chapin - County Chairman; Fran
Florida House Dis
The primary election will be held on Thursday, September 8 this year to avoid conflicts with a late Labor Day weekend. Several candidates warrant special attention by the gay and lesbian community.
In the race for Governor, Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Ken Connor, and most notably, Ander Crenshaw, have each made statements suggesting a lack of support for gay and lesbian issues. One of many “Family Values” candidates in this election, Crenshaw has specifically stated, “Homosexuals
Pigrione - County Chairman; Thomas Tempia - Orange County Commission Dist. 4; Mable Butler - Orange County Commission Dist. 6; Roger McDonald - Circuit Judge Group 28; Deborah B lechman - County Judge Group 5.
Five of these candidates warrant rec-ognition for their consistent and outspoken support of gay and lesbian equality.
ban to stop them.” trict 35 candidate Bob Brooks, Republican, is also suspect.
In varying degrees, however, the following candidates have expressed or demonstrated support for lesbians and gays: Lawton Chiles (D) - Governor (see article at right); Art Simon (D) - Comptroller; Karen Gievers (D) - Insurance Commissioner; Doug Jamerson (D) -Education Commissioner, Gary Siegel (R) - State Senate Dist. 14; Susan
Karen Gievers
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Roger McDonald
Circuit Judge Group 28
Susan Pickman
State House Districe 35
Deborah Blechman
County Judge Group 5
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Governor Lawton Chiles has agreed, in writing, to a Rainbow Democratic Club Candidate’s Pledge reading: sexual
orientation of an individual shall not be a consideration in hiring, promoting, or terminating of an employee in my elected office, and shall be so stated in my personnel policies and procedures. ”
All Candidates for public office in Orange County are being asked to sign the pledge, regardless of the contested position. To date, all Democratic candidates for the Cabinet, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate and House have signed, with the exception of State Representatives Bob Sindler and Alzo Reddick, and Bill Nelson, candidate for Insurance Commissioner.
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WATERMARK / August 31, 1994 6
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Leaders of a referendum drive to ban protections for gays under Maine human rights laws turned in petitions Monday which they said will ensure their proposal will go to a statewide vote next year.
Leaders of the petition drive submitted 10 cartons containing nearly 66,502 voters’ signatures - nearly 62,000 of them already certified by municipal officials - to the Secretary of State’s office. At least 52,308 signatures must be certified in order to force a statewide vote in November 1995.
“Shall a wealthy special interest group achieve the status and benefits equal to those of legitimate, needy, civil rights classes?” Concerned Maine Families leader Carolyn H. T. Cosby said. “Shall we... literally rewrite the civil rights code in our nation to now include self-proclaimed groups that can only be identified by their mere say-so?”
The proposal would restrict the classifications of people who can be protected by state and local anti-discrimination laws. People could be protected on the basis of race, color, sex, disabilities, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, family and marital status. But no protections on the basis of sexual orientation would be permitted. Passage would scuttle Portland’s gay rights ordinance.
The Legislature last year sent a gay rights bill to Gov. John R. McKernan, but he vetoed it.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - A bill to give unmarried couples some of the same rights as spouses is one step from the governor’s desk after conservative lawmakers failed to bottle it up in the Senate. Final approval by the Assembly, which passed an earlier version of the legislation in May, will send the bill to Gov. Pete Wilson.
The bill would give unmarried “domestic partners” who registered with the state the right to visit their partners in the hospital and would make it easier for them to be selected as a conservator for an incapacitated partner. To register with the state, domestic partners would have to maintain a common primary residence, agree to share basic living expenses, not be married or related by blood in a way that would prevent them from marrying and be over age 18. Also, they could not have been a member of another domestic partnership in the previous six months unless that relationship ended with the death of the other member.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Yale University is offering health care coverage to same-sex domestic partners of graduate and professional students. Yale extended full spousal health benefits to partners of gay and lesbian faculty members, administrators and managerial staff in October. Those interested must show evidence of joint residence and economic interdependence.
Other universities offering health coverage to same-sex partners of graduate students include Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa and the University of Oregon. More companies are offering benefits to gay employees and their partners because fear of high costs have proved largely unfounded, and it gives some companies another edge in the recruiting game.
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Contrary to reports of doom and gloom coming from the Tenth International Conference on AIDS, there are some promising therapies now in place, and others being presently pursued are worth noting. Dr. Jeff Goodgame attended the conference in Japan and presented news and findings to an enthusiastic audience at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Orlando on Thursday, August 25.
At the conference, noted French researcher, Dr. Luc Montagnier, advanced a global therapeutic approach in which antivirals, antibiotics, antioxidants, and vaccines involving Interluken 2 are all ap-plied simultaneously to curb HIV replication. Along with Dr. Lynn Hopkins, Dr. Goodgame also reported that new antiviral drug strategies are being created to overcome the problems of drug resistance. One of these strategies is a class of drugs called Protease Inhibitors, which attempt to stop viral replication within cells.
Dr. Hopkins described some of the new therapies that are constantly being studied and examined. The most promising include gene therapy, which seeks to create a gene that would interrupt viral replication, and immune based therapy using Interluken 2 (and potentially 12).
Dr. Eileen Wright presented an explanation of psycho-neuro-immunology. She gave numerous examples of case studies involving mind-body interactions. This particular field of medicine originated thousands of years ago, and is based on the theory that thoughts, emotions, and the central nervous system are intrinsically linked.
Looking to the future, Dr. Goodgame described three major challenges: 1) curb the alarming spread of AIDS in the third world; 2) prioritize and expand research; and 3) provide the best possible care and treatment for HIV patients. According to Dr. Goodgame, about 4 million people worldwide have developed full blown AIDS in the last 10 years. 3000 women are infected each day by HIV; tragic proof that AIDS has never been confined to specific populations.
Drs. Goodgame and Hopkins are currently involved with 11 clinical studies and have 4 more pending necessary approvals. Any HIV infected man or woman interested in participating in one of these clinical trials is urged to contact their Maitland office at (407) 647-6000.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A study believed to be the first of its kind in California found that more than half the people in Santa Clara County with the AIDS virus don’t receive any treatment. “They don’t necessarily know they’re infected,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county’s acting health officer. “They may be spreading the illness and not know it.”
The study by the county public health department estimated that 4,100 residents have the human immunodeficiency virus but that as many as 2,500 aren’t being treated. Health officials, who released the survey results on Thursday, called for an education program to fight the spread of AIDS.
The survey also found that HIV infections are increasing the fastest among blacks and that the percentage of women with the virus also has increased. The department’s survey was conducted at 29 hospitals and
clinics that reported AIDS cases over the past two years.
ATLANTA (AP) - University of Georgia researchers published a theory in Friday’s Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggesting that HIV produces proteins that consume the body’s supply of selenium. Although the proteins have yet to be found, scientists are trying to prove their existence.
According to the researchers’ theory, HIV needs selenium, which preserves the elasticity of body tissue and slows the aging process, to trigger its growth. Once the virus exhausts
the selenium in an infected cell, it breaks out in search of more, spreading the infection to new cells. Many AIDS patients lack selenium and have taken supplements on their own. For several years, a number of researchers and doctors have encouraged selenium as part of the patients’ dietary supplement.
It was thought that AIDS patients had trouble absorbing the nutrient from food, but the new work suggests the disease actually depletes the mineral from the body. “If this is true, then selenium biochemistry may be the key to understanding the control of the life cycle of HIV and perhaps some of the pathology of AIDS,” said Will Taylor, who headed the research team at Georgia College of Pharmacy. He said the length of time it takes to deplete the body’s stores of selenium could help account for HIV’s latency period, which can last for years. “This suggests that nutritional status may be a factor in some HIVpositive long-term survivors,” Taylor said.
