Sad News for Georgie's Alibi in Wilton Manors, Florida -- Important Updates in My Latest Posts Further Below

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    Jan 24, 2011 8:38 PM GMT
    Lois Kessinger, mother of George Kessinger, Jr, who founded Georgie's Alibi in Wilton Manors, died yesterday, Sunday, January 23, 2011 after a long illness. This is not an official obituary, just my own personal notice as a courtesy to those who know the 3 Alibis, located here, and in St. Petersburg, FL, and Palm Springs, CA, where George now mostly resides.

    Lois was a lovely lady, who served tables at the Wilton Manors Alibi until about 18 months ago, well into her 80s, just because she loved to do it. A happier and more cheerful person you could not meet. She was beloved by all who knew her, and if you went there regularly, you would have seen her out in the patio area. She and I used to have the most wicked fun exchanging good-natured barbs with each other.

    I spoke with her other son Jim today, who's an Alibi manager, as well as with her husband, who stopped in at the Alibi. I understand the funeral will be in the family home in Ohio, a service in Wilton Manors not yet planned at this time. I recommend locals consult the area gay publications for details if something should be announced, and also how to send condolences. I will also post here when I know more myself. If you go to the Alibi and see that the flag out front is at half-staff, this is the reason.

    In case you don't know the Alibi:

    http://georgiesalibi.com/wiltonmanors/wiltonmanors.html
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    Jan 24, 2011 9:10 PM GMT
    Thanks for sharing this! We hit the Alibi numerous times when we were down your way earlier this month.

    We met Lois a number of times over the years. Blessings on this dear lady and her family.
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    Jan 24, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    OtterJoq saidThanks for sharing this! We hit the Alibi numerous times when we were down your way earlier this month.

    We met Lois a number of times over the years. Blessings on this dear lady and her family.

    Yes, her family; and especially son George, who more than any other person is responsible for the rebirth of Wilton Manors. From a run-down dump of bared windows and derelict buildings along Wilton Drive, to a sparkling new community as the Gay Central of South Florida. And I credit the entire Kessinger family for that.

    At the Alibi today I noticed the flag was at half-staff, as we drove up around noon for lunch. Knowing her health was failing, I suspected the reason. Upon my asking, we were told by a server who knows us that "Mother died yesterday." The private nickname for Lois there is Mother, and that's what she was to many people outside her own family.

    A straight mother, with a straight son and a straight daughter, she & her husband were fully supportive of their gay son George and our gay community. If there were more straight people like the Kessingers our gay community wouldn't face half the problems we do today.

    We knew her, we admired her, we know what she did to revitalize Wilton Manors and help our community. A great lady, and her passing touches me very much.
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    Jan 24, 2011 9:48 PM GMT

    Ran into Carol Channing there a while back...she still looks fabulous for being 90 yrs. old!!! Always loved her work!! Funny to see her at a restaurant...she is VERY particular about what she eats. When she was "on tour", she always brought her own food!!
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    Jan 24, 2011 10:21 PM GMT
    Friendsrbetter said
    Ran into Carol Channing there a while back...she still looks fabulous for being 90 yrs. old!!! Always loved her work!! Funny to see her at a restaurant...she is VERY particular about what she eats. When she was "on tour", she always brought her own food!!

    Last year when Sandra Bernhard came here to perform for a charity fundraiser for an organization with which I'm affiliated, less than 2 hours before curtain I got word that she had to have a certain kinda grilled salmon before she'd go on. WTF? Am I a chef? Where the fuck am I gonna get that?

    So I raced over to Rosie's in Wilton Manors and managed to get some of their regular salmon, no time to make it her way, and ran it over to the Parker Playhouse myself. Her handlers passed it into her dressing room, I guess I wasn't deemed worthy. I heard no complaints, but neither did I get any thank-yous. And I paid for it out of my own pocket, was never reimbursed, neither for the food nor my trouble in getting it with my own car.

