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Welcome to the What’s Hot Column, where we feature countless events in the Greater Orlando, Tampa, and St. Petersburg Areas. Also your connection to activities and events by local LGBT+ Organizations. Continue reading on to learn What’s Hot this Holiday Season!

From our family to yours, we wish you a safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Saturday, December 1

The bars of Wall Street Plaza Downtown Orlando presents the 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl and they want the city of Orlando to join in on the fun. Get that Goodwill sweater, find those tacky holiday pants, and get ready to jingle bell ROCK! 4pm to midnight at Wall Street Plaza Downtown Orlando. To register go to orlandouglysweatercrawl.eventbrite.org.

The Dr. Phillips center presents “Songs of  The Season” a free holiday concert featuring the students from Full Sail University and Rollins College. The show, which is free starts at 7pm. For more information, visit drphillipscenter.org.

The Central Florida HIV Planning Council invites you to join them as they commemorate the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day through an evening of reflection, food, and local live entertainment as they remember the advancements made in the HIV movement for the past 30 years. The event is at Lake Estelle Park in Orlando and starts at 6pm.

Sunday, December 2

Enigma Bar & Lounge St. Petersburg presents a Toys for Tots Benefit hosted by Kori Stevens. Be sure to bring toys for kids, from toddlers to teens. All entertainers will be donating their tips as well, so be sure to bring cash to help the children of some of the less fortunate families right here in the Tampa Bay area. Doors Open at 8pm, and don’t forget your unwrapped toy! (This Two-Part Fundraiser continues on Sunday, December 9 at Bradley’s on 7th in Ybor City)

Tuesday, December 4

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts presents “Hello Dolly,” the winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. Broadway’s most beloved musical is back where it belongs! Directed by Tony winner Jerry Zaks and featuring choreography by Tony winner Warren Carlyle. The show runs from today until the 9th. For additional information and tickets strazcenter.org.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in association with Wilde Lexus Sarasota & ABC 7 WWSB present “The King and I,” one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works. The King and I boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. The performance runs December 4 -5. For additional information and tickets, go to Vanwezel.org.

Wednesday, December 5

The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate (my associate publisher rants and raves about their Mokara spa all the time) will host Deck the Runway – A holiday-themed fashion show from 7-11pm, showcasing emerging designers with celebrity host Tiffany Pollard (I Love New York) and runway appearances from India Gants (America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23 Winner). For additional information and tickets go to: Fancybyfrancescawatson.com.

Stonewall Bar Orlando & YAASSS is celebrating the princess of pop’s birthday (Britney) by throwing her a huge birthday party. Get in the zone with one of the best discographies in pop history while sipping on their Britney specialty drinks (Poison Paradise, 2007, The Blackout) all night. They will be having a Britney costume contest, so come ready to make them ooh in your most iconic look. This is a 21+ event with a $10 Cover (but only $5 Cover if you are in Britney Costume). For additional Information go to: stonewallorlando.com.

Friday, December 7

The Tarpon Springs Boat Parade Starts at approximately 8pm, where the vessels will proceed down the Anclote River and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats. Your best bet for viewing these holiday decorated vessels is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou. The event is free.

The Orlando Ballet presents the cherished holiday tradition, The Nutcracker at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Let your imagination fly as you join Clara on a spectacular journey through waltzing snowflakes, mischievous mice and dancing confectionary with the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy! With Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score filling Walt Disney Theater, and a magical glittering Christmas tree on stage, this beloved production is a seasonal delight, not to be missed! The show runs December from today through the16. For additional information and tickets got to: Drphillipscenter.org.

Amalie Arena presents Barry Manilow in “A Very Barry Christmas.”  Fans will be in for a treat when they hear Manilow perform his greatest hits like “Copacabana” and “Mandy” as well as Christmas favorites. Manilow has sold over 85 million albums and has 50 Top 40 hits.  Do not miss the chance to hear the legend in person! The show begins at 7:30pm, and for additional information and tickets go to: Amaliearena.com.

