The Holidays Are A Drag VIDALIA ANNE GENTRY + COPING WITH HOLIDAY STRESSES DECEMBER 2019 / VOLUME 19 / ISSUE 12 FIRST ISSUE FREE - ADD’L COPIES 50¢ EACH
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SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS WHEN YOU’RE GAY
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THE HOLIDAYS ARE A DRAG
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THE QUEENS’ TABLE SUZY WONG’S HOUSE OF YUM
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS— OR NOT?
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After the previous year’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, it feels like the horror industry decided to step up its provocations for the straight world. If that film could tapdance around having a queer protagonist and use the minefield of high school hazing, primal scenes in S&M bars, and sexual ambivalence in its guignol fantasies, then what would happen if a film decided to feature a complicated bisexual love triangle playing out amidst a possession narrative? Thankfully, writer/director Kevin Tenney (Night of the Demons) has a game cast, some exceptional production design, and great effects to help with this sly, subversive effort, and Witchboard has been helping dialogues and discourse for the past thirty-three years. Our heroine, Linda (Tawny Kitaen, year before Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” video made her one of the most famous women on the planet) is a grad student working in folklore, myth, and religious studies. Her boyfriend Jim (Todd Allen) is a medical school dropout/construction site foreman with an earthy charm and dickish tendencies. One of Linda’s former professors, Brandon (Stephen Nichols, Days of Our Lives’ Patch and someone with more tales to tell about daytime TV history than you can imagine), pops up periodically to be a supportive friend to Linda and also needle Jim mercilessly. (He’s also the kind of party guest who brings a Ouija board to a suitably bumpin’ party, which leads to a whole lot of mayhem and tragedy, so contemporary audiences will see in Brandon a messy bitch who lives for drama.) Even before we find out what malign spirit is behind the hatchet (and hatchet-adjacent) murders that start claiming the people around Linda, we discover that the big breakup lurking in the shared history of our trio is between Jim and Brandon. This being
WITCHBOARD the late mid-’80s, with homophobia driving far too much of the culture—we’ve got the principle of deniability in full sway. As long as no one says the word ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or explicitly states that our two male leads used to regularly make left turns without a car, you can put all sorts of history and text in your film. To contemporary audiences, it’ll seem almost silly the way they keep it so subtle, but in 1986 this was the most searing of homosexual melodrama. All this, with ghost possessions, hatchet murders, Kathleen Wilhoite as Zarabeth the punkette psychic with lots of manic lesbian energy, James W. Quinn giving slutty surfer John Cusack vibes as construction buddy Lloyd, and comedy legend Rose Marie as the helpful landlady! Witchboard is an enjoyable ‘80s horror classic with a surprising amount of gay content—one that doesn’t often get discussed in the pantheon of queer horror. It offers lots of fuzzy chests and resists the tyranny of shirt-wearing, and Tawny Kitaen is gorgeous and has the most amazing makeup and the biggest hair in every scene. When she gets possessed and starts flinging hatchets in a tuxedo and hat, with the perfect smoky eye, it is clearly a lewk that needs to make a serious comeback. Witchboard is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, Tubi, and Vudu. It is also available on Blu-ray and DVD in a stacked collector’s edition from Scream Factory.
