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MAR 2013


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Out rugby player performs on and off the pitch in Nashville

Get down and dirty with Nashville’s GLBT sports leagues Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray talks Ryman show

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George Takei (left) chats with “Out & About Today” host Chuck long (left). (Photo courtesy of Out & About Today)

‘Out & About Today’ boasts stellar lineup for March by JOSEPH BROWNELL, MANAGING EDITOR

What do George Takei, Zach Wahls and Luke McMaster have in common? They all stop by the “Out & About Today” studios in March. Takei, known for his iconic role as Captain Sulu in the “Star Trek” films and television series, talks to host Chuck Long about life as an actor, his role as an activist, marriage to husband Brad and his legacy project. He also reveals what prompted him to make a video addressing Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “Someone like Stacey Campfield doesn’t know the Constitution,” Takei says. “The First Amendment says you have freedom of speech. You can’t criminalize a teacher for using the word gay. That’s against the Constitution. So you’ve got to start electing politicians who know what they’re talking about, and who know what it means to be an American. That man is not American.” Make sure to catch this special episode when it airs Friday, March 8 at 10 p.m., Saturday, March 9 at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 10 at 10 p.m. on

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Channel 5+ (Comcast channel 250) and repeats March 22, 23 and 24. Zach Wahls, best known for his passionate testimony in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in regards to a proposed constitutional ban on marriage equality, spoke at Vanderbilt University in February. Wahls drops by the “Out & About Today” studios to discuss his GLBT activism which includes his 2012 book, “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family”. In addition to Wahls, singersongwriter Luke McMaster stops by to chat with “Out & About Today” host Chuck Long. McMaster is currently riding high on the debut of his solo single “Good Morning Beautiful,” a song he collaborated on with Jim Brickman. McMaster is currently on tour with Brickman. You can catch McMaster and Wahls on “Out & About Today” when the show airs Friday, March 15 at 10 p.m., Saturday, March 16 at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 17 at 10 p.m. on Channel 5+ (Comcast channel 250) and repeats March 29, 30 and 31. O&AN

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Letter from the editor My first month in Nashville has been filled with amazing experiences. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to show me around the city, speak with me about their programs and organizations, tour their centers or even just met me for a drink when I needed to unwind. As the weather gets warmer and spring moves in, we can finally get out of our houses, awaken from that hibernation and resume activities that are often delayed by winter. That’s the reason you will find this month we are focusing on the GLBT sports leagues around Nashville. The line that sticks with me from “A League of Their Own”, one of my favorite movies from the 90s, is when Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) scolds Evelyn for committing an error. After she begins to cry, Hanks exclaims, “there’s no crying in baseball!” Hanks may be an Academy Award-winning actor but he may have gotten this one wrong. I remember a 9-year-old boy who was hit by a baseball so hard that all he could do was cry. People probably said to walk it off or be a man about it but all I remember is how much it hurt. I never did make it back out onto a baseball diamond after that. Whether you have thrown a ball your entire life or just sat there and wondered if you could, this season is just as good as any to get out there and try. I am. 2013 marks my return to the fields but also it is marked with an excitement for the friendships that I will make, the exercise I will get and the fun that I will have … just do not hit me with a ball, please. I will probably still cry but if I have learned anything tears make a real man. So, I encourage you to flip through this month’s issue and whether it is softball, kickball, rugby or even bowling, pick up a sport and get out and meet some new people. And if you see me out on the field, say hello and as always feel free to drop me an email and tell us how we’re doing. You can always reach me at

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MARCH 2013




Photo needs cutline- Margaret Ellis (left) and Hal Cato (right) will accept 2013 Nashville HRC awards. (Ellis- Courtesy Photo Cato- Photo via Twitter)

HRC Nashville announces 2013 Equality Dinner Award recipients by O&AN STAFF REPORTS

Each year the HRC recognizes individuals for their work on behalf of the Nashville GLBT community. This year the HRC will recognize Margaret Ellis with their Equality Award and Hal Cato will be presented the Community Leader Award. Ellis has been a name synonymous with fine jewelry for over 30 years. Known for her distinctive hammered pieces in gold and silver, Ellis has also become known as a leader and ally in the movement towards equality. She co-chaired the Nashville HRC Equality Dinner in 2007 and 2008, and, along with her husband Fred, has been a faithful member of the Federal Club. Ellis has consistently been a volunteer, donor, sponsor and supporter of the Human Rights Campaign, as well as an advocate of other GLBT efforts throughout Nashville. An entrepreneur and youth advocate, Hal Cato served as CEO for

the Oasis Center for 10 years before leaving in 2011 to found Zeumo, a student engagement and communication hub designed to help young people build closer connections in their school and community. During his tenure at Oasis, he supported the creation of the "Just Us" program, serving youth who identify as GLBT or are questioning their orientation and/or gender identity. Named "Nashvillian of the Year" in 2009 by the Nashville Scene, Cato also helped found the Nashville Youth Alliance, Alignment Nashville, the Nashville Afterzone Alliance, The Youth Opportunity Center and the Mayors Child and Youth Master Plan. Congratulations to both Ellis and Cato for their years of support. The HRC Equality Dinner 2013 will be held Saturday, March 9 at the Renaissance Nashville located at 611 Commerce Street. Tickets can still be purchased at O&AN

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‘Don’t Say Gay’bill is back State Sen. Stacey Campfield aims to ‘protect’ students

State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) sponsors a new version of last year’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (Courtesy photo)


At the end of the last legislative session in 2012, the House Sponsor of the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Rep. Joey Hensley, decided against bringing the bill to the house floor for a vote.

Perhaps it was the closed door meetings with Republican Gov. Haslam and Republican Speaker of the House Beth Harwell or the bill and its supporters being skewered in the national media, but Hensley did offer the ominous warning that the bill may be refiled in the next legislative session if he were to discover “alternative lifestyles” being taught in Tennessee schools. So, here we are early in the 2013 legislative session, and like some kind of horror movie creature that just will not stay dead, here comes the new and, as though it was even possible, much worse version of “Don’t Say Gay” creatively named “The Classroom Protection Act.” Sen. Stacey Campfield’s bill, SB0234, includes a tattletale clause that essentially requires teachers or guidance counselors to notify parents if they suspect a child is gay or questioning. Yes, that’s right. The bill requires

schools to out students to their parents. “It’s kind of like ‘Don’t Say Gay’ on steroids,” says Chris Sanders, Chairman and President of the Tennessee Equality Project. “He’s listened to the objections and ended up making it worse.” The new provision reads: “A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred.” At first read, that may not sound bad. The issue, however, is how exactly one interprets “behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and wellbeing of the student or another person.” Let us take a step back and look at the history of this issue and the dogged determination of Stacey Campfield. For reasons that are not fully clear,

Campfield has tried to pass this bill for two years despite opposition to it and with no regard to those who point out the inherent danger it could bring. The previous “Don’t Say Gay” bill prohibited the discussion of homosexuality during any kind of sexual education instruction in grades K-8. Last year, after two years of contentious debate and countless taxpayer dollars spent, the bill finally died an embarrassing death when lawmakers realized that Tennessee schools do not have any sexual education instruction in grades K-8. Apparently, members of the House Education Committee were so busy trying to protect students from a dangerous component of the curriculum that no one bothered to look at the actual curriculum. With this discovery and the national humiliation brought on the state as media outlets worldwide mocked the bill and its unceremonious end, you might think that lawmakers would just let the issue go. But, you would be wrong. Campfield is pushing the legislation again this year and he has support in the CAMPFIELD cont’d on page 13

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O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M

