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Editor’s Note: Help Our Friends at Spectrum South

Screen-Shot-2018-08-24-at-8.51.17-PM Editor's Note: Help Our Friends at Spectrum South

I really should stop addressing everyone as “readers” considering the fact that we now offer so much video content. Followers? Viewers? (You do technically watch and read by viewing. Right?). Ah, well. I digress. The reason we’re planting this note to all of you is to let you know that some very special friends of ours need your help. If you’ve been paying attention lately, you may know that we at About Magazine have an earnest infatuation with another LGBTQ magazine here in Houston. While we love all our friends at all the queer publications that cohabitate here in Houston — OutSmart and The Montrose Star are two large staples of this community without which many LGBTQ Houstonians might suffer a great loss of information — we have a very special place in our hearts for a magazine that shares the same vision About does and that never ceases to impress us.

That magazine — as you may have guessed from my other blushing, giddy notes about them — is Spectrum South. 

40053754_762468307478014_4539267329309016064_o Editor's Note: Help Our Friends at Spectrum SouthIf you actually do read these notes I drop from time-to-time, you’re probably asking, “Yo, Anthony. Why do you like Spectrum South so much? Are you trying to Single White Female them? Why are you so obsessed?”

Truthfully, these are all actually very valid questions; and I worry about it myself a little bit, as the idea of starting to dress like Kelsey Gledhill — chief creative officer of Spectrum — does cross my mind quite often. But the truth of the matter is that Spectrum South (led and co-founded by Gledhill and editor-in-chief, Megan Smith) is just really freaking awesome. Like … I sometimes cannot believe the fact that I never tire of boasting about these two young women and their publication, as well as their entire talented staff. It may sound silly (and even bordering stalker-esque), but Spectrum South has a huge impact on all of the decisions that I make for the future and betterment of About. 

That isn’t to say that we’re here to copy their every move, learn how they think, gain their trust, infiltrate their business, and initiate a coup. (Was that too specific? Shit just got weird). It’s just that they are literally the utmost forward-thinking, diverse, and inclusive queer publication in this city, which is a road I takes steps down every single day in order to improve About. But what’s impressive isn’t the fact that they want to be inclusive or that they want to give something from their publication to every part of the LGBTQIA spectrum in all its many beautiful colors. It’s that they’re actually doing it. Strange as that may sound, this sort of triumph isn’t easy.

Jbfzmzm Editor's Note: Help Our Friends at Spectrum South
Kelsey Gledhill, Anthony Ramirez, and Megan Smith.

In my time at About Magazine, it has proven difficult over-and-over again to truly bring representation to everyone in this community. Whether they be Black, lesbian, Latino, asexual, bisexual, gay, queer, nonbinary, trans, woman, Asian, or any other marginalized person, finding the right way to execute the desire to do so can be sometimes fruitless and exhausting. It’s like I said before, this is a road that I take About down every single day (not without the help of our own lovely staff). Only, sometimes that road is unlit, and it winds, and it takes sharp turns, and it goes up-and-down hills you aren’t expecting because you’re traveling it in the dark. So imagine that blindness and loss of direction coupled with the fact that, oh, hey, your power steering fluid has just run out.

To give a little background on Kelsey and Megan — at least as best as I understand it — both these queer women worked in Houston’s LGBTQ journalism scene before Spectrum but found themselves longing for something that really spoke to the corners of the community into which people avoiding shining their flashlights. So they took it upon themselves to create a publication for the community that might better serve our LGBTQIA siblings that are often more marginalized than even the co-founders themselves — queer, white women — or myself — a gay Latino. And with a team of some of Houston’s most incredible writers and photographers that includes (but is not limited to) Crimson Jordan, Barrett White, Yvonne Marquez, and many more, Spectrum has been able to really slip into those creases and cracks to present pieces about some of the Queer South’s most prominent LGBTQ people and businesses, while also discussing topics queer people need a space to read about — from sex to politics to gender affirmation to consent and much, much more.

That’s why when Spectrum South shared with us that they’d be starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for what has turned into their second year in business, we were more than delighted not just to write this letter, but to also invite them to be guests on Wineding Down with Anthony next week and to help get all of our fans, viewers, followers, and readers (oh, look! I got it right!) to pitch into their campaign so that they can continue to bring to you some of the finest content available to queer folks in the South.