NeiBEARhood Takeover & Southern Nights Tampa present “SlingMas” starring International P*rn Stars Stephan Raw & Manuel Scalco, and featuring the sounds of DJ Burgos. This event is sponsored by Gobearr Gear, and their will be a midnight Photo Opportunities with Sexy Santas in their Sling, and a 1am Santa Strip Off. A Fundraiser will also be taking place for the Tampa Bay Wolf Pack Softball Team! The event is 21+ and is free before 10pm.

Saturday, December 8

Join the City of St Petersburg Beach for their annual Christmas Market & Parade. The Parade starts at St. Pete Beach City Hall (155 Corey Ave) and heads west down Corey Ave, south on Blind Pass Rd, east on 73rd to Bay St and back to City Hall. Santa will finish the parade route at the St. Pete Beach Library (365 73rd Ave) to meet with all the Whos in Whoville. While at the library, enjoy Grinch themed crafts, a movie, face painting, and light refreshments. This free event begins at 11am.

The Parliament House presents, the incredibly hysterical Lardi B performing her smash hit parodies “They Like That I’m Fat,” “Bodak Jello” and many more! This is an 18+ event and admission is $10. DJ Brianna spins til 3 am, and the Footlight Players perform at 10pm & 12am.

Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedian extraordinaire Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, Glee) delivers a big, shiny sack of Christmas cheer in this delightfully kitschy, retro-amazing concert of swing- and big band-style renditions of holiday classics entitled A Swingin’ Little Christmas. She stars with her See Jane Sing concert tour compatriots, Kate Flannery (The Office); Tim Davis, and Southern California jazz staples The Tony Guerrero Quintet. The show runs today and tomorrow at The Straz Center & December 14-16 at The Doctor Phillips Center. For additional information and tickets go to: Janelynchofficial.com.

Sunday, December 9

Chabad of Greater Orlando presents Chanukah on the Park. The event, which is free and takes place at 4:30pm,  will include singing performances, live music, dancers, face painting, jugglers, food and grand menorah lighting. For more info go to: Cityofwinterpark.org.

Honey Pot Tampa and Femmes & Follies present The Annual “Rhinestones & Rescues,” a burlesque benefit for Suncoast Animal League. 100% of proceeds donated to save puppies and kitties! This is Tampa’s Uber-glam cabaret production charity event that features burlesque performers, cabaret acts, aerialists, fire performers, singers, dancers and much more. Many raffles and sponsored craft cocktails! Doors open at 7pm. For tickets and additional information visit Femmesandfollies.com.

Monday, December 10

Miss Gay Orlando returns for another year at The Parliament House! Jazell Barbie Royale hands her crown to the next symbol of excellence for The City Beautiful. Open to all female impersonator entertainers! Contestant entry fee $125, and registration begins at 2 pm. Categories: Talent, Gown, Onstage Q&A and Presentation “Tis The Season.” Pageant begins at 9 pm. And there are no advanced reservations. Arrive early for best tables/seating. Admission is $12.

The Plaza Live presents Erika Jayne: The Pretty Mess Tour. Erika will be performing her #1 Hits, “Xxxpen$ive,” “Cars,” “Pretty Mess” and many more.  Doors open at 8pm. For tickets go to ErikaJayne.com.

Wednesday, December 12

Southern Nights Orlando presents their 5th Annual Turnabout, and they invite you to watch as your favorite staff members dress & perform in Drag to benefit Two Spirit Health Services, Inc. Doors open at 7pm with show time at 8pm hosted by Roxxxy Andrews & Sassy Devine. Cover is a $5 Suggested Donation (18+ Welcomed).

Friday, December 14

Sweaterfest XII, one of Orlando’s favorite musical holiday adventures is back for its 12-year anniversary at Stonewall, and they will be raising money for Orlando’s Zebra Coalition. Doors open at 7pm, and the cover is $5 before 8pm. Santa will also be on hand to get your picture with him!

Saturday, December 15

Hallmark Channel and the Amway Center presents the Trans-Siberian Orchestra featuring their Epic Rock interpretations of holiday favorites. Two Performances 3 & 8pm. For additional information and tickets go to: Amwaycenter.com.

The Parliament House presents Crossdresser for Christ-mas starring Ginger Minj. Spend the holidays with our hometown gal, as she has made us so proud on RuPaul’s Drag Race and All-Stars! This cabaret is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. General admission is $20, and VIP is $40, which includes a Meet & Greet and upfront seating in the first two rows. For more information or to purchase tickets go to: Parliamenthouse.com.

