By Chris Lane
By Olivia Flores Alvarez
By Angelica Leicht
By Jef Rouner
By Jef With One F
By Jef With One F
By Marco Torres
Friday, June 22
Bayou Beau "Show and Tell"
F Bar, 202 Tuam
Your Pride weekend has officially begun. What better way to start the celebrations than by admiring some locally designed undergarments? F Bar turns into a catwalk for a display of dudes in their unmentionables. The runway gets heated up at 9 p.m. for this free event.
"Rainbow on the Green"
Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney
Discovery Green is the place to be Friday night from 8 to 10 p.m. The park plays host to a LGBT celebration featuring performances by a variety of singers, dancers and musicians. Entertainer Tye Blue hosts the evening's lineup, with artists such as Grammy Award winner Thelma Houston, Houston drag star KOFI, and American Idol season seven finalist Colton Berry, among others. Highlights of the show will be the Donna Summer medley and Whitney Houston tribute. Free.
South Beach, 810 Pacific St.
If seeing the boys at F Bar in their skivvies makes you want to try your hand at underwear modeling, South Beach is the place to be. The club is hosting the aptly named "Underwear Party," with clothing check available at the door. Well, it is an underwear party, after all. Cover is free before 11 p.m.; don't dress to impress.
Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas
This year marks the premiere of Pride Houston's circuit party, Wonderland. An evening of mystery and enchantment awaits you on the other side of the looking glass with Alice in Wonderland-themed rooms such as the Cheshire's Retreat. Partygoers will be entertained by a Cirque du Soleil-style aerial performance and a drag show. Of course there will be music, and legendary circuit party DJ Michael Tank will provide the beats. Doors open at 9 p.m., with tickets starting at $30 in advance.
602 Fairview, 713-522-4229
You're going to need to scope out your parade spot at some point, and you might as well enjoy brunch at Baby Barnaby's, which is right in the neighborhood. The breakfast menu is chock-full of über-healthy entrées such as egg whites, chicken sausage and dry toast. Barnaby's is the perfectly light way to start off your day of what will probably turn into — let's face it — an overabundance in the festivities department.
El Real has your Pride Parade seat waiting for you. For $25 you can have a front row spot on the outdoor patio. Bacardi will be on location from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with tasty samplings of new flavors Wolfberry and Black Razz. Of course, El Real menu of cool drinks will be available. Paying guests will receive a wristband for easy, come-and-go access. For more information or to reserve a space, give them a call at 713-524-1201.
"Huge After Party Extravaganza"
F Bar, 202 Tuam
Just because the parade has ended doesn't mean the party needs to stop. Head over to F Bar for its after-party blowout. Beginning at 7 p.m., DJ Tad Dvorak starts spinning for a night of dancing. If you can make it until midnight, the bar promises a very special surprise performance. Who could it be? Free for all those over 21.
Why squeeze your way through the crowds to get a good view of the parade when you can enjoy the sights from a comfortable seat on Nabi's patio? The neighborhood Japanese restaurant will have a DJ on the patio with plenty of good food and drinks to keep your spirits high.
Out & Equal's "Cool Down Lounge"
Yoakum at Westheimer
There's no denying that it's going to be hot, and eventually you'll need some refuge from the scorching sun. Out & Equal's air-conditioned Cool Down Lounge may turn out to be the most popular area of the festival. Out & Equal is inviting festival-goers to stop in and get cool for a spell. You will know it's their tent by the long lines of sweaty people waiting to get in.
South of Westheimer along Commonwealth and Yoakum
The celebration has finally arrived. The Pride Festival opens promptly at 1 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. It's one of the country's largest and may see up to 60,000 participants showing their love. The festival plays host to more than 200 exhibitors, including local businesses, media partners, national organizations and much more. There's something for everyone, including the kids, as the Houston Dynamo will have a Kids' Zone. Celebrating Houston's pride is not just one big party, however. There's much to share about Houston's LGBT history, and patrons can get themselves educated at the Houston LGBT History Exhibit, which is being hosted by Rice University. The event features multiple stages set up for the day's varied entertainment. There's no entry fee to attend the festival, but donations are highly encouraged.
Pride Festival History Tent
Look for signs
Rice's Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality has teamed up with the Houston Area Rainbow Collective History to present a series of video interviews with prominent figures in the Houston LGBT community. The result is a look at Houston's gay past. The videos will be showcased at the Pride History Tent during the day's festivities.
Unfortunate that we have to resort to the lowest base level of gay culture, the circuit party, which promotes drug use and sexual promiscuity, as a way to show "pride". The reality is, like everything Pride Houston does, this is all about the bottom line and making itself money. Sad.