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The trailer for Black Snake Moan might ostensibly introduce the movie as a comedy with Rae (Christina Ricci) bug-eyed and bewilderedly asking “Why you got me chained?”, and the almost slapstick style with which the chain around her waist snatches her feet from underneath her as she tries to run from Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson). And just for clarity, it’s actually steaks that Lazarus is “fixin (sic) for supper”, not snakes.
Black Snake Moan gives us Rae, a sassy young Southern girl who suffers from episodes of nymphomania, and Lazarus, a middle aged Holy Joe now living on a short fuse since his wife has abandoned the marriage, leaving him bitter and haunted by her decision. After a carefree night of half naked sports and casual sex for Rae, Lazarus finds her in the middle of a gravel road near his farmhouse—unconscious, beaten, and bloodied. Looking around to be sure that no one is watching, he scoops her up, seemingly suppressing the glee and euphoria of someone who has just happened upon a hundred dollar bill. After investigating who might’ve done this to the young woman, Lazarus slowly nurses her back to health with medicine from the town’s pharmacist Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson), who’s no doubt enraptured by Lazarus’ dim-witted charm and the sweaty muscles glistening from beneath his A-shirt. Before falling under Lazarus’ care, Rae was already well known as the town‘s go-to good time girl. Her braless crop top and cutoff jeans getup dwindled down to just the top and a pair of white panties for 75% of the film. The best thing going for her (as she sees it) is her gentle and faithful but ligyrophobic boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), who’s disorder can only be soothed by Rae using a method which only a woman can. Ronnie’s grounding presence is stripped away from Rae in the very beginning when he goes away for basic training.
Though little screen time is given to Ricci and Timberlake together, it’s clear that a separate storyline following just the two, with their combined disorders and the struggle to squelch them, would be fun (and unintentionally funny) to watch. In her role as Rae, Ricci is in top form. Of course, for those who have followed this young maven’s career, watching her work is like watching your sister (or sexual fantasy) and you are quite proud (aroused). Known for playing unconventional and dreary but sharp-witted characters, her departure from those to a fiery but fragile hot body here is a welcome change rather than a welcome relief. The choice of a lighter hue for her hair was wise, as a darker tint may have added undesired symbolism, and would stand in contrast to Hollywood‘s current recognition of blonde beauty. One might not have initially suspected her to be a good fit for this role, but she certainly proves to the contrary. Her Southern dialect is dead on, as anyone who has meet anyone from the deep, deep South knows. Her size and stature—larger head on small frame, doe-like eyes, and adolescent mouth—give believability to her fragility. While combined, the features are strikingly beautiful and breathtaking. I applaud any accomplished actress with the courage to go topless and spend most of the movie half naked. Most moving is the moment of reckoning with Rae and her mom. Given her resume, that Ricci is still required to audition with the flock is simply ghastly.
Supporting Ricci and Jackson in this sexually-charged grab-you-by-the-groin drama, Timberlake does predictably well as a meek romantic type who is passive in all confrontations except those that center around Rae. But honestly Ronnie’s personality and phobia does beg the question why was he joining the armed services to begin with. S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order) is no more than just sweet in role of Angela, a simple Southern woman looking for romance. Based on television appearances, being sweet isn’t far from her true nature. Rapper David Banner pays his dues on the road to becoming an actor as the stereotypical black thug Tehronne, though his bristling and gritty sexuality does translate well to the screen. You’ll recognize John Cothran Jr. (Reverend R.L.) from several television roles. The less than credited young black teen who plays Lazarus’ farm hand is unforgettable given the shock value of the staged scene between him and Ricci. It’s likely that the actor wasn’t actually present during the scene.
The story is set in a small Tennessee town, but the glaring question is, in which decade? On Lazarus’ first trip into “town” we can see that the scene is reminiscent of the type of 60’s town center with a blurry view of women shuffling about in bland knee-length dresses and square-framed spectacles with their up-dos and their purses clutched tightly. David Banner’s character Tehronne is fitted with contemporary hip hop garb and the Klan doesn’t come knocking when Lazarus rescues Rae from the grocery store scene (as is standard in a movie of that period), so I suppose it can’t be set four or more decades ago. But the choice of cars, lack of technology, and thick Southern dialects with no hint of education underneath make the year unclear. If it is to be contemporary, a typical Southerner might resent the film’s insistence that there are any towns left in the South where people are quite this out of touch with the mainstream. My memory may be betraying me, but I don’t recall seeing a single cell phone. I also wondered how realistic was Lazarus’ response to Ronnie’s climactic scene.
Barring the previous, my only question rather than complaint about the film, the movie is a resounding success on all fronts. It tells an enthralling story set in the heart of Tennessee, not sanctimonious or didactic, but raw and aggressive. Most impressively, the story manages to make audiences laugh (not just chuckle), turn us on, and genuinely horrify us at least twice. And all in 116 minutes. The clear irony of the story being that two opposites in a world where they would generally avoid or ignore one another come to find that one has what the other needs to be whole. For Lazarus that was a kick in the ass by a young firecracker to get him over the hump, and more dramatic, Rae, who needed a mentor to help her reevaluate herself. Sam doesn’t disappoint his die hard fans either, delivering his trademark outburst of anger and even tossing in a “Say it again mother fucker!” for good measure. Here he reminds us of one of the reasons why we love to watch him, because his hostility-laced scenes are the manifestation of every man’s pent up rage. Interplay between Jackson and Ricci is intense, with Ricci trying to gain control and Jackson trying to maintain his. Jackson has a first here, leaving the audience to wonder for a time whether he is the deranged antagonist or just a protagonist with disturbingly eccentric methods. Always hysterically funny, though often not intentionally, Sam is a sure bet for a great performance.
Will “Black Snake Moan” hustle and flow its way to the heights of its writer’s previous work? I think it may surpass it. The movie is the best I’ve seen in some time. It opens this Friday in theatres everywhere.
MY RATING: A
Runtime: 116 min
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, language, some violence and drug use.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.