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Joey Amato Managing Editor Ben Rock Publisher

Estella Pan Book Reviewer Sebastian Fortino Business Editor A.J. Busé Business Correspondent Michael Burcham Business Writer Dan J. Groover Fitness Editor Mark Allyn Nimmo Food & Wine Editor John Winnett Life & Style Writer Kyle Kressin Music Editor Ron Slomowicz Contributing Writer Jessica Gibson Arts & Entertainment Editor

Letter from the Editor

photo by Adam Canada

I love Nashville and being a part of its diverse, up-and-coming LGBT community. Sometimes, though, being a gay adult in Tennessee is a lot like being in high school all over again. The students feel like the teachers are out to get them. The chess club resents the French club for taking the activities room, and, well, everybody hates the cheerleaders. While the state legislature rallies against us with absurdities like “Traditional Marriage Day” and many of our own varying groups losing faith that change can happen, our community is lulled into allowing the status quo and forgetting the power that is lost in doing nothing. Again, I love the diversity of our community. The advocates and the club kids. The jocks and the Faeries. The bears and the business owners. I’m friends with members of each group and enjoy being exposed to the variety of experiences they offer. However, our diversity has also become a source of divisiveness. I’ve noticed some groups giving into fear of change and putting their own goals ahead of the greater LGBT community’s. I’ve also realized we’re not going to accomplish any progress toward marriage equality (or any equality) in our state if we don’t figure out how to take advantage of our differences and allow them to work together, like the colors of the flag we take so much pride in every June.

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Jeffery Humble, James Plunkett, Lucas Wayne Creative Director Joshua Beadle Creative Assistant Tristan Tanner Webmaster Ben Rock Logo Designer Mitch Brandt Girkant Photographers

Adam Canada, Barry Noland, MyL Pack, Daniel Perry, Price Stone Cover Photographer Penny Lancaster Advisory Board

Mark Farrar, Sam Felker, Scott Glasgow, Joseph McLean Gregory, Lisa Howe, Rana Mukherji, Gordon Publow, Chris Robinette, Jeff Rymer, Jim Schmidt

I love that we are not all the same; we’re different in a good way. If we all spoke out with one voice, imagine how much we could rock this place! Fortunately, we’re already starting to come together and create an amazing movement. We have some great people, like our Local Stars, who are already working together and Giving Back to the community to get the right Politics in place. There are so many others fighting the good fight and celebrating our community’s diversity that we couldn’t fit them all in this issue. So like us on Facebook and look for our upcoming online exclusives at Remember, we’re all in this together, and we can accomplish great things when we stand hand in hand and UNITE. *B:)



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Cover Rod Stewart LOCAL STARS Ryan Whipkey  Wresch Dawidjan  Mayor Karl Dean  NOW Chamber Chat  BUSINESS Suze Orman Advocating for Partners GIVING BACK The Victory Fund  Politics Victory in Chattanooga  DINING The Southern  Health Summer Power Foods Music Sherrie Austin  Culture TPAC’s New Season  Look Book Light  Out Destination Knoxville  Style Dylan Stephens  Book Review Another F-Word 

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Chamber Chat by Ben Rock

More than a year has passed since Lisa Howe took her position as executive director of the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and she has accomplished a lot in the past 14 months. “When I first started, increasing membership was my priority,” Howe said, “and we’ve managed to triple membership from less than 60 to over 165 members. I also knew there needed to be greater value in a GLBT Chamber membership. Other than a new website, the other programs and initiatives have taken longer to identify and develop.” These new initiatives include increased business to business discounts for Chamber members as well as the recently returned Excellence in Business Awards. “The Chamber just reintroduced the Excellence in Business Awards presented by CURB Records at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center,” Howe said. “There were six award categories that received nominations, were scored by a committee, and were voted on by the members.” Another of the Chamber’s new programs is an upcoming, 15-month Diversity Supplier Initiative (DSI). “The purpose of the initiative is to identify and certify LGBT-owned businesses, raise awareness among procurement

managers, and facilitate the networking process between LGBT Business Enterprise’s and corporate partners,” Howe explained. “This already happens at the national level, and we want to play our part in Nashville. The initiative will consist of quarterly sessions for the LGBT business owners.” The first session is with Sam McClure from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; she will explain the how’s and why’s of LGBTBE certification. The second session is with Michelle Lane from the Metro Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance. “Keep an eye on the Chamber website and calendar for dates, times, and locations for the DSI workshops,” Howe said. “At the 2014 Business Awards, all LGBTBE’s will be announced by the founding partner of the NGLBTCC Diversity Supplier Initiative.”

Howe is also looking for a founding partner and corporate partners to help the Chamber fund the Diversity Supplier Initiative. Her plan is for the initiative to culminate in summer 2014 with a procurement summit that will resemble a job fair where the procurement managers will have display tables and minority business owners can work the room in search of the right business partners. “I’m looking forward to working with the new 2013 Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors,” Howe added. The new board includes President Jeremy Davis, Executive Vice President Bradley Pinson, Secretary Scotty Glasgow, Treasurer Cathy Werthan, and At-Large Members T. Burton, Jason Facio, Brian Fitzpatrick, Bruce Pittman, Bo Robertson, Pam Sheffer, and Sheika Taylor.



Why Marriage Inequality Costs the U.S. by Suze Orman

That nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage is encouraging progress for those of us who believe that everyone deserves to have basic civil rights. But, even if every state in the country could pass a similar legislation, it would not be enough. What we need is for our federal government to step up and make this basic right a law of the land. Beyond the social discrimination, the refusal of our federal government to legally recognize same-sex marriages imposes steep financial penalties on same-sex couples. That two of the most costly penalties are triggered upon the death of one partner just adds to the ache of the senseless discrimination. I have been with my partner, Kathy Travis, for 12 years. If I am lucky, I will spend the rest of my life living and sharing my joys and happiness with her. We have worked very hard as a team to save for our future together and consider everything we have as equally owned by the other. If the federal government recognized same-sex marriage, then when one of us dies our assets would seamlessly transfer free of tax to the survivor. That’s a basic right that every heterosexual married couple has.

This spring, the Supreme Court will weigh in on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court needs to do the right


photo courtesy of Suze Orman

But because there is no federal recognition of samesex marriage, if I die first, or vice versa, before either of us can inherit what is now jointly our assets, there would be a federal estate tax bill that one of us would currently have to pay. Again, to be clear: if we were a heterosexual married couple, there would be no estate tax regardless of the size of the estate or who died first.