93.3 FLZ, Tampa Bay’s #1 Hit Music Station in association with Capital present Jingle Ball 2018 starring Shawn Mendes, Marshmello, Khalid, NF, Bebe Rexha, Bazzi and Sabrina Carpenter hosted by on-air hosts, Kane and Buster. The show begins at 7pm. For additional information and tickets go to: Amaliearena.com.

Cristoph’s Tampa presents Bear Soup’s Annual Toys-for-Tots charity event hosted by Alexis De La Mer. The night will feature a drag Show at 12:30 am, DJ Sklarz, and sexy Go-Go dancers all night.  Any guests who bring a toy for a child will get a free drink. This is a 21 and over event with no cover.

Tuesday, December 18

The Dr. Phillips Center presents Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” based on the 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, which tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. It’s full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written—including “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” “Snow” and the unforgettable title song. The show runs today through December 23. For additional information and tickets go to Drphillipscenter.org.

Black Haüs presents The Creature Feature Before Christmas: a Tim Burton Tribute at Stonewall Orlando. The night will star special guest from Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 8 Laila McQueen, as well as Miami’s reigning Drag King Andro Gin, and Draggedy Anne! Doors open at 9pm for this 21 and over event, and the cover is $10, but $5 for those in Costume/leather.   Cheena serving Christmas dinner till 2am.

Wednesday, December 19

Amalie Arena and Cirque du Soleil presents Crystal. This is not just an ice show, it’s the very first experience on ice from Cirque du Soleil. Watch world-class ice skaters and acrobats claim their new frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics. Follow Crystal, our lead character, on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her imagination. Feel the adrenaline as she soars through this surreal world at high speed to become what she was always destined to be: confident, liberated, empowered. The performance runs today through the 23. For additional information and tickets go to: Cirquedusoleil.com/crystal.

A brand new production of The Sound Of Music is coming to the Van Wezel! The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony-, Grammy- and Academy Award- winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song. The Sound Of Music enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December 2013 and was seen by over 44 million people. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history. The performance runs today and tomorrow. For additional information and tickets go to: Vanwezel.org.

Wednesday, December 26

The VanWezel Performing Arts Hall in association with Wilde Lexus Sarasota & ABC 7 WWSB present On Your Feet!, which takes you behind the music and inside the real story Gloria and Emilio Estefan, the record-making and a groundbreaking couple who, in the face of adversity, found a way to end up on their feet. Featuring some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter-century — and one of the most inspiring stories in music history. From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria came to America and broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything. Performances run today through the 30th. For additional information and tickets go to Vanwezel.org.

Thursday, December 27

Murray & Peter present “A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour.” This is a hilarious evening of holiday performances featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumni: AJA, Monet Xchange, Thorgy Thor, Shea Coulee, Raja & Latrice Royale at 8pm at The Plaza Live. (In case you miss this performance or want to see more, you can catch the performance on Friday, December 28 at The Straz Center in Tampa) For additional information and tickets go to: Dragfans.com.

Friday, December 28

Southern Nights Orlando presents Willam from the critically-acclaimed motion picture “ A Star is Born” (18+ welcome). Showtime is at 12am with Roxxxy Andrews, Jade Embers, and admission is $10. (Unable to make this performance, don’t worry; Willam will be at Southern Nights Tampa on Saturday, December 29.)

Saturday, December 29

Join Barcodes Orlando for the Last Leather Night of 2018, hosted by Daddy Dave and featuring live BDSM demonstrations throughout the Night. As always, barcodes has no cover and free parking.  

Sunday. December 30

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts presents Ventriloquist Terry Fator, the winner of Americas Got Talent in 2007. For the past nine years at the Mirage Hotel Terry Fator has sold out night after night with a show featuring his cast of characters that won him Las Vegas’s best show, best all-around performer, best family show and best overall show. Showtime is at 8pm. For additional information and tickets go to: Drphillipscenter.org.

Monday, December 31

Since the next edition of Hotspots Central will come out on December 27, I will have all the details for New Years in Central Florida listed there.