Two years ago, Disney spokesman Bill Warren had this to say to the Orlando Sentinel when asked about an all-night rave planned at Epcot during Gay Days:
"We do not and will not hold rave parties on our property, and we're on the record of being supportive of the community's overall position on raves."
A couple days ago, Disney spokesperson Rena Callahan had this to say when I asked her about three nights of 1 a.m.-to-8 a.m. parties planned on Disney property: "When I talk about Disney's late-night policy, I'm talking about events at hotels we own."
Splitting hairs? Not if you want to pull off "Climax II," which promoter Jeffrey Sanker is billing as "three nights of the fiercest after-hours parties, featuring the best DJs on the planet." Where are those three nights of fierce partying taking place? At the Hilton Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. Which is -- here it comes -- on Disney property, but not owned by Disney.
If you didn't hear about "Climax II," you're probably not gay. This after-hours event is a big deal at Orlando Gay Days 2003, June 3 through 9. If you are gay and didn't get the word, that may be by design, says a Disney source who books events. "How has this thing gotten so far?" says the man who identified himself only as Alan. "The only explanation I can think of is that Disney didn't see the ads."
Alan says that every year around Gay Days time he gets a memo from Disney execs outlining the late-night policy. "Every year when Gay Days comes around it is, 'Don't even ask. We will not do rave parties on our property, period."
That's because the public really doesn't make the distinction between what Disney owns and what it doesn't, he says. If it's on Disney property it equals Disney to John Q. Public. "All we need to have is some news crew pull up in front of the Hilton when people are fucked up at 7 a.m., and there's Mom and Dad on their way to the Magic Kingdom. Things would really spin out of control."
It's interesting to note that Sanker, who didn't return phone calls to his company, is also putting together "One Mighty Party VII," a Gay Days bash set for June 7. According to Sanker's website, www.jeffreysanker.com, the venue is Disney-MGM Studios, where you can "dance under the stars all night long!" According to the website, "One Mighty Party VII" starts at 10:30 p.m. It doesn't say when it ends.
City: Stop feeding the needy
Faye Edwards Hunter is temporarily running Harvest of Blessings Men's Home from bed. She just got out of the hospital for treatment of her swollen foot and leg, and she's bedridden at the moment.
Her bedroom is at the top of a long, narrow flight of stairs. And it's stuffy up there, even though the window-unit air conditioner is humming along on low.
Still, a steady stream of visitors comes to visit, and her phone rings constantly. Either Faye or her husband, Leslie, will answer. Callers want to know how she's doing, as much as they want to know how her fight with the city is going.
Three times a week, Hunter sets up a food-distribution point outside her home/office on Parramore Avenue, across the street from the Callahan Neighborhood Center. On average she gives away more than a ton of food in two hours. The sustenance comes with a prayer and a code of conduct: No cigarette smoking, no drinking, no profane language.
All was well until early April when someone complained. An Orlando code-enforcement officer came by and told Hunter she had to shut down by April 15. "They said distributing food in a residential area is a commercial and business activity on the property," she says.
Hunter didn't stop, and now she has a hearing set for May. There's a grace period until fines start kicking in. "All we are asking for is a conditional use permit," she says. "This only takes two hours and then everything is back to normal."
Hunter gets her food from Second Harvest Food Bank. Margaret Linnane, the executive director, says she's never heard a bad word about Hunter or her giveaway. "Usually if people have a problem they will call me immediately. I can only sing her praises. It's a good, efficient program."
Linnane couldn't get any answers on why Hunter's program is being shut down from the city's code-enforcement department, and neither could I. They didn't return phone calls.
Meanwhile, Hunter intends to keep violating the city code. She doesn't want to move, and she isn't going to stop. "I'm not asking to change the city. I just want some mercy. We will continue to feed these folks."