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MUSIC REVIEW: All Night by Tophe

Tophe All Night LGBTQ Gay Music Single

Tophe, the freshly-25-year-old, gay singer from Dallas, is jumping head-first into R&B with his first single, “All Night”.

(DALLAS) – The LGBTQIA community is historically known for its amazing music. Between Brendon Urie’s coming out as pansexual, to just the existence of the melodious marvel that is Sam Smith, to Superfruit, to Janelle Monáe, to Shea Diamond, and so many more in between them all, our community is at no shortage of inspiring, talented musicians. So, it should come as no surprise when another limitless talent pops up on the scene with a voice capable of sending listeners on a musical journey.

26904773_397327640719601_3064663708784830669_n-e1530905989443 MUSIC REVIEW: All Night by Tophe
Tophe

In this case, we’re talking about Tophe, the gay, 25-year-old, Dallas native singer/songwriter who released his very first single, “All Night”, early last month via SoundCloud. The song, which begins with a muffled conversation about happiness as the instrumentals play, is narrated from one lover to another as he describes a potential tryst between the two of them. The song is energized not only with romance and sexual energy, but a familiar longing reminiscent of a less melancholy “All I Ask” by Adele. It is written as if a love letter to some unknown, mystery man as the narrator implores that they be together. It’s an epitomized feeling that many people – LGBTQIA and otherwise – can relate to because its roots are in desire and passion. Tophe isn’t just singing about love, he is singing love.

But more impressive than the lyrical beauty is the magnificence of Tophe’s voice. With the chesty baritone usually reserved by the likes of John Legend (accompanied by the matching belt), an upper register like that of Sam Smith (and one that he isn’t afraid to show off), the slight rasp and gospel intonations of Adele and Amy Winehouse, and the runs and riffs like those of India Arie, Tophe’s pipes are branded with the R&B stamp. Whether he’s humming in his lower register, oooh-ing or ahhh-ing in his upper, or dragging out notes up-and-down the staff in the middle, his somehow pouty and iridescent voice will grab listeners’ attention and keep it from beginning to end.

Additionally, Tophe has also been recently featured in fellow Dallas musician Jonez-N’s recent single, “Summer Silhouette”, which dropped early in June. You can listen to it at the bottom of this article.

You can follow Tophe on social media here:

SoundCloud | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Pride Edition: Al Farb

Al Farb Anthony Ramirez Wendy Taylor Pride Edition Country Radio LGBTQ

A Conversation with Al Farb – Houston’s favorite gay radio producer and host. Click play in the box below to hear the full conversation with Al Farb, Anthony Ramirez, and Wendy Taylor.

IMG_8131 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb with country music and TV star Reba McEntire

(DALLAS) – For years he’s easily been one of the most recognizable people in Houston’s LGBTQIA community, thanks in part to his time spent at the New 93Q as New Morning Q talk show producer and co-anchor. Starting off at the radio station at the ripe old age of 13, Farb got his very first on-air interview with none other than Donny Osmond, and his life, from that moment on, was forever changed. In the time since, he went back to school and worked in sports radio before eventually landing back at the place he first fell in love with radio, the New 93Q. But back in the Spring, Al Farb made his move to Dallas’s New Country 96.3 KSCS, where he’s taken over the roles as assistant program director, music director, and afternoon on-air host from 3PM to 7PM.

Still, there’s more to Farb than just what takes place behind his studio mic. Born to a well-known Houston family, Al grew up immersed in Houston’s boundless culture. And in discovering the wonders the city had to offer him, as well as those that radio did, Farb came out to joint Houston’s LGBTQIA community in his adulthood, where his fame only grew further. Going on to be a guest judge for Dessie’s Drag Race, working with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, hosting About Magazine’s FACE Awards, and meeting every country music star from Hunter Hayes to Reba McEntire to George Strait, Al, at the very young age of 31, has lived a full, well-rounded life.

IMG_1086 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Kara Dion (left) and Al Farb (right) hosting the 2017 FACE Awards.

As mentioned above, Al’s life has taken him to Dallas — or North Woodlands, as Houstonians might refer to it — and he’s there to show country music fans and Dallas’s LGBTQIA community everything that he has to offer. In the SoundCloud interview above for About Magazine’s Pride Edition, Al sat down with his friends (former American Idol contestant and renowned musician) Wendy Taylor and (About Magazine editor-in-chief and Less Than Butterflies author) Anthony Ramirez discuss what his life has been like since the transition to Dallas and into his new job. But the conversation wasn’t limited to just that. In the interview, Al gives his thoughts on how LGBTQIA people fit into the country music world, his former faux-feud with Ramirez and About Magazine, whether or not politics play a part in the world of music, and, of course, Houston drag royalty and friend, Kara Dion. Below is a transcript of the conversation.

