Austin’s 10 most defining headlines of 2017: the good, the weird, and the unexpected
Forget the awful parts of 2017. This week, we're celebrating our silver linings, the big changes, the wins both large and small and maybe not quite enough. Cheers, my queers, to a bigger, brighter new year! And find more about where to ring in 2018 at austinchronicle.com/newyears!
Silver Linings of 2017
1) We defeated not one, not two, not three, but four bathroom bills (and too many amendments to count). It was hard, emotionally taxing work that none of us will soon forget. But it's one of our greatest victories from this year.
2) The LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission: Created to address disparities within our queer, trans, and QTPOC communities and leverage change, the commission held its inaugural meeting in June and has been going hard ever since. Rumor has it we can expect big things in 2018.
3) We know how to protest: From Inauguration Day on, Austin's LGBTQxyz community pulled out all our rainbows and glitter and Queer-as-in-Fuck-You signs to say we will not shut up. We will not disappear.
4) The Kind Clinic: We were over the moon when our beloved PrEP clinic added a new service to its roster: a Gender Care Clinic, also known as the first trans- and nonbinary-focused clinic in Travis County.
5) AIDS Walk: Austin turned 30 in October and saw over 1,000 participants walking to raise awareness and end the stigma of HIV. ASA also secured $1.25 million to open an in-house medical clinic (coming in 2018).
6) Pride rescheduled: (Hurricane) Harvey had one out for Austin Pride, causing the August event to be rescheduled less than 24 hours before go-time. But that resulted in a love-filled parade later on, and two days of festival festivities!
7) 30 years of aGLIFF: Austin's international queer film fest not only turned 30 this year, but succeeded in topping years past with outstanding attendance, numerous filmmakers, and rock-solid films!
8) A glimmer of justice for Monica: In November, a jury found Monica Loera's killer guilty of first-degree murder. The sentencing phase – he was only given 20 years – left a less-good taste with the community, but the verdict was a tiny step forward.
9) Terrible twos: Austin Black Pride, Pink Elephant, and Gender Unbound festivals returned for their second years! (Though quite a few years older, Queerbomb also came back strong with a new crew at the helm.)
10) A gay CM: On Dec. 19, City Council appointed Spencer Cronk as Austin's new city manager. The now former city coordinator of Minneapolis is our first openly gay CM, and we wanna welcome him to town!
New Year's Eve
New Year’s Eve Happy Hour Benefiting Equality Texas Start your last night of 2017 early with happy hour and good deeds. Sellers will donate 10% of all sales from 4-8pm to Equality Texas – to keep fighting the LGBTQ rights fight. Cheap drinks, hot folks, and $2 mimosas. 4-8pm. Sellers Underground, 213 W. Fourth.
NYE With Julie Nolen and Carolyn Wonderland Ring in 2018 with Julie Nolen's brand of Americana. 7pm. Saxon Pub, 1320 S. Lamar, 512/448-2552. $10. www.julienolen.com.
Saved by the Ball A New Year's Eve extravaganza featuring your fave Nineties alternative. Gentlemen Rogues, Genuine Leather, Très Oui, and Go Fever cover the best of Weezer, No Doubt, Alanis, and more. DJ GirlFriend takes over for a post-ball drop dance party. 8pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River, 512/431-2133. $8 in advance, $10 at the door.
Delicious! An NYE Dance Party Indulge in Nikki DaVaughn's and Cuppy Garcia's luscious and lavish New Year's Eve party. Dance 'til ya drop, (free) bubbly toast as the clock strikes midnight, and sweets for your sweet(tooth) while they last. 9pm. Dozen Street, 1808 E. 12th. $5 suggested donation.
Hedda Layne Holiday Show Hedda Layne and her hubby Troy Lee unite for a night of music, champagne toasts, and a whole lotta singing. 9pm. Crowne Plaza, 6121 N. I-35, 512/323-5466. www.fb.com/hedda.layne.
Iron Bear NYE Party Kick 2017 to the curb with yer fave bears, boys, otters, and more! Heat up the dance floor with DJ Alpha and cheers the new year with a midnight champagne toast. 9pm. The Iron Bear, 121 W. Eighth, 512/482-8993. Free.
NYE at BT2 Usher in 2018 with noisemakers and top hats! Of course, the dance floor will be moving and the champagne will be flowing. 9pm. Bout Time II, 6607 N. I-35, 512/419-9192. Free. www.fb.com/bt2.atx.
Next Level Trash: New Year’s Eve 2018 A guaranteed night to remember. Rave-stylings with Nymble Digitz, Sara Landry, Deuce Parks, and more. Tickets get you an open bar and BYOB, but the price will rise when these sell out. 10pm. Follow #nextleveltrash for location. $30. www.fb.com/events/1755957324477263.
