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2015 FACE Awards Nominees

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(Houston, TX) The F.A.C.E. Awards is pleased to announce the official nominees for 2015. The voting opens tomorrow (November 6,2015) on-line.  (Cast your vote here) On December 7, 2015 our Heroes’ and Icons’ will be honored for their efforts through out the year at the F.A.C.E. Awards.

F.A.C.E. Awards stands for First Achievers in Community Excellence. Each year the L.G.B.T. community and its allies work hard in pursuit of special causes. Each year a volunteer works hard, a politician gets a law passed; a new business opens its doors to the community. Maybe it’s a photographer, a drag performer, a bartender, or a hair stylist – they are all doing their part in Houston seeking equality for all. The F.A.C.E Awards puts a face to that person and makes sure they are honored. They become someone to look up to, and it lets others praise their achievements. It allows our youth an opportunity to see that hard work and dedication pays off, that doing the right thing gets you rewarded.

We also remember the Heroes’ and Icons’ before us. The ever so many that fought with blood and tears for a cause, for a human right. We remember our fallen L.G.B.T. community members, that were our friends, neighbors, everyone we lost this past year. They are honored today as our Heroes’’ and Icons.

The F.A.C.E. Awards is now in its fourth year of honoring our Heroes’ and Icons’ and celebrates with the Houston L.G.B.T. community, our allies and the entire city of Houston. We take pride in our diversely cultivated city, and we take pride in our citizens today. We as a community are able to look to those special people that dedicate their free time, that offer their last dollar to someone in need. We celebrate those people. We celebrate our Heroes’ and Icons’ with the F.A.C.E. Awards

DJ OF THE YEAR

  • Joe Ross | F Bar
  • Eddie E | South Beach
  • Johnny Moreno | Crocker
  • DJ Kittie | Pearl Bar

NON-PROFIT ORG. OF THE YEAR

  • Bayou City Performing Arts
  • Houston Area Community Services
  • Outreach United
  • Houston Gaymers

OUTREACH SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

  • Montrose Center
  • H.A.T.C.H
  • O.P.T. Youth (Out Proud Together)
  • Legacy Community Health Services

BUSINESS OWNER OF THE YEAR

  • Bob Strother | Adam & Eve
  • Kim Padgett | The Padget Group
  • Glenwood Weber
  • Cion Ortega | HUE Saloon

BARTENDER OF THE YEAR

  • Christopher Tyer | F Bar
  • Kristina Pratts | Guava Lamp
  • Tamara Busby | Pearl Bar
  • Tyler Moyer | JR’s

DRAG QUEEN OF THE YEAR

  • Kourtney Paige Van Wales
  • Chloe Crawford
  • Dey’Jzah Opulent Mirage
  • Violet S’Arbleu

DRAG KING OF THE YEAR

  • Ian Syder Blake
  • Smitty O’Toole
  • Roman Syder
  • Zambi McZee

NEW BREAK “OUT” PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

  • Chloe Knox
  • Diamond/Daimen Knyht
  • Tatiana Mala-Nina
  • Xa’Pariss Charming
  • Leo King

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

  • Gin Martini
  • Nina Lambardo
  • Ektor David Avellaneda
  • Morena Roas

EVENT OF THE YEAR PRIDE HOUSTON

  • LGBT Pride Celebration 2015
  • Bunnies on the Bayou
  • Outreach United Coming Out Party
  • Lumiere Nouveau: A New Year’s Masquerade

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

  • Melissa Murry | Houston Unites
  • Fran Watson | Houston Unites
  • Elizabeth Moton | Pride Houston
  • Jack Berger | Past President of Bunnies on the Bayou

#1 LGBT BAR OF THE YEAR

  • F Bar Houston
  • Neon Boots Dancehall
  • Crocker Bar
  • South Beach

REPRESENTATION OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY

  • Woody Gould | Guava Lamp
  • Anna Eastman | HISD Trustee
  • Eric Hulsey | Houston Gaymers
  • Jacob Sudoff | Sudoff Properties

ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE OF THE YEAR

  • Gary Wood | Outreach United
  • Brad Janack | Keep Montrose Safe
  • Fran Watson | Houston Unites
  • Ryan Levy | HRC

SPORTS TEAM | LEAGUE OF THE YEAR

  • Montrose Softball League
  • Lonestar Volleyball Association
  • Houston Hurricanes Flag Football League
  • Houston Dash

