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20112 year banner2012 has been a banner year for the Gay community across these incredible United States. Earlier this month, we reviewed the year from a national perspective, but now we want to focus in on Florida, and remind you of all of the good things that went on right here at home. The LGBT community has never been as visible, active, or proud as we are now. Here are the highlights of the (queer)…

20112 year banner

2012 has been a banner year for the Gay community across these incredible United States. Earlier this month, we reviewed the year from a national perspective, but now we want to focus in on Florida, and remind you of all of the good things that went on right here at home. The LGBT community has never been as visible, active, or proud as we are now. Here are the highlights of the (queer) year that was! I really wanted to remind our readers of every single event throughout the year, but due to space limitations, I had to cut a few events. Please don’t feel slighted if your event isn’t mentioned. We didn’t forget about you, and we are very thankful for you and all that you do to make Hotspots Florida’s Largest Gay Publication.

January: We started the year off with our resolutions, and we only have one question: did you keep yours? Here’s what else happened:

  • The Manor named a new Miss Noche Latina and saw the final appearance of Miss Noche Latina 2011 Viva Mirage.
  • Bear’s invaded South Florida for the Bearracuda event.
  • Wilton’s Beer Garden opened to mixed reviews.
  • 2012 year erikaIn Orlando, Revolution celebrated their 1 year anniversary.
  • Erika Jayne performed her hits at Parliament House in Orlando at their Purple event benefiting the Trevor Project.
  • 2012 year gasparGasparilla took over Tampa Bay, where we saw the masses dressed up like Pirates, for a weekend of debauchery to round out the first month of the year.

 

 

February: Of Course the biggest gay news of the month was Whitney Houston’s sudden passing just before the 2012 Grammy Awards. Because of to her untimely passing we all shed a tear or two as radio and tv stations overwhelmed us with video montages to the sounds of I will always love you!

  • Sidelines set aside premium seats for the Superbowl, but don’t ask me who won the game, I only remember Madonna performing live at half time. Every single gay man in the country watched the Super Bowl for the first time in history.
  •  2012 year feb miss richMiss Richfield 1981 sold out a weekend of shows at The Manor in Wilton Manors reminding us all that “We’ll all be dead by Christmas” If you are reading this, then we know that bitch and the Mayan calendar soothsayers were all wrong.
  • Boom’s biggest start of the year party took place, The Red and White Ball was a huge success.
  • Robert Boo was named the Director of the Pride Center at Equality Park.
  • In Orlando, Rupaul’s own Nina Flowers gave 3 shows at the Parliament House.
  • Humpy’s Pizza celebrated 5 years of bringing South Florida yummy pizza.
  • Lucas Prata performed live at the Red Ball in Orlando.
  • G Bar brought you the “Men Who Will Break Your Heart” for Valentine’s Day.
  • Jes performed her hits at the Flamingo during her one night engagement there.
  • Discotekka brought the heat and the love with their Jungle Love Party.
  • South Florida saw an invasion of cruisers as one of the largest gay cruises in history left from Port Everglades, the straightest thing about that cruise was definitely not the two guys who got arrested for getting busy on the balcony while the ship was docked in Dominica.

March: In like a Lion, out like a lamb…screw lions and lambs, we gays will stick to our Bears and Otters thank you very much. As you will see, the natives and the tourists get restless in March, and we have a gay old time here in the sunshine state.

