Nephew of the Week:
Garry Cohen

Did you ever wonder what the zombies at Howl O’ Scream looked like? We bet that now you know, the next time you will let them bite you! When Garry is not working hard at Hamburger Mary’s, you will find him on stage. He is so naughty, but nice!

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

In the early 1990s we had this most unusual mystic neighbor. He was small-built, nice, quiet, and a very likable guy who was very much into the Tampa Leather community. He was living on disability, and he was HIV-positive so we all invited him to all the dinner parties. He would show up two hours early and bake dinner rolls, then he would be the last person to leave after the dishes were done. What a perfect guest!

He lived in a garage apartment with his many cats and many, many computers. Here is where it starts to get strange…Nobody was ever allowed into his apartment, which had aluminum covering the windows. He would never answer the door when we knocked.

Then one day he was wearing cat flea collars on his ankles and wrists. We offered to give him pest spray and bug bombs. He would politely say “no thank you.” Some of his cats were hiding and he didn’t want to harm them. When he passed away, the landlord (who was a friend too) asked us all to come over to the apartment. Long before we knew what it was called…we found he was a compulsive hoarder. There was so much garbage, piles of magazines, newspapers and all kinds of junk in the apartment, so much that you could not move about.

There were three cats found. In the freezer, wrapped in white plastic bags, were his dead cats. Thanks to the cable reality shows we all know what this is about today. Back then it freaked everybody out.

St. Pete Pride Retro: 2004

In its second year, the area’s gay pride was St. Pete Pride “Carnivale” and the themed event hit the streets on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. The parade date was (and is) set to remember Stonewall, the New York City gay riots that were the start of the gay revolution on June 28, 1969!

The Pride contingents included large and small businesses, clubs and organizations that came from all over Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, including Tampa’s City Side, KiKiKi III and the MCC Tampa floats. The 10 a.m. parade always started with the clearing of the streets by the Dykes on Bikes’ 100+ motorcyclists. The girls from the Tampa Police Department had their Harleys shining!

Georgie’s Alibi started a 6 a.m. outdoor breakfast with bloody Marys and mimosas, and MCC King of Peace St. Pete started the day with a pancake breakfast benefit for all the parade attendees. Hundreds of St. Pete Pride volunteers took to their responsibilities to maintain and keep order with utmost safety first. Suncoast Resort had its float atwitter with drag queens plus getting ready for the humongous concert on Sunday night. Peppers Bar and The Oar House had dish_lasta huge bus called Priscilla, filled with patrons. The Clearwater bar Pro Shop Pub had a trolley with some of its patrons and area gay couples.

Not to be outdone was our MC FILM limo, HRH Princess Priscilla, flanking the parking lot with stilt-walking Mark and rainbow dazzling Judy B. Goode, with Glen White and myself driving and waving rainbow flags.

We took personal pride in being the ambassadors, getting a number of over-the-bridge (Tampa) groups and bars taking on an active role. There were families walking with pride, to the Krewe of Cavaliers joining the Pride ranks on Central Avenue. Even though the St. Pete City Council signed a positive St. Pete Pride proclamation, the St. Pete mayor, Rick Baker, did not!