JOURNALSIT OF THE YEAR

  • Steve Champion | ABC 13
  • John Fenoglio | ABC 13
  • Pooja Lodhia | ABC 13
  • Mark Boyle | KPRC 2

RADIO PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

  • Sarah Pepper | Hot 95.7
  • Chad Pitt | MIX 96.5
  • Erica Ricco | 93Q COUNTRY
  • Special K | KRBE
  • Lauren Kelly | Mix 96.5

FAITH BASED LEADER OF THE YEAR

  • Rev. Troy Treash
  • Rev. Jason Wood
  • Reverend Dr. Daniel O’Connell
  • Rev. Michael Diaz

LGBT On-Stage PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR

  • Lady Shamu | Drag Bingo | Guava Lamp
  • An’ Marie Gill | Tony’s Corner Pocket
  • Bubba McNeely | The Legends
  • Nina Lambardo | J.R.’s

POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR

  • Annise Parker
  • Lane Lewis
  • Ellen Cohen
  • Vince Ryan

PHOTOGRAPHER | VIDEOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

  • Rich Lux
  • Angela Hon
  • John Cox III
  • Rob Martinez

BLOGGER | VLOGGER OF THE YEAR

  • Matt Hennie
  • Austin Wallis
  • Joey Guerra
  • Morena Roas

Creative Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Jonathan Blake- Designer
  • Nicholas Nguyen – Designer
  • Eric Munoz|Levi Rollins | Urban Eats
  • Ben Johnson | Avondale Design Studio

THE “CALL OF COURAGE” AWARD -DEDICATION TO LGBT | ALLY OFFICERS

  • PUBLIC SERVICE OFFICER
  • PUBLIC SERVICE OFFICER
  • PUBLIC SERVICE OFFICER
  • PUBLIC SERVICE OFFICER

Cade Michals is an award-winning journalist and founder of About Magazine | About News, the leading provider of LGBT news in Texas.

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Ashton P. Woods Running for Houston City Council

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Ashton P. Woods Houston City Council

Houston-based activist and co-founder of the Houston chapter of Black Lives Matter, Ashton P. Woods, announced on Wednesday, February 13th, that he is running for a seat on the Houston City Council At-Large 5.

(HOUSTON) — Ashton P. Woods is no stranger to the politisphere, and it doesn’t look as though he plans to become one any time soon. The co-founder of Black Lives Matter Houston and political advocate — who was most recently featured on the cover of Poz Magazine (shown below) — announced last Wednesday that he was running for a seat on the Houston City Council At-Large 5 in a Facebook Live video, which can be seen below this article. In the same video, Woods went on to better explain his platform, which includes focusing on infrastructure in various Houston neighborhoods that are poorly lit, decriminalizing homelessness and working to help Houston’s homeless population, as well as emphasizing healthcare on a local level rather than waiting for change on a national level.

Ashton P. Woods Houston City CouncilWoods is a well-known voice in and out of both Houston’s Black and Queer communities, especially where those two intersect. His other work also includes such successes as the appointment of the City of Houston’s first LGBT advisory board. His advocacy against police brutality has in the past made him a target of violence, but in continuing to speak out, he has inspired others to take action, as well. Woods’ focuses in his advocacy also include support for the community of people living with HIV/AIDS, intersectionality, ending violence against people of color, and speaking out to end rape and sexual assault. Ashton has been speaking and fighting for the rights of people like him for years, and expresses his views publicly and unabashedly. Those views do not come without their share of criticisms from others, but Woods maintains his views and continues to fight for what is right.

Donate to Ashton P. Woods’ campaign here, follow the campaign here, and watch his video announcement here:

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About Media Originals

WATCH: Anthony Ramirez Appears on PBS’s ‘Arts InSight’

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On the Nov. 2nd episode of 10-time Emmy Award-winner Ernie Manouse’s PBS program, Arts InSight, About Magazine editor-in-chief and The Anthony Project creator and star will be Manouse’s featured guest alongside co-executive producer Wendy Taylor.

(HOUSTON) — Ernie Manouse — the multi-Emmy Award winning television producer at Houston Public Media and Houston’s PBS — has been bringing artistic television stories to Houstonians and beyond for years. Most recently the first season of his book club series Cover to Cover came to a close. With 10 Emmys under his belt and innumerable productions both local and nationally-syndicated on television and radio, Manouse certainly knows a good story when he stumbles upon one. That’s why it stands to reason that after catching an upfront performance of The Anthony Project — the About Magazine-produced sitcom created by and starring About Magazine editor-in-chief Anthony Ramirez — Manouse asked Ramirez and Wendy Taylor, as well as the show’s writers and actors — to appear on his PBS show airing every Friday night at 8:30 PM, Arts InSight.

