O&AN | December 2020

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Shake it up.

Stir it up.

SINCE 1888 FourRosesBourbon.com

Be mellow. Be responsible.


GAY GUIDE PRInt EDITION HEALTH Dental Services East Side Smiles 7 North 10th Street Nashville, TN 37206 615-227-2400 eastsidesmile.net

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 615-414-2553 / 615-400-5911 dignitytherapynashville.com psychotherapy-and-psychoanalysis.com Brandon Teeftaller, APN 220 Athens Way, Plaza 1, Suite 104 Nashville, TN. 37228 615-320-1155 Karuna Therapy Solutions 210 25th Ave. North, Suite 1220 Nashville, TN 37203 615-669-6621

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 Nashville Humane Association 213 Oceola Avenue Nashville, TN 37209 615-352-1010 nashvillehumane.org Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 330971 Nashville, TN 37203 615-507-5185 nashvillelgbtchamber.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

LEGAL SERVICES Lawyer Bart Durham Injury Law Office 404 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, TN 37219 615-338-6177 bartdurham.com Sunny Eaton, Esq. 731 Porter Road Nashville, TN 37206 615-861-9960

ARTS Performing Arts Nashville Symphony Schermerhorn Symphony Center One Symphony Place Nashville, TN 37201 615-687-6400 nashvillesymphony.org

SPIRITUALITY Holy Trinity Community Church 6727 Charlotte Pike Nashville, TN 37209 615-352-3838 www.htccnashville.com


& Contents

FAX 615-246-2787 | PHONE 615-596-6210 OUTANDABOUTNASHVILLE.COM STAFF Publisher: Aequalitas Media, LLC

Group Publisher for Aequalitas Media Bill Gemmill Founder and Publisher Emeritus Jerry Jones Managing Editor: James Grady jgrady@outandaboutnashville.com Sales & Marketing: Cody Stallings cstallings@outandaboutnashville.com Design, Layout and Production: Saul Santos fsdemianhades3@gmail.com

CONTRIBUTORS Writers: Vidalia Anne Gentry, James Grady, Isaac Ray Norris, Terri Schlichenmeyer, Sara Schuster, Jason Shawhan, Chris Spear, Dennis R. Upkins Photographers: Sara Schuster, Cody Stallings COVER: Saul Santos Photograph by depositphotos.com National Advertising Representative: Aequalitas Media 3023 N Clark St #732, Chicago IL 60657 312-600-8823

CORRECTIONS

We regret that the February LGBTQ Business Directory and Travelers’ Guide listed an incorrect phone number for Karuna Therapeutic Solutions. Their correct phone number is 615-669-6621. We apologize for the confusion.

OPPORTUNITIES

Out & About Nashville welcomes volunteer writers, photographers and videographers throughout the year. If you’re interested in contributing to our publication, send an email to editor@outandaboutnashville.com with a resume, contact information and samples of your work if available. Our volunteer staff is unpaid, but contributors do receive credit for their work in our print publication and online. Those seeking an internship in journalism or mass communications are strongly encouraged to apply.

LEGAL

Out & About Nashville strives to be a credible community news organization by engaging and educating our readers. All content of Out & About Nashville is copyrighted 2017 by Out & About Nashville, Inc. and is protected by federal copyright law and shall not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. All photography is licensed stock imagery or has been supplied unless otherwise credited to a photographer and may not be reproduced without permission. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representations does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of the person or persons. Out & About Nashville accepts unsolicited material but cannot take responsibility for its return. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or edit submissions. All rights revert to authors upon publication. The editorial positions of Out & About Nashville are expressed in editorials and in the editor’s notes as determined by the editor. Other opinions are those of writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Out & About Nashville or its staff. Letters to the editor are encouraged but may be edited for clarity and length. There is no guarantee that letters will be published. Out & About Nashville only accepts adult advertising within set guidelines and on a

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Nashville LGBT Chamber Member Spotlight: Membership Itself

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Give the Gift of Music This Year

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The Special Shelf: Gift Guide Edition

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Homemade Herbal Holiday

14 Editor’s Pick: Clifton + Leopold 15

Gifts for the Booklover

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Controlling The Narrative And Why I’m Boycotting Black Media

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Top 5 (Mostly Local) Gifts for the Drag Queen in Your Life


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In response to COVID-19, the Chamber paused all membership dues, created various social campaigns to encourage social distancing and the wearing of masks, transformed its networking programs, and partnered with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., Vanderbilt Health, and Ryman Hospitality Properties to promote the Good to Go program.

