Queer Nashville – Out & About Nashville

Queer Nashville

Queer Nashville is pretty gay. Even the hit ABC television show Nashville has made closeted-country-star-wannabe Will Lexington a series regular for its second season. It’s fair to say that anytime an area is bolstered by the arts and entertainment industry, music in this case, you can expect the GLBT community to play a significant role in the area’s inertia.

And while its “Music City” moniker hinges upon the success of primarily the country genre—a genre whose industry and fans are traditionally viewed as anti-GLBT—it only takes a spin on the radio dial today to hear the impact that out songwriters are making on country music.

Earlier this year, hit songwriter Shane McAnally (Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere with You,” Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and Lee Ann Womack’s “Last Call”) was profiled in the New York Times as an out and proud songwriter. In fact, McAnally told the New York Times that his career really took off when he came out and that when he stopped hiding who he was, he started writing hits.

Couple that with country queen Carrie Underwood’s endorsement of marriage equality in 2012 and the recent letter signed by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Kenny Alphin (better known as “Big Kenny” of Big & Rich) supporting Illinois marriage equality, you might presume that Nashville has become a GLBT travel destination.

By J. Brownell – Full Story at Out & About Nashville

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Nashville’s Broadway – Globetrotter Girls

Nashville's Broadway - Globetrotter Girls

After only two trips in seven months (the least traveling I’ve done in years!), August marked the month that I finally started traveling more again. And with trips lined up every month for the rest of the year, I decided to revive my Polaroid Of The Week series.

This weekly look back at what I’ve been up to might not be a full travel article on a destination, but it’ll give you an idea of what I’ve been up to and include at least one useful tip.

To kick off my late summer travels, I flew down to Nashville, Tennessee, a city I’ve been wanting to visit ever since watching The Thing Called Love with Sandra Bullock and River Phoenix in 1993. In recent years I kept hearing great things about the city, and after only one quick stop in Memphis years ago, I was excited to finally visit Nashville and to see more of Tennessee. Because Nashville was just the jumping-off point for a Tennessee road trip, or if I want to be 100% precise I should say Tennessee & North Carolina road trip because adding Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains to our itinerary meant dipping into Tennessee’s eastern neighbor state for a few days.

Nashville did not disappoint – even though Nashville’s Broadway, lined with honky-tonks and bars felt a bit tacky, I enjoyed popping my head in some of them and lingering for a while in those that had great live music.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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Taking in Gay Nashville, Tennessee – Windy City

gay Nashville

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee that is quickly growing too big for its britches. Windy City Times took a road trip down South to narrow down some of the new travel offerings and provide a guide on where to begin planning a visit.

Flights are not expensive from Chicago to Tennessee usually, but you will need a car upon arrival for most excursions, so a rental car is suggested. Public transportation is complicated and not reliable, although there are some fun options for tourists as the Old Trolley Tours of Nashville offers daily packages.

Construction is everywhere, traffic is a growing problem and parking can be tricky. There are no app or credit-card options for parking meters at this time, so save those coins.

Start your trip by finding a place to stay, take in a show and search for sustenance.

First, you will need a place to hang your hat. Sobro Guest House is a fairly new domicile with some charming features such as an adorable monkey theme and a throwback record player to spin old school records on. With amenities including parking, laundry and a kitchen, this modernly decorated spot has a self-check-in that allows privacy and convenience.

By Jerry Nunn – Full Story at Windy City

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Eating Out – Nashville Cuisine

Nashville Cuisine

I have a weakness for Southern food. Give me buttery grits or a biscuit drenched in gravy, and it’s instant #foodporn. Southern food and I go way back; we have history. I grew up outside Atlanta, Georgia, where the Waffle House was my stomping ground as a teen. Raised in a Korean household, I ate ban chan and bulgogi almost every day and have no regrets. My mom was an amazing cook, but when she brought home a bucket of fried chicken, it was a miracle if the chicken bones survived. There was always a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on the table at every meal, and it was mine.

It would go on everything, especially when my mom cooked meatloaf with green beans or chicken-fried steak with sweet potatoes. It’s not far off the mark to say I learned to love food through Southern dishes. There’s a level of comfort and nostalgia with every meal, no matter where I am in the country, and it truly resonates with iconic chef Anthony Bourdain’s famous quote: “Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”

Every time I plan a trip to Nashville, I arrange my itinerary around the restaurants I’ll dine at. Nashville may have a reputation for its music history, but any foodie or gourmand knows the restaurant scene is what makes the city truly special. Notable chefs have elevated Southern classics, yet you can still nom on nostalgic comfort food at a simple café. When I’m in town, I’m hashtagging #foodporn to an obsessive level, but it’s all warranted. Nashville offers some of the best Southern food in the country. Restaurants here also have heaps of personality, and foodies are treated with trademark Southern hospitality, which historically has revolved around a great meal.

Nashville is also growing faster than any other city in the south, so visitors have more reason to eat their way through the city. Thompson, Westin, and 21c Museum Hotel have recently moved in, and Kimpton and Virgin are on their way. Complementing the expansion of the tourism landscape, the culinary scene (the real heart and soul of Nashville, in my opinion) gets better every year. It has the power to move you, inspire you and, like me, make you fall in love with food. From longstanding institutions to new, buzzing hot spots, the restaurants featured here are taking dining to the next level.

