SIP. SPA. STAY. GIVEAWAY!
With sky-high, summer temperatures back in bloom, Florida residents now have something to say ahhhhh about. Thanks to Spa Week, and iconic MARTINI® brand, one lucky winner will have the opportunity to “chill out” and indulge on Florida’s beautiful Southwest Coast by entering the Sip. Spa. Stay. Giveaway.
From June 15th through July 15th, visitors to SpaWeek.com can enter for a chance to win a Three Night Stay with Gulf View Accommodations at a luxury four-star resort in Naples, FL. The stay includes: in-room “Sip. Spa. Stay.” welcome package courtesy of MARTINI®, dinner for two at a premier restaurant and $150 in spa treatments for winner and guest at the resort’s lavish spa. In order to bring their relaxing experience home, the winner will also receive a $1,000 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week® to use anytime of the year at his/her choice of over 5,000 spas and wellness locations across North America. The Sip. Spa. Stay. Giveaway is open only to Florida residents above the age of 21 who visit spaweek.com/martini12 to enter.
2012 MIAMI BEACH GAY PRIDE WEEKEND
An extraordinary day out has become an extraordinary weekend for Gay Pride
2012. The Miami Beach Gay Pride celebration has grown into a three-day
celebration with a Friday block party (at MOVA), a Saturday pool party (at
the Surfcomber) and the parade and festival on Sunday (on Ocean Drive).
Miami Beach City Mayor Matti Bower will be participating in the celebration
for the 4th annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade & Festival. The Sunday event
is a celebration of the extraordinary strength, beauty, and contributions of
South Florida’s LGBT community. Wire Magazine chatted with Babak Movahedi,
president of Miami Beach Gay Pride’s Board of Directors, about the new and
exciting things planned for Miami Beach Gay Pride 2012.
What are some of the new and exciting things planned for Miami Beach Gay Pride 2012?
Miami Beach Gay Pride has expanded from a one-day event to include a roster
of events over a four-day period. And because we’ve been attracting a huge
number of out-of-town guests for Pride, this year we moved the Parade and
Festival to Sunday. This allows us to schedule new events like a pool party
at the Surfcomber on Saturday afternoon. We’ve also added value to the
Angels/Archangels VIP program by adding a special Parade viewing standing
along Ocean Drive at 10th Street, which includes an open bar and a prime
viewing area along the parade route. We’ve also confirmed a stellar list of
performers this year for the Festival, including Wynter Gordon, Kristine W,
Jessica Sutta from the Pussycat Dolls, JoJo, Frenchie Davis from The Voice
and Inaya Day. They will really get the crowd going. Last, but certainly
not least, we are also very proud to have Stoli come on board as our major
Is it true that they will be closing Ocean Drive for the event?
Yes, the City of Miami Beach is so supportive of Pride and they recognize
the importance of giving our guests a truly wonderful experience. Ocean
Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic for the duration of all the
festivities. This will allow our guests to experience all the various
elements of the Parade and Festival without dodging traffic.
What’s your role as president of Miami Beach Gay Pride’s Board of Directors?
I oversee Pride’s Board of Directors and the entire scope of all the events.
We have Board members responsible for the events, community relations, bar
relations, marketing and finances.
Who are the other Board members?
Chad Richter, Chip Arndt, Laura Veitia, Monica Goldman, Joel Stedman and
Edison Farrow. Our new executive producer this year is Paolo Pincente.
How many people came to Miami Beach Gay Pride last year?
The City estimated we had 45,000 people at Pride last year. Our projections
for this year are 60,000 guests.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about working on Miami Beach Gay Pride?
I love working with the community. Pride brings together so many people
from so many walks of life, that it’s a great bonding experience for
everyone. From working with the City to working with our sponsors, to
celebrating our Legacy Couples who have been together for 20 or more years,
the sense of pride I get from Pride is truly rewarding.
Are there additions to the parade this year? Who will be the Grand Marshal?
I can’t divulge the Grand Marshal just yet. All I can say is stay tuned for
an announcement of epic proportions.
Miami Beach Gay Pride is offering a cruise this year. Can you tell us a
little about that?
