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Ally Walker has been an inspiration to me all of my adult life. Growing up in a small town of less than 1,200 people there weren't a lot of role models to be found so I looked to television. I found my role model in Dr. Samantha Waters from Profiler. Walker played Waters with an intelligence, strength, and passion that made me want to get out into the world and make a difference. Because of the show, I went on to study forensic psychology. The sociology and psychology classes paired with forensics I've learned have helped me with a cold case project I'm working on in Kentucky that I hope will provide closure to some families. To call Ally Walker an inspiration is an understatement.
DP/30: Sex, Death and Bowling, director Ally Walker youtu.be
Not only did Walker inspire me with Profiler, but she inspired me with a documentary, For Norman. Walker came upon a woman and a one-year-old baby named Norman in a park one day. They were homeless and the baby had cardboard on his feet to keep them warm. After Walker talked to the mother for a while it became obvious the mother was mentally ill. Instead of walking away like most of society would unfortunately do these days, Walker decided to help these two.
She went to a clinic to have the baby checked out, she called the woman's family to try and get them to help but to no avail, and she ultimately found them a shelter to stay at. However, Walker was so worried about the health of the baby that she discussed this with shelter employees who told her to call the Department of Child and Family Services. This is where For Norman picks up.
Walker saw the same woman on the street, this time without baby Norman. Walker wanted to find out what happened to Norman and whether or not he was okay. Instead she found out about a foster care system that wasn't all it was cracked up to be. “My friend Adam Davidson and I started filming,” she told me.
“The court opened up and let me interview kids in the system. At that time, there were 50,000 kids under the DCFS's supervision. The film won awards for showing the struggles these kids faced: being taken from their homes with no real help given to their parents; being moved as much as 20 times within the first year; being separated from their siblings and sometimes being put into much worse situations.
"For me, the experience was shocking. For a country that likes to stress family values we really don't consider families much. The kids I filmed were some of the most courageous people I have ever met. As were their families, both foster and biological. I'd like to do a follow up documentary and see what became of them. Many people in child welfare credited the film with illuminating the struggles these children face and for helping create a movement for change within the system.”
ALLY WALKER HAS FUN WITH CONAN youtu.be
As if that isn't enough reason to be inspired, Walker adds a gay character to a film she wrote and directed called Sex, Death, and Bowling. She assembled a dream cast who all played their roles perfectly and with a subtle beauty that enhanced the words written by Walker. The film centers on 11-year-old Eli who is faced with the impending death of his father. Eli wonders what is death and what happens when we die so he sets about finding out.
I can relate to Eli as my mother is going through stage three ovarian cancer and was given two years left to live by her doctor. I wonder what is death and what will happen to my mother when she dies. Is there life after death? Add to the mix Sean, who hasn't seen the family in years because he is gay and wasn't accepted into the family because of this. This is also relatable. Growing up in a town of less than 1,200 people you run the risk of being bullied, beaten up, and in my case contemplate suicide instead of dealing with the aspect of being unaccepted because of who you are. Most people in the gay community also have someone in their friends or family circle that have walked away because of their sexual orientation. Walker based this character on her friend, Tom Ford.
“I went to school with Tom Ford,” she said. “I knew Tom when he was 14 and 15 and we hung out. I ran into him when I was writing Sex, Death, and Bowling and realized what that must have been like. To be a young man, a kid really, who's basically going to be ostracized if you really tell people who you are and what your definition of love is. And it really struck me because I had just been losing so many people that I was shocked by it. You really get shocked when you start losing people that you love by how petty everything is and how stupid and meaningless a lot of the stuff we worry about is.”
Walker wrote and directed Sex, Death, and Bowling and when I told her my story her response was kind. “I write for people like you,” she said. “I really am glad it spoke to you. The lack of acceptance is what kind of breaks your heart. When people have these preconceived religious notions or whatever kind of notion, I don't fault religion. I think religion is very good in ways, but we really are just living beings and we really need to be able to co-exist with one another without belittling each other or fighting. There's only love. You can be famous, you can make money, but there's only love.”
Love is what life really is all about. The LGBT community has an ally in Walker and I wondered if this felt odd to her. “No, I do the same thing for women and kids too,” she said. “I speak up when I see injustice and I got to tell you I have a lot of gay friends. When people are not accepted, when people have to struggle, when people have been hurt, I relate to those people. I do fight. I do advocate for gay rights. I do advocate for equality for people. I'm sick of this. It should be over. These chapters should be done. They should be in a book somewhere that we read about and go wow I can't believe we were like that.”
