The Case Against Making a City “Beautiful”
On finding beauty in Houston amidst the ugliness, and what the city stands to lose from increasing gentrification.
Bryan Washington’s debut collection, Lot, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books. He has written for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Vulture, BuzzFeed, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, GQ, FADER, The Awl, and Catapult. He lives in Houston.
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Montrose was unofficially codified as the nexus of queer life in Houston. If you held a map to the wall, I could tell you how we came to be on those streets.
There will be as many different iterations of this storm, and the ones to come, as there are Houstonians. And we have to hear them—they’re what will determine our map for the next one.
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In Houston, as with everywhere else, the arts serve as tiny lifeboats—and sometimes, if we’re lucky, we all find ourselves floating together.