thing and end discrimination against gay couples. We all have 83-year-old Edith Windsor to thank for in pushing the issue of same-sex marriage equality on to the national front. Edie and her partner, Thea, were together for 40 years. How many marriages do you know that have lasted that long? But when Thea died in 2009, Edie was hit with a $363,000 federal estate tax bill because, as a samesex couple, they were not eligible for the unlimited marital deduction. Are we really a nation that says it is fair and just to demand Edie pay a $363,000 penalty because she is gay? There’s another penalty that’s even worse. Regardless of the size of their estates, every gay couple is discriminated against when it comes to Social Security benefits. Married heterosexual couples can maximize their Social Security retirement benefits by taking advantage of the highest-earner’s benefit. When both spouses are alive, the lower earner can opt to collect a monthly benefit check that is equal to 50% of his or her spouse’s benefit. For many married couples, that 50% spousal benefit is often much higher than what the lower-wage-earning spouse could collect based on his or her own earnings record. Most important, when the high earner dies, the surviving spouse is allowed to collect 100% of the deceased’s higher benefit. Because same-sex marriages aren’t recognized on the federal level, gay and lesbian couples are not eligible for Social Security spousal benefits. The lower earner cannot claim any benefits based on the higher earner’s benefit. A heterosexual couple married for just a few months is able to collect a federal benefit that same-sex couples who have been together for decades can’t. Are we really a nation that says that is fair? Beyond those two glaring death penalties, health insurance is another area of severe federal financial discrimination against gay couples. I am so glad to see more employers extending health insurance benefits to same-sex partners. But because same-sex couples are not considered legally married under the eyes of the federal government, the dollar value of the health coverage is considered taxable income. A 2007 study estimated that this gay health insurance penalty costs same-sex couples an aggregate $178 million ($1,069 per household), while employers paid an additional $57 million in payroll tax on that taxable income. No heterosexual married couple or their employers pay that penalty. Again, are we really a nation that says that is fair? The social and civil discrimination that persists as long as our federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage is inexcusable. Add in the financial discrimination gay and lesbian couples face and the current policy becomes all the more indefensible.

Suze Orman has been called “a force in the world of personal finance” and a “one-woman financial advice powerhouse” by USA Today. A two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, New York Times mega bestselling author, magazine and online columnist, writer/producer, and one of the top motivational speakers in the world today, Orman is undeniably America’s most recognized expert on personal finance.

Advocating for Same Sex Partners Financial and Legal Issues • Estate Protection • Personal Protection • Income Protection • Tax Protection • Investment Protection An industry leader in educating clients, peers, and adult learners in estate planning and wealth transfer, Frank C. Weightman, PH.D., CEP, is a strong advocate for the Nashville LGBT. His office is located at 341 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067, 615.261.4632. Securities and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. Radian Partners is not affiliated with FSC or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.

Recognized by Forbes Magazine as an industry leader in educating clients, peers, and adult learners in estate planning and wealth transfer, Frank C. Weightman, PH.D., CEP, is a strong advocate for the Nashville LGBT. Office is located at 341 Cool Springs Blvd. Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067 615.261.4632. Securities and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. Radian Partners is not affiliated with FSC or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.


Advocating for Same-Sex Partners Financial and Legal Issues

Your Financial Life You have five areas in your financial life: • Estate Protection: wills, trusts, other legal documents to clarify relationships and protect your assets • Personal Protection: life insurance, long-term care, disability insurance • Income Protection: projected to and through retirement to keep from running out of money • Tax Protection: staying current on tax law changes and not paying more than your fair share • Investment protection: insuring that you are not taking more investment risk that your risk tolerance and time horizon indicate All five areas need to be integrated and coordinated so they work together. For example take your income need: taxation, investment, and income source are all bound together like a rope; touching one means touching all three. An independent financial advisor, one with fiduciary responsibility for putting your interest ahead of his or her own, should be able to guide you. Ask about licensing, experience, how he or she is paid, any complaints or violations, conflicts of interest, etc., as you interview.

by Franklin C. Weightman, Ph.D., C.E.P. If you are part of a same-sex couple, you may lack many of the legal protections and advantages that married couples automatically receive. You might face many issues involving money, insurance, property ownership, parental rights, estate planning, and taxes. If you are a part of a gay or lesbian couple, you could face additional issues in all these areas. Although opposite-sex couples may be unmarried by choice, gay or lesbian couples have no alternative since marriage for same-sex couples is not yet legal in most states. Because of the many issues you may face as unmarried partners, you need to take extra steps to secure a solid financial future for your partner and yourself. You must create your own legal safeguards through domestic partner agreements, property ownership as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, wills, living trusts, powers of attorney for health care and finances, and documents to safeguard your parental rights. In this regard, a team of financial and legal professionals may be of real value in guiding you.


Areas of Vulnerability Here are the areas in which same sex couples may experience difficulties: • Money Issues: separate or combined assets? • Life Insurance: how will one partner be cared for after the other dies? • Health Insurance: through employer, cost benefit analysis needed? • Property Ownership: property documented, income as property, untitled property? • Estate Planning: wills, trusts, taxation, gifting, power of attorney (general durable and for healthcare), avoiding probate? • Tax Issues: filing status, head of household, property transfer implications for gift and estate taxes?

Tips to Reduce Confusion • Consult a financial advisor who has established relationships with estate attorneys. • Go to visit together and be prepared to discuss how you think and feel about the five areas of your financial life. • Do NOT procrastinate. If you do, procrastination wins by default and your loved ones may be left in the lurch.

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Rob Sikorski, David Taylor, Jim Schmidt, Maria Salas & Paul Hoffmann.

The Victory Fund Supporting the Candidates YOU Want by A.J. Busé


photo by Adam Canada

You’ve gone to the polls, pulled the lever for the candidates you wanted to elect and proudly sported your “I voted” sticker. But have you given much thought to how those local LGBT candidates got on the ballot in the first place? Chances are it was because of the Victory Fund, a group with the sole purpose of helping to get viable LGBT candidates elected to public office at the local, state, and federal levels. It is the group’s laserfocused attention to this mission that makes their work so effective. The Victory Fund is a national organization that began in 1991 when a group of Human Rights Campaign leaders decided there needed to be a more intentional effort to have lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates in public office. Local businessman and entrepreneur David Taylor was elected to the board of directors a few years ago before joining the national Victory Fund Campaign Board, which focuses on endorsing and raising money for candidates. One of Taylor’s first tasks was to recruit lobbyist and political expert Jim Schmidt to join him. That decision paid off as Schmidt has since become a national leader in the organization, serving as co-chair of the Campaign Board for two years. Others members of the Victory Campaign Board include Paul Hoffmann, Maria Salas, and Rob Sikorski. There are currently eight openly gay congress persons at the national level, one in the Senate and seven in the House of Representatives—a number that has doubled since the previous election. Now, the Victory Fund is working with mayoral candidates in several cities, including Houston, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle, and can boast that it has helped LGBT candidates get elected.

“I really enjoy this kind of work,” says Sikorski. “Beyond working with allies, we are working with actual LGBT people who are better at representing us and changing the political conversation.” Tennessee’s first openly gay elected official was Keith Durban, who won a seat in Nashville’s Metro Council in 2007. The Victory Fund also helped David Glasgow and Nancy VanReece with fundraising, campaign advice, and election training in their narrowly lost bids for office. The group even supported Tennessee’s first openly gay official to win a contested race as Chattanooga City Councilor Chris Anderson recently beat an incumbent council member with 56% of the vote. “Having open LGBT people in office impacts change nationally,” Salas says, emphasizing the demographic’s importance. “We have someone at the table who can work with opposite-minded officials. It helps squelch the negative talk and provides someone to offer an alternative viewpoint.”

Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, Green—the nonpartisan Victory Fund doesn’t care. Republicans have even been known to donate to some Democratic campaigns when the candidate has been endorsed by the Victory Fund—and vice versa. “Dollar for dollar, it’s one of the best investments you can make,” says Schmidt, “because we provide a local-led strategy with national support that results in nationwide change. Our small staff is very effective, very efficient, and linked into the national conversation. “We don’t stray from our mission at all.” What is the Victory Fund focusing on next? The group hopes to have someone run for the Tennessee state legislature or for a highlevel office in one of the state’s largest cities. “Or convince someone already in office to come out,” quips Salas. “We can help with that, too.”