The Anthony Project Anthony Ramirez Ernie Manouse Al Farb PBS

Ernie Manouse and Anthony Ramirez filming the episode.

The Anthony Project is a series created by Ramirez based on the real life events he’s lived through over the last few years. The story follows a fictional Ramirez part in the past after the death of his grandmother, and part in the present after falling victim to rape. Over the course of the first season, we watch the titular character weave in and out of cartoonish and outlandish forays at a fictionalized About Magazine as he tries to handle these recently-suffered traumas, his many love interests, and odd and unlikely friendships in his every day life. The show — which Ramirez began writing in 2016 — now employees a large staff of writers, including Christian Peck, Rebekah Knight, Kimberly Dyan, Lea Alonso, Megan Prevost and Shaun Gray with Ramirez serving as head writer. Co-producing the series is actress Julitta Pourciau, who has been featured in such television shows as Claws and The Leftovers. Former American Idol contestant and Houston-based talent, Wendy Taylor, serves as co-executive producer, writer, and plays a fictionalized version of herself, while Dallas’s New Country KSCS 96.3 assistant programming director and afternoon radio host, Al Farb, serves as the series’ supervising producer.

The series recently held a live reading of four of the series’ episodes at Rich’s Houston on Sept. 29th — where Manouse first saw the series. The read, which was met with favorable reviews, albeit a small turnout, was hosted by Farb and co-starred Houston favorites such as Kara Dion, Ty Frazier, Teresa Zimmermann, Regina Blake-DuBois, Liz Davidson, Morena Roas, Cody Ray Strimple, Doug Atkins, and the aforementioned Gray, Pourciau, Taylor, and Ramirez.

The Anthony Project Anthony Ramirez Ernie Manouse Al Farb PBS

Top left to right: Roas, Davison, Dion, Taylor, Strimple, Ramirez, Atkins, Frazier, Zimmermann, Blake-Dubois, and Pourciau. Bottom: Farb.

Filmed on location at the Montrose Center, Manouse spoke to both Anthony Ramirez and Wendy Taylor about how the show came to be, what made the story worth telling, the process by which they work on creating a sitcom, and the importance of comedy in a story about such tragedy. Manouse and the Arts InSight crew also captured the producers working through scripts and sitting in on a table read with a few of the actors. Davidson, Blake-DuBois, Pourciau, Roas, Taylor, and Ramirez were present while filming, also joined by actress Sarah Wyckoff. Appearing in pre-taped scenes from the show will be Frazier, Dion, Pourciau, Roas, Taylor, and Ramirez.

The Anthony Project episode of Arts InSight airs on Friday, November 2nd at 8:30 PM on PBS Channel 8. You can find a link to the show’s website here. Check out the audio trailer from the upfront at Rich’s below:

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Art

Bayou City Art Festival Announces 2018 Beneficiaries

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Bayou City Arts Festival Downtown Houston Art Colony Association Beneficiaries

A portion of the proceeds from Houston’s Bayou City Art Festival Downtown — the weekend outdoor fine art festival — will benefit six local charities

(HOUSTON) – The 2018 Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, produced by the Art Colony Association, Inc. (ACA), has selected six local nonprofits that will benefit from a portion of the proceeds of the event. The weekend celebration will be held Saturday-Sunday, October 13-14, 2018, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and will spotlight 300 artists from around the country representing 19 different disciplines in Downtown Houston.

“We are so grateful to partner with local nonprofits that not only support our festival, but also support the community,” said Sara Eakens, Program and Volunteer Director of ACA. “With the help and support from our sponsors, patrons and volunteers, we are able to raise fund for worthy local charities.”

Each nonprofit supports the festival by providing volunteers and has the option to host a crafting station for all ages in the Children’s Creative Zone. The six nonprofit partners benefiting from the 2018 Bayou City Art Festival Downtown include:

Bayou City Art Festival, a sophisticated gallery, will transform the streets of Downtown into artistic avenues bursting with colors and culture. As one of the top outdoor fine art festivals in the U.S., the weekend festival will provide guests with the opportunity to see and purchase unique, custom art under the iconic Houston skyline. Bayou City Art Festival Downtown will feature live music in front of City Hall and throughout the festival along with entertainment, beverage stations, food trucks and much more for patrons to enjoy.