MARCH 2013



Buzz About Headlines


Catch up on local, national and international GLBT headlines



HB 1046 submitted but withdrawn In what some are viewing as an attempt to punish Vanderbilt University for its all-comers policy, State Rep. Mark Pody introduced House Bill 1046 which would strip the Vanderbilt Campus Police of their official recognition. Last year, Pody led the fight against the policy which was enacted after a dispute with a Christian fraternity over whether or not they had to allow gay members. While Pody immediately withdrew his bill, he promises to submit another if the issue is not resolved. Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center participates in city-wide effort to reduce spread of HIV More than 30 Memphis-area service agencies, businesses and churches launched a new effort to dispense free condoms in the community to reduce the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This new program is called Free Condoms Memphis. A website, social media and marketing campaign to promote the program launched Feb. 14, 2013. Each agency, business and church has agreed to make condoms available to the general public, no questions asked, during regular business hours. Visit the for more information. NATIONAL

Boy Scouts of America delays its decision on gay ban An expected decision on whether the Boy Scouts of America would allow gay leaders and scouts to participate was delayed until its national meeting in May. In a statement BSA director of public relations Deron Smith said: ""After careful consideration

and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy." The meeting will take place in May 2013, in Grapevine, Texas. States make strides towards marriage equality

Illinois- Valentine’s Day was a bit sweeter for GLBT couples in Illinois as they moved one step closer to marriage equality on Feb. 14. The 34-21 vote came nearly two years after Illinois voted to allow civil unions. While support for the bill in the House is expected to be less, it is expected that Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk. "We are one step closer to marriage equality in Illinois," Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement after the Senate vote. "Couples across Illinois have even more reason today to celebrate their love for each other, thanks to the hard work of committed advocates and lawmakers."

Rhode Island- There’s big news for GLBT couples in the tiny state of Rhode Island. Building off their 2011 civil union legislation, the Rhode Island State House passed a bill 51-19 that would grant full legal rights to same-sex couples. While the bill is expected to have a tougher time in the Senate, Rhode Island remains the only New England state not provide full legal rights to its GLBT couples.

Colorado- First marijuana, now gay marriage? Not quite. While Colorado passed a 2006 constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a woman and a man, their state Senate recently voted to allow civil unions. This happened in 2012 as well but the bill was ultimately defeated in the House under the leadership of Frank McNulty. It is expected to have an easier time in the House under the leadership of openly gay Speaker Mark

Pentagon expands benefits to samesex couples While same-sex couples received a small number of benefits with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell nearly 18 months ago, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta signed an order expanding those benefits. The expansion includes allowing same-sex partners and their dependents to use numerous family-oriented facilities and services on U.S. military bases, including recreation areas, counseling programs, school buses, child care and shopping exchanges. Thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, it’s a far cry from a full equalization of benefits that married, heterosexual couples enjoy including healthcare and housing but the Supreme Court is hearing cases regarding the constitutionality of DOMA this summer.

a bill extending full legal rights to same-sex couples including adoption rights. The bill is expected to pass in the French Senate in early April.

German court strengthens gay adoption rights While Germany hasn’t made the full move towards marriage equality like some its European counterparts, Germany’s justice minister hailed the court’s decision to allow same-sex couples to adopt their partner’s adopted or step-children as a “historic step”. Previously, same-sex couples were only allowed to adopt their partner’s biological children. In a completely separate case, the court is considering whether same-sex couples, who have been granted civil partnerships since 2001, should receive the full tax benefits of their oppositesex counterparts. It is unclear when a decision will be made. O&AN


French National Assembly passes gay marriage bill After loud religious opposition, the lower house of the Parliament approved

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Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s Christopher Mohnani (back) looks on as a dancer performs. (Courtesy photo)

Christopher Mohnani named one of Nashville’s ‘40 under 40’ ALEXANDER QUINONES, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

As the head of a nonprofit, Christopher Mohnani’s personal

achievements and that of his organization are deeply intertwined. “Personally, right now, I think every single little thing, or every single milestone that we do with

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Dance Theatre of Tennessee is a short, continued step to success,” he shared. Mohnani is the artistic director of Dance Theatre of Tennessee and was recently named among Nashville Business Journal’s “40 under 40” – a list that honors young people “deemed to be making a difference in their companies and community.” He was honored to make the list, particularly since the recognition comes from a business publication. “To be recognized early on, it’s really a very encouraging and positive sign,” he said. Mohnani started the dance company in 2009 as the official performance arm of the Asian American Performing Arts Society (AAPAS), which he started in 2004 to expose dance to new audiences and bring eminent artists from all over to the area. He recognizes that people have a pre-conceived notion about ballet. “When you see ballet, it’s still intimidating for most – they think you have to dress up, and it’s stuffy … and it’s only for those people who can afford to do it, but it’s the opposite,” he said. “Ballet, as an art form, is one of the most accessible art forms there is. It’s one of the most easily related. You don’t have to know the score or even a foreign language to appreciate it.” To increase exposure, he makes sure performances are held in different venues, as opposed to one main venue. Their Nutcracker tour took them to Smyrna, Clarksville, Dickson and other Tennessee cities. He is particularly proud of Ballet at the Park, which is held at Centennial Park and suggests people donate only $10 to attend. “We want as many people as possible to get the opportunity to experience and enjoy it even if they don’t have the means,” he said. Mohnani’s devotion to Nashville is indisputable. He spends much of his free time volunteering, including reading to school children, promoting anti-bullying programs, being part of his local chamber of commerce, and participating in beautification projects in the Donelson-Hermitage area, where he lives, which can sometimes even include cleaning up the streets. Originally from the Philippines,

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'Muses' in March Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s next production is called “Muses.” Mohnani describes it as a “celebration of the artistic inspiration that one has.” It’s divided into three sections, each one showcasing the work of a well-known choreographer. They will present a piece from George Balanchine, considered the father of American ballet, featuring music from Gershwin, as an ode to New York. The second piece is from Ma Cong, from the National Ballet of China and Tulsa Ballet, and focuses on relationships, expressed through tango music. The third piece is a world premiere from New York-based Darrell G. Moultrie; the piece is called “Points of Interest” and focuses on quirkiness. Performances will be at the Father Ryan Auditorium in Nashville on March 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m. You can find out more and buy tickets at Find us on Facebook


Mohnani was invited in 2001 to join the Nashville Ballet. For 10 seasons, he was its top male Principal Danseur. His impressive resume also includes having been a soloist and principal dancer with Ballet Manila, Krasnoyarsk State Opera and Ballet Theater of Russia. He felt supported by the Nashville community and made a home here; his partner is a dancer in the company. He retired in 2009 from dancing and traded in his dance shoes for that of an administrator. He still feels like he’s growing into the role but feels very encouraged. Shortly after hearing about the NBJ honor, Mohnani learned that Dance Theatre of Tennessee was nominated for the Rhubarb Theater Company's Leadership in the Arts Award. He also recently learned he was nominated again in the arts category for the 2013 Nashville Emerging Leader Award – an honor he received last year. Despite his successes, Mohnani remains humble, with two feet firmly on the ground. “You can only gauge success according to your journey and path,” he said. “You open yourself up for disappointment when you measure success.”

MARCH 2013

MARCH 2013




The harp doctor is in Former professor finds musical inspiration in the harp GREG BRAND, JR., CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Often depicted as beautiful and grandiose, the harp is a musical instrument people often associate with angelic figures and orchestral performances. While the harp does hold on to the aforementioned associations, one minister/musician is using its strings to make an impact and music that is all his own. Dr. Ted Jones, a Middle Tennessee musician, has

SPOTLIGHT made a second career for himself as a harpist with a dedication to spiritual stimulation for members of the LGBT community. A former theatre professor at Austin Peay State University, Jones is now working to strengthen the connection between spirituality and his community. Jones admits that he had always been attracted to the harp since he was a child but never actually gave playing a try until he was well into adulthood. Supported by his own formal musical education, Jones elected to begin taking harp lessons from a Julliard-trained professional, but soon became disinterested in learning formal methods. While never losing an interest in the instrument itself, he opted to stop his lessons and let the strings fall silent for a while.