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WATERMARK / August 31,1994 9
If it seems like gay bars in Orlando open and close like railroad crossing bars, August was no exception. In early August, Tracks on Lee Road in Winter Park ceased operations. The venerable Tampa bar hoped to reproduce their success in what was perceived as a similar market. That was not the case, according to Operations Manager, Barry Barlow. “In Tampa, the bars network and work together to benefit each other and the community, too,” said Barlow. “Orlando was a completely different world.” Barlow has alleged that competing bars such as The Club, The Edge and Southern Nights authorized removal of Tracks’ advertising from publications distributed at their locations.
Barlow also thinks Orlando has a more conservative climate than Tampa. He cited difficulties using the words “gay and lesbian” in advertising, and speculated that gays in Orlando were unused to going to a bar not “hidden away or in some sleazy part of town.”
Barlow stated that, “No one in Orlando wanted to work with me, but I learned some
things while I was there. I thought your Pride Parade was great, even though almost none of your local politicians participated.” Meanwhile, Boxcars opened on August 12 in Fern Park, across from the Jai Alai fronton. The grand opening is scheduled for Labor Day weekend. Boxcars is located in
the unique railroad car building that housed two gay bars in the 70s and 80s, Old Plantation and then Central Station.
Owner Chris Dahn, who is gay, stated that it has long been his dream to open a gay bar in greater Orlando, particularly on the north side of town. Dahn is from Indiana, but he was stationed at the Naval Training Center in the early 80s and has wanted to relocate here ever since.
Dahn hopes to fill a void with Boxcars. “I think people in Orlando want to dance and be entertained, but they also want to sit, relax, talk and hear each other,” he Says. For that reason, Boxcars sound and light system will be focused primarily on the dance floor. Dahn states that Boxcars welcomes both lesbians and gay men.
Robert C. Winters, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Prudential, has taken a bold stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a letter to all Prudential associates, dated June 30, 1994, Winters stated:
“The Prudential’s policy of nondiscrimi-
nation has included sexual orientation for some time, but recent letters to the Leader (Prudential’s in-house newsletter) suggest that a reiteration of this policy is necessary.
The Prudential is committed to fostering an environment which encourages all individuals to contribute and grow to their fullest potential. It is therefore of utmost importance to show respect toward all associates and to treat them fairly.
Please read our policy statement.. .carefully. All associates have the right to a work environment that is free of any kind of discrimination. Discrimination based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated at The Prudential in any form or at any rank.”
At their annual retreat in August, board members for the Metropolitan Business Association made plans for more activities and increased membership. According to President Debbie Simmons, MBA has 172 members and hopes to break the 200 barrier during 1995. Plans also call for MBA to expand their annual business expo in February, to be held this year at the Bahia Shrine Auditorium in Maitland.
Following the success of their Flirtations concert and Rob Eichberg program, MBA will also feature more nationally known speakers and special events in the coming
year. Speaking September 1 at 6:30 PM at the Radisson will be Erin Somers, host of “Passion Phones” on 104.1 FM. Dr. Mel White, former religious right ghostwriter and author of Stranger At The Gate: To be Gay and Christian In America, has been contacted for an upcoming speaking appearance. President Debbie Simmons and Program Director Tom Dyer recently met with Mayor Glenda Hood, and she has also promised to address MBA in the future. A concert and lawn party have been proposed for the Spring.
Not As Long As It Is Properly presented.
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WATERMARK / August 31,1994 10
by Michael L Kilgore
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Chicago cubs fans are walking by the open window where I write. From the roars I’d heard over the past few hours and now from the animated cadence of their conversations, I gather it was one of those rare events in Wrigleyville — a Cubs win. Winning is an American passion. Almost all of us grow up believing that if we don’t overcome someone or something that somehow we’re the less for it. As the fans pass by reliving the day’s victory, my thoughts drift back to last night’s speeches and other conversations about winning.
I’d attended the Human Rights Campaign Fund dinner the evening before. The front cover of the program read, the People: A promise not yet fulfilled. ” while the back cover announced in graphic red, white and blue, “Because fighting for the rights of all people is a battle, we can, will, and must WIN.’’ In addition to the hundreds of thousands already raised in ticket sales, there is a special appeal to raise extra funds. We must defeat the anti-gay initiatives on the ballots this year in Oregon and Idaho. Everyone at my table takes out his or her checkbook. The smallest check I see passed to the table captain is for $100. An addi-
tional $1,500 is raised at our table alone. There are ninety-six tables. We know our fundamental rights as American citizens, perhaps even our lives, are threatened because of who we are. We’ve got to win.
The words of Dr. Mel White, author of Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America and former ghostwriter for Radical Right heavyweights Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, punctuate the evening. He’s telling us about standing outside a convention hall in Texas just a few weeks before. It’s a gathering of the so-called Christian Coalition, the American Family Association, and other assorted hatemongers who are also intent on winning. Their agenda is one which explicitly rejects gays and lesbians, “There will be much rejoicing in heaven when America no longer tolerates the presence of gay men and women.”
The convention hall setting he describes is a place where only a few years ago Dr. White would have been a welcome participant. Now out as an openly gay man, not only is he not welcome, but he’s physically threatened. A man shoved his finger in White’s face and screamed, “Where are you going to live, when we win?” The words
are chilling. They have their effect. We write more checks, and get out our charge cards. The silent auction is a huge success. Many items are going for significantly more than their retail value. An Art Modeme vase listed for $350 closes at $525. There are over two hundred silent auction items. The mathematics of this evening are staggering; but we’ve got to win.
Since I’d moved from Chicago to Orlando only two years before, I keep running into old friends as I wander through the maze of silent auction items. Despite the gravity of the cause the mood is upbeat. “Hey, how are you? Florida now?” “The chocolate torte was fabulous.” “Outstanding event; the speeches were short. They finally got that part right.” “Great to see you, you look great.” The dance music is now at fever pitch. The evening is a success — hundreds of thousands raised for the HRCF cause. People are feeling like they’ve done their part. Yet as I move through the crush of bodies, I feel out of step with the mood of the evening. I don’t know why.
One of the people I run into is an old acquaintance, Dan. We’d attended the same church and had had a cocktail party “friends of friends” type of relationship. He’s even better looking and funnier than I remember. He’s done well for himself and is now working in the Governor’s office in a major policy-making role. As we chat, he shares with me that he wants to start getting more active with human rights issues, especially after the election. But as he talks about his
job, I begin to realize that he hasn’t come out at work. He rationalizes by saying that it wouldn’t help anyone to know. I hear all the practical reasons and understand why. We exchange cards and promise to stay in touch.
Dan’s story is a gift. It makes me realize why I feel out of touch with the evening, and more importantly, what the real challenge is. I understand that the sum of all the checks written this evening will not defeat the Radical Right. Their power is
The power of the Radical Right isn't so much in their hatred of us, but in their keen understanding about how to manipulate the self-hatred of gay men and
neither in their well financed political campaigns, their numbers nor their passionate positions. The power of the Radical Right isn’t so much in their hatred of us, but in their keen understanding about how to manipulate the self-hatred of gay men and lesbians. They know that they’ll win if we don’t say who we are.
The voices outside my window are growing quieter as the baseball crowd thins. A child’s high pitched voice knifes through my thoughts, “It was a great game, Dad. Who won? I’m tired. When do we go home?”
Watermark Media, Inc.
editor / publisher Tom Dyer layout/ managing editor April Gustetter account executive Keith Peterson contributing writers Michael L. Kilgore, G. K. Fowler, Harmony Brenner. Nan Schultz,
R. A. Bach, Dimitri Toscas,
Jim Crescitelli, Mark Lawhon, Yvonne Vassell, Ken Kundis,
Marvin Liebman, Leslea Newman, Rosanne Sloan, Joe Sarano photographers & illustrators Alison Bechdel, Eric Orner,
Russell Tucker, student contributors John Holland, Katie Messmer,
Tera Kenney, Mike Williams CONTENTS of WATERMARK are protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced in whole or part without the permission of the publisher. Unsolicited article submissions will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Although WATERMARK is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers.
Publication of the name or photograph of any person or organization in articles, advertising, or listing is WATERMARK is not to be construed as any indication of the sexual orientation of such persons or members of such organizations (unless, of course, sexual orientation is stated specifically).
