Arthur Kirkby and Chuck Cinelli present “West-Side Social,” a contemporary neighborhood party celebrating diversity, community and family, with music by dj’s Mindub, Jane Dupre’ and Killa Chris. The event will also feature a photo area, art, beer, wine, and perhaps an amuse-bouche or two. The Hostesses for the evening are singer/songwriters Rachel Gladstone and Lori Toth.
“West-Side Social was really an idea born out of discontent and frustration about trying to bring people together outside the mainstream in a specifically gay environment. My husband [Chris Spear] and I started a dance party about 8 years ago called Bear Chested. Specifically, my husband loves ‘fat old men,’ and I’ve always identified with outsiders,” Kirkby said.
“So we went to Nashville Pride and handed out flyers to anyone who looked the least bit awkward or outside the accepted gay body type or outside the age-range to matter at all in a culture seemingly obsessed with youth and false glamor,” Kirkby added.
“I always wanted to throw a party where everyone is accepted regardless of age, weight, and ethnicity. It was a ‘bear party’ but I always told people everyone is welcome and you could wear whatever was comfortable (as long as it was legal),” Spear explained.
“Now the bear crowd is main-stream enough to allow those who wish to be openly anti-Semitic and racist,” Kirkby quipped, “so what was at the heart of what we wanted to accomplish has transformed. The last official Bear Chested we had was so amazing because we had Lesbians, Trans, African-Americans, White, Native-Americans … Latin, Middle -Eastern and Jewish.”
This is the ethos that the party’s producers want to capture, building on their experience of that final Bear Chested. “I’ve had my own personal hardships … but I don’t have to worry about being murdered just for being trans or black,” Kirkby explained. “I was able to drive back and forth without worrying that I might be killed if I had a flat tire. Chris and I both are aware of how we have benefitted from white privilege. There’s still things we getting educated about.” And coming together as a community and getting to know each other is a great place to start.
“What I really think will give life to West-Side Social is that it is also born out of love, respect and appreciation,” Kirkby said, “starting with our dj’s, I so love, respect and appreciate them all!”
“I have been listening to Tim ‘Mindub’ Hiber for almost 30 years. I have cassettes I play in my studio of old shows he is on. He also opened for some singer called Carrie Underwood? Chris has flown to Dallas multiple times for TBRU and the Eagle, as well as The Lookout in San Francisco. He’s working on an album and still recuperating from his second spinal surgery.”
“Jane Dupree has been a staple of the dance music scene in Nashville for years,” Spear added. “Last year she won O&AN’s Faves & Raves as Nashville’s best LGBT DJ. No matter the venue or crowd Jane always impresses.”
There will also be opportunities for art, and selfies! “I’m going to have a few new pieces of art and I’m going to create a backdrop for guests to take selfies to post to Instagram,” Kirkby said.
So how did Coco’s Event Center become the home of this new event? “My friend Chuck Cinelli has owned Cafe Coco for about 30 years now,” Kirkby explained.
“I had their first art show. Cafe Coco has consistently been a welcome spot for all types of people and remains one of the most interesting places to people-watch. Chuck has this new beautiful space right in the heart of a great little area of restaurants, bars and shopping. In fact, the only thing the neighborhood is missing is West-Side Social!”
West-Side Social will be held at Coco’s Event Center, located at 5105 Alabama Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee. The party will begin at 7 to be inclusive of all types of families and will end around 1.