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Last night We Will Rock You: The Musical by Queen and Ben Elton rolled into the Andrew Jackson Theater at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). The musical originally opened on West End, London’s answer to NYC’s Broadway, in 2002. The Dominion Theatre, the show’s original home in London, has had the show for 11 years and is its longest running production, still on stage today. Since then it has toured all over the World, with stops in every major city. Now, they can put Music City, USA on that list as well.
The musical may not be new, but for those of you (like me) who have never heard of it, I’ll give a synopsis. We begin in a futuristic time when the entire World lives on the internet. Earth has been renamed iPlanet, and is governed by the empire Globalsoft. The supreme ruler, “Killer Queen,” wants supreme power, to be able to control every move everyone makes. All the students at a college that is never given a name, but is obviously ran by the Globalsoft corporation, listen to the “Computer Recorded Auto-tune Pop” (guess what acronym that makes) on Radio Gaga. All musical instruments are banned. All the kids in this graduating class are the same, possessing the same thoughts and wearing the same clothes, all except for two black-sheep. Galileo Figaro, our hero in this Orwellian story, hears things in his head. He doesn’t know what they are, but has a feeling that there is much more than what the Killer Queen and Globalsoft are giving them. Our heroine, who earns the name Scaramouche, is also an outsider. She just wants to find somebody to love, who understands her. She is different from all other other Gaga kids, dressing in gothic attire. They are both arrested by the commander of Globalsoft’s police force, Khashoggi for refusing to conform.
The Killer Queen is made aware of a group of rebels, nicknamed (what else but) The Bohemians. They are out to revive the legend of Rock and Roll and free everyone from the grips of conformity. They have a prophecy, that one day, a dreamer will arise and lead them all to the place where the king sleeps at the place of the living rock, pull out the mighty axe, and bring back the vibes of Rock and Roll. Khashoggi is ordered to bring down The Bohemians and restore order on the planet.
Meanwhile, Galileo and Scaramouche escape Khashoggi’s custody and take to the streets, where the meet up with Brit and Oz, members of The Bohemians, who, after some lengthy questioning, take them back to their hideout, (where else but) The Las Vegas Hard Rock Café. There, The Bohemians take them in and teach them the ways of Rock and Roll, just before Khashoggi comes in and arrests all of them. But don’t worry, the power of rock and roll will take you into act two, where more music and this crazy storyline continue.
The production that is currently traveling the US is weighted down with talent. The musical quality in this show is unmatched in anything I’ve seen in ages. Brian Justin Crum, Galileo, and Ruby Lewis, Scaramouche, are some of the most amazing singers I’ve ever heard in a musical. Oz, played by Erica Peck, moved the crowd with her rendition of “No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young).” When Lewis sang “Somebody to Love,” I was flabbergasted. Crum was amazing all night, performing in most of the songs, holding notes that were as long as it takes to get from Belle Meade to Downtown in rush hour traffic. I was completely blown away by the sheer amounts of talent. And you can’t forget the Killer Queen, played by Jacqueline B. Arnold, whose version of “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Another One Bites the Dust,” blew the crowd away. The cast was amazing. I was very well pleased.
This musical is dripping with camp. From the costuming (Killer Queen was SICKENING!) to the writing, it is just loaded down with ridiculous amounts of camp. It is trying to make another Rocky Horror Picture Show. I see what this is and I am calling you on it. It is Queen’s answer to Rocky. It sort of reminded me of a wicked nightmare I'd have after eating too much Taco Bell before bedtime, something I do occasionally for that very reason. Sometimes, you're just in the mood to see what kind of crazy your head can come up with.
Campy shows can really go either way. You can have horror stories like Rock of Ages, or you can have treasures, such as Hairspray. Every major musical has a touch of it. What makes the difference for most people is if you can slip it in without anyone really noticing, by just making it adorable and charming as opposed to hardcore and dominating. Rock and Roll tends to be hardcore and dominating. This show was a bit to take. They tried to soften it down with characters like Buddy, but I don’t think it was enough. It was just a lot to take in.
It could have been much worse. What saved the night for me was the cast. Killer Queen with her costuming was something I just adored. It made me think of Venus Anne Serena from Play Dance Bar. She had capes instead of dresses, metallic studs where most would put rhinestones, boobs present and accounted for, and hair high enough to brush Jesus’ chin. One small problem was that, for both Killer Queen and Khashoggi, when they were shown on screens, you could see their wig cap lines. Maybe that is something that should be looked into. If you didn’t know what they were, you could have thought that their skin had ripped on their foreheads. It looked cheap and could be easily fixed with some extra glue and a touch of makeup.
Crum has several acting credits listed, including an episode of Law and Order: SVU, which is pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as the fact that Lewis made an appearance on Desperate Housewives, my favorite show of all time. She’s also a graduate of Western Kentucky University, just up the road in Bowling Green. She’s sort of the home-town girl I suppose. Jacqueline B. Arnold was in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, on Broadway, and played Motormouth MayBelle on the national tour of Hairspray. All three are very talented and make the show memorable for me.
My rating: B+
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.