Portraits

“I love it! I live in the Gayborhood and everything I could ever want is within a five-block radius. This place, Naked Chocolate, theater, music, good food, even a Tiffany’s ... not that I would ever go there, but still. I could live here for the rest of my life and have access to everything I wanted.”

So says Alan Robarge, a new Philadelphian who’s been here a scant six weeks. His enthusiasm about the city is infectious and his ability to meet so many new friends in such a short time is impressive. I met up with Robarge at Absolute Abstract and spoke with him about his life, his work as a psychotherapist and what makes him a proud new Philadelphian.

You wouldn’t think Sam Van would have any trouble getting a date. He’s smart, fit and cute. (Heck, he’s the kind of guy I’d like if I went for that XY-chromosome type.) But after meeting guys online who were apparently turned off once they saw his picture, Van started a dating site for gay Asian men, www.loveGAM.com. PGN caught up with him as he was waiting for a tennis date.

“I don’t know how we’d do the festival without him. He’s the logistics guy. I take care of the entertainment and the parade and he does all the rest,” said Franny Price, the more visible half of the duo responsible for organizing Philadelphia’s Pride Day this Sunday. Price is referring, of course, to Chuck Volz. “He makes sure all the vendors and staff are in the right places and that everything works. Chuck knows Penn’s Landing better then the people who work there. What’s rare and wonderful is that Chuck is the kind of guy who will do all of the work and not take any of the credit. Usually, it’s the other way around. But he is content to let others shine; it’s the work that’s important to him.”

PGN decided to shine a little light on the man who has quietly kept one of Philly’s favorite events going for more than 17 years.

“When I was a kid, I was very tiny and scrawny and a grownup asked me, ‘And what are you going to be when you grow up, Henry?’ and I turned to him and said, ‘I’m going to be a character.’” And Augustus Henry Tawyea grew up to do just that. As owner of Heritage House Interiors in Ocean County, N.J., both Tawyea and his partner, David Zambelli, occupy space as characters. I chatted with Tawyea about being openly gay in a small shore village.

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