HOUSTON'S LGBTQ MAGAZINE
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RANDY RAINBOW HEY GURL, IT’S CHRISTMAS!
A NEW ALAN-TUDE HOUSTON DESIGNER ALAN GONZALEZ MAKES HIS MARK ON PROJECT RUNWAY SEASON 18.
COMEBACK QUEENS THE L-WORD RETURNS TO TV
SPREADING CHEER MONTROSE NONPROFITS GIVE TO HOMELESS LGBTQ YOUTH Pg.55
VOLUME 26 • NUMBER 11
46 COVER STORY 32
A MONTROSE MILESTONE
Instagram-worthy art installation hosts a series of LGBTQ Houston events
Let’s start the new decade off right.
Four Montrose-area LGBTQ service groups have special December plans
Houston designer Alan Gonzalez makes his mark on Project Runway.
THE HOLLYFIELD FOUNDATION
Celebrating 25 years of funding local LGBTQ organizations
Acadian Bakery owner Sandy Bubbert sells her popular treats shop
A POP-UP OF COLOR
BRINGING HOME THE GOLD
Local performers win big at the 2019 Continental pageants
10 THINGS TO LEAVE IN 2019
Health Museum display documents the AIDS crisis in Houston
HOLIDAY CHEER FOR HOMELESS YOUTH
Always In Season is the company behind Houston’s festive displays
Randy Rainbow talks his new holiday album in an exclusive interview
How to handle the not-so-happy holidays.
MAKING THE HOLIDAYS SPARKLE
MAKING THE YULETIDE GAY
Out performer Christopher Tipps gets in shape for Elf—The Musical
A first-of-its-kind holiday film featuring queer women
Evan Garza takes it statewide to co-direct the 2020 Texas Biennial
DANCING TO THE NORTH POLE
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR ROMANCE
The L-Word sequel promises more sex, laughs, drama, and diversity
Joni Ogle and Maggie Howard looked beyond heteronormative customs for their wedding ceremony
QUEERING A NEW GENERATION 4
DALTON DeHART’S 2019 YEAR IN REVIEW
LIVE YOUR DREAMS DON’T CHASE THEM
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DEPARTMENTS NEWS & COMMENT 11 NEWS 22 LEFT OUT
No joy in impeachment? Miss Juanita Jean’s guide to fabulous impeachment parties
26 UNAPOLOGETICALLY TRANS
Trans people will still be fighting for our rights in the new decade
28 MONEY SMART
How to use investment losses to reduce your income-tax bill
30 TIME OUT
OUTSMART ’s readers and recommendations
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 104 QUEER QUOTES
Walter Mercado, Will & Jack (Will & Grace), Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels), and drag queen reporter Pissi Myles
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ON THE COVER A NEW ALAN-TUDE Houston designer Alan Gonzalez makes his mark on Project Runway Season 18. Pg.46
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n early November, 88 percent of the Houston GLBT Political Caucusendorsed candidates won their elections or made it to the December runoffs. One winning candidate, Robert Gallegos, joined the rainbow wave of at least 166 openly LGBTQ candidates elected across the nation last month. Two of Houston’s out runoff candidates—Isabel Longoria and Shelley Kennedy—still have a chance to raise this statistic, but we must vote on (or before) December 14. Early voting for the December 14 runoff elections occurs through December 10. Those who are registered can vote at any of the more than 700 neighborhood polling locations. For your convenience, there is a pro-equality endorsement list provided by The Caucus on page 27 of this issue. As 2020 nears, it’s important to recognize how much the LGBTQ rights movement has grown since the beginning of the decade. This December edition of OutSmart is a reminder
that our community is being embraced in politics, education, and the arts. For example, in a historic first in the South, the University of Houston has launched a think tank to benefit gender and sexual minorities, reports writer Martin Gonzalez. Meanwhile, writer Bill Arning interviews curator Evan Garza, who will co-direct the 2020 Texas Biennial. Coming back to Showtime this month after 10 years is The L-Word. Writer Lawrence Ferber catches up with the stars of the series who promise more sex, laughs, and drama. Also on television this December is Project Runway Season 18. Writer Ryan Leach interviews our cover star Alan Gonzalez, a gay Houstonian who will join Runway’s lineup of 16 designer hopefuls. Elsewhere in the issue, writer Brandon Wolf chats with Sandy Bubbert, owner of the Acadian Bakery, as her gayborhood staple changes hands after 40 years. Wolf also introduces us to four Montrose organizations that
plan to give some holiday cheer to local homeless LGBTQ youth. If you’re not big on family holiday gatherings, psychiatrist Daryl Shorter, a new OSM writer, shares his tips on how to combat the stress that this season may bring. Looking forward, Ryan Leach urges us to start the new year off right with his annual Ten Things to Leave Behind list. Finally, staff photographer Dalton DeHart’s Year-End Review looks back at all of 2019’s queerest Houston happenings. Happy New Year!
OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 9
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (left to right)
Coy Tow, Frances Valdez, Donald Skipwith, Elizabeth McLane (Chair), Travis Torrence, Frances Isbell, John Nechman (Secretary), Janine Brunjes, Mark Wood (Treasurer), Margarita Perez (Vice-Chair) and, Tammi Wallace.
SERVING OUR COMMUNITY FOR 25 YEARS The Hollyfield Foundation fosters and protects individual rights and freedoms by providing direct and indirect funding to qualifying 501(c)3 organizations that work to prevent discrimination, educate and secure equal rights for sexual minorities and assist in health care issues for the community.
New UH Think Tank Benefits Gender and Sexual Minorities The Houston research institute is the first of its kind in the region. By MARTIN GONZALEZ
COURTESY PHOTO/ UH
he Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality (IRWGS) at the University of Houston (UH) aims to facilitate research that highlights overlooked issues within gender- and sexual-minority communities. The director of the institute, Dr. Elizabeth Gregory, says that community involvement and collaboration is one of the key features of IRWGS, which opened in April. “Now that we’re officially titled, the next step is talking to groups in the community that work on different issues around gender and sexuality,” Gregory says. “Our next goal is to document [current issues] and do outreach to the community to spur dialogue around what could be improved within the community, based on what we know from [current] data.” In addition to being the director of IRWGS, Gregory is also an English professor and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program at UH. In collaboration with the WGSS program, the Institute has assembled around 25 faculty affiliates. On November 4, IRWGS held its first public event entitled EnGendering Positive Change. The event provided a baseline of available data on Houston and marked the first official gathering between IRWGS and its potential collaborators. Heidi Hartmann, founder of Washington D.C.’s Institute for Women’s Policy Research, initiated in 1987, was the guest speaker for the event. “We wanted to gain [Hartmann’s] insight, since we are starting a similar project with our institution,” Dr. Gregory says. The collaboration between institutions is just one of many types of partnerships that IRWGS hopes to pursue in its mission to extend conversations about gender- and sexualminority issues. Antonio D. Tillis, dean of the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), says the Institute could have collaborations that extend beyond the local level. “In concert with community-based support, the Institute
has the potential to be not only a local and state repository and generator of knowledge and policy on the varied issues affecting its mission, but also a space to welcome national and international researchers on related topics,” Tillis says. In addition to working with local, national, and international nonprofit and community organizations, IRWGS is developing a consortium to promote effective work-life policy. The consortium will invite businesses interested in optimizing their work-life policies to become more inclusive, particularly for women and women of color at the upper levels of management. The consortium is one of several initiatives that the Institute has in development to address community concerns about gender and sexual inequality. The first report from IRWGS—a baseline data report that explores what’s out there and what’s known from the 2010 United States Census—will be released in the near future. The Institute is also working on projects surrounding domestic violence, maternal mortality, employment inequality, immigration, and other gendered issues within
Dr. Elizabeth Gregory hopes to initiate better community conversations about gender and sexual inequality.
the Houston community. Dr. Gregory says that while these issues are hard to track, given their precarious nature, initiating conversations with community members is critical to developing policy change. “Talking about what we don’t know and why we don’t know it is an important part of the conversation,” Gregory says. “[For example], what is the economy of Houston— how much of it is dependent on unpaid labor in different ways, and why don’t people want to talk about it? Why are wages so low among Hispanic women in Houston, relative to the rest of the country? If you actually wanted to document these things, you’d have to start having different conversations from the ones you’ve had previously.” Opening a dialogue around gender- and sexual-minority issues is not without its barriers, as Gregory notes there are difficulties in gathering data involving sensitive topics in vulnerable communities. By collaborating with local Houston groups in meaningful and considerate ways, the Institute hopes to ultimately benefit the communities NEWS CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 11
IMPORTANT FACTS FOR BIKTARVY®
This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.
MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BIKTARVY
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF BIKTARVY
BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including:
BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: } Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section. } Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY. } Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY. } Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. } Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. } The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%).
} Worsening of Hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you
have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.
ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults. It can either be used in people who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. Do NOT take BIKTARVY if you also take a medicine that contains: } dofetilide } rifampin } any other medicines to treat HIV-1
BEFORE TAKING BIKTARVY Tell your healthcare provider if you: } Have or have had any kidney or liver problems,
These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY.
including hepatitis infection. } Have any other health problems. } Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY. } Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY.
HOW TO TAKE BIKTARVY
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take:
Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food.
} Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-
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} BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other.
Ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist about medicines that interact with BIKTARVY, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all your other medicines.
Get HIV support by downloading a free app at
BVYC0102_BIKTARVY_A_8-125x10-75_OutSmart_KeepEmpowering_C1_r1v1jl.indd All Pages
GET MORE INFORMATION } This is only a brief summary of important information
about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.
} Go to BIKTARVY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5. } If you need help paying for your medicine,
visit BIKTARVY.com for program information.
BIKTARVY, the BIKTARVY Logo, DAILY CHARGE, the DAILY CHARGE Logo, KEEP EMPOWERING, LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. Version date: December 2018 © 2019 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. BVYC0102 01/19
Because HIV doesn’t change who you are. BIKTARVY® is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in certain adults. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.
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5/3/19 12:48 PM
THINK TANK CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11
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it engages with. “People don’t want to talk if they’re at risk, and you don’t want to document people in ways that put them at risk. That’s irresponsible,” says Dr. Gregory. “The question is, how can we envision [better circumstances] instead of just rejecting the status quo? What about the next phase—how do we get somewhere that isn’t an exploitative economic structure, but functions differently and benefits [these communities]? There are other models, and you can only get to them if you have those conversations.” The Institute plans to utilize its research for policy innovation that benefits gender and sexual minorities in the Houston area. Research from IRWGS will be published in both academic and non-academic formats to increase accessibility to the public. These publications will include white papers— reports that inform authoritative bodies on particular issues and provide detailed proposals for these issues. Advocates for the Institute note that the work being done at IRWGS could have benefits beyond Houston. “The new Institute creates a collaborative space for content experts in CLASS and at UH to further work on genderand sexuality-related research to benefit the
city of Houston and all of Texas,” says Tillis. This sentiment is echoed by Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “We are leading the region in exploring issues of intersectionality, and expect that the data developed through this Institute will affect conversations on the national level,” says Short. Upcoming projects within the Institute plan to examine generational gaps regarding sexual identity. Dr. Gregory says there is existing research on the increase in LGBTQidentifying individuals—research that indicates a roughly 6.8% increase between individuals born before 1945 and individuals born after 1980. Gregory hopes that by tracking both existing data and conducting new survey research of its own, IRWGS can become a collaborative force that facilitates a dialogue for Houstonians. “We hope that people will engage,” Gregory says. “This is an institute that is speaking from Houston data to Houston, so we hope to be part of a dialogue that moves things forward.” For more information about IRWGS, visit uh.edu/class/ws/research/
JOIN HGO’S LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY FOR AN EVENING OF NETWORKING AND ART. Purchase your specially priced orchestra ticket for access to the Overture pre-performance reception with complimentary refreshments. Use promo: OVER at checkout.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS By LOURDES ZAVALETA
QUEER THINGS to DO
Resolve to stay involved with the help of our weekly planner. Visit OutSmartMagazine.com
Cher: Here We Go Again Tour
her, the goddess of pop, graces Houston with her presence this month. The longtime LGBTQ ally stops by the Toyota Center with Here We Go Again, a tour featuring performances from her 2018 Abba
tribute album, Dancing Queen. Legendary American band and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Nile Rodgers & Chic join Cher as her opening act. You must get your tickets ASAP since this is her first tour in over five years, and every show has been sold out since her
first performance in early January. If you’re not already sold, each Here We Go Again tour ticket purchased online includes your choice of a physical or digital copy of Cher’s Dancing Queen.
Road to Beijing
Queer Eye’s pro hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness brings his comedy tour Road to Beijing—which will detail his journey to becoming an Olympic figure skater—
16 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
to Houston’s Revention Music Center. Van Ness, who bravely revealed that he is HIV-positive recently, describes his tour as “stand-up comedy meets gymnastics meets a night of glamour.” tinyurl.com/y6xxfn7z
A John Waters Christmas
December 1 is World AIDS Day COMMUNITY
WORLD AIDS DAY OBSERVANCE
Attend a World AIDS Day observance at Legacy Community Health–Montrose. The event features a program with speakers, followed by a walking candlelight vigil. HIV testing hours at Legacy will also be extended. tinyurl.com/qmnc9qw
JOHN WATERS ON FACEBOOK
egendary gay filmmaker John Waters—creator of Hairspray, Female Trouble, and Serial Mom— presents his holiday comedy show A John Waters Christmas–Filthier & Merrier at The Heights Theater. tinyurl.com/trleu7m
ACTOUT AT THE ALLEY
WORLD AIDS DAY LUNCHEON
December 1 The TRUTH Project, Inc. presents Our Narrative, Our Voice at Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston. The World AIDS Day event focuses on the stigma, prevention, and education of HIV/AIDS through spoken word, movement, and song. tinyurl.com/vf9wclu
December 5 Join Lambda NextGen at the Alley Theatre for ActOUT featuring Fully Committed. Meet young LGBTQ Houston professionals at a complimentary reception, which will be followed by the play. tinyurl.com/tscm43k
RED DRESS PARTY Join Space City Sisters, Houston’s own drag-queen nuns, for their first annual Red Dress Party. Wear red and bring cash for drinks, a silent auction, and donations. Proceeds from the event benefit PWA Holiday Charities. tinyurl.com/vr3exwb
GINGERBREAD HOUSE COMPETITION
PRIDE & JOY
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston and Bayou City Women’s Chorus host a holiday concert at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. The annual show will feature seasonal choral music and a traditional poinsettia fundraiser. tinyurl.com/yy4wqd3m
Participate in Montrose Grace Place’s fourth annual Gingerbread House Competition at Kindred, emceed by Duckie Dujour. Teams will compete in a contest that benefits homeless LGBTQ youth. tinyurl.com/s3jy82p SEE PAGE 55
The World AIDS Day Luncheon at The Ballroom at Bayou Place will feature Project Runway star Mondo Guerra headlining the AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) event. Proceeds from the luncheon will help AFH provide healthcare services to Houstonians affected by HIV/AIDS. tinyurl.com/y5gqhux7
December 7, 14, 21, 28
Attend XL Saturdays, an urban LGBTQ dance party that takes place every weekend at Privilege. tinyurl.com/tnd8qlu
VOLUNTEER HOLIDAY BASKET EXTRAVAGANZA
The Montrose Center needs volunteers to help wrap, pack, and distribute hundreds of holiday baskets that will be donated to LGBTQ families experiencing food insecurity. tinyurl.com/s5polvg
December 10 is Human Rights Day SOCIAL
HO HO HO HOLIDAY PARTY
Gay Houston couple Keith Clark and Dexter Williams present a holiday party at Belvedere Uptown Park. tinyurl.com/r4madhp
DRAG IT ON 4
Go to ReBar Houston for Drag It On 4. Hosted by Blackberri, the six-week drag competition brings all forms of drag to one stage for a grand prize of $500. tinyurl.com/s7p33pr
MORE QUEER THINGS TO DO ➝ OutSmartMagazine.com
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
HILARY BRONWYN GAYLE/SHOWTIME
QUEER THINGS to DO
‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Watch Party WINNER BEST BRUNCH
esbians everywhere, rejoice! After a 10-year hiatus, The L-Word is back with a sequel, and Pearl Bar Houston hosts a watch party for the show’s premiere. Generation Q features returning cast members (pictured, l–r) Jennifer Beals, Kate Moenning, and Leisha Hailey, along with several up-andcoming LGBTQ stars. tinyurl.com/qmnc9qw
SEE PAGE 76 MUSIC
SUGAR PLUM FANTASY CONCERT
NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS PARTY
FINALIST BEST MEXICAN
The Houston Pride Band hosts its annual holiday concert at the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston. The LGBTQ ensemble’s performance will feature both traditional and contemporary holiday tunes. tinyurl.com/uxw8286 COMMUNITY
DRAG QUEENS & ART PARTY
This Tony’s Corner Pocket drag show and art raffle raises funds for Cassandra, a Houston drag queen who will soon compete in the Miss Dream States AAG At Large pageant. tinyurl.com/t45er25
There’s no better way to celebrate Friday the 13th than at a spooky shindig—even if it’s time for the winter holidays. Pearl Bar Houston has your frightening fix with a Nightmare Before Christmas party. tinyurl.com/vyqnypb SPORTS
GAY DODGEBALL OPEN PLAY
Join Gay Dodgeball for an open play at QB Sports Soccer Indoor & Futsal. For $5, volleyball players of all skill levels can partake in the sport with other LGBTQ-affirming folks. tinyurl.com/uwwtdwe MORE QUEER THINGS TO DO ➝
18 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
1435 Westheimer Rd Mon-Sun 10am-7pm THRIFT STORES
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
TURN YOUR CAMERA INTO CASH @ HOUSTON CAMERA EXCHANGE
QUEER THINGS to DO
oin OutSmart at Theatre Under The Stars for an Out@TUTS featuring Elf. Mingle with the cast at an after-party hosted by Regina Blake-DuBois. tinyurl.com/vp9kr9t
LIGHTS IN THE HEIGHTS WITH LAMBDA NEXTGEN
MISS MARY CHRISTMAS
Take in twinkling lights and Christmas carols while strolling through the Woodland Heights neighborhood with a group of young LGBTQ professionals. The event is free, and Lambda NextGen will announce a meetup spot prior to the event. tinyurl.com/wdrkb87
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December 15 Events this season couldn’t get any queerer than Hamburger Mary’s Miss Mary Christmas 2019 pageant. Watch drag performers compete for the title over dinner and drinks. tinyurl.com/rb8bqpa
GALVESTON PRIDE PARADE MEETING
BLESSED BE BAR NIGHT
Join the 2020 Galveston Pride Parade committee for a meeting at Rosenburg Library. The committee needs your help getting the inaugural Island parade off the ground. tinyurl.com/rt55ml9
Space City Sisters, Houston’s own dragqueen nuns, host Blessed Be Bar Night at Ripcord. The Sisters will be in the doghouse selling jello shots and giving out blessings. tinyurl.com/vtxfpd5
December 23 is the first day of Hanukkah
CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT WORSHIP
Celebrate Christmas Eve at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. The candlelight worship service features Lloyd Larson’s musical Joy Has Dawned. tinyurl.com/r7qqkjp
December 27 Kick-off Kwanzaa with a service at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. The LGBTQ-affirming congregation will celebrate the African-American holiday with music, dancing, food, and stories. tinyurl.com/u6cblas
December 24 is Christmas Eve
December 30 is the last day of Hanukkah
December 25 is Christmas Day
December 31 is New Year’s Eve
December 26 is the first day of Kwanzaa
January 1 is New Year’s Day and the last day of Kwanzaa
Submit your events at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happiest of Holidays from our Family to yours.
