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Mapping Houston History

Introduction

TWIT cover

1975: Vol.1, Number 8

This Week In Texas (TWIT) was a gay business and entertainment guide that was published weekly and distributed throughout Texas from 1975 through 2013. 

TWIT began as a small publication mostly comprised of advertisements for gay businesses and events throughout Texas. From the beginning, it included columns titled Around the State this Week and Sampling Texas, written by the publisher, Lyle Black, that provided further information and commentary. By number 15, the TWIT also included the syndicated columns Doctors Bag and Screen Shop. The advice columns, Answers by Adam and Answers by Eve, also appeared by number 17. A classifieds section called the Weekly Bulletin Board was also established by number 27. While this section featured ads for everything from shag carpeting for sale to roommates wanted, it also included ads for community organizations such as Integrity Houston. 

While it may be tempting to brush off the significance of TWIT due to the proliferation of advertisements, in fact the opposite is true. The fascinating variety of advertisements reveals an often hidden and forgotten facet of Houston's LGBT history. Many of the bars, theatres, and other businesses have long since been replaced by other establishments or demolished to make way for other civic developments. Some locations, such as Mary's, are still standing, although  serving different purposes (it is now a coffee shop).

TWIT is also notable for including photographs of men in the community on each cover and in the Personality of the Week and Faces & Places features. These men were often bartenders and drag performers at businesses featured in TWIT. We are seeking more information about their lives in the "Do you know me?" section of this exhibit to honor the legacy of their lives and contributions to the gay community across Texas.

One of the goals of this exhibit is to document the locations of Houston businesses featured in TWIT over time to explore the changes that have taken place in the Montrose neighborhood and beyond. The Map of Businesses in the next section of this exhibit displays a GIS mapping component that provides a way to explore and re-imagine diverse histories in relation to physical space over time.