“It's hard to be discriminated against,” she added. “It's hard to be judged for what you do and what you look like. People and their preconceived notions of what you are. And that's something that's really hard to get around.”
Yet with Walker on our side we will always have someone humble, kind, and passionate. Walker brings hope and love to everything she touches.
The DJ-production drag duo known as Jawbreakers is asking people to take "Just a Taste" of their upcoming EP. That flavorful sample called "Boyfriend" is available now on digital platforms. If you're thinking, hey, didn't Ashlee Simpson have a song of the same name back in 2005? Yes, she did, but this version is a lot more club-friendly with an EDM edge.
The creative process has many layers as most dance songs do these days. It begins with the Jawbreakers producing the music then finding a voice to sing it. In this case, Amunda, formerly of the Australian group Operator Please. The song dismisses its punk roots and evolves into a banger bop with dancefloor disco sass much like its producers.
Kali Forni-Kate and Sabrina Babyslut are those producers and they call themselves Jawbreakers. But you can just call them Kali and Sabrina. Both are in their twenties but refuse to say on which end of the scale. What's abundantly clear is their love of pop culture and tapping into nightclub synergy.
They both live in Melbourne, Australia, or Naarm, as it is called by those who wish to respect traditional Aboriginal names. Kali lives in the southern area where modern artists and modern history collide. That is where the iconic Chapel Street is located. It's known for its shops, restaurants, and popular gay districts. Although they live a stone's throw away from each other, they always end up together.
"There’s a bunch of queer venues and events happening frequently and honestly any venue that books us and supports and uplifts the queer community is iconic in my opinion," Sabrina said.
JawbreakersAndrew Van Dorsselaer
Their pronouns are she and her when in drag, and they and him when out of it. We will refer to them mostly in the former for the purposes of this article. But ultimately they hate labels, "We both identify as queer and slowly trying to move away from labels as much as possible regardless of whether we are in or out of drag."
The two have been friends going on six years. They met each other while doing a Britney Spears tribute show at the deco-inspired historic Greyhound Hotel, now sadly demolished.
There’s a four-to five-year age gap between them; they met when Sabrina was 18 and Kali was 23. "I think we were surprised how instantly we clicked and that we had so much in common for a millennial and Gen Z," they explain. "From there we were inseparable pretty much trying to incorporate each other into every gig and then the rest is history."
In school, Sabrina studied costume design and music theory and she's played saxophone ever since she was seven years old.
Kali was a track and field athlete who admits to being, "a Uni drop out studying musculoskeletal therapy. I also love waterskiing, kneeboarding, and to be honest, still into Pokemon Go," she smirks.
Eventually they let their love of music and style win out over everything else. That makes sense because both have music in their blood. "I dead ass was in primary school listening to sonatas on my iPod Touch but I would listen to literally any genre of music as long as it was on 'Glee,'" said Sabrina who loves how technology has progressed the medium."Music has become a lot more synthesized but people have leaned into that embracing the electronic sounds."
"My dad is a jazz musician," adds Kali, "and mum was a dancer. [My] Sister was an opera singer so I grew up in a very musical industry going to interstate jazz festivals---and I played piano. I went through my pop diva 'Britney Spears in the zone phase,' to my emo My Chemical Romance phase and got my first Ministry of Sound CD when I was 10 years old, which is insane because I had so many CD’s with John Course’s name on them, and now [I'm] supported by his record label."
Which brings us to their latest project: the "Just a Taste" EP and their first single from that album, "Boyfriend." With so much creativity in their vains and drive in their hearts it's curious why they would choose to make an EP that averages four tracks per album rather than the longer format with three-times that.
"'With this EP we’re showing a few different sides of our musical personality ranging from pure pop to more club focused songs and we really wanted to give the listeners ‘Just A Taste’ and use this EP as a metaphorical tasting platter," they explain. The idea is to show their audience they are musically diverse, but still have something succinct. "Since this is our first body of work we're putting out, it would be risky to do a full album. It's better to dip your toe in and see what works and what needs tweaking before releasing an album, which is a huge undertaking."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
Once they had the music track for "Boyfriend" laid down, they needed to find a singer who could not only bring a freshness to the vocals, but also understood what the DJs were trying to do. Upon the advise of Joel Siviour from Seismic Talent, they found that female voice in Amunda, an indie artist who used to sing for the popular Australian band Operator Please.