LEFT OUT By SUSAN BANKSTON
No Joy in Impeachment? Miss Juanita Jean’s guide to fabulous impeachment parties.
ou know how people in Washington DeeCee are saying that they take no joy in impeachment, and that it is a solemn event that should be handled with deep reverence? Oh, hell no. Honey, this is Texas. We celebrate in Texas. We razzledazzle in Texas. An impeachment ain’t no damn funeral, but even if it was, I’ve known funerals to last three days and end with at least half a dozen people, in various states of undress, arrested for disorderly conduct, and a couple more trying to explain to the EMTs how the hell they got themselves twisted up in a knot like that. I have even known a few who passed out drunk and ended up as a significant part of the centerpiece at a wedding held the next night at the church, following that Texas tradition of doing the best you can with what you got stuck with. If any event in Texas does not end with wet crêpe-paper stains on bleached blonde hair, glitter in someone’s eye, and somebody’s Frank Sinatra-cool loosened bow tie ending up as a tourniquet (whether one is needed or not),
then I pronounce it a “happening,” not an event. Come on, haven’t we earned this time to celebrate? We have been depressed as all tarnation and have suffered through semidaily nightmares thinking this hapless sumbitch was going to get us all killed just any minute now. All we were depending on to keep us alive was (oh my God, don’t even think about it) Rudy Giuliani. Hell, don’t we deserve a few hours of unbridled, tickle-mybelly joy? I don’t know if you were blessed with a grandpa who grew up out in the country where folks had to learn to entertain themselves, but I did. My Grandpa used to talk about a day filled with good luck and some extra lovin’ as being a “dancin’ nekkid on the back porch” kind of day. That’s an image that has planted itself
22 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
in my head for many years. I’ve had damn few of those days, but I think the Trump impeachment will fill a gap on many people’s dance cards. So, I’m planning a party. I need a Welcome sign for the front door. I think it will read “At Last, At Last, We Are Free from that Ass,” but I’m also considering “Treason Is the Reason for the Season.” Music? Picking impeachment-party music is hard. How about “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye,” or “Cry Me a River”? And there’s a few I haven’t written yet: “Build Your Own Damn Wall,” “Why Did You Screw America?” “You Don’t Care about Crap,” and my sure-fire hit-to-be, “Are You F’ing Serious?” For food, there will be borscht, beets, and Putin’s table scraps,
but this time they won’t be prechewed by Donald Trump. After the impeachment, we will never have to eat that crap again. Now comes the party drinks. My go-to recipe is the Im-peachmint. You get a medium peach, a couple sprigs of mint, and put them in the blender. You blend the fool outta them while you drink a bottle of the liquor of your choice. If you’re gonna go fancy-pants, fix a White Russian, dammit. I’m thinking about serving Omarosa Mimosas, but only because I like saying it so much. Party games: Pin the Spine on John Cornyn, and Bobbing for Cheetos. Finally, I’ll be serving German schnitzel as a Thank-You to Angela Merkel for leading the Free World as the United States fought with Europe like a drunken married couple outside an Applebee’s. Until I see you next month, I wish you a warm and wonderful holiday season. Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at juanitajean.com.
Important Facts About DOVATO
This is only a brief summary of important information about DOVATO and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and treatment. What is the Most Important Information I Should Know about DOVATO? If you have both human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, DOVATO can cause serious side effects, including: • Resistant HBV infection. Your healthcare provider will test you for HBV infection before you start treatment with DOVATO. If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B, the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with DOVATO and become harder to treat (resistant). It is not known if DOVATO is safe and effective in people who have HIV-1 and HBV infection. • Worsening of HBV infection. If you have HIV-1 and HBV infection, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking DOVATO. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. Worsening liver disease can be serious and may lead to death. ° Do not run out of DOVATO. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your DOVATO is all gone. ° Do not stop DOVATO without first talking to your healthcare provider. If you stop taking DOVATO, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your liver. What is DOVATO? DOVATO is a prescription medicine that is used without other antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV-1 infection in adults: who have not received antiretroviral medicines in the past, and without known resistance to the medicines dolutegravir or lamivudine. HIV-1 is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It is not known if DOVATO is safe and effective in children. Who should not take DOVATO? Do Not Take DOVATO if You: • have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine that contains dolutegravir or lamivudine. • take dofetilide. What should I tell my healthcare provider before using DOVATO? Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you: • have or have had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C infection. • have kidney problems. • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. One of the medicines in DOVATO (dolutegravir) may harm your unborn baby. ° You should not take DOVATO if you are planning to become pregnant or during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a different medicine if you are planning to become pregnant or become pregnant during treatment with DOVATO. ° If you can become pregnant, your healthcare provider will perform a pregnancy test before you start treatment with DOVATO. ° If you can become pregnant, you should consistently use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with DOVATO. ° Tell your healthcare provider right away if you are planning to become pregnant, you become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant during treatment with DOVATO. ©2019 ViiV Healthcare or licensor. DLLADVT190008 June 2019 Produced in USA.
Learn more about Kalvin and DOVATO at DOVATO.com
Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you: (cont’d) • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take DOVATO. ° You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. ° One of the medicines in DOVATO (lamivudine) passes into your breastmilk. ° Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines interact with DOVATO. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. • You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of medicines that interact with DOVATO. • Do not start taking a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take DOVATO with other medicines. What are Possible Side Effects of DOVATO? DOVATO can cause serious side effects, including: • Those in the “What is the Most Important Information I Should Know about DOVATO?” section. • Allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop a rash with DOVATO. Stop taking DOVATO and get medical help right away if you develop a rash with any of the following signs or symptoms: fever; generally ill feeling; tiredness; muscle or joint aches; blisters or sores in mouth; blisters or peeling of the skin; redness or swelling of the eyes; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; problems breathing. • Liver problems. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus may have an increased risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests during treatment with DOVATO. Liver problems, including liver failure, have also happened in people without a history of liver disease or other risk factors. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your liver. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs or symptoms of liver problems: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice); dark or “tea-colored” urine; light-colored stools (bowel movements); nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. • Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis: feel very weak or tired; unusual (not normal) muscle pain; trouble breathing; stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; feel cold, especially in your arms and legs; feel dizzy or lightheaded; and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Lactic acidosis can also lead to severe liver problems, which can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the signs or symptoms of liver problems which are listed above under “Liver problems.” You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female or very overweight (obese).
SO MUCH GOES INTO WHO I AM HIV MEDICINE IS ONE PART OF IT. Reasons to ask your doctor about DOVATO: DOVATO can help you reach and then stay undetectable* with just 2 medicines in 1 pill. That means fewer medicines† in your body while taking DOVATO
You can take it any time of day with or without food (around the same time each day)—giving you flexibility
DOVATO is a once-a-day complete treatment for adults who are new to HIV-1 medicine. Results may vary. *Undetectable means reducing the HIV in your blood to very low levels (less than 50 copies per mL). † As compared with 3-drug regimens. KALVIN‡ Living with HIV
What are Possible Side Effects of DOVATO (cont’d)? • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having new symptoms after you start taking DOVATO. • The most common side effects of DOVATO include: headache; diarrhea; nausea; trouble sleeping; and tiredness. These are not all the possible side effects of DOVATO. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Where Can I Find More Information? • Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. • Go to DOVATO.com or call 1-877-844-8872, where you can also get FDA-approved labeling. Trademark is owned by or licensed to the ViiV Healthcare group of companies.
Compensated by ViiV Healthcare
Could DOVATO be right for you? Ask your doctor today.
UNAPOLOGETICALLY TRANS By MONICA ROBERTS
e 2010s Will Soon Be History But trans people will still be here, fighting for our rights in the new decade.
e are in the last month of the decade of the 2010s. Wow, where did the time go? When this decade started in January 2010, I was living in Louisville, Kentucky, and four months from moving back to Houston. My TransGriot blog had just celebrated its fourth anniversary. The Winter Olympic Games were weeks away from starting in Vancouver, and the New Orleans Saints were also marching toward their first NFL title. President Obama was on the verge of celebrating his second year in the Oval Office, and he had both a Democratic House and Senate to celebrate with him. Meanwhile, the U.S. trans community was hopeful that, with the new Democratic majority, we could put the 2007 ENDA mess behind us and finally get some legislative backup for our still-unsecured civil-rights demands. But after the disastrous November 2010 midterms (in which the Dems lost their House majority and six Senate seats), the 2010 lameduck session’s passage of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act meant that trans folks had to wait once again for their human rights to be codified into law. Despite the setbacks at the federal legislative level, trans people were beginning to get media attention. The Obama administration was going to bat for us, starting with the thenSecretary of State Hillary Clinton’s transfriendly passport policy in 2010 that removed the requirement for trans genital surgery. The Obama DOJ was publicly on our side in many civil-rights fights involving trans plaintiffs. A 2014 Time magazine cover featuring Laverne Cox declared we were at a “transgender tipping point” as our media visibility increased. Then came June 2015 and the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage. In the wake of that case, one of the things the evilgelicals and the conservative movement agreed on was to shift their focus from attacking the lesbian and gay community and instead ramp up their attacks on the trans community, with the goal of erasing trans people from American society. A major test of that new strategy occured
when local Houston conservatives tried out their anti-trans talking points during a campaign to defeat the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in November 2015. Unfortunately, their test worked. The second body blow came with the election of Donald Trump a year later. Because he owed his narrow win to the evilgelicals’ massive support, he had no problem throwing the trans community under the legislative bus. Trump gleefully set out to roll back every Obama-era policy, so all of the pro-trans executive orders and policies enacted during the Obama administration were now under assault as the evilgelicals cheered on their new president. As a result of the HERO defeat in Houston, anti-trans legislative attacks were launched at us from Republican-controlled legislatures across the country, including here in Texas
with the attempted passage of the anti-trans SB 6, the so-called Bathroom Bill. FOX Noise and other conservative media also ramped up their anti-trans attacks, with the trans-exclusionary radical feminists jumping into the fray. Elements of the gay and lesbian community, egged on by conservafools attempting to drive a wedge between the LGB and T communities, also took the opportunity to pile on and call for trans folks to be removed from the same civil-rights movement that they kicked off with the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969. So now, at the end of this decade, we are facing a spike in anti-trans hate crimes and murders as a direct result of this ramped-up anti-trans hatred. But despite all of this, as my trans elder Miss Major would say, “We’re still f--king here.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 40
Y O U C A N TA K E T H I S PA G E W I T H Y O U T O T H E P O L L S !
W W W. T H E C A U C U S . O R G
MONEY SMART By GRACE S. YUNG, CFP
Tax-Loss Harvesting How to use investment losses to reduce your income-tax bill.
f you’re looking for ways to reduce your tax bill, you don’t necessarily have to have a long list of write-offs like business expenses, medical costs, or childcare credits. Today, many investors are using strategies like tax-loss harvesting to reduce the amount they owe to Uncle Sam and keep more money in their pockets. Winning with Investment Losses If you have investments that have lost value, you might want to consider selling some (or all) of them and utilizing tax-loss harvesting to essentially “balance out” other investments that have done well. So, what exactly is tax-loss harvesting, and how could it work for you? This strategy is defined as the selling of securities at a loss in order to offset capitalgains tax liability. Also often referred to as tax-loss selling, this tax-reduction strategy is typically used for limiting the recognition of short-term capital gains—primarily because short-term gains are usually taxed at a higher rate than long-term capital gains. Tax-loss harvesting can work with a variety of different investment types, including mutual funds, stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other securities. For the 2019 tax year, short-term capital gains rates (for investments that are held for a year or less), correspond with income-tax rates—up to 37%, depending on the amount of income you earn. But long-term capital gains tax rates (which correspond to assets that are held for over one year), are generally lower, with only three brackets—0%, 15%, or 20%—depending on your annual income and filing status (such as single individual or married filing jointly). This means that the tax rates on long-term gains can be significantly lower than those of short-term gains—in the neighborhood of 20%. With that in mind, the way you opt to take your gains and losses can make a difference in what you can keep and what you have to hand over to the tax man on or before April 15. As an example, if you have a long-term capital gain of $20,000 (in 2019) and you are taxed at 15%, you’ll owe $3,000 in long-term capitalgains tax. But if you also sell an investment 28 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
that has a $15,000 loss, your net gain drops to just $5,000 (a $20,000 gain minus a $15,000 loss equals a $5,000 taxable gain). When taxed at 15%, you have a long-term capital-gains tax of just $750—a difference of $2,250. Selling Your “Losing” Investments Investors who opt to use tax-loss harvesting will oftentimes implement this strategy near the end of a calendar year, although this does not necessarily have to be the case. In doing so, an investment that has an unrealized loss is sold, which then allows for a credit against realized gains that took place in the portfolio. If the investor wishes to maintain the same asset allocation in the portfolio, they can then simply replace the sold asset with one that is similar. Considerations before Selling While tax-loss harvesting can provide you with a viable method of reducing your capitalgains tax liability, there are some items to consider before moving forward. For instance, even though you may purchase a similar asset to replace the one you sold at a loss, the IRS requires that investors wait at least 30 days before doing so. Otherwise, the transaction could be deemed a “wash sale” by the IRS. A wash sale is a transaction where an investor is seeking to maximize tax benefits by selling an underperforming security at the
end of the calendar year so that a loss can be claimed on that year’s tax return. In addition, tax-loss harvesting is a strategy that only applies to taxable investment accounts. Therefore, it is not meant to be used in tax-advantaged investment accounts like an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or an employer-sponsored 401(k). Reducing Your Tax Liability Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy that can be well worth it, particularly if it helps to increase your long-term average annual investment returns while at the same time reducing your tax liability. While the concept of tax-loss harvesting is relatively simple, it is important that you first discuss your options with a financial advisor and a tax professional. That way, you can determine if this is a strategy that could realistically work for you. If so, you can then work together with the advisors in deciding which investment(s) make the most sense to sell. Grace S. Yung, CFP , is a certified financial planner practitioner with experience in helping domestic partners plan their finances since 1994. She is a principal at Midtown Financial Group LLC in Houston and was recognized as a “Five-Star Wealth Manager” in the September 2017 issue of Texas Monthly. Yung can be reached at email@example.com.
TimeOut in Thailand
Srini and Oscar took OutSmart to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for the annual Festival of Lights while celebrating their 20th anniversary.
Show Us Your OutSmart GOING OUT OF TOWN? Take OutSmart along. Snap a high-res pic of yourself with the magazine and send it to us. Send to: Letters@OutSmartMagazine.com. Tag us on Facebook, or on Instagram #OutSmartTimeOut
FOR YOUR CALENDAR CAGE FREE DAY CARE, BOARDING & GROOMING
Check out these fabulous events co-sponsored by O ut S mart and our marketing partners. Dec. 5: ActOut at the Alley pre-show LGBTQ mixer before the performance of Fully Committed. INFO: AlleyTheatre.org Dec. 6: AIDS Foundation Houston’s World AIDS Day Luncheon at The Ballroom at Bayou Place, featuring Project Runway star Mondo Guerra. INFO: AFH.org Dec. 7: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston and Bayou City Women’s Chorus host Pride & Joy, a holiday concert at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. INFO: bcpahouston.org
Dec. 19: Out@TUTS Night presents Elf—The Musical. After the curtain goes down, the party continues. Mingle with members of the cast and crew and sing a few show tunes. INFO tuts.com/out
Save the Date Jan. 25-Feb 9: Galveston Restaurant Week 2020 benefiting Access Care of Coastal Texas. INFO: GalvestonRestaurantWeek.com Jan. 30: ActOut at the Alley pre-show LGBTQ mixer before the performance of Quixote Nuevo. INFO: AlleyTheatre.org
Be social! Connect with us! theruff-house.com 30 NOVEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 31
A Montrose Milestone Acadian Bakery owner Sandy Bubbert sells her popular treats shop. By BRANDON WOLF Photo by JUDY WOOD
32 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
fter 40 years in business, Acadian Bakery owner Sandy Bubbert is in the process of selling her beloved bakery and sandwich shop. The closing is expected to occur early in December, and Bubbert will then stay on for 15 days to help transition the business to its new owner, a young baker who has been running a baking business out of her home. “It’s been a long, good ride,” says Bubbert. “But I’m 75 and I’ve been at this for 40 years. It’s time for this cowgirl to ride off.” She looks forward to spending more time pursuing her personal passion for writing. Bubbert’s retail store on West Alabama features soups, salads, and sandwiches along with a wide variety of cakes, cookies, tarts, and other desserts. She also services commercial
customers. The sale will include all the physical assets of the business, her recipes, and a commercial customer base.
Sports, Music, and Cooking
Although Bubbert recently celebrated her 75th birthday, she is glad that she doesn’t feel any older. “It’s just a number,” she says. Bubbert was born and raised in Fort Worth. Her father was a Marine, and the family moved around a lot. At one point, her father was stationed in Guantánamo, Cuba, and the family had to evacuate during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. An athletic youngster and teenager, Bubbert ran track and played on the basketball team in high school. “I also liked softball and powder-puff football. We were supposed to pull little pink rags out of each other’s back
pockets, but we preferred to tackle. I always played quarterback,” she says. Music was an important part of Bubbert’s life. Her mother was a former touring singer and had a Saturday TV show at the local station. “I remember watching her on the little tiny screen of our early television set. My sisters Sharon and Jan and I also formed a girl group called The Hayes Sisters and we took to the road on and off, singing current rock and folk music.” Bubbert went to college in New Mexico, studying liberal arts. She then moved to New York to live with one of her sisters who had become an Eastern Airlines stewardess. After signing up for the military to serve her country, Bubbert moved to Houston because another sister lived here and it seemed like a city that was full of opportunities. From an early age, Bubbert loved to cook. “My mother was a good cook, but my grandmother was a great cook. Those sugar cookies in the front display case are from her recipe— lots of cinnamon and butter!” Bubbert went to work for a Houston caterer before taking a position at Acadian Bakery, which was owned by two gay men. “They had a wonderful bakery, and I helped them diversify by adding lunch meals to their products.”
A Budding Businesswoman
In 1979, Bubbert bought the Acadian Bakery when the two owners decided to move to Louisiana. “They told me they would teach me how to bake cakes,” she remembers. “They told me it was easy. Well, don’t let anyone kid you. It isn’t! You must be very careful—you can have 40 pounds of cake mix, 70 eggs, and 6 pounds of butter in a big bowl, but if you don’t mix it correctly, you’ve just lost 40 pounds’ worth of cakes.” During the 1980s, Bubbert also ran a small restaurant called Sandy’s Teashop in the 1700 block of Bissonnet, serving homemade food with a salad bar. She ran another shop in Pearland called Sweets and Eats. On Thanksgiving
Day 1997, an electrical fire gutted her Acadian Bakery and destroyed the family cookbooks. The bakery was rebuilt and enlarged. Thinking back to earlier days, Bubbert remembers many of Houston’s gay hospitality icons with whom she would often rub shoulders. “We had a lot of talent in our community, but we lost so much of it to AIDS.” While Bubbert has talents that span the spectrum of the culinary field, she is best known for her cakes. The walls of her store are filled with photographs of specialty cakes from over the years, as well as pictures of her famous clients.
“IT’S BEEN A LONG, GOOD RIDE. BUT I’M 75 AND I’VE BEEN AT THIS FOR 40 YEARS. IT’S TIME FOR THIS COWGIRL TO RIDE OFF.” —Sandy Bubbert
Many local oil companies contract with Bubbert to supply them with personalized birthday cakes for their employees. “We were hit hard when Enron closed down—they had 40,000 employees and we supplied all the birthday cakes,” she says. Every business day, Bubbert delivers a fresh new batch of cakes to corporate clients. During the 1988 Texas gubernatorial race, candidate Ann Richards sampled one of Bubbert’s cakes at a fundraiser. When Richards needed a cake for her 1989 inauguration in
FLAVORFUL FAN FAVORITE
Sandy Bubbert bought the Acadian Bakery 40 years ago. Her shop became well known over the years, and is most popular for its king cakes. In 2019, Bubbert baked 5,000 of the French pastries during the Mardi Gras season.
Austin, she turned to Bubbert. “We made a cake for over 500 people, shaped like the State Capitol. We put it into our truck and drove—at a crawl—to Austin. I didn’t want to leave the cake overnight, so I slept in the truck cab all night in a hotel parking garage.” Bubbert thinks back on famous clients like Shirley MacLaine, Reba McEntire, Judith Light, Anne Rice, Elizabeth Taylor, and Barbara Bush. When President George H.W. Bush held the G7 Summit in Houston in 1990, Bubbert was chosen to prepare cakes for a huge dinner in the Astrodome. “We created cakes [that had] significance for each country—for example, German chocolate cake for Germany,” she says. Bubbert is well-known for her king cakes, baked during the Mardi Gras party season. “This year we baked 5,000!” she says. Her cakes come with a variety of fillings—raspberry, crème cheese, lemon curd, chocolate mousse, pralines and cream, raspberry and cream, and strawberry and cream.
