Houston Gay Pride Parade–Version 2011

Houston Gay Pride Parade 2011 is off and running!Jonathan Lovitz, from LogoTV's "Set Up Squad" was one of this year's honorary grand marshals.

The 2011version of the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration (commonly known as the Houston Gay Pride Parade) was attended by a large crowd.  (I’ll be interested in what the official count will be.) The parade was lead off by the traditional HPD cruiser and contingent, followed directly by Houston’s own gay mayor, Annise Parker, with her partner, Kathy Hubbard at her side.

The crowd gathering before the start of the parade, here in front of Tomo's.

A broad mix of people came to view the Pride Parade. A few of them entertaining themselves before the start.

The unexpected is always expected at the parade.

Jonathat Lovitz, of LogoTV's "Setup Squad", one of the honorary grand marshals.

There was no lack of other politicians riding in the parade, including many of the current city council, and council wannabees, as well as state representatives and congresspeople.  There were a large number of groups representing a wide variety of gay interests, many who have participated year after year.  However, every year there are new participants.

Many things have changed about the parade have changed over the years.  For one there is a lot less police “presence” along the parade route.  Maybe that’s due to having a gay mayor.  There are perhaps more straight people than gay people that attend these days.  Sometimes, I wonder if they are really interested in the groups, or just want to get the beads that are thrown.  I saw more drinking than I have seen before, as illustrated by a 50-something woman, who eased in next to me, and screamed at every float or group.  Her name was Julie.  Yes, that’s what she screamed, “Hey, it’s me Julie.”  I hope she enjoys all her loot.   Yes, the Gay Pride Parade has changed.

The colorful float of Bunnies on the Bayou.

Gay Asians & Friends--this group is uniquely costumed year after year.

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association's entry.

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's entry illustrates the parade theme "Live, Love, Be."

A perennial favorite, the boys of South Beach.

One of the many colorful contingents in the parade–this one is Jenni’s Noodle House.

See story and photos of 2010 Pride Parade here.

 
Advertisements

I Want My Gay TV: Will the Real Drag Queen Stand Up?

Ongina. Jeannie. Are they one and the same? Maybe siblings? They not only look alike, they act alike and sound alike.

It’s probably a good thing my vacation is almost over.  I can only stand being a sloth for about a day and a half, and there’s only so much daytime (and night time) TV that I can endure.

I’m even beginning to think that those Prop. 8 supporters that say same-sex marriage will ruin opposite-sex marriage might have a leg to stand on.  (Could it be the middle leg?)  I’ve been watching more than my usual share  of Property Virgins and House Hunters on HGTV.  I won’t say that my gaydar is all that great, but there seems to be a good percentage of buff, Polo-wearing husbands on those episodes that show more interest in stainless steel appliances and granite countertops than in work benches in the garage or the size of the yard.

Jeannie (or is it Ongina?), host of the Style channel's "How Do I Look?"

Keep flipping through the channels and you discover that there are any number of shows that are trying to change some poor woman’s image from “frumpy” to “humpy”.  This is nothing new, but after I saw one of these transformation shows called How Do I Look? , I was sure that one of the drag queens had abandoned Logo for the Style channel (mystyle.com).

Ongina (or is it Jeannie?), on the right, with co-"profes" Raven and Jujube, from "Rupaul's Drag U"

Supposedly, the host of this makeover program is Jeannie Mai, but appearance-wise, it could be Ongina, one of the contestants in Rupaul’s Drag Race, and now one of the “professors” in Rupaul’s Drag U, both from Logo.

And when it comes to Logo, I opted for a higher-priced package on DirecTV, just to be able to get a “gay” channel, but whenever I click 2-7-2, what do I get?  Nine-five percent of the time, it’s either a re-run of a Drag U (and so far they’ve only shown three new episodes) or Buffy–The Vampire Slayer.  Can anyone tell me what’s so gay about that show?  I know one of the characters is supposed to be lesbian.  Maybe Logo is trying to attract people that are so hot for the Twilight movies.

When it comes to daytime TV, at least the “Judge” shows are good for a few laughs, even if you do have to suffer through ads for ambulance-chasing lawyers.

I Want My Gay TV: Check Out “Botineras” from Argentina

I have to admit I haven’t kept up with any regular series much this season.  Tonight I caught most of “Brothers & Sisters”, which I had watched religiously through the first two seasons.  It’s still a good show, but there’s a predictability to it.  It’s nice to see Kevin and Scotty’s storyline given equal status to all the others, but something pretty big is going to have to happen before the end of the season; otherwise, I’m ready to call this one “stale”.

Every time I click over to Logo, either it’s current re-runs of “Rupaul’s Drag Race” or re-runs of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, something I never watched even when it came out.  The second season of “Drag Race” is probably one season too many.  It was something unique in season one, but more of the same just hasn’t pulled me in this go-round.