Nashville LGBT Chamber Member Spotlight:

Membership Itself

Isaac Ray Norris

2020 has been a year of change, reflection, and more importantly, adaptation. The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce is no stranger to any of these, and in an effort to better support its members has adapted to our “new normal” in new and exciting ways.

The Rainbow Connection Series featured a collection of Zoombased networking opportunities for members, and continued the Chamber’s mission to ADVOCATE, EDUCATE, and CONNECT. Through each webinar, members were able to connect with corporate and small business members, learn how to better their businesses with lessons from public relations, marketing, financial, and policy professionals, and network with one another. The Chamber plans to continue this program well into 2021.

Let’s take it back to what seems a lifetime ago—January 2020. The Chamber was expecting its best year yet, with more than 500 members and plans to take its mission statewide. Tennessee, and the nation, was reacting to the “Slate of Hate,” which was composed of more than nine bills that would strip certain rights from the LGBTQ+ community, but especially so for the Trans community. The Chamber penned an open letter, with 35 corporate and 107 small business signers, condemning the proposed legislation. Sadly, the adoption bill was passed and the measure immediately impacted the lives of many LGBT citizens within the state. All the while, rumblings of a novel coronavirus began circulating in February. They seemed distant and small, as if something like a pandemic couldn’t reach the United States to such a degree that it already had overseas. Suddenly, as these things tend to happen, a massive F3 tornado swept through Nashville in March, causing more than $1.5 billion in damage and affecting some of the most impactful businesses in the city, ripping storefronts and homes from their foundations. The Chamber’s response was quick, offering resources, directing volunteer clean up efforts, and directing members to financial resources for recovery and aid. A total of six member businesses were directly impacted by the tornado and many more LGBTQ+ citizens had their lives upended. The Chamber worked to make sure all were taken care of. Just a few days later, COVID-19 was knocking on our doors and the nation shuttered. Nashville was put under lockdown, and our world was forever changed. While the Chamber moved its focus to getting its members relief funds, networking and other in-person events transitioned to Zoom. The legislative session’s focus shifted to the March tornado and COVID-19 relief, stopping the largely anti-LGBT bills that looked to be on the path to passage.

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In the backdrop of COVID-19, there began another reckoning: systemic racism. The death of George Floyd sparked protests around the country that grew to astounding numbers. In partnership with Nashville Black Pride, the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, and the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber provided its members key points of action, distributed anti-racism resources, allyship information, and better ways to protest in the looming pandemic. As COVID-19 and protests fighting systemic racism continued, Nashville’s pride festivities were also affected. A large part of the Chamber’s pride celebration included the Pride in Local Music concert, which was produced in partnership with the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and local LGBT certified business Good Neighbor Festivals. The concert was a huge hit and helped raise funds thousands of dollars for local LGBTQ+ artists. As the year progressed, it became increasingly important for the Chamber to encourage political activation regardless of party affiliation. Through the #NashPrideAtThePolls campaign, the Chamber was able to politically engage its members and encouraged voter registration and participation in partnership with Vote Early TN. All in all, this year has thrown challenge after challenge at not only the Chamber, but the community as a whole. It has forced


lifestyle

Membership Itself

the Chamber to truly focus on its membership, bettering itself for every type of member; networking, small business, and corporate. A key part of that includes a revamped website and membership portal, creating easier ways for members to engage and discover one another and the resources the Chamber offers. Connection has always been at the heart of what the Chamber does and it is more important now than ever. As 2021 approaches, the Chamber is ramping up its digital efforts as it appears that our current pandemic will follow us well into the future. This presents the Chamber with exciting and new opportunities to connect with its members in unique ways. If you would like to find out more information about the Nashville LGBT Chamber, join as a member or donate to the Chamber’s foundation, which focuses on education and community building. Visit their website at nashvillelgbtchamber.org, or follow the @ NashLGBTCC on social media.