  • Things got off to a dripping start in March at Bills Filling Station in Wilton Manors, as they kicked the month off with their leather event Sweat and their Howl at the Moon party.
  • March in Miami kicked off with Winter Party Festival as thousands of hot homos got busy on dance floors across South Beach, all to raise money for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
  • 2012 year march fll prideFt. Lauderdale Pride Fest returned to Holiday Park with Beyond the Rainbow, one of the most successful Pride events in Ft. Lauderdale history. The event featured a performance by superstar Taylor Dane, who Hotspots had an exclusive interview with, and featured on our cover.  A host of other entertainers, vendors, and fun for the entire family made this two day event a hit.
  • Winter Music Conference took over Miami the very next weekend, bringing the world’s musical focus to SoBe.
  • Mack celebrated 7 years as South Florida’s Gay/Straight Friendly Business and Social Networking Group.
  • Palace in South Beach had their Super Nova T block party with tons of special performances by Miami’s hottest queens.
  • In Central Florida, Parliament House kicked off Mardi Graswith floats, a marching band, and of course tons of beads. Show us your… tips (and we are not talking about dollars!!)
  • Milan from Rupal’s Drag Race took over Alibi in Tampa.
  • Gay Irish eyes were smiling at the Flamingo’s St. Patrick’s Day party.
  • PrideFest of the Palm Beaches rounded out the end of March with their two day fabulous event.
  • Dudes had their re-grand opening in Ft. Lauderdale.
  • Willam was shockingly eliminated from Rupaul’s Drag Race despite the fact that she wasn’t even in the bottom. (I am pretty sure Willam does know a thing or two about being on the bottom though…)

April: Spring had sprung, and the heat returned to Florida, as our snow birds flew north for the summer, and we had the place, mostly, to ourselves, and thousands and thousands of friends who have either never gone home, or decided like me that Florida is their home. On the political front, Rick Santorum, whose name had taken on a completely new meaning in our community, (don’t believe me, Google it) pulled out of the presidential race making it more and more likely that “Mittens” Romney would get the GOB nod.

  • The Black Heart Uniform Ball took place at Boom; it was a smoking good time.
  • The Queer Queens of Comedy were all over Florida during this month, making stops in St. Pete, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach.
  • The gay community came out in full force to help get us “one step closer to a cure” and raise funds for HIV/AIDS during the AIDS Walk Miami, benefitting Care Resource.
  • 2012 year april cowboysThere was an influx of cowboys as the Sunshine Stampede, south Florida’s gay rodeo weekend brought the bucking broncos and bulls and the bow legged smoking hotties that mount them into Ft. Lauderdale. Cowboy take me away….Scandals was the place to be this weekend, as they pulled out all the stops including  special performances, extra bars and dance floor, and a mechanical bull. Yee Haw!
  • The Girls from Rupaul’s Drag Race took over The Parliament House in Orlando for a white party. Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O’hara, Latrice Royale, an Dida Ritz were all in the house for this Dragtastic event.
  • Miami Beach Gay Pride and Parade was a huge success, as tens of thousands of our Family and friends gathered in South Beach for Miami’s biggest pride event of the year.
  • 2012 year april amazing raceTeams of Yellow clad men and women rushed around Wilton Manors for the Amazing Race South Florida. Winners Mark and Paul received lots of great prizes including a trip in the Goodyear Blimp. All proceeds benefited Broward House; this was a huge success that will surely become a semiannual event to help raise money for charity.
  • Central Florida wrapped up the month with ASAP Hospice fundraiser called Dining Out For Life at the Flamingo Resort.
  • Citizens of Tampa were given a real reason to celebrate, as the Mayor signed historic legislation creating Domestic Partnerships in the great city. Tampa joined several other cities across the Sunshine State to have laws on the books recognizing same sex couples in some way. Let’s hope there are state and nationwide laws bringing marriage equality to the entire country in 2013. It’s high time we have full equality!
  • As April came to a close in Florida, Miami Beach had the annual Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which featured several critically acclaimed films that brought tears and smiles to gays and our allies.

 

May: The heat and humidity returned to Florida, marking the beginning of our summer season, it used to mean that things slowed down, but that’s just not the case anymore. But this year, all of the events in Florida were overshadowed by the breaking news that the President of the United States was changing his position on marriage equality. For the first time in history, we gays got the support of the leader of the free world. President Obama announced on May 9th that he was “coming out” for gay marriage. 2012 year donna summerThe election coverage heated up and we saw the race for the GOP’s choices narrowed down to just Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul, the final three candidates vying for who would win their party’s nomination. The gay community also said goodbye to an icon when we lost Donna Summer, who danced her “Last Dance” right on through the gates of heaven on May 17.