 

Manuel (Cristian Sancho) and Lalo (Ezequiel Castaño) in "Botineras" from Argentina

 

Something that I hope will be syndicated here in the U.S. on Spanish-language TV is a soap opera (telenovela) out of Argentina, called Botineras.  I just ran across some clips on youtube and with a little further digging found out it’s a show that started last fall and centers on the story of a professional futbol (soccer) team and, of course, all of the intermingling lives.  One of the stories is the gay romance between, Lalo and Manuel, two of the players, one of whom is married.

Several people have posted clips containing the Lalo-Manuel segments on youtube.  So far, there are 15-18 parts, depending on who uploaded them, but they are found in different places.  Start here for Part 1 just in Spanish.  If you want to see it with English subtitles, go here.  I only found the first 8 parts subtitled so far.  I found Parts 14 and 15 here and here.

I’m going to try to embed Part 15, which is recent.  If you watch 15, you’ll be hooked and want to go back and start over with Part 1.

So who’s going to call Telemundo or Univison to get them to syndicate this show here?

I Want My Gay TV (Part V): Satellite TV–Read the Fine Print and RuPaul–Draggin’ in Another Season of Reality Television

When I moved to my house, I decided that I wasn’t going to lug along my bulky Zenith TV, which I’d had for about 13 years.  It worked well enough, but I had been browsing the electronics aisles for more than a year ladmiring the flat screens.  Anyway, there was a small set with a built-in DVD player in my bedroom that I could take along and use for a while.

But when I had most of the furniture in place,  a desperate corner in the living room just longed for a big-screen TV, so I made excuses to myself about why I didn’t have to wait and could shell out the money for another expense to add to all those others that came from moving into a new place.  The Sears near my old neighborhood had an even-better-than-online price on a Sony that I had been reading up on.  And result is obvious.  They didn’t have one in stock, but would have by the following Saturday, so  I’d have to wait a few more days with the internet and a small radio made to be used in the shower, which had been given to me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and that I had stumbled upon hidden in some drawer during the move.  My God! More than a week without TV!  Had Hurricane Ike returned?  And what about the small TV?  No luck there either because I hadn’t yet ordered any type of cable service.

There were a number of choices, but finally I decided on satellite with DirecTV, which I ordered through AT&T.  I was trying to bundle up with my cell, internet, and regular phone services.  Also the house already had the DirecTV dish in place with all the wiring.  The price was right for the Choice Xtra:  $29.99 per month, and with all those HD channels.  I like as many ESPNs as I can get and I wanted Logo (the gay channel), and the Choice Xtra gave me those.

I scheduled the DirecTV installers for Saturday, so that I would be off from work; it was one of those “they’ll be there between 1 and 5” deals.  The problem was the new TV wouldn’t arrive at the Sears store until some time that same afternoon, so I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until after the installers had been there.  Of course, like many of those situations where you have a time slot to wait for service people, these didn’t come until between 4 and 5.  It didn’t take them long to get everything hooked up and the little non-digital TV was tossing out the various channels.

Not long after they had left, Sears called and told me that my Sony had arrived, so I hopped into my car and went to pick it up.  When I got to the store, it seemed like everyone was picking up something, so I had a wait for my TV to come out.  I was a bit surprised by the size of the box, but it fit into back of the hatchback.  Even though the screen size is larger than my old TV, it must weigh about half as much, so while I had to maneuver a bit because of the size, it wasn’t long until I had it out of the box, in place in the corner which had been waiting for it, and finally hooked up to the satellite dish cables.

When I first started flipping the channels, I thought the picture looked a little fuzzy, but I decided that it probably was because I had been watching the smaller TV earlier.  I was so enthralled with the new TV and involved with figuring out the channel line-up that I really didn’t pay that much attention.  I thought the image should be better with an HD TV but because I hadn’t had one before and because satellite reception was also new to me, I figured everything was the way it was supposed to be.

Then about a week later, I was visiting someone who also has a Sony HD, and I thought “Wow, this picture is so much better than mine.”  They said to me, “Are you watching the HD channels?”  “I think I am,” I replied doubtfully.

When I got back home, I started looking at the manual the installers had left me and found “need HD equipment for HD channels”.  I thought that’s what I had.  I looked at the box but couldn’t see any indication.  Then I went back online to the DirecTV site that had the offer for the various service choices and, of course, at the bottom in special notation it says this:

††To access DIRECTV® HD programming, HD Access fee ($10/mo.), a DIRECTV® Slimline dish, DIRECTV® HD receiver and HD television equipment are required. Number of HD channels varies by package selection.

No mention of that option had been made when I talked to the salesperson when I ordered the service.  I’m really surprised because she had tried to get me to buy other services.  I definitely want the HD but I haven’t ordered it yet.  I’ll need time to be at home, and, I’m sure, to wait another four hours for the service people, and there will be charges for the installation for that Slimline dish, I bet, and for the HD receiver box.  If the picture is a little fuzzy until there’s time in January to do that, no big deal.

