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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anthony Ramirez, Al Farb, and Wendy Taylor all looking like trash at this lunch.

Sipping the Galveston “T”

Photo by David Guerra

T-Time, hosted by Drew O’Hara and Andy Tamez, is making a splash in the Galveston gay waters, as both hosts tackle island rumors and do their best to set the record straight.

(GALVESTON) – About Magazine reporter and photographer David Guerra sat down last month to talk to Drew and Andy about how their popular Facebook Live show came to be, how its popularity has grown, and what they’d like to do to give back to Galveston’s LGBTQIA community. The two best friends opened up about these topics and so much more. They stated that even though their show seems gossipy, “that is not what they focus on.” In fact, when asked, their end goals include promoting local talent, entertainers, and trying to bridge gaps within the community.

Read more below.


About Magazine: What inspired the show?

Drew O’Hara: It came for me by having different groups of people that would hang out in different locations on the island. Then, to hear someone say something about someone else, and that information would relayed by someone else from a third party, and it would blow up to something bigger. When originally what was said was not offensive but got telephoned into something offensive. It was happening all the time, this miscommunication, this ‘he-said-she-said’ telephone game. It was putting us in the middle because we are friends with everyone.

[The show] is about hearing it from the horses mouth. If you have something to say, come say it here.

tt1 Sipping the Galveston "T"
Photo by David Guerra

Andy Tamez: It became a lot, and it was hard to hear everybody just going back and forth. It got to the point where it was holding people accountable for what [they’re] doing and saying. It was stressing us out, so we were like,  “You know what? We’ll just put this on [Facebook] Live. And that’s what started it. Then we had people that wanted to come on the show and talk about certain things. The whole premise of the show was to have a platform to come in and tell your own story, say your truth, and own up to your actions.

What are the topics you cover?

DO: We have different segments. We have people come on the show to talk about things that are going on around the area. We will interview someone like special sponsors that sponsor certain events that are happening in town. T-Time was predominantly […] somebody saying what’s on their mind, but that is not what we focus on. Now we have segments, if you watch the show. We do the ending of our show with [a segment called] “What Would You Do?”. It’s just a way to communicate with somebody while also getting the information out there in a way that people will pay attention to.

Who is your audience?

AT: It’s a pretty large demographic. It ranges anywhere from Galveston to Houston. And we are finding that even straight people are watching the show. As I went to Chick-Fil-A, some girl was there saying, “Hey! You’re the one doing that Facebook show!” 

DO:  She said, “Y’all are Drandy!” And we were like, “Yes … We have no idea who you are, but thank you.”

AT: We had no idea we had an audience the way we do.

tt2 Sipping the Galveston "T"
Photo by David Guerra

DO: It’s being called the local talk show. So it went from T-Time to just saying what is on your mind to helping community members get their thoughts out there to actually graduating to plugging any events. And now it’s just all three of them combined. We want to just help the community, and we are ripping off all of these Band-Aids. We have already seen a change. There are always new events going on, on the island, so there is always going to be something going on that we can stream out, and revitalize and actually get the concept out and see the changes of individuals. We get an average of fifty audience members that will watch live, but HUNDREDS that will watch after we air off.

Who do you interview and why?

DO: Local community leaders that we find beneficial to help get the information out. For example, Kiki Dion Van Wales. She is not only the show director here at 23rd [Street Station], but she is the owner of Pride Galveston. We interviewed her because we wanted to get the information out there to let people know this is where the donations are, this is how it’s working, this is what it’s going towards. Just using Kiki as an example. We want to give Galveston as much attention as possible, and help the community as well. Because if we can help, we’re going to.

How is the feedback when you air off?

DO: Depends on the timing. If we have a guest on the show that ripped someone apart, then we would have people that were very aggravated. So we had something for a while when things got a little shaky called Make-Up Mondays where the next day we have to go in and be like you know this is what’s going on, mend it, and assure our audience realizes we weren’t trying to be assholes. 

tt4 Sipping the Galveston "T"
Photo by David Guerra

What are you doing with your popularity?

AT: It’s very humbling and surprising. I didn’t think that it was going to be like this at all,

DO: I thought it was just going to be our friends watching, and then one we started hitting hundreds of views, we were like, “Oh, shit! People are actually watching.” Our popularity has grown by each show.

Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat Becky Albertalli Love Simon LGBTQ BOOK

Leah on the Offbeat – 4/5 Stars

“I swear, people can’t wrap their minds around the concept of a fat girl who doesn’t diet. Is it that hard to believe I might actually like my body?”

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli is the bisexual story I have always wanted to read. Not that I knew it existed until a few weeks ago, or even know that I needed it in my life before then. But now that I’ve read it, it’s like it was something I’ve been missing. If you liked the first book in this series, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, or it’s movie counterpart, Love, Simon, you will love this book. It focuses on Simon’s best friend, Leah Burke, who is confident in her sexuality. She’s bisexual; and from the very beginning we know this to be true. She has only told one person, her mother. Leah spends her senior year struggling with college applications, prom dates, and crushes. Leah has never been kissed, so when a friend of hers asks her to prom, she finds herself feeling obligated to go with him. It’s clear that this isn’t really what she wants. She has her heart set on someone else, even if she doesn’t know it yet.

