If you pick up our paper (or read it online) with any regularity, you know what an important voice senior writer Billy Manes has been at Orlando Weekly. He leads the charge each week in Happytown, he covers city business in Councilwatch and state politics and progressive causes in detailed cover stories, blog posts and opinion pieces. Longtime readers also know that Billy has sometimes shared details of his life in these pages to help illustrate his points and comment on critical social issues. In 2007, in one such revelatory story, he documented his decision to "get gay married" to his longtime boyfriend, Alan, even though Florida doesn't recognize gay marriage.
Alan and Billy were featured on the cover of that issue of Orlando Weekly (the image used in this post is the same one that appeared on the cover), and Alan made a number of appearances in Billy's old column, Blister. Alan wasn't just a cameo appearance in Billy's life – he was Billy's other half for more than a decade.
A week ago, Alan passed away, and Billy is planning a memorial service for him for this Wednesday, April 18, at the Abbey, 100 S. Eola Drive. All are welcome to attend, and Billy would appreciate the support. Visit the Facebook page, created by Ron Legler, who is donating the space at the Abbey for the evening, for more information.