Local songbird Jodi Manross‘ 3-year relocation to New York City rewarded her with adventures, including: meeting her future husband, an amazing Harlem apartment, an Oscar winning next-door neighbor, a job at a tony medical spa, music gigs, and Master of Science degree in Acupuncture.
After Manross completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Appalachian State University, she relocated to Knoxville because of its budding music scene.
“I planned to stay for 6 months while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” she says. Ten years later she was still in Knoxville and ready for a change. She explains, “I wanted to learn a new skill and I kept coming back to acupuncture. I had positive experiences as an acupuncture patient in North Carolina. I visited several schools and chose Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City. I loved the city. I had performed there in the past, and my sisters had lived there.
Taking the Leap
Manross still had some qualms about leaving Knoxville. She says, “What made me brave enough was performing in local productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the Rocky Horror Picture Show with co-star Joseph Beuerline.” She discovered Beuerline was itching to try his luck as an actor in New York City, so they moved to The Big Apple together, where Beureline is still performing.
Life in Manhattan
Manross says, “At first, living in New York City was vibrant and wonderful, and then it became exhausting. There was no break from the constant multi-tasking.
“Looking for an apartment was difficult and we were getting discouraged. My sister put me in touch with a Sudanese landlord in Harlem. Thankfully he liked my voice and my first name, and we got the apartment. It was a spectacular place.”
Before school commenced, a friend of a friend helped Manross get a job working for a plastic surgeon at a medical spa in the fashionable Tribeca neighborhood in lower Manhattan.
“Robert DiNero was the landlord, and working for a plastic surgeon was surreal. I anticipated working there as an acupuncturist after graduation, but I started missing Knoxville.
“The hardest thing about living in New York is the sensory overload. When I found myself at 1:00 AM searching Google for houses for sale in Knoxville, I realized I was homesick. I missed the community and the wonderful revitalization. I wanted to be here and celebrate.”
Returning to Knoxville
Fiance Russell Tanenbaum, a native New Yorker, followed Manross to Knoxville, where they were later married in a downtown ceremony. “I love being back, and Russell loves it here, too,” she says.
Manross thought business would be slow when she opened Jodie Manross Acupuncture, so she returned to part-time work with her former employer, the Knox County Public Library System. It wasn’t long before she was working full-time at her private practice. She says, “I’m so busy, I’m not able to take on any new patients.”
She says, “I feel very grateful I’ve been working full-time in my practice for the past 2 years. Word-of-mouth was the only advertising I needed. I see a lot of kids. My youngest patient is 5 and my oldest patient is 93. It’s so much more diverse here than New York City was. Some of my patients are downtown liberal folks, and some are from rural areas in Newport and Sweetwater. It’s great. Knoxville needs more acupuncturists!”
Jodie Manross’ upcoming shows:
December 18, noon,WDVX‘s Blue Plate Special
Listen to Jodie Manross’ music on ReverbNation.
© Debra Dylan, 2013.