WATERMARK is published every second Wednesday, except the first week in January and the second week in July. Subscription rates are $35.00 (third class).
The official views of WATERMARK are expressed only in editorials. Opinions offered in signed columns, letters and articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the newspaper’s owner or management. We reserve the right to edit or reject any material submitted for publication.
WATERMARK is not responsible for damages due to typographical errors, except for the cost of replacing ads that have such errors.
WATERMARK P.O. Box 533655 Orlando, FL 32853-3655 TEL 407.481.2243 FAX 407.481.2246
In recent years, it is a rare event indeed for an American politician — of either major party — to take a stand based solely on principle and conviction rather than on whatever expedience is required to keep or win a well-paying government job with all the power and perks of office. Such a rare event occurred not long ago at a Human Rights Campaign Fund leadership conference in Washington, when U. S. Sen. Charles Robb (D-Va.) appeared to express his appreciation for a contribution of $ 10,000.
But he went far beyond just saying thanks.
Robb, running a tough and close race for reelection against radical extremists, “gave his strongest endorsement ever to homosexual rights, saying he will speak out on the issues even if it jeopardizes his reelection campaign,” reported The Washington Post in a story on the conference. “He condemned the ‘fundamental unfairness’ of anti-gay discrimination and called efforts to end it ‘the last front of the true civil rights struggle.’ He promised that ‘we’re going to get it right in the very near future.’”
There was no reason for Chuck Robb to stick out his political neck other than deep personal conviction. Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money but relatively insignificant in a campaign that will cost millions. His major opponent is the Republican nominee, Oliver L. North — public liar, hypocritical opportunist and a proud bigot whose targets include gays, lesbians and most likely every other minority group different from his white-bread, phony Norman Rockwell hero image, bought and paid for by direct-mail professionals who raise millions of hard-earned dollars from all too many impoverished and frightened Americans.
Is there a choice for those in the Virginia electorate who still value honor and decency? Is there even a question in the minds of gay men and lesbians? For me, there is none and only one choice: Charles Robb (who is every bit the Vietnam veteran that North is).
I have worked on the campaigns of, and voted for, Republicans most of my professional life, with only one exception in 1992 — Bill Clinton. I voted for him because I was repelled by the moral weakness and hypocrisy of the Republican Party and its candidate, as epitomized by the loathsome GOP national convention in Houston. In
retrospect, I would still have voted against the Republicans, even though Bill Clinton has reneged on too many campaign promises to the gay and lesbian community and to the nation.
I find myself in the same position once again. I am a conservative Republican who finds himself supporting Senator Chuck Robb, a liberal Democrat. Why this contradiction? It is because I am a gay man. Any politician — Republican or Democrat — who speaks out for us, who stands against bigotry and hatred, is my candidate. Even though we may differ on economic and other issues, we stand together in support of common humanity and the constitutional civil rights of all Americans. Our country can survive Democrats in the Senate and even Clinton in the White House. It cannot survive the bigotry, fear and hatred that have become the prime weapons of the radical extremists of the right, whether they be Democrat or Republican.
To the radical right, gay men and lesbians have replaced the Jews and Negroes of the past as prime targets. We have become the Reds of the ‘90’s, objects of fear and loathing. We are now the corrupters — of the media, the schools, the family, every “value” the professional extremists can think up on which they can raise money. Gay men and lesbians are stereotyped fuel for their fund-raising machines, all in the name of God.
Any friend of these radical extremists is our enemy. Anyone opposed to their ugly campaigns of hatred and bigotry is our friend. It has become that simple. The danger posed to our community is that critical. They promote raw hatred of each and every one of us. They proclaim their fundamentalist beliefs as religious gospel. The penalty for sodomy is death, they say. Do they really want us dead? Probably. We need all the real friends we can get. Those who stand with us against hate deserve all the support we can give them. Chuck Robb is one of those courageous few.
An additional note: In the past, I’ve criti-
by Marvin Liebman
cized the Human Rights Campaign Fund as being too “establishment”; too fearful of change. However, like it or not, HRCF is our establishment organization — the largest, the best-financed and the most widely recognized. It is because of this that it can provide the most comfortable platform for the Chuck Robbs to speak out for us. For this, all gay men and lesbians must be grateful. If it did nothing else but provide such a platform, HRCF would have sufficient value. For providing Chuck Robb that venue, I salute my HRCF friends and comrades.
I urge all who read this to provide whatever support you are able to keep Sen. Charles S. Robb in Washington. If you live in Virginia, offer your services as volunteers. But no matter where you live, send this man a check.
Marvin Liebman, author of Coming Out Conservative (1992, Chronical Books), lives and works in Washington, D. C.
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new Job
WATERMARK / August 31,1994 11
by Nan Schultz
“Who are we? Where have we come from? What are we here for?” The Mattachine Society, a pioneering gay organization, reportedly set itself to the task of exploring these questions. Formed at a time when the dearth of available information and the secrecy and shame surrounding homosexual activities caused many to doubt their sanity, or to believe themselves “the only ones”, the Society provided a vehicle for self-discovery and self-definition apart from prevailing social attitudes; attitudes which yielded such labels as “pervert”, “deviant”, and “criminal”.
Although the Mattachine quickly became a pragmatic and thus conservative organization providing mostly social opportunities and legal protection for its members, the questions they posed are still debated within gay and lesbian organizations. Since the results of this query are almost always divisive, I am prompted to add a fourth question: “What difference does it make?” Is self-definition a worthy goal, or is it a trap creating a group identity which confines us to our own stereotypes? What positive purpose might be served by exploring th2 ways being gay means more than simply being homosexual?
Who are we? Are we just doctors and lawyers and shop keepers whose primary sexual interest is in members of our own sex? Are we, as many among us would argue, “just like everybody else” except for who we sleep with? Or do we possess a sensibility which is the result of our unique experience in American society? Could we be possessed of an “outsider” consciousness which alters the perspective of our cultural observations? And might not our
tendency to stretch the limits of gender identity give us an insight into wholeness that may be hard to come by if one accepts the constraints of socially imposed sex roles?
Might we also have what Advocate senior editor Mark Thompson calls “a differentness that accentuates the gifts of compassion, empathy, healing, interpretation, and enabling?” Is it possible that, as one drag queen said, “when a man is feminine and a woman masculine...that person is more in touch with the total range of human experience?” I wouldn’t presume
.. .we are reaching a point in our social evolution where breakthrough change is not only possible, but critical to our survival...
to give you a definitive answer, but I suspect that we have at least the potential to add something unique and valuable to the American social/political fabric.
What are we here for? Good question! What is anybody here for? Can’t we just be here? Yes and no, for, as Judy Grahn, feminist poet and lesbian activist notes, her mere presence has an impact on society. Her clothes and bearing model a “certain freedom for women.” As she and her partner parent a child, they “present an obvious example of alternate family structure.” With very little effort she has become a one-
woman “alternative thought structure.” Without conscious thought or effort, and just as likely without our permission, we may be, as Ms. Grahn points out, “inextricably bound, historically and politically with ideas of pluralism, tolerance, multiculturality, sexual expression and free choice.” Not bad for people who are just like everybody else.
Buy this “we’re different” argument or don’t. Whether this makes any difference is far more relevant to our political and social choices, because what you aspire to is far more critical than what you really are. And because right now, right here, we face the political choice to either “breakthrough or break even.” We can continue to work for our piece of the same old pie, or we can get in the kitchen and bake up something new and better.
There is almost no way to deny that we are reaching a point in our social evolution where breakthrough change is not only possible, but critical to our survival and future chances for happiness and self-actualization. The new science of chaos and the study of change dynamics teaches us that systems are characterized by long periods of equilibrium punctuated by evolutionary branchings called bifurcations. According to Riane Eisler, historian and
futurist, the current rapid rate of technological change has precipitated the instability that makes such a branching likely. And while such branchings in chemical or biological systems are largely the product of chance, humans have the ability to act consciously and collectively to choose their own evolutionary path.