He later rediscovered his love of the harp while on a gay men’s spiritual retreat. “I’m happiest when I can play where there is an overt or implied spiritual (component) in a gay setting,” Jones said. “Because of their wounding, many gay people have been in the closet regarding their spirituality, and my goal is to use what I do to reconnect and heal the two.” He then played for the men in attendance and was able to allow his fingers to bring an original and inspirational expression from within. Following his debut performance at the retreat, Jones was refreshed with the desire to play the instrument that had long ago sparked his attention. He was even able to connect with an organization that allowed for an opportunity to explore the existing spirituality in his music. Over the last 10 years he has worked with a group called Gay Spirit Visions that is dedicated to promoting spirituality within the gay community. Since then, he has taken this form of expression to many different venues. With a varied and extensive collection of harps, he has brought his musical message to funerals, weddings, commitment ceremonies, yoga classes, hand-fastings and even for people under hospice care. “I’m a recovering trained musician,” Jones said. “Until I began playing the harp, I had never improvised music. I had also never composed my own nor played by ear. “In playing the harp, I’ve learned to play from an improvisatory and intuitive place for the occasions I’m called to work in.” More recently, Jones has been ordained as a nondenominational minister and is now the organizer of a project that will give his talent as a harpist more HARP cont’d on page 14

Dr. Ted Jones stands with a collection of harps hoping to blend the instruments harmonious sounds with spiritual awakening. (Courtesy photo)


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MARCH 2013


SPOTLIGHT complete the project. With costs estimated to be upwards of $15,000, and Samis being responsible for those costs, fundraising is in full swing. Samis, was awarded a fellowship grant by the Tennessee Arts Commission and will be using the grant to help subsidize costs; however this only begins to scratch the surface of what is needed. A Kickstarter campaign is underway to help Samis raise the additional capital needed to complete the venture. I asked what he hoped to accomplish by putting this little nugget of music out into the world. Samis told me a story about when he was little and his mother, a professional violinist, would have people over to play. When Samis heard the cello play, he said it felt as though the house shook with a beautiful, almost humanlike voice and so a love affair was born.

This album is his opportunity to share that love affair with others and resurrect a lost piece of music that could provide a bridge to the past and hopefully tug at some heartstrings along the way. Music is more than notes on a page for Samis. It’s a visceral experience that evokes true emotion. It’s not just entertainment. Right now, Reinecke’s music isn’t real. Sure, it is written down on paper and all of the notes are there, but it is missing the voice. Samis intends on being that voice that brings Reinecke back from the dead a la Dr. Frankenfurter style with nothing more than his cello and his heart. To learn more and make a pledge through Kickstarter, please go to O&AN

Cellist Michael Samis starts Kickstarter fund for debut album. (Photo by Dean Dixon)

Cellist Michael Samis plays your heart strings Musician hopes to kickstart debut album SUSAN WOODS, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

When Michael Samis strolled into Fido with his big shiny cello case, I thought to myself, why does he want to do this? In this day and age where Britney is queen and Beethoven is a movie about a big fluffy dog, why make an album centering around a piece of classical music no one’s ever heard of? What does he have to offer me that will make me care about this dead composer and his little dead song. After talking to Samis for about five minutes, I had my answer and was all in. Samis, who has been with the Nashville Symphony for 13 years, is embarking on a journey to record his debut album through Delos Records. This album’s showpiece will be a Romantic-era cello concerto by Carl Reinecke. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This will be the first known recording of the concerto on the planet. Yes, you read that correctly. EARTH. This recording is no small endeavor. Samis will be bringing in a full chamber orchestra to help MARCH 2013



Allen’s crowning FIND Dyllan achievement C O M M U N I T Y


Local performer holds benefit for transition JESSI GIBSON, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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“Transitioning is hard,” said Dyllan Allen. This is somewhat of a cheeky understatement from a 32-yearold guy who has intimate knowledge of just what it takes to make a change from female-bodied, to male. “I just want others to know how hard it can be for some people to transition.” Hard or not, with his Jason Priestley hair, mesmerizing blue eyes, and quiet confidence, Allen is remarkably sexy this far into his transition. We meet in the dressing area of Play Dance Bar, and converse as he gets ready for the evening show. This is where he makes the transition from co-general manager of Suzy Wong’s House of Yum to the on-stage showstopper known as Jordan Allen. This is where the performer persona is put on with as much care as the stage make-up. This, metaphorically speaking, is where Allen found himself. It was the discovery and performance of male impersonation that brought to light an unspoken issue that had haunted him for years. “Something never felt right,” he said in regards to his gender identity. “I would avoid mirrors, because what I saw reflected back to me was not how I saw myself.” Being a drag king opened his eyes. It was then that he knew a transition was in his future. Relatively recently, his mom told Allen that when he was born, they initially did not know his gender. It was ambiguous. After some tests and a conclusion that ovaries were present, a decision was made to raise Allen as a girl. That information was the final puzzle piece confirming the mixed-up feelings he had struggled with throughout his life. While his efforts throughout his nine-year drag career have been amply rewarded life offstage was a continuous challenge. He speaks matter-of-factly about his parents who have disowned him. He talks with wry humor about the four months he spent living in Monte Carlo—his car, not the opulent city along the French Riviera. He talks

O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M

about other, similar challenges and for each he found comfort and solace among his “drag family”. For Allan, his drag family is huge. “Our drag family isn’t about drag,” he said, “it’s about family.” Now, as an older member and one who has been through so much, Allen fills a more paternal position within the family. Every so often during our conversation, a younger guy will walk in with an issue and invariably, their questions begin with, “Hey, Pop, Can you...?” Or, “Hey Pops! What did...?” Allen takes his role in their lives seriously. Those kings who struggle with being transgender and wrestle with the question of whether and when to transition quickly find the steel in his backbone. His first and foremost rule: Don’t jump into it. “You HAVE to know who you are,” he emphasized, “before you do irreversible things to yourself.” Part of that knowing comes with age, and experience. He is quick to point out that this is just his opinion, as he is well aware of other points of view skewing towards transitioning at younger and younger ages. As for himself? “I struggle, and it’s hard. But I went from being homeless five and a half years ago, to co-general manager of Suzy Wong’s. And now, I just want to help people.” It is clear that he has already helped quite a few people as a multitude of performers, “drag children”, and others within the community have come together to throw a bash for the performer to help raise funds for the next step in his transition—top surgery. With very few exceptions, insurance does not cover surgeries for transgender people, including breast removal. It’s a glaring inequity that puts many life-enhancing and incredibly necessary surgeries out of reach for many transgender men and women. For Allen, the thought of living life without breasts makes him surprisingly emotional. “I want to feel my girlfriend against my skin,” he said. “I want to be able to swim, and feel the breeze on my chest.” “Tops off to Jordan” is a benefit

MARCH 2013

“Tops off to Jordan” a benefit for Dyllan Allen (above) takes place at Tribe March 12 and Play April 4. (Photo by Joseph Brownell).

blow-out party happening at Tribe on March 12, and again at Play on April 4. Go-go dancers will gyrate to the insane beats dropped by DJ Lady B. While you work up a sweat, drink specials will help quench your thirst with a portion of the proceeds going to Allen. A silent auction will feature dropyour-jaw prizes like: Autographed guitars signed by Wynonna, Martina McBride, and Bon Jovi, Preds tickets, dinner for two at Cafe Coco, floral arrangements, and a private show from the Men of Arrow. Yes, a private show from the Men of Arrow. There will also be a bachelor/bachelorette auction featuring bartenders from Tribe and Play, with the owner of Men of Arrow, Jonas, added into the sultry mix. Additionally, it’s a tangible way to show support for an often underserved and somewhat forgotten part of the GLBT community: the female-to-male transgender population. Part of Allen’s mission is to help bring more awareness and acceptance of our ftm brothers, helping them feel they belong and have a home within the larger confines of the community. Don’t miss the party. Join Jordan Allen and the rest of the cast when the ladies take over Play Dance Bar every Thursday night. O&AN