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SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS When You’re Gay JOSH ROBBINS
The holidays are often painted as a pretty picture by advertisers. Sometimes it feels as if anything less cheerful than smiles etched into the foam from a cup of mint hot chocolate mocha is just being a Scrooge. Or at least I’ve felt this way before. The people I call “family” are not always the same people others might call their family. So, what is family anyway? Our cultural definition of family is learned, and it’s on bright display in mainstream holiday movies like Home Alone, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, and The Christmas Story. It’s a cast of biological mother, father, and siblings. And typically, the more traditional the sweater set worn, the better. Or it just seems that is the pressure put on us all by society—to be a perfect little family that has their shit together. And the same goes for the holidays, regardless of the reality of your situation. In the South, we tend to imagine or expect that our family holidays are just as picture perfect as the media wants or portrays, but the reality is that at times some of our LGBTQIA+ family may feel more like we are on the sinking Titantic watching Jerry Springer, and our families may see us all as the cast of Queer Eye. It just doesn’t seem to always fit, and it makes it that much tougher to be merry. Others may not have traditional family at all or they might be someone whose family doesn’t accept their sexuality— making them feel more like Jim Carey’s character in How the Grinch Stole Christ-
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mas, minus the green face paint but add extra glitter. Let’s face it: the holidays are wack! So how do we maintain our sanity and composure during the most wonderful time of the year if we are alone or if we have an unaccepting family? First, we must remember that whoever we consider family is really up to us individually. There are no absolute rules that someone must be included in your own defined family. It really is your choice. Second, we should remember that how you spend your holiday is really up to you as well. If traveling back to your hometown stresses you out so much, just do the phone call to them if you need to, instead of a making a journey to hell and back over the holiday work break. And finally, remember that, most likely, there are other people around you right now that have the same anxiety, dread, or apathy about the holidays, but nobody will know you are alone unless you say it. You can’t expect others to read your mind and know that on Christmas you’ll be alone. You really do need to communicate that with those that you consider to be your family. Here are a few things that have helped people in one of these situations for this holiday season. If you are expecting to be alone: • Fix a special meal for yourself or get some special takeout! • Do a special project in your home that will keep you busy —like painting a wall. • Volunteer for the holiday. Nothing will
make you feel better than helping others in need on a holiday. • Take some time to Facetime or call those that you consider your family in order to still feel connected and not alone on the day. If your family is not accepting of you for whatever reason: • Remember that the day is only a day— nobody has to stay overnight anywhere. Make the holiday plan that you choose. • Keep the conversation with your family on non-controversial topics. Politics and religion are obviously a no. Weather and job talk works best. And if you get into a bad conversation, just make a joke about keeping the conversation lite. • And if nothing else works, toss glitter at them and run out the door. That would at least make you laugh as you leave. Whether you have a traditional family, or something more modern—just remember that holidays are here for you to enjoy the time with those you love and care for, and it’s all about your mindset and your determination to be merry AF. Happy Holidays and Happy HoliGAYS!
Josh Robbins is a spokesperson for Dating.com Group, an award-winning sexual health advocate, and author of the site imstilljosh.com. He was nominated for a GLAAD media award in 2017 and recently won the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association’s Excellence Award in the blog-ging category.
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Nashville Children’s Theatre CRAIG AMMON
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 Theater (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.
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PHOTO CREDITS: CODY STALLINGS PHOTOGRAPHY
The Holidays Are A Drag VIDALIA ANNE GENTRYâ€™S GIFT TO NASHVILLE 12
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Vidalia Anne Gentry, or VAG as she is known by some, is the drag alter-ego of Jared Davis. Vidalia Anne has been around Nashville’s drag scene for a while, first as a regular on the Church Street scene but more recently taking her brand of drag out into greater Nashville. In so doing, she given a queer gift to Nashville, opening up new spaces for queer artists and performers to create alternative fanbases and perform for different kinds of audiences. Davis started doing drag as Vidalia Anne back in 2014, via PLAY’s open stage opportunities, and by 2017 was participating in national pageants. This opened the door to the opportunity to host trivia and karaoke at Tribe, as well as to perform at Drag’n Dinner and sometimes PLAY. In 2019, Vidalia Ann struck out on her own, establishing two successful, recurring events: GLITZ!, a queer party which happens every 4th Saturday at Old Glory and features drag performances, as well as GLITZ! Presents: Drag Brunch at Pearl Diver, which happens every 2nd Sunday. Given that the holidays are a drag … and drag is one of our favorite diversions, we thought we’d explore some of Nashville’s off-Church drag opportunities and let our readers get to know Vidalia Anne Gentry just a little better!