“Openly gay legislators affect tangible change,” says Hoffmann, echoing Salas’s words. Hoffmann is the newest member of this team and has been a table captain at two of the annual Nashville brunch fundraising events. The next brunch is scheduled for September 29 at the Hutton Hotel. This dedicated group does more than raise campaign funds, however. Much of their work is focused on identifying and recruiting potential viable candidates and ensuring that those who do run for public office are qualified and have the support in place to win the election. “The national Victory Fund office provides training for candidates,” explains Taylor. “This teaches them how to run an effective campaign, how to run a successful fund-raiser, or how to run away! The programs provided by VF are strategic enough to provide the right resources for the right candidates.”

Victory Fund: Nashville Champagne Brunch Sunday, September 29, 2013 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Hutton Hotel For information on becoming a sponsor or table sponsor, contact


Victory in Chattanooga by Jim Schmidt

On March 5, a little bit of Tennessee history occurred in Chattanooga. After a hard fought campaign, Chris Anderson became Tennessee’s only openly LGBT candidate for office to win a contested election. Tennessee has had two other openly LGBT elected officials previously, Keith Durbin who served on Nashville’s Metro Council before being appointed as the city’s chief technology officer by Mayor Karl Dean, and Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan of Memphis. Anderson, 32, announced his bid for Chattanooga City Council over a year ago and took on a two term incumbent conservative council member. He is a lifelong Chattanoogan and serves as the director of food and beverage services for the Bluff View Arts District in downtown Chattanooga. By focusing on a vision of safe streets, good jobs, and strong neighborhoods, the candidate managed to win his election by 300 votes. Realizing that it was best to be open and upfront with the socially progressive district in conservative Chattanooga, Anderson made no secret of his sexual orientation but certainly didn’t focus on it during the campaign. “This district just wanted good leadership and a voice for Chattanooga first, not necessarily to make history,” he said. “On one hand, it’s rather humbling,” Anderson said, elaborating on his victory. “On the other, it’s an opportunity to show that we are just as capable as heterosexuals at representing the best interests of all people. I’m proud of who I am and proud that my district is full of open-minded, thoughtful citizens.” Along with victory come many obstacles. The crime problem in Anderson’s district is a growing concern. “I’ve already begun working with the new mayor and council as well as representatives at other levels of government to make sure our streets and homes are safe again.” Additionally, he is working with several groups to offer incentives for job creation in his district and stated that road repair and other public works projects will begin later this year. Anderson had many supporters throughout his campaign, most notably The Victory Fund. “I had volunteers and donors of all ages, races, orientations, and income levels,” he said. “Most of my donors gave less than $100 each over the course of the race, and many of them were also volunteering with me to knock on doors and make phone calls. My campaign team was diverse, dedicated, and capable—just like the community that elected me.”

photo courtesy of Chris Anderson

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Currently a 25-year-old, fourth-year political science and secondary education major at APSU, Whipkey began his involvement with Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) a few years back when he discovered his goals and those of TEP ran congruent. TEP is a statewide organization dedicated to promoting and sustaining the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in Tennessee through the establishment of fair and equitable laws protecting their rights and the elimination of laws that would seek to counter the organization’s efforts. “I live for the LGBT community and others,” Whipkey said. “I have always put the interest of others above my own, because I believe if we are living only for ourselves, then we are not living.” Having taken part in TEP’s Advancing Equality Day on the Hill, Olympus, and various speaking engagements, Whipkey has garnered the knowledge and experience to take the purpose of TEP and advocate beyond its boundaries. During this year’s Advancing Equality Day on the Hill on March 12, he was among those meeting with lawmakers to discuss bills important to the LGBT community. At the upcoming Olympus event at the Parthenon on September 21, he plans to be one of many discussing the current issues in the community through the celebratory eyes of the goddess Athena. Whipkey’s leadership is perhaps best exemplified by what he has done in his participation with Austin Peay’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). The mission of the group is “to support those dealing with issues of sexuality and gender, resist homophobia through example and education, and strive to prevent homophobia in our lives and on our campus. We invite all students to join and participate, and as always, we make no assumption about a person’s sexuality in our organization.”

Ryan Whipkey

As president of the organization since 2011, Whipkey has advanced the group’s membership from five members to over 40 members and 300 supporters. The GSA was named APSU’s Organization of the Year for the 2011 – 2012 calendar year.

Fighting for Equality

“My first year as president of GSA, I decided that creating a drag show would be a great fundraiser and also educate the campus about the LGBT and drag communities,” Whipkey said about the organization’s biggest philanthropic event. Over 350 people supported the first show, which benefitted the Oasis Center of Middle Tennessee. This year’s show was headlined by Brad Fennel, who is commonly referred to as the best Reba impersonator in the country. Whipkey is also active in the College Democrats, Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Students for Secular Humanism, and the Student Minority Affairs Club, among others.

by Dan J. Groover


photo by Beth Ligget Photography

Though he may be young, Ryan Whipkey has already established himself as an advocate for Middle Tennessee’s LGBT community. Through his participation in Tennessee Equality Project, his guidance of Austin Peay State University’s Gay Straight Alliance, and various other groups, Whipkey truly demonstrates what it means to be a leader.

“In the future, I plan to do political advocating for LGBT rights,” he said. “Tennessee has been my home since I was less than a year old, and there is much work that can be done here.”

“My first year as president of GSA, I decided that creating a drag show would be a great fundraiser and also educate the campus about the LGBT and drag communities.�


The Southern Steak & Oyster Sensory Overload Southern Style by John Winnett The Southern Steak & Oyster is a fine example of how our senses can guide the dining experience. Oversized doors with wrought iron S-curved door handles, the intoxicating smell of a grill greeting you in the doorway, and servers in old school plaid shirts let you know a treat is in store. Downtown may have once been known for its honkytonk bars and average food, but Tom Morales is surely changing that with The Southern in the heart of SoBro at 150 3rd Avenue South. The restaurant’s friendly wait staff ensures diners enjoy a relaxed and flavorful Southern dinner before taking on the hustle and bustle of Broadway. The appetizer choice is simple—oysters. The Southern offers a wide selection of raw oysters on the half shell, but for those who must have them cooked, chargrilled is an option. The experience of watching your oysters being shucked fresh at the bar and then served table side over a bed of rock salt is simply a sheer pleasure. Add a dash of hot sauce, a dollop of cocktail sauce, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, and maybe a saltine cracker. Then, take a moment to savor and enjoy the flavors combing together in one simple bite. The Devil of an Egg—smoked hard-boiled eggs doused in Louisiana hot sauce and served with rooster pepper remoulade and pickled veggies—left a lot to be desired. Candidly, it tasted like every other picnic deviled egg with a dash of hot sauce—simple, yet nothing special. The flavors of fresh lump crab cake, hominy red pepper relish, and chili-lime beurre blanc is just what your mouth will experience with the Bayou Crab Cake, but you will be yearning for more since the portion size is only one small crab cake topped with micro greens.


