Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
Happening in Nashville
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On May 2, 2010, Tony Smith and T. Clark Miller, partners for 12 years, followed their usual Sunday morning routine. They woke up, went out for a quiet breakfast and watched as rain pelted the Nashville area.
Neither man would have predicted the almost instant impact of that heavy precipitation. By nightfall, their home had been ravaged due to torrential downpours, and most of their belongings were underwater. Nine months later, the couple continues to recover from what would become the greatest natural disaster in the region's history.
The Middle Tennessee floods of May 1-2 affected the area for several days afterward, resulting in 29 deaths and widespread property damage. The Cumberland River crested at nearly 52 feet in Nashville, unleashing the cascade upon a number of neighborhoods in the area. The couple's three-level home, located in East Nashville near Opry Mills, was one of many residences drowned by the rising tides.
Smith, a chief flight nurse with Vanderbilt LifeFlight and May 2010 graduate of the university's doctoral nursing program, recalls how quickly the wreckage occurred.
"We were sitting there at breakfast, and as it kept raining. I was sitting there thinking 'This is bad," Smith says. "So we went back home and grabbed the three dogs, and went to T. Clark's office to wait it out. Then it just kept raining, so we decided to go back home and we moved some things---antiques, pictures, other valuables---to the third level. Looking back, I would've started earlier, but you just don't know when something like this will happen."
As with many area residents, the couple struggled to evacuate their neighborhood before escape became impossible.
"Thanks to our F-150, we were able to get out," Smith says. "By that time, the water was all the way up to the door. I just told T. Clark to keep his foot on the pedal the whole time. Our street wasn't bad, but the street to get out of neighborhood had a lot of water."
Both men, homeless and heartbroken, had to witness this shocking tragedy play out on local television. Finally, four days after the flood, they were able to return to their neighborhood and view the remains.
Neither was prepared for its appearance. The back deck, estimated at 1100 square feet, had become completely detached from the house. Two vehicles, including a convertible BMW that Miller bought for Smith as an early graduation present, were destroyed. Many of the couple's most treasured possessions were gone forever.
"I lost it," Smith admits. "I totally broke down. Everything I'd worked for, or everything I thought I'd work for, was gone. It was very tough. There have been a lot of times, even though T. Clark was always supportive, that I felt really alone."
In fits and starts, they began taking tentative steps towards reclaiming their life. Smith stresses the small blessings that they encountered as the couple pieced their lives back together. A personal friend of the couple was also a contractor, and he immediately began assessing the damage. And Vanderbilt offered all employees two weeks' pay with no penalty, allowing Smith to spend that time sorting through all the necessary documentation.
Many questioned the national media's delayed response to the flooding, but Smith is proud how the city banded together to make slow but steady progress.
"Nashville responded very well, even if it wasn't getting much attention," he acknowledges. "But as with most disasters, it's really all about what happens in the six months or so after that. You see all this on television, but you don't really know how bad it is and how people are still trying to get things work out."
Forced to go through a difficult recovery process, the couple encountered further issues when dealing with authorities offering assistance to victims.
"Dealing with government agencies is an adventure," says Miller, a writer and producer of the nationally-syndicated radio program Crook & Chase Country Countdown. "The whole process is overwhelming. The worst thing is the fear of unknown. You're forging completely new territory. When you talk to these advisers, there's a lot of misinformation. It's a constant battle."
He adds, "The easiest part of the whole process was the three or four days when we couldn't get into the house. We felt secure that we were insured, and we were wrong. We didn't know all the damage that had been done."
Miller works part-time as a real estate agent, but his expertise in such matters meant little in this situation. Though the couple had shared their lives together for over a decade, their inability to be married legally created problems as they communicated with outside sources. The house, furnished with their money and filled with their memories, was solely in Smith's name.
"Since we weren't an acknowledged couple, we had to approach things differently," Miller admits. "I could've helped a little more with the financial stuff if I had the chance, but everything was in Tony's name. My frustration was with the fact that I was a real estate agent and I'd worked on multiple insurance claims, but Tony had to do a lot of it on his own. He couldn't just give things to me to handle."
In a small bit of fortune, an SBA (Small Business Association) loan allowed them an amount of money to secure living arrangements. However, like most Tennesseans, technicalities in their insurance did not allow reimbursement for the contents of the home. Only the actual structure of their property was covered on their policy.
"That was a slap in the face," Smith says. "My biggest lesson that I would tell people is 'Know your insurance.' You have to know what's covered and what's not. We thought everything in the house would be taken care of, but that wasn't the case. So be looking for very specific things in your insurance."
Maintaining a stable romantic relationship, regardless of circumstance, is a challenge. The couple, who now reside in a downtown condo, have stay committed to each other despite all the pains and pressures involved
"The flood brought on a lot of stresses," Smith says. "It was tough. You get tired of living in a condo and not having a home of your own. It's brought a bunch of issues up, but it's also brought us closer together."
Miller agrees, "We did have emotional moments, but at different times. When one person was having a hard time, the other would be more positive. I feel like it's made us more codependent."
On January 10, they received a brief reward for the deluge of paperwork they've completed in the last nine months. As part of the federal flood buyout program endorsed by President Obama, the couple can relocate using funds appropriated to them by the authorities. Their property, now owned by the local government, will remain vacant. Though it may take another two years to receive their stipend, Miller insists that their situation could have been so much worse.
"One of our big concerns has always been for our neighbors and other people," he says. "We are grateful that we have options and the financial means necessary to rebuild our lives. There are others that don't. There's this perception now that people in Tennessee have gotten back settled, and that's not always the case."
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.