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The holidays are in full swing, and our social calendars are filling up with parties and family gatherings to celebrate the season. As busy as we all are, Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce members know that the organization’s Annual Meeting and Holiday Party is not to be missed. Monthly Brewing Up Business meetings are always a great chance to catch up with old friends, make new business connections, and hear more about what our Chamber is doing for the LBGT community in Nashville. Their holiday party is always festive, but this year’s gathering should be especially engaging, as the Nashville Children’s Theatre will host the event and treat attendees to a free sneak peek at their production of “Auntie Claus.”
The play tells the story Sophie Kringle’s eccentric Auntie Claus, who decides to forego her usual “business trip” up north to stay in New York and see Sophie’s school play. As a cast of iconic Christmas icons gathers at her penthouse at the Bing Cherry Hotel, humorous complications ensue. The show is running now through December 29th, so Chamber members will still have a chance to get tickets for themselves or family visiting for the holidays.
The Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) has been a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce for years. However, many members without children of their own may be unfamiliar with them. We caught up with Executive Artistic Director Ernie Nolan at the theatre during a break from rehearsals for Auntie Claus. He was excited to tell us all about the quality of their productions and the amazing work they are doing for the young people of Nashville.
Nolan moved here in 2017 after fifteen years in Chicago, which followed previous stints in New York and Chicago. When asked why he decided to make the move, his face lit up as he exclaimed, “This is my dream job!” Nolan says the NCT, which was established in 1931, is widely recognized as one of the top five children’s theaters in the country. One of the reasons for that, he says, is that the incredible talent in Nashville has inspired the NCT to choose more challenging performances than you might find in other children’s theaters. (While the shows are geared towards families, the cast on stage for all but a few summer performances are comprised of professional, adult actors.)
And on a personal note, he adds, “Nashville is an incredibly livable city that supports arts and culture and offers residents so much to do.” He is happy to make Nashville his new home.
Nolan is proud of the programs that they have developed at the NCT. He created “The Snuggery,” as an immersive and interactive performance series for their youngest audience members and their adults. Each performance is a cultural and creative experience for the very young, on their own terms, aimed at cultivating a love for the arts from early on.
The NCT also offers drama classes for children and teens throughout the year, and features performances by younger cast members each summer. Finally, for older children and adults, they present stories that take a hard look at complex issues in an intimate way, challenging their thinking.
Nolan says, “Last season was about young people making major discoveries. And this season is about people taking action in their own hands.”
The play “Return to Sender,” which just wrapped up in October, is the story of the relationship between a young son of generations of farmers and the daughter of undocumented migrant workers who have been hired to help save the family farm. Both young people are forced to confront the complexities of immigration and citizenship. At the end of the play, the girl turns herself into ICE in hopes of preventing them from discovering and deporting her family. It’s a very personal and painful look inside a subject we read about in the news but which we may still feel very distant.
“Secret Soldiers,” which debuts next month, is based on true accounts of over 250 women who disguised themselves as men in order to serve in the Civil War. When one is injured and taken to the hospital, her gender is discovered. Hospital administrators then had to make a difficult decision. If they changed the soldier’s name and gender on the registry, they would provide proof that women could fight in battle. But if they left them unchanged, the soldier could collect her earned pension and spare her family from shame.
The audience hears testimony from various characters before voting to decide the soldier’s fate. Yes! The audience votes at the end of each performance, ultimately dictating the ending. Who wouldn’t enjoy taking part in that? LGBT community members may be especially interested in a panel discussion on “Secret Soldiers” that will address several transgender issues and touch on many different topics that the play addresses. The discussion follow the premier on Friday, January 24, 2020.
In portraying these difficult subjects, the NCT fulfills its mission, which states, “Believing the culturally curious child is the future, Nashville Children’s Theatre nurtures the next generation of global citizens by providing transformational theatrical experiences which reflect our evolving community, instill profound empathy, and foster personal discovery.”
Nolan takes care to select plays, he says, “that are part of a contemporary conversation.” After all, the children in their audiences today are the voters and decision makers of tomorrow. Nolan says, “I believe NCT is the city’s theatre, meaning that it is EVERYONE’S. Everyone has a story that deserves to be told on our stage. As a safe and inclusive haven for all of the young people of Middle Tennessee, we are helping to help cultivate open-minded, compassionate, and accepting adults.”
The NCT’s mission should resonate with members of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, as combating prejudice in the workplace and the broader Nashville business community are among its key objectives. As organizations such as the NCT teach empathy and inclusion to the next generation, they help prepare them to better live and work alongside those different from them. So, the two organizations share some of the same objectives.
To truly serve their mission of nurturing the next generation, the NCT is committed to reaching the widest possible audience. Their Vision Statement makes clear they seek to be accessible and inclusive to all young people in Middle Tennessee. The NCT regularly puts on mid-day performances, which are a popular destination for school field trips. Fortunately, the NCT provides subsidized tickets for Metro Nashville Public Schools and other Title 1 schools so all their students may attend, regardless of financial circumstances. It’s not surprising, then, that revenue from ticket sales does not cover the full operating cost of the theater and the NCT could use your help! Please consider donating to the NCT so they can continue to cultivate the arts and bring transformation theater to the young people of our beautiful city.
To purchase tickets for upcoming performances or to become a sponsor of the Nashville Children’s Theatre, please visit nashvillechildrenstheatre.org. Click here for more Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce Member Profiles!
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.