The crab cake had one problem: there isn’t another one on the plate. When it comes to dinner...have fun with it! Creativity is definitely showcased in the Nudie Suit steak option. Diners walk up to the butcher block, talk with the meat cutter, and custom choose their portion size by ounce from the daily steak selection. You truly get to tailor your steak to your individual appetite. The entrée is served with hand-cut fries and grilled asparagus, or you can add it to another dish. I ordered the Cuban expecting a traditional sandwich, and what a surprise I received! The Southern’s version of the Cuban is an all-in-one dish with pan-fried, mojo-marinated pork tenderloin, black beans, yellow rice, and skillet debris topped with two fried eggs. It’s a bowl full of powerful flavors that elevate the traditional sandwich to the next level in both taste and presentation. On a separate dinner visit, I was truly in a carnivorous southern comfort type of mood. The grilled prime sirloin with green peppercorn aioli and French fries hit the spot. The steak was cooked medium rare to absolute perfection. This entrée is an example of just how food left in its simplest form with a little salt and pepper can be the best food you eat. Another true highlight of this restaurant is its weekend brunch menu. It highlights one of my favorite dishes from the menu, Fried Green Tomatoes Benedict. With a twist on the traditional Eggs Benedict, the ham is replaced with a perfectly fried green tomato on buttery and flaky biscuits with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. While I would never have thought of replacing meat with green tomatoes, this is truly one of the most rich and flavorful combinations. You may never go back to the traditional version after sampling this one.

150 3rd Ave S #110 Nashville, TN 37201 (615) 724-1762


photos by MyL Pack for MPACK Photography

HRC Equality Dinner & VIP Pre-Party



Some Guys Really Do Have All the Luck


by Joey Amato

Few artists have enjoyed a career spanning multiple decades with as much success as Rod Stewart. He most recently visited Nashville along with fellow rocker Stevie Nicks as part of their co-headlining tour; however, Stewart is now celebrating the launch of his latest album, Time, his first to feature all original material in 15 years. The “Maggie May” crooner’s last original album was 1998’s When We Were the New Boys, but he soon after suffered a severe case of writers block, which ultimately resulted in Stewart releasing a string of highly successful songbook albums. The venture turned out to be some of Stewart’s most acclaimed works to date. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until recently that Stewart began writing again. “My assumption was that I was finished as a songwriter,” he said. “It had always been difficult, and then, at some point in the 1990s, my confidence took a knock, and it became impossible. I was thinking too hard about what people expected from me.” The multiple Grammy Awardwinner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee had written dozens of notable hit songs over the course of his career including “Tonight’s the Night,” “You Wear It Well,” and “You’re in My Heart,” but he had found it difficult to focus on writing new material. “I was trapped down all sorts of unhelpful mental alleys, basically,” he said. “I convinced myself that I had made the best of the little bit of talent for songwriting that I had been given, but now it was over—time to move on.” photo by Penny Lancaster

The craft of songwriting lured Stewart from the beginning. As a young teenager charged with

minding his father’s London newspaper shop, Stewart would put up the “Closed” sign so he wouldn’t be disturbed, sit with an acoustic guitar, and attempt to decode and master every track on the first Bob Dylan album. Yet, in the mid-1960s, in the small, hot British blues clubs in which Stewart did his formal vocalist’s apprenticeship, it wasn’t about writing your own songs. It was about wringing every drop of soul out of Ray Charles’s “The Night Time Is the Right Time,” so Stewart’s songwriting ambitions took a back seat. It wasn’t until Stewart joined The Faces that he began getting into his stride as a writer. Along with lifelong friend Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, he penned multiple chart-topping classics, including “Stay with Me,” “Every Picture Tells a Story,” and “Gasoline Alley.” In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Stewart’s solo career skyrocketed thanks to a string of chart-toppers he wrote: “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, “Infatuation,” “Baby Jane,” “Hot Legs,” and “Forever Young.” Stewart spent the first decade of the new century cutting his own path through the Great American Songbook, realizing a long-held ambition to put perhaps popular music’s least boundary-hindered voice to the classic ballads and swing tunes he heard glowing from the radiogram in his childhood London home. At an age when most of his peers were just happy to be hanging in there, Stewart sold more records than in any other decade of his career. Then, when least expected, Stewart received a call from an old friend, guitarist Jim Cregan, proposing a casual writing session. His reaction wasn’t

photo by Penny Lancaster

exactly one of excitement. “To be perfectly frank, I was rather looking forward to a Sunday afternoon post-lunch snooze,” Stewart said with a laugh. A couple of days into their writing session, Cregan sent Stewart a recording of their efforts thus far. “I played it, and the title Brighton Beach dropped into my head—from nowhere, as titles always used to and for no reason I could put my finger on,” Stewart said. “Right then, I started writing a lyric about taking the train down to the South Coast of England as a young, beatnik kid with an acoustic guitar and sleeping on the beach and falling in love and the sheer romance of that time. And very quickly—much quicker than I was used to—I found myself with a finished song.” This coincided with the time Stewart was working on what would become his internationally best-selling autobiography, Rod, published in October 2012. “Something about that process of reviewing my life for the book reconnected me,” he said. “And that was it: I was away. Suddenly, ideas for lyrics were

piling up in my head. Next thing I knew, I had a song called ‘It’s Over,’ about divorce and separation. And now I was getting up in the middle of the night and scrambling for a pen to write things down, which has never happened to me,” he explained. “I finished seven or eight songs very quickly, and I still wasn’t done. It became apparent that I would eventually have a whole album of material to record, which had never happened before. It’s tended to be four or five songs per album at most.” The sound is classic Rod Stewart: lots of mandolins, fiddle guitars, and of course, bagpipes. Standout tracks include the album opener “She Makes Me Happy,” and the rocking “Can’t Stop Me Now.” Of the overdue return, Stewart said, “It was clear out of the blue. Something clicked, and I realized I had things to write about again and things I wanted to sing about.” Stewart will begin his global tour later this year and is still on a mission to go down in the record books as the world’s oldest practicing soccer player and a songwriter once more.



Wresch Dawidjan An Encore in Prime Time by Jessica Gibson

been open about his bisexuality and met Gary soon after his divorce. The two men became lovers and companions over the next 37 years, but it was Dawidjan’s love of music that formed the basis of his life after marriage.

photo courtesy of Wresch Dawidjan

With a face wreathed in silvery gray ringlets and sporting a Van Dyke mustache, the immediate impression one gets of Wresch Dawidjan is of a cherubic personality with a rakish flair—one eye patch away from a memorable character in an Anne Rice novel. He laughs often and speaks with a rich baritone that infuses warmth into his conversation. His biography only adds to that initial impression. Born in Munich, Germany, Dawidjan moved with his family to Massachusetts when he was four years old. He doesn’t remember much about the trip except that he got lost on the ocean liner, causing a very frantic search by his panicked parents. He developed an early interest in music that led to his role as a bugler in a local drum and bugle corp, and then he joined the Navy as a young man, getting married shortly after his enlistment. After seven years of marriage and soon after the birth of his daughter, Dawidjan and his wife were divorced. He had always


He and Gary had moved to North Carolina, with Gary teaching at a nearby college while Dawidjan got his degree from the University of North Carolina. “At that time, I wanted to be a travel agent,” he recalled, “and so I said, ‘I have to go to travel agent school.’ The travel agent school was located in Washington, D.C. I finished that up, and I became a travel agent. Well, guess what? I hated it!” Dawidjan was a travel agent for about six months while also working as a clerk in a record store. “I always really loved music, always paid attention to music, so I loved working in a record store,” he said. “I left the travel agency, and I became full-time at the music store, Discount Records in Washington, D.C. Eventually, I became buyer and then manager, and I worked at that for years. I was in control of the disco department. I had my own clientele coming all the time.” Dawidjan would make sample cassettes for his customers so they could hear the music before they bought it. “They loved that!” he said. “I had this big clientele built up, and one day I decided, ‘What am I doing? Why don’t I open