How did you get into drag to begin with? What lured you? Having played piano and viola growing up, and being involved in competitive figure skating, I knew performing was something I loved. I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Viola Performance. When I moved back to Nashville in April of 2014 I was looking for a way to connect with the local gay community and really started to appreciate drag for the first time after romantically pursuing another local performer (i.e. going to ALL of their shows). When PLAY announced its new Open Stage for drag performers in December of that year, I decided, “I guess I’ll give it a shot.” Being on stage in drag gave me the performer’s high I was looking for, and I haven’t looked back since!
drag” really developed my drag quickly. Performing once a month at the start and then quickly moving to twice a month with the expansion of Open Stage, I never missed an opportunity to perform. After winning the local preliminary for Miss Gay USofA, I was offered the host/ MC position for Tribe’s Tuesday night Trivia and Karaoke. That position really honed my skills on the microphone, and [I] started to develop my promotional and branding skills. Additionally, performing for near empty rooms at some early Drag’n Dinners developed my ability to perform in any venue, for any crowd.
How did you come to the point you wanted to perform beyond Church Street, and how did your ideas for shows take shape?
I really started to feel unsatisfied working on Church Street in late 2018. I didn’t feel like I was being appropriately compensated for my time, skills, and effort, and I also wanted to play a bigger role in the production of shows and events. Last December, Old Glory reached out to myself and a fellow performer about hosting and performing for their New Year’s Eve event … which was great, until I was reprimanded for performing at a venue outside of Tribe/Play/Suzy’s. Although I had some knowledge of an “exclusion clause”, I had never really seen anything official about that situation. I felt like, as an independent contractor, I should be allowed to earn money for my craft when and where I wanted, and so when Old Glory reached out to me about starting a regular monthly event similar to the one we threw for NYE, I made the tough decision to leave Tribe in order to pursue other events and shows.
Joseph Copeland aka JoCo Shows is a fabulous DJ who has been my collaborative partner for GLITZ! since its inception. Joe and the GM of Old Glory, Emily Wilcher, along with the staff of Old Glory and Pearl Diver have been invaluable in helping me create these events where our mission is to create spaces and events to expand and support the queer and drag scenes in Nashville. I also have the support of my boyfriend, another local queen who goes by the stage name Cya Inhale. He’s been a great sounding board throughout the development of the GLITZ! brand and has probably saved me from a lot of embarrassing missteps.
How are the off-Church crowds different?
Old Glory, although queer friendly, serves a primarily straight audience, so we do serve a very mixed crowd ... although there are WAY fewer bachelorette parties than you’ll see on Church Street! As for Drag Brunch, I find the crowd to be made up of way more locals than I typically saw working at Suzy’s. At GLITZ! in particular, we really encourage our audience to embrace their queerness and “serve a #lewk”. We set up a pink carpet outside the bar every month and have a photographer capture attendees’ #lewks. I feel like this encourages more of a “club kid” vibe with the crowd.
Who has been instrumental in helping those shows grow and succeeded?
How did Church Street facilitate your development in drag? The opportunity to perform in a venue designed for what I call “classic lip sync
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At times, the culture on Church Street seems very “don’t pull focus”...whereas, if you come to GLITZ!, we want you to SERVE as hard as possible and LIVE your best life.
What is your dream for your drag career currently?
My dream is to cultivate and nurture an expansive and diverse queer scene in Nashville, as well as to help make Nashville a “drag destination city”. There are so many amazingly talented and entertaining queer folk in this city, and I think by doing what I can to create platforms and spaces for their talents to be celebrated, we’re really gonna start to see a drag renaissance here! It’s the holidays and I know many in the community
have had struggles with acceptance. In terms of your sexuality and your drag, has your family reacted to your career?
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I’m very grateful to have very liberal and supportive parents who have supported me both financially and by attending my shows. They’re generally more concerned with my happiness and success than they are with the path I’ve chosen to achieve those goals. I’m very lucky to have their support, especially having grown up in a part of the country where parental support of queer youth is often lacking.
The holidays a tough time for many. What do you and your friends do to help make the holidays a fun time of year, even for those who may have a hard time of it?
Although the holidays aren’t a super tough time for me, they are for many of my friends. There’s a space at my house we call the “drag lab” that’s just a bonus room with a ton of drag materials crammed into it ... but it’s basically a hang spot for some of my queer friends. Hanging out and creating together has really developed a support system that helps all of us. We’re even doing a “friendsgiving” at my place this year ... but I’m no hero, I’m just providing the venue and cocktails!