  •  Next Door Studio’s heartthrob Marcus Mojo made a special appearance at Georgie’s Alibi in St. Pete.
  • 80’s Music sensation Tiffany sang “I think we’re along now” and her other hits at a one night only engagement at the Honey Pot in GaYBOR.
  • The Flamingo, a gay resort in St. Pete, had their Employee Turnabout Show to rave reviews.
  • The Boardwalk celebrated their 10th Anniversary in Ft. Lauderdale. 10 years of some of the hottest boys bringing pleasure and no small amount of skin to the gay masses. Thank goodness!
  • 2012 year bears 1All of the honey in south Florida disappeared as the Beach Bear Weekend took over the area. Almost all of the bars and clubs had special bear parties. Bills was wall to wall hairiness and growling, surely none of the bears wanted to be caught hibernating that weekend! When all was said and done, Bob Young from the BeachBear crew presented Sunserve with $12,000 that was raised over the weekend.
  • The University of Miami Center on Aging had the special privilege of working with the White House Office of Public Engagement to bring the first ever White House LGBT Conference on Aging, proving just how far we have come in the last few years. Thankfully the White House not only recognizes our community, they are also willing to work with us and understand that we have a unique perspective to bring to issues affecting all Americans.
  • Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale both had AIDS Walks to raise funds for HIV/AIDS charities across the state.
  • Aqua Girl celebrated its 13th year as Miami’s premier Breast Cancer Charity Event with a week of events all over Miami.
  • Solare Coliseum (Mary Trini’s new home)  had their grand opening.
  • 2012 year gay daysGay Days and One Magical weekend took over Orlando. Of course, Orlando is really one of the gayest places on earth all year long; let’s face it, who but the gays could make all of those theme parks so fabulous for the millions and millions of visitors? From Typhoon Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, Friends of Dorothy took over central Florida, and everyone had a gay old time, that’s for sure.

June: It got stormy here in Florida but it couldn’t rain on our parade. June is the traditional gay pride month across the globe and there were tons of events to help Floridians show their pride.

  • June started off just like May ended, with our collective gay focus on Orlando and Gay days. Thankfully the parks welcome large numbers of gays and lesbians with smiling faces, because, like most companies and corporations these days, they just can’t ignore the buying power and economic prowess the gay community has. Major entertainers like Chaka Khan, Sonique, Mya, and many others were on hand to make the entire even a roaring success.
  • 2012 year june leslie jordanThe folks in Wilton Manors were treated to the comedic genius of Leslie “Brother Boy” Jordan, who put on two shows in town this month. His first show was the “short and clean version” at the Alibi, but let’s face it; who likes it short and clean? We like it “long and dirty” and that’s just what this diminutive funny man gave us when he performed at Bill’s.
  • Many showed up way down south at Mile 0 for the southernmost gay pride event. Key West’s pride event drew thousands to Duval Street for a fun time the Key West way… clothing optional!
  • In GaYBOR, the Ritz had an open house to show off their newly remodeled Ritz Ybor and Kathryn Nevets of Lakeland was crowned the Miss Tampa Bay Comedy Queen of 2012
  • whsf nye swingAfter an outcry from the public, Swinging Richards and several other strip clubs were allowed to keep their doors open. According to some antiquated ordinance, it could only be one or the other, alcohol or total nudity, and it wasn’t until the sausage started swinging that city officials decided to enforce this rule. Well, thanks to changing times and opinions, as well as a legal fight that we are sure wasn’t cheap, the meat is still on display at Swinging Richards. The case made national news when it was picked up by the gay blogosphere.
  • Discotekka celebrated 5 years of business in Miami by bringing their greatest show on earth to town for a weekend of celebration and fun.
  • 2012 year june wind ensembleWe heard the incredible sounds of the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble as they presented one of their quarterly concerts “The Music of Our Lives” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
  • The eyes of the sporting world were on South Florida as Miami’s very own NBA team the Miami Heat took the National Championship, brining sports fans to the streets of Downtown Miami for a celebratory parade.
  • Speaking of sports, Miami finally got its own gay sports bar when Dugout opened.  
  • The Miami Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce held their annual Gala at the Hilton Miami Downtown. The theme for 2012 was “Orange Gala” and they really hit it out of the park this year, making this one of the premier summer events in gay Miami.
  • 2012 year june stonewallThe month came to a close as Wilton Manors rolled out the rainbow carpet for Stonewall Summer Pride, despite the rainy morning, the day was a success. Rosie’s brought back their Tent Revival, Bill’s Filling Station named Mr. and Miss Stonewall, Noche Latina at the Manor celebrated Puerto Rican Pride, and the rest of the bars, night clubs and businesses along Wilton Drive showed off their pride with a street party like no other. It’s always heartwarming to see the giant gay pride rainbow flag make its way along the parade route.
  • St. Pete also had their 10th Pride Celebration; “Carnivale”. The folks in St. Pete treated the crowds to the sounds of Deborah Cox as well as a street festival that went on all day.