The Fourth Annual “Miami Beach Pride Cruise,” sails Monday, April 16 through
Friday, April 20, onboard the Norwegian Sky. Immediately following all the
Miami Beach Gay Pride festivities, the Pride Cruise is an ideal way to
extend the magic of Pride weekend for another five days at sea. The event
also represents an opportunity to “cruise for a cause” as a portion of all
tickets sold through Source Events will be donated back to Miami Beach Gay
Pride. The Pride Cruise is a four-night/five-day voyage aboard the luxurious
Norwegian Sky with stops in Grand Bahamas Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup
Cay, Norwegian’s private island. As the official Pride Cruise producer,
Source Events is able to offer exclusive cruise VIP events and activities
not offered to other passengers onboard Norwegian Sky. For your readers who
want to book a cabin on the cruise, they can contact Source Events.
What ways can people participate in Miami Beach Gay Pride?
It takes an army of volunteers to execute an event of Pride’s magnitude, so
we welcome anyone who has time to donate either day of the big event, or
between now and April 15. Volunteers are being coordinated by Erin Stacey
Visslailli, who is also responsible for selling ads in our Program Guide.
She can be contacted via eamil at email@example.com for both
volunteers and advertising opportunities. We’ve also just opened up
registration for Parade entrants and Festival booth spaces. Applications
for either are downloadable from our website at www.miamibeachgaypride.com.
What does Miami Beach Gay Pride mean to you?
Miami Beach Gay Pride is an extraordinary day OUT and a fabulous week abOUT!
It’s about a sense of community and celebrating our diversity - muscle boys,
pretty girls, gay youth, Legacy Couples, families, transgendered, and
everyone in between.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with Wire Magazine readers about the upcoming Miami Beach Gay Pride event?
Many people don’t realize that Pride is a non-profit organization. We are
only able to produce the event - and keep it free for the community -
through donations and sponsorship fees. Donations are tax-deductible, and
as this event grows we need more support from the community to keep
producing bigger and better events year after year. There’s a donation tab
on our website and we encourage and appreciation donations of any size from
members of our community.
Wire Magazine Update:
Miami Beach Gay Pride will be diva-licious this year when an extraordinary line-up of musical guests take to the stage during the Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival, which takes place immediately following the colorful parade. Scheduled performers include Kristine W, Wynter Gordon, Jessica Sutta from the Pussy Cat Dolls, JoJo, Frenchie Davis and Inaya Day. Miami Beach Gay Pride takes place Sunday, April 15, from noon to 7 p.m., along Ocean Drive, and is presented by Stolichnaya® Premium vodka. Get the full details here.
Hit Maker’s South Florida Debut
Aiden Leslie Performs The Manor
By Chris Hutchinson
After a two-year self-imposed hiatus from music, out artist Aiden Leslie is back with two new songs, “Worlds Away” and “Trying to Leave Now”. He makes his South Florida debut performing both at The Manor on Christmas Eve. “Worlds Away is a song about life’s journey,” explains Aiden, who describes his sound as Hip-Pop with a strong dance influence. The song was released in April and climbed to #1 on LOGO’s Click List, where it remained for four weeks.
He wrote it after the death of his sister. “She was my only sibling,” he recounts. “Over these past two years, I’ve learned that there are hills to climb in life. It’s how we manage the fall and rise from those hills that’s key to growing.”
His newest release, “Trying to Leave Now”, is about salvaging what is right in a relationship before losing everything.
”I wrote Trying to Leave Now about a person in my life I always had deep feelings for. We eventually came together but at the wrong time.”
Leslie says he was forced to battle trying to leave while the feelings were still strong and alive.
“If love isn’t working, it’s important to be honest with yourself and to find the courage to say what you feel to the other person, and understand that sometimes, leaving is the only option.” He’s excited to make his Ft Lauderdale debut. “I have had so much support from fans in South Florida. I can’t wait to meet everyone!”
He will spend the Christmas holiday in South Beach. “What a whirlwind of a year it has been, traveling around the country. I feel really blessed,” he says.
As far as a New Years resolution, he doesn’t have one. “I don’t believe in resolutions. I do what I can to better myself all year round.”
After a two-year self-imposed hiatus from music, out artist Aiden Leslie is back with two new songs, “Worlds Away” and “Trying to Leave Now”. He makes his South Florida debut performing both at The Manor on Christmas Eve. “Worlds Away is a song about life’s journey,” explains Aiden, who describes his sound as Hip-Pop with a strong dance influence. The song was released in April and climbed to #1 on LOGO’s Click List, where it remained for four weeks. He wrote it after the death of his sister. “She was my only sibling,” he recounts.
