Houston Chronicle Saying Bye to Downtown, Heading for Just Inside the 610 Loop

Photo by Ed Uthman
The old Houston Post building inside the 610 Loop near the Southwest Freeway will become the new home for most all of the Houston Chronicle's operations, it was announced today.

Promising to develop a "state of the art" facility, the Houston Chronicle Media Group, publisher of the Houston Chronicle, La Voz, Chron.com and HoustonChronicle.com, is going to start the bid process for renovations of the new/old campus. It already runs its press operations, circulation, and sales out of that office.

A press release says " it will be exploring alternatives for its downtown facility" and whether that means sale or something else, we don't know. Some of the newsroom will stay downtown to cover business and government, Chron officials said.

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Three Stupid Things People From Other Places Think About Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Davis
Houston is often criticized or lampooned by people from other parts of the country, but all that really means is that this city is notable enough to draw fire. People don't usually talk about boring places.

Still, a lot of the stereotypes that get flung our way are just silly, and any Houstonian who has traveled around the country has doubtlessly encountered those jabs at
our city. Let's look at a few of these erroneous stereotypes a little closer.

1. Houston is full of cowboys.

Look, I'm not going to say that there aren't people living here who self-identify as "cowboys," or who reflect certain aspects of that lifestyle, but when I've talked with people from outside Texas, a lot of them are shocked to discover that not everyone in the greater Houston area is commuting to work on horseback while dressed like Slim Pickens in an old Western.

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Best Five Reasons Austin Is Way Less Cool Than Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Kumar Appaiah
They may have kept it weird, but we keep it cooler.
I guess city rivalries are a standard thing in almost every state of the U.S. I grew up in the Houston area, lived in Austin through most of the 1990′s, moved back to H-Town, and then recently back to Austin after living in Houston for many years. I like both cities a lot, for different reasons.

But there's a lot of weird hard feelings and mean-spirited criticism of both cities by people that live in the other, and it seems dumb to me. Especially considering that there are a lot of ignorant fools from outside of Texas that think the whole state is populated with subhuman stereotypes, or that the whole area in unfit for human habitation. They think Texas sucks and that we're unsophisticated and stupid. Those are the morons we should save our disdain for, not people living a little less than 200 miles apart.

Rather than determine that one city is "better" than the other, it would be far more accurate to just say that they're very different in many key ways, and the things that make one place paradise for a person, might make it a hell for a different individual.

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Ten Things You Have to Explain to Non-Houstonians

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Daniel Horande

Houstonians love to brag about their town. But there are misconceptions about every city, whether they regard food, politics or transit.

Here are 10 things Houstonians have to tell misinformed out-of-towners:

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Houstonian Helps Archive Gay History (Part 5)

Categories: Houston 101

Photo courtesy J.D. Doyle
J.D. Doyle, center, is the grand marshal of this year's gay pride parade.
This is the final part in a series for Houston Pride Week.

J.D. Doyle, the male grand marshal for this year's Pride Parade, is on a mission: To gather as much of Houston's LGBT history as possible and make it available online. Known to many Houstonians as the longtime voice of KPFT's "Queer Voices" program, Doyle is also a leading world expert on "queer music."

In the course of curating an exhaustive collection and operating an online program of queer music, Doyle realized he was "running across all kinds of history that no one knew anything about." He grasped that primary sources for learning the history of the LGBT community were not being collected and cared for, so he undertook the mission. He finds it surprising that "just a historian and radio personality" was selected as a grand marshal.

See also: The Fight For Pride Week (Part 4)

"In recent years that election has become something of a popularity contest, and I'm not political, I'm not a big fundraiser, I don't sit on numerous boards, etc., and I'm not a party boy, so I was totally shocked that I was elected this year," says Doyle, who edited a gay newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia in the late Seventies before moving to Houston. "But I have to say how gratifying it is that my work is recognized by the community. That's very humbling."

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Article Says More White People Are Moving to Houston Area Thanks to Jobs

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Giovanni
Harris County added about 9,000 residents last year.
While fewer and fewer white people are being born nationally, compared with say Latinos, a recent article in the Houston Chronicle (which prefers the word "Anglo"), shows that statewide and locally the white population has grown.

As the Chronicle reports:

Texas, on the other hand, saw the largest numeric increase of white residents in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013, gaining about 51,000 Anglos

Within Harris County, where Anglos make up about 32 percent of the population or about 1.3 million, some 9,000 white residents were added last year.
"There's a significant amount of Anglos moving into the region from outside of Houston," said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership, an economic development organization.

"They're coming here because of the jobs. ... If you look at all the growth in the Energy Corridor and the Medical Center, and the new Exxon campus in The Woodlands, we're attracting workers who are more skilled, and many of them are white."

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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

PrideHouston.org/Chris 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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