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Pride Comes to The Woodlands

The Woodlands, Texas, an affluent township north of Houston, is getting its very own Pride celebration and they sat down to talk to About Magazine about it first.

If you’re a native of Houston, or if you’ve been a transplant long enough to have made your rounds in and out of the metropolitan area, you probably are at least somewhat familiar with the Woodlands. Located just 30 miles from Downtown Houston, The Woodlands has been around since 1974, when oil industry investor George P. Mitchell (yes, that’s right, husband of Cynthia Woods Mitchell, the namesake of the performance pavilion) attended a conference on developing HUD Title VII towns. For Millennials who grew up in Houston and its surrounding areas, The Woodlands was sort of an escapist township – the place with the lake that had its very own animatronic monster, the place with the giant mall that had the carousel. But in the last ten years, the Woodlands has seen a boom not only in business, but in infrastructure, population, and net worth.

WATERWAY2 Pride Comes to The Woodlands
The Woodlands’ Waterway

The Woodlands now serves as a sort of city of its own. Recently, the township has introduced new dining and shopping establishments along the coast of Lake Woodlands, introduced its very own San Antonio-esque waterway (which is still growing in terms of business), and countless new residences throughout its 43.9 sq mi spread. Spreading from the Sawdust Rd. area all the way up to Research Forest, The Woodlands is only growing continuously. And while the residents are majority Christian, right-wingers, that isn’t stopping the newly founded The Woodlands Pride (TWP) from setting up shop to the LGBTQIA community, which will be hosted on September 8th, 2018

About Magazine has the lucky fortune of running the first interview with TWP’s director of public relations, Ryan Elkins.


About Magazine: What brought about the idea to give The Woodlands its own Pride, and who came up with it?

The idea was brought up by Jason Rocha, our CEO. After a walk along the waterway, where he envisioned a Pride event, he began to make some calls and reach out to community activists in The Woodlands and surrounding areas about forming a committee to organize a Pride Festival.

market-street Pride Comes to The Woodlands
The Woodlands’ Market Street

With The Woodlands being a community of diversity and welcoming to people from all walks of life, The Woodlands is [now] ready and has been ready for quite some time for an event like this. [It’s] a festival to show unity, love, and support for the LGBTQIA community. The Woodlands has never given our community a fair opportunity, mostly due to the fact that the LGBTQIA community has never been presented with an event like this in the area. So we are excited to show our support for The Woodlands and surrounding areas, as we know they feel the same about us.

What can we expect from TWP? Will it be different from Pride Houston?

You can expect TWP to be different than any other pride; just as no pride event in any community is the same.  We often attend Pride Houston and other events, so we hope our friends and allies in the Greater Houston Area will come and support us!

The Woodlands is a pretty conservative area of town. Are you all worried there may be some backlash from those in the community?

We are only focused on the positive and our mission. To connect, celebrate, educate and foster relationships in the LGBTQIA community while promoting equality, unity, and love in The Woodlands and beyond. We love our community. That’s why we’re here. We are looking forward to contribute and enhance why The Woodlands is so special.

What is TWP most excited about for this event?

TWP is most excited about organizing the first Pride Festival in The Woodlands! This is just the beginning of many great things to come not only for The Woodlands and surrounding areas, but for the LGBTQIA community as a whole.

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Town Green Park where TWP will be held

I used to live in the Woodlands off Research and can attest to the fact that it feels like its own little city (and has been reported to be the fastest-growing city in the United States). Do you think that the expansion and constant growth of the Woodlands marks it time to establish your own Pride?

Absolutely. With the constant growth of The Woodlands, and the diversity of people moving here from all types of backgrounds, 2018 is the year to establish our own Pride. So, why not now?

Do you think that in years to come you’ll continue to celebrate TWP in September? What made September feel like the right time?

More than likely, we will celebrate The Woodlands Pride in September moving forward. We want to respect our neighbors to the south, Pride Houston, as well as hope for slightly cooler weather.

