On Jan. 1, the Houston Transgender Unity Committee hosts the inaugural Brenda Thomas Memorial New Year’s Day Social , 2-8 p.m., featuring a potluck meal and silent auction to raise funds for Unity Committee projects, at Vanity: A Trans-formation Studio (1442 Yale). Details: www.htuc.org.
If one of your 2008 resolutions is to get more politically active in this presidential-election year, here are some opportunities in the community:
• On Jan. 2, Houston Chronicle political reporter Matt Stiles speaks at the 7 p.m. monthly meeting of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus . Details: 713/521-1000, www.hglbtpc.org.
• Human Rights Campaign-Houston and the Gay & Lesbian Rainbow Pages hold their monthly happy hour on Jan. 22, 6-8 p.m., at La Strada (322 Westheimer). Details: www.hrchouston.org.
• Houston Area Stonewall Democrats meets on Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m., at Ziggy’s Healthy Grill (2202 W. Alabama). Details: [email protected].
• Houston Equal Rights Alliance seeks volunteers for a voter-identification project that will begin in February. Details: www.houstonera.org.
• Log Cabin Republicans-Houston meets on Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m, at the Houston GLBT Community Center. Details: [email protected].
• Equality Texas Foundation registers voters and volunteers in Montrose on Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., as part of its 2008 Houston Votes effort to sign up 80,000 Harris County voters by October. Details: Judie Niskala, 512/474-5475 or [email protected].
Independent Billiard League of Houston begins its winter season on Jan. 3 at 10 local clubs. Details: www.iblhouston.com.
The Exchange, a new book club for women, meets for the first time on Jan. 6, 2 p.m., at Baba Yega. Details: [email protected]
AIDS Foundation Houston Popular Opinion Leaders group has moved its meetings to every Monday, 7 p.m., at the Houston GLBT Community Center. Details: Dwayne Morrow, Jr., 713/623-6796 ext. 237, [email protected].
Starting Jan. 7, the support group Helping TransGenders Anonymous moves its weekly meetings on Monday, 7 p.m., to the Houston GLBT Community Center. Details: www.transhouston.com.
On Jan. 8, the new arts group Artists Alive and Well presents its inaugural exhibition on the Continental Airlines building concourse (1600 Smith). The opening-night reception is Jan. 8, 4-7 p.m. The group hosts an Evening with the Artists on Jan. 31, 4-7 p.m. Details: www.artistsaliveandwell.com.
Looking ahead to Mardi Gras season, the Houston GLBT Community Center moves its informal monthly GLBT Night Dinner to the new neighborhood Cajun restaurant BB’s (2710-A Montrose Blvd.) on Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m. RSVP: [email protected].
On Jan. 9, AIDS Foundation Houston hosts a 4:30-6:30 p.m. kick-off party for AIDS Walk Houston 2008 at Tart Café and the Galleries of 4411 Montrose Blvd. The annual walk fundraiser will take place on Mar. 9 beginning at Sam Houston Park. Details: 713/403-WALK, www.aidswalkhouston.org.
The GLBT Behavorial Health & Wellness Coalition meets on Jan. 10, 3:30 p.m., at Montrose Counseling Center. Details: Michael Migura, [email protected].
Gay Men’s HIV+ Social meets on Jan. 10, 7-11 p.m., and In-n-Out. Details: [email protected].
Houston blues vocalist Diunna Greenleaf and her Blue Mercy Band headline the Martin Luther King Birthday Concert at Rothko Chapel on Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m. Details: www.rothkochapel.org.
Montrose Counseling Center offers an eight-week confidential coming-out support group that begins on Jan. 17, 6:30-8 p.m., and meets every Thursday at the center, Room 254. Details: 713/529-0037, ext. 705.
Montrose Softball League hosts its annual recruitment day on Jan. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Memorial Park Fields 4 and 5 (just off Memorial Drive). Details: www.montrosesoftballleague.com.
On Jan. 20, the Houston GLBT Community Center hosts a 6 p.m. launch party at Blur for a new gala benefit event, Un Soirée Pelouse: A Garden Party, scheduled for April 20 at a location that will be announced at the launch party. “This is a chance for hosts to get on board and for the community to learn about our fabulous French-themed afternoon in April,” says chairman Marc Garcia. Un Soirée Pelouse proceeds support center programs. Details: [email protected] , www.myspace.com/agardenparty.
Bead alert! Mardi Gras season arrives early this year. In Galveston, the Jan. 25-Feb. 5 celebrations include at least one gay event: the by-invitation Krewe of Banners party at the Balinese Room on Jan. 25, 8 p.m. Details: The Pink Dolphin (the club owned by krewe founder Eldrege Langlinais), 409/621-1808.
In Houston, Krewe of Olympus-Texas presents Ball XXXVIII on Jan. 26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This year’s Krewe beneficiaries: Colt 45s Trouble Fund, Legacy Community Health Services Next Step Program, and PFLAG/HATCH Youth Scholarship Foundation. Details: www.mardigrastexas.com.
Paul Guillory, co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign-Houston diversity committee, encourages individuals to complete the online HRC Equality Forward survey, part of an effort by the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group to determine the concerns of GLBT and questioning Americans. Take the survey: www.hrc.org/issues/equalityforwardsurvey.asp.
Still haven’t found that ideal 2008 calendar? Here are two ideas that will also help you support your community:
• Locally, Don Young’s Daily Pride Publications has released the 2008 Gay/Lesbian History Calendar . Each month features a work by a gay or lesbian artist. $14.95. A portion of the proceeds benefits a college scholarship fund for gay and lesbian students. Details: www.dailypridepublications.com.
• Lambda Literary Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary with publication of the LGBT Literary Pioneers 2008 calendar, featuring a significant writer each month (in March, El Paso-born John Rechy). $25, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation. Details: www.lambdaliterary.org.