Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
Happening in Nashville
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by F. Daniel Kent
In the far-flung strata of celebrity, there are few names as recognizable and well respected as that of internationally known mega-star Olivia Newton-John. Born in Cambridge, England in 1948 and later moving with her family to Melbourne, Australia it was clear early on that Newton-John was going to be a star. By 1963, Olivia was appearing on local daytime TV shows and weekly pop music programs in Australia. She cut her first single for Decca Records in 1966 and went on to release her United States debut album “Let Me Be There” in 1973 producing the first of many top ten singles to come earning her nods from the Academy of Country Music and the Grammys. Her countless successes span three more Grammys, numerous CMA, AMA and People’s Choice Awards, five number one hits including “Physical,” which topped the charts for ten consecutive weeks and 15 top 10 singles.
If that weren’t enough, in 1978, her co-starring role with John Travolta in “Grease” skyrocketed her into superstardom leading to the production of the most successful musical soundtrack in history leading to further screen roles in “Xanadu,” “Two of a Kind,” “It’s My Party,” and “Sordid Lives.” Her more than three decade career shows no signs of slowing down even after a 1992 diagnosis of breast cancer led to a partial mastectomy and chemotherapy. Since that time, Newton-John has become more determined than ever to use her status as a well recognized celebrity and performing artist to bring more attention to breast cancer research and getting the information out there for all women to use.
Giving back to the community has always been a high priority for Newton-John who has been acknowledged many times by a variety of charitable organizations for her ongoing efforts. In order to continue her advocacy for breast health awareness, Newton-John has partnered with Walgreen’s to bring the “Olivia Breast Self-Exam Kit and “Olivia Breast Health Supplements.” Ten percent of the sales from Breast Health products purchased to City of Hope, a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. These items are offered alongside her new album “Grace & Gratitude,” which features a selection of music which Newton-John and friend writer/producer Amy Sky designed to help speed along the healing process.
Recently, Olivia Newton-John took time off from her touring to chat with “O&AN” on the phone from her Las Vegas, Nevada home.
O&AN: Olivia, I have to tell you what a great honor it is to be able to interview you. I literally grew up watching you perform and you are just as fabulous now as you ever have been.
N-J: Ah, you’re sweet, Daniel. Thank you. If I may I would like to mention something about my record that relates to that. It’s called “Grace and Gratitude,” and it is a medical fact that if you show gratitude and appreciation for something—be it for your faith or just to say thank you if you don’t have a faith—it actually gives you a feeling of well being. So, if you wake up and you aren’t having a good day and you start to say thank you to anything around you it makes you feel better. So, pass that on.
O&AN: I shall. Would you care to tell our readers how “Grace & Gratitude” came about?
N-J: Amy Sky is an old friend of mine and we recorded a song together for Hallmark in 2004 to benefit Breast Cancer research. It was a wonderful experience because she did a wonderful arrangement for “The Serenity Prayer” that I performed. While we were doing that session we decided that it would be simply amazing to do an entire disk of music like that. It was something that we both had always wanted to do and never had a real opportunity. We talked a lot about it at the time but the idea kind of got put on hold because I went through a sort of rough year and I thought to myself that I didn’t really know if it was ever gonna happen.
O&AN: You are referring, of course, to the tragic news about your boyfriend Patrick McDermott. How did you manage to come out of what I’m sure was a major depressive fog in order to make an album of such depth and beauty as “Grace & Gratitude”?
N-J: One day it was like a light went off. I woke up and decided that this was something I needed to do for myself in order to start the healing process. I called Amy immediately and told her that she needed to come down because I wanted to make a healing album. I learned long ago that when I’m going through difficult times the process of creating music is always the main thing that helps me to cope and heals me. Music has been one of the main things that helped me to deal with the realities of living with breast cancer. The day that Amy arrived it was like something was being channeled through us. We wrote seven songs in that one day almost as soon as she got there. I don’t know where it came from but it was an amazing experience.
O&AN: You reference a variety of belief systems during the course of this album. What prompted you take that approach?