This year’s featured artist, Chris Vance, is a Mixed Media 2D artist from Bondurant, IA. Fueled by daily experiences, emotions and ideas, Vance is able to transform a blank canvas into an interpretation of himself. Art is his medium of expression and Vance refers to art as his personal diary. Using acrylic charcoal, spray paint or graffiti markers, he allows his feelings to drive the piece on a subconscious level. Vance works on wood, paper and finishes each piece with a coat of lacquer.

Online tickets are on sale now until the day of the event at www.artcolonyassociation.org. Tickets online are $12 for adults and $5 for children 6 – 12; children five and under are free. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults. Also available online are two-day passes for $20 and family passes (two adults, two children tickets) for $30. Discounted tickets for Veterans and Seniors will be available at the gate.

For updates on social media, follow the official event hashtags #HouArtFest and #BCAF, like the Facebook page, or follow on Twitter and Instagram. Also, subscribe to our newsletter here.

About Bayou City Art Festival:

Entering its 47th year in 2018, the Art Colony Association has raised $3.6 million for local nonprofit programs through the festivals. A percentage of the proceeds support local art organizations and nonprofits. The Festivals are funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, corporate sponsorships, private contributions, in-kind support and volunteer assistance. Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please visit www.artcolonyassociation.org.

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Fashion

EXCLUSIVE: Adam Hancock Releases Jacock Men’s Underwear

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Jacock Adam Hancock Underwear Men Ripcord

Adam Hancock isn’t just modeling underwear behind the bar of Ripcord anymore — now he’s created his own fashion line of men’s underwear.

(HOUSTON) – When it comes to underwear, nobody knows the topic better than the man who wears nothing but them as he’s serving up cocktails behind the inside counter at Montrose’s favorite leather bar, Ripcord. His name is Adam Hancock, and if you’ve ever been inside the watering hole located at 715 Fairview in Montrose, you’ve probably see him there serving up drinks clad in nothing but his skivvies. From the customers come no complaints — Hancock certainly does have the sort of body that constitutes showing off. But aside from his muscular frame, something patrons have noted isn’t just the fact that he is wearing underwear, but the brands of underwear he would wear. But for those who have been paying attention as of late, the brand worn most recently probably isn’t one they’d been familiar with before. After all, it was an invention of his own creation.

Jacock Adam Hancock Underwear Men Ripcord

Photo by Adam Hancock + Co.

That’s right. Just last week, bartender and newly-minted entrepreneur, Adam Hancock, released his own brand of men’s underwear under the name Jacock — a name he created using the initials of his first and middle name, plus the ‘-cock’ of his last name. As described on the official Jacock website,

“Gone are the days you have to tolerate crotch wedgies, sweaty balls, chafing and scratchy fabric.”

It continues by saying that, “Jacocks are the only underwear made for male comfort, support, flexibility and style,” describing that this is done by using breathable fabric, a support pouch for the penis and testicles which Hancock affection refers to as “Adam’s pouch”, comfortable elastic waist banding, hand-selected fabrics, and custom designs. With Hancock’s line of underwear contoured for the male anatomy, he’s created a line that utilizes science and style to enhance the experience of men’s underwear.

Jacock Adam Hancock Underwear Men Ripcord

Photo courtesy of www.Jacock.com

Talking exclusively to About Magazine about the Jacock brand, Adam Hancock sat down with About Magazine’s fashion columnist, Stoo Gogo.


Stoo Gogo: First and foremost, tell me about yourself.

Adam Hancock: I’m from Arkansas. I moved to Houston eight years ago and started working as a go-go dancer. Nowadays you can find me either napping or slinging drinks at Ripcord in Houston wearing my Jacocks.

What are your intentions for creating the underwear line Jacock?

I’ve been working on Jacock for almost a year now. Of course, I never realized how much effort it was going to take to build the brand and the company. It’s been an amazing learning experience. Jacock is a problem-solutions brand. I want to make men’s lives better by giving them an underwear product that’s comfortable, flexible, and supportive — so they can feel good, simply. But over the years, you wouldn’t believe how many underwear I’ve bought and tried that really missed the mark. I choose fabric that’s flexible, plus all our underwear has a pouch (what I call, “Adam’s pouch”). It provides your assets support and prevents chafing. 97% of men hang either left or right. Only 3% of men (usually those 2.75 inches of package) hang straight. Traditional underwear is made for that 3% of the male population; but Jacock is here to change that.

