HAPPYTOWN 


;Are you as excited about the execution of "Gainesville Ripper" Danny Rolling (which has probably already happened by the time you read this) as the local media?

;;Exhibit No. 1: Just as we were passing out Oct. 21, a strange song floated into the room. It was coming from the TV — WESH-TV Channel 2, to be precise. On the screen, a grainy Rolling was swaying through some kind of country/spiritual-singing in a courtroom. It was creepy.

;;WESH faded the screen and flashed up their website address, www.wesh.com. After a moment's thought, we figured that this was a little teaser for the (likely) wall-to-wall coverage of Rolling's death in Starke. An eye for an eye makes for great Biblical verse — and even better television.

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;;Rolling is scheduled for the big sleep Oct. 25. Would you like a little ketchup on your popcorn?

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;We expected fireworks at the Equality Florida 2006 Orlando reception Oct. 22 (on the fifth floor of the posh Sanctuary), what with party-hopping Sheri McInvale splashing in the hot water of a micro-scandal (her mailer portrayed opponent Scott Randolph with local drag hero Miss Sammy beneath a caption challenging immigration, for some reason) and both McInvale and Randolph were listed as members of Equality Florida's Host Committee. Here comes a good old-fashioned ;artichoke-dip wrestle!

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; MURDER WATCH ;

No. 42: Raygon Deon Ludd, 26, died Oct. 17 after being shot at the intersection of Westmoreland Drive and Livingston Street at 10:35 p.m. Orlando police have little information about the murder, despite the fact that many people were outside at the time and may have witnessed it.

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Sadly, it didn't happen. Instead, a series of heart-wrenching testimonials from a gay high-school girl, a lesbian couple with a child and Watermark publisher Tom Dyer pulled purse strings toward a goal of $50,000. Also on the agenda: a "state of the state" address from executive director Nadine Smith, who urged attendees to "fight like hell," adding that "we have to no longer be satisfied with anything less than full equality."

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;;We asked Smith if McInvale is still welcome at the big gay table after sending out the mailer.

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;"She's been removed from the Host Committee," Smith told us. "I called her and she didn't return my call. So I called back and left her a message saying, ‘I'm sorry, but you've been removed from the Host Committee. Please give me a call if you would like to talk about it.'"

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;A Winter Park grudge-match-turned-lawsuit between a developer and his tenant has been resolved.

;;Abdul Alibana, owner of the Lyman Food Mart on Hannibal Square in west Winter Park, was holding his ground while developer Dan Bellows razed buildings all around the store to build a seven-story parking garage. Things got ugly when Bellows filed suit in September 2004 to evict Alibana. The suit claimed, among other things, that Alibana's store was a haven for drug dealers.

;Alibana countersued in January 2006 for defamation, saying that Bellows had smeared his good name in the Muslim community.;;

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; SEMI-REGULAR FEATURE:;
; THE ART CRITIC SEZ! ;

This week, we sent our peevish art critic to take a look at the new statues by Vietnamese artist Tuan Nguyen in front of Cameron Kuhn’s Premiere Trade Plaza on Orange Avenue. Here’s his report:

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It’s interesting just how important history can be to a city that doesn’t have much of one. These classic forms, as beautiful as they are, are a perfect example of our inferiority complex. Instead of Orlando trying to create its own place in the art world, we lift an Art Deco–influenced direction for public art that was popular in 1930s New York and Chicago. How about pushing the envelope instead? How about starting a conversation? Is this possible for a place that shines its shoes at the first sight of a tourist? For future public art, let’s create our own history instead of stealing it from somewhere else.

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The warring parties buried their dispute Oct. 6 in a settlement that included a check to Alibana for $53,000, a new store for him in a new building across the street and a short-term inventory loan of $30,000. Alibana also got an "explanation" from Bellows regarding a quote to the Orlando Sentinel that made it sound like he wasn't running a law-abiding business, and an apology from Bellows' lawyer, Todd K. Norman, for stating in court papers that Alibana was allowing drug dealers to stash their dope in his business.

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;"I feel right about it," Alibana says. "My attorney feels right about it."

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;Bellows, who made headlines for dragging a local businessman out of a Winter Park planning and zoning meeting by the shirt collar in August 2005, had no comment on the settlement.

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;We weren't the only ones ;who were wary of attending the newly redesigned Watermark's sixth WAVE (Watermark Award for Variety and Excellence) presentation Thursday night at Parliament House's Footlight Theater. But while things had the potential to turn into a drippy wake for recently deceased editor Dave Wiethop (see page 10), they instead exploded into a cross-dressed and drunken extravaganza of campy comedy and lipstick.

;;Hosted by Miss Sammy and Carol Lee, the affair sputtered through some 50 categories (Most helpful real estate agent? Friendliest caterer? Easiest place to hook up!) at a rabbit's pace, with occasional liquor spit-takes and pratfalls for the sake of vaudeville. Patty Sheehan was notably not in attendance, despite gracing the WAVE issue's cover rubbing noses with her girlfriend, Jocelyn White. In fact, a lot of people weren't there.

;;One notable exception was our own Billy Manes, who somersaulted onto the stage to receive his Favorite GLBT Writer award and received a $5 tip for his dismount (which he then almost lost down his pants).

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;If you were wondering what all those huge white trucks were doing lined up on Rosalind Avenue last week, slowing down traffic and blocking your view of Lake Eola, wonder no more: They were there in support of a movie shoot. Orlando is about to become the backdrop for National Lampoon's Robo-Doc, a sure-to-be-sidesplitter from the same folks who have recently brought you such hits as National Lampoon's Dorm Daze (2003), Going the Distance (2004) and National Lampoon's Pucked (2006).

;;Judging by its premise, Robo-Doc (written by local physician Doug Gordon) will be every bit as good as its National Lampoon predecessors: An egomaniacal medical malpractice attorney's livelihood is threatened by a robotic doctor incapable of making mistakes; hilarity ensues. The movie's $2 million budget all but ensures a smash hit. Production on the film is set to finish in November, meaning it should be showing at the Colonial Promenade 6 early next year.

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;; This week's report by Billy Manes, Shan Stumpf and Bob Whitby.

; happytown@orlandoweekly.com

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