CON”T CAMPFIELD cont’d from page 6 House; Rep. John Ragan has signed on to help. Last year, in the wake of the suicide death of gay teen Phillip Parker, a constituent of Ragan’s wrote the representative a letter pointing out the high rate of suicide of GLBT kids who are bullied, asking him to oppose the infamous (and mercifully now dead) “License to Bully” bill that would have allowed bullying by students claiming a religious or moral motivation. Ragan’s response to the constituent included a list of STD statistics and a final paragraph that likened the high suicide rate of GLBT kids to a hypothetical high suicide rate amongst murderers, pedophiles and prostitutes. With beliefs like these, it is really no surprise and likely was not a hard sell to get Ragan on board. Ironically, Ragan’s bill was introduced to the House on Valentine’s Day and is virtually identical to Campfield’s Senate version. Dubbing this year’s bill the “Classroom Protection Act”, the bills imply that they are shielding children from harm. Sanders feels that the name of the bill itself suggests a

bias.“Protection from who?” he asks. The protection may need to come from Campfield. Last year during a radio interview, Campfield was asked about the origin of HIV/AIDS. "Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community—it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men.”

‘Classroom Protection’ and MetroNashville Schools Although their opinions are not often solicited, students will be most affected by this bill. Several schools in Nashville have active Gay Straight Alliances. GSAs at Hume-Fogg, University School, and MLK were often present at rallies and hearings during the debate of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill last year. “This bill will hurt all aspects of school life. By not allowing a clear, age-appropriate, educational discussion about the lifestyles some people have, the sponsors hope to encourage ignorance, prejudice, and misinformation,” said a leader of the GSA at local magnet high school MLK. “Unfortunately, this year, it got worse. In a time where it's still

incredibly difficult to be LGBT, state legislator Stacey Campfield has decided to add another burden to the queer students’ already heavy load by proposing a bill that would require school counselors to notify parents when a student talks to them about any aspect of being LGBT; whether it be bullying, harassment, or simply asking questions, their parents would have to be informed. This is a huge breach of conduct, especially when you consider the fact that most school-age children don't have the resources to go anywhere else; all our lives, students are told that if they ever have a problem, it's best to talk to guidance. But what happens when the only safe place becomes unsafe? With nowhere else to turn, where will our students go? ” You would d be hard pressed to describe middle school as easy; most everyone struggles in middle school. It is not only a time where the academic ante is upped, it is also a time where kids are trying to figure out who they are. Social pressures are immense. Fitting in is almost an obsession. Add to that the pressure of keeping your sexual identity or questions about it hidden out of fear.

MARCH 2013

“In addition to the usual 9-12th graders found in high schools across the country, my school also welcomes grades 7-8. Some of our GSA members are, indeed, seventh and eighth graders,” explains the MLK GSA leader. “Under the previous edition of the bill, we would not be able to open our GSA to the middle schoolers; we would not be able to involve them at all. In an age where sexuality is frequently the subject of discussion both among youth and in the media, having a safe place where students can ask questions and be unafraid to be curious about sexuality and gender identity is essential.” For his part, Gov. Haslam seems reluctant to do anything with the bill, recently telling the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “I know it's kind of a revised form of a bill that came up last year. At the time I didn't feel the bill last year was needed, and I don't really think this one is needed either." You think? Contact your individual Representative or Senator. To identify who represents you, go to: capitol. O&AN





HARP cont’d from page 10 opportunity to impact not only the gay community but the middle Tennessee area and beyond. “I am combining my harp skills with an ability to perform various kinds of ceremonies into a service I call ‘A Celebration with Harps,’" Jones said. “You get both music and service in one. After working with LGBT groups and individuals only playing harp for the last 10 years, I am now packaging my harp options in a more specific way—one I hope will be attractive and viable to our community.”

With launch of his website and continued opportunities to share his music, Jones is still in full support of people following their own hearts when it comes to making music that is true to them. “If there is an instrument you are drawn to, don’t let anyone limit you,” Jones said. “Learn the basics but take the time to really see where you can take it personally for yourself. You do have to explore it to find your own music.” For more information visit tedjonesharp. com. O&AN

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Liz Carmouche is ready to fight First out UFC fighter fights title match EMMA HARGER, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Liz Carmouche has been all over the world—born in Louisiana, raised in Japan, served three tours of duty in the Middle East, now living in San Diego— and actually discovered what she wanted to do with her life while serving in Iraq in 2009: she wanted to fight. Being in the Middle East was like being “in [a] parallel world...where you don't have to worry about bills or obligations to other people, you just focus on your job and getting the job done,” she said. That clarity of mind helped her realize that what she was doing just for exercise, when she wasn't doing her work as a helicopter electrician, was something she actually wanted to do for a living. So when she got home, she went into the world of mixed martial arts, or MMA, fighting. MMA's popularity has surged in recent years, though the sport's roots go all the way back to ancient Greece, and fights take in millions of dollars in revenue. Women's MMA fighters are gaining more awareness and compete in organizations including Bellator, Strikeforce and the all-female Invicta. In Carmouche's very first professional fight in May 2010 at Native Fighting Championship 5, she defeated her opponent Aleena Albertson in less than a minute via submission. Her second bout against Margarita de la Cruz Ramirez less than a month later went on much longer—five minutes— before a doctor stoppage declared Carmouche the winner. Before summer

2010 had ended, Carmouche fought in her first Strikeforce challenge and won by unanimous decision. To date, she's fought nine different times and lost just twice. Her career took off like wildfire and she was in a position to challenge Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen in March 2011, before her career was even a year old. She lost that bout, but still considers it the most rewarding and best fight in her books because it was like a turning point for her. Last month Carmouche faced the biggest moment of her career so far: she faced 135 lb. Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey in the title fight of UFC 157 in Anaheim, California. Although she lost, the fight made history in at least two ways: it was the first-ever women's fight in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, plus one of the fighters, Carmouche, is openly gay. All three of her tours with the Marine Corps were served during the era of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She has opened up about how tough it was to hide who she was: coping with slurs, people trying to out her and other people who were forced to keep the secret too. Right as she was leaving the service, she decided—despite DADT still being in place—to tell her military friends the truth. The way they responded has set a precedent for how people in the MMA world have taken to learning that she is openly gay: not much backlash at all. The inspiration of a supportive atmosphere in Carmouche's training

gym gave her the ability to be out or attempts to intimidate. Rousey said through her entire fighting career. that she knew she couldn't get inside The Carmouche-Rousey fight Carmouche's head prior to the fight became the main event for UFC 157, because of her military experience; the one featured on posters and at the Carmouche said she's found a flaw in top of the fight cards, after a successful Rousey's technique but won't reveal it. social media campaign got the attention But when Carmouche isn't training of promoter Dana White. White said for upcoming fights, she lives a quiet that, while most other women fighters life in San Diego with her girlfriend and were finding reasons not to face focuses on the success of helping train Rousey, Carmouche wanted it. other fighters at an area gym. She helps “It was amazing,” Carmouche said. to train young fighters and Carmouche “It's a real honor to be the main event says that she really just wants to help and to be a part of history…I never them follow their dreams, whether or expected that we'd be in the position not they involve the ring. that we are today.” Follow Carmouche on Twitter at @ There was an outcry from some iamgirlrilla. O&AN MMA fans on the Internet who objected to the idea of two women battling it out in the main event—there's even a doctored version of the UFC 157 poster that features male fighters Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson as the main event instead—but Carmouche's dedicated fans (she calls them Lizbos, though her coach was the one who thought up that term) and others don't care about that pettiness. “It's amazing to think that there are so many people out there supporting me,” she said. Carmouche was considered the underdog in the fight because Rousey is the champion and has a lot of hype, but the two of them didn’t engage in any Liz Carmouche (above) fights historical UFC Title fight as first out fighter. social media trash-talking (Publicity photo) Nashville – 636 Old Hickory Boulevard Chattanooga – 7734 Lee Highway Knoxville – 230 Papermill Place Way