In the past, society has set a date or month to celebrate Pride when our community was tolerated. But now that we are accepted, everyday is Pride day!

“We are only focused on the positive and our mission. To connect, celebrate, educate and foster relationships in the LGBTQIA community while promoting equality, unity, and love in The Woodlands and beyond.”

Tell me about the team at TWP. Who should we be thanking for making all of this come to life? Are some of you new to working for Pride orgs, or are some of you seasoned in it?

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The Woodlands Pride Board of Directors

TWP has an incredible group of individuals on our board of directors, and this is truly a group effort!

We have two political activists that both previously ran for office, two veteran board members for other pride organizations, and other local leaders.

Everyone brings their own strengths and valuable experience to the table that is going to make our Pride Festival on September 8th a huge success.

Who we should be thanking is The Woodlands and surrounding areas for expressing their love and support. This is a celebration for the LGBTQIA and our allies.

Are there any important details that we should know about? Dates, times, etc.?

Yes, save the date! The Woodlands Pride Festival will be on September 8th, 2018! We are still working on the minor details such as the time, before and after events, as well as fundraisers. But to receive the latest updates, follow us at ‘The Woodlands Pride’ on Facebook and Instagram. As well as @WoodlandsPride on Twitter and Snapchat.


You can RSVP to TWP on Facebook here.

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.

Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

The seemingly harmless 32-year-old comic tore the Trump administration and the media to shreds with her White House Correspondents’ Dinner stand-up gig … and it was beautiful.

The White House Correspondents’ Association (you know, those people who sit in the press room of the White House shouting questions that typically go unanswered or answered falsely by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders) is treated annually with a nice dinner at the White House. The dinner is typically attended by the bulk of the administration, the president and vice president, members of the association intertwined with celebrities and other Washington big-wigs. However, in both 2017 and now 2018, Donald J. Trump has made the choice to not attend the festivities for one reason or another. In his place in 2018, Trump sent Huckabee Sanders.

The evening always boasts at least one entertainer, who in the past have included Jay Leno, Bob Hope, Wanda Sykes, Aretha Franklin, and many others. Last year, Daily Show senior correspondent, Hasan Minhaj, entertained the room, making one-liners about Trump, his staff, the turn-over rate (which even in late April of 2017 was alarmingly high), Russia, and, of course, the press. Minhaj committed himself to performing at the expense of the administration, and was widely regarded for doing so tastefully. This year, (also) Daily Show contributor/writer, Michelle Wolf, was tasked with the honor of performing … and she took no prisoners.

It was mesmerizing.

Throughout the bulk of her performance, Michelle Wolf took jabs at Donald Trump (“Trump is racist, though. He loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a ‘white nationalist’ is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend,’ or Harvey Weinstein a ‘ladies man,’ which isn’t really fair — he also likes plants.”), Mike Pence (“Mike Pence is what happens when Anderson Cooper isn’t gay.”), Sarah Huckabee Sanders (“I loved you as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale. Mike Pence, if you haven’t seen it, you would love it.”), the press corps (about CNN:“You guys love breaking news, and you did it, you broke it! Good work!”) and so many others. When she took the stage, it was probably a general assumption that this tiny, 32-year-old, not-that-famous comedienne from Pennsylvania was going to perform some quick burns, but that she would do so apologetically and with respect to the administration.

What’s the old saying about assuming?

Michelle took the stage and held her own. She had no problem roasting individuals who were seated before her, and even those just a few chairs from her (read: Sanders). She delivered jokes with impeccable comedic timing and proved to the entire world that she’s just as pissed about the state of our nation’s government as many of us are. And by the time the dust had settled, Michelle Wolf became a name that everyone in America would soon know.

However, much like the 2016 election, reactions to the event were … well … divided. While many liberals and anti-Trump advocates rallied around Wolf and lamented their praises, the right, the administration, as well as a great deal of the media, felt differently. Just this morning, even the White House Correspondents’ Association president, Margaret Talev, even released a statement via Twitter responding to Saturday’s monologue. In the statement, Talev outlines that the spirit of the WHCD was “not to divide people”, and went so far as to state that Wolf’s set was not in the spirit of that mission.

