Crazy but true, 15 years of OutSmart!
By Greg Jeu
In 1994, the idea of an openly gay talk show host was laughable. Out gay rockers were practically unheard of. An HIV+ youth on MTV was groundbreaking. Openly gay politicos were rare. And the idea of a thriving local gay publication seemed almost quaint—or crazy. (More the latter if you were on OutSmart ‘s very first editorial staff.)
How things have changed.
Granted, some choose to focus on how far we haven’t come, but I believe it’s more important to take a look at how many steps we—as a community and a movement and a people—have made. And this issue of OutSmart is a testament to that fact.
After 15 years, OutSmart continues to be a vital part of the Houston community. While other publications have come and gone, OutSmart is still going strong. But we couldn’t have made it this far without you—our readers and our business associates. Some of you have been with us from the very beginning. Still others of you are picking us up for the very first time. And while you may know us for our features, articles, op-ed pieces, community coverage, and the like, we thought we should share with you a few facts about us that you might not know. (Some of our advertisers have decided to do the same—take a look at their “15 Random Things” revelations, which you can see in the nifty flipbook on the left-hand side of the webpage, which shows the entire magazine, including the advertising.)
Thank you for getting to know us all these years. And we look forward to getting to know you even better in the next 15.
— Greg Jeu, Publisher
So here are 15 Random Things You Might Not Know About OutSmart.
1. SOME LIKE IT GAY. Entertainment editor Blase DiStefano’s interview with actor Tony Curtis (June 2002) quoted the legendary star actor saying he “got more action than Mt. Vesuvius.” Later the National Examiner quoted OutSmart ‘s revealing interview insinuating Curtis was gay.
2. WE GET AROUND. Our readers love OutSmart so much they take us on vacation. Each month we publish photos of our readers holding their copy of OutSmart from all across the globe.
3. BOINNNNG! In 2004, OutSmart was the first GLBT magazine in the nation to publish a 3-D commemorative issue, complete with 3-D glasses.
4. TRUTH IN NUMBERS. Readers can find OutSmart at over 350 distribution sites in Texas, and our circulation is audited by an independent service that verifies press run and distribution, making OutSmart the only Texas GLBT magazine with an audited circulation.
5. ON THE OTHER HAND. OutSmart was once ejected from a grocery store after a reader complained to the management that an ad in our issue depicting an ice cream cone resembled male anatomy. Sure, and some of us have seen Will & Grace on a tortilla.
6. WE GOT TANKED. In 1997, when Pride Houston presented the first nighttime Gay Pride Parade in the nation, OutSmart won a top award for our gigantic “Aqueerium” float.
7. KUDOS. Our writers are award-winning contributors and columnists whose work in OutSmart has been recognized by the Texas/Houston Press Club with numerous awards for journalistic excellence.
8. MORE KUDOS. Among the many honors we’ve received, OutSmart received the Vice Versa media award for the “Nation’s Best Local GLBT Publication” two years in a row.
9. AND EVEN MORE KUDOS. More recently, the Houston Press , Houston’s weekly newspaper, named OutSmart “Houston’s Best Local Magazine” for three years in a row (2006–2008)!
10. GAY POSTER KIDS. During the 1993 March on Washington, senior editor Nancy Ford and I were photographed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol by Newsweek magazine. So inspired, we came home to immediately begin working on the first issue of OutSmart , published in February 1994.
11. OUTSMART ON D’LIST. In 2007, comic Kathy Griffin shared in her OutSmart interview that she was a “born-again atheist.” Subsequently, CNN featured a cameo of the OutSmart cover about Griffin’s profanity-laced Emmy hullabaloo!
12. CULT CLASSIC. Nancy Ford’s comedic column “What a World,” which has appeared in the gay press since 1986, got its name from The Wizard of Oz . It’s one of the last things the Wicked Witch of the West says before melting.
13. THAT’S A LOT OF CHEESE. OutSmart proudly features the images of our ubiquitous photographer, Dalton DeHart, who has captured more than one million images of our community.
14. NATURAL BORN. Inclusive as we are, only one OutSmart staffer can say she has a mother who is a Lesbian. Literally. She was born on the island of Lesbos in Greece. So she’s a Lesbian. Get it? Get it?
15. COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS. Over the past 15 years, OutSmart has proudly donated more than $500,000 in cash and in-kind donations to our nonprofit community partners.