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MARCH 2013


As winter fades the Metro Nashville Softball Association gets ready to kick off its season April 7. (Photo by Joseph Brownell)

Get down and dirty with Nashville’s GLBT sports leagues by JOSEPH BROWNELL, MANAGING EDITOR

If you are one of those people who subscribes to the stereotype that the GLBT community does not like sports, you are seriously mistaken. Sure, I cannot (nor will I ever probably be able to) throw a football, but when it comes to soccer, baseball and yes, even bowling, I am quite skilled.

Just as the frost begins to thaw from our mornings and winter moves her way out making room for spring, Nashville’s GLBT sports teams are gearing up some exciting seasons. So whether you want to join, watch or participate (and this includes drinking at fundraisers) read on to find out how you can get down and dirty with Nashville’s softball, kickball, bowling and rugby teams.


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Take me out to the ballgame Kevin Riddle, Commissioner of the Metro Nashville Softball Association (MNSA), wants prospective players to know that if you are worried about never having played or even making a fool of yourself then there is a team for you in the MNSA. Formed in 2007, the MNSA has slowly grown from nine teams in its inaugural season to averaging 15 teams a season since and there are new teams starting all the time. According to the MNSA website, the objective of the organization is to promote amateur athletics with special emphasis on the participation of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in an atmosphere of friendly competition. And while teams are allowed up to three non-GLBT members, Riddle is making a point not to be singled out as the “gay softball league.” “I want to integrate into the community at large in Nashville,” Riddle shared. “I don’t want to close ourselves off … we have non-gay players that are very valuable to our league.” Having played softball in other cities like Dallas, that integration includes reaching out to corporations for sponsorship and seeing the GLBT community frequent games and fundraising events. One of the big events for the MNSA is their annual tournament, the MNSA Softball Classic, which will be held July 6-7. With 35 slots, teams from all over the country come to thrown down on the softball field. Still not convinced? Then maybe you should catch the Pink Panthers Drag Show which raises money every year as the team dresses up and dresses down to show they know how to have fun off the field as well as on. Players interested in playing should visit the MNSA website (mnsasoftball. com) and register in their guestbook. Someone from the MNSA league will contact prospective players. And don’t worry if you have never played before there’s a spring clinic for players who do not have a team or those who want to hone their skills. Get messy on the kickball field Are you haunted by the memories of always being picked last on the playground for kickball? Well throw those memories out the window and

MARCH 2013

get ready to make new ones this spring when HotMess Kickball kicks off its second season. Derrick Lachney founded HotMess Kickball last fall after finding that participating in a kickball league in Washington, D.C., helped him meet people in the GLBT community. “Being involved in something like this can get us out of our shells and more willing to be open to new people and ideas,” Lachney said. The runaway success of the first season brings HotMess’ second season

HotMess Kickball kicks off its second season March 31. Registration open now. (Courtesy Photo)

around this spring. Registration opened up on Feb. 17 and will continue until the teams are full. Last year more than 100 players on 8 teams took to the fields of East Park. This year East Park will once again host HotMess Kickball. The season begins on Sunday Mar. 31 and will run for eight weeks. Are you ready for kickball? Or maybe you are just a hotmess? Then head over to the HotMess Kickball website ( and register now! Get out of the gutter Earlier this year, ESPN aired out bowler Scott Norton hugging and kissing his partner after winning the PBA Chameleon Bowling Championship in Las Vegas. Well, apparently what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas as media outlets touted this as quite possibly a first for sports. While Nashville may not host any


Get out of the gutter and join the Music City Rollers for their 13-week summer league. (Courtesy Photo)

PBA Championships, it is home to two GLBT bowling leagues. The Music City Rollers bowl on Sunday afternoons and the Rainbowlers bowl on Tuesday evenings at Tusculum Lanes. While both are wrapping up their 28-week seasons, the Music City Rollers will kick off a summer league beginning May 7. Lasting only 13 weeks, the summer league is typically short. The cost is $15 per week and for those who may be a tad rusty with their bowling skills, it is a 9-pin league. So if you knock down 9 pins on your first ball, you get to count it as a strike. Like its 28-week counterpart, this league is handicapped in order to keep bowlers on an even playing field. Unable to commit to a 13-week or 28-week league? Then round up a team for the annual Music City Invitational Tournament (MCIT). This year’s tournament will be held July 19-21 and has grown to over 30 teams in the last five years. Having celebrated 20 years last year, bowlers are looking to make the 21st MCIT the best yet. For more information, visit Fundraising is key throughout the year for members of both leagues. This year’s Ms. MCIT Pageant is set for April 14 at Vibe. Its theme, “Queen of Queens”, pits past winners against each other. One of those contestants, league President Matt Totten, will be competing and while he knows it all fun and games he is already sending out a warning to the contestants. “Bitches better beware.” For more information on any of these events, Totten says people can contact him at (615) 500-4257. Nashville Grizzlies roar “It may be corny but the more we support each other, the further we move ahead,” Grizzlies’ coach David Glasgow said. He is of course referring to being on and off the rugby pitch. The sport of rugby has opened eyes over the past few years. From our cover story Jacques Snyman to the Ben Cohen Foundation to even Glasgow listening to the hopes and dreams of straight rugby

players, the sport could be viewed as the bridge to dispelling GLBT stereotypes. “I don’t know what I imagined straight athletes talked about, but listening to the hopes and dreams of a straight team at Hooters after practice sounds remarkably similar to the Grizzlies at Beyond the Edge after a practice or at Tribe for show tunes.” The Grizzlies have definitely made their mark on the Nashville GLBT

The Nashville Grizzlies kick off their spring season with a match against the Memphis Storm March 16. (Photo by Joseph Brownell)

sports scene. From their Music City Cup in April to the much anticipated Red Dress Rampage in October, it is hard to talk about sports without mentioning the Grizzlies. Think you have what it takes or just want to see what happens on the rugby pitch? Glasgow welcomes the community out to practices and to matches. “We have new players join all the time,” Glasgow shared. “Everyone

is welcome. Rugby has a position for every build and we have guys in their 20s to 50s active on the team.” Need more information? Practice and match information including an upcoming March 16 match against the Memphis Storm can be found on their website ( Just want to meet the team and participate in the fun? Join the Grizzlies this month at Play March 8 for their St. Paddy’s Day Spectacular. More information can be found on their Facebook page ( nashvillegrizzliesrfc). O&AN

MARCH 2013







Out country artist Drake Jensen releases‘OUTlaw’ Singer speaks about bullying, new album and working with Willam from ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