You can follow Al on social media here:

Facebook | Instagram | Snapchat: @AlOnKSCS


Transcript of the Conversation: 

Wendy Taylor: Oh, no. We’re being recorded.

Anthony Ramirez: Yeah.

Wendy Taylor: It’s official.

Al Farb: On the record.

AR: Everything that you say to me is on the record.

AF: Yeah, I learned that the hard way.

AR: What did I do to you?

AF: Your text messages [screenshots] that you post.

AR: Oh. That doesn’t count.

WT: So, if I’m co-interviewing, do I have to get off Facebook and pay attention?

AR: Yeah, you do.

AF: Yeah.

AR: So, Al Farb, I want you to project your voice — so — cause I want it to be —

[Al shifts nearer to the recorder]

AR: Okay — not — that’s too much.

WT: [Laughs]

AR: [To another diner] Don’t look at us. That bitch just gave me side-eye. Okay, well that’s the end of the interview. Thank you for talking with us.

WT: [Laughs].

AR: So, tell us about your new job.

AF: Well, if you — as you, uh, would’ve learned through the other interview, but it was never published.

AR: Well, see … you knew there was an issue with that. [Pause]. I deleted the recording on accident.

AF: Ah.

WT: On “accident”?

AR: No, it really way. Because I have so many of these in my phone that they start taking up space. And I didn’t name Al’s. It was just a date. And usually when I do that it’s like–

WT: You didn’t even give him a name?

AF: Wow.

WT: That’s shady.

AF: All right, I am the, uh, assistant program director, music director, and afternoon on-air host at New Country 96.3 KSCS. [Pause]. That’s my job.

image1-1 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Photo by Eric Edward Schell of Pride Portraits.

AR: Tell us about it.

AF: Well … that’s … what it is.

AR: Like the other day when I asked you, and you explained to me what you do —

AF: Yes, so.

AR: Because no one knows.

AF: No one knows?

AR: You’re just a disembodied voice — I mean people know — I mean, not here, but back there [in Houston] knew it was you. But, like, no one knows what else goes on other than the radio hosting.

AF: Yeah. Okay. So, we have a unique situation in Dallas where the company that I work for owns both of the big country stations here in town. So, my boss, Mac, is the program director for both country stations; and then I help him with everything behind the scenes on KSCS. There’s somebody like me on our other station, the Wolf, um [clears throat], so we —

WT: Sorry. His name is the Wolf?

AF: No! The station is called the Wolf.

WT: [Laughs] Okay.

AF: The station is the Wolf.

AR: [Sarcastically] Oh, because our radio DJs have much better names … Special K.

WT: Right.

AF: Anyway, so part of my music director responsibility is starting, you know, having relationships and, um, keeping up to date with all of our label reps in Nashville through all of the various record labels, and finding out what they’re doing, what their artists are doing. If we need to do an event with them, I’ll set that up with the rep, who will then go to their management and so on and so forth. And then we’ll look at all of our research that is done through all of our, um — with all of our music that we play, our current songs, and then make decisions on where to move songs to schedule them for the rest of the week. And then I schedule all of the songs every day.

WT: So … you make playlists every day.

AF: I make playlists every day, basically. Yeah.

WT: [Laughs].

AF: And then … yeah. I mean, it’s true. I mean we have a —

WT: It’s cool, though.

IMG_8868 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb and Jujubee

AF: We schedule music a lot differently than you might on your personal iPod or whatever, because we’re playing for massive amounts of people. But, yeah. It is cool to make those decisions and have that — it’s like every day I start with a blank canvas, and you know, you’re painting your way through the day. It’s cool. And then, at the end of the day, I’ll go into the studio and host the afternoon drive home show on KSCS from 3 to 7. And, um, while people are stuck in traffic, they’re listening to the music that I program and me talk about it. It’s cool.

WT: Uh-huh. How do we listen to you in Houston?

AF: You can listen to us several ways. You can listen to us on our website, on iHeartRadio, and we have our own app, as well.

WT: Cool.

AR: There ya’ go.

WT: How do you feel about the statement my friend Cedric Josey made, saying that “country music is basically just farm emo.”

AF: [Laughs].

WT: [Laughs]

AR: [Completely unfazed by anything].

AF: “Farm emo”?

AR: Yes, do tell.

AF: Well, historically, country music has a bad rep. But if you, um, really dive in and listen to the songs and listen to the music, that is not the case, at all. Of course there are some very honky-tonk sounding songs that, uh, you know, that are a part of the stereotype. But just like all genres and everything, there are those that stand out. And there’s actually a lot of really good song that have a really positive message.