"Since the original track is a pop rock song from the 2000s we knew we needed something in that realm, so when we were introduced to Amunda we knew it would be the perfect fit because she herself had some big hits with Operator Please which had that pop/alt/rock kinda vibe to it. The track was pretty much done before we sent it to her and we were just looking for a topline and when she agreed to be a part of the project we let her have free reign with the topline and we were so obsessed with what she came back with!"
The completed project was perfect they say. "Boyfriend" is the epitome of who they are, "it’s a high energy dance track that just makes you want to get up and party and have fun! It shows how much we love pop culture referencing the iconic queen Ashlee Simpson but how we recontextualized the track for today's music climate. In the music video you truly get to see us and become part of (what I like to call) the Jawbreaker Cinematic Universe which is just this bubble gum pop world we live in and serve some iconic Y2K looks and be the biggest Y2K divas we can be."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
That's no exaggeration. The video which recently released on YouTube proves it. Bubblicious colors, mod culture designs and 60s era couture, Jawbreakers is just like Kali's Pokedex: ready to evolve. Groovy chic and pink hair showcase the talent of these pop rocks. And the land down under is eating them up.
"The LGBTQIA+ community in Australia is sooo supportive," Sabrina says. "Every city has such an uplifting community that gets behind their up-and-coming artists in queer spaces. From painting, to acting---the sex and drag industry---the community is so insanely supportive. Like, we couldn’t imagine being straight because like there's no community and they don’t hype each other like the LGBT community does."
Jawbreakers is only beginning their reign. With "Girlfriend" finished and the "Just a Taste" EP dropping on April 1, 2022, the duo are poised for stardom. They aren't taking anything for granted either.
"We also have been so lucky to be offered some incredible gigs that are coming up this year. Now that borders are open we are about to head on an Aus tour starting at St Kilda Fest, and then heading on the Summer Camp Tour with a killer queer lineup. We also plan to get back in the studio and keep making new music. We truly are just ready to make the most out of all the opportunities we have been blessed with and do the most to make anyone who has supported us proud."
You can listen to Jawbreakers' debut single "Boyfriend" on digital music platforms and watch the video below.
Their full EP "Just a Taste" will release on April 1, 2022.
Jawbreakers - Boyfriend (ft. AMUNDA) (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
Mental health impacts how you think and feel, affecting all aspects of your life. It also determines how you handle your stress and make important choices. Having good mental health is important for all ages, from children to elders. Here are the most effective ways to boost your mental health.
Staying positive may be easy when you're happy, but it gets more difficult as you encounter stress. Staying positive is something you'll have to learn how to do, but it gets easier with time. Ultimately, it's up to you to see the silver lining when something stressful happens. For example, if you lose your job, you might consider it an opportunity to find a career you enjoy.
Staying positive is all about balancing positive and negative emotions, but it doesn't mean you won't ever feel down. It's important to feel your emotions so you can address them and move past them. However, how you manage those emotions once you feel them depends on you.
Practicing gratitude allows you to actively acknowledge the good things in your life. Practicing gratitude might look different for everyone, but it's typically easiest to keep a gratitude journal that you write in every day. Your journal can be a list of everything you're grateful for, including your family, friends, pet, and even coffee. Don't worry about repeating things in your journal; it's important you continuously recognize the things that make you happy.
Practicing gratitude allows you to see your life in a different light. When you take the time to sit down and think about things that make you happy, you can focus on the positive instead of the negative.
Get into the habit of practicing gratitude by writing in a journal for at least five minutes a day. In addition, writing in your journal at night can help you relieve stress so you can easily fall asleep. t your job, so you must do something you love or have a passion for—being at a job you despise can make you feel like you're wasting your life, which can make you feel depressed. Additionally, having a stressful job can impact your mental and physical health.
If you find yourself feeling drained just at the thought of going to work, consider why your job situation makes you feel down. You might find that you enjoy your job but have a toxic workplace. No matter the case, it's up to you to get out of any job situation that makes you feel stressed or burned out.
