Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Ed Gonzalez, Owner Enigma St. Pete

By : Jeremy Fetters, bartender for Enigma St. Pete
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Jeremy Fetters

At the age of 14, Ed Gonzalez asked for a work permit to start working at a Country Club in South Florida. Many years later Ed has run, owned and operated two of Tampa Bay’s most iconic establishments: Georgie’s Alibi and Enigma St. Pete.

Through role models like his father and mother and his strong work ethic and attention to detail, he has made sanctuaries for all of us to feel comfortable and call home. I’ve had the privilege of working for this amazing man for upwards of 13 years and everything I’ve learned about the hospitality industry I owe to Ed. When you work for him you become family to him. Any employee past or present will tell you that if you ever need anything he is always there to help.

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Naples eatery Bambusa to resurrect Georgie’s Alibi locale

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | It’s been nearly two years since St. Petersburg staple Georgie’s Alibi closed its doors for the last time at 3100 3rd Avenue North, but the spot synonymous with Pride and the LGBTQ community is getting ready for its comeback: in the form of Bambusa St. Pete.

Bambusa Bar & Grill, an LGBTQ-friendly restaurant and entertainment hotspot in Naples, recently announced their St. Petersburg expansion via social media, albeit with limited details. Speculation as to the location of the incoming eatery began almost immediately.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Hey Mr. Carter, the gangs getting back together!

By : Anonymous
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GEORGIE’S ALIBI: THE REUNION

Georgie’s Alibi, a staple in the St. Petersburg LGBTQ community for fifteen years, closed its doors for the last time in September 2015. Now, a grassroots reunion has materialized nearly two years later.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the rumors are true and Georgie’s Alibi St. Petersburg will cease operations,” the bar’s Facebook page abruptly announced in 2015, just over a week before its scheduled closure. (Employees found out not long before.) “The real estate and an adjoining parcel have been sold to a developer who plans on building new housing units… Technology and a greater acceptance of alternative lifestyles have impacted the viability of gay venues throughout the country, and The Alibi was not immune to this phenomena.”

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As St. Pete Pride celebrates its 15th Anniversary, we look back on how it all got started

By : Jeremy Williams
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It may surprise a lot of people outside of the Tampa Bay area, but St. Pete Pride is the largest Pride celebration in the state of Florida. They obtained that title in 2006 and continued to grow, welcoming more than 100,000 people in St. Petersburg the last weekend of June in 2012, then nearly a quarter of a million in 2015.

This year, St. Pete Pride continues to grow and expand with Pride splitting the parade from the street festival in the Grand Central District and moving the route to downtown St. Petersburg along Bayshore Drive. More than a dozen events will be happening in the days and weeks leading up to Pride weekend, this year happening June 23-25, and more people than ever before are expected to attend these events all over Pinellas County.

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2017 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Jeremy Fetters

By : Jeremy Williams
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There are staples in every good, gay town – a big parade, caring organizations and a community bar where everybody knows your name. That bar in St. Petersburg is Enigma.

Enigma, voted Favorite Local LGBTQ Bar/Club and Favorite LGBTQ Happy Hour, was opened just before St. Pete Pride in 2014 by Ed Gonzalez who started his own bar after working many years at Georgie’s Alibi.

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Full Exposure: Executive Director Eric Skains talks about transparency, relevancy and the future direction of St. Pete Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg — St. Petersburg’s LGBT community has been overrun by questions, concerns and rumors ever since it was announced that Georgie’s Alibi was closing its doors. For 15 years, Georgie’s was a tent pole for the community, whether it involved charities and fundraisers or celebrations and events.

One such event that utilized Georgie’s Alibi and the surrounding areas was St. Pete Pride. St. Pete Pride is the largest Pride event in the state of Florida and routinely has more than 100,000 supporters line the streets for the parade, concerts and a street festival the last weekend of June.

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10.8.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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“Turn and face the strange,” a certain crazy-eyed pop-cultural god once warned us through the bedazzled bullhorn of a 1970s rainbow of weathered hope. “Ch-ch-changes” were at the root of David Bowie’s 1972 rhythmic cause for alarm and call to arms, a sort of anthemic response to a society teetering on various brinks, with only the scary monsters and super freaks holding on to any notion of prescribed normality. Everything – from war crises to social shifts to women’s rights to gay rights – was caught in the shuffle, and, these days, we’re better for it, right? Plate tectonics, changing fads, political upheaval and shifts in the weather have all resulted in who we are right now. And, in many ways, we are better for it. In some, we are far worse.

