Week 7 | Pilot episode, includes script for Parliament House

[Previously in this series, a summer internship with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida: Intro/Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 8 | Week 9.]

DRAFTING BOILERPLATE

This week I built the templates for the boilerplate language to accompany each episode. This consists of all the <About> text: About me, About the project and its criteria, About the Museum. A main focus of this project is to introduce the content of LGBTQ History to audiences who may not have already engaged with the field. Therefore, and as in all things, context is key. Drafting these elements is a significant aspect of my own methodology — to acknowledge the frameworks within which these objects, this research, and I am situated. The process and practice of generating these texts is an act of scholarship that clarifies these elements and strengthens the scaffolding of the project.

Those texts are included, below:

>About Nikki Fragala Barnes

Nikki Fragala Barnes is a transdisciplinary scholar and researcher. Barnes is also an experimental poet, editor, curator, and participatory installation artist. Her critical research and academic practice in the arts and humanities informs and is informed by her creative work among language, book forms, and interactive exhibits.

As an emerging scholar of public histories, Barnes’ research is at the intersection of confronting dominant historical records, the ways material culture embodies resistance, and place-based histories of the excluded. Interpreting events and experiences within the context of location (especially the built environment) heightens the human encounters with presence and absence. Her work foregrounds landscapes and stories of people historically excluded from the narratives. Barnes’ works are restorative in process and product.

Affiliated with the University of Central Florida, Barnes is a doctoral student earning a PhD in Texts and Technology within Public History and Curation. She serves on the Board of Directors with the LGBTQ History Musem of Central Florida.

>Proxemics: a position statement

The study of space between and distance from a subject, concept, site or source, proxemics is an area of knowledge and method of understanding located in relationship. As a straight, White female in her fourth decade, I bring a convergence of perspectives to this project, to serve the advocacy and preservation of LGBTQ histories. As I enter spaces with humility and respect, I am aware of the complications that intersect for the many violences and oppressions present, especially that people with my demographics have perpetrated and perpetuated. I make this video series with the mentorship and direction of scholars who are members of the LGBTQ community, and the work is being reviewed by historically excluded people. These steps cannot fully account for my work presented here. Any errors are my own.

>About the project series: video pathways into the collections

The work of public historians is negotiated among three intersecting and equal aims: research, interpretation, and contextualization. As I prepare for the pre-production stage of this curated series of video pathways, I am working within these three prongs of public history.

My efforts here draw on my work creating thick contextualizations for the Queer Spaces exhibit (on display during June 2021) at The Center Orlando as well as my experience visiting the Community exhibition at the Orange County Regional History Center which responds to the fifth anniversary of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando, FL.

The scholarly practice of curation is an applied form of critical making where the creative and academic work inform one another, and both the process and object are documented in an exhibit. As I engage with this form of scholarship, I am building an experience for researchers and the community at large to encounter a set of artifacts via the digital platform as an entry threshold to invite and encourage further engagement. My priority is to first identify specific areas to feature and then select representative item/s. I created a preliminary list, allowing for the final series to be between seven and twelve videos. I am beginning with The Parliament House and the 1979 Pride Picnic, the first in Central Florida. (Barnes)

>Measures

To ensure this work is human-centered, site-sensitive, and academically sound, I have drafted measures that will serve throughout the process as specific, periodic audits.

The aims of this series will demonstrate the following:

  • center the experiences of people in the LGBTQ community
  • directly address intersecting influences of race, gender, and heritage
  • foreground material objects closely linking physical environments and human experiences
  • prioritize on-location filming
  • direct viewers to additional sites of research
  • broadly depict the histories of the LGBTQ community to expressly resist charterizing as a monolith
  • take steps to advocate for accessibility: language, translation, captioning, etc.
  • audit and review the series
  • rigorously cite and acknowledge the people and work that shapes this project

>About the LGBTQ+ History Museum of Central Florida

In Article II, Section 1 of its Bylaws, “the following are the purposes for which this organization has been organized: Our mission is to collect, preserve and exhibit the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities history in Central Florida. We are dedicated to collecting memorabilia, preserving and providing for research the documentary record, and displaying with pride that community’s social and historical contributions, so our legacy is not forgotten,” (Bylaws).

Begun as a History Project displaying exhibits in 2005, the Museum was formalized in 2010, and has continued this work into the present day.

