The Fight for Pride Week (Part 4)

Categories: Houston 101

Getting Houston Pride Week off the ground was no easy task back in the day.
Part four in a series for Houston Pride Week.

Once formed, "The Caucus," as the Houston LGBT Political Caucus became known, quickly organized a series of actions that would see the political power of the LGBT community expand exponentially. By the end of the decade, even straight candidates would seek and welcome its endorsement. One of its first important actions was the protest of pop singer Anita Bryant's appearance in Houston.

Outspoken and violently opposed to homosexuality, Bryant had become a "family values" symbol and mouthpiece, and she was invited to Houston to sing "country and patriotic songs" for the Texas State Bar Association convention in Houston on June 16, 1977. Writer Chris Love describes the raucous 3,000--strong protest by gays as "Houston's Stonewall moment." Hill also marks the Bryant protest as a key moment in Houston LGBT history.

See also: The Homosexual Playground of the South' (Part 3)

"She really did us a favor by coming out against us. After Anita spoke here, things started coming together like they never had before."

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'The Homosexual Playground of the South' (Part 3)

Categories: Houston 101

HoustonPrideWeekPhotoGarza.jpeg Garza Photography
Houston was an established gay "playground" in the 1950s and 1960s.
Part three in a series for Houston Pride Week.

The trials, tribulations, and awakenings during the war against fascism led to a spate of coming-out items in the immediate postwar years. In 1944, poet Robert Duncan published The Homosexual in Society, the earliest attempt to formulate a gay rights agenda. In Houston, the legendary gay bar Pink Elephant opened at the corner of Fannin and Bell in 1945 just as World War II was ending. According to Van Allen's report, the Pink Elephant opening marks a tidal shift for gays, since it drew the scene out of the traditional gay areas downtown. The bar later moved to 1218 Leland. Described in one publication as "primarily serving older gay men," it was an anchoring fixture of the local scene for almost half a century.

While most gays were still forced to lead the closeted life, the end of the war brought landmark national events that were the first cracks in the wall of intolerance, inequality, and injustice. In Atlanta, Rev. George Augustine Hyde founded the first church to openly accept gays in 1946, while in 1947 the first national lesbian periodical, Vice Versa, began publication. Considered shocking and controversial, Dr. Alfred Kinsey's study, Sexual Behavior In the Human Male, recognized homosexuality as an aspect of human sexuality in 1948.

See also: Houston's Earliest Gay Scenes (Part 2)

Several landmark events in Houston's LGBT history happened in the Fifties. The Dianas, a cocktail party presented as a fake Academy Awards show for a clique of closeted gay professionals, held their first event in 1954 in the Louisiana Street home of florist David Moncrief. An evening of ribald hilarity that featured hosts Tom Adams and Charles Hebert doing send-ups of Hollywood gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons and giving out cheeky and often titillating local awards (the first Diana award was a dildo presented to Virginia "Hub" Lankford for "an amorous adventure"), the annual event became one of the hottest gala tickets in town.

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Houston's Earliest Gay Scenes (Part 2)

Categories: Houston 101

photo by Rusty Walker
The winner of the Halloween drag contest at Palace Club 1970, Jimmy Ardoin
Part two in a series for gay pride week.

It didn't take Ron Levine and partners like the club-savvy Gene Howle long to turn the new Palace into a hot spot. In October, 1970, the private club -- private meaning mixed drinks were available and entry could be controlled -- hosted a drag pageant that is still remembered fondly by those in the know. This was three years prior to national and state drag competitions forming in 1974.

Rusty Walker, bass player for popular local band Sound Investment, remembers the Palace well. Shortly after Houston Press reported in early May about the demolition of the building, the top floor of which was home to a series of popular night clubs -- Top of the Mark, the Palace, Cody's and Sky Bar -- Walker forwarded: a yellowed color photo of what appeared at first glance to be a woman in a stunning red, white, and blue outfit.

See also: Looking Back at Some of the Hurdles Houston's Gay Community Had to Overcome (Part I)

But Walker explained that the photo was "the winner of the Halloween drag pageant at the Palace Club."