“That was a really good part of my life...” up my own store?’” After a few years, he opened Twelve Inches Dance Records on DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. The business was so successful that he decided to open a second location in Baltimore. Dawidjan thrived with his business for about eighteen years. The store was located in the bar district, and he would pipe music out onto the street for the partiers. He would receive “test pressings,” advance copies of albums about to be released, and would give them to the DJs, asking them to give the records a quick listen. The DJs would put them on, and Dawidjan came to love the fabulous feeling of having a crowd go wild with a record he introduced. “That was a really good part of my life,” he said. “I was happy then. I enjoyed owning a record store. Then, everything changed. Napster happened, and the internet sort of took me out of business.” He still sells music on eBay, using the entity that undermined his brick and mortar establishment to stay in the game he loves so much. After Twelve Inches Dance Records was shuttered and his relationship with Gary ended, Dawidjan came to Nashville to be closer to his daughter. That was when his encore began. With a bit of money saved over from the business, he bought an apartment and car and started looking for groups and social clubs online. Having seen his former lover, Gary, automatically find a set of friends after becoming involved in a Prime Timers chapter soon after their breakup, Dawidjan knew the group could do the same for him in his new city. “That’s what I like about Prime Timers,” he said of the organization for mature gay and bisexual men and their admirers. “It’s really good for people who are new in town, who don’t know too many people. It’s good

for people who have been here for a long time, but are maybe homebodies, if they decide they want to get out and meet people and start doing things.” Dawidjan tried to start a local Prime Timers chapter soon after arriving in Nashville but just couldn’t get it going. Then, about three years ago, he was at a potluck at OutCentral for mature men 55 years and older. He presented the idea to start a Prime Timers chapter, and several men there agreed. The stars had finally aligned, and within a week, a board was formed, selecting Dawidjan to be president. He takes his duties seriously and works overtime making sure there is a steady and full calendar of activities each month so members can meet, socialize, and simply enjoy the company of other like-minded people. The group is very cognizant of the fact that most members are retired, so they try to keep the events low-cost or no-cost. Three years into the chapter’s life, the Nashville Prime Timers are an active and supportive group for those gay and bisexual men who are finding that being mature and on Medicare doesn’t mean that life is over. Not yet. “The whole concept with the Prime Timers is to make friends,” Dawidjan said. “I’ve made some good friends, and I’m really happy about it. I want to give that opportunity to the other guys.” For now, Dawidjan stays busy, serving on the board of the Ryan White Planning Council (in charge of distributing HIV funds to organizations in Tennessee) and as the president of the Greater Nashville chapter of Prime Timers. And that’s how he likes it. “I’m 67 years old now,” he said. “You know, I think if you keep yourself going, you keep yourself active, you’re gonna be around awhile.”


GLBT Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awards

photos by MyL Pack for MPACK Photography


profile, it has only added to the excitement and renaissance taking place in Nashville. “There are many developments going on and they are all important to the forward momentum of the city,” Dean explained. “Obviously, the first one is the Music City Center, the city’s new 2.1 million square-foot convention center, which opens this month.” Due to its larger size, the Music City Center will be able to host 75 percent of conventions in the country, compared to the 25 percent that can be accommodated at the Nashville Convention Center. “People are excited about the building,” Dean said. “It’s environmentally sound with green features including solar panels and a green roof. The building is on track to receive LEED Silver certification.” Major features include a public art collection comprising more than 80 pieces and a 57,500 square-foot grand ballroom, which seats 6,000 people.

photo by Anthony Scarlati, courtesy of Nashville Arts Magazine

Mayor Karl Dean Celebrating Diversity in the “It City” by Joey Amato At the helm of one of Condé Nast’s “5 Best Places to Go in 2013” and an economic powerhouse in health care, education, and entertainment sits a man whose mission is unparalleled to his predecessors and whose vision is to help sculpt Nashville into a world-class destination. Mayor Karl Dean is a man with the determination to garner worldwide recognition for Music City. While a top-rated television show has helped increase the city’s


“Nowhere else in the world can you have dinner at a worldclass restaurant, see a live show at the Mother Church of Country Music, and then end your night having a beer in the same honkytonks that the likes of Patsy Cline and Kris Kristofferson used to visit. People want to come here for that experience,” he said. “I’m particularly proud that we built the new convention center during the recession and that many people were employed as a result of that process. It’s a good investment in our city.”

On Transportation Nashville’s public transportation has been a much talked about subject recently. Dean explained that a city such as ours needs mass transit for two reasons. The first is to maintain and protect its citizens’ quality of life and, second, to enhance economic development. It has been projected that by 2035, the Nashville region will add almost

one million new residents. “Our city can’t build its way out of the traffic congestion that will inevitably result from all these new residents and commuters,” he said. “We have to find ways to increase the capacity of our existing infrastructure, and the only way to do that is through mass transit.” Dean added that Nashville competes with other cities like Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, for new businesses, and each of those cities is ahead of Nashville when it comes to mass transit. “We have to provide more transit services that give people a real alternative to their car, that’s competitive with cars in terms of convenience and travel time.” The solution is a bus rapid transit system, called “The Amp,” that uses technology and limited infrastructure improvements to provide quicker, more efficient service.

On Education Education is one of the most pressing issues Karl Dean is facing. He predicts that over the next 20 years, Nashville will fair very well compared to the rest of the country if it is able to produce and attract college graduates. “I want Nashville to be the type of city where people move here because public education is a plus factor,” he said. “I want it to be a city where major companies relocate here because education is a plus factor. That’s my goal.” Improving the quality of public education has been the mayor’s top priority since he first campaigned for office. “While we have seen some noteworthy improvements in education in the past several years, in both our graduation rate and in a reduction of our truancy rate, for example, our schools remain a concern,” Dean said. “Tennessee ranks very low nationally in

the area of education, and Nashville ranks low as a city in many categories.” For example, in 2012, Tennessee was 49th nationally in composite ACT score, ahead of only Mississippi. Dean explained that Nashville’s composite score was lower than the composites of all the surrounding counties and lower even than Mississippi’s composite. “That is not acceptable,” he said, “and we need to work together to improve our schools.”

On Diversity “I think Nashville will continue to be increasingly diverse,” Dean said. “It will be a city that will have a very strong core. I think neighborhoods will continue to flourish and be strong. That’s a trend that has gone on for several years and will only magnify over the course of the next 10 years. I think Nashville will be known as one of the best cities in the United States to visit. It’ll be a city that will be on everyone’s list of places they want to be.” Over the past 10 – 15 years, Nashville has become an increasingly diverse city in part because of the leadership of Mayor Dean. There have been two telling experiences since he took office that highlight this change. The first would be the rejection of the “English Only” proposal in 2009, which would have made English the official language of local government, ultimately excluding and marginalizing non-English speakers. “The city made a decision that we would be a welcoming, open, and friendly city that understands and embraces diversity,” Dean said. “A broad coalition of members of this community came together in that effort: religious leaders of all stripes, business and labor, political leaders, and those who had not engaged in the

political process before but were motivated to action by a desire to keep Nashville a welcoming place to live and work. That was one of my proudest moments as mayor in my first term.” The second thing was the city’s response to the 2010 flood. “To me, the response to the Nashville flood gives us all a certain sense of confidence that we probably didn’t have before, a sense of unity, a sense of community.” Mayor Dean has always been an advocate for LGBT rights since the beginning of his term, having spoken at numerous events, including this year’s HRC dinner. “The fact that there are different viewpoints in urban areas versus other parts of the state is similar to what you will find in every state in the country,” he said. “My job is to look out for Nashville, and I am very proud Nashville adopted a policy that we would not discriminate based on sexual-orientation in employment. That’s the right thing to do, and I think Nashvillians are proud of it. “As the mayor of our city, I think it’s vitally important for a city to be diversity-friendly, open, and to be a city that is attractive to people wanting to relocate either themselves individually or relocate companies. People want to live in cities where diversity is welcomed and people are made to feel welcome. That is important not only for the sense of community, but it’s also important for the city’s economic development. photo by Eric England, coutesy of Nashville City Paper

“The LGBT community will always be welcome in Nashville,” he continued, “and they will love it here. It is a beautiful city with culture, a variety of restaurants, great universities, and of course, our important music scene. It’s a city that is diverse and getting more diverse each day. There’s a reason the New York Times called us the ‘It’ city.”