This week’s Watermark explores the changes we’re going through, both nuanced and on the real-estate surface, against the backdrop of Orlando’s Come Out With Pride celebration, of which we are always proud to be a part. While many, including those of us making journalistic noise at this publication, are urging caution in just how the LGBT community evolves from dissimilation to assimilation, how we negotiate our path into the grand old world of marriage and acceptance and infinite joy, we’re also aware of the shoulders upon which we’ve stood to get us here, even to get us in the conversation. You’ve heard this lecture before: Don’t forget from where you’ve come and never forget the history upon which you stand. You get it.

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The messy closing of Georgie’s Alibi in St. Pete signals potential hard times for the LGBT community

By : Aaron Alper and Jeremy Williams
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The $2 Long Island iced teas in Mason Jars. The disco floor jam-packed with all walks of LGBTQ life. The friendly bartenders who seemed to genuinely love their jobs. The delicious food. The meeting place before St. Petersburg Pride. The feeling of being both safe and accepted. These were the things that made Georgie’s Alibi the place that it was. It wasn’t just a bar. It was an institution, a queer-Cheers; a place where everybody knew your name … for better or worse.

Then came the Facebook message announcing the bar’s closure.

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Breaking: Georgie’s Alibi will close on Sept. 19

By : Billy Manes
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After an extensive period of speculation and rumor-milling, we’re hearing that famed St. Pete watering hole Georgie’s Alibi will be no more as of Sept. 19.

Our reporter, Aaron Alper, just returned from a phone call with the real estate developer, and it seems that the news is grim. The area’s most notable gay bar will be closing its doors next week so that the plat can be redeveloped into “affordable housing.”

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TransAction Florida brings attention to the ‘T’ with a successful white party

By : Aaron Alper
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TransAction Florida brought their A-game for this year’s White Party at Georgie’s Alibi. Hosted by Kori Stevens, the event brought both awareness and much needed funds in support for the trans community who, as we know, are fighting as hard as they can for the basic civil rights afforded to other citizens.

“TransAction would like to thank Georgie’s Alibi management, staff and performers for choosing TransAction for this year’s recipient of donations,” says Gina Leigh Duncan, the trans inclusion director for Equality Florida. “Funds raised will go to fund TransAction’s efforts in working for safe schools, conducting media and law enforcement training, pushing for fully inclusive Human Rights Ordinances and transgender health and wellness issues. These initiatives will support LGBT Floridians across the state.”

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Pageant season is among us!

By : Anonymous
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Bangkx takes ASAP crown
Performer Ashley Bangkx was crowned Miss ASAP 2015 at Blur Nightclub in Dunedin, becoming the 10th impersonator to claim the title in as many years. The pageant featured three local performers from Tampa Bay and four former title holders were either at the judges table or performing special numbers throughout the night. Outgoing Miss ASAP 2014 Monica Moore served as emcee for the evening and pointed out that everything she wore was red—in honor of the AIDS Ribbon. One outfit—a sparkling red pants suit, could be made into the iconic ribbon, she explained, after standing with her legs slightly apart and her hands clasped above her head. Bangkx will begin her reign as Miss ASAP immediately and will be at the organization’s fundraisers, like AIDS Walk Tampa Bay, Dining Out for Life and the Santa Speedo Run.

Atwell shows support on wedding day
Upon first glance, one would have thought that the two women embracing and laughing were getting ready to tie the knot on the morning of Jan. 6 in Sarasota. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be Sarasota Pride chairperson Cindy Barnes and Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell celebrating the historic day. Atwell has been a long-time supporter of LGBT equality and initiatives in Sarasota and a personal friend to Barnes. Atwell has appeared at Sarasota Pride every year it’s been at JD Hamel Park and also makes it a point to appear at other LGBT events and festivals like the Harvey Milk Festival in May. Atwell could be overheard telling Barnes, “I wouldn’t miss this. We’ve worked so hard to achieve this day.” Thank you, Commissioner. We couldn’t have done it without advocates like you.

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Georgie’s Alibi on the market for $595,000

By : Aaron Alper
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St. Petersburg – If you are part of the LGBT community in St. Petersburg, you know Georgie’s Alibi and its history. The long island iced teas. The pride parties. The drag shows. Georgie’s is, without a doubt, a staple of the gay community.

It is also for sale.

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