Latest Gay News
The spring flair was certainly on display this past Easter Sunday for the 32nd annual Bunnies on the Bayou. More than 3,400 people turned out for the annual event--and that meant a record amount of money raised, with $110,000 going to local charities.
The popular 501(c)3 organization that hosts a series of parties througout the year is best known for the main event on the plaza outside of the Wortham Theater Center on Easter. Despite a late afternoon thunderstorm, thousands enjoyed one of the best Bunnies on the Bayou in recent memory. The group's mission is to raise and distribute funds for charitable, educational and cultural programs that improve the quality of life for LGBT people and promote education and awareness of human rights in the region.
On Sunday April 28, BOTB distributed checks totaling $110,000 to 16 different charities including:
- Mentoring Educating & Nurturing (MEN)
- AIDS Foundation Camp Hope
- Seniors Preparing for Rainbow Years
- Bayou City Performing Arts
- Houston Area Community Services
- Lesbian Health Initative
- Bering Omega Community Services
- Montrose Center
- LOUD Inc.
- AIDS Housing Coalition
- Spay Neuter Assistance Program
- Pride Houston
- Montrose Grace Place
- Lazarus House
Click here for pictures from the check presentation.
Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis, the duo known as Team Chippendales on the most recent season of "The Amazing Race," will serve as the celebrity grand marshals in this year's Pride Parade and festivities.
Vaughan and Davis will perform during the Pride Festival on June 29 and lead the parade through Montrose later in the evening. The two currently perform in a nightly Chippendales show in their own theater in Las Vegas.
"The amount of love and support we have received from the LGBT community has been beyond overwhelming," Vaughan told the Houston Chronicle. "And now Houston opening their arms to us as well is really just amazing. It's such a fun, exciting, big city - and we could not be more excited to actually get to perform there."
Click here for the entire article from the Chron.
The Alley Theatre is about to get a major makeover that will elevate Houston's resident dramatic company to a new level.
This week officials with the Alley announced a $73 million capital campaign that will fund the renovation, enabling the theater to offer more shows, a greater variety of shows and provide patrons with an enhanced experience (can anyone say larger restrooms?).
Designed in the "brutalist" architecture form epitomized by unadorned poured concrete, the Alley building hasn't undergone a major overhaul since it opened in 1968. The plan calls for a major cleaning of the building's exterior, a new "fly space" that will allow for rapid scenery transformations and several tweaks to the stage set-up.
"This is not just about the building," Alley Artistic Director Gregory Boyd told the Houston Chronicle. "We're excited about the prospect of what will feel like a new facility, bringing it into the 21st century in terms of what we can create on stage, as well as the comfort of the audience. Yet also keeping the 'Alleyness' - the building's iconic architecture and the intimacy between actor and audience that our patrons love. The whole campaign is about the artistic product and the experience it affords to the artists and the audience."
Beyond the major renovations, money raised through the capital campaign will go toward two other initiatives: artistic enhancement and an expansion of the theater's endowment.
The company has so far raised $30 million of the planned total of $74 million, but it must raise another $16 million before it can finalize a timeframe and other details for the project.
Founded in 1947 by Nina Vance, the Alley is one of the oldest resident theater companies in the country. The company operated in two smaller locations, before opening its downtown complex housing the 824-seat Hubbard Stage and the 310-seat Neuhaus Stage.
Click here for more from the Chronicle. And click here for more renderings of the planned renovation.
Have you seen the racks popping up around Houston?
The city's B-Cycle program kicked into high gear in April, expanding from a pilot phase of just three bike racks around Downtown to a total of 21 racks stretching from Montrose to the Museum District.
The bike-share program allows member users to check-out cruiser-style bikes free of charge for up to an hour and just $2 for each additional ½ hour. The obvious goal is to give Houstonians a vehicular alternative for relatively short jaunts. There is a membership fee on the front end, ranging from just $5 for a 24-hour pass or $65 for an annual membership.