While many artists these days spend half their records trying to convince you just how country they are, it is refreshing when an artist comes along who knows exactly who he is. Drake Jensen, who releases his second studio album “OUTlaw� March 12, is that artist. Growing up in Canada, Jensen was immersed in country music. “I was raised on Merle Haggard, George Strait, John Conlee, Ronnie Milsap and Charlie Pride,� Jensen said. “A lot of my singing style was adapted from my early days of listening to that kind of music.� As a child, Jensen experienced extensive bullying. “My experience with bullying was pretty grave,� Jensen admitted. “No one intervened and I basically left school in grade 8—it was that bad.� “The one thing I’ve wanted to do with my music is incorporate that and help people. I want people to know that beyond what happens to you that it doesn’t have to affect the rest of your life. I have a song called ‘Scars’ on the new album that is probably one of the most riveting things I’ve ever done. It sums up my childhood. When you listen to it, you’ll hear this incredible emotion


embedded in the vocal.� While Jensen admits to getting over childhood bullying and jokes about the 5 years of therapy to prove it, he is quick to point out that bullying is not exclusive to children. “The music business is the most brutal business in the world and I’ve put myself out there at 43 years old in this business. I want to expose the fact that bullying is existent everywhere and people try to bully me and tell me ‘I can’t sing’ or that ‘I’m ugly’ or ‘my songs are terrible’.� Jensen laments that most of the criticism he receives now comes from the GLBT community. “I want people to know that our community is not all rainbows and ice cream scoops. I will be the one that stands up and fights against this. I’ve grown strong from this experience. I ran away once but I’m not going to run away again.� That strength is evident in several of the songs on Jensen’s forthcoming record. The first single from that album, “When It Hurts Like That,� is reminiscent of 90s country radio. There is an authenticity in the lyrics and the vocal delivery that leaves the listener feeling like they too are sitting there with Jenson on a Friday night getting that drunken DRAKE cont’d on page 25



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DRAKE cont’d from page 22 phone call. The exploding,soaring chorus is sure to leave listeners matching Jensen’s gusto note for note. “Checotah, Oklahomaâ€? may be Jensen’s favorite track on the album. “I think it’s probably one of the first ever gay country songs. It came over a good bottle wine one night.â€? The tracks opens with the verse “Every cowboy’s got a story and a secret he’s learned to hide/Maybe he’s tough in chaps and leather with a different kind of pride,â€? before unfolding into an emotional chorus about maintaining identity in a town where no one knows who you truly are. Due in part to Jensen’s lyrics and in part to his uncanny ability to interpret lyrics, the track will definitely be a highlight on the album for GBLT fans. While both of those tracks Out country singer Drake Jensen releases his new album “OUTlawâ€? March showcase a serious side, Jensen 12. (Photo by Jacqueline Chiasson-Barisan – Sound Proof Photography) knows how to get loose and have a good time. Jensen has a special affection for drag queens. “I love a good drag show. It’s an integral part to our community.â€? Jensen references teaming up with Willam from “RuPaul’s Drag Raceâ€? to cover Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Manâ€?. Yes, that Tammy Wynette. “From the get-go I thought people are either going to take this the right way or the wrong way,â€? Jensen said. “We all know that’s an iconic song but I reasoned with myself that Tammy Wynette was a hairdresser and chances are she knew an awful lot of gay men and had a good sense of humor.â€? “This was a great LGBT interpretation of the song. It was camp but it has a very serious undertone ‌ we need to stand by each other. It’s the one thing we need to learn how to do in the LGBT community. No matter who we are, we have to put our differences aside and stand together.â€? Jensen’s fears were assuaged when the son of the Wynette family lawyer contacted him and told him that they loved the version and Tammy would too is she were alive. As Jensen gears up for record release, he hopes to come back to Nashville during Pride and perform. “I loved my time in Nashville and the people there. I’ll be back.â€? And we’ll be front row to see the OUTlaw perform. You can follow Drake Jensen on Twitter @drakejensen or like his Facebook page or stay up-to-date with the latest info at his website Want to win a copy of Drake Jensen’s album “OUTlawâ€?? Visit to find out how. O&AN

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What a Feeling! ‘Flashdance: The Musical’ makes a splash at TPAC NICHOLAS GRANT, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

When the film “Flashdance” premiered 30 years ago, audiences were captivated by the story of a Pittsburgh girl named Alex who, during the day, works as a steel welder and at night transforms into an exotic dancer – all while dreaming of a better life to study classical dance. Even more though, people went crazy for the film’s soundtrack which featured


hits like “Maniac” and the Academy Award winning “Flashdance…What a Feeling.” Now audiences are finding a new love for the classic story and memorable music in “Flashdance: The Musical”, which comes to Nashville for a stint at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center March 19-24. “Flashdance: The Musical” features both hit songs from the film and original pieces written specifically for the stage adaptation. The show was first seen in 2008 overseas in London, which was followed by a tour across the United Kingdom. The current North American tour, which premiered in Pittsburg where the story takes place, is a precursor for a possible Broadway run later this year. DeQuina Moore, a native of Houston, Texas,

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O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M

How do you think “Flashdance: The Musical” is strengthened by using some preexisting popular music and some original music as opposed to all original songs? Robbie Roth and Robert Cary did such a fantastic job bridging the two together. The audience gets to hear the sweetest new tunes that brilliantly tell the story, some of which feel like radio tunes themselves! And then they get to hear songs that already live in their bodies like "Maniac" "Gloria" "Manhunt" "I Love Rock & Roll" and "What a Feeling", and everyone loves a familiar hit record! How is the story of “Flashdance” relevant to audiences now? “Flashdance” is definitely relevant today for the simple fact that anyone with a dream of any sort will relate to Alex's story! Anyone that is struggling to find their path in life and is having to battle rejection of any kind will need to see this Houston native DeQuina Moore takes the stage in “Flashdance: The Muscial” playing at TPAC March 19-24. plot unfold. (Publicity photo) Anyone that is scared to love themselves on the level that will push them toward success needs to see this production! And anyone that simply LOVES the magic of theatre, awesome talent, and needs to laugh MUST come see “Flashdance: The Musical”!

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plays Kiki in the stage show. Kiki is another exotic dancer that befriends Alex during the show, and DeQuina plays her to the tilt with belty gusto and moves that both dazzle and hypnotize. Recently we were able to catch up with Dequina to ask her about why audiences, after 30 years, continue to love the music and the story of “Flashdance”.

MARCH 2013

How do you think a gay audience will connect with the story? This show couldn't get any sexier; so all my gay homies are loving it! Tom Hedley, who wrote the screenplay and created the show has masterminded this world of song and dance on a level so the excitement that's involved in watching the show just makes you yearn for more no matter who you are! Also, the ways in which Sergio Trujillo directed and choreographed is so specific and so glammed out that one is automatically connected from the start! As an AfricanAmerican woman, I can certainly relate to the underdog fighting for that dream that often seems unattainable and I'm sure to our gay audience that story is one to easily connect to, as well! Trust me, the gay community will love “Flashdance: The Musical!” O&AN



‘In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)’ comes to Nashville’s Darkhorse Theatre pl


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- “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) will stimulate audiences March 7-10 at the Darkhorse Theater. (Publicity photo)


Imagine a woman who is feeling faintness, nervousness, sexual desire, or lack of, insomnia, fluid retention, irritability and loss of appetite. Now imagine that woman reaching out to a medical professional and having her symptoms diagnosed as hysteria often caused by sexual frustration or deprivation – and prescribed a vibrator for treatment. Or worse yet, having to undergo “pelvic massage”, the manual stimulation of the genitals, by the doctor, until she experiences “hysterical paroxysm” or what we call orgasm. Talk about hysterical. This was actually common practice through the early 20th century. In fact, the electric vibrator made it to the home market – for private treatment – even before the electric vacuum cleaner. Now, turn this incredible historical (and pretty hysterical) fact into a play and you have the makings of an extremely funny production. And that's just what Actors Bridge Ensemble and Artists Cooperative Theatre (Act 1) have done.