A Community Icon
Bubbert has not only run successful businesses for more than 40 years, but has also given freely to help Houston’s LGBTQ community. She was an original board member of the Montrose Counseling Center, which is now the Montrose Center. The late Pat Petty, co-founder of the Miss Camp America pageant, said of Bubbert: “I have known Sandy for about 35 years. She never meets a stranger. When we went on an R.S.V.P. cruise several years ago, she knew every male and female on the ship within three days—and was buying them a cocktail. That good old Southern charm just oozes from her pores. Sandy is a true Southern belle and, I am proud to say, a very good friend.” Bubbert was also involved as a member of The Dianas organization for 15 years, and has served as a vice-president. One year she was awarded a Diana for Best Supported Actor, followed a year later by a Best Actor award. She won’t disclose the infamous trespasses that landed her the two statuettes. OutSmart readers have voted to honor Bubbert with numerous Gayest & Greatest Awards over the years. The bakery has also been honored by the Houston Press, Talk of the Town, and the Zagat Survey. Bubbert was a member of the Executive and Professional Association of Houston (EPAH) for several years. Cindy Cuellar, a past EPAH president, recalls the anniversary cakes that Bubbert made for EPAH. ”I love Sandy. She has always gone that extra mile for EPAH and its members. She makes the best cakes and pastries in the world! She loves what she does, and it shows. She is such an asset to our community.” ➝ OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 33
ACADIAN BAKERY | CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
The Houston Women’s Center is another important organization in Bubbert’s life. “I’ve worked the crisis lines before, and the calls can be heartbreaking,” she says. Each year, Bubbert helps with the Decadent Desserts fundraiser for AssistHers, an organization that helps lesbians cope with life-threatening illnesses. Community activist Deborah Bell speaks to Bubbert’s culinary skills and her compassion: “I personally am a huge fan of the Italian crème cake—and I am not particularly a cake person. I can also attest to Sandy’s kindness and generosity. When my former partner’s grandmother passed away, we needed to find a home for her ancient miniature poodle. Sandy took Snookie in and cared for her during the few more months she lived. I was very touched by that kind of compassion.” Former Houston mayor and longtime Acadian Bakery customer Annise Parker also speaks highly of Bubbert. “She is a good businesswoman, a great supporter of the community, and she makes outstanding cakes. I am a particular fan of Sandy’s Italian crème cake.” When Parker married her partner, Kathy Hubbard, in 2014, Bubbert baked an Italian crème
cake for the wedding reception. Bubbert has also provided cookie and cake donations on an annual basis to the HATCH Prom, Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, Omega House, Kindred Spirits, LOAF (Lesbians Over Age Fifty), and for homeless veterans.
The Power of Love and Faith
With such intense professional and community involvement, it’s somewhat of a wonder that Bubbert has ever found time for a personal life. But she and Emily Jane Japhet were partners for nearly three decades. “I met Emily on August 8, 1978, at Marion & Lynn’s club,” Bubbert recalls with fondness. Japhet suffered a series of strokes, and eventually entered a nursing home before her death. During the 1980s, Bubbert and Japhet had businesses side-by-side on Bissonnet. “She owned Emily Jane’s Flower Shop and I owned Sandy’s Teashop,” she recalls. Late in that decade, Japhet suffered her first stroke. “People told me she would never walk or talk again. But I worked with her for over two years, and she did both, although she never regained much ability to use her left side.”
Thinking back to her childhood, Bubbert says she knew she was a lesbian as early as 4 or 5. “I used to fall in love with my babysitters,” she laughs. “And of course, with my physical education teachers in high school—all lesbians did!” Bubbert says she never had to come out to her family. “In the South, there are some things that people just don’t bother to talk about,” she notes. “You can say things discreetly. For example, people thought of me as ‘athletic’ and ‘a woman who dresses conservatively.’ That was all they needed to know.” Religious faith is central to Bubbert’s life. Although not a cradle Catholic, she attended Holy Rosary Church in Midtown for two decades before gravitating to All Saints Church in the Heights. She eventually became a confirmed member of the Catholic Church. Like all business owners, Bubbert rides the economic waves. But she says she usually isn’t hit as hard as other businesses when there is a downturn. “My grandfather used to tell me that when things get tight, there are still two things that people will always spend money on: whiskey and sweets. I’m glad I decided a long time ago to sell sweets. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”
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Bringing Home the Gold Local performers win big at the 2019 Continental pageants. By DON MAINES
ake that two-for-two at national pageants for Desi M. Andrews, the Houston hoofer who became the first Texan to win Mr. Continental at this year’s Labor Day weekend of competitions in Chicago. The dazzling festivities also paid tribute to Tommie Ross on her 20th anniversary as Miss Continental, and saw a fellow Houstonian, Dessie Love-Blake, place in the Top 12, competing as Miss Texas Continental 2019. “The fans in Chicago were really, really excited because they have never had a Texas boy win,” says Andrews, who lives in Bellaire. “They welcomed me with open arms and can’t wait to see what I will bring to the table.” Andrews is a former Mr. Gay USofA (2016), who captured both national titles without winning outright a state or regional preliminary. At Mr. Continental, he competed as the second alternate at this year’s Mr. Angel City Continental contest in San Antonio, and he referenced his underdog can-do spirit in the Top 5 onstage question-and-answer category. “I said I have so much passion for the Continental system that I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that I couldn’t win [the national crown],” he explains. “I said, ‘I got back up, dusted off my shoulders, and came back even harder.’” Andrews hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he started dancing “as a kid on a super-small dance team.” That led to backup dancing for female impersonators and a trip to Houston six years ago, when he met Manny Vega, aka Manny Marxx, Mr. Gay Texas USofA 2005. “Manny and I connected in a way that I’d never connected before,” says Andrews. “We like doing the same things; we are kind of like the same person. We started dating long36 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
Desi M. Andrews distance, but after three months, I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” so he moved to Houston and married Vega. On the talent scene, Andrews found favor with San Antonio drag star Rita Andrews, who would become his drag mother, as well as other Andrews siblings Sasha, Janet, Roxy, Nikko, and Eric. “We are super-close,” he says. When Andrews won Mr. Gay USofA with a hip-hop routine to multiple songs, the 12-yearold niece who was living with him and Vega danced with Andrews to Fifth Harmony’s “Work from Home,” which features Pearland’s Normani Kordei Hamilton on the pre-chorus. For Mr. Continental, Andrews choreographed a number with Bob Fosse-style moves that he performed with six dancers to Charlie Puth’s “Attention” and a Jonas Brothers med-
ley that included “Sucker for You.” Andrews won both formal-wear and interview categories, and scored consistently high in talent, swimwear and onstage question. “Continental is a lot different from USofA,” he says. “It is super-fast, a lot of very quick categories; you finish one, then rush back to get ready for the next one. In USofA, there is interview, talent, and club-wear. The emphasis at USofA is on talent, and you can take your time, cool off, and relax between categories.” As Mr. Gay USofA, Andrews entertained at 13 preliminary competitions throughout the United States, but he “is shooting for at least 15” preliminaries to Mr. Continental 2020. Love-Blake has already scheduled five preliminary bouts for the title of Miss Texas Continental 2020, beginning with Miss Treasure Island Continental on December 18 at Rumors
Beach Bar in Galveston. The club’s owner, Todd Slaughter, also owns both the Miss Texas Continental pageant and Mr. and Miss Gulf Coast Continental. “When Miss Texas Continental became available, he turned to me,” says Love-Blake, to see if she would help run the pageant, as well as represent the Lone Star State at the contest over Labor Day weekend. “I gave it quite a bit of thought,” she says, including whether she would dare compete in swimsuit against transgender contestants when she is “a boy queen.” In 40 years, only four guys have won the crown, she explains. The rest have been trans people. Love-Blake also weighed whether competing at Miss Continental would hurt her future opportunities at Miss Gay America, where she placed as first runner-up last year. Ultimately, Love-Blake decided to accept the challenge of competing at Miss Continental. “My goal was to at least make the Top 12,” she says, explaining that she competed at Miss Continental with the same production number and the same gown that scored so high at MGA in 2018. For her swimsuit color at Miss Continental, Love-Blake chose yellow because it “was
Dessie Love-Blake something bold; it stood out” (Andrews also chose yellow for his Speedo-type cut in the men’s swimsuit competition). Love-Blake said, “I wore eight pair of tights to cover the padding that I needed, and over that was a sheer pair for the stage lights.” Her success at Miss Continental has
inspired other cisgender entertainers to consider entering a local preliminary to Miss Texas Continental, including one that’s set for Houston on February 12 at Hamburger Mary’s, a second pageant in Houston, and ones in Austin and Dallas. The top two contestants from each contest will advance to the state pageant in Houston on April 19, 2020, assuring it of at least 10 entrants. Andrews is lending his support to the Miss Texas Continental system, as well as singing the praises of Mr. and Miss Continental throughout the land. After winning Mr. Continental, he performed in the “grand march” that opened Miss Continental 2019, an 18-minute production number that featured former Miss winners, including Ross and native Houstonian Kelly Lauren, as they modeled traditional and couture African fashions. Andrews accepted some Halloween engagements in Chicago, where he planned to portray the villain Jafar in a mix of music from Disney’s Aladdin, as well as dance in the costume of “an evil skeleton.” “The Chicago crowd likes it sexy,” he says. “I will show a little skin and move my butt a little.”
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Epidemic Exhibit Health Museum display documents the AIDS crisis in Houston. By BRANDON WOLF
new exhibit at The Health Museum entitled Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World examines the causes of epidemics, how they spread, and what can be done to stop them. Based on a Smithsonian Institution exhibit of the same name, the local exhibit includes a segment on Houston’s response to the AIDS crisis, as well as two other epidemics that affected the Houston area within the last 100 years. Materials from two LGBTQ historical organizations, the Gulf Coast Archive & Museum (GCAM) and The oH Project (AIDS oral histories), help to tell the AIDS story.
A Smithsonian Collaboration
The Health Museum’s mission is “to foster 38 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
wonder and curiosity about health, medical science, and the human body.” Thus, the Outbreak exhibit answers such questions as why infectious diseases emerge where they do, what makes them spread so quickly, and where we should be looking for the next outbreak. Becky Seabrook, the museum’s senior director of guest engagement, explains that the museum is a Smithsonian affiliate, which gives them access to Smithsonian resources. Their Outbreak exhibit has been on display in Washington D.C. since 2018, and Seabrook felt that it was a good fit with the museum’s mission. She notes that the exhibit is also timely, given the recent global rise in infectious diseases. “We want to teach people how to stop epidemics,” she says. The exhibit’s local segment, entitled Close
to Home, begins with the 1920 bubonic plague outbreak in Galveston. Then the polio epidemic from the 1940s through the 1960s is covered, and finally the AIDS epidemic from the 1980s through the present. The Health Museum crew built the entire Close to Home display in a remarkable three-month period of time.
Seabrook discovered a wealth of collected knowledge about the bubonic plague and polio epidemics in local medical libraries. But the same was not true for the Houston’s response to the AIDS epidemic. Fortunately, Seabrook knew of GCAM curator Judy Reeves through her network of local museum professionals. After the two spent an afternoon talking, Reeves was able to pull together materials
from the GCAM collection that Seabrook borrowed for the Close to Home segment. After Seabrook searched the Internet for more materials, she became aware of The oH Project’s oral histories and contacted Tori Williams and Sarah Canby Jackson, the project’s cofounders. Seabrook wanted to feature six audio clips from the project’s oral interviews, and she was able to use the online oH transcripts to identify six important moments that she found “sobering.” The interviewees— medical professionals, AIDS activists, and patients—then granted permission to use their audio segments in the exhibit. The finished Close to Home exhibit is dominated by a huge photo of a demonstrator at a local protest organized by ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) with the Houston skyline in the background. On the walls are three dozen large photos, mostly taken during local displays of the Names Quilt Project.
Memories from the Epidemic “I used to say that I mourned three times with them. I would mourn when they told me, because I knew what the end was. Then I would mourn when they became symptomatic, because that started putting a timeframe on it—it’s going to be a year or two. Sometimes I’d mourn after they died, but most of the time I felt relieved for them because it was an awful way to die.” Grimes taught a class on HIV/AIDS, and one class session was about ethics. “Eventually somebody would say, ‘What’s your solution?’ I said, ‘I’d treat the most promiscuous.” That’s the public-health approach—treat the people who are most likely to transmit the disease. And babies are the last priority, because a baby [won’t infect anyone else].’ Of course, I would be immediately chastised by the entire world for implementing such a thing, but I was just trying to get people to think in a public-health way.” —Richard Grimes, an HIV/AIDS public-health education pioneer “Getting through to the Hispanic male is tough. It’s really tough, for many reasons. Getting through to the young African-American, the gay African-American, is tough. “We need to shake up the landscape in Houston. There are many HIV-infected men who would punch you in the face if you told them they were gay. They’re having sex with another man, but they’re going home to their wives, who they truly love, and who they are truly sexually attracted to. But they’re having sex with men. “So you put up a flyer or have gay men in
There are also items from local fundraising efforts. A display table brings together various memorabilia—red ribbons, teddy bears, Denim Party invitations printed on colored handkerchiefs, a personal letter about AIDS, and an AIDS treatment guide. There is also a shadow box dedicated to legendary Houston fundraiser Lady Victoria Lust. Reeves remembers the day when GCAM began accepting donations of memorabilia. “We were a repository for GLBT history in Houston, yes, but it was more than that. As an organization that could be entrusted to care for the personal effects and memories of those who had died of AIDS-related complications, GCAM helped those who had been left behind to continue living.” For The oH Project clips, a special kiosk was built. Visitors can pick up a headset and push one of six buttons to select the audio clips.
Jackson is pleased with the museum’s oH Project kiosk. “The fact that the Health Museum discovered our oral-history project, accessed transcripts, and decided the content that would be useful for them demonstrates the developing maturity of the project. With almost 70 oral histories completed, it is very exciting that we are not only documenting the response to HIV/ AIDS in Houston, Harris County, and Southeast Texas, but that these histories are being used in creative and new ways to tell the story of a particularly difficult time in our history.” All four women involved agree that the local AIDS segment helps to make it “real and personal” for the exhibit’s Houston guests.
T-shirts handing out condoms in Montrose. It will never touch the guys down on Navigation, or the guys up here on Beechnut, or the macho guys in Pearland. You’re not going to touch those guys. You’ve got to shake up the way you’re doing prevention in Houston.” — Pete Rodriguez, an HIV/AIDS service provider
trying to tell everybody they couldn’t get an apartment, they couldn’t work, you’d get fired. It was very scary.” —Rodney Mills, an African-American hemophiliac and long-term AIDS survivor
“ACT UP did public demonstrations, and police departments around the country began to have to confront how [they would] deal with the disease. [At the time, we didn’t] 100 percent know how it’s transmitted, so they would respond to AIDS demonstrations with the full-body shields and big rubber gloves and, ‘We’re not going to touch anybody.’ The AIDS activists would spit at them, and there was fear on both sides and a sense of urgency on the part of the AIDS activists that they didn’t have anything else to lose because AIDS was a death sentence, and they needed attention [so they] yelled louder and louder and louder.” —Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston and member of Houston’s LGBTQ community “[I received my HIV diagnosis on Valentine’s Day of 1991]. My reaction was bad, of course, but I don’t think it was—I may have said some bad words. I was really in a state of hysteria because I was one of those people that believed the TV reports back then [that said] you had to be white, male, and gay. I’m not white, I’m a male, but I’m not gay.” “I was angry that I had it because I was, like everybody else, scared when you’re watching TV and everybody is dying. Nobody knows how to treat them. Everybody was in panic mode, and they were trying to kick everybody out,
What: Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World When: The exhibit runs through May 31, 2020 Where: The Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Dr. Info: www.thehealthmuseum.org
“I remember going to see my father at the hospital one night. I was only there for maybe 20 or 30 minutes because I just wanted to check up on him. I went and I visited with him, and he was in bed, and he comes up out of the bed and went to the restroom by himself. It didn’t look like there was any kind of pain or anything. He walked around like he was fine, but it was that same night that he passed away.” —Steve Vargas, a long-term survivor and community organizer who lost both parents to the epidemic “I distinctly remember one great big muscular guy who, when I told him, got ready to storm out the door and probably would have done himself in or jumped off a bridge—I don’t know what. But here is 130-pound Fitzgibbons grabbing somebody twice [my] size and walking him back in and sitting him down and saying, “You’re not leaving until I tell you that there is some good news.” Somebody else took him through the therapy—I think maybe one of the infectious-disease doctors. “It was not unusual to have somebody get the news and then disappear. Sometimes we heard that they had committed suicide, and sometimes we didn’t know what had happened.” —Stella Fitzgibbons, an internal medicine doctor
Unapologetically Trans | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26
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Trans people, along with our allies and our Mama and Papa Bears, are fighting back against the attacks coming from all directions. To be frank, our backs are against the wall and we have no other option but to come out swinging to protect ourselves and our trans kids. The latest anti-trans bills that have popped up in Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky are all aimed at trans kids and their parents, and seek to make transitioning before age 18 illegal, criminalize surgery providers, and allow parents of trans kids to be charged with child abuse. We will be fighting tooth-and-nail to kill these anti-trans bills, and once we do that, we will work to remove the Republican politicians that proposed them from office. When the ball drops in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, trans people will still be standing tall and fighting with every fiber of our beings to shape the history of the 2020s in a more positive direction for the trans community, and make sure that we are not erased from history. Monica Roberts, a native Houstonian, is the founding editor of the GLAAD award-winning blog TransGriot. Her ongoing mission is to educate people on the lives of transgender people and fight for everyone’s human rights.
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was an active patron of the arts and a champion of LGBTQ causes. He also had a deep interest in health issues that face the community, especially HIV/AIDS. Wood, a now-retired financial planner who has been on the Hollyfield board from the start, notes that Hollyfield began the foundation with a multimillion-dollar endowment. “We have given away more than we started with. Through careful investing, we’ve earned enough to keep on giving for decades.” Hollyfield was a visionary, Wood says. “He always lived a life dedicated to giving back and building community infrastructure to provide care for those in need.” Wood says the foundation quickly evolved from real-estate investments to securities. “We inherited a strange and wonderful portfolio, in addition to cash. There were nightclubs, a block-long strip of rent houses, a Mediterranean-style palace, and a silver mine! This was very labor-intensive to manage. Eventually it seemed smarter to dump the real estate and carefully invest in income-producing securities.” Board Chair Elizabeth McLane credits Wood with successfully guiding their investments over the past 25 years.
Grassroots Community Involvement Jay Hollyfield
25 Years of Community Support The Hollyfield Foundation has helped fund local infrastructure for the arts, healthcare, and civil rights. By BRANDON WOLF
ne of the Houston LGBTQ community’s most important philanthropic organizations, the Hollyfield Foundation, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. During its first quarter-century, the foundation has given away more than $1.7 million to 100 different organizations. Treasurer Mark Wood describes the foundation’s many beneficiaries. “We’ve helped retirees, youth, the homeless, and the rest of our neighbors cope better with life’s challenges. We have funded hotlines, counseling, 42 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
medical testing for hard-to-reach populations, community music institutions, affordable senior housing, pet support for the hospitalbound, counseling for parents of LGBTQ+ kids, parades, film festivals, college tuition, handicapped access to treatment facilities, and lots more.”
A Legacy of Generosity
The Hollyfield Foundation came into existence in 1994 when gay Houston businessman Jay Hollyfield died from AIDS-related complications. A philanthropist by nature, Hollyfield
“We are here to help tackle the needs of others,” Wood notes. “We give grants annually to nonprofits to support charitable efforts in healthcare, the arts, and civil rights. Our focus is mostly helping Houston groups. Per our charter, we don’t fund political or religious programs. “I think our sweet spot is funding small groups with low overhead and volunteers [who are motivated by] a charismatic leader who identifies a hole in the social fabric and organizes friends to help solve the problem. Often, our gift to them is a stamp of approval that gets them a whole lot more money from the giant endowments. And one organization only needed a refrigerator—it made a huge difference for them.” Hollyfield grants are known for their diversity and timeliness. Among its recent beneficiaries are the LGBT History Research Collection at the University of Houston, Casa Anandrea for homeless transgender women, the Montrose Center’s senior-housing project in the Third Ward, and community photographer Dalton DeHart’s online photo archive. Wood encourages community organizations to apply for grants. “We have tried to make the process as simple as we can. We even have a first step where they can submit a short letter stating what they want money for, and we can tell them whether that falls inside our mission. That way they can [avoid having to do] all the paperwork prep if we’re not a good fit.” Immigration attorney John Nechman has
been on the Hollyfield board for six years, and is the current secretary. He recalls that when he was approached, “It took two seconds for me to join. I knew of the foundation and was impressed by it.” Wendy Harshberger, the foundation’s executive director for the past 20 years, has seen the growth of the organization. “The initial focus was the war against AIDS, which then evolved into human rights.” In 2018, the foundation awarded grants totaling $250,000. Harshberger notes that the foundation is especially sensitive to the smaller organizations in the community. “Grant money is hard for them to get, and they depend on local foundations.”