    I don't like that diva shit. And BTW, she wasn't the draw we thought she'd be, we barely broke even, the house only half full. I did like her show, though, despite many saying they didn't. icon_razz.gif

    That's why a real person like Lois impresses me a helluva lot more than many celebrities. As for Carol Channing, I've always understood she's very gay-friendly, so it wouldn't surprise me that she would go to the Alibi. But they don't have a "celebrity wall" there of famous visitors, so I'll have to ask about her visit, that I didn't know about. Surely someone would have taken pics, maybe Pompano Bill? I could ask him.
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    Jan 24, 2011 11:41 PM GMT
    Thank you for the notice. That is so sad. icon_sad.gif

    There's a 4th Alibi's, too...in St. Petersburg. I used to frequent that one a lot.
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    Jan 25, 2011 2:06 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidThank you for the notice. That is so sad. icon_sad.gif

    There's a 4th Alibi's, too...in St. Petersburg. I used to frequent that one a lot.

    There's not a 4th Alibi, I miswrote, none in Jacksonville (I corrected my OP). And the damn thing is I usually have my morning coffee in one of the Alibi mugs George gave us (about 6 of them) and they have the 3 locations with phone numbers printed right on them. I'm looking at one of them this minute as I sit here.

    Well, thanks for catching that error, not sure why I did that. BTW, George only fully owns the Alibi in Palm Springs now, along with a companion restaurant named Azul. He sold most of his interest in Wilton Manors to the owners of Bill's Filling Station across the street (not a gas station, for those not familiar with this area, but another gay bar), and the St. Petersburg one to someone else.

    I'll try to go over to the Alibi today around noon and ask if they have any details on the arrangements yet. I have George's own local number here but I don't wanna burden them at this time, since I know the info will be relayed to the staff to give out, and brother Jim may come in, too.
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    Jan 25, 2011 9:02 PM GMT
    We used to go there when we would go to Florida in the winter. Haven't been there in ten years but remember the place fondly. She sounds like a real sweetie.
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    Jan 25, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    Friendsrbetter said
    Ran into Carol Channing there a while back...she still looks fabulous for being 90 yrs. old!!! Always loved her work!! Funny to see her at a restaurant...she is VERY particular about what she eats. When she was "on tour", she always brought her own food!!


    ]To Art_Deco: this was in Palm Springs and yes, there were plenty of pics taken.
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    Jan 25, 2011 9:45 PM GMT
    Sorry to hear. I live in Miami but visiting Wilton Manors is worth the drive. There is a feel of community and everyone is more laid back and friendly than South Beach folks. I will keep visiting and supporting businesses like "Alibi's".
  • gary954

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    Jan 25, 2011 10:00 PM GMT
    That is sad, Lois was a great Lady and a big supporter of our community. She will be missed. icon_cry.gif
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    Jan 25, 2011 10:03 PM GMT
    Friendsrbetter said
    Friendsrbetter said
    Ran into Carol Channing there a while back...she still looks fabulous for being 90 yrs. old!!! Always loved her work!! Funny to see her at a restaurant...she is VERY particular about what she eats. When she was "on tour", she always brought her own food!!

    ]To Art_Deco: this was in Palm Springs and yes, there were plenty of pics taken.

    Thanks. We haven't been out there yet, but we keep promising George we will be. I understand the Alibi there is on the second floor above the Azul Tapas Bar (restaurant).

    I spoke with his brother Jim (Jimmy) today, and got all the information on the Ohio funeral home, so my partner & I can send flowers. Like many funeral homes today, they have a web site where an obituary and a guest book is posted online. I phoned them an hour ago, but nothing has been set up yet.

    If the family wishes, I'll provide that link here, for those who knew Lois and want to leave their name and perhaps a remembrance. I did the same thing with my late partner, some 7 years ago. The family didn't know this could be done, but I told Jimmy and he's already alerted them in Ohio, though I'm sure the funeral home would have explained this to them, too.
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    Jan 25, 2011 10:10 PM GMT
    gary954 saidThat is sad, Lois was a great Lady and a big supporter of our community. She will be missed. icon_cry.gif

    Since you evidently knew her, I e-mailed you the link to the funeral home. Nothing yet has been posted, not sure if the family will wish it.
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    Jan 25, 2011 10:36 PM GMT
    Oh I was there a few years ago while in Ft Lauderdale on business. Nice place. Sad to hear that the owners mother died.
  • GQjock

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    Jan 25, 2011 11:25 PM GMT
    Hmm ..... very sad
    I remember when I first moved down to Fort Lauderdale
    and when Georgie's first opened up

    I was 5 icon_rolleyes.gif

    It's a passing of an era icon_neutral.gif
    May she rest in Peace
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    Jan 25, 2011 11:45 PM GMT
    GQjock saidHmm ..... very sad
    I remember when I first moved down to Fort Lauderdale
    and when Georgie's first opened up

    I was 5 icon_rolleyes.gif

    It's a passing of an era icon_neutral.gif
    May she rest in Peace

    The Alibi is about to celebrate their 14th anniversary, and you were 5? Making you barely 19? icon_eek.gif

    In any case, I'm kinda depressed about it. I was talking with one of the staff there today, and he just broke down in tears. You kinda thought she would go on forever.