Users can sign up for a membership online or at any of the stations. Click here for a map of stations across the area.
B-Cycle is ideally suited for those looking for an inexpensive way to tour around the city's core, along Buffalo Bayou or through the tree-lined streets of Montrose.
For more information, visit the B-Cycle homepage.
The nominations for Pride Houston 2013 grand marshals are in!
Pride has announced the candidates in three categories for this year's parade, which will roll on June 29.
Male grand marshal candidates:
- JD Doyle, producer of Queer Music Heritage radio program
- John Nechman, immigration attorney who focuses on LGBT cases
Female grand marshal candidates:
- Robin Brown, corporate executive and fundraiser
- Liz James, CEO of Lesbian Health Initiative
- Gay Nell Gulihur, Gay Rodeo Association and fundraiser
Ally grand marshal candidates:
- Januari Leo, National Coalition for LGBT Health
- Anna Eastman, HISD School Board President
Learn more about the nominees here and vote for your favorites here.
Pride Houston's grand marshal selection process begins with community nominations. The public is asked to submit individuals who they feel have contributed most to the positive image and outlook of the Houston LGBT community. Those nominations are then reviewed by a committee comprised of former grand marshals and Pride representatives to ensure eligibility. The nominations that make it through that process are then voted on by the public at large.
The winning grand marshals will be announced at the Pride Kickoff Event on April 11. The 2013 Pride Celebration, which includes the festival and parade, is set for June 29.
Look for a lot of excitement in 2013 as some of Houston's most notable organizations celebrate milestone anniversaries.
Founded in 1913, the Houston Symphony is renowned among major municipal symphonies. Each year, the organization performs more than 170 concerts for approximately 350,000 people, with shows that include a broad range of music from classical to popular. After a century in business, the symphony shows no signs of slowing down. Upcoming shows include Dvorak's New World Symphony, Aladdin & the Arabian Nights and the Songs of Simon and Garfunkel.
Also hitting the century mark is the Port of Houston. The nation's second-largest port processes 200 million tons of cargo annually, carried by tens of thousands of vessels and serves as the backbone of Houston's industrial economy. In 2013, the port strikes out in a new direction, welcoming two cruise lines to its $108 million Bayport Cruise Terminal. Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines will begin service later this year from Houston to ports in Caribbean and beyond.
Over nine decades, millions of people have enjoyed free performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. Offering quality programming to patrons free of charge was a founding principal of the organization in 1923, one that it holds fast to still today. From March to October each year, performance groups from across Houston and around the world-from ballet, drama and musical theater to acrobatics, dance and beyond-grace the Miller stage. In 2011 alone, nearly half a million people grabbed a seat under the amphitheater roof or on the hillside lawn.
A local chain has been serving an American classic since 1923. James Coney Island, best known for its Coney Island hot dog, celebrates 90 years in Houston. Other favorites include chili pie with Fritos, cheeseburgers, cheese fries, Italian sausage sandwiches, tater tots and milk shakes. With more than a dozen locations today, the restaurant has a cult following and offers merchandise from t-shirts to collectibles with the James Coney logo.
The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau commemorates its 50th anniversary in 2013. The organization charged with marketing and selling Houston and Harris County to the world launched in a meeting room of the Rice Hotel in 1963. Today, the GHCVB continues to promote restaurants, hotels, convention facilities and other elements of the local hospitality industry. In 2011 alone, Houston hosted 230 conventions and other events that drew more than half a million attendees and an economic impact of $531 million.
The Tex-Mex taqueria that launched a national chain still looks and tastes as authentic as it did when "Mama Ninfa" opened the doors in 1973. Forty years later, Tex-Mex purists continue to delight in the kitschy décor, the fajitas and the Tecate at Ninfa's on Navigation. Now there's an expanded patio bar with craft Mexican cocktails to mix with the ladies hand-pressing tortillas.