Screen-Shot-2018-04-30-at-4.00.13-PM Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep's ClothingEven the president felt the need to take to Twitter to comment on the performance he had not even the courage to attend, stating that Wolf “bombed.” Conversely, many big-names from the left have stepped up and sworn their allegiance to Wolf, supporting her and defending her in social media battles.

Screen-Shot-2018-04-30-at-3.50.41-PM Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep's ClothingScreen-Shot-2018-04-30-at-3.51.52-PM Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep's ClothingScreen-Shot-2018-04-30-at-3.53.28-PM Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep's ClothingScreen-Shot-2018-04-30-at-3.54.06-PM Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep's ClothingScreen-Shot-2018-04-30-at-3.54.46-PM Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep's ClothingYes, Michelle Wolf put on a performance that is going to be long-remembered, as well as one that will be go down in history as controversial. But why was it so controversial? It didn’t seem controversial when a scathing performance was given by the aforementioned Minhaj the year before. And while he too was met with criticism for some of his remarks by the right, the amount of blowback didn’t include a personal letter from the WHCA.

And why is it that America is so angry? (Let’s be honest, it’s mostly because she’s a liberal woman, and liberal women apparently shouldn’t have opinions … least of all express them). Wolf did her job. Not just as a comic (and it was really freaking funny), but as an American. She used the opportunity to point out through satire and rhetoric the issues that a great deal of Americans have with the administration, as well as the press (and even added to the end of her set that Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water.). And while you may not often hear the words ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ being shouted throughout the halls of the White House as they were last night (then again, how can I really know that?), Wolf’s commentary was tasteful and rewarding.

Trump is racist, though. He loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a ‘white nationalist’ is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend,’ or Harvey Weinstein a ‘ladies man,’ which isn’t really fair — he also likes plants.

—Michelle Wolf

Everyone is concerned for Sarah Huckabee Sanders and President Trump for what Wolf had to say about them; but what about what those two say to all of us on a daily basis? It’s no secret that Donald Trump is a compulsive liar. He usually gets caught in his lies, denies them, is presented with evidence, denies that, and then comes around and says, “Oh, sure. Yeah. I think that did happen. But it’s okay, because it was just me.” Huckabee Sanders does nothing to help that situation, as she conveniently holds a title that requires her to relay a great deal of those lies to the press. And the problem with the both of them? As they’re spewing bullshit to America, they’re doing so with faces that read clearly: I believe what I’m saying is true. To add insult to injury, Trump doesn’t just tell lies, he’s also a self-proclaimed sexual assailant (refer to the Billy Bush recording travesty), and talks about people—often his constituents, mind you—as if they’re not people, but pawns in his real-life game of Monopoly.

Have we so quickly forgotten how he accused Megyn Kelly of having “blood coming out of her wherever” when she chastised him for his behavior during a debate? Are we ignoring how he mocked a disabled news reporter on live TV at a rally held in South Carolina? Are we forgetting how his temper tantrums have brought us to the brink of nuclear war more times than a few? What about his proposed ban on transgender military members? What about the time he claimed that sexual assault in the military is just what happens when men and women work together? Oh, and there was that time he joked about dating his own daughter (that one still makes me cringe).

Wolf did what Wolf was there to do and she did a damn fine job doing so. The backlash she’s receiving is basically to say that we are now supposed to hold the comics in this country to a higher standard than we are the leader of the free world. And that sort of assertion is, quite frankly, ridiculous. She tackled issues that people don’t want to talk about, including the press pandering to the president for ratings and money.

Wolf wasn’t what the crowd was expecting that night at the WHCD … and thankfully so. Whether you like what she had to say about the president, his administration, or the press, Wolf showed up and did her job the way that a comedian is supposed to (and much unlike the president’s record has proven, she did so without insulting the image or body of a single woman). When is the Trump administration going to show up to do their jobs the way they’re supposed to?