July: Sadly the trend of losing our icons continued as July sizzled in Florida. We were heartbroken to learn of Gore Vidal’s passing. Vidal made history when his novel “The City and the Pillar” was one of the first ever published to feature unambiguous homosexual characters. Long before the Stonewall Riots and the Mattachine Society, this prolific author was fighting our fight, and not apologizing for it. He referred to himself as a “gentleman bitch” and was involved in several fights with fellow author Norman Mailer, who headed butted Vidal just before a tv appearance and later punched him in the face knocking him down. Vidal, famously responded “Once again, words fail Norman Mailer.” Here’s what happened closer to home during July.

  • July 4th was a huge weekend, with special guests appearing all over Florida. G Bar in GaYBOR had an event with special guest DJ Chris Cox, based just on his last name, I’m sure it was a good time. Liquid had Candyland USA with special guest DJ Power Infiniti. The fireworks were not the only thing exploding in Central Florida this past Independence Day, that’s for sure
  • 2012 year july ivanIvan Cano was appointed the Executive Director for the Miami Beach Gay Pride  Parade and Festival, my desk in Miami is beside his, he’s working so hard to make sure the 2013 Miami Beach Pride and Parade are better than ever! Congrats Ivan.
  • Revolution Orlando hosted the Mr. & Miss Continental All Star Pageant congrats to winners Jazell Barbie Royale and Jeff Kelly.
  • Rupaul’s Drag Race stars appeared all over the state. Shannel and Nina Flowers were at the Flamingo in St. Pete; Jiggly Caliente, Latrice Royale, and Ongina were all in Orlando at Parliament House, and Alexis Mateo made an appearance at the Manor in Wilton Manors.
  • Boom had their Blackout Party; I don’t even want to know what happens in such a dark cavernous place (Ok yes I do… my imagination is running wild!)
  • Score celebrated Colombia’s Independence Day with a special show by the Queen of Comedy Mariloly.
  • Chic Fil A President Dan Cathy caused the gays to totally abandon waffle fries and delicious sandwiches when he doubled down on his comments regarding his company’s charitable donations to keep marriage equality laws off the books and repealing Prop 8 in California. I won’t lie, I miss the food, but refuse to give them even one dime of my money.
  • Miami Beach Bruthaz took over SoBE for a weekend of sexual chocolate. Eat your heart out Willy Wonka. Thankfully the Hip Hop scene even saw a rapper, Frank Ocean, come out of the closet to surprisingly little fanfare.
  • 2012 year july bartendersThe 5th Annual Bartenders, Boxers, and Briefs Underwear Auction was a benefit for Tuesdays Angels held at Bill’s Filling Station. Hot bartenders from across south Florida whipped it all out on stage for charity. Has there ever been a better way to raise money for HIV AIDS? This event raked in more than $12,000, all for charity!

August: The world’s attention was focused across the pond, on London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, I for one, will never forget the sight of Tom Daley in his Speedo, or the out of the closet Aussie Diver Mathew Mitcham. The London Games will go down in history as the Gayest games by far, several out athletes even won medals!