“Over these past two years, I’ve learned that there are hills to climb in life. It’s how we manage the fall and rise from those hills that’s key to growing.” His newest release, “Trying to Leave Now”, is about salvaging what is right in a relationship before losing everything. ”I wrote Trying to Leave Now about a person in my life I always had deep feelings for. We eventually came together but at the wrong time.” Leslie says he was forced to battle trying to leave while the feelings were still strong and alive. “If love isn’t working, it’s important to be honest with yourself and to find the courage to say what you feel to the other person, and understand that sometimes, leaving is the only option.”
He’s excited to make his Ft Lauderdale debut. “I have had so much support from fans in South Florida. I can’t wait to meet everyone!” He will spend the Christmas holiday in South Beach. “What a whirlwind of a year it has been, traveling around the country. I feel really blessed,” he says. As far as a New Years resolution, he doesn’t have one. “I don’t believe in resolutions. I do what I can to better myself all year round.”Aiden Leslie performs The Manor (2345 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors) on Christmas Eve. For more information on Aiden Leslie visit www.aidenleslie.com
Point Foundation Scholarship Season Opens For LGBT Students
Helping LGBT Students Attain Higher Education Degrees, Plus Mentoring & Leadership Training
December 13, 2011 - Point Foundation (Point), the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students of merit, announces the opening of its 2012 application season on December 16, 2011. Students who will be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs for the 2012 - 2013 school year are eligible to apply for the prestigious, multi-year scholarships. Applications may be submitted until midnight (PST), February 10, 2012. Applications are only accepted online at: www.pointfoundation.org/apply.html
Point’s rigorous selection process for awarding scholarships requires candidates demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills, community involvement and financial need. Attention is also paid to students who have lost the financial and social support of their families and/or communities as a result of revealing their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“It is fitting that our scholarship application period opens during this traditional season of giving, because LGBT youth have so much to give to society,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “Point enables people with foresight to provide intergenerational support and guidance to the leaders of tomorrow. Investing in the education of a young person produces a more diverse and intellectually rich world for us all. We see that with our Point Alumni who are making names for themselves in their chosen fields. It is so rewarding for me whenever I meet Point Alumni who now have professional titles such as ‘Doctor,’ ‘Professor,’ or even ‘Mayor.’”
The average amount of annual scholarship support is $10,000, and the total programmatic amount devoted to each scholar by Point is between $22,000- $31,000. Point Scholars agree to maintain a high level of academic performance and to give back to the LGBT community through the completion of an individual community service project each year. Some Point Scholars also benefit from internship opportunities related to their fields of study.
Point’s multifaceted support for scholars extends far beyond a direct financial contribution toward the cost of their education. Each scholar is paired with a mentor and participates in leadership development training with fellow Point Scholars. After graduating, Point Scholars become part of Point’s growing alumni network, connecting them with caring individuals and professional contacts throughout the nation.
In 2011, 1,769 applications were submitted, from which, 34 students were granted scholarships. The 2011 class of Point Scholars range from 17 to 37 years of age, 41% are people of color and 21% identify as transgender/gender variant individuals. There are at present a total of 71 Point Scholars currently enrolled in school. Since its inception in 2001, Point Foundation has helped make possible the education of 195 outstanding LGBT students.
During the past academic year, Point representatives have attended 35 LGBT scholarship outreach events to distribute promotional application materials to more than 3,000 organizations, including national, regional and local LGBT organizations and US-based university, college and high school groups. The Scholar selection process will begin with a thorough review of all applications that are submitted online, and will conclude with candidates having face-to-face interviews with Point’s staff and Board of Regents in April of 2012. People may also recommend a deserving student by going online to www.pointfoundation.org/recommendastudent.html.
To fund its scholarships and related programs, Point Foundation relies on donations and fundraising events.
Point’s Named Scholarship Program allows individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to support Point’s mission of valuing education, leadership and diversity by honoring the name of an individual or organization. A Named Scholarship is a commitment of $100,000 over four years.