N-J: We had been talking about how we wanted to include music from a variety of different belief systems. Amy had read Caroline Myss’ book “Anatomy of The Spirit” while I had only read parts of it but we both agreed that we liked the whole premise of the chakras and the emotional sacred truths of the body and how we could all relate to those feelings in our relationships between others and ourselves and our spirituality. It was like we were vaulting into the sky. The whole thing flowed so easily. It was like everything was just coming to us intuitively like our spirits already knew the music and all we had to do was put it on the disk. I went up to Toronto and did the vocals and after I left I told Amy that I wanted every song to be linked together by pieces of music and she did an amazing job with that too.
O&AN: This album is a bit of a departure from the main body of your work. Why did you decide to take such an untraveled path with this album?
N-J: I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. In 1992 I wrote an album called “Gaia,” which was a very personal journey. It wasn’t originally intended to be a CD. I initially just did it for myself as a way to cope with my Breast Cancer diagnosis but people kept encouraging me to record it. At the time I went to Windham Hill and I went to all of these different companies that offered that same sort of New Age style healing music and I remember not being able to find anyone to take me on because of what I was known for previously. It took a long time to get to this point but it was just a matter of being in the right time and waiting for the right vehicle to make it happen.
O&AN: What do you feel is the biggest change in your life as a result of having breast cancer?
N-J: It’s hard to put into words a life experience, you know? It’s such a profound thing that changes a lot about you and who you are and how you perceive yourself. I’ve always been a pretty positive person but I think that it actually made me more positive. It makes you realize the true value of everything you have rather than looking at what you don’t. It’s like everything suddenly becomes crystal clear and you suddenly realize your own strength. I am lucky to have had such a great life to be able to live through and it really made me realize that. I feel very lucky that I am here and I am very grateful for every new day. I just want to help other people with my music if I am able.
O&AN: In addition to all the work you already do, I understand you are helping to build a Cancer center in Melbourne, Australia. How did that come about?
N-J: A very large hospital down there called Austin Campus approached me about four years ago and asked me if I would lend my name to a cancer center that they were attempting to build so they would have a higher profile in order to be able to raise the money. I agreed on the condition that they would agree to have a wellness center attached to the hospital. Y’ know. A place where someone could really be able to get information and a cup of tea with a foot rub and all of that during their treatment and even meditate if they wanted. They agreed to that, and now I’m really very excited because last week we were given a $25 million dollar grant from the government!
O&AN: That’s so great to hear! Congratulations!
N-J: Yeah, $10 million from the local government and an additional $25 million from the federal government. We are really on our way now. We may even get to break ground next year.
O&AN: What advice would you give to women who are just beginning their journeys as breast cancer survivors?
N-J: I always just try to encourage people and let them know that they can do it. I tell them to get all of the information that they can. I try to give them advice on how to keep their spirits high and how to reach out to others. I also tell them to really learn to trust their intuition a lot because we have such incredible powers that we are not aware of and the more we learn to use those powers the more aware of ourselves and the world around us we will be. I feel very fortunate in that I was okay because I caught it early enough. I try to encourage women to regularly self examine so if there is anything wrong you can find it as early as possible.
O&AN: It is so refreshing that a person of your great renown is so completely down-to-earth and relatable. Considering the amount of spotlight your life sees how do you manage to keep that humble and gracious demeanor?
N-J: Thank you for that. I think I just never lost touch with who I am. A lot of people do, but I had a lot of really good advice that I heeded. I was brought up in an academic kind of household where respect was given to brains and intelligence and not money. Both of my parents had really high work ethics and you had to be really good at what you did. It wasn’t about fame. It was about how well you did it. I think I had good standards because of that from a young girl and Australia is a very down-to-earth place where you will get chopped down quickly if you get big-headed. I have really tried to never loose track of what is important in life. Even way back when I was touring and at the height of what I like to call my “Britney time,” even with all of the craziness, I was always very aware that this is passing and there will be somebody else tomorrow. I was always very aware of the reality of it all from the beginning, so the road that I traveled was always very clear in front of me. I probably didn’t get into it as much as I could’ a done, but that’s okay. I think it was a good thing. I really love to sing and I really love now to perform, but back then it was terrifying.
For more information on Olivia Newton-John, her struggle with breast cancer or her new CD “Grace & Gratitude,” visit www.OliviaNewton-John.com. For more information on City of Hope visit www.cityofhope.org.
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.