  • Stonewall National Museum and Archives got in the Olympic spirit with their month long exhibit “Winners: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Athletics in America.” The exhibition featured athletic equipment and stories about such famous athletes as Martina Navratilova and Greg Louganis.
  • The Parliament House in Orlando celebrated its 37th Anniversary. When we sat down with the owners Don Granatstein and Susan Unger to chat about the storied history of the P-House, my favorite thing they said was “we are the luckiest couple in Central Florida. The community has opened their arms and embraced us. Our customers are family. What a great couple who do so much for our community!
  • The Poverello Center had their 22nd Annual Bowl-A-Thon at the Sawgrass Lanes. This successful event is one of their major fundraisers for the year brining in over $10,000 for the center.
  • Many headed down to Key West for the Tropical Heat Weekend. Four nights of all adult, all male parties in the Conch Republic…sad I missed this one.
  • 2012 year aug eastwoodThe eyes of the entire world were focused on Tampa in August as the 2012 Republican National Convention came to town, even if it was postponed for a day or two because of a hurricane scare. After all of the hype, Mitt Romney was nominated by the GOP, but by far the most memorable moment from the convention was the seemingly delirious Clint Eastwood talking to an imaginary President Obama and an empty chair. By far one of the most awkward moments in presidential television history.

September: As September rolled into Florida, the GOP rolled out of town but since we are a swing state, the election coverage was really just getting heated up here. We gays saw more recognition at a national political level than ever before when the Democratic Party added full marriage equality to their official platform. Almost every speaker mentioned us, solidifying LGBT support for the President, and the Democratic Party. (We would be remiss to deny that there is a portion of our community that doesn’t support the Democratic Party) Of course, politics were not the only thing that we were talking about in September. Here’s what else was going on.

  • Gary Santis hosted his 14th Annual Black Ft. Lauderdale event at the Manor entitled Erotic Carnival. This outlandish party went all night long until the wee hours of the morning and the sexy fetish gear was definitely in abundance.
  • Matty’s On the Drive celebrated their 4 year anniversary with a weekend of events staring Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite.
  • In celebration of Independence Day in Brazil, many of our local bars and restaurants had special Brazil themed parties. From Salvation Ipanema at Score in Miami to Noche Latina Saturdays at the Manor and the Parliament House, celebrating Brazil was a great way to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month which is celebrated from September 15 – October 15 every year.
  • Solare Coliseum hosted the Miss Florida Coliseum contest where they gave away more than $3,000 in cash and prizes. Congratulations to winner Maite Offarel.
  • 2012 year sept red partyBack in Ft. Lauderdale, the gays flocked to the Royal Palms for the “Red Party” which was a fundraiser for the Live Free Be Strong Foundation and the Smart Ride. It was a great time, despite a little rain, there was a great crowd, and a fashion show hosted by Joe Posa as  Joan Rivers… oy vey
  • 2012 year sept tropixTropics on Wilton Drive held the Spirit of Hope Reception for the the Broward House, many of the “heavy hitters” in the South Florida gay community were present to support Broward House, an organization that does so much for our community.
  • In Central Florida, The Flamingo really blew some minds when they had their ABC Party, (that’s anything but clothes), and Bananas in Orlando had Broadway at Bananas, and event that had all of the customers singing with their mouth’s full.
  • 2012 year sept rod dailyRod Daily from Next Door Studios brought his 6 pack and tatted up chest (OMG hot!) to Georgie’s Alibi in St. Pete
  • By far the event of September in Central Florida was the Headdress Ball 12 which took place at the Hilton Orlando and was a benefit for Hope and Help Center, an HIV/AIDS organization in Central Florida.
  • Broward House brought Wilton Manors the second incarnation of the Amazing Race. Once again, the streets were overrun with more than 20 teams that worked to raise money (over $30,000) for such a good cause. They raced around town hoping to cross the finish line first and win some fabulous prizes for all of their kindness and hard work.
  • In Sarasota, Throb Nightclub had their biggest party of the year. “The Big Gay Foam Party” got everyone wet, DJ Lexx had the crowd dancing and the music pumping all night long.

October: October was really the beginning of Hotspots busy season, and it really got started with a bang this year. We were not only making changes here at the home office, but we had tons of events to cover across the state. From tip to tip, we had the gay scene covered and we loved every minute of it.