Jacock Adam Hancock Underwear Men Ripcord

Photo by Adam Hancock + Co.

There are many male underwear brands on the rise. Why do you think underwear is important for self-expression personally and sexually?

Attitudes are contagious. I want guys to feel good, be relaxed and confident, and not all bunched up tight. Jacock underwear is more than just for self-expression. Actually, it’s more about self-confidence. When you are truly confident with what you have, who you are as a person, it translates to feeling good and eventually shows in every aspect of your life.

What is the vibe for this collection and the future of Jacock?

The first collection, which launched [at the time of this interview] 5 days ago, is really about the basics, our foundation styles. My first drawing board ideas were about getting down to what matters, what I really wanted this underwear to do. The vibe of the collection is: simple, sexy, classy.

In the coming months, we will be more risqué. We will be expanding into jockstraps and different styles of briefs while still ensuring comfort, support, and flexibility. It’s exciting to finally tell you all about Jacock.

Jacock Adam Hancock Underwear Men Ripcord

Photo by Adam Hancock + Co.


Follow Jacock Online

Facebook | Instagram | Website

Adam would like to thank his friends who aided him in the photography taken above. 

Contributions to this article were made by Anthony Ramirez. 

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Featured

Christina Wells Takes the ‘America’s Got Talent’ Live Show

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Christina Edwards Wells Music America’s Got Talent LGBTQ Houston

Hometown LGBTQ favorite and 2017 Pride SuperStar, Christina Edwards Wells, will take the stage at the America’s Got Talent Live Show tonight — here’s how you can help her progress to the semifinals.

(HOLLYWOOD) – After an agonizing near-two months of waiting to hear her sing again and a couple of breathtaking performances from Houston’s very own Christina Edwards Wells, the 43-year-old LGBTQ singer will take the stage during the live shows of the quarterfinals on NBC’s America’s Got Talent tonight at 7 PM central. Wells, who has worked as a nurse in Houston for nearly fifteen years, was last seen in a prerecorded episode that aired on July 17th. At that performance, Wells received acclaim from the judges, including Simon Cowell who noted, We had to make decisions based on who do we think could really do well in the live show.” After a drama-filled pause, Cowell continued, “And that’s why, Christina, we have decided to put you through to the live shows.” Guest judge Ken Jeong (of Dr. Ken and The Hangover fame) shared with Christina that when he decided to stop practicing medicine to become a comedian — the actor-comedian once played a fictional version of his medical self in the short-lived, aforementioned ABC sitom — that his wife told him, “You’re no longer a doctor. You’re a comedian.” Jeong went on to tell Wells, “You’re no longer a nurse, you’re a singer […] an artist.”

Wells is nothing short of a celebrity here in Houston. In our recent Pride Edition interview, Wells told About that even her nursing career was filled with her beautiful singing voice. During Hurricane Harvey, the singer was so overwhelmed by the tragedy and so inspired by her city of Houston heroes, she wrote a song entitled “Come Hell or High Water” as a tribute to those who fought, lost their lives, and survived. Wells won Pride Houston’s Pride SuperStar competition in 2017 and has been an active supporter of the LGBTQ community in Houston, of which she is a part.

With Wells advancing performing tonight, audiences will have the chance to vote to keep her progressing on to the semifinals, which will begin airing performances on September 4th. Audiences may start voting tonight following Wells’ performance and can vote until 7 AM central time on August 29th — and each person can vote up to 10 times from the same phone number or email address any of the various ways. A friend of About Magazine, Christina Edwards Wells herself reached out and shared with us how audiences can cast their votes after her performance tonight.

“Okay, you guys, there are four ways to vote,” Wells said before listing off the four ways to vote — as the rising star has been sharing in cute videos and posts shared to her social media pages in recent days (see below with her equally talented bandmate, Alli Villines and her ukulele Hildegard). Here are the four ways you, her fans and loved onescan make sure that Christina stays on the show after tonight:

1. Call the 1-866-XXX-XXXX number … and make sure to do it 10 times to get 10 votes in. No. Seriously. Call 10 times. And make all your friends vote ten times, too.

This is the most basic and old school way to vote for Christina. The number to call will be available on the television screen immediately after Christina’s performance and updated here on the About Magazine website. We’ll also be updating all our social media accounts with this number. Don’t eff this up, guys. It’s literally the easiest way to vote.