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The Queens’ Table
Suzy Wong’s House of Yum Presiding Queens: The Countess Casanova @casanova_loves_you, @queenperplexity, @jazellemonae, @lilithlanedrag, @corlistodd, @jorgeous_1
Welcome back to the Queens’ Table, where this month we are celebrating the drag issue of O&A by paying full respect to the supreme beings that entertain us in with their gowns, gams, guts and glamour. We brought not just three queens to table, but six sickening entertainers! We also chose a spot that offers not just dinner but a show, too—the one and only Suzy Wong’s House of Yum! This Church Street staple is next door to Tribe and PLAY Dance Bar, Nashville’s iconic destinations for drag. These performers also slay the House of Yum, entertaining every playful curiosity, while you drink and dine on lavish brunch and dinner. We ordered up a round of Hibiscus Margaritas and I settled in for the performances.
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“This always gets me started,” Casanova mentioned of the cocktail comprised of Patron Silver, Citronage, Hibiscus, complete with a salt and sugar rim. The space is cozy and intimate, providing a “filmed in 4K” level experience. These girls are always painted and poised for action!
As I watched, appetizers arrived. Fresh steamed Edamame, Spring Rolls, and of course, the Wonton Nachos. This killer starter had tender pulled pork, queso blanco, edamame pico, sriracha and red curry crema. It’s definitely a must try. We also gathered around some Honey Sriracha Cauliflower and Warm Brussel Sprouts, dressed PHOTO CREDIT: CODY STALLINGS PHOTOGRAPHY
to perfection with peanuts, parmesan, scallion, crispy shallot and chili lime sauce. “Oh Yesss Ma’am!,” said Lily as she snatched a bite between shows. The energy is fever pitch as show after show continued—as did the delicious drinks. Next came, Cloud 9, a cool and floral mixture of Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain, cucumber and lemon to excite the palette. Jazelle delighted in a light and fresh Crunchy Shrimp and Avocado Roll before her next set. As the final show began, Anthony (Suzy’s super skilled bartender) surprised us
with the cocktail of cocktails, the Dinner Punch Bowl (a fish bowl filled to the gills with vodka, champagne and blue curacao). What a flawless way to end this night of entertainment. This big brilliant beverage is super sharable, enough for two or three. So come thirsty! The atmosphere at Suzy Wong’s is always spirited and debaucherously magical. The fare and cocktails are just as dazzling as the performers. Suzy’s offers some of the most entertaining performances by the most skilled and dedicated queens in town. If you
would like to see the best of the best that Nashville drag has to offer, spend some time with the dolls at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum! Until next time, fierce foodies! Much love and good taste from the Queens’ Table. Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is located at 1515 Church Street, Nashville, Tennessee, 37203. Brunch is served Saturdays & Sundays 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Drag dinner is hosted Friday & Saturday nights from 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. For reservations, call 615-329-2913.
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Happy Holidays—or Not? BARBARA SANDERS
It’s the holidays! For some people, excitement and joy abound. For others, chaos, grief and conflict may occur. How you experience your holiday season connects to how you feel about yourself, about your feelings about seasonal or spiritual celebrations, and about the dynamics and relationship you have with family and friends. What can be a glowing, cherished time of year for some can be a slowly grinding disaster for others. And, everything in between. Whether you are questioning your sexuality or gender, or whether you came out 20 years ago, your experience of the holidays will be unique to you. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could plan the kinds of experiences we hope to have and trust that they will happen? But, the reality is that we cannot control what happens or control any particular people outside of ourselves. Our society, family, friends and everyone around us influence our moods, how we feel about ourselves, and how we experience the holidays. Many find the holidays extremely stressful if you plan to spend them around extended family whom you rarely see. The phase of your coming out to them may also be a variable that affects you. Some people choose to come out to families during holidays, some bring home a new partner, or announce a pregnancy, or another change in status. For the LGBTQ community, there can be stories of horror and betrayal as well as stories about family members who embrace people with love and acceptance. Isolation and loneliness can affect so many during the holidays. Some feel suicidal or violent during these times if they see no hope for acceptance and love inside their families or communities. Many people get more anxious or depressed during the holidays partly because they change their routines during that time, maybe traveling more or attending lots of events. If you cope with stress by working out or eating healthy, continue those routines if at all possible. Also, try to rest well and get good sleep because without enough good sleep, we may feel even more moody, cranky