  • In Orlando, Come Out With Pride had the center of the state’s focus. This event is a homerun for the gay community there, the folks at Disney even lent a hand to help organize what many believe to be the best gay pride parade in the country. This year was no exception, thousands and thousands showed up in Downtown Orlando for this pride event, one of the last of the year in Florida. Special Guest Debbie Gibson was on hand and put on a one night only performance.
  • 2012 year oct orgulloIn Miami, things were a bit spicier as South Beach saw the return of Celebrate Orgullo, Miami’s Latin Gay pride event. This year the weather was perfect, and there was great food and entertainment at this free event that took place right on the sands of Miami Beach.
  • The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force had their annual Miami Recognition Dinner at the Fontainebleau Miami. This year’s theme was Sparkle and recognized the hard work of Matt Foreman and Elizabeth F. Schwartz. 2012 year oct miami reccForeman is the director of Gay and Immigrant Rights Programs at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and Schwartz has dedicated her life to expanding and protecting LGBT families.
  • The Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was bigger than ever and was one of the best yet. More than 20 films were featured this year, and every one I saw was great.
  • The Ramrod, a Levi, leather, and uniform bar hosted the Annual Mr. Ramrod contest along with their monthly pig dance. If uniforms and blue collar boys are your thing, this was the weekend for you. 
  • 2012 year oct halloweenAs the month came to a close, things got really scary across Florida, as every single gay man got ready for what most refer to as “Gay Christmas” aka Halloween.
  1. In Miami, there was Save Dade’s 18th Annual Halloween Extravaganza: Hellrotika Odyssey of the Gods.
  2. Parliament House in Orlando hosted Central Florida’s biggest costume contest handing out $4,000 in cash over 2 nights.
  3. It was a Bloodbath at Revolution in Orlando, with no cover and costume contests as well
  4. In Wilton Manors, the drive was shut down and once the sun set, the party really took over the streets. Thousands of costume clad revelers participated in this event that went all till the early hours of the morning. The Rainbow Business Coalition’s Wicked Wilton even had an Alice in Wonderland theme, but my favorite costume of the night was Cruella DeVille and the 101 Dalmations. Who knew there were so many sexy puppies running around south Florida? Oh to have been a dog catcher that night…

2012 year nov electionNovember: 2 words: “Obama Bitches.” Honestly, is there any bigger news to our community? We waited with baited breath as the results poured in on Election Day, but once Ohio went to Obama, the networks called it a win and second term for the President, even if Karl Rove refused to accept it and pitched a fit on live TV. In the end, Florida proved to be a national embarrassment as far as the election goes. It was weeks until we found out who won all of the races. Since our state is such an important swing state, you would think we could do better. As it turned out, November was by far the best month of the year for the gay community. We won record numbers of elections, making our presence in politics something that can’t be ignored. Marriage Equality ballot measures passed in states putting an end to an era where the LGBT Community’s rights were stripped away 32 times when put to popular vote.

  • 2012 year nov adamsAdam’s Interiors wowed us all with their annual “Evening of Elegance.” As always, when I stepped into their showroom, I was just blown away. The Evening is a benefit for Hospice by the Sea, and has been a crowd pleaser 4 years running. Stop by and see their show room, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Art Frenzie opened in their new location, just a block up Wilton Drive from the old location, but the store never looked better. Debbi and Bernadette’s store has been a fixture of the community for the past 16 years.
  • 2012 year nov madonnaFor months and months, Hotspots was looking forward to November because of Madonna’s MDNA Concert was scheduled to be in town. We had a ticket give-a-way and Javier in Miami won the hottest tickets of the year, but he had to exercise all of his patients the night of the concert, since the Material Girl was 3.5 hours late. The show was incredibly amazing, but even I was pissed at her inconsiderate tardiness, and I was a teacher for 12 years so I am a pretty patient person.
  • November’s premier event in gay Florida is no doubt White Party Week™. Care Resource has been putting the event on for nearly 30 years, and they have raised millions for HIV/AIDS research and community support. The event is a weeklong series of parties and mixers that all help to raise funds and awareness for the disease that has had devastating effects on so many in our community. This year, The White Party was held at a new venue, Soho Studios, and the headliner was Crystal Waters. She gave 100% good love. Thousands were on hand for this awesome evening.
  • After months and months of collecting money in events across South Florida, the 2012 Smart Ride saw bikers pedaling from Miami to Key West, in an event that does so much good and brings so many together to show that AIDS will not defeat our community. We will keep on fighting until no one is dying and we have found a cure.
  • City Side Lounge celebrated 22 fantastic years as part of the Tampa Bay community. They hosted a turnabout show and had amazing special guests and entertainment.
  • Jeff Stryker, the original gay for pay adult film star made several appearances over Thanksgiving weekend at Boardwalk in Wilton Manors, you could definitely tell that Stryker still puts in time at the gym, even if he is a little long in the tooth (and definitely long and thick down south!)
  • 2012 year nov bearsThe bears were back in South Florida, and Scandals welcomed them with the Chumley Cruise pre party.
  • Equality Florida had their Broward Gala, an event that was wall to wall people at the Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale.