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Promises to stimulate conversation a


The Nashville premiere of “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) by Sarah Ruhl comes to the Darkhorse Theatre March 7 – 10. The play promises to be a quite stimulating experience. Kara McLeland, who plays Sabrina Daldry, one of Dr. Giving's patients who receives the vibrator treatment for this dubious malady, spoke with Out & About Newspaper about the production and its contemporary relevance. What made you audition for a part in In the Next Room? A few semesters ago I was introduced to the concept of “hysteria” as a medical diagnosis during a course on Women in Music at MTSU. We discussed the nineteenth-century preoccupation with madness, and how an overwhelming majority of the heroines in nineteenth-century opera went mad and were consequently murdered/committed suicide on stage. The whole concept of “hysteria” was so outrageous and unbelievable to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wrote essays about it, I wrote a song called “Hysteria” (which you’ll hopefully hear in a promo for the play), and I read a book called “The Technology of Orgasm: Hysteria, the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction” by Rachel P. Maines. I had been wanting to get involved in a theatre production, and when I got the audition notice for “In the Next Room”, it was like universe was telling me something. Then I found out that Sarah Ruhl actually pulled a lot of her historical information for “In the Next Room” from Maines’s book. I knew I had to audition and somehow be involved. Ruhl brings such a human element to this absurd point in women’s history and medical science … in a weird way, I feel like being in this play has been my small contribution in vindicating those dead opera heroines, and all the Victorian women who were given a bogus medical diagnosis.

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Indigo Girls ready to rock the Ryman on March 9th Singer Amy Ray talks ‘Don’t Say Gay’, southern music and more ELLEN ANGELICO, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Interviewing Amy Ray once is crazy enough, but when I heard the Indigo Girls were playing the Ryman on March 9, I decided to push my luck and send Ray an email. Three days later, I had her on the phone again for another interview. A little background for those of you dwelling under rocks for the past 27 years: Ray and partner-in-crime Emily Saliers formed the Indigo Girls sometime around 1985 when as students at Emory University in Atlanta, they performed together at a local bar. In 1988 they made their first record for a major label and since then have conquered virtually every milestone a band could possible want to conquer, all while being out lesbian women.



Fun fact: Ray went to Vanderbilt her first year of college. “It was very hard for me because Vanderbilt was, at the time, really conservative,” she said. “As someone who had just figured out I was gay, it was rough.” Pretty interesting since Vandy, in my opinion, is hardly the most conservative school in town and is downright gay-friendly compared to some alternatives. Ray explained, “It wasn’t like that in ’83. It was the Reagan era and it was very conservative.” We talked about Nashville for a while including the reintroduction of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “Nashville, I have to say…” her voice trailed off thoughtfully. “It’s gotten so much better than it used to be, but it’s been hard. It’s been slower to come around for queer

Indigo Girls play Ryman Auditorium March 9. (Publicity photo)

chord vocabulary sometimes, a different way of looking at harmony.” The Indigo Girls are always growing. Each record brings something new to the table. Their latest release, “Beauty Queen Sister”, is bold and exciting, featuring their signature harmonies plus a foray into Celtic sounds and incredible string arrangements. Ray even mentioned the Indigo Girls will be making a live record in May with the Birmingham Symphony. I don’t know what you’re doing on March 9, but you’d be hardpressed to find something better to do than see the ever-evolving Indigo Girls at the Ryman. For the full Amy Ray interview visit O&AN




Anjelah Johnson arrests Nashville

Johnson where she talked about Bon Qui Qui’s latest plans and her love for the GLBT community.

Anjelah Johnson performs at War Memorial Auditorium March 9. (Publicity photo)


With over 60 million views and counting, many of you are familiar with her viral YouTube hit, Bon Qui Qui at King Burger from “MADtv”. What you may not know is Anjelah Johnson has starred in such films as “Our Family Wedding” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”. Johnson, a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader, comes to Nashville Saturday March 9th for a show at the Andrew Jackson Hall. I was lucky enough to catch up with


people there.” She told me a story about playing a show at 12th and Porter with her punk band in 2002, where the bartenders relentlessly made fun of their audience. “I felt like here we were, totally packed house, people were tipping well- it was a really nice audience,” she explained. “And there were three or four people making constant, really mean, derisive jokes. It just sucked.” In spite of such a crappy experience, Ray is optimistic. “I think in the South there’s some headway being made, not legislatively [laughs], but dialogue-wise. There’s a lot of good dialogue.” One thing Ray loves about the South is the incredible music scene. “I love how in the South there’s finally more of these indie country-kind of groups that are doing well, really taking the bull by the horns and doing their thing,” she said. “We stay active,” Ray said about her music with Saliers. “We talk about music all the time and we talk about writing ideas. Those kind of things constantly inform us and give us a different outlook musically, a different

Last year when we spoke, you had filmed the music video for Bon Qui Qui’s first single “I’m a Cut You”. Now that it’s been released what was the reaction? It was great. Some people were absolutely surprised to hear from Bon Qui Qui and were like ‘What? She’s back and she’s a rapper? And her music is actually good? That’s crazy.’ People were really excited about it and she came out with a new look—she’s different, she’s kinda upgraded. People were really receptive of the music and the video. Speaking of Bon Qui Qui, you’ve said part of the inspiration for the character came from your brother, who you’ve described as ghetto fabulous gay . . . is he your go-to? Oh yeah, he’s my go-to for sure. Ya know, I have a lot go-tos; let’s keep

O U T A N D A B O U T N E W S PA P E R . C O M

it real. My brother, he does my hair, he’s my guy who I call if I’m having an issue and I don’t want a realistic resolution but if I just want somebody to be mad with me or talk crap with me or something. He’ll be like, “what, how stupid,” and be with me in my little pity party and then we’ll get over it. He’s hilarious. He doesn’t take crap from anybody so that’s kind of where Bon Qui Qui comes from. She says what everybody wishes they could say and that’s kind of who my brother is. So what’s next for Bon Qui Qui? Well, we came out with another video with Bon Qui Qui in New York. It has some really great cameos in there. A$AP Rocky is in there, Victoria Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio is in there. Basically Bon Qui Qui now works for Alexander Wang at his flagship store in New York and of course she’s up to her same old antics and gets fired again. We’re getting ready to shoot another music video for her other song “No Boyfriend” where it’s actually Bon Qui Qui and another character of mine named Tammy from the Nail Salon. They teamed up together for a song, so

MARCH 2013

we’re gonna shoot that. You have a huge gay following and I don’t want to use the word crazy but do you have any favorite gay fan stories? I don’t know about crazy but my favorite was one guy came to my show in Dallas total in full-on Bon Qui Qui drag mode. I guess he won a contest but then he started performing as Bon Qui Qui or something. So he came to my show decked out and I brought him on stage and he was working it—like he was a better Bon Qui Qui than I was. That was a lot of fun. I like to see people embrace her. Well we’re very excited about your Nashville show. It’s actually a very gay night in Nashville. The Indigo Girls, HRC Dinner— Seriously, you’re telling me I have competition? For more information on Anjelah Johnson or to purchase tickets for her upcoming show in Nashville visit her website at For the full Anjelah Johnson interview visit outandaboutnewspaper. com. O&AN

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Out & About Calendar

American Idiot March 5-7 • 7:30 p.m. • Andrew Jackson Hall


Girl on Girl Comedy & Revue March 6 • 8 p.m. • Zanie’s

Rent: School Edition March 1-4 • 7 p.m. Hillsboro High School

3812 Hillsboro Road Join Hillsboro High School as they tackle Jonathon Larsen’s thought provoking play Tickets $10

505 Deaderick Street Tickets available online at

2025 8th Ave S Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at

Lift Every Voice: Jamar Rodgers (from The Voice) on Faith, Hope and Facing HIV/AIDS March 8 • 7 p.m. • Austin-East High School Performing Arts Auditorium