AR: So, what’s it like now that you’re not doing a morning talk show vs. what you are doing now?

AF: Yeah, that was probably one of the hardest transitions. Well, as far as — it’s easy not to wake up so early. But, on the air, you know, we only have a certain amount of time to talk. And where I was used to having longer than I have now to talk, that was one of my biggest challenges, you know, transitioning from having longer talk breaks to just really quick information. So, editing the way that I talk, you know word economy and stuff like that, is — was difficult. And it was harder than I thought it was going to be to transition from waking up early and then having normal hours. It’s taken me — you know, I think I’m finally over it now, but your body and your whole everything just shifts in that direction. So, it’s harder than you might think.

AR: Well, you get to sleep later now, too. Right?

AF: Well, that was the thing is that I wasn’t sleeping.

WT: Well, welcome to the normal world.

AR: [To Wendy] What the fuck do you know about it?

AF: You’re not in the normal world.

AR: You slept ‘til 5 on Sunday.

WT: [Through a mouthful of chips] I didn’t say I was in the, um — [unintelligible] — but I was up at 6 o’clock this morning, because I went to bed at 9 PM.

AR: I was probably up at 6 o’clock this morning.

WT: But you hadn’t gone to bed yet — well … you hadn’t gone to sleep yet.

AR: Anyway, this isn’t about me. [Pause] For once.

AF: For once.

AR: So, what are the things you miss most about Houston? Don’t say Kara Dion. She’s trash.

AF: Uh!

AR: I’m just kidding. [To Kara who is not there] Happy belated birthday!

AF: [Chuckles].

WT: [Laughs].

AR: [Laughs].

AF: Um … I miss … a lot of things. I miss the culture of Houston. Houston’s my hometown. I always feel — I will always feel a, um, a sense of pride for — and not the Pride that we’re celebrating this month — a sense of pride for belonging and, you know, for Houston. It’s my hometown. There’s so much heritage that not only I have there, but my family for many years. So, I miss that. I miss the food. I miss all of my friends and family.

WT: I love how friends and family came after food.

AF: Yeah.

WT: That’s appropriate.

AR: Let’s not act like we wouldn’t say it the same way.

AF: And the sense of community that Houston has. I’m still a couple months into living here in Dallas, so I don’t want to speak — I can’t speak on the Dallas community. But, you know, Houston has a great LGBT community, and I felt very much a part of that. And I miss being in it, you know, on a day-to-day basis.

AR: What’s been your experience so far with LGBTQIA community.

IMG_8225 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb and Lance Bass

AF: Um, I’ve had very little experience because I’ve been really focusing on my job and, you know, there’s a lot of stuff we have on the weekends — concerts and what not. There’s a lot more concerts here in Dallas because the rodeo takes up a lot of that in Houston. Whereas it’s all kind of, we do it all in a month, they spread it out all over the year. So, um, for me it’s getting to know the city and driving around the Metroplex and getting to know all that stuff. So, I haven’t really had that much personal free time to go and explore the bars and the scene here. But I can definitely tell that it’s very different.

WT: Yeah. Do they have something here like we have in Houston? Like the Montrose Center?

AF: Yes. It’s what y’all [About Magazine] donated to — the Resource Center.

AR: So, let’s just divert to a little bit more of a lighthearted topic. You and I have had a feud for a very long time.

AF: Oh, geez.

WT: For a very long time.

AR: It feels like it. It’s been since like —

AF: January.

AR: February.

WT: Months.

AR: January. Whatever. Do you want to tell everyone … how you scorned me?

WT: [Laughs]

AF: How I what?

AR: How you scorned me. Done me wrong.

AF: I don’t even remember.

AR: [Slams his hands down on the table] I really thought this could be over as of today.

WT: [Laughs]

AF: So, while I was hosting the, um, season — what was it? — 12 finale —

AR: No one cares about that part.

AF: — of Dessie’s Drag Race.

AR: The drag queens are out of control in Houston right now. [Laughs]

AF: I fights.

WT: I fights.

AR: I’m sorry —

WT: “I only got eight nails …”

AF: It’s pretty funny.

WT: It’s really funny.

AF: Anyway, so while I was co-hosting, or judging, or whatever I was doing — I was a guest celebrity judge for the season 12 finale of Dessie’s Drag Race at Rich’s, every Monday night.

WT: [Laughs at the word ‘celebrity’]

AR: I’m not even the one who made a joke about you not being famous, I just want to say.

IMG_8384 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb and George Strait

WT: I just think — nevermind. [Pause] Go ahead.