And after just three short, impressive days (with still 34 left to go), friends of Spectrum have already contributed $2,749 dollars — more than half of their $5000 goal. Just think what a great excess we could help them obtain if About followers (which summate on social media to over twelve thousand people) could donate as little as a dollar a piece. Sure, not everyone can do it. And that’s understandable. But if you can, I implore of you to donate so that Spectrum can continue to bring Houston (and far beyond) the amazing content they’ve been generating for a little over a year now. With that said, if you can’t, keep reading their pieces, watching their videos, and sharing their content with your loved ones.

It is important to have a publication like Spectrum South in our LGBTQ community — one that hands megaphones to those that have long gone unheard — for the sake of continued progress in a world that maybe lately has seemed more apt to regress. Spectrum, Kelsey, and Megan inspire us at About to care more, do more, and want more for and about our people, all the while reminding us that while it may be difficult to see at first glance, there is goodness in this daunting world.

Screen-Shot-2018-08-24-at-8.45.43-PM Editor's Note: Help Our Friends at Spectrum South
Anthony Ramirez
Editor-in-Chief

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Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ Models

Returning after a successful first year, The Kitchen Sink is an opportunity event for photographers to come out, enrich, and diversify their portfolios.

(HOUSTON) – Everyone is a photographer in 2018. Right? Between Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, stories, filters, editing softwares, and high-resolution phone cameras, it seems like everyone has taken up photography as a hobby, and many as an amateur profession. And what do we get to see when we log into social media? Breathtaking landscapes, platters of food, fruity drinks, well-toned swimsuit models, and selfies made to look like a close-up shot taken by someone else. But photography is — and has always been — more than just these things; and as time generates new methods of snapping and editing photos, real, artistic, photography has taken a step back, somewhat cheapened by the 21st century amateur photographer.

33121570_10156533518609612_7455129925167611904_o-e1534378321864 Photographers Gather at the Kitchen SinkBut the Kitchen Sink is here to change that. After a successful freshman year in Houston, the event curated by Jeff Soderstrom is geared toward providing photographers a space and time to come in and create art for their portfolios is returning with that very same mission in mind. By bringing together dancers, singers, military members, clergy people , authors, seniors, children, male models, GLBT folks, plus-sized models, and all of the other beautiful outlier, the Kitchen Sink is pushing for photographers to have the opportunity to capture the beautiful and idiosyncratic parts of the world they may not get a chance to encompass in their day-to-day lives. Modeling at the event for Houston photographers include About Magazine’s own Gin Martini and her team of LGBTQ cosplayers, drag queen Cyn City, fire performer Desmund Iceucold Mitchell,Laura Siebert’s flamenco dancing group, magicians Rangel and Son, and so many more.

The event takes place this Saturday, August 18th. Photographers who are interested in participating can contact Jeff Soderstrom here.

Look through the photos below for some shots from last year’s event:

39157824_1902048606528000_5178997764540858368_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink38996941_680160905715871_9060626225541677056_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink39261809_726254161062689_6136082302481989632_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink39188287_1824530107601578_1407554112538542080_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink39181069_323930085015494_1261545153122795520_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink39177548_1820875851332932_3054434634717724672_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink39169474_825706641152646_6869487292994551808_n Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink39159209_1692036040922745_7296934043294105600_n-1 Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink

BREAKING: Houston’s El Real Seems to Respond to El Tiempo Controversy

El Real El Tiempo Houston LGBTQ Jeff Sessions

Montrose-favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, El Real, seemed to respond to the controversy surrounding its neighbor, El Tiempo, with a sweet marquee message.

(HOUSTON) – Montrose — Houston’s very own, historic “gayborhood” — is known for its bright lights, fun nightlife, well-attended events, and displays of grandeur. And no local business is quite the part of that as El Real Tex-Mex Cafe. Located at 1201 Westheimer just yards from the intersection of Montrose Blvd., El Real has been serving Montrose patrons for years and boasts a marquee even larger than that of the the historic River Oaks Theater … or even Trader Joe’s. Following the controversy that transpired when local Houston staple El Tiempo Cantina posted photos to all of the social media accounts for each of their restaurants featuring U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it would appear as if El Real is making a courageous statement regarding the topic of heated discussion.

Sunday, a photograph of El Real’s marquee was taken by Pride Portraits owner Eric Edward Schell and shared to social media, which read:

“Brunch sessions at El rEAL ARE ALWAYS CAGE FREE AND FULL OF RAINBOWS.”

39102202_2005544769508840_7530553940341948416_o BREAKING: Houston's El Real Seems to Respond to El Tiempo Controversy
Photo by Eric Edward Schell of Pride Portraits

The clever quip played not only on the separation of immigrant parents from their children — the latter forced into detention camps — but also reminded Montrose residents and frequenters of the LGBTQ community that at least one of their restaurants does not tolerate the bigotry of Sessions’ political stances and actions … while also boasting an ingenuity-filled nod at the U.S. Attorney General’s surname.

