Dishing with Mark and Carrie

Dishing with Mark and Carrie

Nephew of the Week: John Miller

John is one of the nicest people you will ever meet! He is a proud supporter of the LGBT community. A graduate of Florida State University, John is the owner of Accounting Plus.  If you are looking for a great business accountant, that is John’s specialty. When it’s time to file your personal taxes, think about having John help you.

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

The year was 1997. MC Film was located on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa. Mark had just walked in with a Domino’s Pizza. There was Manny Alvarez. the promoter of Mecca Ballroom, and Alan Kahana, the owner of the infamous-looking night club, The Castle. Over simple, fun conversation during the impromptu pizza party, an party theme idea came up.

The new English anatomically-correct Billy Doll craze was just hitting Tampa Bay. We planned the official Tampa Bay “coming out” party for the celebrity doll, Billy. That night there was a huge line waiting for the doors to open. Inside there was a benefit for the MC Arts Foundation. The Gay Youth Foundation was set up by Mark and Carrie, giving Tampa Bay GLBT youth a chance to experience positive GLBT events that included Gay Days at Disney, TBPAC Broadway and Jobsite Tickets, entry to Lowry Park Zoo, Busch Gardens and the Rainbow Youth Prom.

The Men of Mecca dancers were dressed in Billy costume attire. There were Billy doll giveaways, a best chest contest, and people brought their Billy Doll for a free drink. All of this was hosted by Miss Stephanie Shippae and South Beach’s DJ Rick Mitchell. The party was in full swing, when all of a sudden Manny walked up and said, “You’re not going to believe what is going on outside!”

We walked outside and there were ALL the local TV stations shooting LIVE! After giving TV interviews, we all walked back inside and toasted a drink to Billy. OMG!

Note, Billy later had a Latin doll boyfriend named Carlos. He too was big with the junk!  A local talk radio station did a live morning show all about Billy the doll.

Tampa Pride Meets with the Mayor

Kurt King, Michael Wilson. Mark Bias and Carrie West, members of the new Tampa Pride Board, had a planned sidebar meeting with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. The meeting centered on the new Tampa Pride Vendor Festival and Parade on 7th Avenue in Ybor City.

The mayor can’t wait to add more positive, diverse events to the City of Tampa’s calendar. Two years ago, Mayor Buckhorn was invited to the St. Pete Pride Parade and walked down the parade route.

The offer “to be on Tampa Pride’s tallest float” was a remark the mayor had made last summer when talking about the group’s intent to create a parade in Tampa.

“I just want to walk the parade and meet all the people,” he jokingly said at the casual meeting. This would be the first GLBT parade in Tampa in over fourteen years. People from all over the community and country are very excited about this historic celebration.

A lot of local and national banks, insurance companies, call centers, small Tampa-area businesses, and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become partners for the upcoming Tampa Pride event.

Tampa Pride is looking for corporate sponsorship and of course individual and couple sponsorships also. The Tampa Pride group has open meetings the second Tuesday of the month at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Ybor City at 6 p.m. Get yourself and friends involved with a great gay community event.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help fund Tampa Pride events. Anyone can make a donation at whatever amount they want to give. It’s on all the Tampa Pride website.