AF: I didn’t say that. They promoted it.

AR: Well … you quoted it … so …

WT: Yeah. You did.

AR: No, you’re very famous.

AF: [Gives Anthony a ‘go-to-hell’ look].

AR: You are! I’m not making fun of you! Jesus. [Pause] So, you did what now?

AF: So, I was doing like I usually do … I judge. And, um —

AR: #iJudge

AF: #iJudge #iFights

AR: #iJudges

AF: #iFights

WT: [Laughs]

AF: Um … so, at the end of the evening, I was making a beeline to the patio bar, because that’s where my friends were, because they had texted me that that is where they were. And, apparently, for the very first time in history, somebody didn’t recognize Anthony Ramirez. Not that — not that he’s a celebrity or a well-known person. It’s just that he’s just … quite hard to miss.

AR: He means … fat.

AF: I didn’t say that.

AR: But what he really means is slutty.

AF: So, I, um, mistakenly did not see him.

AR: And thank you, by the way.

AF: And therefore Anthony took great offense.

AR: I did. I stormed out of Rich’s and went to Guava and hung out with Morena [Roas]. And I said, “This motherfucker …”

AF: ‘Cause at that point, I’d only really met you in person one other time.

AR: Yeah. And it was circumstantial because —

AF: I thought you were going to make a circumcision joke.

AR: … no. [Pause] So, I feel like we’ve come to a nice place. Not … here [the restaurant] … like literally … but in our spiritual journey —

AF: [Laughs]

AR: — where we can put the feud behind.

WT: Well … I am … very disappointed. [Laughs]

AR: [Laughs]

WT: This has been my favorite thing of the whole year.

AF: I think there will always be a feud, but unofficially.

AR: Mostly for readership.

AF : [Laughs] “Mostly for readership.”

AR: [To Wendy] Well, you could have a feud with someone.

WT: No, it’s more fun to watch y’all do it.

IMG_1174 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb (left) and Brenda Rich (right).

AF: I think you should have a feud with Kara Dion.

WT: [Unintelligible through all the chips in her mouth]

AR: I think you should have a feud with Brenda Rich.

WT: Who?

AF: There you go. And so it begins.

AR: Have you had any feuds in Dallas?

AF: [No response]

AR: Okay, so seriously. You have said before that you were very open with your sexuality at work when you were with 93Q. It was totally cool. Totally chill. Have you gotten there here yet?

AF: Oh, yeah.

IMG_7387 Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb and Chad Michaels

AR: I mean, I feel like if they didn’t know you were gay before, your excitement for Shania Twain [in concert] gave it away.

AF: Oh, yeah. And Hunter Hayes. He’s playing the State Fair in September.

WT: Isn’t he like 12?

AF: No, he’s like 24. He’s older than Anthony.

WT: That’s 12 times 2.

AF: Which is older than Anthony. [Pause] Although —

AR: I’m 24!

AF: But Anthony wasn’t blessed with his looks. Some sort of Otter-Mexican combo.

WT: An ot-ter?

AR: That’s so — otters are so cute! I would love [to be] a Mexican otter

[Anthony thinks Al is talking about otters as in the animal, and not otters as in the tribe of gay men … he finds both very cute and flattering]

AF: You are a Mexican Otter.

AR: Thank you! [Pause] So, I had a point to asking that question. Goddamnit.

AF: Very open with sexuality …

AR: Right — um — so, how are you going to — okay, I feel like at some point, you are going to have to kind of get yourself out in this community.

AF: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I’m already — I’m very excited to know that About [Magazine] is coming up here to Dallas and is going to start getting entrenched in the community. So, I feel like I can get on the ground floor with the magazine to help host events or do whatever I can to promote the events with not only myself, but with the radio station that I work for to get behind and be supportive.

AR: Oh, how do you feel about representation of LGBTQIA people in the country music scene?

AF: Oh, there’s a lot of representation. One of the biggest writers of this time or generation or whatever you want to call it, Shane McAnally, is openly gay. And he’s one of the most successful writers of this current time, whatever you wanna call it. And his Dad is Mac McAnally, who is also a writer. He’s been in the business a long time. He’s worked with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and all of those artists. And he’s [Shane] very well-accepted. A colleague of mine now in Houston is the program director for the Bull, which is a country station there. And he has been out for a very long time. He’s married. He and his husband Kevin are very well accepted throughout the industry. And he’s a big reason that I was — that I felt comfortable to come out, once I learned that he was accepted and that everybody was fine with him. That helped me along the way to come out fully and know that I would be accepted. You know, there are artists, Ty Herndon, Billy Gilman, who have come out. Honestly, I don’t think it has anything to do with their success or not. There are a lot of pro-LGBT country artists. Cam, who just announced that she’s going to open for Sam Smith on her tour. And she wore a — I think it was a Pride t-shirt at her show in Houston.

