In 1975, Bill Miller and Michael Hodge purchased a motor lodge on Orange Blossom Trail that was failing because it was too far from Disney for the families it served. But Miller and Hodge sought a different clientele, one that didn't really care how distant the Magic Kingdom was. And that, friends, was the humble beginning of what would prove to be 30 years (so far) of in-your-face queeritude right in the middle of Bible-centric Orlando. Happy 30th anniversary, Parliament House.
If the only thing the PH had done all these years was be a thumb-in-the-eye of the no-fundies, we'd be the first in line at the bar to celebrate. But there's more to the PH than tight Speedos and T-Dances. For instance, in 1979, the Parliament House successfully challenged the city of Orlando's "Blue Law," which banned the sale of liquor on Sundays. Everyone gay, straight or switch-hitting who enjoys a stiff … drink … on the Sabbath owes a debt of gratitude to the PH.
There's also the PH's long tradition of being fabulous. Miss P (aka Paul Wegman), a drag queen who enjoyed a 25-year career, got her start there and made a habit of outrageous entrances, including being lowered by a helicopter into the courtyard on New Year's Eve 1999. The Parliament House's Footlight Theater has a history of staging some of the more "controversial" material on offer in Orlando. Plus Cyndi Lauper played there once.
The official celebration of the Parliament House's 30th birthday runs through July 31. Here in Happytown™ we're all a little gay, so what better time to strut it?
New candidate for suckiest job in town: management at Clear Channel's 104.1 WTKS-FM last week, anyway.
The week started off with the shocking-enough news that Sexy Savannah (an '05 "Best of Orlando" winner) was bidding farewell to her role as part of the Monsters in the Morning in order to move to Shannon Burke's show. That this move was apparently prompted by some "personality differences" between her and Monsters chief Russ Rollins (rumored to have roots in their once-romantic-but-long-since-not relationship) made for a venomous Monsters show on Tuesday morning.
But the week was still young. Still to come: an on-air spat between Real Radio afternoon drive host Jim Philips (another '05 "Best of Orlando" winner) and XM Satellite Radio talk-hosts Opie & Anthony. O&A accused Philips of "stealing" one of their on-air bits, resulting in a days-long battle of words between the two shows. Aided by legions of listeners known, aptly, as "pests" O&A tore Philips apart, using long segments of Philips' show to ridicule the Phile host. The first day of the back-and-forth made for great radio; day No. 2 was less amusing as Philips spent most of the day swatting "pests" and trying (unsuccessfully) to keep control of his show.
We tried to reach Philips for comment, but never heard back. Being the fair-minded journalists we are, we also called O&A for a comment, and they put us on the air while launching another round of attacks against Philips.
By Friday afternoon, Philips was threatening legal action against O&A and refusing to take phone calls. All of which makes for entertaining radio, and a migraine for management.
We're kinda sure what Eola Wine Company's Mid Summer Pour was all about, but we know for a fact that our collective hangover was about the size of Manhattan.
For five fabulous hours July 22, Central Boulevard downtown morphed into something of a 12-step trough, swaying and swishing under the influence of extreme heat and old grapes. We pretended to listen while vendors discussed processes involving some fermentation here and some special picking there, all of which made us feel like we were drinking with purpose. We smiled purple-toothed smiles at the likes of Ken Mulvaney (cute!) and Jim Faherty (cuter!) as they danced the mingle dance of Orlando's salt & pepper midlife crisis. We learned that despite its '70s boxed-wine connotation as the flavor most likely to accompany Bobby Rubino's takeout, rosé is back, back, back! We giggled and cried to the violent mood swing of the Orlando Weekly tent's cham-Bull cocktail (champagne and Red Bull). Then we considered condo living, plastic surgery and laser hair removal, because as the downtown lifestyle dictates, this street fair was pushing self-improvement, not sausage on a stick.
Say what you want about the nouveau riche tendencies of our beloved downtown, but by these unscientific indications, Orlando will always be a sloppy drunk, even when the prices go up. Hiccup.
LETTERS TO BUDDY
Real e-mail from the mayor's in-box!
Needless to say, I was very disappointed in their irresponsibility when I seen two OPD officers in this nightclub drawing their Tazers from their holsters and pointing them at employees working behind the bar for no other reason than to harass… . What the officers were doing was pointing their laser beams that are attached to these Tazers at the women bar tenders and pointing the beams right at their chest region. Now a Tazer is a weapon! It's no less of a weapon than say a 9mm Glock or a Colt .45. What if one of these Tazers had malfunctioned sending 50,000 volts of electricity into an innocent person just because these irresponsible police officers was just having a little fun? You wouldn't take kindly to the police going around pointing their firearms at innocent people just to have a little fun? I feel like this is something you need to investigate personally… .
This incident occurred Saturday night, June 18, 2005 at a night club called "Cowboys" on Orange Blossom Trail… . The Two officers are unknown.