Celebration of Love Gala raises funds for Lesbian Health Initiative

The scooter's way cuter in pink, sorry Liz

The Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston is celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early with their Celebration of Love Gala Saturday, Feb. 11. at the Double Tree Hotel downtown (400 Dallas Street). The 10th annual gala is the 20-year-old organization’s major fundraiser of the year.

This year the gala features comedienne Susanne Westenhoefer, who claims to be the “first openly-gay comedian to appear on television” (yep, she was out before Ellen).  Dorothy Weston, co-founder and CEO of The Rose (a breast cancer prevention and treatment organization) will be honored  for her years of service. In addition the evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and the raffling of a pink Vitacci 50cc Retro Scooter. LHI executive director Liz James is particularly excited about the raffle even if she didn’t quite get her way on the prize. “I wanted it to be a black scooter, as I’m a bit on the butch side,” said James, adding that more “femme” forces in the organization prevailed and a pink scooter was selected instead.

Regardless of the color of the scooter, the Celebration of Love Gala promises to be a fun filled night, not just for sapphic romantics, but for anyone looking for a valentine’s date night that supports a good cause. Tickets for the black tie affair start at $100 and can be purchased at lhihouston.org. Doors open at 6 pm.

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Kindred Spirits presents: The Judy Garland Christmas Show

Judy Garland Christmas ShowThere’s kitsch. There’s camp. Then there’s the Judy Garland Christmas Show, perhaps the single most absurdly divine thing to ever be produced by the 1960′s television industry. Kindred Spirits presents its 4th Annual Judy Garland Christmas Show & Sing-Along December 4th at Meteor (2306 Genesee St) at 5 pm.

In 1963 Garland found herself in trouble with the IRS for forgetting to pay taxes for a couple of years. Desperate for cash, she agreed to star in a weekly variety show for CBS, then proceeded to record 26 of the most gin-soaked hours in television history. Garland was remarkably cogent for the Christmas episode however, perhaps because her children were all on set as guest stars. Lorna Luft, Joey Luft and (almost unrecognizable with long hair) Liza Minnelli join fellow guests Jack Jones, Tracy Everitt, Mel Tormé and the true stars of the show, the chorus line of dancing Santas, for an hour of surreal delight.

With Nancy Ford emceeing, the Judy Garland Christmas Show & Sing-Along has become a Houston holiday tradition. In addition to the show and complimentary eats there’s also a raffle for a flat screen television. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and can be purchased at kindredspiritshouston.org. Proceeds benefit AssistHers, the Lesbian Health Initiative Houston, and Expert Nutrition.

After the break watch the opening number from the Judy Garland Christmas Show.

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Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston hosts Fall Health Fair

Lesbian Health Initiative HoustonDid you hear the joke about the lesbian health fair?
…everyone agreed that women’s health care was a serious issue and should not be made the subject of juvenile humor.
But seriously folks, the Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston will host its Fall Health Fair Saturday, November 5, at the new Legacy Community Health Services building, 1415 California, from 9 am to 3 pm. The fair provides an opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)-identified women, and female bodied men of trans history to receive medical screenings they might otherwise not be able to afford.
“What LHI has always done is work to eliminate barriers to health care for LGBT women,” says Liz James, CEO of the Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston. James feels that many LGBT woman worry that health care providers will not provide them with care in a way that is culturally sensitive. As a result “Far to often people don’t seek or get care until they are ill, by then many are in advanced stages of a disease process. The reality is that people aren’t getting adequate care because of the lack of culturally competent care.”
Scheduled guests include OB/GYN Mary Alice Cowan, M.D., Chiropractor Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, attorney Kristen Capps, fitness coach Shana Ross and Marie Boydstun with the American Cancer Society. Those attending the fair will also have an opportunity to learn more about health services provided by LHI and its partners.
Screenings available include mammograms, pap tests, well-woman exams, skin and body scans, bone density tests, flu shots and extensive blood screenings including those for cholesterol, thyroid, STDs, and blood sugar levels. If you are interested in scheduling screenings e-mail info@lhihouston.org or call 713-426-3356 and leave your name, phone number and email address. LHI warns that there are a limited number of appointment times available and that they do go quickly.
“It’s a big job, but we’re up for it,” says James. “together we can be very powerful.”

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