2. Download the America’s Got Talent app! You can vote 10 for each email address you log in with!!

And … c’mon, guys. Let’s be real. You know that you have like 60 email addresses. I have one for this magazine, one personal one, I still think I have one for my old job that works, and I have one for my secret double life I lead on the internet as an Amish dominatrix. I bet Christina would use all of her emails to make accounts to vote for you, so you should probably do the same fo her. Plus, she’d probably sing you some inspiring song after and to build you up like she did with … I don’t know … all the patients she was stuck in the hospital caring for and the other medical staff during Hurricane Harvey. Yeah. That’s right. She isn’t just a badass person; she’s a great human being. So go vote for her.  Capisce?

You can download the app on iTunes by clicking here.

3. Go to NBC website and you can vote 10 times for each email address you have!!!

Don’t act like you don’t have a work email, too. Okay? Because you bet your ass that I will personally call Susan from HR and ask her how many of those ‘per my last email’ replies she’s had to send you over the last month. Susan is sick of you heating up fish in the break room microwave and doesn’t really like you. But do you know who does like and who might let you use her microwave to reheat fish? Christina Edwards Wells. So go vote for her.

Here’s the link.

4. If you are an XFinity customer with the XFinity X1 remote control, then you can speak into it and say, “Vote AGT!”

This isn’t gonna be one of those things where dumb Siri or dumb Alexa doesn’t understand what it is you’re saying. The XFinity remote wants Christina to move on, too. But because the XFinity remote isn’t a human, she can’t vote for Christina, just like she wasn’t able to vote for Hillary in 2016. She’s remorseful about the latter, but is trying to make it up to us by helping Christina win America’s Got Talent. So, do this. It’s easy. And if you’re not an XFinity customer, you call whatever crap cable provider you have, cancel your service, and sign up for XFinity before 7 AM tomorrow.

Houston is full of immense talent in music, on the stage, on the screen, on the field, in literature (*cough* preorder my new book *cough*) and behind the scenes of so many different professions. But how often do we get to see someone that we all know and love take the stage on national TV to get their long-overdue shot at stardom? And how often is that person an LGBTQ person of color who saves lives for a living and is genuinely one of the most kind hearted people in the world?

Not that often.

About Magazine wants to help Christina succeed and we want to make sure that our loyal followers help her, too. So please take the time to watch her perform tonight — you can even head down to the very delicious Spanky’s Pizza in Pasadena to watch the show live — and make sure you vote. If you haven’t voted at least 30 times (40 for XFinity customers) you’re trash. Sorry about it, but it’s true.

Everyone at About is sending you our love and support, Christina! Break a leg. And readers, if you don’t vote for Christina, we may have to break some legs ourselves.

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Comedy

LGBTQ Advocate Kathy Griffin Delivers More Than Just Jokes

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Kathy Griffin LGBTQ Comedy Houston Donald Trump

After a year of being disavowed by Hollywood, attacked by the Oval Office, and shunned by many fans, Kathy Griffin returns to Houston on her new tour triumphant.

“In the words of my new friend, Robert Di Nero, ‘Fuck Trump!’”

Kathy Griffin Donald Trump Laugh Your Head Off LGBTQ Comedy

Photo by Eric Edward Schell of Houston’s Pride Portraits.

This opening line set the precedent (or, should we say ‘president’) for the rest of the evening of stories regaled to an audience by one of Donald Trump’s largest opposers and one of the LGBTQ community’s most long-standing and active advocates. Kathy Griffin, the self-proclaimed D-list celebrity who became one of the many faces of the resistance against President Donald Trump, detailed for over three hours last Monday night the events of the last year that launched into a world-wide spotlight after she released a photo of herself holding up what appeared to be Donald Trump’s bloody head (in reality: a Halloween mask covered in ketchup). Kathy, keeping true to her storytelling manor of comedy, kept the laughter coming but also allowed herself to become real and vulnerable as she laid out the details of the threats against her life and the lives of her family.

As a disclaimer, I’m a huge Kathy fan. I’ve been each of her last three shows in Houston prior to this, buying pre-sale tickets the minute they become available online for purchase and following her on social medial. I have even attended a show the day after having my tonsils removed (thank god for pain killers). To say the least, this was the show for which I was living. I couldn’t wait for her to dish the tea … and boy did she she serve that shit up.