AR: Well, you have artists like Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, who have all spoken out about this — Jennifer Nettles.

WT: Carrie Underwood.

34445071_10208842689503997_2712618472759623680_o Pride Edition: Al Farb
Anthony and Al at the Shania Twain concert in Dallas.

AR: They’ve all spoken out in favor [of LGBTQIA rights]. I think historically, though, country music had associations with right-sided politics. But, now I think —

AF: Everybody loves country music. I know that’s a broad, general music. I know everybody doesn’t love country music. It’s a genre of choice. But what I mean by everybody is people of every walk of life. It doesn’t matter — just because you listen to country music doesn’t mean you are one way politically or not, or one way with sexual orientation or not. It isn’t true. I can give you a handful of LGBT people. I can give you a handful of people who are liberal, who are everything that aren’t what the stereotype is who will spend a lot of money at a country concert to sit front row and do all the VIP stuff. And it’s great. I mean … that’s what music is. It brings people together. It should not be identified as a political party, a sexual orientation, or anything. At the Shania Twain concert, which you attended with me here in Dallas —

AR: I do not recall.

AF: Well, that’s your fault. And I attended the one in Houston. And there were a ton of —

AR: Homos.

AF: — of LGBTQIA+ people. There were a ton of African-Americans, a ton of Hispanics — just people. It’s a melting pot. It’s how all concerts are, and how all musical gatherings should be.

AR: Okay, I want to expound upon that a bit, actually. Because I do agree — and this isn’t about me — but I think that music should have a place where it is separate of all of those things. But now, especially politically and the way that climate is — I think that it’s more important now than ever for people who are in a position to have a voice and who have a soapbox to preach off of to use it combat hatefulness and discrimination. I think it is important for artists who have come out in support of gay rights. So … yes … it doesn’t need to have a direct correlation to a political party.

AF: Correct.

AR: But isn’t it important that people are using their platform to do the right thing?

AF: I do — I mean, I really don’t want to get into politics. But I — on that level — I do think that unless you have — it just gets really dirty when you get into politics. And musicians who have historically, one way or the other … it has not gone well for them. Because you’re always going to be wrong to somebody. So, obviously gay rights is a human right. That goes without saying. And everyone should be in support of that. But when you get behind a political party or a political candidate, it is really, really hard to come out on the right side of that, because you’re never going to be right. And, as a musician — and me, and I’m speaking as an entertainer, someone who is in that similar field, presenting those songs — I don’t care to have a public political voice. It’s not my job. I don’t want to get involved with that. Because, like I said, you’re going to come out on the wrong side of it. And, for me, it would affect ratings. For them, it would affect their music sales or concert ticket sales.

WT: Yeah.

[Side note that Wendy Taylor, a professional singer, is the loudest and most die-hard liberal in the entire world and who lets everyone she comes into contact with know it]

AF: Because, as I said earlier, music is for all. And with that, you should entertain all, whoever they support politically.

AR: As much as I want to go deeper into that, I’m not going to. But I feel like we should circle back to this conversation another day. So, I’m gonna jump to this: You are contracted for a couple of years with this station. I know that it’s kind of early to tell, because you did just get here, but do you feel like you’ll be calling Dallas your home for a while?

AF: I hope so.

AR: You hear that, Houston? He don’t wanna come back.

AlKara Pride Edition: Al Farb
Al Farb and Kara Dion

AF: No, that’s not what I said. The station, as I arrived, was already rising up in the ranks. We are overall doing very well ratings-wise. So, I hope to be an actual contributor to that success. I don’t feel that I am yet, because I just got here. But I hope that that success will continue and that I will be able to grow myself and with the company. And, you know, as I said when I interviewed with for this position — and I brought this up last time we interviewed, but you deleted that interview —

AR: It was an accident.

WT: [Laughs]

AF: I’d said that if there were any job that I was going to be looking at to leave here, it’d be to Houston. You know, Houston’s my home and I do hope to return one day. But, I don’t know if my job here will be done in two years. So, to answer your question, I hope to stay here for as long as they’ll have me.

AR: I guess my next question is — and this is one that a lot of people wanted me to ask you — where is the Farb Family Fortune buried?

AF: [Silence]

AR: No? No comment? [Pause] So, do you have any events coming up? Are there any concerts you’re going to that you want to plug? — oh, by the way! I want you to get me into Sam Smith.