“It has to be easier for people with penises. Does this person get you hard? Yes? Done. I used to think boners literally pointed in the direction of the person you’re attracted to, like a compass.”

This book keeps you laughing on every page. Leah’s hilarious narration makes real life situations more interesting. I always found myself relating to her inner-monologue. She says what we’re all thinking. She calls people out when they deserve it and is the modern-day hero we’ve been looking for. She’s also human, she has flaws. She easily lets her feelings get the best of her. The story begins with Leah’s disinterest in a girl that used to be her friend. A girl upon who she develops a crush. A straight girl. When things don’t turn out the way she wants them to, she gets angry and defensive. The teenage angst is so relatable (we’ve all been there). It’s easy to get angry when someone doesn’t (or is incapable of) liking you back. But, this book isn’t just about Leah and her crush. It’s about all relationships. Leah struggles to come to terms with her mother’s relationship and we get to see more of Simon and Bram together, who are just as cute as they were in the first book.

“…That’s why bi girls exist, Garrett. For your masturbatory fantasies.”

Leah and the Offbeat, while focusing mainly on Leah’s sexuality, isn’t only about that. It’s about so much more. Leah is so much more than just a bisexual. She’s funny, smart and has a huge attitude. I loved watching her grow as a person throughout the book.

I’m a sucker for a good romance so I was dying to know how everything would unfold. I couldn’t put it down. There were some slow parts of the novel; but there weren’t any scenes where I was bored. Everything that was in the book was important. Nothing was there just to fill up the pages. It’s well written and the story flows nicely together.

You’re not fat. You look amazing. Because fat is the opposite of amazing. Got it.”

This is the most honest high school story I have ever read. I always felt like I was witnessing real conversations, like I was hearing them in passing in the high school hallway. Everything about this book is very authentic. It was easy to get lost in the story. Leah, especially, is very real. She reacts like any moody teenage girl would and I could easily picture her being a real person. She is three-dimensional and much more than just her sexuality. Leah is a character I have definitely fallen in love with.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Leah on the Offbeat. From the first page, I knew it would be a good read. It started off with a bang and held my interest the entire time. I would definitely recommend this book.

Were-About-It Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat

Pride Edition: Megan Smith & Kelsey Gledhill

Kelsey Gledhill Megan Smith Spectrum South Pride

Megan Smith and Kelsey Gledhill, founders of the growing and popular online magazine Spectrum South, are more than just writers and editors – they’re advocates and innovators.

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Left to right: Kelsey Gledhill, Megan Smith

(HOUSTON) – It might seem aberrant for one online magazine to be featuring and promoting another similar online magazine, especially when both hail from the same city and share many goals in common. However, when we met with Megan Smith and Kelsey Gledhill of Houston’s Spectrum South, there was never a question that it needed to be happen. The two young women, both of whom got their start at OutSmart, aren’t here to compete with any other magazines. They’re goal is singular: be the voice of the unheard queer community. That goal, while noble in and of itself; but it only becomes even more impressive when you dissect it into the components its made up of: diversity, inclusion, compassion, love, and intersectionality.

As we met with them one Saturday afternoon to have photos taken and even spent time with them in the studio for Morena Roas’s TBA Thursday radio show, it became increasingly clear that these two young women are not only ambitious and hard-working, but their sights are set and their targets are being struck at the bullseyes. Between their quick-wits, their absorbent brains, and their flair for telling stories that are meaningful to the community, Megan Smith and Kelsey Gledhill have a lot to offer up at Spectrum South.

And About Magazine was lucky enough to get to talk with them about what all that entailed.


About Magazine: Tell me a bit about how Spectrum South came to be.

Megan Smith (co-founder, editor-in-chief): Kelsey and I met during our time at the University of Texas at Austin, when I was getting my undergrad in journalism, and she was getting her master’s in creative advertising. Post-graduation, we ended up working together here in Houston in LGBTQ media. As we became more involved in the city’s LGBTQ community, on both a personal and professional level, we began to hear a reccuring narrative—that there was a lack of media representation for young queer folks, queer people of color, trans and non-binary individuals, and really anyone who doesn’t fit into the white gay male box.

Kelsey Gledhill (co-founder/chief creative officer): We got tired of hearing that narrative. Thus, the idea for Spectrum South. We wanted to create an accessible platform that represents all identities on the queer spectrum, not just some. We launched the site (spectrumsouth.com) in June 2017 and just celebrated our one-year anniversary in business. The community love, interest, and feedback we’ve received over the past year has exceeded all our wildest expectations.

17973932_466920433699471_1757179860368821253_o Pride Edition: Megan Smith & Kelsey GledhillAmongst the queer publications in Houston (OutSmart, About, Spectrum South), Spectrum South seems to have a unique brand that is important to queer people because it talks about people and topics that aren’t highlighted enough in queer publications. What’s the process like of choosing those? 

KG: We aim to center the most marginalized within our community because they deserve representation the most. Many people label the identities we highlight as “fringe” because they are not as well understood and/or not seen as valuable. But we believe these identities are valid, should be celebrated, and put at the forefront.