You can watch Michelle’s full remarks here.

New Kesha Video, Universal Love Album

Album of Reimagined Love Songs Features Artistic Vision of Bob Dylan, Kesha, and more.

MGM Resorts International announced the release of UNIVERSAL LOVEa collection of reimagined wedding songs for the LGBTQ community, celebrating the enduring and overwhelming power of love and music to unite.

MGM Resorts is a global entertainment company with a deep-seated belief that entertainment is fundamental to human fulfillment. The company’s passion for the UNIVERSAL LOVE project reflects its profound commitment to embracing humanity and the impact music can have on the human experience.

UNIVERSAL LOVE offers six newly recorded versions of iconic love songs that give same-sex couples a soundtrack for their own love stories and feature pronouns changed to reflect the world of LGBTQ relationships.

The album includes boundary-changing songs from some of today’s most-beloved artists. Bob Dylan, one of the most influential and successful recording artists in American history, is among the visionary artists participating in this unprecedented project. Dylan re-recorded “She’s Funny That Way” as “He’s Funny That Way.” The album features five additional stellar artists whose involvement is a testament to the urgency of equality in entertainment: Kesha (“I Need a Woman to Love Me”), St. Vincent (“And Then She Kissed Me”), Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (“And I Love Him”), Kele Okereke of Bloc Party (“My Guy”), and Valerie June (“Mad About The Girl”).

Phyllis James, MGM Resorts’ Chief Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said, “We believe projects like this will help all of us reach a point where seeing the world through the lens of people who happen to be different from us becomes natural and commonplace. It is an immense honor for MGM Resorts to spearhead this inspirational project which celebrates LGBTQ dimensions of the universal emotion of love.”

image002 New Kesha Video, Universal Love AlbumUNIVERSAL LOVE is a natural extension of MGM’s two decades of advocacy work with the LGBTQ community and the company’s desire to advance initiatives that unite humanity. More than a decade before same-sex marriage was legalized, same-sex commitment ceremonies were performed at chapels at MGM Resorts’ properties. In 2004, MGM Resorts became the first company in the gaming and hospitality industry to offer same-sex health benefits to employees, and MGM was a founding partner of the Las Vegas chapter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in 2004.

MGM Resorts is a leader in all aspects of the entertainment industry (hospitality, gaming, live events, etc.) and believes in the transformational power of entertainment for all. MGM’s launch of UNIVERSAL LOVE reinforces an inclusive vision of unions that more closely mirrors the incredible diversity of today’s relationships.

The compilation album was produced by MGM Resorts in conjunction with global advertising agency McCann and will be distributed by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music. UNIVERSAL LOVE is available on all streaming platforms now.

UNIVERSAL LOVE TRACK LISTING
01 “HE’S FUNNY THAT WAY” • BOB DYLAN
02 “AND THEN SHE KISSED ME” • ST VINCENT
03 “MY GUY” • KELE OKEREKE
04 “MAD ABOUT THE GIRL” • VALERIE JUNE
05 “AND I LOVE HIM” • BENJAMIN GIBBARD
06 “I NEED A WOMAN TO LOVE ME” • KESHA

About MGM Resorts International
MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is an S&P 500® global entertainment company with national and international locations featuring best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meetings and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings. MGM Resorts creates immersive, iconic experiences through its suite of Las Vegas-inspired brands. The MGM Resorts portfolio encompasses 28 unique hotel offerings including some of the most recognizable resort brands in the industry. Expanding throughout the U.S. and around the world, the company in 2018 opened MGM COTAI in Macau and the first Bellagio-branded hotel in Shanghai. It also is developing MGM Springfield in Massachusetts. The 78,000 global employees of MGM Resorts are proud of their company for being recognized as one of FORTUNE® Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies®. For more information visit us at www.mgmresorts.com.