Our tale begins at Pie in the Sky Pizza on Alafaya Trail near the University of Central Florida, a venue at which Orlando DJ Brian Dawe was throwing a party April 7 alluringly titled "Beats, Bitches, and Beer." Jenna Cawley, Orlando chapter president of the National Organization for Women, got wind of the event, objected to the name and wrote a letter to Dawe telling him so: "This is a college community and I would encourage you to communicate in an inclusive and non-discriminatory language," her letter said.
Dawe responded to Cawley in a letter citing the fact that the word "bitch" is quite common in songs and on TV. "It's such a part of our vernacular nowadays," Dawe told Happytown™. "We didn't mean it in a derogatory way."
Enter Mike Busey (pictured above), "Beats, Bitches, and Beer" emcee and purported nephew (we couldn't confirm it, but the resemblance is uncanny) of Gary. Mike posted some shall we say crude pictures on Dawe's Myspace.com site. One depicts Jesus being asked by a follower, "What do you think of that bitch Jenna Cawley?"
Jesus responds, "Silly feminist CUNT! LOL."
Another post on the site shows a maggot-infested arm that Busey tried to pass off as "feminist" female genitalia (with Cawley's name and contact information); you'd have to see the photo to understand, and you don't want to.
The visuals didn't sit well with Cawley. "They were totally vile," she says.
Busey, apparently a sensitive guy, says he tried to contact Cawley to discuss changing the name of the event. "I wouldn't have had any problem with it," he says, despite the Photoshop fun. (Cawley says the cops advised her not to talk to Busey.)
Meanwhile, NOW organized a party of their own at nearby Lazy Moon Pizza on University Boulevard: "Lazy Moon Loves Ladies." Both events, say the respective organizers, were a success.
We called Busey April 10 to see how his party went, and he started talking about the size of his testicles (we took his word for it) and how he helped a visiting Israeli friend get a prostitute on Thanksgiving. He had this to say about the whole NOW imbroglio:
"I feel kind of bad about putting Jesus on `Myspace.com` talking about cunts and putting that maggot-filled thing up there. I was making those with a friend when I was drunk. You know, I'm just a crazy dude; it runs in the family."
Hate to say we told you so, but here it is, well into April, and the March deadline for the ultimate proposal for the Orlando Performing Arts Center has come and gone. A scheduled meeting was cancelled, and a midday call to the OPAC office today yielded an "unknown" date for any meetings. Later, however, we received a press release announcing that a fund-raising feasibility study has estimated that "more than $75 million could be raised in support of the initiative" but that donors would be "more likely to contribute once they were confident of the leadership and funding from the public sector."
Happytown™ news analysis: OPAC is dead.
Q: What do President George W. Bush and Orange County Public Schools superintendent Ron Blocker have in common? A: They both hate the First Amendment! So sayeth The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, a Virginia-based group that hands out annual "awards" (the "Muzzles") to those it believes are trampling on your free speech.
Bush got a Muzzle for authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without a warrant; Blocker got his for suspending elementary school teacher Jan Hall for writing that inflammatory letter about Hispanics that was not meant for public consumption.
A hearty Happytown™ congrats to both men, and to the other 13 folks doing their best to silence dissent.
Jay Boyar saga update: Getting "separated" from the Orlando Sentinel after 22 years as a film critic, it turns out, can be a good career move. Boyar is going to work as an associate editor at Orlando Magazine, will be teaching three courses a semester at UCF, and has a book coming out early next year called Films to Go: 100 Memorable Movies for Travelers, published by Capital Books.
So there is life after the Sentinel; but we want to know if there's life at the Sentinel?
This week's report by James Carlson, Lindy T. Shepherd and Bob Whitby.
Holy crap! There's something happenin' here; what it is ain't exactly clear. Suddenly we've got all these great protests all over town; why, it's as if people are getting fed up with the status quo, taking to the streets and making their opinions known. What next, fair and open elections?
Who: Supporters of immigrants' rights
When/where: 3 p.m. April 9, Barnett Park in Orlando
Scene: When 2,000 people gather to do anything in Orlando, we think "monster truck rally" or "Promise Keepers." But no, this throng (the biggest in recent memory) was out in force to remind the xenophobes that America is, and always has been, a nation of immigrants. Congress is deadlocked on the issue of the status of illegal immigrants, so look for more fun in the near future.
Who: Save the Voters' Voice
When/where: Noon April 5, in front of the Orange County Courthouse.
Scene: Elected officials in Tallahassee really resent it when people exercise their right to amend the state constitution, so much so that they've devised a new way to circumvent the problem: Simply edit unwanted amendments right outta there! That's exactly what a bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee, HB 7165, would do. Co-sponsored by Rep. David Simmons, R-Longwood, the bill would remove amendments put there to protect pregnant pigs, provide a state minimum wage and mandate English as the state's official language, among others, and codify them as statutory law. Once out of the Constitution, those unpopular amendments, now laws, can more easily be changed by legislators. Ballsy move, Simmons.
Only 19 people showed up to voice opposition to the plan, but they were properly disrespectful to Simmons and his plan.