A Diverse and Dedicated Board
Wood says that the Hollyfield board does two things—the investment and accounting component, and the awarding of grant money. He has high praise for Harshberger and the board: “Our executive director is a wonderful part-time employee who knows all these organizations and helps them apply. Our board members often stay up late at night reading background data to be sure grant recipients
are honest, responsible, and can do what they say they’re going to do. I am proud that our board members have been educated in service through their leadership roles in local charities. All of them are volunteering their time, and work hard to help us do a good job distributing the money to do the most good.” Harshberger considers it an honor to serve such a diverse board of directors. “Originally, the board was all men. Now it is very diverse— lesbian, transgender, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young and old. We try to cover all the bases.” The current board members are Elizabeth McLane, Mags Perez, John Nechman, Mark Wood, Frances Isbell, Frances Valdez, Janine Brunjes, Travis Torrence, Vanessa Edwards Foster, Donald Skipwith, Coy Tow, and Tammi Wallace.
An Appreciative Community
Josephine Tittsworth, executive director of the Texas Transgender Non-Discrimination Summit, praises the foundation for its longtime support. “The funding has made it possible for us to organize, promote, and produce a wonderful conference every year. The efforts
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funded by the Hollyfield Foundation made it possible for over 38 university systems in Texas to have a fully inclusive policy to protect sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.” Kennedy Loftin, chief development officer for the Montrose Center, reflects on the Hollyfield grant award to their senior-housing project: “The Hollyfield Foundation was the very first foundation to support the Law Harrington Senior Living Center, and they provided the first major gift in 2015. Their belief in this project allowed other foundations to commit and give gifts. They were with us from the beginning, when the project was just a dream.” Tori Williams, founder of both the Pet Patrol and The oH Project, expresses her appreciation: “When we started the Pet Patrol in 1986, the goal of the program was to help people living with AIDS to keep their pets for as long as possible. At that time, [an AIDS diagnosis] often meant losing everything—jobs, homes, and friends who were also impacted by the disease. Their pets were frequently their only source of constant companionship, unconditional love, and acceptance. We were able to CONTINUED ON PAGE 103
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A Pop-Up of Color Instagram-worthy art installation hosts a series of LGBTQ Houston events. By CONNOR BEHRENS Photos by ALEX ROSA
ith fashionably dressed drag queens entertaining the crowds, guests at The FOMO Factory had the chance to leave the real world behind them and take a nostalgic journey through their youthful days of childhood. Eight “queens” and two “kings” entertained attendees in more than 15 rooms at the gay-focused Thankfully Proud event on November 21 at The FOMO Factory, an immersive art venue in The Galleria that specializes in art installations focused on childhood memories. The ongoing LGBTQ art series has drawn support from corporate sponsors including Sephora and Lush Cosmetics. Performers on hand at the art show included drag acts Mistress Isabelle, Athena Sapphire, and Ivanna D. Jackson. The themes of the curated rooms include a first birthday party, the first day of school, a school science lab, and a skateboard graffiti room. ➝ CONTINUED ON PAGE 102 OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 45
HAUTE COUTURIER Houston designer Alan Gonzalez makes his mark on Project Runway. By RYAN M. LEACH Photos by ASHKAN ROAYAEE
46 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
ravo’s Project Runway will return for its eighteenth season on December 5. Joining the lineup of 16 designer hopefuls is 25-year-old Alan Gonzalez. Viewers will have to tune in to find out if this gay Houstonian will be all the rage showcasing his own brand of “Alan-tude.” “‘Alan-tude’ started when I was coming up with a username for my social media,” Gonzalez explains. “It’s a lot of Alan and a lot of attitude. Then it became my brand—a lot of ‘Alan-tude.’ It is part of my aesthetic. It’s the ‘Alan’ part of my designs.” Gonzalez has lived in Houston for most of his life. His parents brought their family here from Monterey, Mexico, when he was three years old. What was initially going to be a short stay in America ended up being permanent as Gonzalez’s parents discovered that their talented and energetic son was flourishing in the local schools—and more specifically, in the arts. “My parents did everything they could to ensure that I had a future. My mother always pushed me to do everything I have tried to the best of my ability. They put me in magnet programs, and I soon realized that I had a personality for the stage,” recalls Gonzalez. This encouragement eventually paid off when he was accepted into the prestigious Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) where he majored in musical theater. Although his career is now focused primarily on design, that love of the theater comes through both in his sparkling personality and his custom designs. Perhaps it was a combination of the two that landed him a spot on Project Runway. Houston has always made a good showing on the hit reality series. In 2005, during its second season, Chloe Dao won the competition, and she remains one of the most soughtafter designers in Houston. Her boutique on Kirby Drive in Rice Village is a go-to for local socialites during the party season. Gonzalez is hoping to follow in Dao’s footsteps; only time will tell if he will. Project Runway recently got a makeover of its own when Bravo rebooted the series, bringing it back to its original home after a stint on Lifetime. This revival came with a new host, model Karlie Kloss, and new mentor Christian Siriano—a Project Runway winner in his own right. Siriano has gone on to have one of the most successful fashion careers of all the Runway alums. He has dressed First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Whoopi Goldberg and other
high-profile celebrities. The judges’ panel has one familiar face with Elle magazine’s editor-in-chief, Nina Garcia, who has participated in all 18 seasons. Joining her are journalist Elaine Welteroth and snarky designer Brandon Maxwell. If Gonzalez learned anything about what not to do from watching the previous season, which aired in March of 2019, it is that Maxwell is not impressed by a “reveal.” Gonzalez will be the youngest participant this season, but what he may lack in life experience he makes up for in enthusiasm—and the garment-building fundamentals he learned at Houston Community College (HCC). “Before HCC, I was hot-gluing paper and fabric together for my shows,” Gonzalez admits. Now I can say that I know how to make a garment.” Gonzalez says that his designs are influenced by what he is experiencing personally. “My designs always connect with what I am going through. You can always see that in the
collection. I am always trying to bring out imaginative new things. Like I love to get a lot of fabric in one dress. I will always find a way. I love draping; having things ‘flow’ down the runway. I throw my personality into every design. I want the person wearing my clothes to enter a room and feel looked-at the minute they step in. That’s what ‘Alan-tude’ is.” For a burgeoning designer like Gonzalez, who has hopes of moving to New York City soon to pursue his career in fashion, the stakes couldn’t be higher. The grand prize for the winner of Project Runway is a quarter of a million dollars, a feature in Elle magazine, the chance to be featured in a Blueprint digital series, and a mentorship with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Gonzalez will have to beat out a diverse and international group of 15 designers in order to claim the impressive prize package. He will e up against contestants from Moldova, South Korea, and even a fellow Texan, Austinite Brittany Allen. ➝
Models Alana Gibson (left) and Taylar L. Meyer in original designs by Alan Gonzalez.
OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 47
ALAN-TUDE | CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
“Brittany is the most Texan woman you will meet. She is fantastic. When we met on Project Runway, we were like, ‘Texas: instant bond.’ In fact, I am going to Austin this weekend to visit her. It was nice to have someone else there that understood me like that. When you meet a Texan, they come with a big sense of pride,” says Gonzalez. This season, the contestants will barely have time to get off the airplane before the competition starts. In the premiere episode, the competition begins when the designers are greeted at the iconic TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport, ready to take flight with their first challenge. Their assignment: to create an innovative look inspired by humanity’s continued push into space exploration. In a Runway first, these unfamiliar designers have to pair up and collaborate to make cohesive pieces that blow away the judges—or they are out. Gonzalez could not reveal too much about how he fared in the first episode (or, for that matter, in the remainder of the series), but needless to say, Houston will be rooting for him. Since he hails from the Space City, he may have a definitive edge with the space-travel fashion challenge from the start. Models Taylar L. Meyer (left) and Alana Gibson seen in original pieces designed by Alan Gonzalez. The silver dress on Gibson was made in grey knit with shining silver threads woven in, and the black and white floral print dress on Meyer was created in a pointillism style.
48 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
You can connect with Gonzalez when Project Runway premieres on Bravo, or check him out on his social media at alantude.com.
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10 Things to Leave in 2019 Let’s start the new decade off right. By RYAN M. LEACH
A pattern has emerged in the five years that I have been compiling this list: some things keep popping up year after year, much to our collective chagrin—city-wide flooding, mass shootings, or some terrible politician being shitty to the LGBTQ community. So you might wonder why those issues are missing from this year’s list. The reason I have retired them is because they have apparently become a normal part of American life. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we now have more space to include other terrible things that need to stay in 2019. Here we go, for the fifth year in a row:
Trump was never on my previous lists because I like to focus on things that we actually have a chance of getting rid of. Since his Electoral College win in 2016, Trump has been an unfortunate part of daily life for LGBTQ Americans. Whether it is his transphobic policies, anti-immigrant fear-mongering, or the myriad unqualified judges whose decisions will shape our lives for decades, Trump is the bane of several marginalized communities in this country. But 2020 holds the potential for good news. We have two opportunities to rid ourselves of this orange menace: the House’s imminent impeachment vote, or the 2020 election. If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “Hey, now! Trump isn’t so bad!” then you may be a member of the next group on our list.
Log Cabin Republicans
They are the “Patty Hearsts” of the LGBTQ community. In 2019, the Log Cabin Republicans remained as selfloathing and self-harming as ever. Last summer, they gave an enthusiastic early endorsement to the reelection of Donald Trump. This move came on the heels of Trump’s ban on transgender troops serving in the military—a position the group opposed. When the endorsement ran in the Washington Post, it surprised even a few Log Cabin board members and set off a wave of
resignations, including their executive director. As the group tries to repair its perplexing brand in 2020, we hope some of that time is spent treating their Stockholm Syndrome affliction.
ington Nationals, whose team logo is a W that bears a striking resemblance to the iconic cursive W in the Walgreens logo. Astros fans started referring to the Nationals simply as “Walgreens,” and local Walgreens pharmacies began blacking out the W on their local signage in honor of the hometown team. The Astros went on to shut out Walgreens on their own turf in D.C. before getting a taste of their own medicine when Walgreens beat Houston and took the series in game 7 at home.
The Astros had an amazing season that seemed destined for another World Series victory. Along the way they had to beat a few teams during the American League Championship Series, including the New York Yankees. While playing in Yankee Stadium, many of the Yankees fans threw garbage onto the field and berated the Astros team to the point that General Manager AJ Hinch issued a public statement saying that he would pull Houston from the field if the bad behavior continued. Turns out, when you throw something from the upper deck it can cause serious injury to players on the field below. Perhaps the Yankees are as unfamiliar with basic physics as they are with basic manners. The Astros taught the Yankees a quick lesson in how to lose gracefully when they beat them in the series 4 to 2.
“Quid pro quo” is the 2019 version of 2017’s big hit “No Collusion.” Not since Hannibal Lecter said it to Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs has this Latin term been bandied around so much. Translated, it means a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something. This is in reference to Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for information on his political rival, Joe Biden. This is a crime and an impeachable offense, and Trump did it (allegedly). It is now up to Congress to determine if quid pro quo is grounds for removing him from office. Since putting kids in cages wasn’t terrible enough, maybe a little quid pro quo will be just the ticket.
No, I don’t mean the pharmacy on Montrose Boulevard. After moving on to the World Series, the Astros faced off against the Wash-
is the term “OK, Boomer,” a clapback for the Boomers in your life who start complaining about “that awful AOC” or say something cute like, “Fox News said the president did nothing illegal.” This dismissive turn of phrase has even hit the international political scene, as when the 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chlöe Swarbrick shot it back at a Boomer colleague who heckled her while she gave a speech about climate change. Of course, “OK, Boomer” isn’t as effective as actually voting, but it does piss off the old-timers and could come in useful at those upcoming holiday family dinners.
Quid Pro Quo
OK B O OM E R !
Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. These old-timers now hold almost all of the levers of power in the U.S.—and a significant amount of disdain for Millennials and Generation Z. The feeling is mutual. Whereas Boomers have been more focused on hoarding wealth and figuring out “how that darn Facebook works,” the younger generations are realizing that the planet is on fire, the middle class is under attack, and the promise of a prosperous future only applies to a precious few. The most recent weapon in this culture-wars battle
This was, without a doubt, the year of Lizzo. The one-time Houstonian finally had the breakout fame that longtime fans (like me) had been waiting for. In 2019, Lizzo released her first major studio album with respectable hits like “Juice.” However, it was the re-emergence of the 2017 release “Truth Hurts” that rocketed her into super-stardom, extending her Cuz I Love You tour twice and proving that Lizzo is indeed “100% That Bitch.” Houston loves nothing more than celebrating and elevating its parade of divas. There’s always room for more. We just took a DNA test, and it turns out we are 100% Lizzbian. ➝ OutSmartMagazine.com
10 THINGS TO LEAVE | CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
When Buzbee started running campaign ads for his mayoral bid in December of 2018, I thought to myself, “What kind of Trump-lovin’ fresh hell is this?” It was as if Trump were a Gremlin that someone threw water on and then fed after midnight. Buzbee is the millionaire Rick Perry defense lawyer who is famous for bad taste in women—and parking a tank in front of his River Oaks home. He will say anything to become mayor. If you talk to him about supporting LGBTQ rights, he will say he supports them until someone else talks to him about removing LGBTQ protections, at which point he also supports that. This man is so slippery that even the pernicious Steven Hotze and the Pastors Council can’t keep track of him. Turner faces this doofus in a runoff election in December. Those results will decide whether Buzbee remains in 2019 or ruins Houston in 2020.
I am not one to enjoy the misfortunes of others, but watching the Republicans eat one of their own has been a real treat. For once, the target moved off the backs of LGBTQ people, people of color, and women. Empower Texans, a misleadingly named group of rich conservative oil types, secretly recorded Bonnen offering media credentials in exchange for some of his Republican colleagues’ heads. Talk about quid pro quo! Empower Texans released the recording to prove that Dennis Bonnen, a moderate Republican, was not to be trusted. A mutiny ensued, and Bonnen agreed not to seek the speakership for a second term. Will someone better or worse fill the void? Only time will tell, but Democrats have been winning back House seats slowly but surely, and they are hoping that 2020 will push them back into power for the first time in a generation. For Republicans, a Democrat as Speaker is a fate worse than death.
Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen
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“Is America Ready for a Gay President?”
You hear this question every time someone other than a cisgender straight white male runs for president. Substitute “gay” for any other “other” and you have a question that seems innocent but is actually rather undermining. It requires the listener to apply scrutiny to an aspect of a candidate that is otherwise irrelevant. “Woman President,” “Muslim President,” “Jewish President.” The focus on “otherness,” as opposed to actual qualifications, is as distracting as it is disarming, and is an easy way to make a voter second-guess their choice. Here’s the real question we should be asking: “Is America ready for a good president? Because we certainly don’t have one now.”
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Holiday Cheer for LGBTQ Homeless Youth Four Montrose-area service groups have special December plans. By BRANDON WOLF
ife as a homeless or housing-insecure LGBTQ youth can be difficult, and holidays can be especially lonely. But thanks to four service organizations—Tony’s Place, Montrose Grace Place, Bering Open Gate, and Stand Up for Kids-Houston—local youth can have a happier holiday season. Special events will be held on December 21, 22, 23, 24, and 27. There will be special parties, dinners, gifts, holiday films, karaoke, and more. Donations of time, food, presents, and money are being welcomed by the organizations to help them give the youth a memorable 2019 holiday.
Montrose Grace Place’s Gingerbread House Contest 2018
Tony’s Place, named after the late Houston psychotherapist Tony Carroll, will sponsor a holiday dinner in their facility at 1621 McGowen on Saturday, December 21, from noon to 5:00 p.m. Program assistant Alyssa Kelly says that a traditional buffet-style holiday meal with all the trimmings will be served to around 50 youth. The lunch will probably be donated by a local graduate school, as has been done in the past. The youth will help decorate a holiday tree at the beginning of December.
James Valincano (l) program coordinator and Alyssa Kelly, program assistant (r) at Tony’s Place
Tony’s Place, founded in 2015, works with homeless LGBTQ youth ages 18 to 25 and their allies. The average age is around 22. It also provides shower facilities for homeless youth at the Salvation Army dormitory next door. After the meal, each of the youth will be given a special package with several gift items. They can spend the rest of the afternoon playing in a basketball tournament on an outdoor court, or working on art projects indoors. During the afternoon, holiday music will be playing, and a holiday movie such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be shown in the facility. Program coordinator James Valincano says that donations of time, food, clothing, gift items, or money are needed and welcomed from the community. Tony’s Place info: To donate or volunteer, visit tonysplace.org or email Valincano at James.Valicano@tonysplace.org.
Damien Kelly (l), program director, and Denis Kelly (r) at Bering Open Gate
Open Gate Homeless Ministries
The Open Gate Homeless Ministries, located at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1440 Harold Street, will host a holiday dinner for homeless youth ages 18 to 30 on Sunday, December 22, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. This year will mark the 13th holiday dinner provided by the organization. ➝ OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 55
HOLIDAY CHEER | CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
Program director Damien Kelly says that around 30 percent of the youth identify as LGBTQ. Among them are transgender youth who are transitioning and youth who have their own young children. Kelly expects that Open Gate will serve the holiday dinner to about 80 youth. The dinner will be either a traditional holiday menu or a Hispanic dinner of tamales. The meal is served family style with real place settings and holiday decorations to give the youth a feeling of home. A decorated tree will be in place in the church’s fellowship hall. It will take five chefs and a coordinated volunteer effort to make the dinner possible. After the dinner, gifts will be handed out to the youth. This will be followed by a karaoke segment. A team of four volunteers will provide the sound equipment and the karaoke videos. “Last year, there were a lot of Beyoncé songs!” Kelly says. Kelly welcomes volunteers to help with the dinner in many different capacities. Help will be needed for several days leading up to the holiday meal. The organization also appreciates gifts or monetary donations. Gifts that will be given out include backpacks, black crew socks, no-show black socks, fleece twin-size blankets, lightweight blankets, underwear, journals or composition books, cell-phone chargers, snacks, and gift cards for Metro, Kroger, McDonald’s, or Jack in the Box. Toys for toddlers and Pampers are also needed for youth with young children. Dynasty Jolivette, 27 years old, is looking forward to her first holiday at Open Gate. “I expect it will be wonderful. It is so good that people are willing to help trans women, and I really need the help and appreciate it. I’m very thankful.” Kelly says the Open Gate clothing closet needs heavy winter clothes and jackets because forecasts are calling for some cold winter months in 2020. Open Gate info: To donate or volunteer, visit beringopengate.org or email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montrose Grace Place
Housed at Kindred, 2515 Waugh Drive, Montrose Grace Place (MGP) will be hosting holiday celebrations for its tenth year. Founded in 2009, the organization provides a safe space for homeless youth ages 13 to 21. 50 percent of the youth are LGBTQ. MGP program director Courtney Sellers says that on Monday night, December 23, the organization will hold their annual holiday party beginning at 7:00 p.m. Plans have been made for an evening meal for 35 youth, followed by the party. The youth will each receive a special holiday stocking with decorative marking pens that they can use to personalize it. 56 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
Montrose Grace Place Gingerbread House Contest 2018
Courtney Sellers, program director at Montrose Grace Place The stockings are an annual gift from one of the MGP volunteers, who fills them with jars of homemade fig jam, candy, and fast-food gift cards. MGP then adds Metro bus passes and gifts such as earbud sets to each stocking. MGP holds a special community event in early December, when anyone can come to Kindred and write holiday messages and sign holiday cards that will be distributed to the youth at the party. After the dinner, each of the youth will receive a holiday gift from MGP which they can keep or trade with the other attendees. Gifts are wrapped for males, females or gender non-binary youth, and range from bath sets to basketballs and comfort pants. “Aaliyah,” a Grace Place participant who has been homeless, explains how important the holiday events are. “It has given me a place to go for every holiday. I enjoy the holiday party so much because it gives me the holiday cheer and puts me in the holiday spirit each and every time.” “Malik” also looks forward to enjoying the holiday party with his friends. “We surround each other with laughter and talk about what we love most. I really like coming together and enjoying the holidays.” In early December, MGP holds its annual gingerbread-house contest. A team of three people can participate by donating $30 to the organization. A basic gingerbread house and standard decorating tools are supplied to each
team. Teams can bring additional themed decorations, such as last year’s prize-winning Barbie dream house. Twenty-five teams joined in on the competition in 2018. This year, the judging panel will include local drag-queen celebrities. Sellers says that donations in any form are welcomed from anyone who wants to help the youth have a warm and happy holiday. Montrose Grace Place info: To donate or volunteer, visit montrosegraceplace.org or email Sellers at courtney@montroseg raceplace.org.