We can stay focused on the civil rights aspects of our struggle, reforming laws and securing our legal rights. We can recreate government and business-as-usual with tolerance for same sex pronouns. But as journalist Michael Bronski notes, “the legislative approach to gay liberation runs the risk of giving social power only to those homosexuals deemed ‘acceptable’, i.e. straight looking and acting.” Not to mention that such change is limited by existing social standards and the rigidity of legal and governmental systems.
Or we can seek to effect more far-reaching social change. We can seize the prerogative of being different. We can call on those unique experiences and insights gained through both the pain and joy of our “otherness” to imagine and create new social relationships based on the ideas of equality, partnership and connectedness to one another, to the environment, and to the world at large.
bj G. K. Fowler
Not too long ago the best advice for Orlando’s gay and lesbian residents was to leave town. If you wanted to be out, you had to get out. Those of us who stayed, or improbably arrived, joked about putting up a sign: WELCOME TO ORLANDO. SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK TEN YEARS.
Those days are over now. This is no longer the land that time and cranial development forgot. Orlando’s large gay and lesbian population is developing into a vibrant community. Like other minorities we celebrate our distinctiveness and choose empowerment. More and more we do business together, vote together, and work
Watermark was conceived during a visit to Atlanta; sperm met egg in the south’s most inviting gay ghetto, Virginia Highlands. At lunch one day, I noticed almost everyone, alone and in groups, perusing the same newspaper. Southern Voice had been distributed that day, and I was witness to the way this excellent weekly informs, energizes and unifies Atlanta’s gay and lesbian community.
Watermark's admittedly ambitious goal is to do the same for Orlando and the rest of Central Florida. Every other week we hope you’ll tuck us into your beach bag, spill eggs on us at Brian’s, and sneak looks at us during Reverend Brock’s sermon. We hope you’ll be aroused by our editorials, amused by our gossip and cartoons, and inspired by our “Transitions” section. Most importantly, we hope you’ll participate and take pride in our newspaper.
At present, we’re a full-time staff of three: myself, layout gal April Gustetter, and ad guy Keith Peterson. But the paper is clearly a collaborative effort, and there are many
together to defend our freedom and values. With Watermark, we have a twice-monthly newspaper to read together.
We named our paper Watermark because that word reminds us of what we love about Florida: the ocean, the gulf, our lakes and rivers, and the diversity of life they support. It’s classy too, like our community. It’s a myth we all have good taste, but no one can deny us, as a group, a certain flair.
Even better, it connotes honesty and excellence. On foreign currency, a watermark certifies that what you hold is genuine, the real thing. The watermark on fine bond
talented writers and photographers working with us. We’ve been overwhelmed by their shared enthusiasm
Tor this paper. Most will be featured regularly, and we hope you’ll come to know them and look forward to their contributions.
We also have four bright and energetic student interns who will cut their journalistic teeth with us. Importantly, to those friends in the gay and lesbian community who helped us get off the ground with their fi-
guarantees quality. Such marks, made by pressing wire patterns on new paper, are so pale they seem drawn in water. They are nearly invisible, like we’ve been for so long. But once brought to light, a watermark shines with an unmistakable quality, just like we do.
It’s been some time now since honest misconceptions about homosexuality congealed into hard, cold lies. But truth can’t hurt us. We know that it is human, not criminal, to value beauty and love. “Our kind” has always been defined by others, too often the fate and doom of powerless minorities. We won’t play that way anymore.
Hence one of our major goals at Watermark will be to help our community know itself and define for itself what it means to be gay in Central Florida, and in America, today. We’ll hold our community up to the light to see what shines through. We’ll search for the watermarks of what is true and essential in gay life. What we learn we’ll share with you, and with our hetero-
nancial support, my sincere thanks. You know who you are, so take a bow.
The paper has three sections. At the outset you’ll find news, including health, HIV, and business news. In the middle of the paper you’ll encounter “Artful Living”, containing entertainment news, reviews, personal announcements, astrology, gossip, cartoons, and a calender of events. The last few pages are devoted to the “Marketplace” directory, real estate and classified ads, and the sports page. These last pages will also soon contain “Voiceboard” telepersonal listings. In all sections, we’re committed to balanced content for lesbians and gay men.
Reading is passive; Watermark is intended to be an interactive process. We need you to share a little of your life with us. We need to know what you do at work and away from work. We need your ideas and opinions. We also hope you’ll be ambitious with your advertising. Let’s replace those business card ads with attractive, state-of-the-art advertising concepts that reflect the vital-
sexual neighbors. Too many of them are misguided by fear, the prey de luxe of cynical politicians and so-called religious leaders who peddle hate for power but settle for cash.
We’re writing for savvy, self-assertive gay people determined to live full lives despite the madness. We’ve got news you can use: what’s hot, what’s not, what hurts, what heals, what’s fun, and what requires serious voter turnout. News, sports, letters, comics...hey, it’s a gay world out there!
There’s too much joy and laughter, excitement, achievement, beauty and love in us for any of it to remain in restraints. Although bom into every race and creed we are a people of our own, a people in the making, and like all peoples, wonderful in our way. So here we are, God bless us. We hope we do us right. Maybe someday the best advice a local lesbian or gay man in Central Florida can get will be to pick up a copy of Watermark.
ity of the gay patrons you seek.
We’re excited about Watermark and the whole process of creating each issue. Call us with news tips. Send us letters. Show off photos in the “Gallery”. Place a classified ad. Tell us where you’d like to see Watermark distributed. And by all means, read our paper, pass it around, and as we change and grow with our first issues, let us know what you think.
Watermark welcomes letters to the editor. All letters are subject to editing for content and length. Letters should be sent to:
P. O. Box 533655 Orlando, FL 32853-3655
WATERMARK / August 31, 1994 12
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The Improvabilities are “Florida’s Freshest Fruit”
by R. A. Bach
The man and woman are center stage, acting out a horrific and hilarious free association about robots and exploding internal organs. Offstage, someone yells “Freeze! Tennessee Williams.” Instantaneously the actors begin fanning themselves and talking about mendacity in drippy southern voices filled with pent-up sexual frustration. The scenario continues on its new course until we hear “Freeze! Stephen Sondheim.” The actors become urban sophisticates as they begin singing about their neurotic, self-important lives...on the outer space. This madcap display of inventiveness continues as a Greek tragedy with chorus, a Rogers and Hammerstein musical, an Oscar Wilde comedy of manners, and finally Shakespeare.
Improvisation is comedy without a net; part of the entertainment lies in the potential for disaster. Can they pull it off? Can they invent something funny without benefit of prior thought? Like a trapeze act, when the Improvabilities do pull it off you don’t know whether to laugh, applaud or gasp in amazement. And they pull it off time after time, often brilliantly, sometimes
just barely, and that’s fun too.
For almost a year, the Improvabilities have been providing Central Florida with hilarious, intelligent, insightful sketch comedy that assumes a gay sensibility. They are also one of the best entertainment values in town. On weekends, its no longer necessary to go to a bar after dinner to stay gay. Go to the Eola Theater, wave at friends, have a seat and prepare to be wildly entertained. These are funny, funny people, and it’s a privilege to catch them at this stage of their promising collective career.
Troy Tinker founded the Improvabilities after four years of improv work in Cleveland. His dream was “to form a comedy troupe that would make people laugh while shedding light on gay experience.” Several members were recruited from the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island, and others were mined from Universal Studios, the Hat Box Revue, and local children’s theater.
Along with Troy, Dave Almeida is the group’s most versatile performer, comfortable and funny as daddy or diva. Catherine
Goodison has the wry wit and deadpan delivery of Roseanne’s Sara Gilbert John Connon,
his handsome face topped by a shock of peroxide blonde hair, could be the twisted anchorman for the John Waters Network.