At NPS Pharmacy, we don’t look or act like any other pharmacy that you have ever seen, and that is by design. Since our beginning, we have been committed to providing outstanding service to our customers and to changing what is expected from a pharmacy. 100 OAKS PLAZA Suite 57100 719 Thompson Lane Nashville, TN 37204 615.371.1210

SKYLINE MEDICAL Suite 57116 719 Thompson Lane Nashville, TN 37204 615.724.0066

METROPLEX AT MY HOUSE Suite 400 442 Metroplex Drive Nashville, TN 37211 615.942.8404

npspharmacy.com Your independent hometown pharmacy since 2001.

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Album Review

Give the Gift

Music This Year

of

Chris Spear

Shamir

Dolly Parton

Glass animals

Gorillaz

Oneohtrix Point Never

Above & Beyond

Pvris

The Chicks

Sia

Sufjan Stevens

Shamir

Dreamland

Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

Use Me

Every Day is Christmas

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It’s the happiest time of the year, so they say! Well, when shopping for gifts for your loved ones, consider the gift of music. This will be especially valued by those friends and family members who still collect throwback media, such as CDs or vinyl! And in this time of social distancing, music is a gift you can give instantly, at any distance.

outandaboutnashville.com

A Holly Dolly Christmas

Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez

Anjunabeats Volume 15

Gaslighter

The Ascension


Coming January 2021:

The Second Annual Out & About Nashville LGBTQ Business Directory and Travelers Guide! Find your copy of the 2020 Guide wherever Out & About Nashville is distributed.

Interested in advertising with O&AN? Email Sales@outandaboutnashville.com or phone (615) 596-6210 for more information.


The

Special Shelf:

Gift Guide Edition Jason Shawhan

My, this year has certainly been a decade. Culturally, it seems perverse to undergo the annual rituals of the winter holidays, given the continued and unyielding stresses of the pandemic and the election. The traditional catharsis of these holidays comes from gatherings and collective warmth as a simple bulwark against seasonal affective disorder and the cumulative power of less daylight, loneliness, and colder temperatures. And it’s just not safe to have holiday parties, despite what your friends may tell you.

For older kids, sullen teens, stoners, medievalists, and children of the ‘70s looking to reconnect with their trippy youth, The Rainbow Goblins by Ul De Rico (he was a concept artist for The Neverending Story) is a beautiful and creepy work that never gets old.

But there is another, somewhat less noble tradition, and it involves finding the right gift for those you care about. As a weirdo who specializes in physical media and cultural theory, may I offer you this gift guide for folks who might be part of your life.

For kids who enjoy striking imagery and art and are just starting to develop their senses of humor and verbal sophistication, Sharko and Hippo (from Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Return head writer Elliott Kalan) is precious and silly, and will teach the youth about the value of wordplay and comedic structure.

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For comics fans and enthusiasts of historic gay stuff, the trade paperback of Lords of Empyre (by Chip Zdarsky and North American treasure Anthony Oliveira) is an epic from Marvel Comics that has intergalactic warfare, the highest of stakes, and the relationship between queer superheroes Wiccan and Hulkling as their relationship shakes the very cosmos! Also, it’s hysterically funny. For Christmas queens, the Aunt you still talk to when the leaves start changing color, and anyone who delights in intense scholarship… Alonso Duralde’s Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas is essential reading for anyone who trips out on the history of (and current industry built on) Christmas movies—this is the most useful Christmas movie guide ever written. Witty and knowledgeable, it’s a must-read for anyone biding their time until the Deck the Hallmark guys (along with Duralde) drop their book next year.