MAY 23-25

Cirque Musica blends the grace and thrills of the world’s greatest circus performers with


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Watermelon Sorbet


Sizzlin’ Summer Power Foods by Mark Allyn Nimmo

Summer is the perfect time for pool parties, barbecues, and beach vacations. It’s a time to show off that swimsuit body you worked so hard for. It is also the time you start to back pedal by eating foods that accompany all those great summer activities. By making smart choices about what you eat, you will not only be able to hang on to the perfect beach body but also improve your health for years to come.


This delicious fruit has made a name for itself within our culture as the summer time desert; with only 46 calories per cup, feel free to splurge. Watermelon is the best source of the antioxidant lycopene, which lowers the risk of some cancers and reduces your risk of developing muscular degeneration and cardiovascular disease. With its high amounts of potassium, watermelon can help control blood pressure, regulate heartbeat, and may prevent stroke, kidney stones, and age-related bone loss.

Summer power foods are a great way to enjoy the best parts of summer without the unwanted guilt that accompanies the “All-American” cookout. But what is a Power Food? Power foods are any food high in nutrients or phytochemical content that may enhance health and with few properties considered to be negative (e.g., high in saturated fats or artificial ingredients, food additives, and contaminants). For a double whammy, buying these power foods locally has the added benefit of controlling seasonal allergies and supporting local farms. Easily incorporate power foods into your diet by substituting them into your favorite summer time dishes, or try new ones from friends and family.


Turkey, Feta, and Spinach Burger


This delicious fruit—and yes, it is considered a fruit—is one of the best foods you could possibly eat anytime throughout the year. One quarter of a medium-sized avocado has about 50 calories and provides you with a healthy dose of potassium and heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Potassium lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, while heart-healthy fats reduce levels of bad cholesterol. Avocados also contain lutein, a powerful antioxidant that helps with eyesight and protects against breast cancer.

Chunky Guacamole


Your parents were not lying when they said that eating your spinach will help you grow big and strong. This leafy green in packed full of vitamin K, which decreases inflammation and may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The ample amounts of vitamins B6 and C it contains play a vital role in the production of dopamine and serotonin. These hormones are associated with pleasure and controlling depression and anxiety. With only 41 calories per uncooked cup, this vegetable is the leading source of magnesium, an important mineral that helps maintain strong bones and prevents chronic diseases like coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is an excellent source of protein. In fact 4 oz. offers about 65% of your daily recommendation of protein but with half the saturated fat as ground beef. Ground turkey is also rich in vitamin B (which is a great source of niacin) and B6. These vitamins are essential for energy production; however, niacin helps convert fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy while assisting in blood sugar regulation. The more fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that are being converted into energy, the less there is being stored as fat in your trouble areas. Ground turkey is also rich in selenium, which has been linked to cancer prevention.

Recipes for all of the food pictured here can be found at Try one at your next cookout and be amazed at how delicious, yet good for you, they are!

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Sherrie Austin has been in the entertainment business since she was a teenager. At age 14, she opened for Johnny Cash in Australia. Then, she moved to the United States and landed a role on The Facts of Life as “Pippa McKenna.” She also guest-starred in The Prince of Bel-Air. Austin signed her first record deal shortly after moving to Nashville, and her solo debut album, Words, was released in 1997. “Lucky in Love,” “One Solitary Tear,” and “Put Your Heart Into It” all charted within the Top 40. Love in the Real World followed in 1999 and included “Never Been Kissed” and “Little Bird.” After signing a new record deal, Austin’s next album, Streets of Heaven, was released in 2003. The heart-wrenching title track is her highest charting single to date and continues to resonate with fans.

photo courtesy of Sherrie Austin


In 2005, Austin headed to Broadway and was cast in both Bonnie & Clyde and Ring of Fire—the Johnny Cash Musical Show. Back in

Nashville, she continued to earn cuts from her country music peers: Trace Adkins (“If I Were a Woman,” featuring Blake Shelton), Tim McGraw (“Shotgun Rider,” featuring Faith Hill), Danielle Peck (“Bad For Me”), Blake Shelton (“Startin’ Fires”), and George Strait (“Where Have I Been All My Life?”), among others. In 2011, she returned to television as a main cast member in Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. Music ultimately brought Austin back to Nashville, and she began work on her latest album, Circus Girl. Since its release, Austin has noticed the gravitation toward “Tryin’ to Be Me,” the second track on Circus Girl. “Sometimes music or a song can speak to a heart in a way that the spoken word can’t. That’s what I attempted to do with both ‘Tryin’ to Be Me’ and another song I wrote called ‘Hey Bully,’” Austin said. “I believe there would be no bullying or suicides if we accepted each other and ourselves just the way we are—warts and all, the ugly, the beautiful, the crazy, and the hurt. Then, maybe all those monsters under our beds wouldn’t be quite so scary, because we would know that we weren’t the only ones afraid and vulnerable at times.” Austin has seen firsthand the emotional undoing bullying can have on a loved one. “As a writer, I always hope that my songs move people, whether it’s to draw a laugh, have a good cry, or is something fun to sing along to,” she said. “But, there is one person in particular who I would have loved to have heard ‘Tryin’ To Be Me’ and ‘Hey Bully,’ and that’s my Uncle Pat. He committed suicide a few years ago. He was my biggest fan and had a smile and a heart that could light up the room. He ran away from bullies, his past, and himself his whole life. He would have understood and loved these songs.

“I initially became inspired to launch an online fundraising campaign after the death of Mindy McCready,” Austin explained. “She was a peer of mine; we had debut records out the same year and often saw each other at various music business events over the years. I always felt that there was no one more in need of a hug then her. She was a lovely girl but very lost. “Her suicide hit me particularly hard because of having lost my uncle a few years ago. It seems to be an escalating issue in the world right now along with bullying. Actually, they seem to be going hand in hand, unfortunately—not to mention the rising suicide numbers among returning soldiers.”

Austin hopes that “Tryin’ To Be Me” and “Hey Bully” will bring encouragement to anyone who is subjected to bullying and is afraid of not having anyone to turn to. “My goal is not only to raise money but, even more importantly, to raise awareness for this senseless epidemic that is taking the lives of more and more people every day.”

To purchase Circus Girl or for additional information about Austin’s online campaign, visit Connect with Sherrie Austin on Facebook at www.facebook. com/SherrieAustinMusic and on Twitter @SherrieMusic.