Talented Rae L’Heureaux can be petite then brassy, stem then bawdy as she calls on a broad range of characters with impres-
THE IMPROVABILITIES: (clockwise from top left) Dave Almeida, John Connon, Rae LHeureaux, Martin Kunz, Troy Tinker. Not pictured: Catherine Goodison
sive ease. She’s Lucy, Bette, Roseanne and more. With his expressive face, a real artist’s tool, the hilarious Martin Kunz can draw laughter with little more than an arched eyebrow. At a recent show, he created a boy-in-the-bubble cruising the Parliament house by rolling his big orb up and down the balconies (“Look but don’t touch, baby”). It was comedic inventiveness worthy of Jonathan Winters.
One of the great pleasures of watching this versatile group is sharing their delight in each other’s courage and wit. It’s easy to tell when a peer has been impressed. Actors uninvolved in a partic-ular sketch will often jump in when an inspired comedic idea sparks their imagination. The hilarity builds exponentially as troupe members bounce off each other like speeding pinballs.
Performances last approximately two hours, with one fifteen minute intermission. The audience is involved throughout, calling out suggestions and often participating onstage. Catch these wonderful performers often and while you still can. After opening for the Fabulous Flirtations in May at The Club, The Improvabilities will be performing with them at selected upcoming concerts. The Improvabilities are also pursuing regional bookings.
Don’t miss The Improvabilities, “Florida’s Freshest Fruit”, at one of their upcoming Friday shows at the Eola Theatre on Wall Street Plaza. Showtimes are at 10:30 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 9th, 16th and 30th. Call (407) 521-7499.
by Tom Dyer
La Cage Aux Folles is landmark gay entertainment. Based on a play by Jean Poiret, the French movie about ZaZa, a tightly wound female impersonator, and his longtime companion Georges, was funny, touching, and a surprise hit in the 70s. The transformation to Broadway musical several years later was an overwhelming creative and financial success.
La Cage Aux Folles will be performed at the Mark Two Dinner Theater through October 2nd; the perfect excuse to visit with Orlando’s Sam Singhaus, one of the original “Cagelles” in the Broadway production. Sam is known to many as the charismatic co-owner and driving force behind the fondly remembered downtown club “Big Bang”, and through his association with the popular Club At Firestone.
Musical by nature, Sam developed his interest in dance while attending Boone High School. After graduating, he took dance classes with Kip Watson and worked with what eventually became the Southern Ballet Theater.
Encouraged by his teachers, he went to New York to study dance and within weeks was awarded a scholarship
with the Richard Thomas Ballet Company. “The whole thing was really unbelievable,” said Sam. “I went to New York for three months and ended up staying ten years.”
Sam was drawn to musical comedy, and he eventually left the ballet to train and take a job at Radio City. He did skit work on Saturday Night Live, and in time started auditioning for Broadway shows. His first big show was a national tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with Debbie Boone. “It was a great show and a lot of fun,” said Singhaus. “Debbie was great in it, but the New York critics couldn’t get over themselves enough to give her a good review.” After a successful tour, the show closed soon after reaching Broadway.
Continued Page 14
WATERMARK / August 31, 1994 14
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Then auditions for La Cage Aux Folles began. “For some reason I just had the feeling that this was the right show for me,” he remembered. “I didn’t know that much about it, just that it was Jerry Herman, Arthur Laurents and Harvey Fierstein and it was going to be a six million dollar musical and it was going to be a hit.” Apparently others felt the same way. Along with 1000 other dancers, Sam sought a role as one of the energetic “cagelles”. Auditions lasted for three full months as dancers were pared to the final ten.
According to Sam, “We weren’t told we would be in drag half the show until the very end. We were told to bring high heels to the final auditions.” So Sam went shopping. “I lived on the upper west side at the time, so I walked up to Harlem figuring I’d find larger sizes there. I went into this women’s shoe store and started looking, and after watching me for a while this saleslady asked if she could help me. Fortunately, Tootsie had just come out, so I asked her if she’d seen the movie. She said she had, so I told her it was a Tootsie thing. She sold me a great pair of shoes.”
In fact, Sam had never appeared in drag before La Cage, and it took weeks to get
used to the specially braced high heel shoes. “We tried out in Boston and changed the show every day. It was tough. I definitely hit my ‘Butterfield 8’ weight.” But he says it was clear that the show would be a hit from the start, and he ended up staying with La Cage until it closed almost five years later.
During the show’s run, Sam worked with the likes of George Hearn, Keene Curtis, Gene Barry, Peter Marshall, and his favorite, Van Johnson. “A real old Hollywood star. He’s sure nice and real, real fun. He always wore red socks, so when he came back to see the show after he’d left it, I snuck out and bought red socks for the cast. When the curtain came up for ovations, we lifted our pant legs and you could hear his boisterous laugh everywhere. He was great.”
Sam notes that there was initial criticism of the show from some gay quarters because, like the recent movie Philadelphia, there was almost no affection displayed between the principal gay couple. Sam thinks this criticism is misplaced. “First of all, Georges and ZaZa had been together for decades, so let’s be real. Also, much of the audience would have been turned off by them kissing and stuff. Instead, everyone who saw the play left thinking that the love between two men can be beautiful. After all, love is what the play is really about.”
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• SENATOR PAULA HAWKINS, who insulted Florida’s Cuban community by saying, "you know how they are"; who repeatedly trashed Florida in public forums around the U.S.; who was criticized in both Florida and Washington for playing fast and loose with the truth; who was described as a “lightweight” by the Wall Street Journat, and who was chosen one of the ten worst senators by Washington Monthly.
• GOVERNOR BOB MARTINEZ, who tried to defy Florida’s constitution by taking away women’s right to choose and who left behind federal lawsuits that turned prisoners back out on the streets after serving only 32% of their sentences; prisons that couldn’t open because there was no money to run them; and a welfare computer that crashed.
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The buzz on Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers has been good...good and violent. I’ve never been a particular fan of Stone’s, and I was prepared for his usual overboard style. Overboard does not begin to describe the buttons and barriers this film pushes. And by the way, I loved this movie.
Visually, Natural Born Killers is exciting. Trippy in fact. The actors, with one exception, are memorable. Standouts include the ubiquitous Tommy Lee Jones as a fiendish prison warden, and Juliette Lewis, who has perfected the role of mentally-unstable-woman-confined-in-a-hospital-room-or-jail-cell. Robert Downey, Jr.’s insipid Robin Leach impersonation was distracting, however. Why couldn’t Stone get Hugh Grant or Rupert Everett to play the smarmy British tabloid journalist?
Natural Born Killers presents a scathing portrait of our sick obsession with tabloid press and TV. And if you think it’s over-the-top, check out the “real-life” clips of those darling orphaned Menendez boys, our national hero O. J. Simpson the pitiful victim Lorena Bobbit, and the list goes on and on. Is this movie realistic? Yes and more. I left the theatre amazed at what I had just viewed, and feeling the same calm experienced after serious “anger work” with my therapist. This movie is cathartic.
I refuse to comment on how “violence begets violence”, and how teenagers will imitate the anti-heroes Micky and Mallory, played so magnificently by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. Take a look at this movie and see it for what it is; a stunning, chilling portrait of our society and our sick obsession with gore, violence and scandal.
• Barcelona is pretentious, boring, and yes, obnoxious. The actors are miscast, the dialogue is stilted, the characters unappealing and implausible. I didn’t like Whitt Stillman’s last film, Metropolitan (1990); Barcelona annoyed the hell out of me. I left Enzian in a bad mood and had to cancel my plans to meet a friend at The Club for a nightcap.
• On video, check out Six Degrees of Separation, a sophisticated movie with outstanding performances, and witty, intellegent dialogue (are you listening Whitt Stillman?). Better than the Broadway play on which it was based. Also, take a look at Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. Despite its epic length, it was without doubt one of last year’s best films. The ensemble cast is unforgettable.
• My sister took me to my very first rock concert over twenty years ago (can that be real ???). I’ve loved Steely Dan ever since. And I might have loved them at their recent St. Petersburg concert if I had heard them. The Thunderdome is acoustics HELL. Its no excuse that the arena wasn’t designed for concerts, but for the baseball team that never was.
