Houston is Number One and I am finally contracturally unbound and able to tell the world.
Several months ago, an e-mail out of netherspace arrived in my inbox from one Jeff Chu from Fast Company magazine asking if I'd like to write a story for them about living in Houston.
Turns out New York City-based Fast Company had decided to name Houston its city of the year. Houston had been a runner-up before, but this was the year we were going to be Numero Uno. Chu, the magazine's articles editor, wanted me to write something about it but as part of my contract (other than checking with my bosses to make sure it was okay, and well a few of the people I interviewed probably figured it out) I wasn't supposed to talk or write about it.
Which is one of several reasons (dogged determination? an inside leak? connections?) Culture Map got to break the story the other day that Houston won bragging rights.
Just one of life's little ironies.
Anyhow, I'm not the only one chiming in on this issue. Annise Parker (the country is still fascinated that she got elected mayor in Houston of all places) was interviewed at length as well as an assortment of Houston's residents in all their diversity and creativeness.
I asked Chu that since the secret was out, could I go ahead and he said yeah. I asked him again, why Houston?
"Fast Company is all about finding innovation in unexpected places. Houston's vibrancy as a center for innovation and ingenuity is clear, but so are the stereotypes that it has to fight. Is it the perfect city? By no means. But wonderful things are happening, and that's why it's a magnet for so many people and for us," Chu said.
He's coming back to town this week; he'll be the speaker at a luncheon at Rice University on Friday hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership and Opportunity Houston. If you can get an advance copy of the magazine in print form, have at it. Or wait till May 2 when the issue will be online.
As Chu mentions, Houston isn't perfect, but it has a lot of things going for it that people sometimes either don't know about or overlook. We at the Houston Press are the first to cry "foul" when we think something is going on that shouldn't.
But every year we also put out our Best of Houston issue and our Music Awards Issue, so we're pretty convinced there are things to celebrate as well. And you've got to admit, this acknowledgment is way better than all those years when we were winning American's Fattest City from the Men's Fitness magazine.
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