“I read somewhere once to ‘treat everyone as if they are in pain,’” Austin said. “‘Tryin’ To Be Me’ is about selfforgiveness and self-compassion. ‘Hey Bully’ shows that the bully and the bullied are just both sides of the same coin.” With the increasing popularity of social networks comes the adverse effect of the exponentially more prominent cyber-bullying. “It baffles me how in a world where everyone is only a tweet away that we should be so disconnected from each other, that we could be so lonely.” On June 4, Austin will play a benefit concert at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Proceeds from the event will be donated to a campaign for the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. Austin has also launched an online fundraising campaign to coincide with the benefit. Rewards for campaign patrons include an autographed and personalized limited edition Circus Girl poster (only 3 were made) and other memorabilia, plus an assortment of interactive experiences, such as phone calls, personalized audio or video thank you messages, and a video chat session with Austin.

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3/19/13 10:25 A


TPAC Unveils New Season by Ben Rock Nashville has evolved into a cultural powerhouse, and this has been made even more evident by the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s recent announcement of its 2013 – 2014 season. Broadway classics coupled with new favorites will grace the TPAC stage beginning with the seasonopening performances of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Next up is Jersey Boys, the 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical. Jersey Boys takes you behind the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Follow the rags-to-rock-to-riches tale of four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark, New Jersey, to the heights of stardom. The musical features classic hit songs, such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “Oh, What a Night.” TPAC will keep Music City rocking when We Will Rock You opens November 12. Celebrating the music of legendary rock band Queen, this show is sure to have people singing along to classics such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Radio Gaga.” “Everywhere you look Nashville is turning heads and making headlines, and we’re proud of the role TPAC plays in the thriving and vibrant creative community that is receiving such well-deserved attention,” said Kathleen O’Brien, president and CEO of TPAC. Early next year brings Ghost, a timeless fantasy about the power of love based on the film. Walking back to their apartment one night, Sam and Molly are mugged, leaving Sam murdered on a dark street. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and unable to leave Molly, who he learns is in grave danger. With the help of a phony storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving and protecting her. Wicked also returns as a major highlight early next year. “Each season, our goal is to provide audiences with the best of Broadway’s cutting-edge storytelling, family-friendly entertainment, and pop culture-filled blockbusters,” O’Brien said. “We begin and end next season with two of the most awarded Broadway productions in recent memory, one of which is returning to Nashville and a debut show we’ve been pursuing for some time.”


One musical that is sure to get people dancing in the aisles is Sister Act. The musical is the comedy smash featuring original music by Tony and 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken. Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look—a convent. Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. Million Dollar Quartet is the smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. The musical features a score of rock hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Finally, War Horse, based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo, is a powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and magnificent artistry. South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company brings breathing, galloping, full-scale horses to life on the stage—their flanks, hides, and sinews built of steel, leather, and aircraft cables. The new season at TPAC is sure to be very exciting and highly anticipated. “It’s a season packed with new musicals, long-awaited returns, and some of the most jaw-dropping artistry being presented on stage,” O’Brien said, excitedly. “We can’t wait to share it with you.” For the complete schedule, visit

6 ur May E


T U O T H N I G SMOK I ES For O Join Us

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Bruce Munro installation view, 2012 (photo by Corriette Schoenaerts)

BRUCE MUNRO @ Cheekwood




WATER-TOWERS Bruce Munro installation view, 2012 (photo by Hank Davis)



FIELD OF LIGHT Bruce Munro installation view, 2012 (photo by Hank Davis)

FIELD OF LIGHT Bruce Munro installation view, 2012 (photo by Mark Pickthall)





by Joey Amato

restaurant also serves up an array of delicious cocktails.


ust a brief 2.5-hour trip along I-40 East and you’ll find yourself in Tennessee’s third largest city, Knoxville. Driving into the city, you are greeted by the iconic Sunsphere. Constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair, the 266-foot structure features an observation deck on the fourth floor giving visitors unobstructed 360-degree views of the city. A new highlight of the Sunsphere is Icon Ultra Lounge, a chic bar and restaurant offering live music and cuisine from around the globe.

feeding experience, which recently opened to zoo guests. Being perched eye-to-eye with the tallest land mammals in the world is quite an extraordinary experience; however, getting the opportunity to hand-feed them is even more memorable.

Located a few steps away from the Sunsphere in World’s Fair Park is the Knoxville Museum of Art, a beautiful modern building housing an array of fine art and works related to the history of Tennessee. As impressive as seeing the collection was, the highlight of my trip was my much anticipated visit to the Knoxville Zoo.

After an eventful afternoon at the zoo, head to Cocoa Moon, a chic restaurant located on Market Square that feels like a trendy gay bar with great food. Cocoa Moon serves up a fusion of Asian and Latin flavors offering everything from Ceviche to Sesame Chicken. Standouts include Teriyaki Chicken & Shrimp and the Seafood Fajita, a combination of grilled shrimp, scallops, and squid served over a bed of seasoned rice. Cocoa Moon’s delicacies don’t stop at their food; the

A short drive from downtown, the Knoxville Zoo is one of the most visited attractions in the state, with over 400,000 guests last year. One of my favorite exhibits on the property is the Red Panda Village. Interestingly enough, 93 cubs have been born there since 1979, more than any other zoo in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors can view the beautiful red panda lounging in the trees up above any one of three viewing areas. The Grasslands Africa exhibition was a favorite as well. Home to the elephant, ostrich, zebra, and giraffe exhibits. Grasslands Africa provides tons of great photo opportunities, including a giraffe


When in Knoxville, check in at the Oliver Hotel, a boutique property located on Market Square. The hotel features 28 elegantly appointed rooms featuring handcrafted furniture, original artwork, and luxurious room amenities including walk-in showers. Originally built in 1876 as the Peter Kern Bakery, the building has hosted everything from the Kern’s candy counter and soda fountain to a drugstore and dance hall. The current owners purchased the building in 2011 and developed it into one of the hottest properties in town. Staying at the Oliver Hotel has its perks. Located at the base of the hotel, overlooking Market Square, is Tupelo Honey Café, an offshoot of the original Asheville, North Carolina, establishment. Diners are greeted by friendly staff serving hot, fluffy, homemade biscuits with, of course, honey. Unique entrees worth trying include the Roast Beef Po’ Boy served with fried green tomatoes and cherry pepper aioli as well as When Shrimp Met Taco, two soft flour tortillas filled with flash-fried shrimp, julienned Swiss chard, house-made smoked jalapeño aioli, and Sunshot Salsa. The area in and around Market Square has emerged as the epicenter of Knoxville. This

is where locals mingle with tourists and listen to live music, shop at small boutiques and art galleries, and dine at a variety of restaurants. The square is also home to numerous festivals throughout the year as well as other family-oriented events and a Regal movie theater. While on the square, stop by Latitude35 for the famous weekend brunch, but come hungry because the restaurant serves up down-home favorites including Sweetwater Blue Ale Pancakes with blueberry butter and maple syrup, Bananas Foster French Toast made with rum syrup and banana cream, and Louisiana Eggs served over lump crab cakes with Creole sauce and hollandaise. The venue is also a hotspot at night when the bar and dance floor flood with partygoers. Just outside downtown lies an urban playground for nature buffs and those seeking to explore the outdoors. Ijams Nature Center is a tranquil oasis only minutes from urban hustle and bustle, but it makes visitors feel as if they are miles away. The Wildlife Sanctuary Trail System features almost four miles of hiking-only trails and another seven miles of multi-

use trails that have been routed to enhance the distinctive features of the preserve which include a sparkling quarry lake, unique rock formations, scenic overlooks and rugged terrain. The 275-acre park also offers bike, paddle board, and canoe rentals and is the perfect way to spend a beautiful Knoxville morning or afternoon. LGBT nightlife in Knoxville is enjoyable but not necessarily convenient. The city’s gay bars and clubs are spread out, making bar hopping a bit difficult and definitely unsafe if you choose to enjoy a few adult beverages. I recommend choosing one or two destinations per night. Favorite hotspots among the locals include Club XYZ, Club eXile, Sassy Ann’s, and The Carousel II, a two-story complex boasting a sunken dance floor, a huge performance stage, and nightly entertainment.

