CITIZEN ALLIANCE LIVES ON THRU THE SUCCESS OF East Passyunk Avenue & the monthly QOTA (Queers on the Avenue)

For the past couple months I have been invited to cover QOTA (Queers on the Avenue), but for one reason or another I haven’t been able to get down there to attend. This changed last night when I had some free time as I wanted to see a lot of friends that I don’t get to see all the time, plus two of my favorite people James McManaman and David White were opening their 2nd art store in the City “Absolute Abstract” at 1616 East Passyunk Avenue. Their other store is in Center City on another happening street 13th Street in Midtown Village.David White, Where Magazine Publisher Laura Burkhart & James McManaman in their new store on East Passyunk Avenue This month’s QOTA featured free wine, beer, and Rain Vodka cocktails + lite fare. Special thanks to our sponsors Independence Business Alliance, Rain Organic Vodka and Loews Philadelphia Hotel, who will raffle off a VIP weekend. (Another recent migrant biz from the Midtown Village is Capogiro’s, which is doing a very brisk business.) IBA President Bill Gehrman (Left) (“The Independence Business Alliance is Greater Philadelphia’s LGBT of commerce.) and Chris Mullins, whose family own McGillins on Drury Lane. This year McGillin’s is gearing up for their 150th Anniversary – WOW!! Check their website for upcoming events celebrating this monumental event, 8/1/2010.
Not 150 years old, but just as important, this guy on East Passyunk states that at 86 yrs old he’s the oldest on the Avenue, has a PURPLE HEART (Thank you sir), and likes that life has returned to the avenue.
Colleen DeCesare, Black & Brew and Michael Clouston, owner of Michael’s Café at 1623 E. Passyunk Avea. It’s simple yet delicious BYOB that I know you will want to try. They are hugging at Michael’s CafeCarol Miguel, Alan Smith, Linda Loque and lying on Carol, John A Cochie, III enjoying the evening at Michael’s Cafe
From an article in last month’s June Philadelphia Magazine:

… Renee Gilinger is the director of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District. Just off the plane from a vacation in Europe, she should be exhausted. But instead she’s standing on a chair, enthusiastically calling out the winning raffle tickets for gift baskets from JimmyStyle and Absolute Abstract, and reveling in the once-again stellar turnout. She’s long been involved in organizing the gay community, but QOTA is her great success. “I always knew there was a true LGBT presence here,” she says. “But until you have a space where everyone says ‘This is accepted,’ there’s an uncertainty. An older gay gentleman who has lived here for years told me he has never felt this comfort level.”

Bill Gehrman at this months QOTA event thanks the crowd for coming, and conducts the raffle which I didn’t win:(
These two may very well be the future Mayor’s of the Avenue – PR Man about Avenue Matthew Vlahos and JimmyStyle, owner and local fashionisto Jimmy Contreras waving to friends as he makes his way through the crowd
Kurt Schoenkopf, Darren Fava, Robert Bain and John Yeagley
Steve Kamison, Mark Moyer and Robert Saxon, MANNA
Spotted on the scene clothier Matthew Izzo

(Again from Phila Mag June 2009)
twist of fate, it just might be that the new gayborhood’s real patriarch, its guiding light, is … Vince Fumo.
The embattled politico’s Citizens’ Alliance — the neighborhood improvement effort that was the centerpiece of the “misspending” that’s landing him in jail — bought up blighted properties along the Avenue beginning in 2000, and started rehabbing them and renting them at cheap rates to viable, renaissance-inducing tenants. Those tenants agreed to abide by certain rules: no ugly security gates, later hours of operation, changing window displays, and other business-smart guidelines that the older mom-and-pop shops pay little attention to.