MS: For example, when a non-binary person tells you that they use “they/them” pronouns, using those pronouns should be a no-brainer. Yet, we’ve been thanked by folks for doing so, just because they’re so used to being misgendered by other media outlets. All we’re doing is showing basic respect to our fellow community members. We are far from perfect—we are constantly listening, learning, and improving—but what sets us apart is that we want to do better.

Another impressive thing about SS is that your content creators and editorial board are so well diversified—something not always seen in queer publishing. What do you have to say about the lack of diversity and the importance of implanting more of it?

KG: We all know that LGBTQ media has been dominated by gay white men for far too long. Consequently, that leadership is reflected in the content of those publications—completely leaving out those who identify differently. In a time when trans women of color are being murdered at exponential rates, we can no longer accept this standard. Accurate representation can save queer lives.

MS: We recognize that we are both white queer women, not the definition of diversity. Therefore, we take a two-pronged approach to making sure Spectrum South truly represents all voices within the LGBTQ community. First, we pride ourselves in having a diverse group of staff writers—queer Black and brown voices, trans and non-binary writers, asexual folks, and queer women. Everyone has a seat at the table, no one is tokenized or expected to speak for their entire community, and no one is hired to check off a box. Plus, we ask each regular contributor to share their own personal identity journey with our readers to create transparency and fuel connection.

Secondly, we aim to reflect the diverse identities and experiences of the queer community within our content. We believe that QPOC voices should not be limited to one month of the year. Trans lives should be celebrated, not just remembered. And that we owe it to the community not to be another #GayMediaSoWhite publication.

SS is not just a Houston-centric publication. Your reports and articles are truly and generally southern. Is it difficult to juggle not just what happens here in the city, but what happens across the entirety of the south? 

MS: It’s definitely a challenge! Luckily, we have writers across Texas, as well as in several other states across the South, that are actively involved in their respective queer communities and help us to expand our content outside of the Houston sphere. We are always looking to add more writers from other southern states to our staff! You can email us at info@spectrumsouth.com if you’re interested in contributing.

KG: The folks we’ve interviewed have also been instrumental in connecting us with other queer individuals and organizations in their own cities and states. They’ve helped open a lot of doors for us, and we’re grateful for that.

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Photo by Mel Rose

SS works with many great organizations, as well. Can you tell us a bit about some things you all have going on now and that we can expect to see in the near future?

MS: In our first year, we partnered with some incredible organizations such as The T.R.U.T.H. Project, The Montrose Center, and Save Our Sisters United for both our official launch party and our first-ever “Vie de Femme,” a celebration of queer femme identity across the spectrum.

KG: We are now partnering with QFest, Houston’s annual international LGBTQ film festival, to present its Closing Night film screening, awards ceremony, and reception on Monday, July 30 at Rice Media Center. QFest is now in its 22nd year, and we look forward to introducing a new generation of LGBTQ folks to this long standing queer cultural staple. Make sure to keep up with Spectrum South on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as subscribe to our newsletter, to receive all the event details!

For two people who give a mouthpiece to the queer community to be heard from, tell me what Pride really means to you (both in that capacity and personally).

MS: For Spectrum South, Pride means staying true to both our queer and southern identities, and realizing that the two can, in fact, coexist. There’s the misconception that queer folks flee the South as fast as they can for the more liberal coasts. But we know that’s not always true—we are here thriving in the arts, business, philanthropy, and more. And we deserve to be celebrated.

For me personally, Pride is about finding strength in my identity as a queer femme woman, as well as embracing the inherently radical and political spirit that comes along with that identity. There’s a quote from the pamphlet “Queers Read This” that was distributed at the 1990 NY Pride march that reads, “You as an alive and functioning queer are a revolutionary.” Pride is about just that—unapologetically loving our queer selves in the face of a society that tells us we shouldn’t.

KG: Pride is a quiet confidence in myself as a woman, a lesbian, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a southerner. All of these varied identities work together to make one beautifully intricate and loving individual that is just that, individual. I take pride in my individuality.

If you could tell your younger selves anything that you didn’t know then, what would that be?

KG: That the real learning usually comes by way of failed experiences. It is absolutely acceptable to have failures along the way. If you don’t, you’re not putting yourself, your ideas, your aspirations, or your love out there enough, which ultimately limits your potential at success and accomplishment.

MG: You are not the only queer in the world! There is a huge, beautiful, supportive community waiting to love you. Never underestimate the power of this chosen family!

What kind of positive changes would you like to see happen in Houston’s LGBTQIA community in the coming days?

MS: While we all share lived experiences as queer people, there are still huge divisions within the Houston LGBTQ community. We tend to immerse ourselves in one organization or one cause and, in turn, ignore the important work that other individuals in our community are doing, or the experiences they are trying to share with us.

KG: This also perpetuates a clique culture, the same ‘us vs. them’ mentality placed upon us by the mainstream, that is debilitating to our community’s progress. We would like to see fellow LGBTQ individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses join us in dismantling this divisiveness and creating space for a cohesive, inclusive community.