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or despairing. People who use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress might spend some time wondering whether these actions will help or possibly hurt them (or others) during the holidays. Some people without families feel great sadness even more than usual, and couples can clash if there is a substantial difference between how their families interact with them. Where to go geographically can also be a source of conflict, adding stress. Being without a partner during the holidays can sometimes be highly upsetting or sometimes less distressing depending on the circumstances. There can be as many problems with the holidays as there are people but, we can do all we can to encourage favorable results. Some reach out to single friends to include them in celebrations. Some set up community or friend meals and events as better options than going to see families, or being alone. You might ask people if you can join them during the holidays. Most important to remember: we all need to take good care of ourselves and each other at holiday time. Socializing online may also help, and if you feel depressed, it may be a good idea to find a favorite non-profit organization, charity group, or activist group, and team with up with them to help others less fortunate than you, which can also help you feel better. If you have an empathic counselor, a supportive friend, or a safe religious/spiritual consultant, seek them out during holiday times. There are also crisis call phone numbers and online resources to help those who struggle. Families may also want to reach out to counselors, PFLAG, or other resources in order to provide their loved ones with support and nurturance - and to deal with their own feelings themselves, rather than acting them out with their loved ones.
I suggest that we all do whatever it takes (within reason) to help us stress less about and during the holidays. And, don’t feel selfish or self-centered about taking care of yourself! You may learn some new techniques for dealing with stress. Try to be as creative as possible. Joining a new yoga class, or attending a meditation retreat, or 12 step program can inspire you and relax you. Also, remember to continue to take good care of yourself after the holidays. Once over, you have ample opportunity to explore what happened and how you are feeling, especially if you have had a terrible holiday. Take time to rest and enjoy yourself with whatever makes you happy, and maybe you can relax knowing you have another whole year before the 2020 Holiday season! Barbara Sanders, LCSW, is a licensed Nashville psychotherapist. She may be reached at DignityTherapyNashville. com, or BarbaraSandersLCSW@gmail. com, 615.414.2553
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Fun in the Sun awaits LGBTQ travelers in Puerto Vallarta
Having been recognized as having some of the best “gay beaches” in the world, Puerto Vallarta opens her arms to LGBTQ travelers as one of the most welcoming destinations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. If travelers have not considered a vacation to Puerto Vallarta and its world-famous beaches before, this winter might just be the perfect time. Puerto Vallarta is a jewel of a historical city cradled between the Bay of Banderas and the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. Possessing a combination of colonial Mexican charm and barefoot beach escapes, Puerto Vallarta is one of the best destinations in Mexico for visitors who truly want to “have it all” on vacation. From the beaches in the Hotel Zone to downtown, the Zona Romantica (which some refer to as the Gayborhood) and beyond, there is no shortage of fantastic coastal access in Puerto Vallarta for the perfect beach holiday. In the Hotel Zone, visitors will find side-by-side beaches that stretch along the all-inclusive properties, ideal for taking picture-perfect sunbaths, enjoying an afternoon cocktail or taking a sunset selfie. Puerto Vallarta is the only destination in Mexico where the historical colonial city center meets the sea. The bohemian Zona Romantica offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the city. Playa Los Muertos — lined by beach clubs, bars
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and restaurants — is always happening. By day, the beach is alive with activity, day parties and boat trips departing from iconic Los Muertos Pier. By night, a visit to this section of town immerses visitors in Puerto Vallarta’s eclectic gastronomic scene and high-energy, electric nightlife. Puerto Vallarta is the most popular gay beach destination in Mexico, and its LGBTQ popularity continues to grow. If you want to hang at the gay beach (located not too far from the famous Playa Los Muertos Pier), you can check-in at one of the exclusive LGBT Beach clubs that front the gay beach area, or just lay a towel on the sand for free. Blue Chairs, Sapphire Ocean Club, Ritmos Beach Club (often referred to as ‘green chairs’), and Mantamar Beach Club, a favorite of actress Zendaya, all offer drink, food and chair options for LGBTQ beach goers. The Gayborhood (Zona Romantica) in Puerto Vallarta comes together at the intersection of Lazaro Cardenas and Ignacio L. Vallarta. Multiple gay bars and nightclubs are in a block radius of that crossing. Try the Vallarta Gay Bar Hopping Tour for an easy lay of the land. Two new upscale gay nightclubs opened just this past year, which include Code, and Industry, which bills itself as Puerto Vallarta’s largest gay nightclub. Industry is next to what may be the city’s second-largest gay nightclub, CC Slaughters. Mr. Flamingos and Margarita’s are smaller but popular bars in the area and La Noche’s private atmosphere made it Tamar Braxton’s spot to go while she was in town filming the Braxtons.
