Turning Back the Clock

Norm Kent, Publisher

We have not always had content driven LGBT newspapers in South Florida. Entertainment guides that have come and gone have told much of our early LGBT history.  Outside of the Miami-based TWNThe Weekly News – early gay history in South Florida, from the 1970’s to 2000, is not recorded by credible newspapers

For Broward, there was once a magazine called, A Friendly Voice, published in 1991. Their sales manager Brad Casey, would later take an office at the old Club Caribbean Resort and start a magazine named Scoop, aided by an aspiring photographer named Pompano Bill. Scoop did have feature writing, but its primary focus was nightlife, which no one would ever do better than Hotspots.

Jason Bell owned and operated Hotspots for 14 years, and then he turned it over to the capable hands of Peter Clark. The magazine remains a South Florida anchor for LGBT entertainment fare. Many have tried unsuccessfully to recreate a magazine in its image.

South Florida’s gay media history is in fact littered with publications that imploded and folded, from the Buzz to Brad Casey’s Inside Scoop and Scoop. There was also Muchacho and ‘M’ Magazine, FYI and the Blade, and David Magazine, 1, 2 or 3, depending on the decade. Last year, there was OMG; there one month, gone the next. This week, Mark Magazine, which was Mark’s List Magazine, and before that, 411, has a new name. Big surprise.

Years ago, the Hotspots political column was written by the late Tom Bradshaw. One of Bradshaw’s 1992 columns, 20 years ago, would feature a newly formed organization, called the United Citizens for Human Rights, headed by the late Alan Terl, Jamie Bloodworth and her partner, Beverly Cothern, along with a young lawyer named Dean Trantalis.

The publisher of David in the 1990’s was Mark Riley, and their account representatives included a name familiar even today, Rich Lo Primo, along with Stan Butler who would move to the Sun-Sentinel. Feature writers included the late Gary L. Steinsmith, who would become a leading activist for the Dolphin Democratic club and the HIV community. He passed away in 2007.

David Magazine would close in the 1990’s after Riley passed away, but would later re-launch, under the stewardship of Gil Quijas. He later absconded, accused of corporate fraud, and warrants were issued for his arrest. Last year, an Atlanta publisher, thinking it was a cool name, started up a new ‘David’ that became old rather quick. It is now history.

Pride South Florida billed itself as ‘The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Pride Committee,’ and they operated out of the offices of Hotspots. The only AIDS agency at the time, Center One, worked out of the Marlin Beach Resort on A1A. The only gay rights group, of about a dozen people, the Tuesday Night Group, met in a small condo owned by Joe Campanella, on the beach.

The headline news section of Hotspots in 1991 revealed that basketball star Magic Johnson had been diagnosed with AIDS. The World Health Organization announced that 40 million people would contract the disease by the end of the year 2000. Writer Larry Kramer, the author of Faggots, made a fatalistic prediction: “Magic Johnson and all of us are going to die.” They are both alive today.

After the Express Gay News was sold in 2004, the late Paul Harris launched the ‘Independent,’ which had a short two-year run before shutting down, while the Express was renamed the South Florida Blade. After the Blade folded it was resurrected as the Florida Agenda, which is still coming out weekly.

Publishing a newspaper has never been an easy task, in any era. The best part of looking through the older magazines is to find the wealth of nightclubs, bars and personalities featured in them. In another issue, we will recreate that journey, from January’s Supper Club to the Malebox; from the Rooftop to the original Georgie’s. All the clubs tell a story, have a history, and are together part of the journey that brought us to PrideFest at Holiday Park on this March 10 and 11, 2012.

Those stories need to be told, and we are proud to be the vehicle to tell them. We do so only because you support us, have faith in us, and we will never let you down.

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