Five new Named Scholarships were created in 2011: the Erickson-Zoellers Scholarship established by longtime Point supporters, Chris Erickson and Joe Zoellers; the Vorobek Scholarship established by Matt Voorhees and Chris Dorobek; generous corporate supporters Motorola Solutions and Janssen Therapeutics each established a Named Scholarship; and the Tyler Clementi Point Scholarship, which was created by Point with the cooperation of the Clementi family to honor Tyler’s memory and further the efforts to end the bullying that many LGBT youth face within educational environments.
About Point Foundation
Point Foundation (Point) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students of merit. Point provides financial support, leadership training, mentoring and hope to LGBT individuals who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Point provides its scholars with the financial ability to attend the nation’s foremost higher educational institutions and its donors and mentors with the rare satisfaction of directly investing their resources and time in future generations of leaders. Point Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization.
COULD DESTINATION CASINOS ACTUALLY REDUCE GAMBLING IN FLORIDA
By Michael Sasser
One of the central arguments in favor of the development of destination casinos in Florida is that the Sunshine State already has gambling. Indian casinos, nightly gambling boats, pari-mutuel gaming and, of course, the official state sponsored Florida Lotterymake for a lively environment for those with a penchant for rolling the (figurative at least) dice.
Therefore, this argument goes, how is it reasonable to continue preventing other investors and companies from profiting from the obvious market demand for gambling? It isn’t some kind of actual ban. Instead, as law currently exists, there is plenty of gambling, but politicians have been able to dole out the rights for their political advantage. The same would be true if destination casinos are approved, but at least it would be a bigger pie and at least the process would be fairly transparent —- which has not been the case when state officials granted such boons to pari-mutuel sites.
It’s a flawed but not unreasonable argument that since gaming is already prevalent in Florida, grasping onto old, moralist laws in opposition to it is both hypocritical and counter productive. But it also calls to mind the state of laws governing gaming around Florida and how it’s not impossible that the casino proposal might actually end up reducing the number of gambling venues statewide.
The nanny state advocates and the “save the children!” alarmists might not be ready to sign on for destination casinos for this reason, but they are certainly watching, and their position might end up bolstered by the unintended side effects of the proposed legislation.
Ironic? Perhaps. But also revealing of just how conflicting and absurd Florida law is.
Under the destination casino proposal, a statewide commission would gain authority over all gambling statewide. While an exception would be presumably granted for Indian gaming, the proposed casinos and both existing and future pari-mutuel sites would definitely fall under such a body’s purview. It would be the first time one entity would be responsible for all of the state’s hodge podge of gambling laws and the work it did would be very overt.
Current law has been patched together and – most importantly – has exemptions built right into it. These exemptions have been carved out as special favors to influential lobbyists and were often crafted to benefit just one client. But the usual abuse of power by Florida’s political leaders led to our bizarre pari-mutuel regulations. Floridians can’t gamble at a resort hotel but they can at a horse track or at Jai Alai.
So would we still be able to gamble at a horse track with such low-end sport that no one actually bothers to watch a couple of old nags jogging around a dirt track?
Actually, yes, there’s a good chance we would be able to. And the same is true of Jai Alai. No one wanted to watch.
So what savvy businessman with a good enough lobbyist wouldn’t open a financially absurd sporting center only to then profit from the gambling he could wangle permission for under existing laws?
It’s a good enough idea that it is happening now. All around Florida, with gambling clearly still a profitable venture even as western civilization plummets, low-end pari-mutuel venues are opening and being planned to take advantage of the lobbyist-littered gaming laws.
Would a central body with broad authority – not to mention a vested interest in the success of proposed destination casinos – continue to permit the expansion of off brand pari-mutuel gambling?
In my opinion they would not, but if they did and if residents were angry about it, at least there would be one responsible entity that could be held accountable.
So it isn’t the proposed casinos themselves, but rather the infrastructure to oversee them, that could actually end up stemming the tide of additional gambling venues.
If anything, this prompts those of us still ambiguous about casino expansion to continue monitoring the debate.
—Author and journalist Michael W. Sasser’s commentary on all things political appears exclusively in Wire Magazine. Your e-mail is welcome at Michael@Wireweekly.com.
60-day Countdown to End of Ban on Gays & Lesbians Serving Openly in the Military
President Obama and top Pentagon brass formally certified to Congress that “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” will end in mid-September without harming “military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.”