Features

2011 Year in Review

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This issue’s look back at the year in pictures reveals why Houston refuses to be easily summed up or dumbed down.

If not for Annise Parker or the occasional hurricane, Houston would never show up on the national radar. Ever. And this year, our town received more than the usual number of spectacular snubs. When the shuttle program folded, the question of where one of the spacecrafts should rest in tourist-doting peace seemed like a no-brainer. Truly, where else would one of these retired wonders reside? As it turned out, anywhere but here. And we get it: when Bravo went location scouting for their Top Chef’s southern sojourn, they selected musical state capitol Austin and picturesque tourist town San Antonio. But their third-choice locale was Dallas. Come on. Dallas’s idea of haute cuisine is the baby back ribs at Chili’s. And let’s not forget the queer car wreck of ego-queens on Logo’sA-List franchise. These A-holes are the A-List? Doesn’t anyone in programming use spell check? This group makes us almost regret being gay. And Texan.

But don’t get discouraged. In this complicated world when complex problems are continually met with moronic sound-bite solutions for an ill-educated, attention-deficit public (9-9-9, anyone?), we should wear our rejection as a badge of honor. Why? A look at the year in pictures provides a pretty good answer.

Houston is indefinable.

You can sum up our siblings with easy-reader descriptors. Austin: Weird. Dallas: Pretentious. San Antonio: River Walk. But our people and events make up a diverse spectrum, one that defies simple summation, or glancing categorization. You’d be hard-pressed to describe Houston in a paragraph, much less a word. Which is why we haven’t chosen one. We chose thousands of them.

Take a good look at yourselves. With or without the space shuttle, you’re still stellar. You’re not just the steak, you’re the sizzle. And you’re definitely A-list material.

Lookin’ good, H-town. Lookin’ good.

We did get two fascinating atta-boys this year. The young entrepreneur bible Fast Company proclaimed Houston “City of the Year” for our “reinvention, cultivation, and innovation,” while sparkling vampire swoon generator Robert Pattinson declared Houston his favorite American city. And if these two spectrum-spanning shout-outs don’t show you how diverse Houston’s appeal is, we don’t know what does. — Steven Foster

JANUARY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1   Brenda Thomas’s Annual New Year’s Day Memorial Brunch
12   AIDS Foundation Houston’s AIDS Walk 2011 Kick-off at Chelsea Grill

15   Legacy Community Health’s 4th Annual Cabaret for a Cure

16a   Houston Stonewall Young Democrats Brunch Against Bullying

16b   Bunnies on the Bayou’s “Snowbunnies’’ at Rebels Honky Tonk

20   Pride Houston’s 2011 Logo Unveiling and Introduction of Grand Marshal Nominees

22   AIDS Foundation Houston’s Art4Life Benefit

27   “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales”

at Rice University featuring E. Patrick Johnson

FEBRUARY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7   Victory Fund’s Mayor Annise Parker and others host a reception for Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns

10   Jenifer Rene Pool announces that she is running for Houston City Council

12   Krewe of Olympus Ball XLI, “A Night at the Museum”

14   University of Houston Domestic Partership March for Equality

18   L.U.E.Y. Weekend

24   Billy Elliot during Out at TUTS, sponsored by OutSmart

25   Dedication Ceremony for “Tolerance” on Harmony Walk (Buffalo Bayou Park) with artist Jaume Plensa

26   Mystery & Fantasy Mardi Gras party, “A Pharaoh’s Fantasy”

27   Unhinged Productions presents their 2nd Annual Oscar Party

28 Party of Life’s “It’s My Party” event

MARCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6   Montrose Softball League Opening Day

12   The Diana Foundation presents the “Absolutely Fabulous” Awards

13a   AIDS Foundation Houston’s AIDS Walk Houston

13b   Texans Day of Outrage at City Hall, protesting Gov. Rick Perry’s budget cuts

19   Montrose Counseling Center’s annual “Bringin’ in the Green”

19   Montrose Softball League’s Lone Star Classic begins

26   Bayou City Performing Arts’s “Dim Sum & Then Some: AForeign Affair” concert

APRIL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7   Live Consortium’s 3rd anniversary celebration and fashion show at Saks

7   Pride Houston’s 2011 kick-off and announcement of grand marshals

7   University of Houston’s GLOBAL fundraiser for H.A.T.C.H. at Meteor

14   Amadeus during ActOUT at the Alley Theatre

17   The Victory Fund’s Houston Champagne Brunch

24   Bunnies on the Bayou party in downtown Houston

25   Lady Bunny visits Houston

29   PFLAG’s Spring Fling at the Alley

30   Transgender Unity Banquet at Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel

30   Mr. Prime Choice 2011 Contest

MAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5   Pride Houston presents Pride SuperStar

6   The Safe Spot youth center grand opening

12   The Music Box Theater opens with “Opening the Box”

14   Bayou City Performing Arts presents “Songs of the Poets” with poet Mary Margaret Carlisle

15   Regina Dane’s Roast and Toast at the BRB

17   Legacy Community Health’s “Pathway to Our Legacy” kick-off

21   Montrose Softball League presents “Jocks in Dresses”

22   Equality Texas announces the Gill Foundation Grant

26   National Gay Volleyball Tournament and Awards Banquet

JUNE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4a   Victory Fund’s Mayor Annise Parker and others host a reception for Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns

4b   Jenifer Rene Pool announces that she is running for Houston City Council

10   Krewe of Olympus Ball XLI, “A Night at the Museum”

11   University of Houston Domestic Partership March for Equality

12   L.U.E.Y. Weekend

17   Billy Elliot during Out at TUTS, sponsored by OutSmart

18   Dedication Ceremony for “Tolerance” on Harmony Walk (Buffalo Bayou Park) with artist Jaume Plensa

18   Mystery & Fantasy Mardi Gras party, “A Pharaoh’s Fantasy”

18   Unhinged Productions presents their 2nd Annual Oscar Party

18   Party of Life’s “It’s My Party” event

19   The Divas of Diversity Comedy Show

19   Gay and Lesbian Latino Organization’s Mr.-Mrs.-Miss GALLO Pageant

23   Pride Houston’s Pride SuperStar finale

24   Pride Houston’s “Rock the Runway”

25   2011 Pride Festival and Pride Parade

JULY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9   Outreach United fundraiser and pool party

10   PFLAG and HATCH Youth Scholarship Award Presentation

10  PWA Holiday Charities presents “Christmas in July”

14   AIDS Foundation Houston presents Haute Boys of Summer II at Saks Fifth Avenue

17    Legacy Community Health Services’ Mr.-Mrs.-Miss Mint Julep show

28   Montrose Rememberance Garden dedication ceremony

30   Montrose Softball League’s awards banquet

30   Kindred Spirits reunion

 

CONTINUED>>

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Ste7en Foster

Steven Foster is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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