Local Color - Staff Picks
Published: July 18, 2012
Best rain check
Come Out With Pride Orlando
We couldn't have been more ready for this year's Pride festivities. We wrote a glowing cover story detailing what we adore about Orlando's LGBT community, we listed the complete roundup of Come Out With Pride events in our pages, and OW's staff was totally prepared to strut our stuff in the annual Pride parade around Lake Eola. And then the skies opened up with a massive downpour the day of the event, soaking everyone's high spirits. Everything was cancelled, and the event was postponed until a month later. The rain date was fun, but it just wasn't the same. Here's hoping the sunshine returns for 2012.
The Amway Arena
On March 25, civic elites and hipsters alike gathered around the windows of downtown high-rises clutching 7 a.m. mimosas to witness the end of an arena era. After a period of stalling, the city finally laced the dynamite throughout the abandoned, old (well, not really old, unless you consider 23 old) Amway Arena and let her rip. Though there were allegedly some unexpected mistakes – a passerby got hit by some rebar, a Channel 13 News reporter was covered in dust when the debris took an unexpected turn in the wind – the whole event was celebrated as a successful new beginning to the Creative Village development that will eventually be built here. Meanwhile, we're left with the a giant wound in the middle of downtown that bears more than a slight resemblance to New York's own Ground Zero post 9/11. Really. It does.
Best stubborn activist effort
It may not get great grades for getting things accomplished, or for coming to consensus on what, exactly, the movement was about. But Occupy Orlando certainly gets an A for effort for exceeding our expectations when it comes to persistence and staying power. The ragtag bunch of activists began their Occupy Wall Street-style protest in October 2011 in Senator Beth Johnson Park. Over the course of weeks, then months, they were ridiculed, arrested, had their stuff taken away by police, were kicked out of the park, then kicked out of a spot they'd adopted outside the Orange County Administration building. Here at OW HQ – where everybody loves a good old-fashioned angry protest mob – we were feeling pretty skeptical about how long these kids could sustain the effort. Months went by and they kept at it, all through the spring. Far longer than anyone would have expected. We haven't seen or heard much from Occupy Orlando lately – their Facebook page is updated sporadically, and last we checked in early July, their website was experiencing a "database error" – but it was a good run while it lasted.
Best local partnership
Full Sail University partners with WWE
We're not exactly sure why we're so tickled about the fact that Full Sail University announced in May that it was partnering with World Wrestling Entertainment to have the school's students tape the wrestling empire's NXT series, in which the newest superstars of wrestling cut their teeth in the sport. Maybe it's the idea of a bunch of tech guys and hipster students working side by side with wrestling badasses like Triple H. Or maybe that WWE execs were quoted by the Orlando Sentinel calling Full Sail a "crazy little university in Orlando." Full Sail tried really hard to pull out all the professional PR moves in its marketing of the partnership – the initial press release made much of the fact that the school was partnering with WWE, an "integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment," but didn't even mention that what we're really talking about here is professional wrestling – the kind of global entertainment in which burly men dress in skimpy singlets and create bizarre characters and storylines about themselves so they can become famous for pummeling other men's faces into the ring. Come on, Full Sail, that's nothing to be afraid of. Own that shit! We can't wait to go to a taping!