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You’ll Have a Gay Old Time

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A positive party: LIVE Consortium, Lumiere Nouveau’s co-beneficiary, produces “socio-educational” events like the recent “This Is How We Brunch” event. Pictured: Pride Houston’s Frankie Quijano.

New Year’s Eve party aims to promote ‘the magic that is Pride’
by Nancy Ford
Photos by Dalton DeHart

Break out those tuxedoes and noisemakers, because gay Houston has another reason to celebrate. For the first time in its almost 34-year history, Pride Houston is producing a New Year’s Eve party.

Lumiere Nouveau, a masked ball, is scheduled December 31—obviously—at fifty-two-twenty-six elm, an event venue located at 5226 Elm Street in Bellaire. The cocktail party format offers hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, decorations, a midnight balloon drop, and a champagne toast. DJ Joe Ross provides music for
the event.

“We came up with an event and we have a great venue. It’s actually been in the works with the organization for three years, and this year we have the opportunity to make it come to fruition,” says Frankie Quijano, chief executive officer and president of Pride Houston. He and Javier Ramirez, Pride Houston’s vice president, are co-chairs of Lumiere Nouveau.

The New Year’s Eve party is one more example of how Pride Houston aims to serve Houston’s LGBT community not just in June with the annual Pride Parade and Festival, Quijano says, but all year long.

“We offer the opportunity for anyone to show up one day a year and be surrounded by what they consider family. They can be who they want to be, however they want to be, and just be comfortable in the environment that they’re in,” Quijano says of the June festivities.

But he doesn’t stop there. “We do have a parade one
day a year to commemorate the Stonewall riots, but we feel that Pride is 365 days a year.

“One of the great things about this New Year’s Eve party is that it isn’t just to provide fundraising for Pride,” Quijano continues. LIVE Consortium is the co-beneficiary with Pride Houston for the New Year’s Eve event.

Beau Miller says the group also provides education to college campuses to dispel the “stigma” that is a barrier to testing, maintaining health, and reducing the spread of HIV.

Beau Miller, chief executive officer of LIVE Consortium, says he is excited his organization, which participated in the Pride Festival in 2012, is receiving support for its programs from Pride Houston via the New Year’s Eve party.

“Our main focus is socio-educational forums. We try to educate the community at large about HIV and stigma, and the need to fight to reduce stigma so more people can use other [AIDS service] agencies,” Miller says.

Quijano says he hopes Lumiere Nouveau raises funds similar to last year’s Wonderland, “but it’s a new event and, as with all new events, it does take some growing to do. Right now we’re hoping to do what we can with them, just like this past year with our circuit party event for Bunnies on the Bayou.”

Wonderland, a circuit party introduced in June 2012 by Pride Houston
during Pride weekend, raised approximately $3,000 for its beneficiary, Bunnies on the Bayou. According to BOTB president Jack Berger, the funds are earmarked for distribution to BOTB’s multiple LGBT beneficiaries in 2013.

“Pride is definitely a different organization than in years past,” Quijano continues. “We’re a little stronger, both financially and logistically.”

Pride Houston organizers expect 2013 to be an exciting time for Pride, one marked with change. According to Quijano, Pride Houston hopes to re-institute the “Banner District” as in years past, decorating Montrose with rainbow banners from utility poles to adorn the Pride Parade on Westheimer Road.

“Last year, the board of directors got together and decided we needed to bring back the banners,” Quijano says. “The mission is to commemorate the past, and that is how we commemorate ourselves as a community here in Houston.”

Pride Houston’s board of directors started planning Pride 2013 festivities in July 2012, Quijano says, and will bring back the pool party, Wonderland circuit party, Rock the Runway fashion show, Pride SuperStar vocal competition, and the Dining with Pride restaurant event to celebrate in June.

 

Javier Ramirez is co-chair of Lumiere Nouveau.

“We’re going to have the festival in the Montrose area, as well as the parade,” he says. “We’re still working on a few items, such as a celebrity grand marshal or special artists that we may be bringing in.”

Quijano, who works in human resources for a local credit union and has volunteered with Pride Houston for eight years, says Pride Houston is committed to reaching out to Houston’s diverse population. To that end, he says Pride Houston plans to offer an event of particular interest to lesbians in June 2013, with the help of local entertainer Nina Lombardo and others. “We’re calling it ‘A Girl Party by Girls.’ We actually have a committee that is just lesbians. Their job is just to make sure the event is successful,” he says.

Ultimately, Quijano says, Pride Houston is a different Pride from years past.

“Pride is definitely an all-inclusive organization and we welcome everybody. If you have an idea or a suggestion, volunteer. We welcome anybody who wants to volunteer and be a part of what I call ‘the magic that is Pride.’”

Lumiere Nouveau is sponsored by Svedka Vodka, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and OutSmart. Tickets begin at $50. More info: pridehouston.org.

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