• I can’t believe I’m recommending a restaurant on I-Drive, but if you’re looking for a truly unique night out with friends or a date, visit Cafe Tu Tu Tango. Food, drink, artwork, artists and dancers all blend to make for one of the coolest, most original places to hang out in O-Town.
Sam Sinahaus
“I am what l am, and what I am needs no excuses,..” is just one of the lines in what has become the anthem of modern gay culture. It is part of the score to La CageAux Folks, a wonderful old-fashioned musical guaranteed to reach in and tug at those rusty old heart strings that we all hide so well. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one misty-eyed in the audience - the opening night onlookers seemed to adore the show. The audience consisted mainly of “mainstream” Americans - the kinds of mothers, fathers, relatives, and neighbors that we all might find ourselves “coming out” to, perhaps borrowing some of the above-mentioned score to plea our case. This show, as poignant as it is campy, was the winner of 6 Tony awards on Broadway in 1984. With the collaboration of Arthur Laurents (West Side Gypsy. The Way We Were) Jerry Herman C , Dolly!, Mame), and Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy), an incredible treasure of musical theater was created.
The show revolves around two gay male characters whose son is engaged to the daughter of a right-wing morals crusader. The story is one of “forbidden love” vs. family traditions (sound familiar?). It’s a bit Romeo And Juliet, a bit Side Story, and a bit of Thanksgiving dinner with your parents and your new “significant other”.
In this production, Biyce Ward stars as ZaZa, the headline female impersonator/entertainer in his lover’s night club. It’s hard to find enough good things to say about Mr. Ward. His performance k; filled with warmth, humor, showmanship, and professional artistry. He leaves you wanting more (and he looks so glamorous in those beaded dresses!). Michael
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Edwards plays his lover George; the solid support that ZaZa needs to keep at least one foot on the ground. Mr. Edwards gives a likeable performance, creating a very complimentary, believable character with the wisdom to sustain a twenty-year marriage to a true diva. As Jean-Michel (the “traitor” son), Todd Lee Piorier is a pleasure to listen to and look at, acting the role with integrity. He and Mr. Edwards make a convincing father-son casting choice.
Other performances worth kudos are Colleen Ashton as the bubbly and delicious Jacqueline, Ann Hurst as the “bridled-gone-giddy” Mme. Dindon, and Bob Perry’s “second-fiddle” Mercedes. Mary Rose Gray’s Mme. Renaud Ls the quintessential French country barmaid.
It’s difficult for me to criticize any theatrical endeavor, but since the Mark Two is a legitimate Equity (union) theatre, the few disappointing aspects of the performance I attended bear mentioning. The Cagelles were a bit too rough around the edges and their costumes far from flattering. But what they lacked in grace they certainly made up for with enthusiasm and shenanigans. Mr. Dindon was played a little too “Lower East Side” for an uptight French moralist, and Jacob was pleasant but lacked the fire of a drag-diva wannabe (just go for it, girl!).
Mark Howard’s direction and Bob Perry’s choreography (much of the original Broadway steps were recreated) kept the production swiftly on course. As we left the theatre singing “The Best ofTImes is No w”, Mark Two’s La Cage Aux Folles movingly reminded us to be proud of who we really are.
Thank you cast and crew for an inspirational and enjoyable evening of theatre.
S Absolutely Fabulous
Reviewed by Dimitri Toscas
Okay. Who are those two women who are creeping into our culture? You know, the heavy one whose outrageous clothes don’t fit her anymore, and the blonde one who hasn’t changed her hair style since the sixties?
They’re popping up everywhere. On postcards. In our clubs. Hosting “drag races”. On our televisions. They are becoming a cultural landmark for the 90s...right up there with Ru Paul and Hillary Clinton.
Of course, Sweetie, darling.. .they’re Edina and Patsy of Absolutely Fabulous, the hit series that just arrived from England on Comedy Central. It’s been a craze on the BBC since 1992, so why has it taken so long to reach us?
“I think you’ll find, America, that Patsy and Edina have no redeeming qualities whatsoever,” the show’s producer,
Continued Page 16
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Continued Page 16
Jon Plowman, proudly spouts. “It’s been one of the reasons that America’s been reluctant.” But if you ask me, that’s the very reason Edina and Patsy are so attractive to this sterile, politically correct generation.
Before you clamor to your tele, America, there are a few things you need to know to assimilate yourselves to AbFab, as it is affectionately known. Here are some tips to help you.
1) Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are fortysomething fashion gals. Their major addictions: smokes, alcohol, and drugs (every kind you can find), their obsessive issues: slaves to fashion, wealth, and other current trends, from psychic friends to Buddhist chant, from fad diets to isolation tanks (which Edina can only use if Patsy’s with her).
Edina’s hard up and heavy. Patsy’s coked up and homy (a confirmed nymphomaniac). Basically, they’re everyday people.
2) “Fags” are cigarettes, so don’t get offended.
3) Saffron is Edina’s daughter. She’s a smart, young, science student; the only stable thing in the house, but watch her tongue.. .it’s sharp.
4) Don’t be surprised if you recognize some odd characters. Since the show’s instant fame, stars like Germaine Greer, Miranda Richardson, and Helena Bonham Carter pop up in unexpected cameos.
5) “Colonic irrigation” is merely an ad-
vanced enema.
6) “LaCroix” is the name of a fashion line.
7) A television season at the BBC is only SIX episodes. So don’t be alarmed when you begin to see reruns of the twelve existing episodes. The third season is due in Spring of 1995, and then, according to Saunders, who is also writer and co-creator, the girls may be hitting the big screen.
8) You’ll find Comedy Central’s Absolutely Fabulous on Mondays at 8:30 PM, Saturdays at 4:30 PM, and Sundays at 11:00 PM, but before you set your VCR, be aware that the show is an odd 40 minutes or so. Check the listings.
Extra Bonus: Keep an ear out for the Pet Shop Boys’ dance track devoted to Patsy and Edie. It’s a groove.
Our suggestion for beginners: Tape the show and watch it a few times, until you can understand what the girls are saying.
And while trying to keep up with Patsy and Edina for you, we’ve discovered a major plot line for next season. Get this: Patsy and Edina are coming to New York!
“I just hope people think it’s funny,” Lumley states, no doubt maneuvering the words between her fag and her crooked smile. “I hope they will. And if it doesn’t work, it’s not my fault. I’m simply an actress.”
Don’t worry, Pats, as always, your adventures around Manhattan promise to be exhilarating, exhausting, and absolutely fabulous.
Flashpoint by Katherine V. Forrest Reviewed by Harmony Brenner
In September, 1991, a California radio station broadcasts the governor’s plan to veto a crucial gay-rights bill. This news causes Donnelly, Flashpoint's central figure, to mobilize her diverse gay and lesbian cohorts in a rustic cabin retreat, thus setting the stage for Katherine V. Forrest’s latest novel. Flashpoint spins a provoking fictional web of reference around real political struggle.
Forrest animates and humanizes these characters by showing them simultaneously at their best and worst, as they challenge and comfort each other through loss and discovery. Donnelly is a multi-faceted activist with impressive connections, and she leads the group body and soul. Pat Decker owns the cabin, and thus serves as the group’s reluctant hostess. Averill Calder Harmon, a professional golfer with a dislike for activism, lives in self-hating fear with her secretary and lover, Angela. Rounding out the female characters is Querida Quemada, a successful Latina professional and Donnelly’s current lover. Donnelly’s ex-husband and his male lover complete the cast.
Throughout the book’s uncharacteristically terse chapters, each character shares common pain, common shame, and uncommon healing. They process their own unique experiences as homosexuals while Donnelly prepares to test their commitment. Challenges created by homophobic employers, families, schools and peers unite Forrest’s characters despite clear differences in gender, class and ethnicity.
Like many cohesive cliques, intriguing yet painful love triangles once existed within the group. As their shared bond, Donnelly helps each of them cope, passing from Bradley to Averill to Pat like an Olympic torch of optimism and activism.