Begun in 1993 as a means of creating community pride in Houston's largely African American Third Ward neighborhood, Project Row Houses has been hailed as one of the most unique art installations in the country. Since its inception, PRH's campus has grown from the original block and a half of 22 shotgun houses to six blocks and 40 properties, including 12 artist exhibition and/or residency spaces, seven houses for young mothers, artist residencies, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, low-income residential and commercial spaces. The group celebrates its 20th anniversary year starting in October.
Only a truly talented actor can take on roles as diverse as Tom in The Glass Menagerie and Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. For critically acclaimed thespian Tony Sheldon, it's been more than four decades of stage performances in some of the most celebrated works ever put to paper.
After gaining international stardom in Priscilla, the Tony-nominated Australian actor is bringing his unique flair to Houston for Theater Under the Stars' staging of the Lerner & Loewe classic Camelot. Sheldon talked to us about the family business, President Kennedy and cross dressing night after night.
My Gay Houston: You grew up in a show business family. How did that influence your path?
Tony Sheldon: I've been performing since age seven. Both sets of grandparents were Vaudeville stars back in the 30s and 40s in Australia. My mother was a musical theater star in Australia and my dad started out as a dancer then became a television producer. Really, growing up I thought everyone was in show business. I didn't know people had other jobs.
It was the family business and my parents didn't discourage it. Their only concern was that I got a good education. They all told me how unreliable it was and they wanted me to have an alternative.
How did you know you wanted to act?
My great love was always musical theater. To see my parents doing Gypsy or Anything Goes, to see that electrifying experience in the theater, hearing that music-it triggered my imagination. The problem for me was that my family was extremely well-known in Australia and of course I didn't want to come off as the untalented one. When I started doing school plays, I realized I had a talent for dramatic acting. No one else had gone into that particular genre, so I thought "aha, this is the way to go!"
I concentrated on the dramatic classics, Chekhov, Eugene O'Neill. That's how I made my name in Australia.
You performed the part of Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert more than 1,700 times around the world, including on Broadway. How did that very unique role change you as an artist?
You know it came at an extraordinary time. I had just turned 50 when I did the first workshop for Priscilla in Australia. That's all it was supposed to be, but I got offered the role. I was very reluctant to do it at first because I didn't want to do another show in a frock. But I believed in the project and felt I could do it justice. The show took off. It took me outside Australia and exposed me to a wider audience. I had never been to Europe and really I got to see the world because of that role.
I ended up moving to New York with my partner of 33 years. It was a total life changer. I got nominated for every theater award and suddenly there I was on Broadway.
What role have you enjoyed the most?
They're all so different and they all bring different rewards. I loved playing the son in Long Day's Journey Into Night. I also loved playing John Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet. Anything that pushes me into areas that are unexpected. I'm really excited about Camelot because I had forgotten about the role of Pellinore. My mother used to say "they haven't written the show for you yet", which is to say there is something out there in the ether that isn't even on paper yet that's so perfect for you.
Camelot isn't as widely known as other musicals. Why did you want to do this particular production?
I did grow up with the show. It was 1960 when I saw it in Australia; of course it had that incredible association with the White House at the time. John F. Kennedy used to play the music in the White House. He loved the dream of this fantasy place where everything is perfect and believed that in some ways it was achievable. The story of course is a timeless legend, very romantic. It has all of those associations for me from my childhood but I hadn't seen it on stage since I was five years old. That's what I'm looking forward to: the jousting, the beautiful Lerner and Loewe music, the big cast. It's all that epic, sweeping beauty. It's also my first American gig as a resident.
And you play Pellinore. What's his place in Camelot?
He's actually an old king from another kingdom who wanders into Camelot. He's been wandering in the woods for years and he suddenly remembers he's been in Camelot before where he met this boy named Wart. He finds out that Wart has grown up to be King Arthur. He's invited to stay in Camelot and be a sort of advisor to Arthur. Pellinore comes across as vague and silly and yet he's also wise.
What will gay audiences like about this show?
It is one of the great big shows, full of beautiful girls and handsome knights. And it's a very romantic story. I just think that anyone who loves musical theater will appreciate it. It's one of the great Broadway classics that should be seen, but doesn't come around often because of its huge scale.
