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by Donalevan Maines
Reminding readers that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and that we must not be consumed with thoughts of revenge, the first OutSmart issue post-9/11 celebrated “the gayest and the greatest” with the fifth annual Readers’ Choice Awards recognizing “the most fabulous dining, nightlife, businesses, and people in our dear queer Houston.” Making the Hall of Fame with five consecutive wins were best music store Soundwaves, finest gym Fitness Exchange, coolest clothes for boys Basic Brothers, and pinkest politician Annise Parker.
Courage trumped fear on National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, with Melanie Black, Brenda Thomas, Judy Reeves, and John Nechman recalling their experiences of coming out. Nechman said, “1982: cruising Westheimer’s fabulous weekend parade, overwhelming impulse makes me scream never-before-said words: ‘I’m gay!’ Fierce drag queens scream back: ‘Honey, you sure are!’”
The Montrose branch library displayed photographs of young people by Boston photographer Adam Mastoon, who came to town for Teen Read Week and discussed issues raised in his book The Shared Heart: Portraits and Stories Celebrating Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People.
Gay author Michael Cunningham, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for The Hours, read from his work as part of the Margaret Root Brown Houston Reading Series.
Empower, the star project of the Houston’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, attracted representatives of gay chambers of commerce from Austin, Boston, Chicago, and Toronto. The chamber’s executive director Coy Tow announced that Budweiser had been added as a sponsor, joining Chase, Shell, and Equiva.
Michael Mizwa was named the new chief executive officer of AIDS Foundation Houston. • In Galveston, more than 90 artists contributed to ARToberFEST, with proceeds from a juried show, wine café, live music, food, and art cars benefiting the AIDS Coalition of Coastal Texas and Sunshine Supportive Employment.
Black Hawk Leather opened its new location at 713 Fairview with greatly expanded merchandise.
And at Mela’s, 302 Tuam, Miss Lupita and DJ Lino presided over a costume and howling contest for Halloween.
Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.