Gift Guide Edition

The Special Shelf

Anyone who spent time alive in the ‘80s has strong opinions about the Friday The 13th film series. Whether you saw them as reactionary polemics reinforcing conservative Reaganist moral shorthand or as the equivalent of campfire tales for the S&L and early microchip era, these films cast a long cultural shadow. And now, Scream Factory has done an epic blu-ray boxset for all of the films in the series (including Part 3 in proper, polarized 3D and Part 9 in its remarkably grotesque unrated version), with such a surfeit of extras that you could spend months just delving into it. Parts 2 and 3 taught viewers about resourceful lesbian energy as the ideal way to survive a horror movie, Part 7 is the one where all sorts of gay shenanigans were happening behind the scenes, and Part 9 elides gender and gets into exploring kinks that there aren’t even names for. There’s something for everyone in the Friday the 13th film series, whether it’s Betsy Palmer’s unequalled sweater game in Part 1 or stuntman/actor/executive daddy Kane Hodder as killer Jason Voorhees in Parts 7-10. Regardless of age, ideology, or sexual taxonomy, everybody loves Totoro, and some enterprising licensor came up with the idea for a Totoro advent calendar. You don’t even have to celebrate Christmas to get into this, because who doesn’t love Studio Ghibli’s fuzzy forest dweller? A new Totoro for every day in December seems like a delight for anyone, regardless of their thoughts on anime. One other thing to consider when doing any holiday shopping: given the situation on the Supreme Court, it wouldn’t hurt to visit with a family lawyer and figure out what all paperwork you might need to get in order. Make sure that, regardless of what happens regarding Obergefell, you and your loved ones have got your situation figured out and notarized. There are too many ways that our families can be vulnerable to the traps and whims of awful people, so it doesn’t hurt to make a consultation part of your holiday plans. Have as great a holiday season as you can, and buy local.

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Herbalism

Homemade Herbal Holiday Sara Schuster

As we head into the holiday season and our minds turn towards gift ideas, I love to come up with fun ways to share herbs with my friends and family in the form of homemade gifts. This can be a great way to feature herbs you’ve grown in your own garden, to show off your culinary skills, or to just tailor a gift to the specific tastes of your recipients based on what flavors you know they enjoy. Winter Tea Tea is wonderful at any point in the year, but there’s something delightful about warming your hands with a cup of hot tea in December. This seasonal winter blend is one of my personal favorites that I return to again and again, and I think you will too. 2 parts oatstraw 1 part nettles 1 part elderflower 1 part peppermint 1 part chamomile 1 part hibiscus ½ part elderberries ½ part rose hips ½ part cinnamon chips

Herbal Infused Wine If you’re heading to a small gathering, taking a bottle of wine as a gift for your hosts is always a nice gesture. You can jazz it up and make it even more special by infusing some herbs into it ahead of time though. This turns a simple bottle of wine into something unique and thoughtful— your hosts know you planned ahead to make this for them rather than dashing into the store on the way over. Extra bonus: you can do this with a relatively inexpensive bottle, no need to spend a lot of money. You’ll want to pour your wine into a jar that is large enough to hold both the wine and the herbs you’ll be adding. A standard bottle of wine is 750 ml, or about 25 ounces, so a quart Mason jar works well for this with room to spare. After you’ve added your herbs, put a secure lid on the jar, and give it a good shake. Place the jar out of direct sunlight and make sure to shake it up once or twice a day. Do this for at least a week. Then you can strain the herbs out of your wine and, using a funnel, pour the wine back into its original bottle. Now you’ve got a great gift and conversation starter for the next dinner or gathering you’re invited to!

Mix all of the above ingredients thoroughly, then store in an airtight container. Keep out of direct sunlight. Use within one year.

For a red wine: three tablespoons of dried rose petals, two ounces high quality dark chocolate or two tablespoons cacao nibs, and (optional) one dried chile or a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Go easy on the chile or cayenne if you don’t normally like much heat! It’s easier to add more spice later than to try to dilute something that came out too hot for your liking.

You can gift a bag of this blend on its own, or turn it into a cute gift basket by pairing it with a fun tea infuser and/or mug. Your loved ones will think of you fondly every time they brew up another batch!

For a white wine: three tablespoons of dried lemon balm or holy basil, one tablespoon dried orange peel, and one vanilla bean. Split and scrape out the vanilla bean to maximize flavor extraction.

Herbed Salts

I hope you’ll try one or more of these ideas to incorporate some herbs into your festivities. Whatever you decide to whip up this holiday season, I wish you lovely celebrations with your loved ones and, perhaps, your favorite herb or two.