As usual, Forrest spices the entire story with wonderful snippets of dialogue and detail. The tranquility and provincial charm of the woodsy cabin pleasantly contrast the cosmopolitan lifestyles and concerns of its inhabitants. Her characters banter naturally, observe unobtrusively, and soliloquize elo-
quently. Each offers insight into the gay and lesbian experience rarely found in contemporary fiction. Forrest’s polished yet believable style of characterization remains the trademark of her bestselling fiction.
At times Flashpoint may seem ponderous, but when the governor finally issues his veto, crisis dynamics reverberate within the secluded cabin’s walls. Donnelly confronts her friends with a mission, testing the bounds of their delicately woven friendships. Each character must weigh the consequences of solidarity and true political commitment.
The choices made range from startling to satisfying, but each is ultimately credible. For the ardent Forrest reader, Flashpoint breaks new and significant ground .Forrest is not typically political, thus excluding most reference to current events. This story is a well-timed exception. I highly recommend it to Forrest fans and to anyone who enjoys the struggles of determined underdogs. If for no other reason, read Flashpoint to ignite your own sense of pride, energy, and activism.

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July 1963-August 1993
In Loving Memory
TIME helps the hurting. LOVE keeps the memory. JUST like the song you sang to me. “I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.”
Actress Danitra Vance 35, died on Sunday, August 21st. An innovative and outrageous performance artist, Ms. Vance was once described as a cross between Laurie Anderson and Little Richard. In 1985 she became the first black woman to join the cast of Saturday Night Live. Ms. Vance lived in Brooklyn with her companion, Jones Miller. According to Ms. Miller, the cause of death was breast cancer.
Lesbian Pioneer, Rikki Streicher, 68, died on Sunday, August 21st. Ms. Streicher was a pioneer in San Francisco’s gay civil rights movement and owner of two of the city’s most famous lesbian bars, Maud’s and Amanda’s. Following Ms. Streicher’s death, San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan ordered flags flown at half-staff in her honor. Ms. Streicher is survived by her partner of many years, Mary Sager.
“Transitions" may include memorials, remembrances, weddings, anniversaries, promotions, and other announcements. Please send submissions with black and white photo to WATERMARK • P.O. Box 533655 • Orlando, FL 32853-3655. Announcements an; free of charge.
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MARK MATTHEWS PLACES IN MR. HOTLANTA. Orlando’s own Mark Matthews was the second runner-up in the 1994 Mr. Hotlanta International contest. Those who’ve done the Atlanta river expo know that the bodybuilding competition is a major production, theatrically and pectorally. Word is that many thought Mark should have’s all so political. Congratulations, Mark. Readers, we’ll try and get hold of some pictures. ENZIAN’S GAY FILM SERIES ENDS. According to Manager Peg O’Keef, Enzian’s Summer Gay and Lesbian Film series was a moderate disappointment. “We were very pleased with the films presented,” said O’Keef, “ but disappointed that more people didn’t get to see them.” She reports that Go Fish, a seriocomic lesbian slice-of-life, was well attended, “probably because it got lots of national publicity and the Orlando Sentinel did a story on it.” Other films, however, did less well. The last film in the series, Coming Out Under Fire, an award-winning documentary about gays in the military, is presently playing. O’Keef states that despite the mixed response, Enzian will continue to present lesbian and gay films in Central Florida. The highly anticipated The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert begins playing in late September.
SOUTHERN COUNTRY HOSTS “O’TOWN HOEDOWN”. Southern Country Orlando will hold their second annual “O’Town Hoedown” on September 9th, 1 Oth, and 11 th. All events will be held at the Harley Hotel’s Eola Ballroom and at the Full Moon Saloon. According to Jerry Murtha, Souther Country President, anywhere from 300 to 500 people are expected. Proceeds from this year’s hoedown will benefit CENTAUR and the Hope & Help Center. Southern Country Orlando is one of 41 gay country/westem dancing clubs nationwide.
DESTINY OF ME OPENS AT ACTING STUDIO. The Acting Studio continues to offer innovative gay theatre with its upcoming production of The Destiny of Me. Destiny is Larry Kramer’s 1993 Obie Award-winning sequel to his earlier AIDS play, The Normal Heart. Destiny is directed by Ron Schneider, and will run from Friday, September 9th, through Sunday, October 16th.
Tickets are $ 12; seniors and students $ 10.
LOOKING AHEAD. Me and My Girl, called “the freshest and funniest musical to hit Broadway in ages” by Newsweek, opens the Civic Theatre of Central Florida’s MainStage season on Thursday,
September 15th. Call (407) 896-7365 ▼ The Friday, September 23rd performance of La CageAux Folles will be a “FamilyNight Out” to benefit the Rainbow Democratic Club. Tickets are $45, including dinner and show. Call (407) 649-7875 for tickets.▼ Tampa’s 5th Annual International Pride Film Festival will take place at the magnificent Tampa Theatre from Friday, September jqY MCC RAISED OVER $1500 AT THEIR AN-30th to Sunday, October 9th. Call (813) 837-4485 NUAL art AUCTION ON AUGUST 12TH & for more information. 13TH.PICTURED; JOE CLANTON (AS EASEL).
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WATERMARK / August 31, 1994 19
With guest speaker, Erin Somers of “Passion Phones”. Downtown Radisson. 6:30 PM. 420-2182.
Award-winning documentary about gays in the military. 5:30 PM. Enzian. 644-4662.
“Florida’s Freshest Fruit”. Performing at the Eola Theatre.
10:30 PM. 521-7499.
LUAU ‘94. Annual Labor Day Weekend party begins at the Parliament House thru Sept. 5. 425-7571.
BOXCARS GRAND OPENING. At the railroad car building in Fern Park. Thru Sept. 4. 831-7559.
WHORES OF BABYLON. A return to Sodom & Gomorrah at The Club. Togas optional. 426-0005.
Gay & Lesbian day in the Busch (Gardens, that is), in Tampa. Sponsored by GLCS. 425-4527.
DELTA YOUTH ALLIANCE. Support group for gay, lesbian and bisexual youth under 22. 6:00 PM. 236-9415.
OUT & ABOUT BOOKS. Chill after Labor Day. Let owner Bruce Ground give you attitude. 896-0204.
G.L.C.S. While you’re downtown, check out The Center; Gay Activity Central. 425-4527.
Gay & Lesbian radio on 91.5 FM. Talk, music, news, interviews, entertainment, community events. 646-2398.
Meet at the red pagoda at Lake Eola. 7:30 PM. 857-1777.
Free Tours and Wine Tasting
Mon-Sat 10-5 PM Sun Noon-5 PM
See Sept. 2.
THE DESTINY OF ME. Opening at The Acting Studio. 8:00 PM. 425-2281.
HOEDOWN. Southern Country dancefest at the Harley Hotel and Full Moon Saloon. 1-800-859-0518 x.518.
begins fall league at Fair Lanes Indian Hills. 831-717L
THE DESTINY OF ME. Continues at the Acting Studio. Thru Oct. 16.
HOEDOWN. Continues at the Harley Hotel and Full Moon Saloon. Thru Sept. 11.
OBTA. Gay and lesbian round robin tennis. 10:30 AM. 292-8582.
Semoran Skate way in Fern Park. 9:15 PM. 425-4527.
Sept. 5.
See Sept. 5.
BOWLING. OBBA begins fall league at BowlAmerica Winter Park. 8:00 PM. 644-2244.