As About Magazine first reported late Friday evening (which was later picked up by national news outlets such as Newsweek), El Tiempo found themselves under fire amongst Houstonians (especially those who identify as LGBTQ and Latino) when the U.S. Attorney General entered the establishment for a meal Friday afternoon. After an outcry of backlash on social media (prompting the hashtag #BoycottElTiempo) due to Sessions’ stances on the LGBTQ+ community and his part in the separation of immigrant parents from their children, El Tiempo released a statement via their social media shown below:

Screen-Shot-2018-08-11-at-12.46.02-AM BREAKING: Houston's El Real Seems to Respond to El Tiempo Controversy

Even after deleting the photograph of Sessions and executive chef Domenic Laurenzo, social media criers continued to insist that El Tiempo not be frequented. The logic lay two-fold: Sessions is an avid antagonist to migrant Americans from Mexico, as well as the fact that El Tiempo’s Montrose and Westheimer locations are usually visited by people of color and the LGBTQ community. Some even took to their social media to remind the restaurant chain that it was those two marginalized peoples that had kept the doors of the original El Tiempo open, operating, and expanding since 1998. El Tiempo soon closed down all its social media platforms and has remained hushed over this past weekend.

El Tiempo has been a popular Houston Tex-Mex chain since 1998, when Domenic Tiempo — eldest son of Houston restaurant legend “Mama” Ninfa Laurenzo, restaurant proprietor of the Mama Ninfa’s restaurants — opened the Richmond location. Mama Ninfa’s restaurants were in the Laurenzo family until the 1990s, when bankruptcy struck Laurenzo. Laurenzo was also at the helm of Bambolino’s, a popular Italian restaurant that went on to accrue a total of 17 locations.

Some were unsurprised by the photo, as the Houston Chronicle reported in 2016 that restaurant owner and brother to the executive chef, Roland Laurenzo, had expressed publicly his support for sitting-president Donald J. Trump. Cognizant of this fact or not, many previous patrons of the chain have sworn loyalty to not returning to El Tiempo.

ELTIEMPO BREAKING: Houston's El Real Seems to Respond to El Tiempo Controversy
Screenshot courtesy of Edward Eric Schell.

BREAKING: El Tiempo Owner Releases Statement Regarding Jeff Sessions

El Tiempo Jeff Sessions LGBTQ Houston #BoycottElTiempo

El Tiempo Cantina owner, Roland Laurenzo, has released a statement regarding the Jeff Sessions photo posted on all their social media accounts earlier this evening, as well as the #BoycottElTiempo campaign.

(HOUSTON) – In a story broken by About Magazine earlier this evening, Houston’s once-renowned Mexican restaurant chain, El Tiempo, was met with a great deal of criticism following a photo of restaurant executive chef, Domenic Laurenzo, posing with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The LGBTQ community especially did not react well to this photo, creating the hashtag #BoycottElTiempo on social media platforms. Restaurant owner Roland Laurenzo has taken to social media to make a statement just minutes ago about the photo. A screenshot captured from the Facebook page of the soon-closing Montrose location can be seen here:

Screen-Shot-2018-08-11-at-12.46.02-AM BREAKING: El Tiempo Owner Releases Statement Regarding Jeff SessionsBut patrons residents local to the Montrose location — again, specifically LGBTQ customers — were not having it; and took to the comments section to air their grievances:

Screen-Shot-2018-08-11-at-12.47.10-AM BREAKING: El Tiempo Owner Releases Statement Regarding Jeff Sessions

Screen-Shot-2018-08-11-at-12.47.39-AM BREAKING: El Tiempo Owner Releases Statement Regarding Jeff SessionsScreen-Shot-2018-08-11-at-12.47.24-AM BREAKING: El Tiempo Owner Releases Statement Regarding Jeff Sessions

The restaurant chain, which has been in business since 1998 to a well-established Houston restauranteur family — also once having been the family behind Houston’s now-defunct Mama Ninfa’s — was already looking to the closure of the Montrose location due to an apartment complex being built in its place.

Sessions is part of the mastermind behind the separation of immigrant parents from their children which has been the subject of heated discussion lately. He is also notoriously anti-LGBTQ, having worked to enable many states across the U.S. to enact laws allowing discrimination. His wild unpopularity in both the LGBTQ and Latino communities could prove to be a large punch for the El Tiempo chain, which caters to large numbers of LGBTQ and Latino customers, specifically at the Montrose location.

This is a developing story.