Stand Up for Kids-Houston
On Tuesday, December 24, Stand Up for KidsHouston will hold a street outreach event from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to find homeless youth in the Montrose area who are without a home or are housing-insecure. Care packages of coldweather clothing and food will be distributed to approximately 30 youth. The organization is now in its 12th year of operation, and works with youth up to age 24. Executive Director Joshua Ramos says that about half of the youth they serve identify as LGBTQ. On Friday, December 27, the organization will hold a holiday party for around 20 youth at their drop-in center at 1827 West Alabama, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A holiday dinner will be served, and gifts will be given to the youth. Ramos says volunteers are needed, as well as donations of food and small gifts or money. Stand Up for Kids info: To donate or volunteer, visit standupforkids.org or email Ramos at email@example.com.
Reaching Out beyond the Holidays
All four organizations work with LGBTQ homeless youth throughout the year, and the directors hold a quarterly “round-up” meeting to keep each other informed about everything that is being done to help homeless youth. The organizations have also agreed to provide their services on different days of the week, so that youth can take advantage of outreach activities throughout the week.
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Making Houston’s Holiday Season Sparkle Always In Season is the company behind almost every local display. By SAM BYRD | Photos by PATRICK BERTOLINO
he many holiday displays that you see around town are a big part of the reason that Houston’s holiday season is so merry and bright. From Highland Village to the River Oaks Shopping Center and everywhere in between, the store lights are twinkling and the sparkles are abundant. It’s almost like Santa sends hundreds of his elves every year to bedazzle the entire city in the blink of an eye. As it turns out, Santa does have some expert help in Houston: Always In Season is the name of the turnkey operation that keeps everything glitzed up during this most wonderful time of the year. Founded by E.J. Farhood and Don Langston, Always In Season is a locally owned 60 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
Owners E.J. Farhood (l) and Don Langston lead a team of 200 full-time and seasonal workers who keep Houston lit up for the holidays. business that’s been in operation for nearly 30 years. They are the masterminds behind most every holiday light display in Houston’s most popular areas. “We blend innovative
technology with imaginative style to provide award-winning designs and expert ongoing maintenance of our seasonal holiday decorations,” says Farhood. The team’s wide-ranging services are available for shopping centers, office buildings, hotels, hospitals, and corporate environments. And just who are Farhood and Langston’s clients? They’ve built an impressive roster that includes General Growth Properties, Memorial Hermann Hospitals, Weingarten Realty Investors, CB Richard Ellis, Highland Village, and both of Houston’s major airports. It’s a tony list of repeat customers that places Always in Season on everyone’s radar during this time of year when their work is most visible. “We have the best jobs ever, because we bring the pretty to town,” they explain. ➝ CONTINUED ON PAGE 70
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Q & A
Colored Christmas Randy Rainbow talks his new holiday album in an exclusive interview. By GREGG SHAPIRO
62 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
ook out, Mariah Carey, Randy Rainbow has released a Christmas album that rivals yours! Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas! (Broadway Records) has everything you want to unwrap in a Randy Rainbow holiday recording. The title track, co-written by Rainbow and Marc Shaiman, combines a seasonally sassy sense of humor with the spirit of the holidays. Rainbow’s take on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” features Kathy Griffin and Alan Cumming playing his shrinks. Norm Lewis joins Rainbow for the more straightforward “Merry Christmas Darling/What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” medley, which is followed by the hilarious “Trump’s Favorite Things,” a parody on the Julie Andrews classic featuring Trump impersonator John Di Domenico. And all of this is before Rainbow is joined by Lorna Luft on “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Randy was kind enough to chat with OUTSMART and answer a few questions in advance of the album’s release.
Gregg Shapiro: Randy, what would you say are the challenges and rewards of writing a new Christmas song like the title track of your new holiday album, Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas? Randy Rainbow: I found limited challenges. It was only rewarding. It was exciting for me because I got to work with Marc Shaiman, who is a great idol of mine. We sat in the room where he wrote Hairspray and Smash and Mary Poppins Returns, among other amazing things. It was really exciting. If there was a challenge, it was that I originally set out to write the gayest Christmas song we possibly could, as I told Marc. But then I realized as I was writing the lyrics that I wanted to add some substance and some kind of angle to it. I ended up gearing it more towards my specific audience, which is, like so many people, consumed with news and social media. It became my musical prescription to dial it back for the holidays and [just enjoy it] a little bit.
Being a Jewish songwriter yourself, why do you think so many of the best and most enduring Christmas songs, such as “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “Silver Bells,” “Winter Wonderland,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” were written by Jewish composers?
Because we know we’re going to get paid at the end! [Laughs] It’s an interesting thing. As a Jewish writer person, I don’t know if I can be objective about that. For some reason it’s in our DNA that we write good Christmas music. Maybe it’s because there’s no pressure. We’re
It was very important to me, but more important to my mother, who relishes the compliments that people like my singing. To have the opportunity to showcase a little more of the non-comedic part of that was very nice. Kind of my Hanukkah gift to her.
I had the pleasure of catching your live show at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale last December. My mother was there!
Listen to Randy Rainbow’s Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas! on all streaming platforms now, or purchase it online.
kind of removed from it enough to just have a good time and write something that’s creatively satisfying. We’re not thinking about all of the other mishegas.
The Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas! album has a marvelous lineup of guest artists including Lorna Luft, Kathy Griffin, Alan Cumming, Norm Lewis, and Trump impersonator John Di Domenico. What does it mean to you to have that kind of artistic support?
It’s amazing! One of the most thrilling parts of getting some notoriety is getting to connect with so many of my heroes. This was my first opportunity to present that in a concrete sort of way, in that I got to collaborate with them. The fact that they all said yes as soon as I asked them was mind-boggling to me. These are people who have been heroes of mine for many years, so to be associated with them on any level is a thrill.
Di Domenico can be heard on your brilliant parody song “Trump’s Favorite Things.” Have you heard from the Trump clan regarding any of your parodies of them?
The actual Trump clan? I’ve not heard from anybody. I’ve not even been blocked yet on Twitter, although I try every day. I have heard from some whistleblowers that I do have fans within the administration. I’m assuming it’s Melania, although I have no concrete evidence.
You also perform more straightforward renditions of “Merry Christmas, Darling/What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” “Make Someone Happy,” and “The Christmas Movie Medley.” How important was it for you to show that side
You have a series of concert dates through January. What are the challenges and rewards of creating a live Randy Rainbow experience onstage? It was kind of a challenge, at the beginning, to figure out how we would translate this video experience that people were liking to the live stage. It was kind of easy for me because I started out on the stage. As a kid, when I was in Florida, I was playing shows on the condo circuit and doing regional theater. I was familiar with that format. It was a challenge to find a team to work with me. I found my musical director, Jesse Kissel, who did a great job in taking the arrangements that I threw together for myself for the videos and turning them into live musical experiences. I have a great band behind me—some of Broadway’s best musicians. It brought it to a new level and added a new layer to what I was already doing.
At that concert, I purchased a “Randy Rainbow for President 2020” T-shirt. What can you tell the readers about your platform as a presidential candidate? My platform is really just selling merchandise. So, I’m glad it worked and you bought a T-shirt. I don’t know if we really want me to run for president. You never know what could happen. To be slightly more serious, I hope that if I’m doing anything with these videos, it’s injecting a little bit of humor and levity into these dark times. I hope that people remember to laugh as much as possible.
Finally, congratulations on having received a 2019 Emmy Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. Is it, as they say, an honor just to be nominated?
No, I should have won. [Laughs] James Corden is always stealing my shine. No, it was an honor, and it was insane. I’ve made these videos for almost the last decade from my living room. To cut to the front row of the Emmys, sitting next to Jimmy Kimmel, and to have lost to James Corden, was surreal and a thrill. But next year I better win! OutSmartMagazine.com
Making the Yuletide Gay How to handle the not-so-happy holidays.
or many, the holiday season represents a time of “peace, love, and joy.” People travel to hometowns small and large for elaborate family feasts—and way too much dessert. However, for some LGBTQ people, the holidays can be a time of considerable stress and disconnection, particularly when attempting to engage with family members. With proper preparation, even the toughest situations can be handled in a way that preserves mental health and wellness, reduces anxiety, and promotes overall health. Make a Plan If visiting family members who are not accepting of your LGBTQ identity and/or lifestyle (or who may have a history of other kinds of toxic behavior), develop a strategy for your “rules of engagement.” This could mean visiting relatives at a particular time of the day or month, or limiting the number of days in your trip. For example, a morning or afternoon visit may be easier than a late-evening visit or overnight trip, since it suggests a lighter, more casual tone. Establishing with your hosts that you will be there for a pre-specified amount of time can allow you to more easily retreat, if necessary. You can always extend the visit if things are going well. 64 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
By DARYL SHORTER, MD Sandwich visits with family between time with friends or other support persons to provide opportunities for decompression, and to remind you of who you are if you start seeing old family-behavior patterns and roles emerging. Finally, if there are particular relatives for whom you need to be on guard, it is alright to limit contact and prioritize your own wellbeing. Based on the particulars of your family, create a “visit agenda” that works for you.
before giving up on them, try politely telling your family, “Let’s keep it about the holidays,” or simply switch to a more neutral topic. Keep in mind that you can always engage a curious individual in a tough conversation without the additional eyes and ears of your entire family present. If they’re really interested in having a true discussion, you can move it to a time and scenario that feels safe— and not when you’re under stress.
Choose Your Battles Sometimes family members like to bait their queer-identified relatives so they can argue about politics or religion. These conversations are not usually intended to promote a free exchange of ideas, but rather are meant to reestablish power dynamics within a family structure and further shame LGBTQ people. While some family members or friends may have a genuine desire to better know or understand you, engaging in a back-and-forth dinner debate with a hostile relative is not something you have to suffer through just because you’d like to make it to the second course. It is completely acceptable to excuse yourself from the conversation, from the room, or from the gathering altogether. But
Have an Exit Strategy Sometimes, despite our best hopes and intentions, family gatherings can go way off the rails. Part of our strategy for continued growth and development is giving ourselves permission to no longer be victimized by the negativity and abuse of those who don’t always know how best to love us. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel under attack, it’s alright to excuse yourself and end the visit early. If you are scheduled to spend the night in a family member’s home but suspect that you may need to make a hasty exit, make advance arrangements for an alternative place to stay, just in case. Take extra cash, should you need to get a last-minute hotel room. Keep your CONTINUED ON PAGE 86
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Dancing to the North Pole Out performer Christopher Tipps gets in shape for Elf —The Musical. By DON MAINES Photo by ERICK VELAZQUEZ
e sings! He dances! He tumbles! They call him Mistah Tipps! I will explain in a minute, but first the news: out Houstonian Christopher Tipps will perform December 7–22 in an all-new production of Elf—The Musical at Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS). “I am one of the dancers, and I imagine they will have me tumbling quite a bit,” the buff actor told OutSmart the day before rehearsals started November 15. “It’s going to be amazing. In every show you become a family, but even more so when it’s a holiday production. Some of us will have Thanksgiving dinner together. Everybody will exchange Secret Santa gifts.” The present that Tipps gives himself is “grace,” he says. “I think it is important to be kind to myself. Especially the last 365 days, I have told myself it’s okay not to be perfect. It is enough to be myself, without blinking twice. I want everyone to take the time to compliment themselves and give themselves the attention they deserve.” Elf—The Musical is based on the cherished 66 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
2003 movie Elf, which starred Will Ferrell as Buddy, who was abandoned as a baby at the North Pole and raised with elves as his siblings. Once Buddy finds out that his birth father lives in New York City, he travels there to discover his true identity. In the process, he helps residents of the Big Apple rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. “I don’t think there is a better modern show for the holidays than Elf,” says TUTS artistic director Dan Knechtges, who is directing and choreographing the show that debuted on Broadway in 2010. “With its bubbly, infectious score, it’s guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit.” So, what’s the deal with Mistah Tipps? Well, back in the Post-Pleistocene era, a movie called In the Heat of the Night won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1967. The plot landed Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, a black police detective from Philadelphia, in a small Southern town where it was assumed that he robbed and killed a white man. When Rod Steiger (as the racist police chief) kept disrespecting Tibbs by calling him by his first name, the
proud black detective turned and said, “They call me Mister Tibbs!” Tipps hasn’t seen the movie, but he adopted the Instagram handle @Mistah_Tipps after a British thespian started calling him “Mistah Tipps,” complete with the non-rhotic pronunciation and spelling. Tipps grew up in Channelview. Although he was home-schooled, from ages 15 to 17 Tipps took classes in dance, voice, and acting at TUTS’ Humphreys School of Musical Theatre in Houston. Next, he studied dance and kinesiology at Houston Community College, but “took a small break and went into sales, thinking that’s what being an adult was, seeking financial stability.” One day Tipps realized, “I am way off my path,” so he quit his retail job, left Houston, and, like Buddy the Elf, headed to New York City. “Things happened lightning-fast,” he says. “I was only in New York City for six months when I got two contracts that took me out of the city.” The first took him to Vero Beach, Florida, for a six-week production of Hello, Dolly! while the second sent him to the Caribbean for 11 months aboard the mammoth Allure of the Seas. Tipps portrayed Eddie in the cruise ship’s presentation of Mamma Mia!, so the show was fresh in his mind when he returned to Houston and landed the role of Pepper in last spring’s production at TUTS. “It was really cool to change roles, because Eddie and Pepper are partners in crime. Eddie is the more responsible one, while Pepper is a ‘rock star.’ Still to this day, people stop me and say they remember me playing Pepper.” Tipps also performed in The Wiz and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway at TUTS, and he’s played Seaweed J. Stubbs in the musical Hairspray at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Tipps recently took a break from teaching at several 24 Hour Fitness locations, but he plans to swell up some more before returning to New York City in February, complete with “a Broadway body.” “I have always been slim and some people say I had a six-pack, but not really because it would come and go,” he admits. “There is a running joke in New York about getting ‘the Broadway body’ with the big chest, a defined stomach, and strong legs, but I am a lot more defined and muscular now because I have been giving myself grace. I’m eating clean and treating myself well. I’m getting all my eggs in the same nest, and I will be ready to hit the ground running.” What: Elf—The Musical at TUTS When: Dec. 7–22; Out@TUTS Night: Thursday, Dec. 19 Where: Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. Info: tuts.com/shows
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Season of Love stars Dominique ProvostChalkley (l-r), Janelle Marie, Emily Goss, Laur Allen, Sandra Mae Frank, and Jessica Clark
’Tis the Season for LGBTQ Romance A first-of-its-kind holiday film featuring queer women. By LOURDES ZAVALETA
very year, media networks release dozens of holiday-themed romantic comedies, but those films have consistently failed to tell meaningful stories from an LGBTQ perspective, according to filmmaker Christin Baker. Eager to change that, Baker (with Tello Films and DASH Productions) created Season of Love, a first-of-its-kind flick about six queer women living their busy lives between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The movie 68 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
can be purchased for online streaming now. “I’m both happy and sad to be a part of this project,” Baker admits. “I’m so excited that we were able to make a holiday film for LGBTQ women, but I’m shocked that it’s 2019 and this hasn’t already been done.” Of the 50-plus Hallmark and Lifetime holiday films out this year, none feature an LGBTQ couple. While both rom-com juggernauts have made efforts to move towards diversity and inclusion by featuring people of color in leading roles, the networks still have a long way to
go when it comes to spotlighting actors from other marginalized communities. Baker describes their process in creating Season of Love: “We were intentional about everything, both on and off camera.” She notes that a majority of the cast and crew are women, many of whom are people of color and identify as LGBTQ. “Feeling the pressure of this being the first queer holiday rom-com, we wanted to set the bar high.” Baker, along with Season of Love writer Kathryn Trammell, both identify as queer. ➝
Half of the film’s leading ladies—Jessica Clark, Emily Goss, and Sandra Mae Frank— are also openly LGBTQ. Being a queer actor who gets to portray a queer character “is ideal,” Clark says. “The ability to represent people within my community is exciting. Also, it helps broaden people’s perception of the types of queer stories that are out there.” Season of Love follows three lesbian couples at different stages in their relationships. Each relationship buds differently, but they all simultaneously enjoy (and stress over) holiday activities such as parties, gift-giving, and end-of-the-year work projects. Iris (portrayed by Goss) gets left at the altar by her fiancée and accidentally sparks a romance with music producer Mardou (Laur Allen), who is her ex’s sister. Lou (Clark) is in the process of opening a business when she falls for her neighbor, Kenna (Frank), a deaf welder and artist. Janey (Janelle Marie) returns from her military deployment for the holidays and wants to take things to the next level with her longtime girlfriend, Sue (Dominique ProvostChalkley). More often than not, Hollywood’s LGBTQ representation usually showcases one
same-sex couple at a time, or includes queer storylines as side-plots in heteronormative television shows or films. Following in the footsteps of television shows like Tales of the City, Queer as Folk, and The L Word, Season of Love allows several LGBTQ narratives to thrive as the film’s main focus. Clark believes Season of Love’s multiple storylines gives the film authenticity. “We’re showcasing queer people in a new light,” she says. “In the past, in order to be understood, LGBTQ stories had to be rooted in our struggles—the hard times, the isolating times, or our coming-out experiences.
“All of those things are true, and there’s still an undeniable amount of work that needs to be done around the world to make things better for LGBTQ people,” Clark adds, “but we are just people. We fall in love, we have friends, and we celebrate the holidays just like everyone else. It’s great to portray the beautiful parts of our community as well.” Season of Love’s creators should get the credit for the film’s accurate depictions of LGBTQ women, Goss says. “Representation must start from the top down. When there are diverse groups of people on a set, the story can become a better portrayal of the wider variety of life experiences. It goes to show how intentional our producers were about making a film for [the most diverse audience] they could.” Baker hopes to see Season of Love take off, and potentially be the first of many more queer holiday rom-coms. “I’m hoping that this exponentially grows, and we create this new genre,” she says. “For now, support queer films—and happy holidays!” Season of Love can be purchased for $14.99 and streamed online at tellofilms.com/products/ season-of-love. For more information about the film, visit seasonoflovemovie.com.
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lways In Season’s job requests range far and wide, stretching from Beaumont to Cypress and down to Galveston. They are a one-stop shop, which requires them to keep a staff employed year-round so they can stock up as the holiday season approaches. “We run crews 24 hours per day this time of year. We do night installs and day installs. We have close to 100 full-time employees, and another 100 seasonal workers from September through January,” they say, explaining how they shape their operations to fit the market’s needs throughout the year. The team installs the decorations, removes them, stores them in a number of warehouses, and refurbishes damaged decorations before each holiday season. Doing all of this requires not just an army of people, but a huge inventory that includes 10,000 pounds of glitter every year for their paint and glitter shop (calling all drag queens: submit your applications now!). They also import around 50,000 strings of lights that add up to over 2 million individual light bulbs. All of these ornaments and baubles are needed to decorate approximately 700 different job sites annually. Farhood and Langston explain that staying ahead of the game is the key to their success. “One of the main things is planning in advance and working one or two years ahead. When new real estate developments are being created, you have to keep these ideas in mind. Having electrical service in place is key, and a lot of times we’re brought in during the planning stage to find out the power requirements before customers ever see the initial product,” they explain. Always In Season also provides landscaping services for offices and retail centers. Whereas holiday décor might only take up space from October through January, Always In Season’s horticulture branch keeps the company staff occupied for the remainder of the year. Although they are geared toward commercial clients, they do have some thoughts for homeowners wanting to get in the holiday mood. “One thing is scale—having the right size decor in the area you want to decorate. At the places you might [normally shop] for home supplies, the scale is too small. For [a display to be successful], it’s more about what feels right in your heart. Whether you go for big and audacious or keep it small and subtle, always make sure your decorations are genuine.” The experts at Always In Season are available for consultations 713-681-1414, or at alwaysinseason.com.
Curatorial Powerhouse Houstonâ€™s Evan Garza takes it statewide to co-direct the 2020 Texas Biennial. By BILL ARNING Photo by MARK S. McCRAY
hen I first moved to Texas from Boston, Evan Garza was one of the few Houston curators I knew well. He was among the city’s most engaging art people, so I thought it sucked when he decided to move to Boston. Then a new issue of Pinups (a bear-oriented faux-porn art project magazine) came out with a big naked smiling picture of Garza, and suddenly he was everywhere in my world. His Houston friends even planted a Pinups copy briefly in the window of the MFAH bookstore, so his presence was still very much felt here. His trajectory took him to New American Painting, the Boston-based painting review journal, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, various curatorial projects, and to Austin as a curator at the Blanton Museum before coming back to Houston for the public-art program at Rice University. He also found time to found the first queer-artist residency on Fire Island, and it has now been announced he is co-curating the Texas Biennial in 2020 with Ryan Dennis. We caught up with Garza to learn more about his robust history and visionary future plans.