2800 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Knoxville Tickets available at or by telephone (865) 523-7521 York & Friends Celebrate Second Anniversary with ALIAS Benefit March 9 • 4–7 p.m. York & Friends Fine Art Gallery

107 Harding Place Free to the public; Special performance from ALIAS Chamber Ensemble For more information visit

2013 HRC Equality Dinner March 9 • 5:30 p.m. • Renaissance Nashville 611 Commerce Street Tickets available

Anjelah Johnson March 9 • 7:30 p.m. • Andrew Jackson Hall 505 Deaderick Street Tickets available online at

Indigo Girls with Holly Williams and The Shadowboxers March 9 • 8 p.m. • Ryman Auditorium

116 Fifth Avenue North Tickets still available at

9th Annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill March 12 • All day • Various Locations  dvocate for equality in Tennessee's laws with A our state lawmakers. The day begins at 8:30 a.m. at The Rymer Gallery in downtown Nashville with light breakfast food and a policy briefing. Around 9:30 a.m. attendees will go to Legislative Plaza for appointments.  hat afternoon the Tennessee Equality Project T plans to hold a rally with other progressive organizations at War Memorial Plaza. For more details visit the TEP Facebook page or Suzanne Westenhoefer March 13 • 7:30 p.m. Zanie’s

2025 8th Ave S Tickets are $23 and can purchased in advance at The first openly gay stand-up comic, Suzanne's ground-breaking Photo by Adam Bouska career includes appearances on Letterman, HBO, Bravo, Logo and GSN as well as live performances across the US.


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MARCH 2013

EVENTS Mangia Nashville to benefit Nashville Shakespeare Festival March 14 • 7 p.m. • Cool Café 1110 Hillsboro Road Suite B200, Franklin Tickets are $150; Purchase in advance at mangia


Rainbow Night at Miss Jeanne’s Dinner Theatre March 23 • Doors open 6:45 p.m. Miss Jeanne’s Dinner Theatre Corner of Gleaves & 600 9th Ave. South Reservations required; Several dinner packages available Reserve by calling (615) 902- 9566 or online at Nashville Pride Presents 2 Chefs 2 Visions March 28 • 6:30 p.m. Nashville Farmer’s Market 900 Rosa L Parks Blvd For more information and tickets visit


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Freak and Fetish Extreme Fashion Show March 16 • 10 p.m. • Trax 1501 2nd Avenue South Join Music City Sisters and the Conductors for the Freak and Fetish Extreme Fashion Show at Trax to see what flavors they will serve and what flavors you will savor. 2013 Miss Mid-America Pageant March 17 • 6 p.m. • Play 1519 Church Street Tickets available at the door for $12 PFLAG Nashville Meeting March 19 • 7 p.m. • Oasis Center 1704 Charlotte Avenue Tipper Whore Show March 21 • 8 p.m. • Exit / In 2208 Elliston Place $8 General Admission Visit for advance tickets Play Presents Detox from RuPaul’s Drag Race March 22 • 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. Play 1519 Church Street Cover paid at the door Vanderbilt LGBTI Health Fair March 23 • 12 – 4 p.m. • 100 Oaks Mall Large Conference Room Committed to fostering positive health change, the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTI Health will be holding its annual health fair, providing mental, physical and other health support services.

Cirque De Nash March 30 • 7:30 p.m. W.O. Smith Music School 1125 8th Avenue South  Proceeds from this year’s event benefits the Oasis Center’s Just Us program. Tickets are $40 each or $75 for couples. Dress in costume for your chance to win a round trip miniexcursion to New Orleans! Oasis Center’s Just Us program is dedicated to servicing young people, 13-21 years of age, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or are questioning their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Get your tickets in advance at O&AN

Want to see your event in Out & About? Email:


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MARCH 2013


CON’T ROOM cont’d from page 27 What does playing Sabrina Daldry mean to you in both your personal and career life? How are you similar to your character? How different? I love Sabrina, and I think she is very relatable. What she truly wants is to be loved and appreciated by someone, and who doesn’t want that? The fact that she finds that connection with Annie, her nurse, is beautiful to me. Even though we never get to see this love fully develop — the fact that it is the 1880s complicates things — it goes to show that at a fundamental level, we all are looking for a human connection and to really be seen, regardless of gender or sexual orientation of our partner. Sabrina is also a musician, and in the show she plays the piano during some of her most emotional moments. Having grown up loving and studying music, I totally relate to her connection to music as a means of self-expression. This is my first performance with professional theatre companies (Actors Bridge and Act 1), so I’m thrilled have a role with such depth and opportunity. It means so much to me. What's the hardest part of being in this production? The most fun? The most rewarding? Sabrina experiences such a variety of emotions throughout the production—she feels sorrow, anger, joy, longing, and so much more. It’s been a challenge to make sure that each emotion is coming from an authentic place and that her emotional journey over the course of the play unfolds in an organic and genuine way. It’s funny, because I was most nervous to do the scenes where Sabrina has orgasms, and I thought it would be one of my bigger challenges … but the emotional stuff has been much more difficult! I think my friends and family are still a little nervous about watching those scenes,

though! (laughs) This cast and crew are phenomenal. Everyone is tremendously talented and is committed to making this show beautiful. It’s been a blast to work with them. How do you think your character and the play itself speaks to our society, and particularly women of today, about how far we've come in our openness, acceptance and attitudes toward sex? And the attitudes of men towards our sexuality? I think it can be easy to see a story set in the late 1800’s as ancient history, and to see the oppression that the female characters experience in it as absurdly archaic, but the messages of the play and the stories of these characters are absolutely relevant to us today. Expectations about how women should present their bodies are definitely still around today — we may not be wearing corsets anymore, but we have high-heels and plastic surgery and a variety of other ways to alter our bodies. In many ways our culture is still very uncomfortable with female sexuality. I can’t help but think of the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke debacle, for instance, and how a woman was slut-shamed for wanting reasonable access to contraceptives … and that’s just one example of the “war on women” that has been happening. I think we’ve made great strides since the 1880s, but there’s always more to work towards.



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What do you hope the audience gets out of this production? I hope the audience is willing to go with us on this emotional journey. This play is so many things—it’s heartbreaking and hilarious and sexy all at once. We’re also tackling a lot of important issues: gender, sexuality, race, technology. It has been a transformative experience for me and I hope the audience feels that, too. I can’t wait for everyone to see it! O&AN

“IN THE NEXT ROOM (OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY)” March 15 – 17 Luck ‘O the Irish St. Patty’s Day Bash* $10 all you can drink Green Beer Bust Saturday from 12pm-5pm with snacks, pool, movies and Wii! Lucky Leprechaun Dance Saturday night with After Hours Green-Out Party!

March 29 – 31 Who’s Your Daddy / Easter Weekend* A tribute to all those sexy men of a certain age and their admirers. The Tavern will be in full force Saturday night with an After-Hours Black Out Party in the Backroom! *Winter Room Rate Specials “BUTTS IN BEDS WEEKENDS” 50% discount on weekend room rates January 4–March 31,2013. Party all you want any weekend and walk back to your room with no worries! During our four themed weekends, the Tavern will be open on Saturdays from 12pm-5pm for pool, beer, snacks, movies, and Wii!

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MARCH 2013



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Dancing Figure Whistle (detail), Colima, Mexico, 300 BCE–200 CE, earthenware, 9 1/8 x 6 5/8 x 4 in., The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, gift of John Bourne, 2009 (2009.20.29), Photo © The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

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O&AN March 2013  

Get down and dirty with Nashville's GLBT sports leagues, Jacques Snyman is perfect on the pitch and pitch perfect, Indigo Girls, Drake Jense...

O&AN March 2013  

Get down and dirty with Nashville's GLBT sports leagues, Jacques Snyman is perfect on the pitch and pitch perfect, Indigo Girls, Drake Jense...