Have you been to Houston before?
I have not. I'm looking forward to exploring the city a bit while I'm there. I'll be completely at the mercy of the company!
Click here for more information and tickets for Camelot. And don't miss OUT@TUTS night Jan. 24th.
What happens when a couple ladies take to F Bar to quiz guys on the gay singles scene?
There are definitely some fun moments and candid advice in this short video from CultureMap. Everything from favorite pick-up lines to big no-nos in dates, it's all here. We've got to give these girls props for asking the tough questions like "Do you kiss on the first date?" Clearly they don't hang around gay guys that much. Click here for more from CultureMap on the project.
Best line in the whole video? "If you see yellow teeth, run!" Amen, sister.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston provided a sneak peak today of the more than 100 works featured in the upcoming exhibition Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado.
The exclusive exhibition showcases the evolution of painting in Spain from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Houston will be the only U.S. city to host these stunning works from artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Giovanni Domenico and Titian.
The Museo Nacional del Prado opened in central Madrid in 1819. From the start, the museum housed some of the most important paintings from the royal collection, stretching over several centuries. Today, its collection includes 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and thousands more prints and drawings.
The Houston exhibit includes such famous pieces as Diego Velasquez's Mars, Francisco de Zurbarán's Lamb of God and Titian's Christ Carrying the Cross.
"This exhibition marks the first time that the Prado has lent so extensively to an American institution," says MFAH Director Gary Tinterow. "It is a wonderful privilege for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to have this exclusive U.S. showing, and I am especially looking forward to presenting these iconic paintings to our communities."
Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts from December 16, 2012, through March 31, 2013. The exhibit opens Dec. 16 with a Spanish Street Festival from 1-4 pm in front of the museum. The festival will include wine, food and Spanish music.
What are you doing this New Years? Whatever your taste, you're sure to find something just right for you in H-Town.
For the first time this year, Pride Houston is hosting a New Years Eve event. Lumiere Nouveau will be a masquerade party featuring award-winning DJ Joe Ross and special guest vocalists. An open bar, hor d'oeuvres and a midnight champagne toast/balloon drop will make this one of the go-to holiday events.
For the ladies, Houston club promoter Julie Mabry is teaming up with Guava Lamp for a unique event featuring stars of The Real L Word Kiyomi & Lauren. Hear sounds from DJ BJ Laray from Austin and pre-order booths and bottle service. Early bird tickets are just $15 and are available through GirlJamHouston.com.
Looking for something a little more classical? How about a Viennese New Year? The Grammy-nominated early music ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston envelops its guests with festive music by the legendary composers of the Viennese royal court. The concert program featuring two rising stars of the opera stage. The magnificent instrumentalists of Ars Lyrica Houston will perform works by J.H. Schmeltzer, Johann Joseph Fux and Johann Strauss, the "Waltz King."
The concert is followed by the Ars Lyrica Annual Gala at 10:30 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the Hobby Center. Guests will enjoy flowing champagne, delicious hors d'oeuvres from Artista Restaurant, Viennese waltzes, and the opportunity to bid on a distinctive silent auction.
Sports fans will want to see Texas Tech's Red Raiders face off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. The game is set for an 8 pm kickoff at Houston's Reliant Stadium on Friday, December 28.
The Big 12 Red Raiders finished the season with a 7-5 record. The Big 10 Minnesota Gophers were 6-6 this season. This will be the first Meineke Bowl for both teams.
Bowl game tickets are on sale now.
For a family-friendly approach to ringing in 2013, check out New Year's Eve Houston. This free event will feature Grammy Award winner KC and the Sunshine Band. You will enjoy a host of performers and entertainers, a bubble garden, an illuminated art car parade, ice skating, a variety of food and drinks, plus two countdowns.
New Year's will arrive early for families with small children and a second arrives at the stroke of midnight with a spectacular fireworks finale.