Setting goals gives you something to work towards. Then, when you accomplish those goals, you'll feel a sense of purpose that's unbeatable. Setting goals gives you a reason to get up in the morning and stay productive and active all day long. Your goals can be career-based, health-based, or even home-based. For example, you can have a goal for weight loss while also having one to get a promotion by the end of the year.
Whatever your goals are, make sure you also set an action plan that helps you accomplish those goals. You may even have to break your goals up into smaller goals so you can keep accomplishing small tasks until you reach the ultimate goal.
Spend Time With Others
Even if you're an introvert, spending time with others can boost your mental health because it allows you to take your mind off of other things going on. Not only that but your friends and family are your support network, so you'll always have someone to talk to when you're feeling stressed.
Don't Forget About Your Physical Health
Taking care of your physical health can improve your mental health. Your body and mind are connected; the other will be impacted when one doesn't feel well. You can focus on your physical health by:
- Being active
- Getting quality sleep
- Eating well
Find a Purpose
Giving yourself a purpose in life will allow you to wake up feeling energized. Not to mention, it allows you to find something you're passionate about so you can feel connected to the world and yourself. Your purpose in life won't be the same as someone else's. For example, your purpose in life might be your pets or children, while someone else's will be their passion for their hobbies or career.
If you don't know what your purpose is yet, spend time thinking about the things you enjoy. Many people find careers they're excited about while others wake up so they can enjoy their hobbies. It doesn't matter what your purpose is; just make sure it gives you a reason to wake up every day and helps you manage daily stresses.
Take Care of Others
Focusing on others allows you to get out of your head. Whether you volunteer at the local pet shelter or take care of your grandmother, you'll have something to do that makes you feel connected. Not only that, but you'll be able to keep a schedule of helping others that not only makes you feel good but helps others.
Reconsider Your Job
You spend eight or more hours a day at work. If you notice that you've been feeling anxious or depressed for a while, it might be time to seek help from a psychologist or an in person or telepsychiatrist. These professionals can help you learn how to cope with stress while providing you with medication to improve potential chemical imbalances. Seeing a professional is not something to be ashamed about; it's something you should be proud of. Getting the help you need can improve your life and make you feel happier.
Boosting Your Mental Health
There are many ways to boost your mental health. It's up to you to find the ways that work best based on your schedule and needs. For example, while getting a puppy can give you a sense of purpose, it's not a good idea if you're never home. Finding ways to improve your mental health might take experimentation, but you can find something that truly works for you with a little patience.
About the Author
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.
Now there's two more reasons to go out in Nashville. More than $1 million has been poured into upgrades on well-known Midtown bars Tribe and Play to enhance visual appeal, ambience, and customer experience.
The newly upgraded Play area is a dance bar that will present weekly drag shows. The bulk of the renovation involved increasing the size of doorway openings to improve the flow of these spaces.
Tribe is a lively cocktail bar featuring a DJ booth, TVs, pool table and a large outdoor deck/patio area.
“This involved a good amount of structural work to ensure that the two separate buildings with different build types are supported and structurally sound,” said Dowdle Construction Principal Chase Manning, who managed this project.
The new design for Play is extremely colorful, from teal-colored concrete floors to a bar with rainbow lighting. It also boasts upscale finishes, including wood accents, granite countertops and open wood ceilings, which are the original trusses with tongue and groove decking.
“We are very excited to finally open up these new and improved gathering spaces, which have become so important to Nashville’s LGBTQ+ community,” said owner Joe Brown.
“Dowdle’s extensive hospitality portfolio here in Nashville is what drew us to them, and we could not have asked for a better team to carry out this project.”
Dowdle Construction Group has built or renovated over 45 restaurants and bars in Nashville in the last five years, including Milk and Honey, Hi-Fi Clydes, Dogwood, Party Fowl, STK and more. “It was a pleasure to make these much-needed improvements to Tribe and Play,” said Manning. “We believe in building spaces where all members of the Nashville community can come together.”
About Dowdle Construction Group
Dowdle Construction Group is a Nashville-based general contractor specializing in both public and private sector commercial construction. For over 30 years, Dowdle has built a reputation for conducting business with integrity, honesty, and a commitment to communicating and working through the details. Dowdle’s collaborative projects have been recognized for their excellence by the Urban Land Institute Nashville, the Historical Commission of Metropolitan Nashville, the American Institute of Architects local chapter and other industry organizations. For more information visit dowdleconstruction.com.
Photos: Brian McCord, Realty Pictures, LLC