    I have pics I took of him & her, dressed for an Alibi performance as Sonny & Cher. Only HE was Cher, and LOIS was Sonny, with huge mustache, big hair and furry vest, from their early days singing together. So funny! And in her 80s, still carrying on like that on stage, a straight woman in her son's gay bar.

    That's the way to live your life. And when the time comes, you go down with all flags flying. I hope that's the way I go.
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    Jan 27, 2011 4:41 PM GMT
    Now have some info from Ohio. This is the link to the funeral home with Lois' obituary, and details about the service. Also where the family has asked donations to be made.

    http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=1052507&fh_id=12306&s_id=D24AB9C6-A661-DD51-0ADBC98CA1B17E7C

    The Wilton Manors memorial for her will be hosted by my partner and myself, on Sunday, February 6th, at our place, just confirmed by her son George (Georgie) today from Ohio. The time has not been determined yet.

    All will be welcome, and I will have more details posted here as we set this up. A very modest setting, but a chance for area locals to get together and remember the life of this lovely lady, so much associated with our gay community here.
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    Jan 27, 2011 10:24 PM GMT
    What time will the memorial be held?
    I work on Sunday, but will be off around 6pm.
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    Jan 28, 2011 2:42 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidWhat time will the memorial be held?
    I work on Sunday, but will be off around 6pm.

    We hope to meet with Jim today and talk about the time. A glitch developed last night, when I was at a Founder's Circle reception for the Pride Center, and I was giving people a heads-up about this. The Board President of Broward House said that date could be a problem for him, since he was having a Super Bowl party.

    Super Bowl! Nobody had mentioned the Super Bowl! And I certainly don't follow that, but many people do, and this is not a gay function. Well, we'll speak with Jim, try to get in touch with George Sr and Jr in Ohio, and see if we need to drop back and punt to a different date altogether, since it's only a memorial reception, not a service.

    And the former Mayor of Broward County (his term ended this month) and some other prominent people at the reception last night told me they thought they could make the Feb 6 date, so we have to asses how big a conflict the Bowl would really be. Another factor is that George Jr is returning to Palm Springs shortly, and won't be here in Wilton Manors after the 6th.

    In any case, yesterday (Thu) Pompano Bill sent me the announcement that's planned for next Thursday's Hot Spots weekly gay magazine about Lois, which mentions a local memorial is planned, time TBD. If we can agree quickly we can have the full details included in it by press time, so grab a copy.

    And of course I'll post it here, and e-mail you directly. Other than the unanticipated impact of the Super Bowl, I was becoming concerned we'll have a huge crowd and may have trouble handling it here. Jim said he might be able to donate some catering support from the Alibi kitchen (the family no longer owns that location). I've already been considering overflow parking solutions, possibly engaging a valet service and seeing if a store parking lot a few blocks away will let me use it, even if for a fee.
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Jan 28, 2011 2:45 PM GMT
    Condolances from Orlando here.....
  • CAtoFL

    Posts: 834

    Jan 28, 2011 3:33 PM GMT
    Since y'all are mentioning this night ... here's George with Carol Channing from last month. It's a cell phone pic with bad lighting, but you get the idea. A very fun night for Carol's charity and she's still stunning at 90.

    IMG_2752
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    Jan 29, 2011 4:13 AM GMT
    CAtoFL saidSince y'all are mentioning this night ... here's George with Carol Channing from last month. It's a cell phone pic with bad lighting, but you get the idea. A very fun night for Carol's charity and she's still stunning at 90.

    IMG_2752

    I know the cell phone pic isn't great, but are you sure that's George? Here's a photo of him (center in blue shirt) with his late mother Lois in Wilton Manors, for a novelty drag show known as Turnabout.

    SonnyCher.jpg