Bill Arning: What was your path to curatorial?
Evan Garza: The goal was always to work directly with artists. It took years working as the director at a commercial gallery to realize that I didn’t want to sell paintings. What I was most interested in was working with living artists to build something. I was most excited by the studio and the artistic process rather than exhibition-making, but I wouldn’t really come to terms with that in my practice for another four or five years.
What is your top memory or greatest pride, professionally?
At the Museum School, it was meeting curator Veronica Roberts by accident while she was researching the fist Sol LeWitt wall drawing in Boston, at SMFA. Then organizing an exhibition around the drawing, which was redrafted by SMFA students for the first time in 40 years. The wall drawing was made of fifty random points all connected by straight
lines, so I included a tattoo performance by Katrina Chamberlin where fifty participants received tattoos of a single dot. Ryan Hawk, who is now in the CORE Program at Glassell, still has his dot on the back of his neck. With Rice Public Art, I’m very proud to have acquired the first permanent public artwork by a woman on the Rice campus in its more than 100-year history—a bronze sculpture by Ursula von Rydingsvard—and also working with Nina Katchadourian on an outdoor sound piece among those beautiful oaks.
Can you speak about the impetus to found the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR), which is the first LGBTQ artist residency? Are you still involved?
Chris Bogia invited me out to Fire Island for the first time in 2010, and from the moment I stepped off the ferry I could sense there was an important history there that I immediately felt connected to. It felt visceral and magical, and I say magic in the truest sense. The ashes of gay and trans people who died of AIDS, and other island inhabitants who’ve left us since, are mixed among the grains of dune sand in the Meat Rack, the half-mile-wide magic sex forest that connects the two communities. That energy is powerful, and you feel it in the air when you walk around the island. I fell in love immediately. Chris and I talked that summer about how amazing it would be to bring artists to the island and give them space to make work. FIAR started in 2011 as a two-week program because that was the only kind of house rental we could afford. Within a year, we expanded the program to four weeks and two houses, and created an annual visitingartist series of talks open to the public. Co-founding FIAR and supporting its artists has been one of the most rewarding personal and professional experiences I’ve ever had.
“HOUSTON WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY BLOOD. THOSE LITTLE REVELATIONS I HAD AS A KID WALKING THROUGH THE MENIL ARE THE REASON I BECAME A CURATOR. THOSE POWERFUL MOMENTS ARE STILL HAPPENING IN VARIOUS FORMS ALL OVER HOUSTON, IN AND OUT OF MUSEUMS.” —Evan Garza
Houston is clearly in your art blood. How has the scene changed in the last 15 years?
Houston seems more itself than ever before, I think. She knows who she is; she doesn’t have to pretend to be anything she’s not. ➝
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EVAN GARZA | CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
She’s getting her hands dirty eating VietCajun crawfish at 3 a.m. in a strip mall on Bellaire Blvd. after a night at the club, and the conversation at the table is going back and forth between Megan Thee Stallion and the redesigned Surrealism galleries at the Menil. Houston is the country’s largest melting pot, in both representation and square miles. Artists from anywhere can find affordable studios and build enormous international careers on the cheap here. Houston gallery-goers have a voracious art appetite. Houston will always be in my blood. Those little revelations I had as a kid walking through the Menil are the reason I became a curator. Those powerful moments are still happening in various forms all over Houston, in and out of museums, and usually not far from some amazing bánh mì.
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You and the wonderful Ryan Dennis are cocurating the 2020 Texas Biennial. Can you talk about where your curatorial visions overlap and might diverge?
Ryan was the first curator I befriended when I moved back to Houston. We met jurying Artadia together in 2017, and immediately hit it off. Unbeknownst to one another, we threw out each other’s name when Big Medium interviewed each of us for the curatorial team of the Texas Biennial. So I was beyond thrilled when they came back and offered the project to the two of us. Ryan and I both feel strongly about supporting the work of women, artists of color, and artists from underrepresented communities. For each of us, that really drives the work we do. We’re both interested in what practices and dialogues are taking place at the margins, and finding ways to center that work and that conversation. Ryan and I want to have those conversations. I can’t give away too many details about the biennial yet, but we’re excited to open it up to artists with Texas roots working anywhere in the world—a first in the history of the biennial. We’re both Houstonians, so we understand what a huge global community Texas is, and how many points of entry there are into the art-making practices here and the communities that that work speaks to. In asking ourselves what it means to be a Texan right now in the current social and political climate, we have to look beyond the borders of the Lone Star State to see what artists from Texas are doing in other corners of the country and the globe. What impact are artists from Texas making here and elsewhere? What impact have events in Texas made elsewhere in the world? These are exciting questions that Ryan and I will have to ask ourselves. There isn’t another curator I’d rather work with to organize a survey of contemporary art in Texas right now. Stay tuned!
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OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 75
The Comeback Crew
Jacqueline Toboni (l-r), Katherine Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Jennifer Beals, Adrienne Mandi, Rosanny Zayas, and Leo Sheng
Queering a New Generation The L-Word sequel promises more sex, laughs, drama, and diversity. By LAWRENCE FERBER Photos by HILARY BRONWYN GAYLE/SHOWTIME
unning between 2004 and 2009, Showtime’s six-season The LWord offered a Sapphic-centric L.A.-set successor to Queer as Folk. While groundbreaking, audacious, and sexy (over 110 sex scenes during its run!), creator Ilene Chaiken and her creative teams were responsible for one of the most loathed, insane (literally!) main characters on cable TV, Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirschner), whose unsolved murder served as a framework and point of contention during the show’s final season, and a well-meaning but innacurate and cringe-worthy trans representation in Max (Danielle Sea). At long last, on Sunday, December 8, Showtime will premiere its followup The L-Word: Generation Q (www.sho.com/the-lword-generation-q). With Marja-Lewis Ryan as showrunner, it definitely makes up for past sins with its ethnic diversity both in front
of and behind the camera (including Latina screenwriters Tatiana Suarez-Pico (Parenthood) and Nancy Mejía (Vida); authentic trans representation; and socially aware, hugely entertaining and dramatic storylines involving both the original’s characters and a fresh batch of new “Gen Q” faces. Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) is now running for mayor while raising teenage daughter Angie (Jordan Hull), who may be nursing an adolescent queer crush on her bad-influence bestie, Jordi (trans actress Sophie Giannamore). Alice (Leisha Hailey) has a new Ellenish TV talk show and is dating Gigi (Sepideh Moafi), a Realtor with kids and a meddlesome ex-wife. And wealthy lesbian lothario hairstylist Shane (Katherine Moennig) has just returned to Los Angeles. As for the show’s Gen Q characters, Sophie (Rosanny Zayas) is a producer on Alice’s show and lives with girlfriend Dani (Arienne Mandi), a PR executive working
for her father’s lucrative (but opioid-related) business. The couple’s transgender roommate Micah (Leo Sheng) is a professor with the hots for new gay neighbor José (Freddy Miyares), while Sarah a.k.a. “Finley” (Jacqueline Toboni), an Olympic swimmer turned assistant on Alice’s show, parties hard while cozying up to her wish-list mentor, Shane. Other openly LGBTQ actors popping up in this eight-episode season include Olivia Thirlby, Fortune Feimster, and Sense8’s Jamie Clayton. I spoke with Zayas and Mandi to get the scoop on Gen Q, how the old and new casts mixed (in July, Beals posted an Instagram photo of a cast dinner at https://www.instagram. com/p/Bz4yLkelqh1/?utm_source=ig_embed), and whether Pam Grier’s Kit Porter will make an appearance. Both women are single and identify as pansexual (“I’m open to falling in love with someone’s personality and how we connect as people,” Zayas specifies).
Lawrence Ferber: Dani is described as “complicated.” Can you elaborate, and hint at what’s in store for her?
Arienne Mandi: Dani is born into a family that she worked very hard for, and is really bound to her father. It’s just been them against the world. During the course of the season, she’s experiencing the feeling that maybe everything she assumed would be her world isn’t what she wants. I can relate to being told something your whole life, and having your thoughts change about the world and people and what drives you and what you’re passionate about. Making your own opinions and really honoring what you want and who you are as a person.
How about Sophie?
Rosanny Zayas: I believe Sophie’s a hard worker and always had big dreams and goals, and one of them is to help Alice create a show that’s relatable, queer, open, and honest about how Alice lives her life today, which is really cool. When The L-Word first came out, you saw Alice finding herself. Now Alice has her own show and she’s killing it, and Sophie is helping her step into her voice even more.
And what is Sophie and Dani’s dynamic like as a couple?
RZ: I think you’ll see the ups and downs. Dani’s character is a very strong person, and forward in what she wants. You see Sophie as the heart of the relationship, and a lot of times having to take on the emotional life and confronting things Dani doesn’t want to talk about. You’ll see how much they love each other, and how much they will be there for each other, just like any other relationship. AM: Sophie is Dani’s anchor throughout the course of the season, and we experience changes together.
Do you relate personally to your respective characters and their relationship?
AM: Yeah. I pulled a lot from my own life, and some things from my mother. I grew up in L.A. My mother is Chilean and my father is Iranian, and Dani is mixed ethnicity, too. The cultural upbringing is very much me. And I think I’m a lot like Dani. She keeps a lot of things very close to her, and I’m the same way. I’m not quick to divulge. It was really visceral to go through some of the things she does. RZ: Well, I’m a Dominican from New York, and Sophie is, too, and I think that Sophie’s heart is my heart. The writing has been so amazing. They created a specific relationship between these two people, and there have been moments they went through that I can remember [going through with] a woman I was so hurt by. I’ve also felt so incredibly loved by another
person; I can bring this into my relationship with Dani and Sophie.
Is there a correlation between the Gen Q newbies and the original’s characters? Is someone “the new Shane,” “the new Alice,” etc.? AM: I think what’s great about the new Gen Q is that we’re so diverse. But if I had to relate Dani to somebody else, it would be Bette. We’re very different in our backgrounds, but we struggle with family issues and we’re both powerful and calculating in the same way. But all the new characters sort of speak for themselves and are very original and fresh. RZ: I think Sophie’s a new creation. There were Hispanic characters on the show before, but I don’t think they’ve been as specific as being Dominicans from New York. Even when it comes to the ethnic food she eats, that’s something that wasn’t specifically in the show before, but you get to see it now.
How did the new and original casts go about getting to know each other? Was there a lot of bonding?
AM: We call them “The OGs”—Kate, Leisha, and Jennifer. They really extended themselves to us and actually organized a dinner during the first week of shooting. We sat at dinner for hours and talked. We make it a point to hang out outside of work, and they really opened their doors to us and made sure we felt supercomfortable. They also let us experience things on their own like they did. It felt like a family. RZ: As just a fan of the show, you don’t get to see how the OGs are in real life, but it’s been so awesome to see how well they connect. They actually do love and take care of each other and fight for each other during the process of making the show. It’s been a learning experience for me, and I’ve been admiring them every day, wanting to be more and more like them.
Would you ever bring up Jenny and how she died, or is it like Candyman, Beetlejuice, and Bloody Mary—nobody dares intone that name for fear of summoning her?
AM: Oh my God—she wasn’t my favorite character, that’s for sure. I do like the actress, Mia Kirshner, but Jenny’s character was definitely not my favorite! I feel like there are online forums just for bashing poor Jenny. She definitely pumped up the drama. RZ: All of us are fans of the show, so there are always questions about Jenny and what happened. I think I’ll leave that up to the writers.
Will we see Pam Grier’s Kit Porter again?
AM: I don’t know. I can’t answer! There will definitely be special guest appearances. I’m not saying from the past [series], but a lot of guest appearances, which is really exciting.
How accurate is the show’s depiction of modern Los Angeles’ lesbian and queer life, and how would you describe it?
AM: Very edgy. Very competitive sometimes. Loving. RZ: I feel it’s changing every day—the way the world is. I can say that everyone is working as hard as they can to make sure it’s as accurate as possible. The writers, creators, actors, and costume designers. We want to make sure this relays what we see today. AM: Our set was incredibly queer—our directors, producers, our showrunner. It’s still a lesbian show, but it’s branched out so much more now. We had everyone on the spectrum. It’s pretty wonderful.
Of course, I have to ask about the original show’s infamous “Chart,” which mapped out the characters’ sexual and emotional connections. Is there one hanging in the writers’ room this time, too? Are there already too many lines to fit on the chart?
AM: Not so much, but I see so many Post-Its and arrows. They have the overview of the season, and where things go. All these things are subject to change, but it follows each person’s drama. The L-Word: Generation Q premieres Sunday, December 8, on Showtime. OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 77
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On October 27, Texas United Charities presented its 20th annual Big Knobs on Broomsticks fundraiser at Tony’s Corner Pocket. Pictured are performers and friends.
Olympic medalist Adam Rippon held a book signing and discussion for his new memoir Beautiful on the Outside at the Montrose Center on October 29. Pictured are Kennedy Loftin, Adam Rippon, Jessica Zyrie, Aaron, and Cathy Taylor Berner.
The Diana Foundation held its Country Dinner Weekend at Neon Boots and La Griglia on November 2 and 3. Pictured are Nathan Wright, Bubba McNeely, and Matthew Moncivais.
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www.facebook.com/Flanigan.psychotherapy 82 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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On November 16, Off the Rails held its sixth annual pub crawl, hosted by Jeremy and A.J. Mistretta. Pictured are participants.
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SignOut | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 111 enthusiasm and confidence. You are ready for a challenge, and you’re happy to show others the way. If negative conditions have been building, this could result in a power struggle. You may feel that you need to take your show on the road and find a more receptive audience. Friends and colleagues are very willing to be supportive of the things you feel you must do. This is a very good month to connect with friends, support groups, or community organizations that have a mindset similar to yours. You will guard your time during the holidays, and only spend it with people that you truly like. This would be a great time for you to get away to a spa, visit Machu Picchu, or just spend more time meditating as an alternative to traditional holiday activities. You will feel lighter as we get closer to Christmas.
PISCES (Feb. 19–Mar. 20)
You are taking life slow and easy during the holidays, even though this is normally a more socially active time for you. Your psychic energies and your need for time alone are especially strong through January. Focus on what you want to do, and not on what you have to do! You will need some time to yourself, especially around December 18. Career activity continues to be strong, even if you are lacking the enthusiasm that you usually bring to your work. Community activities and organizations are still very important to you for networking, finding a support group for your career plans, and making new friends that you can relate to. You continue to remain busy and active through January, and this is a good time for you to travel during the holidays— perhaps to an island hideaway?
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phone charged. The more thought you can give to how you might leave a tense situation, the more it can help to reduce overall anxiety and dread about a family visit. Remember that you don’t need to be trapped in a situation where you must suffer abuse. LGBTQ people have historically been forced to create meaningful connections with many different kinds of people in order to survive. Keep in mind that “family” is defined in many different ways, and that you can find a community of people who understand and are around to support, uplift, and empower you when biological family is not available, or where relationships are toxic and no longer serve you. With that in mind, here are some other considerations for managing the holiday season: • nuture Your Support System Stay in contact with friends, and reach out if needed. People can often feel like they are being a burden, or they may worry that their friends are tired of hearing about the same old family drama. Expressing appreciation to friends for lending a kind ear goes a long way in helping to keep lines of communication open. • Take Care of Your Physical and Emotional Self Focusing on one or two specific, attainable health goals for the season can help to provide some structure without the guilt. Perhaps you strive to gain only a few pounds, since cookies and cakes seem to be on every table at work and among family. Be sure to get plenty of sleep. Watch out for excessive alcohol and/or drug use. Remember that exercise, meditation, and water are your friends. If you’re taking medications, be sure to remain adherent to your regimen and have refills available so you don’t run out while traveling during the holidays. • volunteering Helps Others—and Yourself Consider volunteering or doing outreach in the community. There are many organizations that are looking for people to serve. If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or disconnection, being of service to others can create feelings of connection and may provide an opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals who are interested in helping others. Even during the holiday season, we can find ways to take care of ourselves in the midst of the swirl and find the peace, love, and joy that we all seek. Daryl Shorter, MD, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is board certified in both general and addiction psychiatry. His clinical practice focuses on veteran care, and he lectures widely on LGBTQ mental health. Dr. Shorter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
66 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com 86
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The Diana Foundation held its Country Dinner Weekend at Neon Boots and La Griglia on November 2 and 3. PIctured are members of the Diana Foundation and guests.
The Montrose Center’s Depressed Cake event was held at Silver Street Studios on November 3. Pictured are a volunteer, founder Jody Stevens, and Don’l Nicol.
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On November 7, the Harris County Democratic Law Association held its monthly luncheon with guest speaker Blake Rocap, legislative counsel at NARAL Pro-Choice America. Pictured are Rocap with HCDLA members and guests.
On November 9, Asians and Friends held its 27th annual anniversary party. Pictured are the group’s officers, event hosts, and friends.
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88 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
On October 4, Outreach United held its beneficiary check presentation hosted by Gary Wood and Bryant Johnson-Wood. Pictured are Outreach United board members and beneficiaries.
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2019 Year in Review
uring the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Riots in New York City—the seminal event that kicked off the LGBTQ Rights Movement—Houston started 2019 off right with Rainbow on ICE in January. After celebrating Mardi Gras in February, we came together for the annual AIDS Walk and Diana Awards in March. In April, Bunnies on the Bayou turned 40 and the city got its own memorial for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Openly gay presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg brought his campaign to
Houston in May, and in June we celebrated Pride like it was 1969. In July, we raised money for Legacy Community Health at Mint Julep, and gathered for the 22nd annual QFest. We watched the Montrose Center break ground on the Law Harrington Senior Living Center in August. In October, we dressed up for the 40th annual Fantasy Ball and OUTSMART presented its 23rd annual Gayest & Greatest Awards. Finally, Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board celebrated three years of advocacy work in November. See you next year!
1. Bayou City Performing Arts: Joy to the World, Dec. 1, 2018
2. Ray Hill’s Memorial, Dec. 2, 2018 3. Red Ribbon Toy Drive, Dec. 5, 2018 4. The oH Project at Rice, Dec. 6, 2018 5. OUTSMART Holiday Party, Dec. 11, 2018
1. Snow Bunnies 40, Jan. 20, 2019 2. Rainbow on ICE, Jan. 11, 2019 3. E.R.S.I.C.S.S. Coronation 33, Jan. 15, 2019 4. Houston Women’s March, Jan. 19, 2019 90
Year in Review 1
1. OUT@TUTS: Mamma Mia! sponsored by OutSmart, Feb. 20, 2019
2. OutReach United’s Red Hot Party, Feb. 9, 2019 3. Houston’s Gay Past by Krewe of Olympus, Feb. 9, 2019 4. Mystery & Fantasy Mardi Gras Party, Feb. 23, 2019
5. AssistHers’ Decadent Desserts & Dancing, Feb. 24, 2019
1. AIDS Walk Houston, March 3, 2019 2. L.U.E.Y. Weekend, March 8–10, 2019 3. Bringin’ in the Green, March 15, 2019 4. 66th Diana Awards, March 23, 2019 5. Going $outh, March 8, 2019 6. Bunnies Basket Bash, March 31, 2019
OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 91
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April 1. The Gay 10K, April 6, 2019
2. HRC 22nd Annual Gala, April 6, 2019
3. OutReach United’s Disco Brunch, April 14, 2019 4. Bunnies on the Bayou 40, April 21, 2019
5. Pulse Memorial Unveiling, April 28, 2019
1. I Am Life launch, May 2, 2019 2. ‘80s Fiesta Night at Lazarus House, May 4, 2019 3. Mayor Pete in Houston, May 3, 2019
4. Pride in the Park, May 25, 2019 5. Victory Fund Champagne Brunch, May 19, 2019 6. UH Red Dinner 4, May 18, 2019 7. Harris County Democrats Luncheon, May 24, 2019
7 OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 93
Year in Review
1. Houston Gaymers 10-Year Homecoming, June 2, 2019 2. HATCH Prom, June 2, 2019 3. Lambda Legal’s Equality Night Out, June 6, 2019 4. Macy’s Transgender Pride Fashion Show, June 13, 2019 5. Houston Pride, June 22, 2019
1. Legacy’s Mint Julep, July 21, 2019 2. QFest, July 24, 2019 3. Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce Happy Hour, July 25, 2019 3
4. EPAH & Lambda NextGen Happy Hour, July 25, 2019
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CANVAS PRINTS | COLOR POSTERS | GREETING CARDS| MUCH MORE 94 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 95
3310 Katy Freeway, Suite 310 713.784.3030
1. Mayoral Pride Forum, Aug. 1, 2019 3
2. Law Harrington Senior Living Center Groundbreaking, Aug. 6, 2019 3. Outreach United Goes Vegas, Aug. 17, 2019 4. Kindred Spirits Dance, Aug. 24, 2019
5. Theater District Open House, Aug. 24, 2019
1. First Responders at Houston Media Center, Sept. 11, 2019 2. Trans Unity Banquet, Sept. 21, 2019 3
3. Combined Arms 2nd Annual Military Ball, Sept. 25, 2019 4. Bunnies in Heat, Sept. 22, 2019 5. The Woodlands Pride, Sept. 28, 2019
5 96 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
6. GLBT Political Caucus Equality Brunch, Sept. 29, 2019
Year in Review
1. Houston Pride Band’s Game of Crowns Concert, Oct. 4, 2019 3
2. Montrose Center’s Out for Good, Oct. 11, 2019 3. 40th Annual Fantasy Ball at Eagle, Oct. 19, 2019 4. OutSmart ’s Gayest & Greatest Awards Ceremony, Oct. 22, 2019 5. Adam Rippon Book Tour, Oct. 29, 2019
1. Breakfast of Champions at Night, Nov. 13, 2019 2. Women of Harris County for Good Government, Nov. 16, 2019
3. Trans Empowerment & Alliance Party, Nov. 16, 2019 4. Brewing Up Business at Jumper Maybach Fine Art & Gallery, Nov. 13, 2019 5. Diana Country Dinner Weekend, Nov. 2–3, 2019
6. Off The Rails Pub Crawl, Nov. 16, 2019 OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 97
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www.MidtownVetHospital.com 98 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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Joni Ogle (l) and Maggie Howard
BREAKING ALL THE RULES Joni Ogle and Maggie Howard looked beyond heteronormative customs for their wedding ceremony.
