OpEd: Debauchery and Decadence Coming to the Drive

Richard Vitale and Adrian Vargas from Impulse Group stand with Norm Kent after a show.

In about two weeks, some 10,000 men and women will parade up and down Wilton Drive in Batman capes and Wonder Woman costumes celebrating Halloween. 

It’s an innocuous indulgence of decadence and debauchery ever so unique to our community. After all, we earned our identity. Now we have to keep it. 

‘Wicked Manors’ is an iconoclastic block party brought to you by the Pride Center at Equality Park, because let’s face it, they can’t build their affordable housing project in the nighttime. 

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By the way, I heard the Pride Center website is calling the new facility the ‘House of Love,’ but I hope it is not like those houses of love I represented for over forty years on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. 

Seriously, though, the first phase of the residences of Equality Park promise to be designated for low-income seniors living with disabling conditions.  The population of Wilton Manors is getting older. Just check out the early bird special at Tropics. Besides, we may all one day need a facility like that.

Anyway, it was not surprising then to learn that playwright David Goldyn’s first show this year is ‘Daddy Issues,’ opening this Friday night at the Center for Spiritual Living.

Our gay community loves theater. SFGN’s magazine, the Mirror, just published its Arts and Entertainment issue, over a hundred pages of thespian and operatic delight. Get one while you can. They are going fast.

South Florida’s theatrical season has also just kicked off. At the Broward Center, an updated version of ‘Le Mis’ just debuted. Not too many adjustments to the score. Jabert still jumps off the bridge. John Ambrusano, one of their cast members, was on my radio show last Thursday, which featured ‘Theater Week.’ 

There were many cultural icons on the show last week, including Ronnie Larsen from the Wilton Manors Theater Factory. Who knew he grew up as a Mormon from Bakersfield? The man is working at a fever pitch. He is producing ‘Making Porn’, ‘Grindr Mom’, ‘Penis Talk’, and something called ‘An Evening with John Gacy’ in one venue- I think Joe Pallant’s back yard.

Adjacent to the Manors Theater Factory, the Island City Stage is another gay venue opening with ‘Lipstick’ and ‘Altar Boyz’ this year. The United Church of Christ is getting into the act as well. Ed Sparan, late of the World AIDS Museum, is inaugurating the Epiphany Theater to showcase LGBTQ productions there next month, with an open house today.

On Sunday, when real men should be celebrating Mickey Mantle’s birthday, many in our community instead will be going to bat for SAGE at the Pride Center as they host members of the Florida Grand Opera, performing some teasing excerpts of their 2019-2020 season, including Madame Butterfly and Rigoletto.

Not to be outdone, the Carbonell Award-winning Slow Burn Theatre Company has announced its Fall schedule, opening with the much talked about, ‘Shrek The Musical.’ SFGN’s arts critic, says it is a star waiting to shine It opens next weekend. 

Even the Museum of Science is running a new show about aviation, and let’s face it, many people have said I have been in Space for a while. I had its president, James P. Cox, on the air last week.

The Outshine Film Festival concludes this weekend, and pretty soon you will be hearing more about the annual Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. The gay community is a house of many colors. 

In no time at all, we will go from costumes to tuxedos,  leather and lace to shirts and ties. On November 9, Equality Florida will honor its annual role call of champions at the Westin on the Fort Lauderdale Beach. 

In Key West, where too much of a good thing was not enough, this Sunday, instead of just celebrating Fantasy Fest, they are promoting a Zombie Bike Ride. I have one of those with my partner every evening when he comes home from work.

The LGBT community has simply always had a love affair with indulgence. It is who we are.  We have coronated summers on Fire Island, made it to the Factory in Mykonos, the Boatslip in Provincetown, the Black Party in Montreal, and the White Party at Vizcaya. Now its Wicked Manors right here On Wilton Drive. Sure, the list is even longer than that. We know how to party.

Next April, Pride Fort Lauderdale will be partying- and partnering - with the Greater Convention and Visitors Bureau to throw one heck of a celebration for all the Americas, right here in South Florida. It is an awesome undertaking. Our community will grow immeasurably from the venture.  We are everywhere.

Just about the same time, the AIDS Health Care Foundation will again generously be underwriting another AIDS walk and concert on the beach. Fund raising for this year’s Smart Ride is already under way. 

SFGN gives ALL these events a platform. You live them. We write about them. You can pick up our paper or go online. You can share them, not only with your friends, but the moms and dads you left behind in Fargo, North Dakota. 

These parades and parties, our events and festivals, are just not showcased in the Miami Herald the way they are at www.sfgn.com. We have provided a forum for 10 years and 500 issues. Your paid ads allows our free paper to portray your principled lives, and our collective worth and measure as good people doing great things.

With my live radio show daily, we are now able to even further amplify who we are, and what our paper does. The voices and personalities enriching our community are given a daily showcase. Last week, we learned on the air that the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida will be appearing at Fan Fest during next year’s Super Bowl festivities. 

For too long, the gay community had no place on Main Street. In South Florida, it is now ours to share. In many places across the world, it still is not. While celebrating on the shore, let’s never forget those still drowning at sea. 

Keep fighting the good fight, in dress or in drag. Make your voice heard. Who knows, one day we might even elect not only a gay mayor, but a gay president. That can happen, right?

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Listen to all the shows on You Tube at www.normkent.com , or tune in any afternoon from 2 to 4 pm on WNN Radio at 1470 AM or 95.3 FM. 

Guest History

The Norm Kent Show

Illuminating our allies and LGBTQ Voices

Monday

9/16   Dr. Sheldon Warman, MD VIP Program

9/16   Keith Stroup, NORML Founder

9/17   Bob Norman, Investigative Journalist

9/18,  Duff Lindsey, Neil Rogers Program Director

9/19   Michael Mayo, Sun Sentinel Food Critic

9/20  Jeff Kasky, Ban Assault Weapons Now

9/23  Fernand Amandi, Radio Talk Show Host, WIOD

9/23  Ronnie Larsen, Producer,  Manors Theater Factory

9/24  Jason Parsley, SFGN Editor in Chief, 'Best Of'

9/24, Russell Cormican, Cannabis Counsel

9/24  Dr. Howard Cunningham, Oakland Park Dental

9/25  Jorge Rodriguez, Producer, Neil Rogers Show

9/26  Lori Parrish, Broward County Property Appraiser

9/26, Boca Brittany, WNN Transgender Talk Show Host

9/27  Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out

9/27  Marc Possien,  Catalog X

9/30  Joseph Labrera, Parker Smith, Pallant Insurance

9/30  Michael Swartz, Medixall.com

10/2  Adrian Vargas, Richard Vitale, IMPULSE of AHF 

10/3  David Goldyn, Playwright, ‘Daddy Issues’

10/3  Ellie Murray, Actress

10/4  James P. Cox, President, Museum of Science

10/7  Howard Finkelstein, County Public Defender

10/8  Rosemary O’Hara, Sun Sentinel Editorial Page Editor

10/9  Ed Sparan, Epiphany Theater

10/9  JW Arnold, SFGN Theater Critic

10/9  Jeff Sterling, Wilton Stonewall Festival

10/10 John Ambrusano, out Le Mis Cast Member

10/10 Mark Kent, Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida

10/10 Michael Valdez, James Smith, GMCSF

10/11 Row Iliescu, Stratton Politzer, Equality Florida

10/14 Al Rantel, Radio Talk Show Host

10/15 John Castelli,  Castelli Real Estate Services

10/16 Scott Greenberg, LGNTQ Freedom Fund


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