Dental Services East Side Smiles 7 North 10th Street Nashville, TN 37206 615-227-2400 Eastsidesmile.net
Performing Arts Nashville Symphony Schermerhorn Symphony Center One Symphony Place Nashville, TN 37201 615-687-6400 Nashvillesymphony.org
Healthcare Providers Cool Springs Internal Medicine & Pediatrics MD 1607 Westgate Circle, Ste 200 Brentwood, TN 37027 615-376-8195 Coolspringsinternalmedicine.com Pharmacy Nashville Pharmacy Services 100 Oaks Plaza, Skyline Medical 615-371-1210 / 615-724-0066 Npspharmcay.com Optometry Look East 1011 Gallatin Avenue Nashville, TN 37206 615-928-2281 Lookeastnashville.com COUNSELING & PSYCHIATRIC HEALTH Individual & Couples Therapy Barbara Sanders, LCSW/John Waide, PhD, LCSW 2016- 21St Ave South/2323- 21st Ave South, Ste.401 Nashville, TN 37212 615-414-2553 / 615-400-5911 Dignitytherapynashville.com Brandon Teeftaller, APN 220 Athens Way, Plaza 1, Suite 105 Nashville, TN. 37228 615-320-1155 LEGAL SERVICES Lawyer Bart Durham Injury Law Office 404 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, TN 37219 615-338-6177 Bartdurham.com
SPIRITUALITY Holy Trinity Community Church 6727 Charlotte Pike Nashville, TN 37209 615-352-3838 www.htccnashville.com Belmont United Methodist Church 2007 Acklen Avenue Nashville TN 27212 Learn more at BelmontUMC.org.
REAL ESTATE Sheila Barnard, Realtor, The Realty Association 1305 Murfressboro Road Nashville, TN 37217 615-385-9010 cell 615-424-6924 Sheilabarnard.realtyassociation.com Emily Benedict, Realtor, Village Real Estate 2206 21st Ave South, Ste. 200 Nashville, TN 37212 615-585-1258 BSLNashville.com Kate Nelson, Realtor, Village Real Estate 2206 21st Ave South, Ste. 200 Nashville, TN 37212 615-383-6964 Realestatewithkate.com ORGANIZATIONS
Blakemore United Methodist Church 3601 West End Ave Nashville, TN 37205 Learn more at BlakemoreUMC.org.
Nashville Humane Association 213 Oceola Avenue Nashville, TN 37209 615-352-1010 Nashvillehumane.org
East End United Methodist Church 1212 Holly Street Nashville, TN 37206 Learn more at EastEndUMC.org.
Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 330971 Nashville, TN 37203 615-507-5185 Nashvillelgbtchamber.org
Edgehill United Methodist Church 1502 Edgehill Avenue Nashville, Tennessee 37203 Learn more at Edgehill.org. Glendale United Methodist Church 900 Glendale Lane Nashville, TN 37204 Learn more at GlendaleUMC.org. West End United Methodist Church 2200 West End Avenue Nashville, Tennessee 37203 Learn more at WestEndUMC.org.