For those in your life who love to cook, how about a set of herbed finishing salts? They’ll love getting to experiment with these, and if you’re lucky they’ll invite you to sample what they create with these. Everybody wins! To make an herbal finishing salt, you’ll blend a good quality coarse salt (I love sea salt) with fresh herbs. You can blend them together in a food processor or a spice grinder, or by chopping your herbs as finely as possible before adding them to the salt. No matter the herb blend, you want an equal ratio of herbs to salt (so one cup total of herbs to one cup of salt). After you’ve mixed your herbs into your salt, spread everything out in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and place it in a well-ventilated area. Stir the mixture at least once a day so that the blend doesn’t clump together. Depending on the humidity in your house, it will take 3-5 days to dry. Once everything is fully dried, you can package it up into small containers for gift giving. Zesty Italian Blend ¼ C sage ¼ C rosemary ¼ C basil ¼ C oregano 4 minced garlic cloves 1 C coarse salt Sunshine and Spice Salt 3 Tbs lemon zest 3 Tbs orange zest ¼ C thyme ¼ C chili powder 1/8 C cumin powder 1/8 C coriander powder 1 C coarse salt

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Sara Schuster is a queer community herbalist and medicinal herb farmer. You can find her classes, podcasts, and herbal products at FoxandElder. com or on Instagram @foxandelder.


Email marketing that works for you.

myemma.com

FAMILY, COSMETIC AND SEDATION DENTISTRY IN EAST NASHVILLE

THOMAS F. HADLEY, DDS

8/17/15 10:20 AM

7 North Tenth Street 37206

(615) 227-2400 eastsidesmiles.net

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Editor’s Pick

Editor’s Pick:

Clifton + Leopold James Grady

This month, I asked my regular contributors to consider the gifts they’d recommend, and we compiled those into a holiday gift guide. Normally I’m the book and film guy, but those were taken! So I set out in search of something specific to Nashville that I could truly recommend. I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. But I like bright colors and vibrant patterns. I’m a real sucker for anything androgynous and edgy (even if I’m not really bold enough to wear it myself). And this is why I chose the accessories of Clifton + Leopold as my recommendation for this gift guide. If you’re looking to spend a little more to put a little brightness in a special someone’s life, you can’t go wrong with something from this company, which describes itself as “Born in Nashville TN, handcrafted in the USA.” My absolute favorites include the Vodka tie, which I might even be bold enough to wear one day, when we are allowed out into the light again! The Outlaw kerchief is lovely on the model: though I don’t know if I’d ever go that far, I can think of plenty of people I think it’d look great on. And if you just don’t see a piece of clothing that fits, think candles! Check them out at cliftonandleopold.com!

Lilium tie - $88

Outlaw kerchief $65

She was glad they fell in love in the spring, so the lilies would always remind him of her.

That old backpack and kerchief were all he owned. But he had something most people didn't, he had sunsets and he had time.

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ ties/products/cream-green-floral

Broadway bow - $55

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ bows/products/frida

He strutted out of the kitchen each night as if that restaurant was his stage. After all, every great story has an Act One.

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ scarves/products/outlaw

Hollywood bow - $55

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ bows/products/tease

She went there for the lights and the cameras, but she stayed for the action.

Deux candle - $26

June kerchief - $65

The first snowfall always felt like magic. But it was the second one that made it real.

He had his demons, but he thought she was an angel. All she asked was that he didn't expect her to save him.

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ candles/products/deux

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ scarves/products/june

Warhol bow - $55

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ bows/products/warhol

He didn't mean to be grandiose. Finding art in the everyday details of assembly lines, flower beds and his American life was his thing.

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Vodka tie - $88

cliftonandleopold.com/collections/ ties/products/vodka

He never drank tequila. He never did anything that dulled his magic.


Booklover

Gifts for the Booklover Terri Schlichenmeyer

Who doesn't love dogs? Surely, there's a person on your gift list who does, and so does Jennifer Finney Boylan, who writes of her best friends in Good Boy. Hint: wrap it in tissue; it's an emotional read for someone who's a DogMom or DogDaddy. Also look for Half Broke: A Memoir by Ginger Gaffney, the story of the author's love of horses and a ranch-style halfway house program that broke her heart.