Our Story | The Organization

Bibliography

Barnes, Nikki Fragala. “Week 4 | Contextualization.” Medium.com. 10 June 2021.

https://nikkifragalabarnes.medium.com/contextualization-20bcf79449f9

Bylaws. LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida. http://www.floridalgbtqmuseum.org/bylaws.html

Composite image of the pages of the Grand Opening program, Sept/Oct 1975, created by NFB

PILOT: SCRIPTING

I also completed the drafts of the pilot episode featuring the program from the grand opening of the Parliament House Resort Hotel from the first week of October in 1975. Writing the script was the final step in a long research process to verify names, dates, and a great deal of historical data, a primary aim of this work so these products enter the academic record as scholarly artifacts themselves. I will be creating captions and transcripts, as well as translations to accompany the videos.

The text for the script is also included here.

INTRO:

I’m Nikki Fragala Barnes with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida. In the summer of 2021, I served as an intern while earning my PhD in Texts and Technology as a curator and public historian.

This is the pilot episode of a series of video pathways into the collections of the Museum.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE:

Parliament House opened as the first of a small chain of hotels in 1962. In 1975 it was purchased by two established entrepreneurs, Bill Miller and Michael Hodge, of Orlando and reopened in 1975 as a Gay resort called Parliament House Resort Hotel. It closed in November 2020, in large part due to the lockdowns on travel and closings of many tourist attractions in an effort to respond to the public health crisis of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.

This episode features the program from that Grand Opening which took place from Monday September 29th through the weekend of October 3rd-5th, 1975.

PROGRAM:

This item is a staple-bound four-page program detailing the events planned for guests. [SHOW THE IMAGE OF THE COVER.]

The opening page contains an enthusiastic welcome from new owners, Bill Miller and Michael Hodge. It’s clear from the messaging that this was circulated in advance of the event encouraging prospective guests to book with details and rates on room reservations — $14 for a single and $16 for a double, with a $3 upcharge for an additional person and a note that pageant contestants could take advantage of a special rate.

Detailing the Miss and Mr Parliament House Pageant, the program also contains a lined entry form for entering the Pageant.

The Miss Parliament House pageant would take place on Monday 29 Sept with sportswear, swimwear, eveningwear and talent.

The Mr Parliament House pageant took place on Wednesday 1 Oct with self-expression, swimwear and talent.

It’s filled with drink specials and details with an opening cocktail party ahead of the festivities that begin in force on Thursday with a BBQ Luau on the beach of Rock Lake and a Disco party that night with a dance contest.

Friday and Saturday featured a Playhouse Theater production of the Broadway musical, Mame. And, Sunday is, quote “to rest and give everyone a chance to unwind from a fun-filled week.”

There’s a special boxed announcement invitation to a Grand Opening Kickoff Cruise out of Daytona on Sunday, the 28th of October for $9.95 a person with 25 cent beers.

Of special interest are the included advertisements from vendors present on the property and local establishments. A Haircut shop, the Gay Blade, Boutique and Florist are listed as within the Resort and the Palace Club on Humpries is also listed open for dancing until six a.m.

ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL CONTEXT:

This program is goldenrod or marigold in color, and it echoes in a small way the function of the Green Book (first published in 1936), the travel guide for Black motorists and tourists — which was in turn, inspired by earlier books published for Jewish travelers. [Source: https://www.history.com/news/the-green-book-the-black-travelers-guide-to-jim-crow-america]

CONCLUSION:

Accompanying this video are additional links for more on the Parliament House and LGBTQ History in Central Florida. Thanks for watching.

END

PILOT: FILMING

Because these are digital artifacts that belong to a digital collection in a digital museum, filming on location is significant to the project — to depict material context that these items began as and echo physical, material experiences of humans in real places and spaces, many of which no longer exist.

The preproduction process was sketched and reviewed, including time of day, wardrobe, digital devices, lighting and other equipment. I will most likely return to refilm this episode at another time of day.

Scouting the location of the Parliament House is a layered experience of loss that starkly confronts the visitor. Only a parking lot, some fencing, and clusters of green vegetation remain as well as the disturbingly unobstructed view of Rock Lake, the beachfront where so many weekends were spent.

For now, the film test footage is being processed in postproduction in my cloud storage where I am editing three takes. [Linked here, and on location, for my advisors to review.]

Perhaps this project will expand to include advocacy for an historical plate or marker to attest to the relevance that lives in traces of the landscape.

The experience of standing among the absent present was jarring. It is easy to remain committed to this work.

410 North Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL, USA — site of the former Parliament House Resort Hotel, June 2021, image courtesy of the author

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Nikki Fragala Barnes is a transdisciplinary scholar of the arts and humanities. Research interests include place-based public histories and archives.

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nikki fragala barnes

nikki fragala barnes

Nikki Fragala Barnes is a transdisciplinary scholar of the arts and humanities. Research interests include place-based public histories and archives.

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