Sometimes when life comes at you, it comes at you hard—and happy. Within weeks of getting married, Joni Ogle, 54, and Maggie Howard, 33, gleefully welcomed three foster children into their home. “Three children!” Joni exclaimed. “It was truly a shock!” And a complete surprise, Maggie says. The pair both happened to earn promotions at their jobs just a few months prior, as well. Change was seriously afoot at the Ogle/Howard household—including their upcoming wedding. Maggie, who grew up in Tyler, Texas, had just become the director of business development at Summit Behavioral Health/Great Oaks Recovery. And Joni, a licensed clinical social worker and a certified sex-addiction therapist from Nevada, Missouri, had just become the chief executive officer of Transcend Recovery Community. The couple met at a lunch meeting, during which Joni spent most of the time on her phone. “I kept telling Maggie I wasn’t typically this unavailable during a lunch. I’m glad she believed me.” It’s clear that Maggie didn’t have any doubt. Maggie says she knew very early on that she wanted to marry Joni. “We shared a deep connection, and our personalities meshed so well. Not to mention that she’s an incredibly talented clinician, and she knows how to ride a unicycle!” Maggie adds. The feeling was mutual, to be sure. Maggie reminded Joni of her mom. “Her humor, her goofy side, and her hard work and loyalty.” It didn’t hurt when Joni found out that Maggie liked the same music, and even the same bed time. “It was a connection,” Joni joked. It was Joni who did the proposing, but they both were in the know since they designed their own rings. Although Maggie was under the weather that day—and in her pajamas—Joni convinced her to go along for a ride to get frozen yogurt. Maggie, of course, insisted on bringing all three dogs. ➝
OutSmartMagazine.com | NOVEMBER 2019 99
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100 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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At one point, Joni pretended there was a tire issue and pulled over. “She then lured me over to the gazebo on Heights Boulevard,” Maggie explains. “There were candles, flowers, and photos of us. She got down on one knee and asked, ‘Will you marry me?’” Maggie was equal parts surprised, happy, and less than thrilled to still be in her house shoes at that moment. Joni wanted the date of their ceremony to fall as close to her mother’s October 7 birthday as possible, and they were able to book the Houston Heights Fire Station for October 19. The couple’s rehearsal dinner was held the night before at the Last Concert Café, and both the wedding ceremony and reception took place at the fire station. “We love the laid-back yet history-rich feel of the Last Concert Café, and the history and rustic feel of the Heights Fire Station,” Joni explained. Their close friend Rabbi Asher Gottesman officiated. “We chose Asher because he is a rabbi and trusted friend, and Joni’s business partner.” The couple says that they both resonate with Jewish traditions, so they wanted to incorporate those into their ceremony and reception, which included the Hora and the lifting of the brides in chairs. Maggie explains that for her, exchanging vows was one of the most touching and memorable moments of the ceremony. “We both had loving, sincere, yet humorous and authentic exchanges for the other. We could feel the energy in the room. It was so full of love, acceptance, and levity, especially during the vows.” For Joni, it was having an empty seat next to her dad as a remembrance of her mother, who had passed away. “She is a huge missing piece of our family.” The two chose to leave out any traditional wedding music and vows. “We felt choosing a few more alternative choices and customs was affirming and exciting, as being able to legally marry is still very new for the LGBT community. We didn’t feel the need to conform to more
“WE DIDN’T FEEL THE NEED TO CONFORM TO TRADITIONS [FROM AN ERA] WHEN THE LGBT COMMUNITY WAS NOT ALLOWED THE RIGHT TO MARRY.” —Joni Ogle traditional, longtime traditions [from an era] when the LGBT community was not allowed the right to marry.” They did incorporate a few standard wedding traditions, however, including having a flower girl, junior bridesmaids, ring bearers, and tiny junior ring bearers, as well as breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony. “We made the ceremony as we wanted, keeping in some traditions and leaving out some of what I thought wasn’t a fit for us,” Joni explained. Although they didn’t specifically seek out LGBTQ vendors, the two say they certainly wanted to use vendors they felt comfortable with and who shared in their wedding-day joy. “Our makeup artist, Will Holmes, chefs Shannon Carol and Marlies Westerval, and the
rental liaison at the Houston Heights Fire Station, Dewayne Ross, are LGBTQ vendors. Our other vendors—Cakes By Gina, DJ BJ, wedding planner Sarah Bolton, Cami Grimland Photography, Bering’s Fine Stationery, and the hair stylists from the 3930 Ego salon were all affirming allies.” The two chose Aruba for their honeymoon, but that Caribbean trip is on hold due to the new demands of Mommyhood. The happy brides, who now live in the Heights, don’t care one bit about the postponement, though. They’re too happy being newlyweds and new foster moms. Sometimes, change is just want you need—even when that change couldn’t be any more of a surprise. Kind of like meeting the love of your life in a lunch meeting.
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102 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
FOMO FACTORY | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45
Owner Brian Lenehan says that he wants the art space to offer an artistic outlet for the gay community going forward. “We really want to showcase to the community that we are an open and accepting place to be free, let loose, and be true to who you are.” Lenehan notes that all of the interactive FOMO Factory events are a means to step away from the responsibilities of the modern adult world and feel at ease. “It is a place to share powerful experiences with others. We believe it is the perfect venue.” Putting a beautiful spotlight on the LGBTQ community and allowing others to find artistic inspiration at The FOMO Factory is incredibly important to Lenehan. The LGBTQ community has been undervalued in the past, and it is his hope that this installation concept could be a monthly version of Pride, FOMO coordinator Serafin Gonzalez notes. “Why have just have one month in general to celebrate when we can have a whole event whenever we want? With another gaythemed show scheduled for December, hopefully even more guests can check the venue out, given the community support and reaction to the November event. “We are just really excited for this one,” Gonzalez says. “Being an adult does not mean having to be so serious about life. It is not [every day] that you get to come out and enjoy a drag show. You can just come and enjoy interacting with the community.” FOMO General Manager Ashley Thomas explains that while the November 21 event was just the first of many gay-themed shows, the installations can speak to all kinds of groups, no matter their sexual orientation. “The original owner of The FOMO Factory made this space for people to either enjoy childhood again or have the opportunity to make new memories,” she notes. “So a lot of people who come in may not have had the circumstances to make the childhood memories they wish they had, due to not enjoying it or being poor. This is a great chance to have a redo. “Guests can remake memories as an adult at The FOMO Factory, as well as bring their kids along to join in on the fun. Everybody that comes in is really important to us,” Thomas says. What: Thankfully Proud interactive art show When: Through Dec. 31. Sundays 11am–7pm, Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays through Saturdays 10am–9pm, Adults-only hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 7–9pm Where: The FOMO Factory in The Galleria, 5085 Westheimer Rd., Suite 4710 (3rd floor) Info: thefomofactory.com For more information and a schedule of upcoming FOMO Factory events, go to thefomofactory.com.
HOLLYFIELD FOUNDATION | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43
lessen the fear of losing their pets by making monthly deliveries of pet food, underwriting the cost of vet care, and providing foster care when the owner went into the hospital. It was very difficult to find funders who valued the bond between people and their pets, but the Hollyfield Foundation responded immediately when we submitted a grant application. They have continued to support the Pet Patrol for many years. “Recently, some long-term HIV survivors, activists, and others started The oH Project,” Williams continues. “The purpose is to collect oral histories that document the history of Houston’s response to HIV/AIDS. There is a tremendous need to collect interviews from all members of the community, including monolingual individuals who do not speak English. But the cost of conducting an interview in Spanish, for example, and then transcribing it in Spanish and English, is almost twice the cost of the other transcripts. Once again, the Hollyfield Foundation stepped up and agreed to cover the expense.”
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Jay Hollyfield’s Life
Jay Hollyfield was a native Houstonian who attended Lamar High School, and later the University of Texas. He spent his early years dabbling in acting, first in New York and then in Europe. Like his father, he became an entrepreneur and successful businessman. Hollyfield owned and operated many businesses that catered to Houston’s gay community. His properties included both historical landmarks and popular gay destinations in Montrose and Midtown, including The Locker, Different Drum, Loading Dock, and Dirty Sally’s. His pride and joy was the Hollyfield Building at 2700 Albany, built in 1913 as the Depelchin Children’s Home orphanage. The building eventually housed a variety of gay clubs in the 1970s and 1980s—Farmhouse, Gay Country, Houston Country, Sassee’s, Officers Club, Upper Deck, Risky Business, Albany Club, Wranglers, Beaches, and Insanity. The Westheimer Art Festival was a special love for Hollyfield, and he was involved from its inception in 1972 until his death in 1994. Today, the festival is known as the Bayou City Art Festival—bigger and more successful than ever, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the art community and other charity partners. Hollyfield was also instrumental in founding the Kaposi’s Sarcoma Committee, which became AIDS Foundation Houston, and he was an early supporter of the Montrose Clinic, now known as Legacy Community Health. A colorful 2011 OutSmart profile of Jay Hollyfield by Nancy Ford is archived at outsmartmagazine.com/2011/09/ the-legacy-continues/
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OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 103
QUEER QUOTES Compiled by BLASE DISTEFANO
Walter Mercado (mentalist/illusionist/author)
(Advocate.com, 11/3/19, Kat Jercich)
Re: Walter Mercado was a Puerperson. And no one, not even to Rican television personality your abuelita, seemed to care. whose horoscopes reached an Neither does he.” estimated 120 million viewers a “I’m so connected to people day for years. He died at age 87 and to the divine for that. That on November 3. I look feminine with a cape? Mercado was an actor, Everyone knows we have two dancer, and writer who was best energies—yin and yang—and known for his astrology. I know how to balance them,” He was known for wearing Mercado told Portilla. elaborate sequined capes and “If I have to be a warrior, dramatithen I’ll be cally rolling that. If I have his R’s as he to be soft and recited horosubtle, I can scopes. He be that, too. also ended I broke the each probarriers. Boys gram with wear blue and his signature girls wear blessing: pink—why? “mucho, No, that’s in mucho the past. Examor.” treme gender Earconformity, Yin and Yang lier this machismo, and Walter Mercado said, “Extreme gender year, Remez- conformity, machismo, and weak, submissive weak, submiswomen—no, no, no, no.” cla writer sive women— Christian Portilla published an no, no, no, no. We are humans; interview with him. people have the right to think “What’s curious about whatever they want. I follow my Walter’s unassailable and long own path, and I am who I am,” hold on our community is that Mercado continued. as a whole, Latinidad tends to In 2015, Mercado said, follow gender norms, some“Señor Donald Trump thinks he thing that Mercado does not,” can buy everything with money, Portilla wrote. “For many of but he is wrong. Consciousus, he’s one of the first interacness is not bought nor sold, it is tions the Latino community had achieved.” with a gender non-conforming
Will & Jack (Will & Grace, 11/7/19, NBC)
Jack: I always dream I’m trapped in a sleeping bag with Jon Hamm and we have to have sex to survive. What do you think that means? Will: It means your subconscious and your search history are the same.
(Advocate.com, 11/13/19, Tracy E. Gilchrist)
hile Charlie’s Angels has always been inherently campy, it’s never been overtly queer—that is, until [Elizabeth] Banks and [Kristen] Stewart chose to include a nod to Sabina’s queerness. [Stewart, who openly dates her girlfriend, plays Sabina.] Banks has also incorporated a few other nods and cameos that are sure to please LGBTQ viewers. “We didn’t really write sexuality into the movie in any
way. I didn’t want to put labels on any of these characters. I didn’t want to make assumptions about any of these women and what their preferences are,” Banks says. “The more Kristen and I talked about it, the more it became more important to just own something. Letting her flirt with [a] woman and making sure that I put that in the movie, it became really important to both of us,” she adds. “It’s a little callout that just tells the entire audience that this movie is inclusive and loves and accepts everyone.”
Queering an Angel? Kristen Stewart (from top), Ella Balinski, and Naomi Scott star in the new Charlie’s Angels movie. Stewart’s character is queer.
(Huffpost.com, 11/13/19, Curtis M. Wong)
Pissi Myles, who hails from Asbury Park, New Jersey, turned up at the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, DC, in a blond bouffant wig, sparkling minidress, and red stiletto heels. As it turns out, Myles was there on official business—covering the [impeachment] hearings for a new startup app called Happs. “It’s a crazy day in Washington! I’m flipping my wig over the highenergy proceedings today,” the queen told NBC News. “Tensions are high, and the bar for who’s allowed in the Longworth House is very, very low.”
Dream On Are Jack (Sean Hayes, r) and Will (Eric McCormack) discussing a pipe dream?
ANGELS - SCREEN GRAB/SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT; MYLES - SYLVIA THOMSON; MERCADO - SCREEN GRAB YOUTUBE; WILL & GRACE - CHRIS HASTON/NBC
Painting the Town Red? Pissi Myles reports on the impeachment hearings! OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 105
BAR & CLUB GUIDE HOUSTON BACCO WINE GARDEN Enjoy light snacks, a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail in one of their cozy rooms or outdoor patios. 3611 Montrose Blvd. • 346.444.5275 • baccowinebars.com BARCODE Houston’s newest bar with happy hours from 11am to 8pm daily, this new neighborhood watering hole is a great place to see drag shows and strippers Tuesdays—Saturdays and karaoke Sundays & Mondays. 817 Fairview St. 713.526.2625 • barcodehouston.net BLUR Multi-level dance club featuring an upstairs lounge and balconies. Ladies enjoy Wet and Wild Wed., 18-year-olds welcome Thurs., Latin night on Sun. Happy hour 8–10pm; free cover before 11pm. 710 Pacific St. blurbar.com.
Best Steak Night at a Bar Winner
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617 Fairview • Houston, Texas • 713.528.8102 HOURS: Mon-Sat 7am–2am • Sunday 12pm–2am
HAPPY, HARD & DEEP BAR NONE! SATURDAYS 10pm-2am Oatutthe Smart’s Bar Guide is the RIPCORD best place to advertise your bar! email@example.com
Where Everyone is Welcome! Helpline: 713-46P-FLAG www.pflaghouston.org
106 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
CLUB CRYSTAL Find many of Inergy’s former staff and décor at this two-room Latin/hip-hop club. Sunday evening drag shows rule the roost. 6680 Southwest Frwy, next to Colorado 713.278.2582 • crystaltheclub.com. CROCKER BAR This comfortably remodeled Montrose nightspot also offers karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays and extended happy-hour prices throughout the week. 2312 Crocker • 713.529.3355. GEORGE Regulars rule at this comfortable neighborhood sports bar. Sports Saturdays and Sundays start at 3pm with dart and pool tournaments. 617 Fairview • 713.528.8102. GUAVA LAMP This trendy and friendly video and cruise bar gets busy during happy hour and stays busy ‘til closing. Karaoke on Wed. and Sun. 570 Waugh Dr. • 713.524.3359 • guavalamphouston.com HAMBURGER MARY’S Since 1972, Mary has served up amazing food and stellar shows! With the best drag talent in the city, it’s been voted “Best Drag Show Bar,” “Most Supportive of the LGBTQ Community,” “Best Hamburger,” “Best Brunch,” “Friendliest Staff,” and “Best Place to Celebrate” by our readers. Be sure to try the famous Mac & Cheese Balls, or grab a leg glass (as seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race)! Reservations recommended for shows. 2409 Grant St., 713.677.0674 • hamburgermarys.com EAGLE Part of the Eagle worldwide family, it’s the definitive home to the man’s man. Leather, Bear or Jock, you’ll find them here. Voted “Best Community Bar,” “Best Men’s Bar,” “Best Place to Show Your Leather,” “Best Happy Hour,” and “Best Place to Buy Erotic Playthings” by our readers. Eagle has multiple
levels and patios, along with DJs and male dancers—and it’s the place to watch sports. Noon–2am every day, 611 Hyde Park Blvd., 713.523.BIRD • houstoneagle.com JR’S BAR & GRILL This Montrose standard offers drag and strip shows throughout the week, karaoke Thurs. and Sun., plus pool tables and male dancers. 808 Pacific St. • 713.521.2519 jrsbarandgrill.com LA GRANJA DISCO Y CANTINA Houston’s newest gay disco. Great drink prices, house DJs nightly. Open at 3pm until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Mondays. 5505 Pinemont • 713.518.6753 lagranjadisco.com MICHAEL’S OUTPOST Jerry Atwood, Clay Howell, Neil Massey, Steve Wheaton, and Roger Woest take turns at the keys at this comfortable neighborhood piano bar. 1419 Richmond Ave. • 713.520.8446 NEON BOOTS DANCEHALL & SALOON Houston’s only LGBTQ country dancehall opens Wednesday–Sunday. Wednesday features Steak Night and Bingo. Free dance classes on Thursdays, and karaoke. 11410 Hempstead Hwy 713.677.0828 • neonbootsclub.com PEARL BAR This LGBT-friendly lounge in the Washington corridor features daily highlights like open mic night, steak night, and drink specials. 4216 Washington • pearlhouston.com ReBar A haute nightclub with a celebrated patio that features renowned DJs and Entertainers. Opening early October. THE RIPCORD This multi-roomed leather bar boasts a busy patio, especially on the weekends. The Forge shop located inside the club. Saturday nights with DJ Tad Dvorak. 715 Fairview Ave • 713.521.2792 RUDYARD’S The eclectic British pub is known for its craft beers as well as for the burgers. Most weekends you’ll find up-and-coming local bands rocking the house. 2010 Waugh Dr. • 713.521.0521 • rudyardspub.com TONY’S CORNER POCKET This comfortable club has one of the friendliest bar staffs in town. Amateur dance contest each Thurs., Fri., & Sat. at 11pm. Opens daily at noon. 817 W. Dallas • 713.571.7870 • tonyscornerpocketbar.com VIVIANA’S Happening weekend-only gay dance club with Latin DJs, singers, talent shows, and Sunday strippers. 4624 Dacoma • 713.681.4104
Behind the Bar
Our Family Will Treat You Like “FAMILY!”
Biggest tip from one customer?
$85 on a $50 tab, it was like the first week I worked.
Who are the hardest customers to please?
The customers who ask for a “tall” thinking they will get more liquor for the same price…but they are just getting more juice or mixer, and end up mad.
DANIELA “DANI” ALZATE
PEARL BAR 4216 Washington St. Shif ts: Tuesdays and Fridays thru Sundays What is your favorite shot to make? To drink?
Refresher or the Yellow Starburst – Peach and Pineapple Smirnoff, Peach Pucker, and orange and pineapple juices.
Favorite to make: Watermelon Green Tea, made with Watermelon Pucker, Jameson’s Irish Whiskey and Sweet & Sour mix. What is the best Favorite to drink: the same!
Where is your favorite place to drink when not on duty? I like to go to Blur Bar.
What are you best known for?
