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The best-laid plans of mice, men and even mayors sometimes go awry. Annise Parker declined a big-ticket inaugural celebration in favor of a free concert on Discovery Green, a genuine expression of goodwill to the city that - as national media such as CNN never tired of pointing out during the campaign, and especially Monday - elected a homosexual as its top official for the first time in its history, and for the first time for any U.S. city of its size. Then it got cold. Really, really cold. Other-side-of-the-pillow cold, and all of a sudden a big toasty ballroom at the Hilton Americas or Four Seasons (or even moving the party somewhere like House of Blues) didn't seem elitist at all. Still, Mayor Parker took the frigid conditions in stride, saluting the "intrepid, hardcore Houstonians" who did show up and even dancing in the conga line during Mango Punch's cover of Buster Poindexter's "Hot! Hot! Hot!" ("She does love to dance," Aftermath overheard one onlooker say.)
Accompanied by a sizable security detail (both HPD uniforms and trenchcoat-and-earpiece types), Parker posed for pictures with well-wishers as the Allen Oldies Band backed first Yvonne Washington, then fishing buddies Roy Head and Archie Bell for about an hour of feel-good '50s and '60s rock and R&B hits: Elvis, Ray Charles, Ike & Tina Turner, Solomon Burke, Sir Douglas Quintet, "Stand By Me" and, naturally, Head's "Treat Her Right" and Bell's "I Just Can't Stop Dancing" and "Tighten Up." All three radiated the kind of easy charisma and natural energy that made the stage the warmest spot in the park. For a little while, at least. Apologies to original Dreamgirls diva Jennifer Holliday, who closed out the evening. She may be telling you she's not going, but not us. Aftermath wishes Mayor Parker all the best, but at that point we were wishing to get some feeling back in our extremities just a little bit more. For more pictures from Discovery Green, see our slideshow here.