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WATERMARK / August 31, 1994 20
backlot bungalow here at Paramount Pictures, I’m faced with an all too familiar dilemma. The script to “Meet Me in Gomorrah” (the studio’s last-ditch effort to save my Hindenburg-like career) has just been delivered and tossed onto my desk like some cheap dress off the clearance rack at Bergdorf’s. Do I read it or torch it?! The stench from the typewriter ink still lingers like Crawford’s signature cologne, "Depression. ”
How could this have happened? I was once the QUEEN of Hollywood - now I’m reduced to fighting for tabloid headlines with Charlene Tilton and Leigh Shannon. Whatever happened to great pictures like “Love On a Pogo Stick”, “Dial S For Suicide”, and “Shut Up Sweet Lurlene”? We didn’t have talent then, we had pussies! If you needed a hit picture, all it took was some "fancy footwork” on the ceiling. But like everything else in life, what goes up must come down. It seems to be hard-knocks time again - better stock up on the bulletproof Aqua Net. Oh, I’m not too worried - there’s always Aaron Spelling. Look what he did for Joan Collins! (Once a C-cup, always a B-girl!) And of course there are the wonderful product-endorsement opportu-
nities for television stars. I can see it now - “This is Lola O’Lay for Gold Bond Medicated Feminine Hygiene Time-Released Laxative Squares (in the “temper-resistant” packaging).” Perhaps Cher has the right idea - stand next to a fat lady and you can’t help but look good!
As bitter as a pot of day-old coffee? You bet! Wouldn’t you be if every career vehicle that came along had a dead battery?. This new writing assignment for Watermark will be just the ticket I need to get back in touch with my fans - the little people. Each issue, I’ll be bringing you juicy bits from the front lines and all the local watering holes of “Hollywood East”. So, mind your P’s and Q’s - information is pouring in by the thimbleful, and I want to share every morsel with you.
Here’s one that’s hot off the press. Hang on to your wigs, Girls! Rumor has it that a certain once-infamous downtown hot spot is currently about to "explode” again...I hope my booth is still available!
Oh, and about that new script - you’re all invited to a barbecue in Bungalow B! Who knows, the next dish served up could be YOU!
Life’s a bitch, and so am I!
Confidential to P.R.: If you want to keep that arm, you’d better keep it off my "novio”!
• If you’re out and about on Sunday, or any time over the weekend for that matter, make it a point to check out the east shore of Lake Ivanhoe, across from Antique Row. Wild lesbians with jet skis. Shirtless and sweaty gay volleyballers. When did this happen? Why weren’t we told immediately?
• Speaking of out and about, our hero Bruce Ground is converting the back room at his wonderful book store into a coffee shop...the “Stage Door Canteen.” Only a perfect idea. Bruce should be serving you his own special blend by Thanksgiving. We pray every night that we’ll be stuck at Out and About Books if there’s a nuclear holocaust and nobody can go outside for three months. “Is it time to go already?”
• Do you well up with pride every time one of our gay superstars makes a public appearance? Elton, Martina, k.d., Melissa... each time I’ve seen them interviewed, they’ve been articulate, interesting, confident, comfortable, humble, witty and just
plain nice. So much more well-adjusted than those other celebrities.
• Around 8:30 PM, dial up 106.7 FM and listen to “Just Plain Mark” play Guess The Lesbian. Mark gets two women on the phone, one gay and one straight, and asks them some loaded questions: “Who are the Indigo Girls?” “How many times have you seen Fried Green Tomatoes?” “Do you have a tattoo?” A guy contestant is then asked to Guess The Lesbian based on their answers. By all accounts, it’s done in good fun and can be a real hoot (lesbian for “funny”).
• Richard Simmons has replaced Terri Garr as David Letterman’s favorite foil. Personally, we can’t decide if Richard Simmons sitting on his feet in exercise shorts with greasy thighs mooning at David Letterman is a positive development in gay evolution or not. But we think it is.
• TCTBT...the kinda short but incredibly hunky mail guy at the front counter of the downtown post office.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): You must give and take, stubborn one. Communications with significant others, particularly children, may touch your last nerve. Be flexible and focus on mutual values, not pesky details. Career matters are murky, but swallow hard and let others shine. Your eighth house is active, so watch yourself regarding sex and finances. The full moon on the 9th will shake up your unconscious. Attend to it.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You’re a fixed earth sign, but its time for a personal tectonic shift. We’re not talking a change in hair color. Take a trip and make that big decision you’ve been pondering. You’re ripe (rotting?) for a relationship of substance. Look for inner beauty...really. But by all means hide yptif^n-trolling nature. Let her pick the movie. Let him choose the restaurant. Then keep your mouth shut.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): We’ve all had times like Si&se. They suck. Get through it and move on. Focus on monetary:|||J sues and avoid confronting past, present or potential playtSJfe. If you can muster the energy, you may want to considef|vlethe£ | professional dissatisfaction is the source of your angst* Coming attractions...the return of your sex drive. |
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Mars is passing ovei the Sum1 Hide your credit cards. Avoid Park Avenue. Instead, use tbit energy in a flurry of dating activity. If you’re already “involved,” make sure you’re getting what you want. On all levels, corilfhii-nicate clearly and rationally. Parents may disagree with ypn, particularly about matters related to children. But if you’ve been pondering a visit to the sperm bank, you go girl.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Time and money are on your side, so go ahead and take that muebrdispussed trip with a special friend. But don’t venturejpo far; a Bice guest hoiise in the Keys, dear, not Monte Capb^a^c^ib PlrticuIar should not ignore health concerns. Those achy joints may reflect nutritional deficiencies. . .or ig||tf anyone wants to tell you how to spend your money, tell thefn to kips off. £* ~V, V; .s, ^
VIRGO (A(||l2|*Sept. 22): So many details! .li©w;o^jou df it all? you can’t. No one can* so loosen up cm family, friends::® neighbors. MeahwhilBliil' •
sw^M^BMlfrfesultin^fire^&ikS; Sex, romancl times mit your fingertips, so.^^^rd ber
swept away. If you help from a flieSd, ybuilget U LIBRA (Sept 2Mlci 22): Spell for me, please. 8-A-L-A-N-;|>E. You rpakej®|rs happy*same for"' yourselLY^uhajllthe knowhow. |§fu. have the%chh<|tigy|Brace|
Ii^9liiil»vihg,;do it. You have aboit as much c&aner of sparking a romance right now as tt :;tq:|^q|Mftrreer fulfillment issues. :
j||QpRPIi6 (Oct 23-Nov. 21): You’re in a very rewardmg-^®!* transformation, and beauty are indicated. Ypu’te " more:chi|ged up than the Energizer bunny, so don’t fight t|a|:p. impulse tb redecorate. And if you’ve ever thought about “cos-: metic enhancement”, now’s the time.. ;a good excuse to tmf|l|l Watch ter an unexpected invitation. Also watch vour waisItelL dear, ‘nuff said. ' 1l
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): There’s upheaval on the home front ‘cause you’re way overdue for some changes. Courage. Look inside.. .and you know exactly what I mean. Like Jim and Tammy Faye, it may be time for a “values and priorities” makeover. But don’t get down, get creative. On the lighter side, you’ll have recreational opportunities and the energy to enjoy them.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your personal austerity is filially pushing you over the edge. Step back, step aside, it’s time tb dance. Life is like the Tower of Terror; scary but fun. Worry about counting calories later. If you meet someone special, and very well may, take the chance. Friends and family are be-tt®|pu. A small caution...avoid signing anything binding for ’now, ,
MQftitlUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Think Auntie Marne, Aquar-:ishs,bcb|use a little grandiosity is appropriate. Don’t stifle it. Draw Qgiiyour unconscious (it’s particularly accessible to you and don’t feel constrained to make sense to the rest of bill’s time to begin converting those utopian dreams to reality. God knows you’ll have the energy, and we less astrologically fall into line.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): With this month’s lunation in Pisces* it’s an excellent time to look in the mirror and ask yourself w® this person really needs other than an eyebrow pluck. No jbaiterbow nervous it makes you, seek nothing short of inner ®fte; lYithout major doses of self-discipline, your life will al-:^M®rtainly suck for a while. Friends may seem a little fickle, but Biat’s them and not you, dear.
Mark Lawhon is certified by the American Federation of Astrologers, and is 407-894-1506.


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Bach, R. A. et al.. “The Watermark, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 31, 1994.” RICHES of Central Florida accessed September 26, 2023,



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