December: The month started off right away on a somber note with the celebration of World AIDS Day on December 1. Throughout the state, the community came together to recognize those who we have lost, and to support those who are living with HIV/AIDS. There is still work to do, but thanks to those who have come before us, the hard work of so many in the medical field, and the gay community’s generosity, the diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. We’ve got hope!

  • Banana’s Diner who is famous for their  Gospel Brunch Sundays in Central Florida announced they will be open all night long from now on. No matter how late you “drag” yourself home, have your designated driver bring you by Banana’s for some yummy fare.
  •  Parliament House Lit up the Courtyard to kick off the holidays P-House style, what a beautiful display of lights and decorations.
  • The GaYBOR District had their Holiday Bar Crawl and Santa Speedo Run; the gays were definitely having a good time in Tampa this December.
  • 2012 year dec wandaIn Wilton Manors, Wanda Sykes, one of Americas funniest comediennes, performed to a sold out crowd at the Au Rene Theatre at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The show was in honor of World AIDS Day and was a benefit for Broward House. Wanda was hysterical and had the crowd in tears throughout her performance. My cheeks still hurt from laughing so hard.
  • Hotspots hosted our Annual Holiday Celebration 100% benefit for Broward House and The Pride Center at Equality Park. This was the 5th year of the event, but it2012 year dec hsceleb was bigger and better than ever. We raised more money than ever before, and we took the party to a whole new level by booking the Museum of Discovery and Science in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Later in the month, we hosted a special cocktail party at The Abby in Orlando for all of our Central Florida customers and friends. Thanks to everyone who made both of these events raging successes. Our special thanks to our friends at Diageo, Adam’s Interiors, and Argenti Jewelers.
  • Smirnoff had two special events around the state during December. At Score in Miami and at 2012 year dec winter wonderlandPulse in Orlando, the Winter Wonderland Parties were huge successes.
  • Scandals had “Another Scandals Christmas Stockings” to help the folks at The Pantry of Broward
  • The Manor hosted their 3rd Anniversary with DJ’s Dave and Gerardo.
  • Sidelines celebrated owner Laurie’s birthday in fine fashion, as well as getting sports fans riled up for football. Stop in one Sunday, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a gay sports bar at its rowdy best every Sunday during football season.
  • Hotspots was so honored to have our helmsman Peter Clark receive the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award, the final one awarded by outgoing friend of the gay community and ally Sheriff Al Lamberti. Lamberti has done so much for Broward County, we certainly will miss him and wish him well in all of his future endeavors.
  • Michelle Visage set sail with AlandChuck Travel aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship Glory along with 40 other queens from Rupaul’s Drag Race. The queens took over Ft. Lauderdale with events around the city before the cruise left port.
  • Discotekka celebrated the 60th Birthday of Milancita, luckily for her; she doesn’t look a day over 39!
  • It was announced that Miami is in the running and on the short list for the worldOutgames of 2017. Cross your fingers and hold your breath that the games will be coming to our fine state in a few years. So many organizations are working hard to put together an enticing deal to help bring these important athletic events to Miami. Stay tuned to Hotspots for further information about the games.

One thing is for sure when you think about the gay community in Florida; we are awfully generous with our time and our money. We support each other all year long, and I am so proud to call this place my home. Thank you all for making 2012 one of Hotspots’ best years ever. We look forward to an amazing 2013. Happy New Year Florida!

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