AF: [Sighs]

AR: Oh! Do you have a message for Kara Dion? She heard that she was replaced.

AF & WT: Mess!”

AF: She is not replaced. She will never be replaced.

AR: Snapchat said otherwise. She saw it with her own two eyes.

WT: Yeah, I saw it, too. I saw it, too.

AR: Okay, well, it’s been wonderful, Al. It’s been so great for you to let us have the honor of watching you put food in your bobblehead.

AF: [Laughs] Wendy is my favorite person at the table.

WT: That’s right.

AR: He is lying. He is in love with me.

WT: Hey, Anthony.

AR: Yeah?

WT: Who’s your favorite person at the table?

AR: … Me. Always me.

WT: [Laughs hysterically]

AF: The correct answer to that is Jesus. Because he is always watching us and he is always with you.

AR: “I can do all things –”

AF: “… through Christ –”

AR: “–through Vodka, who strengthens me.” [Pause] That’s my inspirational quote of the day.

AF: And on that note, I need the check.

AR: And on that note, we want to thank you again [for buying lunch]. And thank you, Wendy Taylor, for joining us.

WT: Oh, like I had a choice.

AR: You did. You didn’t have to come with me.

WT: I did.

AR: Oh, she wanted to meet Lupe [Valdez]. That’s going to be a much better interview.

35167991_10208869844582857_6791026920625537024_o Pride Edition: Al Farb
Anthony Ramirez, Al Farb, and Wendy Taylor all looking like trash at this lunch.

SATIRE: Feud Update – Al Farb v. Anthony Ramirez

Al Farb Anthony Ramirez feud About Magazine

The feud between former 93Q radio producer Al Farb and About Magazine editor Anthony Ramirez has taken a turn.

(HOUSTON) – While both About Magazine editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez, and former 93Q radio producer, Al Farb, have maintained their feud that began earlier this year (which About Magazine reported first [and alone]), new developments have taken place. It’s said that back in January, Farb snubbed Ramirez at the Dessie’s Drag Race season finale held at Rich’s when they stood next to one another at the bar. And since, fans of both Ramirez (affectionately dubbed ‘Fanthonys’) and of Farb (less affectionately dubbed ‘Pal Farbs’) have been more at odds than supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

However, this past Friday, Ramirez reached out to Facebook friends asking for recommendations on the best Chinese restaurants between Downtown Houston and Chimney Rock going south on Highway 59. And to the shock of many (at least to singer and entertainer Wendy Taylor), Farb (who most recently made the move to Dallas and is working as the host of country radio’s 96.3 KSCS’s Afternoon Drive) chimed in with a genuine response seen here:

Screen-Shot-2018-05-05-at-5.04.28-PM SATIRE: Feud Update - Al Farb v. Anthony RamirezScreen-Shot-2018-05-05-at-5.04.54-PM SATIRE: Feud Update - Al Farb v. Anthony Ramirez

Screen-Shot-2018-05-05-at-5.05.26-PM SATIRE: Feud Update - Al Farb v. Anthony RamirezRamirez responded cordially to the suggestion, but let Farb know that if he was wrong, there would be repercussions. He’s rumored to have told a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous), to be prepared to seek revenge on Farb if the food was dissatisfying.

“Al Farb swears this is the best Chinese food […] so if it’s not, we’re going to Dallas to burn down his high-rise.”

The restaurant in question was Fu’s Garden at San Felipe and Augusta. And, to the surprise of many, Ramirez not only enjoyed the dinner, but also responded to Farb with appreciation, affectionately referring to him as “meshuggah.”

When About Magazine reached out to Al Farb to ask the status of his feud with Ramirez, he responded:

“Who? I live in Dallas now. I’m busy.”

When we reached out to Ramirez about the feud, he stated:

“Farb is only mad because I refuse to be a fifth wheel. Also, isn’t this a conflict of interest? I will Miranda Priestly you so quick.”

Friend of both Farb and Ramirez (but mostly Ramirez), Wendy Taylor, hesitated to comment. Finally, after some slight harassment and black mail, she replied:

“I don’t know what to say! I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.”

More updates will come as they are made available.

Queer Houston, We Have a Problem

endorse lupe valden jenifer rene pool

What the actual heck is the GLBT Political Caucus thinking?

(HOUSTON)—Over the weekend, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus announced its long-winded list of endorsements for the 2018 primary elections, which are now only one month away (March 6th, 2018). The list, which consists of 60 names—59 Democrats and 1 Republicanhosts some notable names, from Beto O’Rourke to Fran Watson and beyond. However, it also is missing a couple of not only recognizable, but very important names in two very important slots.

