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James “Jaz” Dorsey was born and raised in the "aristocracy" of Atlanta. His grandfather, Hugh Dorsey, was the prosecuting attorney, winning by questionable means a 1913 rape/murder case against Leo Frank. Frank was a young Jewish transplant from Brooklyn, New York, relocated to Atlanta to supervise the factory workers at the National Pencil Co. He was convicted in June 1915, and then ultimately hanged by a lynch mob a few months later. Hugh Dorsey was then elected to serve as Governor of the State from 1917 to 1921. Ironically, almost a century later his grandson Jaz helped stage a play in Franklin’s Boiler Room called Parade, which addressed the injustice leveled against Frank and his people.
Jaz was taught Latin by his great grandmother Dorsey. But in adolescence, Jaz discovered Jaz, and stepped out into the world as his own self. His own self, being what it was, was too much for the genteel southern family to endure, landing him in a reform school. But, not for long. His “incorrigibility” got him expelled. Jaz later believed that he was the only child in known history to be expelled from a reform school. Then, he was placed in the John Umstead Institution during his high school years. There he learned to smoke, joined the hippy folk scene, and surprisingly, excelled in music and academic study, winning a scholarship to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
There he majored in German, earning a second scholarship to the University of Goettingen, in then-West Germany, where he relished in the study of French and the French playwrights of the 17th century. He returned to New York for graduate school but dropped out and returned to Atlanta upon learning of his grandmother and his mother’s deteriorating health conditions.
While in Atlanta, he resided in his grandmother’s mansion, where he cared for his mother and grandmother prior to their passing. Never neglecting his theatrical passion, Jaz an all-black cast for a production of Romeo & Juliet. No reviews remain on that 1981 venture.
Now 27, Jaz was pinning continually for his New York life. That intense longing, birthed his very first song, “Manhattan Blues.” Song after song, musical after musical poured forth, five of which landed in Off Broadway productions, and one on Broadway at the Lambs Theatre. Jaz began to enjoy a sort of cult following as the young “playwright from Atlanta”. During this period of time (1980 – 1989) Jaz also pioneered the Dramaturgy Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
On his return to New York in 1990, he worked as a freelance dramaturge, actor, composer, more playwriting, and served as production manager in the offices of Biggs-Rosati Productions, and the National Theatre of Performing Arts on West 54th Street. He also launched a string of his own cabaret musicals and engaged with the Manhattan cabaret scene as an accompanist for the Chanteuse, Topaz. Having acquired a very fluent control of the languages, Jaz also received commissions to write pieces in French and Spanish.
In 1998 Jaz learned of a new production to open at the Lincoln Center and found it ironic that while his family disapproved of his theatrical comings goings, now his grandfather’s character was going to “sing, dance, and prosecute Leo Frank on a New York stage.” Parade’s run was limited to only 84 performances, but it won Tony Awards for best book, and best score, plus six Drama Desk Awards. Jaz’s passion for the show was unquenchable, and he would be instrumental in its Boiler Room production 14 years later.
September 11, 2001 was a watershed day for many living in New York, and while Jaz always maintained his contacts and associations in the city, and in Atlanta as well, he chose to relocated to Nashville.
got right to work in his new playground, establishing the Southern Writers Theater organization in 2002, and then organizing a new play reading series for the Metro Parks Theatre Department and contributing a Nashville Notes column to Nite Life Exchange. In 2007 he formed the African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) and at its peak a few years ago the organization listed over 250 black playwrights and theatres featuring black artists across the U.S. In 2009, Jaz established the Foreign Language Acting Group.
In 2012, Dorsey worked with Michael Kerker to explore the possibilities of Nashville hosting an ASCAP sponsored theatrical workshop. In that same year Jaz established the Nashville Dramaturgy Project (NDP), and in 2013, he established the Singers Theatre of Nashville. Dorsey also sought to support women in the arts scene. He once explained, “Women get stuff done... I find a script with a strong leading lady, I find a strong actress, give her the reins, and get out of the way.
In 2014, Jaz took on what was to be his final theatrical project, the promotion of an expansive musical production about the life and times of River Boat Captain Tom Ryman, builder of the Union Gospel Tabernacle, known now as the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium. The show, Captain Tom, boasted a cast of 20 to 25 characters when thoroughly fleshed out, and around fifteen musical numbers.
Early readings went relatively well, but the talent and funding failed to materialize. In 2015 a second version of the story, The Ryman Diaries, using just the three main characters and set in an intimate format, was well received by audiences in several Nashville locations. However, by early 2016, Jaz’s health had begun to fail rapidly. He could not effectively continue with his projects. At 2:30 a.m., on Saturday, June 29, 2019, his theatre went dark.
Jaz contributed greatly to theatre, but mostly to the development of others, in Nashville and throughout the U.S. A memorial celebration (per Jaz’s instructions) will be held at the Dark Horse Theatre, 410 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, from Noon to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday July 27, 2019. A potluck will follow whatever readings, stories, and music anyone wants to present in his honor. A;; are invited to bring whatever dish you wish. A-Go-Fund-Me page has also been established to help cover memorial and final expense costs.
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.