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Ten Hottest Things Houstonians Have to Deal With During the Summer

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Norm Lanier
People have romantic ideas of summer. As a kid, it's all about being off from school. As an adult, summer is time to squeeze in those vacation days.

But no matter how much we wish otherwise, summer in Houston can really suck sometimes. Here are some of the hottest things Houstonians have to deal with during the summer:

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Top 10 Ways to Identify a Native Houstonian

Photo by Marco Torres
Nothing quite encapsulates Houston like Z-Ro's Mo City Don freestyle.

Houston is home to a booming economy. Houston is the fourth most populous city in the United States. Houston is cool.

Houston is a lot of things, home to a lot different people and cultures. And while no string of facts and qualities can quite stitch together a complete story of this city that we love, we gave it our best shot.

Here are ten signs that prove you're from Houston.

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Houston Still Loves Hoes

Photo courtesy of

Houston still loves LJ Hoes.

Or at least Houston loves the Astro outfielder's last name. Even after Hoes got optioned down to the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City in late May, baseball themed shirts reading, "Houston Loves Hoes" are still selling.

"I haven't been promoting it a lot," said Jeff Lange, the shirt's designer. "It was definitely surprising for sure."

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Which World Cup Teams Might Houstonians Root For? [Map]

Photo by Marcello Casal Jr

The U.S. plays its first game of the 2014 World Cup today against Ghana. Of course, Houston is in the good old US of A, and the Americans will have Houstonians rooting for them.

But this is one of the most diverse cities in the country (maybe even the world). With that in mind, we decided to look at what countries, other than the United States, will have fans rooting for them in the World Cup. Thanks in part to Rice sociologist Michael Emerson, we charted what World Cup-competing countries are represented here by using 2010 Census data to find the foreign-born populations in the Houston metropolitan area.

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World Cup

You Looking for @HiddenCash in Houston?

Photo by bfishadow
@HiddenCash will be dropping more than a couple of dollar bills in Houston Saturday.

We told you last week about a copycat of the Twitter account @HiddenCash showing up in San Antonio. Now Texas is getting the real thing. More important, Houston is getting the real thing.

@HiddenCash, a social media account, is, according to its Twitter bio, "an anonymous social experience for good." The account first started dropping hints for cash scavenger hunts in San Francisco in late May, with prizes normally $60-$200. @HiddenCash now has more than 540,000 followers.

Copycats, like @HiddenCashTexas -- based out of San Antonio, have been popping up in different places. @HoustonCgm set up a @HiddenCash-like scavenger hunt at Hager Park last week. But it wasn't until earlier this week that @HiddenCash announced it was expanding its operation to other cities, including Houston.

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Get Ready to Welcome the 346

Categories: Houston 101

It's getting crowded in our area codes.
In some circles, area codes are those self-identifying numeric IDs that really let people know where you're from. Anyone repping that 713? But seriously, when was the last time you actually met someone who gave you a 713 number?

The Public Utility Commission said Houston would require a new area code because the existing ones, 281, 832 and our favorite, 713, will run out of phone-number sequences by September. The PUC said a new area code will kick in within a few weeks, beginning July 1. "The 346 area code will overlay existing area codes 713, 281 and 832 in Harris, Fort Bend, Waller, Austin, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston and Brazoria counties," the PUC said in a statement.

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Five Things You May Not Know About 45-Year-Old IAH

Photo by Alan Cordova

Time flies, doesn't it? This weekend, George Bush Intercontinental Airport celebrated its 45th birthday. It's an international hub for the Bayou City, bringing people from around the world to Houston (sometimes for things other than tourism, we imagine).

In honor of the airport named after the 41st president, here are five things you may not know about the place with the airport code IAH:

5. Charlotte and Phoenix see more domestic travelers than IAH.
You'd think having the fourth-largest metro population in the United States would mean Houston's largest airport would see lots of domestic travelers pass through. Yes and no. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, approximately 29 million domestic flyers passed through IAH -- good enough for 13th among major U.S. airports.

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