This may be the most different holiday you've ever spent. You're okay with that; it's sad, but everyone needs to stay safe. You can still do the present thing, though, because books are easy to wrap and easy to ship. See if these great books won't put a smile on someone's face...

For the person who loves a tight thriller-type book that happens to be true, you can't go wrong with Plague Year by Ross A. Slotten, MD. From the beginning of the AIDS crisis, Slotten cared for gay men in Chicago who were stricken with the disease. Add that to the fact that he had a former lover who slept around, and you've got a memoir that'll keep someone turning pages. Another memoir to wrap up is Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman by Abby Chava Stein, who writes about being a transgender woman in an Orthodox Jewish community.

We can never get enough of celebrities, but how do they really live? In Gatecrasher: How I Helped the Rich Become Famous and Ruin the World by Ben Widdicombe, your giftee will get a glimpse. Widdicombe spent years "crashing" Hollywood parties for fun and fame, and here, names are named (or broadly-enough hinted at) and the life of a gatecrasher is presented with blunt reality (hint: not all fun). If you want to make this a really great gift, wrap it up with TMI by Perez Hilton. Yes, the blogger. Yes.

The novel lover on your gift list will love Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey. It's the story of a fictional ultra-conservative town in Oklahoma, an experiment, dozens of new LGBTQ neighbors, and a transformation.

For the person who's a caregiver or deals with an aging (and rather rascally) older parent, you know they need a little laughter now and then, so give Like Crazy: Life with My Mother and Her Invisible Friends by Dan Mathews. It's the story of how Mathews moved to a new neighborhood, bought and renovated a Victorian home, became a good member of the community, while at the same time caring for his mother, who had early-stage dementia. Funny, sad, perfect for the person who needs it. And, finally, the giftee who likes things on the lighter side will love Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman. It's a story told in graphicnovel form, about two young men, their sweet, almost-innocent romance, and how coming out can be so, so hard to do. But let's say you still can't find what you need. Throw yourself at the mercy of a bookseller. Truly, they are superheroes. Season's Readings!

KATE NELSON, REALTORÂŽ 615 / 268-0319 615 / 383-6964 kjcnelson@gmail.com DIRECT

OFFICE

realestatewithkate.com

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Controlling the Narrative

Question 2: Is the lead or a primary protagonist an LGBTQ? Examples: In Between Men, Love Simon, Dirty Computer Emotion Picture, Strut, and Freedom Fighters: The Ray

And Why I'm Boycotting Black Media

Dennis R. Upkins A scholar by the moniker of Son of Baldwin once stated, “Be very careful with whom you allow to tell your story. Good intention does not equal good witnessing.” A few months back while visiting an acquaintance, I was forced to suffer a few episodes of the new Ryan Murphy Netflix series, Hollywood. While I’m always happy to see co-executive producer Janet Mock continue to garner success and appreciate learning about the late actor Rock Hudson, that’s the extent of the positives. Being forced to watch gays and people of color fight to prove their self worth to inferior racist caucasians during the 1950s is not what I consider entertainment. I get too much of that living in the South. I was also reminded of the fact that the same battles in Hollywood and society fifty years prior are still prevalent today. Because of this and many other reasons, I developed the Upkins Media Litmus Test several years back. I always appreciated the idea behind the Bechdel Test which calls attention to misogyny in fiction. My Media Litmus Test is a set of questions I’ll pose before considering a television series, movie, or novel.

Question 1: Is the lead or a primary protagonist a person of color? Examples: Teen Wolf, Scandal, KIN, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Elementary

Question 3: Is the writing exceptional? Would I as a fellow storyteller be impressed? By exceptional, I mean is it on some Shonda Rhimes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Joss Whedon level of brilliance?