Throughout the entire night, Jones Hall in Downtown Houston was riddled with laughter, gay gasps, ‘Yas queens’, and slow applauses. I’ve often heard that a comedian’s material comes from their pain; and this couldn’t be more true in the cases of such stand-ups as Hannah Gadsby in her recent Netflix special Nanette. Kathy has done the same by taking her hardship, her blacklisting in Hollywood, and the multitude of death threats by turning her agony into material to use in a place where she is able to enable other women and Donald Trump resisters to stand up for their first amendment rights and to speak out against the atrocities of this administration. Recently, Griffin has teamed up with Stormy Daniels — the adult film star who has been said to have had a problematic affair with the president only to be later asked to never speak of it  — after Daniels was arrested at a Columbus, Ohio strip club for touching an undercover officer who asked to have a photo with the performer after her second show.

What I admire about the LGBTQIA community is that it’s a community that knows how to mobilize. I always say as a feminist, “We’ve got to learn from the gays, as women we bitch and moan, but gays actually get legislation done, they write bills, put candidates up and get them elected.”

— Griffin in her Pride Portraits statement about the LGBTQ community while in Houston

From being on Interpol’s travel advisory list to traveling internationally and being detained in multiple countries on her world-wide tour, Griffin has not let anything stop her from telling her story and speaking out against the administration. She has built up an alliance of other celebrities around the world that stand with her. But in that pain comes a greater deal of suffering — losing out of strong allies like former CNN New Year’s Eve co-host and longtime friend, Anderson Cooper. In a letter she read to the crowd from a fan in Florida, Kathy revealed that a gay man should never turn on a “fag hag”. The room erupted into laughter because … well … the truth is the truth. Kathy Griffin has been one of the few celebrities of our time that has — since the beginning of career spanning nearly 40 years — been a tireless and outspoken advocate for LGBTQ people, LGBTQ rights, and LGBTQ equality. It is no surprise that the one demographic that did not disown the comedy legend after her infamous Trump photo was the LGBTQ community.

The night was full of raw, unfiltered laughter, but it came with a strong political and emotional narrative. Mixed in with the stories of Trump where the usual dick jokes, use of language as foul as the word ‘cunt’, and regaling stories of Kim Kardashian and Kathy’s mother, Maggie Griffin. But in the end, it was a story of a woman the government try to silence, one they told told to shut up. Nevertheless … she persisted.

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Exclusive

Editor’s Note: Big Changes at About Magazine

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About Magazine Wendy Taylor Anthony Ramirez Houston LGBTQ

It’s me again, Anthony Ramirez (or basically no one). Sorry to hit you with two back-to-back editor’s notes in one day. I know they’re annoying, and I apologize. Please feel free to hit me in the face if you see me at Neon Boots later today for their 5th anniversary celebration (there’s my plug). But that aside, I want to take a moment to fill everyone in on some very important news.

It has been nearly ten months since I took over as editor-in-chief of About Magazine; and in that time I have learned the true meaning of what it is to be exhausted. When I came on to work for this magazine in June of last year, the staff consisted of only then-executive publisher/founder Cade Michals, entertainment reporter Morena Roas, then-reporter Shelby Jeffcoat, photographer David Guerra, and myself. Since then, our staff has grown to a staff of nearly twenty. While Cade departed About for bigger and better opportunities but still remains our publisher, Morena, David, and Shelby all stayed on in more hands-on capacities, the latter becoming the managing editor of our newest branch, About Magazine Dallas. Joining the ranks alongside all of us came associate editor Jessica Olsen, About Trans editor Ian Townsley, editorial consultant Wendy Taylor, director of music and entertainment Al Farb, fashion writers Stoo Gogo and Gin Martini, my assistant and book reviewer Megan Prevost, About Magazine Dallas writers Raunda Ashton and Ravin Bones, columnist Madyson Crawford, and interns Brandie Larsen and Adam Kuta.

About Magazine Wendy Taylor Anthony Ramirez Houston LGBTQ

New About Media Group logo. Original design by Cade Michals with contributions by Ramirez.

As a team, the About Magazine staff has worked tirelessly to put out more content everyday, support the community with fundraisers and events and spotlight pieces, focus on topics important to queer people like politics and sex and health, partner with businesses, shows, and nonprofits like the University of Texas Medical Branch, Guava Lamp, Neon Boots, Pride Houston, Pride Galveston, H-Town Kings, The Woodlands Pride, Pearl Bar, Men Having Babies, and so many more. We have focused in on pieces relevant to the nature of and state of the LGBTQ community in order to spotlight and focus in on individuals in the community who are making the world a better place for queer people. Additionally, About Magazine has expanded three-fold, introducing the only LGBTQ book publishing house in Texas (About Editions) in December of 2017, opening the only LGBTQ TV and film production studio in Texas (About Media) in June while at the same time launching our Dallas branch of the magazine with Shelby at its helm. In that time, we’ve published 8 books, have six more on the way before year’s end, have put two original web series into production, and are in preproduction for another, while also totally reestablishing the magazine and bringing it to a point where Newsweek is citing articles on stories that we broke and our books are winning the New England Book Festival awards for poetry.