Jenifer Rene Pool for the Texas House of Representatives and Lupe Valdez for governor. Why do these names matter? Well, for one, Pool was the president of Houston’s GLBT Political Caucus from 2006 until 2008. And then there’s the fact that she was also the first trans person to ever win a primary election in Texas in 2016 (although, she was defeated in November). As for Valdez, well, she made history by being one of the first democrats elected to office in Dallas in 2004 after a long span of time, and by being the only Latina sheriff in the entire nation elected and serving in 2004. Now, as their political candidacies are just a month shy of votes that could disconcert the Texas political establishment, Houston’s GLBT Political Caucus has pulled a very Texas-fitting move by endorsing straight, white men rather than these two queer women.

A little more background on these two women:

Jenifer-Rene-Pool-1 Queer Houston, We Have a ProblemJenifer Rene Pool is more than just a trans womanshe’s a successful businesswoman and advocate who not only has been appointed to the Buildings and Standards Commission, the Police Advisory Commission, the Task Force on Buildings and Standards, the Special Task Force on Film in Houston, the Houston Police Advisory Committee, but has also served thoroughly and actively in the LGBTQIA community for decades and owns her own consulting firm. In 2016 (as aforementioned), Pool became the first trans person to ever win a primary election in the state of Texas, beating opponent Erik Hassan for the Harris County Commissioner’s Court, District 13 seat by a staggering margin. Pool pulled in 78.28% of the votes. Hassan, on the other hand, reeled in only 21.72%. In November, Pool lost the seat to Republican candidate Steve Radack, but by a much smaller margin than Hassan had lost to her in the primary. Radack won with approximately 58%, leaving pool with about 42%. Now, Pool is running for the Texas House of Representatives, heavily emphasizing the repair of infrastructure, implementing comprehensive flood protection, reforming education to a quality standard, and so much more.

TLMD_LUPE_VALDEZ-e1517945975587-300x229 Queer Houston, We Have a ProblemLupe Valdez has served as a captain in the US Army, and has also worked as a federal agent. She served as Sheriff of Dallas County from 2004 until just last year. Valdez’s work in the federal government involved investigating fraud in the country, as well a crime corps outside the country. As the sheriff, she spent a great deal of time reforming prisons that were understaffed and overpopulated. Her advocacy for inmates extended even further, however, seeking better care for prisoners suffering mental illness. As mentioned before, Valdez was one of a handful of LGBTQIA elected public servants serving over the course of her career as sheriff; and when she began in 2004, she was the only Latina in the entire country to hold the title of sheriff. Now, Valdez is running for governor. Valdez is running on higher minimum wages, equal pay, affordable college educations, affordable healthcare, more and better public transit options, and raising the standard of education.

Unarguably, these are two strong political candidates. Right? And they just so happen to identify as LGBTQIA. Still, Pool and Valdez aren’t the only two LGBTQIA candidates running for office. In fact, there are almost fifty queer people running in Texas alone. Certainly, they can’t all win. Still, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be given the opportunity to win.

Jennifer-Rene-Pool-e1312640557522-225x300 Queer Houston, We Have a ProblemI’m a staunch believer that we shouldn’t elect queer people just because they’re queer. I wouldn’t be electing Caitlin Jenner just because she’s trans. She’s also a Republican who endorsed Donald Trump. Not quite my cup of tea. However, among those near-fifty candidates that we’re talking about, nearly all are running on the Democratic ticket and are talking about issues that matter to the LGBTQIA community. After all, when it comes down to it, we’re concerned about the same things that cis and straight people are. We just want to be safe and afforded the same opportunities. But more than anything, what the community needs right now and more than ever is representation. Rare is the occasion that any given person is going to agree with each and every political stance taken by any given politician; but even rarer—especially in the LGBTQIA community—is the opportunity to be represented by a majority of politicians. We’re a community of minorities that converges like a Venn Diagram with other minority groups. We’re made up of gay people, trans people, bisexual people, black people, Hispanic people, Jewish people, Asian people, disabled people, veterans, asexuals, the non-binary, and so many more. Unlike the representation we see in our government—especially so in our state’s government—we are more than just white, cisgender, straight, male faces. So, why is that so much of what we’re seeing? And more importantly, why are those the faces that the Houston GLBT Political Caucus is endorsing over queer trans women or queer women of color? 