Question 4: Is there eye candy? If said content features the likes of say Chris Hemsworth, Evan Roderick, Jesse Williams, Harry Shum Jr., or Sean Maher then it is my responsibility to support the projects of my future hubbies. ;-)

Question 5: Does it feature a fave? In my case that’s usually the actress and goddess known as Gina Torres, perfection herself. Her credits alone are a testament to this. If the content in question cannot provide an affirmative for any one of these simple questions, then I will usually reject it outright. It’s incredible how much one’s outlook, spirit, and health improves dramatically when they’re not bombarded with nonstop negative subliminal reinforcements that tell them that they are evil and inferior for being who they are. Moreover, when the media I consume celebrates who I am, I feel empowered to do the impossible in my day-to-day. Ultimately, my Media Litmus Test lends credence to the wise words of one W.E.B. Du Bois. To whom you give your money, you give your power. In the past decade alone there has been a paradigm shift of sorts. Social justice and social media have influenced the airwaves and have allowed us to have long overdue conversations that would have been unheard of two decades prior. The industry (Hollywood, music, publishing, take your pick) overall continues to find itself in a state of freefall. Most of the notable exceptions, however, are often creators of color, particularly Black creators. Dwayne Johnson and Will Smith are arguably the two highest grossing A-List actors in Hollywood today. ABC can credit Shonda Rhimes for its ratings vice grip on Thursday nights for nearly two decades. Beyonce and Jay-Z have proven themselves to be a force of nature in film, music, and fashion. Independent creators, many of them people of color and LGBTQs, are utilizing the internet to share their content, establish their brands, and provide alternatives to mainstream media.

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Controlling The Narrative

Lifestyle

The powers that be can no longer deny the impact of Black dollars and not for lack of trying. Unfortunately, not all that glitters is gold, and visibility does not equal progress. In recent years studios have resorted to the classic bait and switch in promoting their projects. There’s been an influx of Black trauma porn and minstrel media masquerading as “woke” cinema. Studios engage in social engineering by generating memes and fluff articles on social media to qualify this anti-Black media to the public. Often they’ll parade a Black actor, director, or producer attached to the project as their minority shield to qualify the racist content. A few examples: The Green Book would have us believe that Don Shirley, a gay Black piano prodigy who was fluent in eight languages, needed a racist white man to teach him about true Black culture and how not to be so “uppity”. Queen & Slim, produced by the same company that released The Green Book, promoted itself as an artistic melanin rich love story but as one review so accurately stated, it had one major theme: if Black people resist systemic oppression, the only thing they’ll ever manage to accomplish are bloody “noble” deaths at best. Harriet proved to be nothing more than a smear campaign against one of history's greatest freedom fighters. That’s not even taking into account the fact that the film’s villain is a fictional Black slave catcher. The fact that white critics and audiences are raving over both HBO series Lovecraft Country and Watchmen is enough alone to make them suspect. While both cable series pay lip service to Black history, both shows are inundated with homophobia and dehumanizing Black characters for the white gaze. Lovecraft Country is based on a book written by a white male author that has been deemed by critics as “racial justice entertainment.” The 2016 novel is the reimagining of the work of one of the most virulent and mediocre racists in history. Let’s also not forget that Lovecraft Country and Watchmen aired on the same network that still gives the racist Bill Maher his own platform, cursed us all with Rape of Thrones and almost gave us the series Confederate. When media normalizes Black trauma and whitewashes and erases our history and legacy it makes systemic racism and anti blackness the norm in real life. "My basic stance has always been that the role of racist representation and erasure of POC in media has been the role of dehumanization to create the social space for injustice or harm to occur. It's easy to deny human rights when you've instilled the notion they're not people through every form of mass media.

Make Every Connection Count ADVO C ATE . EDU C ATE . CO NNEC T.

Which is why white people fall into predictable racist behaviors even with groups of people they've "never seen before" - the media has informed them what expected roles POC are supposed to hold and to punish them if they step out of their place." —Christopher Chinn It’s long past time for the media that is supposed to represent me and mine to do so accurately. If said “Black” media isn’t providing escapism, inspiration and joy with its artistry, that will be a hard pass. I know my value. There’s not a calculator, super computer or Motherbox to qualify it.

