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The Gay Agenda: January 2004

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by Tim Brookover

LightRail
Photo by Gavyn Aaron

Rail Love : On January 1, the train arrives. After decades of bootless debate over mass transit, light rail debuts in Houston. Montrose queers can hop on in Midtown for points south and north, including downtown nightspots. We eagerly await the first sighting of a drag queen riding the rails on her way to a show at Rich’s.

On the Air : This month, Jimmy Carper and the gang at After Hours, the wee-hours weekly show on KPFT, continue their series of live broadcasts. Michael Williams is organizing this Face for Radio Tour, which marks the 16th anniversary of the program. The fun starts at midnight Sunday and continues through 2 a.m. on January 3 at Katz’s Deli, on January 10 at Meteor, and on January 17 at Guava Lamp.

Come January 15, Ernie Manouse will debut a new series on KUHT, the PBS station. Called InnerVIEWS, the program will air every Thursday at 10 p.m. Anne Rice, Vampire Chronicles author and mother of gay writer Christopher Rice, takes the guest chair. Other guests this month include Broadway star Ben Vereen on January 22.

Love It : On January 26, Bayou City Concert Musicals will present an encore performance of She Loves Me at the Hobby Center. Paul Hope and David Thome direct. In our October issue, arts scribe D.L. Groover raved about the original September run: “These concert versions are the pinnacle of musical-comedy theater.” Bonus: Proceeds from BCCM productions support the Center for AIDS.

Good Works : On January 24, the fundraising nobles of the Royal Sovereign and Imperial Court of the Single Star will announce new monarchs during Coronation XX. At the event at Sheraton Suites Houston, Emperor XIX Ronnie Siebert and Empress XIX SoFonda St. John Lust will conclude their reign. Check out www.rsicss.org for the weekend schedule, which includes the January 25 “Stud Muffins/Divas Party and Victory Show” at Keys West. Woody Stiner is RSICSS board president.

Make your voice heard: Voting for RSICSS emperor and empress is open to the community. Cast you ballot January 12, 6–9 p.m., at Meteor or January 17, noon–4 p.m., at the Assistance Fund.

Our town’s other charity-minded regal eagles, the Imperial Court of Houston-Space City Empire, crowned the new Apollo Emperor Keith Vyvial and Gemini Empress Jessica Van Shelton on October 4. Previous ICOH emperor Sean Carter is now empire chairman.

Through frequent club shows, both groups garner the green each month for good causes. Among many charitable events this month, RSICSS will host Drag Queen Bingo at Meteor on January 13 and 20, raising money for the Assistance Fund. On January 10, ICOH’s Eartha Quake and Loyd Powell will present “Blue-Haired Ladies on Gin,” a benefit at EJ’s for the PWA Coalition and Montrose Clinic HIV and Hepatitis C testing and counseling programs.

Across the community, events planners rack their gray matter for clever, attention-grabbing names for their galas, benefits, and extravaganzas (“Girl, give me a better rhyme for wig”). It’s brain-draining work. Last month, I bollixed the especially smart moniker for the March 20 Human Rights Campaign gala. The theme is the punning “Garden of Even.”

In Your Neighborhood : Over at the Houston GLBT Community Center, Anita Hoffpauir now directs the popular Lesbian Film Night on the fourth Friday of every month. The January 24 movie is When Night Is Falling.

Speaking of coming out, the center continues the long-running Tuesday evening support group for women at all stages of the closet-opening process. Gals also flock to Women’s Game Night on the second Friday of the month. Nancey McCarty and Amanda Williams are the game mavens.

Now you have another reason to hop the Main train after dark and head downtown: Eduardo Elizondo has launched gay nights on Thursdays at Pearl, a gleaming new nightspot in the club district. Elizondo reports that he wants to make many of these evenings fundraisers for community causes.

To observe the start of Chinese New Year, Shanghai River will present the annual dragon dance on January 22, 23, and 24. David and Sanne Wang own this community fave spot.

On the Island, Misty Valdez will host the January 10 kickoff party for her annual AIDS benefit at the historic, reopened Balinese Room. Kofi will emcee, and performers will include Stefanie Diamond, Cassie Nicole, and Valdez.

Mark your calendars: On February 6, Howard Michael, the great gay poet, will star as the featured reader at the First Friday reading at Inprint House on Sul Ross. With any luck, you will hear his pithy and funny “The Ballad of the Fat and the Femme.”

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