Sellers New Year’s Eve Bash! Getcher NYE celebration on with DJ Konsept and a free champagne toast as the clock strikes 2018. 10pm. Sellers Underground, 213 W. Fourth. Free.
BookWoman Book Group Stop by and sit in for BookWoman's monthly book club discussion. This time around they're chatting about Hope Jahren's Lab Girl. Thu., Dec. 28, 7pm. BookWoman, 5501 N. Lamar Ste. 105-A, 512/472-2785. www.ebookwoman.com.
Jo’s Drag Queen Bingo Louisianna Purchase hosts a night of free bingo, drag performances, and prizes! Last Thursday of the month. Jo's Coffee Downtown, 242 W. Second, 512/469-9003.
Geeks on Fleek Come as you aren't, instead come as your friend. These geeks are donning their castmates' cosplay for a tipsy-turvy show with music by DJ Scarecrowonfire. Thu., Dec. 28, 10pm. Elysium, 705 Red River, 512/478-8385. $5, $3 with costume.
High Church Vinyl Release Party Get the party started with the likes of Andy, Deep Cuts, and DJ Dick Wolf, too. Fri., Dec. 29, 9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River, 512/431-2133. Free.
AGBL Open Play – All Divisions AGBL hosts a pickup game in their shiny new facility. Throw some balls and hang with the boyz. Sat., Dec. 30, 11am-1pm. 3000 Barton Creek Blvd. www.agbl.org.
Brunch With the Boys: Batman Returns Meow Michelle! Cupcake, Louisianna, and Zane host this month's movie brunch with Batman Returns. Aside from this Caped Crusader classic, you can expect contests, audience interviews, and jaw-dropping drag. Two showings: 11am and 2:45pm. Sun., Dec. 31, 11am-5:45pm. Alamo Ritz, 320 E. Sixth, 512/861-7020. $13. www.drafthouse.com.
Workout! With Erica Nix Make exercise fun again. Dance and strength training workouts inspired by Eighties and Nineties aerobics (think Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, and a side of Big Freedia). Mondays, 6pm; Wednesdays, 6:30pm. Transform, 1909 Wheless, 512/923-5859. $15. www.transformfitnessaustin.com.
Austin LGBT Chamber January Luncheon The Austin LGBT(Q) Chamber of Commerce hosts its first luncheon of the new year. Mingle with LGBTQ biz owners and allies, nosh on some food, and learn more about the chamber. Tue., Jan. 2, 11am-1:30pm. Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, 4800 Burnet Rd., 512/458-1100. $25. www.austinlgbtchamber.com.
Free Week: Sailor Poon Catch these sailors with Big Bill, Geranium Drive, Obscured by Echoes, and Jana Horn. Tue., Jan. 2, 9pm. Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. Sixth, 512/524-1584. Free.
Mini Makeup Class A safe and supportive class for trans and nonbinary folks to explore and experiment with the magical world of makeup. First Wednesdays, 7-9pm. Coco Coquette, 2109 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/344-9173. Free. www.cococoquette.myshopify.com.
Queer Film Theory 101 Austin queers talk hetero Hollywood and its queer influences. Wed., Jan. 3, 8pm. Barrel O' Fun, 1911 Aldrich Ste. 120-B, 512/572-1425. www.barrelofunatx.com.
Space Jam! Nineties Hip-Hop and R&B Night Relive the Nineties while DJ GirlFriend plays the decade's best hip-hop and R&B. First Wednesday of every month, 10pm. Volstead Lounge, 1500 E. Sixth. Free.
Equality Texas Austin January Happy Hour Say cheers to 2018 with EQTX. Getcher sip on cuz FCB is donating 10% of the bar to the Equality Texas Foundation. Thu., Jan. 4, 7-9pm. Full Circle, 1810 E. 12th. www.equalitytexas.org.
Merry Merry Martini Mixer: Come as You Are Equality Texas' signature party, raising money to keep fighting the equality fight. Sat., Jan. 20, 7-11pm. Fair Market, 1100 E. Fifth, 512/494-9093. $75. www.equalitytexas.org.
2018 HRC Austin Gala Dinner This swanky cocktail reception, fancy dinner, and fun auction unites 700 HRC members, friends, and allies to celebrate Austin's LGBTQ community. Black tie. Sat., Jan. 27, 6-11pm. JW Marriott. $250+. www.hrcaustin.org.
PFLAG Austin Deidre Furr Essay Prize for LGBTQ Students Calling all Central Texas (queer/trans/gender diverse) high schoolers. PFLAG's essay contest returns! Write 500 to 1,000 words on: What challenges LGBTQ+ high school students face in romantic relationships. First place takes $500 cash (second = $200, third = $100). Submissions due March 1. www.pflagaustin.org.
The Gay Place loves you; keep those cards and letters comin’.