There’s another charge to watch out for on the DirecTV special offers.  When I got my first bill, I checked for all the specific charges.  One item was for Equipment Protection Plan.  I even got another letter from DirecTV telling me that I had signed up for the Protection Plan @ $5.99 a month.  I knew that I hadn’t signed anything, since I had ordered over the phone and no mention had been made about any such Protection Plan.  There was a number to call if I didn’t want this plan, and they told me if the dish or the receiver had a problem if I didn’t have this plan, it would cost $49.  It seems to me this protection plan is no different than those the stores like Sears and Best Buy try to sell you when you buy some type of electronics; it’s just another way to get extra money out of a customer.

Anyway, for the most part, I like my new TV.  The channel line-up isn’t much different that what I had with TVMax (read my post about TVMax) at my old apartment.  TVMax also had several ESPN channels and Logo.

Even though Logo has a lot of re-runs and shows I don’t watch, I like having the option of watching gay-themed TV shows and movies when I want rather than waiting for “a glimpse of gay” on other channels.  One of the hits of last season on Logo was a reality show called “RuPaul’s Drag Race”–sort of a transvestite  “American Idol” a la “Project Runway”.  The host of the show is RuPaul, singer/drag queen, most known for his/her hit song “Supermodel (You Better Work)”.  It’s similar to “Project Runway” because not only do the contestants perform, and ultimately, there is a winner, but they share living space, so we see also how they interact when they off the stage and out of drag.

I’ve never been one to really get into watching drag performances (lip-synching) in clubs, but the contestants on this show have been well-selected both for their talent and their personalities, so it’s not difficult to be lured into watching the show week after week, pulling for one favorite or another.  The first episode of season two will air February 1st at 8 PM (Central).  Check out some teasers here.  I couldn’t stop laughing at this promo for the show which takes a jab at Sarah Palin’s book cover.  There are drag queens and there are airheads, and RuPaul is certainly not the latter.

I Want My Gay TV (Part II)

Television has been a little bleak here recently, what with some time being given up to the political party conventions (I couldn’t bear to watch old McDrooly get any more boring than he already had been). Some of the new shows are starting soon. I’ll be ready to see the new episodes of “Brothers and Sisters” and “Desperate Housewives”.

Caroline Rhea, Beth Grant, and Ann Walker on "Sordid Lives"

Caroline Rhea, Beth Grant, and Ann Walker on Logo TV's Hit Series "Sordid Lives"

In the meantime, I’ve been turning over to see what’s on Logo and Bravo quite a lot. Would you suppose I wouldn’t? I’m really waiting for the next episode of “Sordid Lives”. I really like that show and do watch the reruns, but I’m not sure how many times I can watch them hit the already dead billy goat with the car.

This week on Bravo, I caught “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”. On this show, Former “Sheer Genius” contestant–she didn’t win, but ends up with her own show anyway–Tabatha Coffey does for hair salons what Chef Gordon Ramsay does for restaurants in Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares”–rips them a new hole. However, Tabatha does it in such a more acceptable manner than Ramsay. The Aussies do generally come off better than the Brits, who on these kinds of shows always have an attitude like they have just jammed their fingers in a car door. Another one like that is Nanny Jo on “Super Nanny”. Despite arriving in that cute little British cab, once inside the home, she acts as if she is about to pull a pencil out of her bag and poke somebody’s (usually the dad’s) eyes out. You’d think with all that coddled cream and scones, the British could just be a bit less brutal.

Tabatha Coffey of Tabatha's Salon Takeover"

Tabatha Coffey of "Tabatha's Salon TakeoverLest

Before I digress more, the first show I watched of “Salon Takeover” actually was the 3rd episode; I’ll have to catch the earlier ones on re-run. It was an “all’s well, that ends well” show. The shop is in New Jersey, and the owner, Martino, is out of control in “living the life”. He’s cute enough, to be sure, but just too stereotypically Jersey boy for my taste. Anyway, Tabatha whips him and the shop into shape, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Johnathan Murray and Stephen Tyrone Williams star in the short film "Float"

Johnathan Murray and Stephen Tyrone Williams star in the short film "Float"

Now back to Logo. The other day I ran across a program that I hadn’t seen before; it’s the “Click List: Best in Short Film”. The short film that i saw was “Float”. Just a little over 30 minutes, “Float” is one of those little gems that I like in gay films, but don’t often find. The story is simple; two very different guys meeting, and the changes they go through because of it. The acting and film-making are well-done, and despite it probably being a low-budget film, it has none of the below-par acting and near-porn style cinematography of a lot of American gay-themed movies. Actually, the filmmaker is Bahamian, and the setting is the Bahamas. After I watched this short film on TV, I discovered that you can see it here on Logo’s website. In finding “Float” online, I also found out that Logo has a whole slough of their “Click List: Best in Short Film” available for viewing right here on the computer. Thanks Logo! Even though they may only be a few minutes, many of the shorter gay-themed flicks are much better than their full-length counterparts.

Now I’m off to watch the Texans’ game. Yeah, I do have a variety of tastes when it comes to TV.

You can read “I Want MY Gay TV (Part I) here , (Part III) here, (Part V) here.