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS PLAY Dance Bar 1519 Church Street Nashville, TN 37203 615-322-9627 Playdancebar.com Tribe 1517 Church Street Nashville, TN 37203 615-329-2912 Tribenashville.com
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Puerto Vallarta also has its share of great LGBTQ hotels, including Hotel Mercurio, Casa Cupula, and Pinata PV, all of which are gay-owned. The hotels are all within easy walking distance to the gay beach. Two other hotels are right at the gay beach - Blue Chairs, which sits on the gay beach, and Almar Resort, which sits right up the hill from the gay beach (Mantamar Beach Club is part of Almar Resort) Moving south from Zona Romantica, travelers will discover more of Puerto Vallarta’s “hidden” beaches, frequented mostly by locals or travelers in the know. Playa Las Gemelas, or “The Twins Beach,” is a pair of small beaches just a few miles from downtown. These quiet, off-the-radar strands are known for turquoise waters, gentle waves and crisp, white sand – the latter a rarity in Puerto Vallarta, renowned for the warm golden sands of most of its beaches. The gay-friendly Costa Sur Resort and Spa provides great access to these beaches. Another picture-postcard beach on the south side of the city is Conchas Chinas, also heralded for its turquoise water and sugary sand. Visitors love this beach for the rock formations that create fun pools of water. This is a very glamorous part of town, so be on the lookout for the gorgeous mansions up in the hills, or A-list weddings down on the shorefront. Model Tess Holiday fell in love with Conchas Chinas and made it the location for her cover shoot with Nylon Magazine this year, completely worth the extra effort. Pamper yourself and rent a private yacht to enjoy a day on the Bay of Banderas and access some of Puerto Vallarta’s most secluded beaches. The most popular is Playa Las Animas, a remote stretch of sand that’s one of the most famous in all of southern Puerto Vallarta — and entirely worth a day trip. It’s packed with restaurants and bars perfect for spending the day lounging underneath the palm fronds of a traditional palapa shelter, frosty margarita firmly in hand. Visitors can rent paddle boards, take banana boat rides, snorkel
or simply relax on one of the many lounge chairs that line the shore. Las Animas can be the starting point from which to explore some other hidden beaches, such as El Caballo Beach, a hidden oasis of calm, clear water and bleached sand with just a single bungalow-style hotel and beach restaurant/bar. Another such hideaway is Colomitos Beach, a small strand fringed in the greens and blues of the jungle-covered mountains above it and the rolling waves gently lapping against its sands. One stop farther lies the private paradise cove of Yelapa, where attractions and activities include not only the fantastic beach but jungle hikes to a stunning nearby waterfall. This safe, beautiful walk to the falls takes about 30 to 40 minutes and ends at a stunning natural pool perfect for a refreshing dip. While Yelapa makes for a wonderful day trip, those looking for a wellness retreat should consider the Xinalani or stay the night at the gay-owned Casa Pericos and enjoy the area’s other attractions including the Rolling Stones Magazine favorite Los Chicos Beach Club. Another way to access the distant beaches is to take one of the many LGBTQ boat tours available. Diana’s Tours boat excursion, run by Diana DeCosta, a Canadia expat lesbian, is an LGBTQ favorite. The tour runs every Thursday and includes a continental breakfast and a stop for a beachfront lunch. The first stop is at Puerto Vallarta’s famed Los Arcos, giant rocks with hollow swim-through passages. Diana’s Thursday tours are made up mostly of gay men but are also straight-friendly. The Wet and Wild tour is marketed to gay men, and, as the name implies, is a sexually-charged version of Diana’s cruise. Jet’s Private Board Tours is also a LGBTQ favorite and also offers special nude cruises, and you can request a gay tour guide. So, no matter your vibe — from peaceand-quiet to maximum-party-and-adrenaline — Puerto Vallarta has the gorgeous beach to match. There’s no time like the present to start discovering the beauty of what the beaches of Puerto Vallarta have to offer.
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Your Nashville Symphony
Live at the Schermerhorn
december 12 & 13
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P R O KO F I E V ’ S
ROMEO & JULIET
JANUARY 10 TO 12
january 16 to 18
The Corner of Broadway and Main Street
january 24 Frankie Moreno, Salute to Vienna and Voctave presented without orchestra.
The Holidays Are a Drag! Vidalia Anne Gentry's Gift to Nashville! (12-14) PLUS A Look Back at "Witchboard" (6), Surviving the Holidays When...