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How do you bring up that potentially embarrassing question? As the phone rang I sat wondering how to ask iconic gay comedian and actor Leslie Jordan about his recent altercation with a group of youths spewing homophobic slurs at a West Hollywood Starbucks. Jordan answered my call with, “I’m stepping outside of the Starbucks in which I misbehaved the other day!”
“I’m back at the scene of my crime!” Jordan joked, before explaining that the press’s characterization of the youths as heterosexual irked him. “I saw street kids in West Hollywood: Whether they are gay are not is irrelevant.”
So what happened that day?
Apparently the youths were using gift cards purchased with stolen credit cards in a scam. When they were thrown out, the young men, Jordan reported, “were raising hell, and yelling at everybody, ‘Y’all bunch of faggots, all y’all are gonna die of AIDS, f*cking faggots!’
“Well, nobody said a word, but I flew up—I don’t know where it came from. I said you need to shut the f*ck up and get the f*ck out of here. Not in my house, and not in our neighborhood!” From outside, one of the gang shot Jordan the bird. “I just flew out there and threw my tea right in his face! Pandemonium! Mayhem! Ten cop cars. I was held for throwing the first punch: I was detained briefly for throwing the first punch!”
Jordan joked that “That was the butchest thing I’ve done in my whole life!” But not everyone was as amused. The incident made national news, “much to my mother’s horror. My mother said to me, ‘You could have been shot,’ which is exactly the truth.”
Jordan made it up to his mother, who lives in Chattanooga, on his visit home in advance of his show at Play Dance Bar on September 11, 2015. Many might not realize that Jordan is basically a local. His mother and father both grew up in Chattanooga, and he lived there most of his young life.
Leslie Jordan Documents Quarantine With Viral Video Series | NowThis youtu.be
“By the time I was in first grade we were back in Chattanooga,” Jordan said. “I went to high school there and went to UT Chattanooga and got a degree in theatre. Then I got on a bus—this would have been 1982. And I was no spring chicken at the time: I was 27. I got on a bus with $1,200 that mother had sewn into my underpants, and all I had was a little suitcase and a dream.”
Jordan arrived in Hollywood without a safety net, and unlike so many others making the same trip he found success. “People ask me, ‘What is the secret?’ Well, in 1982, coming from a repressed, Southern Baptist upbringing, I found West Hollywood! There were queers hanging from the trees, and I thought ‘Well, I’m home!’ People come to Hollywood and say, ‘I’m gonna give it five years and see what happens.’ Well I was home, and it didn’t matter what happened to me career-wise, I wasn’t going anywhere. Now, here I am, thirty-three years later tossing iced tea in people’s faces!”
Despite that, Tennessee has never truly left him either. “I’ve used my past so much in my stand-up comedy—it’s funny in retrospect, though when it was happening it wasn’t that fun.” But Jordan admits his adversity wasn’t like what many suffered. “You know, a cousin called me out the other day. He heard me say what a rough time it was, and he said, ‘Leslie, you were the most popular boy in school: what are you talking about.’ And I thought about it, and you know what, so much of it is the internal homophobia, and so much of it is this fear that we’re going to be found out.”
Leslie Jordan's Attempt to Play Straight on Ellen's Sitcom youtu.be
“Plenty of people out there that were teased and tormented,” Jordan said. “I was the target of ‘smear the queer’ occasionally. But I was funny, and I’ve always used humor to disarm situations. The interesting thing I’ve found is that in my adult life, let’s say that I don’t want you to get to know me or I’m uneasy in a situation, I’ll fall right into that. I have to catch myself…”
At this point in his career, Jordan admits sometimes worrying about whether he’ll get work. “In 2006 I won an Emmy for Will & Grace and I thought, ‘I’m set.’ About a year later I called my manager and said, ‘Look, I’ve gotta make some money. I can’t eat this Emmy!’” That sparked Jordan to reinvent his career, doing bookings at events and venues like Pride and cruises.
“This new career started—I book about forty-five venues a year. People think because I’m an entertainer I must be rich and don’t need the money,” Jordan said, setting up his punchline. “I always say, ‘If I had a lot of money I wouldn’t be up here selling my pussy!’”
12 Best Leslie Jordan Moments | Will & Grace | COZI Dozen youtu.be
Being out of Hollywood so much, and with a younger generation unfamiliar with his most well-known work, Jordan sometimes feels out of the Hollywood loop. “You know what’s interesting: that little debacle where I threw the tea on that guy? I’ve had five auditions since then! Is that not silly how Hollywood works? ‘Oh, her! I thought she was dead! Let’s get her a part!’ Well I’m not dead!”
Jordan found some new exposure as an actor. American Horror Story: Coven and The Help are both recent, notable roles. “Coven was wonderful,” Jordan said. “My favorite person was Gabby Sidibe from Precious! She was such a ray of sunshine. We had so much fun! Patty LuPone came down and performed for us. Jessica Lang took us on field trips. It was just heaven!”
When he returned to Tennessee for his family visit and his show at Play, Jordan had this to say: “The young gay boy or girl in the South especially needs to know that what they’re being told in the church pews and here and there—those people are wrong! Find your tribe and we will celebrate everything about you that sissy, that is gay, that is trans. Find your home, like I did!”
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.