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With ten plus titles, D-Luv Saviyon has made history, not just in Tennessee, but in one of the nation’s largest pageantry system as the first African-American Mister USofA MI Classic winner.
So what do you do when you are the most heavily crowned drag king in Tennessee? You add a few rhinestones to Bible Belt buckle and bring the biggest pageant to you.
“In the beginning, when I started with Mac Productions, I never thought I would make it to this point” he says. Starting small, performing locally and quickly branching out to what he now considers his second home, Atlanta, GA, over the years D-Luv has grown as a performer and now is regularly booked across the country.
On Thursday, March 6, D-Luv will be handing down his crown as Mister USofA MI Classic. As emotional of a night as it will undoubtedly be, there is another historic moment taking place. For the first time in the Mister USofA MI Pageant’s history, it will not be held in Oklahoma City, but right here in Nashville.
Jordan Allen, former Mister USofA MI and current show director of Ladies’ Night at Play Dance Bar, helped to make the move a reality. "I am honored and super excited for Mister USofA MI and MI Classic as well as Miss Diva USofA to be coming to Nashville and PLAY Dance Bar. I am glad to have been of help to bring something so amazing and close to my heart here to our ever growing king and diva community."
The USofA pageantry system is one of the largest and most widely known pageantry systems in the country, encompassing pageants for kings/male impersonators, divas, GQ’s and queens/female impersonators of all ages. “Nationals being held in Nashville gives a way for a new audience that has never been exposed to the US of A pageantry experience a chance to see how they do things,” D-Luv says. And oh, what an experience it is.
The categories of the pageants seem ordinary enough: a non-judged presentation, personal interview (25% of the total score), creative evening wear (25% of the total score), and talent (50% of the total score). Then you realize, this isn’t just one night of competing. This is a week-long event with three different titles up for grabs.
It kicks off on Monday with a last chance preliminary—either you get a ticket in or you go home. Tuesday begins the first actual day of competition. After registration, for both the Classics and the Divas, interviews will begin. During registration, MI contestants are broken up into groups for their stages of competition. That night, the battle begins. Half the contestants do their talent and the other half do their evening wear. Wednesday, the other half will compete in the opposite category of what they had done the night before.
Thursday night, things start getting real with the entire Diva and Classic Competitions—every category. There is no warm up and very little time for rehearsal. You bring it all and leave it all on the stage. Friday is finals night for the MI contestants. All contestants participate in presentation and then the top 12 compete again in evening wear and talent, often with a completely different or at the very least, an alteration from what was done just a few nights before.
Thursday night will be bitter sweet for D-Luv. After being on cast at Play for over six years, he recently stepped down. This is will be his first time gracing the stage since then. “I feel like I have gotten a lot accomplished in this year but feel like there was still more to be done. I’m excited it was such a productive year but it will be hard to let it go. I hope whoever gets crowned takes the ball and runs with it” he says.
Very few actually know the amount of work that goes into the reign. It’s not just about winning the crown; it’s about keeping the crown and preparing contestants for possible succession. D-Luv traveled across the country this year, not only performing but judging pageants, and convincing promoters to send contestants to nationals. “It’s been a labor of love, very difficult but even more rewarding,” D-Luv says. “It was time consuming and tiring but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s not easy convincing promoters to back male impersonators in a very female impersonator driven industry. It requires the promoters to not only believe in me but to believe in drag kings as well.”
And boy does he make believers out of them. It should come as no surprise that D-Luv has what it takes. As well as holding the title of Mister USofA MI Classic 2013, Mr. King of Hearts 2013, he was also named one of the 100 Most Influential Gay Entertainers, in the anthology of the same title, authored by Jeanetta J. Baines. Holding multiple titles is nothing new. During his more than twelve years competing, the former Mr. Esquire, has held at least two titles consecutively for at least four of those years
D-Luv is not the only king passing on his crown this year. Ivory Onyx will be stepping down as Mister USofA MI and there are six local kings hoping to take his throne. Skylar Wylde, Stephen Amastud, Lucas Prescott, Teddy Michaels, EZ Love, and Trey Alize are all competing in hopes to keep the crown in Tennessee. Also, for the very first time there is an opportunity for Diva’s to get in on the action. Jamison St. James and Q-Tip Chanel, both former Miss Tennessee Diamond Divas, are both vying for the title of Miss Diva USofA Emeritus.
The pageant competition starts March 3 and culminates with finals night March 7. With the exception of interview, all of the competitions are open to the public and tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. For a full listing of the schedule and ticket pricing information, click here.
photo: D-Luv Saviyon (left) and Ivory Onyx (right) pose after winning 2013 Mister USofA MI Classic and MI
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.