About Magazine Wendy Taylor Anthony Ramirez Houston LGBTQ

Promo for Wineding Down from About Media

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.

“Anthony … you’re such a bad ass.”

I know, thank you. It’s portion control and water. But the truth of the matter is that most of these things wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for that incredible team I’d listed above. I’m kind of a hot mess, y’all. Like … real life Anthony is just constantly trying to make sure that the electrical fire that is his life doesn’t set his favorite pair of shoes on fire. So, when I say that everyone on this team (new and old) has made About into the content-producing, thought-provoking, community-loving magazine that it is today and that I am just trash, I mean it. And while we still have a long way to go before we’ve hit the mark we are all striving toward, we really have something going here that we think is special. Again, none of that would be possible without the people who have stuck by my side, listened to me while I cried about being a fraud, reminded me that I could do anything I set my mind to, and helped steer a ship that was constantly in danger of capsizing.

There is one person, however, who really dug her heels into the ground to make this magazine a success from the time I took over and that has not relented on that dream since then. Her name is Wendy Taylor, and while she was previously the magazine’s editorial consultant — aiding writers in shaping pitch ideas, conferring with me about the direction of the Pride Edition and how to best integrate the magazine into the community while also introducing us to some of our most important contacts. More over, however, she has been one of my closest friends and most trusted confidants over this past year. That’s why — after a conversation at QFest with Spectrum South’s Kelsey Gledhill and Megan Smith who seemed to have no idea how I was running a magazine without a creative director — it was so easy for me to make the decision I’m here to announce today.

About Magazine Wendy Taylor Anthony Ramirez Houston LGBTQ

Ramirez & Taylor locked out of a business meeting.

Effective as of two weeks ago, Wendy Taylor has joined me as my partner at About Magazine, taking on the role of Chief Creative Officer, or CCO. What this means is that Wendy will be taking over the business side of About Magazine. She will be in charge of handling the budget, the business plan, the projections, and the advertising revenue so that I can spend a little more time focusing my attention onto the content of our three little baby companies. Wendy is — for lack of a better term — a Jack of All Trades. A musician and vocalist since she was a child, Wendy has made a career of performing as a professional musician. However, what many of her fans and acquaintances don’t know about her is that she’s also a full-time mom, a full-time student on the path to beginning medical school, and has worked over the course of her career getting new businesses off of the ground and as her own business manager as a musician (there’s so much more, but I have to wrap this up).

And that’s essentially what About has been since I took over — a new business (well, three).

About Media Group (the company operating as About Magazine, About Media, and About Editions) has been growing faster than a child these last few months; and I honestly believe I would have lost control of everything had it not been for Wendy Taylor, as well as many of my other staff members. We have so much exciting news to share with you in the coming weeks, and much of that is to do with the work Wendy has done, that Shelby is doing in Dallas, and that Al has contributed. So I hope that you will all join me in welcoming Wendy into her new position and wishing her the best of luck. Not that she needs it. She is one tough bitch and has brains and wit unmatched by most others. And with that said, I owe to both Wendy and my entire staff (especially so Al, Megan, Jessica, and Morena, without whom I’d have drowned 100-times over in my own self-pity and failures) a great deal of thanks and all my love. We have so much more to share with you in the coming weeks, and I cannot wait to do so because I am terrible at keeping secrets. But truthfully, it is going to be beautiful to get to continue to he and work with the LGBTQ community in all the ways we have planned. We have the most beautiful and diverse team here at About as we approach our ten-year anniversary, and I couldn’t think of any other people with whom I’d want to celebrate ten years.

I can’t wait to see what the next ten years have in store (but hopefully a lot of Xanax).

Anthony Ramirez
Editor-in-Chief

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Editor’s Note: Help Our Friends at Spectrum South

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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. 

Spectrum South Kickstarter Houston Queer LGBTQIf 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.

spectrum south queer 1985 qfest film

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.


Anthony Ramirez
Editor-in-Chief

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Photographers Gather at the Kitchen Sink

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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.

The Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsBut 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:

The Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ ModelsThe Kitchen Sink Photography Houston LGBTQ Models

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