HAPPYTOWN 


Two weeks ago in this space, we told you all about how Tribune owner Sam Zell went haywire on an Orlando Sentinel photographer who dared to ask about the paper’s softening journalistic endeavors. “Fuck you,” Zell told her, after mumbling some nonsense about “journalistic arrogance” and telling the assembled Sentinel workers that if stories about puppies sold papers, that was fine by him. (The video that made its way around the web showed that answer met with applause; our sources tell us it was the ad people clapping.)

Well, now we see how badly things are shaping up for our friends at the daily. On Feb. 14, Sentinel publisher Kathy Waltz resigned. According to the Sentinel’s story about her departure, “Waltz did not say that she felt any pressure to leave. But, considering the prospects for changes in high management this year, she said she ‘raised her hand,’ volunteering with her resignation.”

We’re positive it had nothing to do with Zell canning 500 people company-wide. If Waltz’s resignation was some high-minded stand against the corporate greed that is ruining a once-important media conglomerate, rather than a chance to jump the sinking ship, we applaud her. And she would have good cause to do so.

On Feb. 13 Zell sent out a company-wide e-mail (which of course got leaked to the Internet) explaining the pending hard times. “I have discussed with many of you our mutual concern about the cyclical eroding of content quality to meet budgets manufactured in the corporate office,” he wrote. “I promise you, in time, we will end that downward spiral.”

The Orlando Sentinel: Delivering journalistic excellence … eventually.

While local educators
grapple with the theoretical semantics of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Good Book is getting a theatrical treatment from some well-meaning Bible translators next week. Not just any theater either, but dinner theater: home of gay people and old ladies!

The Wycliffe Dinner Theater – headquartered in Portland, Ore. – hosts a group known as the Wycliffe Bible Translators, whose main reason for existence is to guilt the guileless into missionary translationism. They’re bringing their hippie moxie down to the Wycliffe Mobilization Center on John Wycliffe Boulevard beginning Feb. 27, with the big humdinger (we suppose) occurring at the Calvary Assembly of God, March 2.

Our crack research staff determined that John Wycliffe was a Bible vernacularist who raised a stink in the 14th century for pissing someone off, which was easy to do back then. The Wycliffes of today are more interested in traversing cultural gaps with meals, while pantomimes that “boldly” express the “real dangers, the crushing heartbreak, the inner struggles and the power of God working through modern heroes of our faith” play out between bites. Yay!

This particular episode details the difficulties faced by a “brilliant Buddhist boy” named Sunong who wants to learn English so that he can ascend into a burgeoning Pacific Rim economy, while a Canadian linguist named Jonathan Banks (geddit?) is trying to translate the Bible into Sunong’s mother tongue. Will they help each other? Will they fall in love and do dirty things with their tongues? You’ll have to eat your curry and drink your Molson to find out, heathens. You can find out more at www.wycliffe.org if you’re that creepy.

We can totally remember
our first gay college tongue-heavy makeout. Who doesn’t? But we can’t remember our first gay college tongue-heavy makeout being next to a Pegasus floor painting in the middle of the UCF Student Union, and for that reason we were intrigued by fledgling student activist group Who Has Privileges? (www.whohasprivileges.org) inviting us out to their Kiss-In at UCF on Valentine’s Day.

Group leader Benjamin Tucker assures us that the first demonstration of this “radical” group was not about gay marriage, but rather the fringe elements of the homosphere: transgendered folks and poor gay old people. He said there would be more demonstrations through November. “We are radicals,” he says, “so we’re going to do some creative, innovative things.”

Like having 30 college kids stand inside the student union and make out with somebody of the same sex! Hot! Were they couples? “Some of them are,” he says, and the rest would choose somebody with whom they were comfortable. “There are issues of consent.”

With no ChapStick in sight, the whole thing went off a bit tepidly; the promised half-hour demonstration was diminished to some awkward one-minute tongue-wrestling, followed by giggles and claps. Tucker himself made out with TWO guys, indicating that the new queer youth are not so much about monogamy as they are resembling members of Alkaline Trio and/or Feist.

From the Good Causes desk comes this item: The People Power Hour radio show, hosted by the one and only George Crossley, is holding a fund-raiser Feb. 23 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Fusion 7 restaurant, 13526 Village Park Drive. You should go and give George all your money because his show, broadcast at 2 p.m. Saturdays on WAMT-AM (1190), talks smack about the powerful in this town, and it offsets the radio-spectrum pollution Doug Guetzloe emits from the same wavelength.

Remember when O-Towners were all giddy about landing a spot on a new version of Monopoly? The year was 2006, and we, as a city, were finally being recognized for our cultural contributions to the world in a Monopoly revamp called “Here and Now.” (Actually, we were recognized for being the place that Walt Disney built a big theme park, but recognition is recognition, right?)

Anyway, it’s two years later and the Monopoly people have officially dissed us. They are coming out with a new Monopoly Here & Now, the worldwide edition, and once again they are asking players to go to their website, www.monopoly.com, and vote for their favorite cities. The 20 cities earning the most votes will earn a spot on the board. But guess which city isn’t on the list of those you can vote for? That would be the sad, forgotten little burg of Orlando. (There are two wild card spots for write-ins, but we’ll be up against every other snubbed city in the world for those, so good luck.)

You can vote for sinful Las Vegas, but you can’t vote for wholesome Orlando. And that fucking pisses us off. You can also vote for a bunch of foreign cities you’ve never been to, like Dubai, Ljubljana, Mumbai and Tallinn, but not O-Town. How much fun can you have in Dubai? Alcohol is illegal and it’s in the middle of the desert, fer Allah’s sake.

We are never playing Monopoly again.

This week’s report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes and Bob Whitby.

happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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