Screen-Shot-2017-12-06-at-6.20.19-AM_1512562828089_11882921_ver1.0-300x225 Queer Houston, We Have a ProblemThough it was reported in 2017 that Congress is now composed of 19% nonwhite individuals, there are only seven people who identify as LGBTQIA currently serving—less than 2%. Worse still? Only one of those 7 is a nonwhite person. So, if we take this information into consideration, and if we bother to ask why in 2018 we’re still seeing a giant lack of representation in our national and state government systems, it is equally important to ask why the Houston GLBT Political Caucus is endorsing straight, cisgender, white men in place of a strong trans woman and a Latin lesbian. Both of these women have worked tirelessly over the course of their political careers to ensure safety for the LGBTQIA community and who want to bring their voices—our voices—to Austin to make effective change.

As someone told me lately, “If the Caucus ain’t gonna support you [queer people], who will?”

To hear the Caucus’s new and sitting president tell it, as reported to MyStatesman, “We absolutely, positively wanted to endorse Lupe, but she didn’t do as well as we would have liked in the interview.” But that doesn’t quite seem like a good enough excuse. When it comes down to politics, the public eye never leaves a politician, especially not in the current era of 24-hour news coverage. A politician’s reliability, their credibility, and their flat-out ability to do the job aren’t solely based on one interview. They’re based on what work the candidate in question has done to effect change in the community. And neither Pool nor Valdez has carried out a career lacking said efficacy. Moreover, their careers—possibly even somewhat stunted due to their LGBTQIA statuses—have not come without pressures that their candidates have never had to face. As women—one trans and one cis—and as members of this community, both of these ladies have jumped hurdles to assume and maintain the positions they’ve fought tirelessly for to protect the well-being of other people. And, let’s be honest, these are both women of a certain age. That’s not a jab at them—that’s a jab at the times in which they’ve had to be unafraid and unabashed in order to make the strides they’ve made to get to where they are. Their political lives have had to shatter more glass ceilings than many in politics can ever imagine having existed.

 

andrew-white-300x201 Queer Houston, We Have a Problem
Andrew White, who won the Caucus’s governor endorsement over Valdez

And, as a community of mixed voices—gay, bi, trans, non-binary, lesbian, black, Asian, Hispanic, and more—we need heroes that are comfortable being uncomfortable to stand up, sword and shield in hand, to say no to the assholes in Austin who seek to shove us back into the holes we’ve worked so hard to wiggle our way out of. No more bathroom bills. No more denying us spousal benefits for city employees. No more revoking our right to marry. No more refusal to change gender markers. We need leaders whose voices reflect the people who are underserved—and we are the underserved. I’m not sorry to say that I don’t need a straight, white, cisgender man making decisions for my big, fat, gay life, just like our trans brothers and sisters don’t need one making decisions for them, and just like our lesbian sisters don’t need them making decisions for them, and just like our non-binary siblings don’t need them making decisions for them. We all need a voice that sounds a bit more like ours—a perspective that has been shaped by adversity and experience.

adam-e1517946106222-300x297 Queer Houston, We Have a Problem
Adam Milasincic, who won the endorsement over Pool.

With that said, I’m not sure what the Houston GLBT Political Caucus was thinking when they made these decisions. No offense to Andrew White or Adam Milasincic, the men endorsed in place of Pool and Valdez. Their resumes are impressive, but they’ve also lived lives of white boy privilege. If we’re going to continue talking about draining the swamp and equality and reclaiming our time and nevertheless persisting, our community and the organizations and caucuses that self-proclaim to represent the politics of our best interests need to recognize that it’s time to stop endorsing straight, white, cisgender men in lieu of people who have walked down the roads we have. As someone told me lately, “If the Caucus ain’t gonna support you [queer people], who will?”

Houston GLBT Political Caucus, shame on you. Shame on you for not supporting our trans sister and our sister of color. Sure, they may seem like the underdogs right now. But isn’t that what all of us in this community are? The underdogs? Isn’t that what all of your sitting board members were at some point? But in 2018—a year into a presidency of pussy-grabbing, trans military-banning, and wall-building—you need to be setting the example that even the underdog deserves a chance to shine. You need to be elevating our people and putting them on a pedestal and telling not only these candidates, but the world, “Yes. You can do this. You are the best person to represent our community.” And you have failed in doing that here. As happy as I am that you have endorsed many candidates that I think are going to go out there and use their voices to do great things for us, I am so disappointed in you for discouraging two strong, fierce-as-fuck women when you had the chance to expose them to people who need to know they’re out there fighting for us.

Shame on you.

And queer Houstonians, yes, we have a problem. But we are the only people who have the power to fix that problem. So, on March 6th, get up, go out, and vote. Vote for the queer people on the ballot—no matter who has or has not endorsed them. Make your voices heard. Because the louder that we shout, the more of us that show up, the harder we fight back to be heard and seen and to live an equal and happy life, the more the world will change for the better.

Vote.