By Jimmy Im – Full Story at Passport Magazine

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Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole OpryLast month The Grand Ole Opry heard that ‘the award-winning, GAY, celebrity travel columnists’ would be in Nashville and  they hosted us for the night.  The “Grand Ole Opry” is a LIVE radio show that features a variety of different country/western singers.  The evening that we attended the following country/western singers were entertaining: Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Diffie, LOCASH, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jackie Lee,  Kelleigh Bannen and Jeannie  Selley and Connie Smith, most of whom we had never heard of, but then we are not diehard Country/Western fans.

Grand Ole OpryThe show is unlike any other shows that we have attended in that they have around 8 performers that comes out and each performs a couple of songs and that’s it!  Then another singer comes out and sings a couple of songs and then the onstage announcer comes out and tells  the radio audience about what companies that are advertising and goes into his spiel.

At first it was kind of interesting however after the second and third advertising it got rather boring to hear advertising.  The live broadcasts can be heard on  650, WSM-AM and also on Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius XM radio and online at www.opry.com on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. They have performed consecutive Saturday night broadcasts for over 4,700 nights.

Grand Ole OpryThe Opry has had six locations in its 92 years…… It started out at the National Insurance Company in 1925 and then moved to the Hillsboro Theatre in 1934 and then to the Dixie Tabernacle in 1936 and then to the War Memorial Auditorium in 1939. It settled into the Ryman Auditorium in 1943 and stayed there until 1974 when a new Grand Ole Opry complex was build in 1974 which is about 8 miles east of downtown Nashville.  The complex not only includes the Grand Ole Opry but a huge hotel and shopping mall.

There are always a few who will step up to the plate and COME OUT proudly.  Thanks Ty Herndon, Chely Wright, Steve Grand, Brandy Clark, K. D. Lang ,Doug Stevens, Shane McAnally and Patrick Haggerty and they are all great country/western singers!

For those that are REALLY into western songs,  check out this Willie Nelson  song which is about Gay Cowboys:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u4CXlIYjyE
To visit the Grand Ole Opry, be sure and visit their website, www.opry.com/
Their address is 2804 Opryland Drive and their phone number  615.871.6779.  Everyone should visit the Grand Ole Opry at least once!

We rarely dedicate our travel columns to anyone but we are proudly dedicating this travel column to the #1 Country Entertainer,  Dolly Parton who has been so supportive for the LGBT community for years.  We only wish that everybody would have as big of a heart as she does as then the world would be a much better place to live. THANKS DOLLY!

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Tennessee Gay Travel Resources


Parthenon - Nashville

Parthenon - NashvilleFor some very strange reason the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee is one of the best kept secrets in the country. How many people have actually heard of it? It is life size (the same size as the Parthenon in Greece) and was built in Nashville over 100 years ago. What a magnificent sight it is! Located just a few blocks west of downtown Nashville, it is in the Centennial Park.

Parthenon - NashvilleBesides from being a most impressive building, the inside is ultra impressive in that they have an actual 42 foot tall statue of Athena! Yes, 42 feet tall and all in gold gilt in all of her glory! The Nashville Parthenon was originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon dating back to 438 B.C. The original of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.

We really enjoyed seeing the two matching large bronze doors. A sign at the Parthenon read, “These bronze doors weigh 7.5 tons each. They are 24 feet high, 7 feet wide and 1 foot thick. They are considered to be the largest matching set of bronze doors in the world”.

Parthenon - NashvilleThe Parthenon also houses the Nashville Art Museum. The main art exhibit in their permanent collection is The Cowan Collection of American Art, a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists and all were donated in the 1920’s  by James. M. Cowan, a wealthy businessman from Illinois. All of the 57 paintings were done by American artists including a marvelous painting, Mt. Tamalpais, circa 1873 by Albert Bierstadt.
There is also additional gallery spaces for a variety of temporary exhibits.

Parthenon - NashvilleWhen we visited in May there was a special exhibit by the photographer Jerry Atnip entitled GONE SOUTH: A COLLECTION OF IMAGES FROM THE AMERICAN SOUTH. The photographs document the southern landscape in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. The photographer describes “something between waking and dreaming” and separately many are meditatively quiet and still. It is a very thought provoking exhibit of a way of life that most of us have never witnessed.

The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park began in 1982 and helps promotes the arts and music as well as educational programs, symposia speaker series and ongoing exhibits.

The Musicians Corner supports emerging artists and presents free music events in partnership with the City of Nashville and local music industry, showcasing over 1,000 artists since 2010. There is also a “Speaker’s Corner” Check out http://www.conservancyonline.com/

The Parthenon is located at 2500 West End Avenue and their phone number is: 615.862.8431. Their website is: http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Parthenon.aspx Their hours are Tuesday thru Saturday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and Sunday 12:30 PM to 4:40 PM.

The admittance charge is a real bargain at only $6.00 and $4.00 for adults over 62, There is also a great gift shop to purchase souvenirs and books. Stop by a local restaurant or deli and get a lunch to go and dine on the grounds at the Parthenon. It is not Greece but it is the closet thing that you will see outside of Greece. This is a MUST SEE!

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Tennessee Gay Travel Resources