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The nineties was an interesting time. Fear, like that of the fifties, was a mere memory. There wasn’t too much to fight for like there was in the sixties; it wasn’t the age of rock-and-roll like the seventies, or the age of excess like the good old eighties. So what exactly did the nineties stand for?
Many call it Generation X, some even go as far as to call it the "Lost Generation," but I think there is one filmmaker who truly had his fingers on the beating pulse of that seemingly undefinable generation. And that would be the ever brilliant and talented Grag Araki.
With ten quality, if somewhat offbeat, films under his belt, Araki has worked with many of the great actors of the nineties, and he continues to make meaningful films today. What sets Araki apart from other auteurs is his keen ability to tap into the subconscious of a very interesting generation.
The Living End (1992) focuses on two HIV positive nihilists; Luke, the gay hustler, and Jon, the eccentric film critic. With props that will make you want to redecorate your room and pretend to be fifteen again, and performances so real it is almost haunting, The Living End takes Luke and Jon, as well as the viewer, on a hedonistic and extremely dangerous journey. Their motto: F*** The World, as is the theme of many of Araki’s films. Charming, no? But very relevant to the times.
Now, you’ll love this title of another of his flicks, Totally F***ed Up (1993) focuses on the truly sucky lives of a group of gay and lesbian teenagers living in Los Angeles. Having been thrown out of their houses by their fed up parents, always broke and even worse, bored, having their lovers cheat on them only adds insult to injury. And to spread a little icing on the already bitter cake, they are also harassed by gay bashers. With the state of things, perhaps suicide isn’t such a bad idea, proclaims Andy, our protagonist, who gives the film its title by describing his life and his generation as, well, you get the picture.
The Doom Generation, perhaps Araki’s most well-known and well-loved film, focuses on Jordan White and Amy Blue, two troubled teens who pick up an adolescent drifter named Xavier Red. Together, the new threesome embark on a sex and violence-filled journey through an America of psychos, Quickie Marts and yes, even castration. A must see, but perhaps not for the WHOLE family.
Another brilliant film, and perhaps Araki’s most surrealistic interpretation of the nineties, Nowhere (1997) chronicles a day in the lives of a group of twenty or more alienated Los Angeles teenagers in their personal lives of despair, alienation, failing relationships and so much more. The character names alone make this film worth watching, not to mention that every set is as surreal as a Salvador Dali painting, and every actor in the film was, is, or went on to become a huge star, including Ryan Phillipe, Christina Applegate, James Duval, Heather Graham, Shannon Doherty, Rose McGowen and even John Ritter.
Centering on eighteen-year-old Dark, the alienated UCLA film student, his bisexual African-American girlfriend Mel; her purple-haired, acid-tongued lesbian girlfriend Lucifer; Dark's homosexual classmate Montgomery and Montgomery's poetess friend Alyssa; other characters include Dark's friend; a queer industrial rock star named Cowboy; his drug-addicted lover and band mate Bart; the local drug dealer Handjob and his live-in S&M girls Kris and Kozzy; the metal-mouthed, wise-cracking intellectual Dingbat; her older brother Duckey, the bulemic Egg; Alyssa's self-destructive twin brother Shad and his girlfriend Lilith; Mel's little brother Zero and his blond girlfriend Zoe, plus a Teen Idol so famous that no one needs utter his name, a trio of Atari gang members, nattering Valley girls, scary drag queens, a pragmatic party and a mysterious alien from outer space that only Dark sees.
This group of teenagers try to sort out their lives and emotions while bizarre experiences happen to each one, including alien abductions, bad acid trips, bisexual experiences, suicides, bizarre deaths and a rape by a TV star. All of this happens before "the greatest party of the year." But the final scene will leave you with your jaw to the floor.
This film, like the party, is not to be missed. Trust me, it will make you question the meaning of life, every relationship you hold dear, and just what was going through Araki’s head when he came up with this synopsis and these characters. Genius or madman, Araki will keep you wanting more.
And that leads me to my personal favorite of Araki’s films, Mysterious Skin (2004) starring the super talented and oh so gorgeous Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock From The Sun). In 1981, in Hutchinson, Kansas eight-year-old Neil McCormick (Gordon-Levitt) is sexually abused by his pedophile baseball coach while his deranged and promiscuous mother pays absolutely no mind. Meanwhile, the also eight year old Brian Lackey awakes from a brief amnesia of four hours with a bleeding nose, but his negligent father does not pay attention to the event. Brian grows up believing he had been abducted by aliens. The gay Neil grows-up to become a gay male prostitute. When Brian is eighteen years old, he finds Neil, who discloses the dark secrets of their past. The theme? We are all merely products of what has happened to us in our innocent years. Brilliant!
There are more films by Araki that are also worth seeing, but if I were you, I would keep my eyes peeled for Smiley Face, the newest of Araki’s films. All I have been able to find out about the film is that it focuses on a young actress who unknowingly eats a batch of her roommate’s pot cupcakes, thereby turning a would-be ordinary day into a series of hilarious misadventures.
Taboo, offensive, but genuinely from the heart, Greg Araki truly understands that generation which left many of us wondering what would happen next since it has all already been done. Well, fret not, dear readers, Araki is still alive and kicking, producing brilliant, nihilistic, hilarious, ridiculous and piercing films that will leave you in a state of nostalgia, reminiscing on the bizarre and undefinable generation we all love and miss so much.
Be sure to buy or rent these films locally at Outloud! on Church Street.
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.