Prime Timers of Greater Nashville is a social activities club for mature gay and bisexual men (and younger men who appreciate older men) who enjoy diverse activities and the friendships that develop with other Prime Timers through our many monthly events such as, potluck dinners, movie nights, dining out, arts & culture, theatre, concerts,sporting events, the great outdoors with the Outsider's, and most every other facet of healthy gay life in Greater Nashville.


Prime Timers of Greater Nashville 615.269.3263

Knoxville is a great weekend getaway that offers a variety of experiences. If you have never been, be sure to visit for Knoxville Pride on June 23. For more information, go to

Get Off Your Caboose, Let’s Vamoose



Dylan Stephens Nashville’s Top Model by Kyle Kressin

Since its founding in 2010, Nashville Fashion Week has become one of the top style events in the South. Spotlighting local, regional, and national designers at fashion events and shows, NFW is also the perfect opportunity for young modeling talent to get themselves national print and runway exposure. Prior to this year’s event in April, MACS/AMAX and Dan Talent Group, both leading talent agencies in the Nashville area, held NFW auditions at Opry Mills for aspiring models to compete for the Fashion Week roster, and local model Dylan Stephens was one of the lucky few to earn a place on NFW’s heralded runways.

modeling is a perfect medium to do just that. “I love being a part of a team to bring a vision to life,” he says. “When a designer sees his or her dreams breathe and become a reality, that’s the most rewarding part of my job.” Combining reality and fantasy is something that Stephens tries to integrate into everyday life and encourages others to do the same. “Whether it’s wearing heels to the grocery store or blasting your music with your hair flying in the wind,” he jokes. “Those little things can be a release from the strain of everyday life. Do what you never thought you would...go for it. Freedom inspires me.” Even though he sometimes receives criticism for being who he is, Stephens remains focused on his career. After flying back to Nashville from New York, he was placed to walk in Los Angeles Fashion Week before being flown back to New York for another show. “I guess success is the ultimate revenge considering you get plenty of ‘no’s’ in this industry.” Along with his modeling career, Stephens is studying music production in hopes to become a creative director for fashion-related films, but until then he plans to walk the hottest runways in the world.

“I actually had the honor of participating in New York Fashion Week this past February. It was amazing,” Stephens said. “I walked for Ashton Michael, Elliott Evan, and others. Hopefully when I finish school in June, I can really start traveling and make modeling a fulltime job.” At Nashville Fashion Week, Stephens successfully walked for Black by Maria Silver, TUFT, and Pink Elephant Designs; however, it is his painstakingly beautiful portfolio that draws him the most attention. Stephens photographs with the poise and grace helping to create a perfect image. His life’s goals are to create beauty in the world, open some minds, and start a conversation; he feels

photo by Aaron Kinney


Nashville Fashion Week

photos by Rocky Moreno

Diversify Nashville

photos by Daniel Perry



flowers and selling vegetables at the farmer’s market. When Brown was growing up, she wanted to be a cowboy. “I loved cowboys as a kid. I know I drove my teachers crazy; when they asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, I insisted I would be a cowboy. No way was I interested in being a cowgirl like Dale Evans,” she said. “I had a hard time understanding what the big deal was about my chosen career.”


Another F-Word

The novel delivers excellent—and often droll—dialogue for conversations about homosexuality, teenage suicide, and coming out across three generations, a topic the family knows little about. The characters are not treated as ignorant, but compassionate, open-minded individuals who walk out of anti-gay sermons and go to PFLAG meetings.

a novel by Lissa Brown

Brown uses the book as a means to educate people about the dangers facing LGBT-youth.

by Sebastian Fortino Lissa Brown’s second novel, Another F-Word, is a story about bullying and the effects it has on LGBT-youth, their peers, and their families. It also examines issues of teenage coming out in the South, acceptance and support from surprising sources, young love, and the profound truth that just because one

person wishes to rekindle an estranged relationship doesn’t mean it can be reopened.


Lissa Brown is a transplant to the South, and she was inspired to write a story about the experiences of a young gay man in her part of the Bible Belt. As a former educator, she experienced bullying in schools. She says LGBT-youth and children with disabilities are the most prone to bullying, which she calls, “...a sickening commentary on our society.”

Lissa Brown and her partner make their home in an LGBTcommunity in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Another F-Word can be found on Kindle and in both paperback and electronic formats. Visit for more information.

“Today, with the ever-present Internet, kids who are bullied can’t get away from it when they leave school. Their humiliation follows them. I also experienced bullying as a kid for being the only Jewish student in my class. After a couple of schoolyard beatings for killing Christ, my mother taught me how to fight and that put an end to the physical bullying. The name-calling continued for several months until the bullies tired of it,” said Brown. “In programs I do on the topic of bullying, I often tell that story to illustrate that kids need to be taught how to fight back and not told to ignore it or just walk away.” An amusing anecdote both in the story and in Brown’s own life is Rory’s full name: Rory Calhoun Wilson is named after the famous television cowboy, but he will never live up to the gun-toting, rough-riding cowboy. Instead he prefers to spend time in his garden, growing

photo by coutesy of Lissa Brown

When Rory Calhoun Wilson is very young, he hears his father calling him a faggot. This sets the story’s tone: while his mother and paternal grandparents decide to love and protect Rory, his father, Darrell, seeks to change him and leaves the household when he is unable. His desire to change his son is rooted in a surprising revelation.

“Since Another F-Word came out in January of this year, I’ve been scheduling as many events as I can,” she said. “I’m scheduled to do a series of events in Arkansas and some radio and TV interviews in this area. I’ll be presenting at conferences in North Carolina during the next several months and trying to get the word out about bullying and what we can do to stop it. When I’m not on the road doing that, I’ll be working on a sequel to Another F-Word.”


It’s knowing you’re working with a company that understands your needs. At MassMutual, we understand you have specific needs and concerns regarding your financial goals. And we’re committed to offering products and strategies to help you get there. We’re proud to have an inclusive work environment that provides employees a chance to engage, excel and grow. MassMutual is proud to be among a prestigious group of highly rated companies by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for the past five years.1 It’s just another reason why MassMutual is a good decision.

Fanci Worthington, CFP® Financial Strategies Capital Financial Group 8 Cadillac Drive, Suite 150 Brentwood, TN 37027 615-309-6373


MassMutual Financial Group refers to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), its affiliated companies and sales representatives. Insurance products issued by MassMutual, Springfield, MA 01111 and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Rating is for calendar years 2007-2011. CRN201404-160094


UNITE Magazine is an LGBT lifestyle publication based in Nashville.