I make a great craft drink that I call the Yellow
and worst holiday to work? Why?
The Best holiday to work is New Year’s Eve, everybody likes to come out and there is a lot of emotion everywhere. I’d say the worst holiday to work is Thanksgiving. I can’t enjoy the family because of work.
If you weren’t a bartender…what career would you choose?
Eat, Drink & Be MARY! Best Drag Show Bar • Most Supportive of the LGBTQ Community • Best Brunch Best Hamburger • Best Place to Celebrate
2409 GRANT ST. For Hours of Operation and Reservations, please visit:
713.677.0674 • HamburgerMarys.com/Houston
Reservations Strongly Recommended • Yelp Rez available
I’m in school to be a surgical tech.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have one – a 75 pound chunk. A Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog named “Leo”.
What is a current bar drink trend you’d like to see end? It’s straight men who come in here thinking they are going to score.
There’s always something going on at TONY’S CORNER POCKET!
Houston’s Hottest Male Amateur Strip Contest Headquarters!
What is the best part about working at this bar? It’s a great environment. Fur babies, little babies and you meet lots of extraordinary people.
817 W. Dallas 713.571.7870 Voted the Best Place to Watch Male Dancers Tues. and Thurs, – Sunday Nights
BEAUMONT RUMORS BEAUMONT Now open in the old Orleans Street Pub location. Drag shows with Dessie Love-Blake, Lady Shamu, Kara Dion and more. 650 Orleans • 713.539.5183 rumorsbeaumont.com
BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION HALO VIDEO BAR The only LGBT dance club in Bryan/College station, this sleek spot is open Thurs.–Sat. smack in the middle of Aggieland. 121 North Main • 979.823.6174 • halobcs.com
GALVESTON 23RD ST. STATION The bar features daily drink specials and the weekend is filled with pulsing music, hot dancers, drag shows, and a Sunday Tea Dance. 1706 23rd St. • 409.621.1808
Nightly Specials – Call for Details
Cold Beverages & Hot Guys!
ROBERT’S LAFITTE The Island institution features a private patio with swimming pool. On Sat. and Sun. nights, the Ladies of Lafitte show takes the stage. 2501 Avenue Q (at 25th) • 409.765.9092 RUMORS BEACH BAR Drink specials every night and daily daydrinking specials starting at noon. Great drag shows Fri. – Sun. and karaoke Sun. – Thurs. at 8pm. Sunday Drag Bingo. 3102 Seawall Blvd. 409.497.4617 • rumorsbeachbar.com
SPRING RANCH HILL SALOON With its two pool tables, 52-inch plasma televisions, and large dance floor, this popular northside spot also offers DJs Thurs.– Sat. 24704 I-45N Suite 103 • 281.298.9035 • ranchhill.com. THE ROOM BAR AND LOUNGE This bar and video lounge has a laid-back atmosphere. DJs several nights a week. 4915 FM 2920 • 281.907.6866 • roombarspring.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business. If you want to stop, that’s ours.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS Hundreds of meetings a week in your area. Call (713) 686-6300 or visit www.aahouston.org For general information visit: www.aa.org OutSmartMagazine.com
Round Top Festival Institute
248 Jaster Rd...................................979/249-3129
807 S Post Oak Ln...........................855/661-7935
Bering United Methodist
1440 Harold................................... beringumc.org
Le Méridien Houston Downtown
First Christian Church
Living Mosaic Church
2025 W 11th..................................... 713/861-9149
Theatre Under The Stars
High Point Uptown
1121 Walker.....................................346/330-3453 L’Emerson Corporate Lodging
...........................................................Lemerson.net The Post Oak Hotel
1600 West Loop South..................844/386-1600 South Shore Harbour
1601 Sunset.................................... 713/526-8125 401 Branard St................................ 832/971-0364
St Paul’s United Methodist Church
Society For The Performing Arts Stages Theatre
800 Bagby, Suite 200...................... tuts.com/out
2500 South Shore Blvd..................281/334-1000
The Compound Antique Show
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Tony’s Corner Pocket
Gary Gritz, CPA
1805 W. Alabama........... ststephenshouston.org
1015 Holman St........... www.trinitymidtown.org
230 Westcott, Ste 210................... 713/784-3030 Heart Light Acupuncture
Trinity Episcopal Church
2550 S. State Hwy 237....Roundtopcompound.com 817 W. Dallas...................................832/722-7658
1700 W Loop S, Ste 255................ 713/489-4322
Mat Hat Maven Creative
madhatmaven.com.......................832/460-6263 OutSmart Magazine
AIDS Foundation Houston
AIDS Healthcare Foundation/Out of the Closet
1435 Westheimer................... outofthecloset.org
ART GALLERIES & MUSEUMS
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce
HoustonLGBTChamber.com.........832-510-3002 Harris County Sheriff’s Office
2305 Dunlavy.......................archwaygallery.com 616 Hawthorne...................... fotorelevance.com The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St..................................... .menil.org
Houston GLBT Political Caucus KPFT Radio
Dwane Todd Law Firm
405 Main St., Ste 602.................... 713/965-0658
AUTOMOTIVE REPAIRS Ryan Automotive
716 Fairview...................................713/522-3602 Tech Auto Maintenance
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
............................................ ppgulfcoast.org/lgbtq Ryan White Planning Council
rwpcHouston.org .......................... 713-572-3724
COMPUTERS/INTERNET/IT SERVICES Copy.com
1201-F Westheimer........................... 713/528-120
ENTERTAINMENT/NIGHT LIFE 615 Texas Ave..............................alleytheatre.org
Green Apple Salon Avila’s Salon
Share Wellness & MediSpa/Dr. John Share
4011 Richmond Ave........................713/621-8200
D. “Woodja” Flanigan, MS, LPA
2600 SW Fwy, Ste 409.................. 713/589-9804
Dr. Barry F. Gritz, MD
230 Westcott, Ste 210................... 713/869-7400 Jeffrey Myles/JM Professional Services
Dr. Catherine Boswell, Psychologist Victoria Jones, MEd, MA, LPC-S Psynergypsych.com.......................713/724-7050
611 Hyde Park........................HoustonEagle.com 808 Pacific....................................... 713/521-2519
5505 Pinemont Dr..........................713/518-6753
The Montrose Center
Psynergy Psychological Associates
230 Westcott, Ste 210..................713/869-7400
Eye Contact Eye Gallery
1806B Westheimer.........................713/523-1279 1700 Post Oak Blvd, Ste 110.......... 713/622-7470 Eye To Eye
432 W. 19th..................................... 713/864-8822 Montrose Eye Care/ Dr. Paul Lovero
520 Waugh Dr.................................713/352-0974 Spectacles on Montrose
4317 Montrose, Ste. 2....................713/529-3937
Crom Rehabilitation/Dr. Roy Rivera
Bayou City Smiles/Marcus de Guzman, DDS
Bayou City Smiles/ Cynthia Corral, DDS
530 Waugh Dr................................ 713/942-8598
Jim Benton of Houston Catering
1722 W. Alabama........................... 713/592-9300
4216 Washington................... PearlHouston.com
Boutique Eye Care
Miller Outdoor Theatre
2811 Eastman................................. 713/802-2860
5420 Dashwood, Ste 101............... 713/668-9118
2313 Edwards St., Ste 150............ 713/518-1411
Houston Eye Associates/Stewart Zuckerbrod, MD
Robert Snellgrove, LMSW-ACP
4617 Montrose, Ste C206.............. 713/522-7014
David Alcorta Catering
Legacy Community Health
2313 Edwards St., Ste. 150............. 713/518-1411
HEALTH CARE-HIV/STD TESTING
2055 Westheimer.......................... 713/520-6600
Sole Aesthetic/Dr. Vanessa T. Barrow
Denise O’Doherty, LPC, LMFT, LCDC, RN
3131 Eastside St., Ste. 435...........713/524-9525
George Country Sports Bar
617 Fairview ...................................713/528-8102
La Granja Disco Y Cantina
HEALTH CARE-FOOT/ ANKLE SPECIALISTS Soleaesthetictx.com.....................713/666-9934
401 Branard.................................... 713/529-0037
David Alcorta Catering Dessert Gallery
SignatureCare Emergency Centers
Champion Counseling/ Yvonne Champion, LCSW, CGP
Galveston Island Convention
604 W. Alabama.............................713/520-1484
Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen Live
814 Houston Ave............................ 979/533-4363
Deep Eddy Vodka
Dr. Daniel Garza, MD
Knapp Chevrolet/Ben Webster
1007 Westheimer............................281/709-2897 1925 TC Jester.................................832/850-4338 1014 Wirt Rd.....................................832/924-0312 Additional locations.......................ercare24.com
DASH Handmaid Vodka
3131 Eastside St, Ste 4...............15281/610-8190
Central Houston Cadillac/Tony Mcclelland
Elite Medical Center/Vegas, NV
37 Waugh Dr................................... 713/863-8244
2520 Main St....................................832/981-7590
150 E. Harmon Ave.......................702/546-0911
HEALTH - AGE MANAGEMENT
Katine & Nechman LLP
FOOD/SPECIALTY & SPIRITS
Kingwood Emergency Hospital
Hwy 59 N.........................................832/777-6165
NU-Cuts Hair Salon
Gonzalez Olivieri LLC
4004 College St............................. 409/840-4004
515 Westheimer............................ 713/524-7858
Beaumont Emergency Center
Lesbians Over Age Fifty (L.O.A.F.)
Charles Hunter/Hayes Hunter PC
FITNESS CLUBS/PERSONAL TRAINERS
Elite Care Plano
20000 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 100........972/378-7878
1830 Southmore Blvd.................... 832/444-8274 719 W. Gray St.............................. 713/5212-0500
Christopher Barber/Barber Jackson Law
3355 Alabama, Ste 180..................713/355-9833
Elite Care League City
Lesbian Health Initiative (LHI)
401 Branard................................... lhihouston.org
Lilly Roddy Astrology
HEALTH CARE-EMERGENCY CENTERS
2530 Gulf Fwy.................................281/337-7500
Orthotex/Dr. Zane Haider, DMD, MS
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108 DECEMBER 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 109
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SignOut | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 112 of your family, and that may include a new matriarch or patriarch. You have been working on letting go of past fears that have kept you locked into negative behavioral patterns. For some, this can mean letting go of your existing family and creating a new family in your own image. December and January are big months for you! It’s a time of decision-making that will put you on a path toward creating more safety and security in your life.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24–Nov. 21)
This is an especially active month with your ruler, Mars (the planet of action), traveling through your sign. With Mars so dominant, you are ready for a challenge, a new adventure, and opening up more about how you genuinely feel. It’s very easy to take life much more personally with Mars traveling through your sign, since Mars always needs physical expression. This is a great time to focus on health and exercise. Relationships can be more testy, and that’s because you’re not holding back on saying what you actually feel. During the holiday season, it is often easy for you to overspend, but this year you will be much more aware of how your generosity puts you in a bind. You are torn between your sense of tradition and your need to do something else this year. Focus on
what’s best for you, and everybody will be happier!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)
As December begins, you are more in a time of rest and retreat. Although this is a busy social and business time of year, you are choosing only the events and parties that you really want to attend. You will really want to pace yourself for the entire month of December. You could easily be feeling overwhelmed and wanting to escape from all of the demands and expectations. As we enter your birthday cycle at the end of the month, taking care of yourself will need to become your only priority. We are having some very strong planetary alignments in your sign, culminating in mid-January. This can have a massive impact on your career and your relationships. You could be dealing with downsizing, considering starting your own business, or looking at the idea of retirement. In relationships, you are just more protective of your time, and you want more from your partnership. Negative relationships will fall by the wayside as we navigate through December and January.
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Your career sector is very active as the month begins. You will be taking a leadership role and promoting your ideas with CONTINUED ON PAGE 85
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Busy and Active But try not to overdo the partying!
his should be a busy and active holiday month for all of us. We are out of the Mercury retrograde and will not experience another one until mid-February. We will be experiencing a solar eclipse right after Christmas on the 26th, followed by a lunar eclipse on January 10. The solar eclipse on the 26th will want to introduce new traditions into our lives, which could add more emotional expression into your family celebrations. Overall, December is going to be a busy month, so you should not try to overschedule yourself with parties. You may feel very exhausted by the time we get to January. • Jupiter, the planet of growth and expansion, enters Capricorn, the sign of business and capitalism, on December 2. This will certainly increase your social and self-promotion energies over the next year. Jupiter will have the strongest impact on the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, so it will be an especially busy and active year for those of you born under those signs. • Positive days this month are December 2, 3, 13, 15, 24, 27, and 30. More difficult days to navigate are December 8, 11, 19, 22, and 26.
ARIES (Mar. 21–Apr. 19)
The holidays are usually a positive time for you, as you are able to maintain your holiday cheer through most of the month. You are usually ready to lead the charge during the holidays, but career and longterm security issues seem to dominate this holiday season despite the good front you put on. This is a very dynamic time for your career, and your work in general. Your company may be going through some downsizing or staff reductions, which will prompt you to look in new areas. This can also be a time when you might be considering starting your own business. If you are older, you may be looking at retirement—or at least cutting back on the time you spend at work. Keep your personal boundaries in 112
mind, and be careful not to overload your schedule during this holiday season.
TAURUS (Apr. 20–May 20)
Relationship harmony is an important topic for the Taureans this month. In all relationships, business or personal, you will need to put some energy into renewing bonds, dealing with escalating problems, or making yourself more available for potential new relationships. You will not be especially patient this month, and you will take life much more personally. As the holiday season approaches, you are taking a much more laid-back approach and may be looking for something totally different during this busy time. You are breaking away from traditions and looking for a more personal way to celebrate the holidays. Your career sector is beginning to be very active, and you may be considering a new position or finding a path that allows you to be your own boss. This energy only gets stronger in 2020.
GEMINI (May 21–June 21)
You are taking a relaxed approach to the holidays, just as you did last year. You will want more peace and quiet during this holiday season and avoid many of the social demands and obligations. You may not have the energy to deal with other people’s drama. On a more personal level, your relationship sector continues to be active and positive. This is an excellent month to refresh your relationship bonds and increase intimacy, or bring a new partnership into your life if you are single. Toward the end of the month, you are looking at long-term plans that help your relationship continue to thrive. Finances and investments are also more important in the latter part of December and into early January. You will want to be more careful with your spending.
CANCER (June 22–July 22)
Health habits and work routines are what we’re focusing on in early December. This would be an excellent time to get your office in shape, take care of nagging health issues, do some writing or blogging, and get your holiday calendar organized. By the middle of the month, your relationship sector becomes much more active. There
(Nov. 22–Dec. 21) This birthday month is your personal yearly cycle when you reexamine the past year’s activity and look forward to setting new goals for the upcoming year. This past year has seen you questioning the meaning of life, and how to make your own life more meaningful. The usual holiday traditions may not be your cup of tea this year. You may need more time to yourself, or you may want to spend time with people you really enjoy. Finances continue to be on your list of priorities to focus on and improve this year. You will be looking at better and safer investments, and possibly on developing a whole new resource or career direction. You are looking for variety, making more efficient use of your time, and searching for the spark that reignites your passion. This is also a very good time to implement a new exercise and health regimen into your life. You will have a big burst of energy as we move into January. has already been a lot of activity there over the past two years. You have been working out the kinks in all of your relationships, both business and personal. You will be letting go of relationships that have outlived their usefulness, and you will be looking for more capable partners who can participate in the process instead of making you go it alone. Career energies are still a big driver in your life through December and January. Be ready to make the changes necessary!
LEO (July 23–Aug. 22)
There are two major themes for you this month. In the early part of December, you are looking to enjoy the holidays and reactivate your childhood. The other major theme is one of self-care. In the beginning of the month, you are supposed to be paying more attention to your needs. If you have young children, spending time with them will make the holidays seem much more fun and magical as they help you reconnect with your own childhood. Family and work can be very demanding, especially in the early part of the month. By the middle of the month, you’re getting a better handle on your schedule and your ever-expanding agenda. Keep a clear sense of your boundaries so you don’t feel so resentful about the obligations you’ve created for yourself. Personal relationships become a much more important topic at the end of the month and into January. You will be looking for new goals and new directions in that area of your life.
VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)
Home and family are traditionally activated for the Virgoans during this time of year. You may be looking at relocating, creating new interiors for your home, or taking care of structural repairs where you live. You may be very happy with having the family holiday gathering at your house this year. You are clear and direct, and don’t mind taking the lead in organizing and getting everything done. By midmonth, you are feeling more comfortable and playful for the next two weeks. You may also sense that everyone in your family is getting older, and that some family members may not be there in the future. Near the end of the month, you are beginning to focus on your work agenda and long-term plans and goals for next year. Finally, be sure that you take some time for yourself, especially in the middle of the month. Otherwise you may be feeling burned out, which will take some of the joy out of the holidays.
LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 23)
For this holiday season, you are being more conscious about your spending and who you spend your money on! This is a good time to look at new resources and new investment opportunities. You are communicating your ideas and views more clearly, and are more willing to share those views with others. Home and family continue to be strong issues to deal with. There have been changes within the power structure CONTINUED ON PAGE 111
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OutSmartMagazine.com | DECEMBER 2019 113
SCENE OUT Photos by DALTON DEHART & EDGARDO AGUILAR
The Diana Foundation held its Country Dinner Weekend at Neon Boots and La Griglia on November 2 and 3. Pictured are Kerry Kadell, Steven Bretthauer, Dan Maxwell, Corbin Young, Jason Bickel, Nathan Wright, Matthew Moncivais, and Mike Leibbert.
The Houston Tennis Club held its 39th annual tournament November 8–10. Pictured are Jeremy Fain, Chuck Meredith, and Chris Shepard.
The DeMartino Design Group held its annual Holiday Open House on November 12. Pictured are Sonny Woodcock, Austin Parrish, Taylor DeMartino, Gina Plaunty, and Korey Sitton.
The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber held a ribbon cutting at Jumper Maybach Fine Art Gallery in Uptown Park on November 13. Pictured are Tiffany Tosh, Ben Workman (aka Jumper Maybach), Tammi Wallace, Jason Rocha, Daniel Zamora, Jill Maxwell, and Steven Baker.
On November 11, Mayor Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board held its Breakfast of Champions at Night inaugural reception and presentation of HOUmanity Awards. Pictured are HOUmanity Awards recipients with Mayor Turner, event chair Harrison Homer-Guy, and hosts Nick Wolny and Khalia Guillory.
On November 16, the Women of Harris County for Good Government presented How to Keep Harris County Blue at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church. Pictured are County Clerk Diane Trautman, State Rep. Gina Calanni, Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess, DA Kim Ogg, and Judge Lesley Briones.
On November 22, EPAH held a 19th Street shopping event in the Heights at Eclectic Home and CODA. Pictured are Frank Yunc, Janette Jeffries, Denise O’Doherty, Kim Unerfusser, Dale Johnson, Elias Contreras, Colby Weems, and Mickey Dedon.
Kevin Hamby’s Hirsuit photographic exhibition was held at Heights Art Studios & Gallery on November 23. Pictured are Michael Libbert, Charles Tatum II, Ricky Davidson, Sean Kramer, Nathan Wright, Hans Geler, Kevin Hamby, Carlos Palomeque, Eric Johnke, Jerry Callaway, and Jay Obendorfer.
On November 24, the Krewe of Olympus held its Cajun Fest. Pictured are Ben Jones-Walters, Grace Harvey, David Gandy (King), Becky Brewer, Bill Jones-Walters (Queen), and Andy Eversole
On November 23, Barry Browning and Fernando Dovalina celebrated their 50th anniversary at the home of Ronald Berlander and Gary Voth. Pictured are longtime friends (front row, l-r) Chris Garcia, Frank Staggs; (second row) Randall Shields, Esther Villarreal Houser; (third row) Bill Gilmer, Sue Curran, Fernando Dovalina, Barry Browning, Ronald Belanger, Gary Voth, Rene Farris, and Gregg Farris.
On November 25, the Pride Forum held its runoff-elections forum with various runoff candidates. Pictured are Brad Pritchett, Andrea Segovia, Megan Smith, Emmett Schelling, and James Spears.
A celebration of life for Jarry Booth was held at Christ Church Cathedral on November 2. Pictured are Tom Raguse, Nathan Wright, Craig Kennedy, Michael Grover, Tony Castro, Earl Krieger, and Bill Poplin.
On August 19, an investiture for Judge Lesley Briones
114 DECEMBERR 2019 | OutSmartMagazine.com
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OutSmart magazine is Houston's LGBTQ media source. In our December 2019 we feature: • Houston designer Alan Gonzalez makes his mark on Proje...