We’re now 500 members strong with deep connections. Join now before membership prices increase on January 1, 2020. To learn about our membership benefits (business or individual), visit nashvillelgbtchamber.org today. Take the first step and start making connections at our Annual Meeting and Holiday Party on Thursday, December 12that the Nashville Children’s Theatre. Details and RSVP at nashvillelgbtchamber.org.

In short, it’s time to change the narrative….on and off screen. outandaboutnashville.com

December 2020

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Top 5 (Mostly Local) Gifts for the Drag Queen in Your Life Vidalia Anne Gentry

‘Twas the season of giving, and all through the town, Not a drag queen was twirling, not even the clowns, The tights were hung on the back of a chair, In hopes that they’d never rip, run, or tear… If you’ve been to a drag show or had access to the internet in the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard at least one drag queen raising cane about how expensive drag is to upkeep... So, in the spirit of giving, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things you can buy your favorite drag entertainer this holiday season. 5. BatMe Lashes—No drag makeup look is complete without a set of long, fluffy lashes to bat at the menses, womenses, and themses, and Nashville drag entertainers are LOVING the “Velvet” style lash from BatMe Cosmetics. Now, BatMe isn’t local to Nashville, but it is a Trans-POC owned makeup company that has been very supportive of Nashville drag, so let’s show some support back! It doesn’t hurt that the lashes (and contour kits, and lippies, and eye shadows) are sickening! The “Velvet” style lashes are currently on sale for only $4 (reg. $7.99) at www. batmecosmetics.com making for a great, and cheap, stocking stuffer. 4. Tights—No self-respecting drag queen has left the house without lycra on her thighs since she was 15...if she was raised right, and most of us wear at least 4 layers of tights to smooth out padding and give you the ooh-ah-ah Barbie leg sensation. Unfortunately, tights rip, run, and tear, and can cost upwards of $25 apiece. Capezio full stretch transition or footed tights are a great option for most entertainers, just make sure to find out your fave’s color and size. If you really want to make a queen smile, get her a new pair (or two) of Capezio fishnets. They run $28.50 a pop before tax. A broad selection of Capezio products, including the tights and fishnets, are available at Spell’s Dancewear at 708 51st Ave. North. 3. Morphe X James Charles Palette—YouTubers can be a real painin-the-ass, but every once in a while, a collab with a well-known makeup brand happens, and it’s just right. The Morphe X James Charles palette has almost every pressed powder color a drag entertainer might need to complete their look and is affordably priced at $39. You can pick one up for the drag entertainer in your life at the Morphe store in Green Hills, or at any Ulta location around town. 2. Photo Shoot—In the words of the great Alaska Thunderfuck, “do you think I look like this just so I can exist in your feeble memory? Take a picture, and I’ll last forever!” Great photography is far from cheap, but high quality photos are an investment every drag entertainer should make at some point in their career. These images will come in handy for flyers, promotional materials, and will make an entertainer look more “bookable” to show directors

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December 2020

outandaboutnashville.com

but can be cost prohibitive especially for newer entertainers. If you’re looking to splurge on a performer, this is one way to do it. Prices vary by photographer, but expect to spend around $200. Check out Cody Stallings at codystallings.com or Alyssa Barker on instagram @alyssabarkerphoto for more information! 1. Skin Care—We saved what we think is most important for last. Taking good care of your skin is easily the best way to improve your overall makeup application, but like most things in life, it costs money. Thankfully, there’s a skincare line born in Nashville, made by a drag queen and makeup artist, and designed for people who regularly wear heavy makeup that works, and won’t break the bank. Revel Haus Skincare, which launched earlier this year, has a simple 6-step skin care routine that we absolutely love. $164 buys the whole line, which lasted us nearly a full 2 months, but if you’re not that committed yet, start with the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Revel Haus opened their store front in the Taylor Arts building (100 Taylor St, Ste. D5) late last month, so you can pick up the product in person, or order it online at www.shoprevelhaus.com. Don’t forget to use code HAUS20 at checkout to save 20% on skincare. Whether you have the ability to support with your dollars, or just your applause and Instagram likes, most of us would be nowhere without the love and adoration of our audiences, so thank you! Wishing you all a happy and healthy Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year. Catch the full Top 10 on outandaboutnashville.com!


YOU DESERVE TO BE PAID.

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