Native | January 2014 | Nashville, TN
Featuring Nashville's L'Orange, The Crying Wolf, Minton Sparks, The Chrome Bar, Chad Crawford (Jug Face), hatWRKS, and more!
january 2014 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 RESPECT YOUR ROOTS. We are an independent record label born and bred in Nashville, tn. We produce no-bullshit home grown music for everyone. Come see about us. 2 / // / / / / / / / / / / / / // # N AT IVE N ASH VILLE WE’RE NASHVILLE DAMMIT. OUR ARTISTS: BOBBY BARE • PAUL BURCH • BUZZ CASON • CHEETAH CHROME CHUCK MEAD • JD WILKES & THE DIRT DAUBERS • PLUS JASON ISBELL, POKEY LAFARGE, AND FRANK BLACK ON A SMOKIN' EDDY ARNOLD TRIBUTE PLOWBOYRECORDS.COM FOR NEW RELEASES # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 2807 WEST END AVE 1900 EASTLAND AVE, SUITE 101 4 / // / / / / / / / / / / / / // # N AT IVE N ASH VILLE KINDA BREAKFAST FOR A KINDA DAY 615.724.1762 // 1 5 0 3 rd ave s o u t h , s u i te 1 1 0 t h e s o u t h e r n n a s hv i l l e. co m # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 5 6 / // / / / / / / / / / / / / // # N AT IVE N ASH VILLE TABLE OF CONTENTS JANUARY 2014 32 54 74 42 THE GOODS 62 22 12 Behind The Cover 15 Beer From Here 16 Cocktail of the Month 19 Master Platers 84 Hey Good Lookin’ 89 You Oughta Know 92 Overheard @ NATIVE 96 Animal of the Month FEATURES 22 L’Orange Au Noir 32 The Wolf Told Us To 42 Don’t Touch The Crown 54 Speaking Songs About The Southland 62 Making His Mark 74 Pushing Past # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 7 new client special: 30 days unlimited for $100 green hills 2207 crestmoor road, suite 203 615 904 4584 8 / // / / / / / / / / / / / / // # N AT IVE N ASH VILLE brentwood 330 franklin road, suite 137a 615 278 8991 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 9 10 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E DEAR NATIVES, president, founder: ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN associate publisher: KATRINA HARTWIG publisher, founder: One Fish Two Fish We all wish For a Pantone Fish. founder, brand director: Y ou know those exciting conversations that occur amongst likeminded, ambitious, creative folk? They usually contain sentences starting with “What if we…” or “OH! We could…” Well, once upon a time back in 2012, our little creative family sat down and compiled a list of ideas to push the barriers of our local publication. We recognized our part in exposing and connecting the creative spirit of Nashville, but we began asking ourselves how far we could take it. On that magical day in 2012, “The Color Issue” was born (or at least the idea of it). It consists of pure black, white, and one spot color which we’ve deemed “electric salmon.” Sometimes, the most effective creativity comes out of strict limitations. What better way to start the new year than with a challenge. And a challenge it was. With 100+ people to get on board, it’s fair to say that this was one hell of an undertaking. Luckily for us, we work with some of the best talent in town. Mackenzie Moore, our Creative Director, is the not-so-hidden gem of this team who really had her chance to shine this month (well done, friend). Our photographers delivered beautifully, and guest illustrators Alex Pearson (of Familytree) and Tim Cook were more than gracious to work so hard with us this month—not to mention our advertisers. Have you ever witnessed so many businesses (local and national) willing to alter their brands to be part of something cool? Only in Nashville. That’s why we’re here. It’s why NATIVE exists. So thanks for reading our magazine. Because of you, we are able to test the water, one electric salmon at a time. Welcome to the future, DAVE PITTMAN founder, senior account executive: CAYLA MACKEY creative director: MACKENZIE MOORE managing editor: ELISE LASKO art director: HANNAH LOVELL account executives: COLIN PIGOTT JOE CLEMONS ALEX TAPPER assistant to senior account executive: AYLA SITZES web editor: TAYLOR RABOIN music supervisor: film supervisor: JOE CLEMONS CASEY FULLER contributing editor: CHARLIE HICKERSON guest illustrators: ALEX PEARSON TIM COOK writers: photographers: founding team: ALEXANDER SUPERTRAMP ANDREW SULLIVAN MATT COLANGELO HENRY PILE CHARLIE HICKERSON JEFF WEDDING CASEY FULLER MELANIE SHELLEY WELLS ADAMS ALEX PEARSON CAMERON POWELL REBECCA ADLER ROTENBERG JESSIE HOLLOWAY ERIC STAPLES JEFF WEDDING KEITH LEMAN ELI MCFADDEN SOLOMON DAVIS MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN want to work at native? contact: WORK@NATIVE.IS SALES@NATIVE.IS for all other inquiries: HELLO@NATIVE.IS to advertise, contact: Hannah Lovell, Art Director # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 1 BEHIND THE COVER: ALEX PEARSON When we chose the spot color for our inaugural “Color Issue,” we had a difficult time describing it: “You see, it’s a neon orangeypinky-red-but-mostly-orange that you’d get if you mixed all the colors in a sunset.” After some thought, we arrived at a more succinct (and spot-on) answer: electric salmon. But how do you have an electric salmon-colored issue without, well, an electric salmon? We were fortunate enough for the owner of Familytree design, Alex Pearson, to illustrate this month’s cover. Known for his mystical creatures, Alex first put his talents to work writing “The Legend of the Electric Salmon” (via our Animal of the Month) to breathe life into our salmon friend. We hope you enjoy getting to know Alex and all of his mystical creatures you'll find scattered throughout our January issue. NATIVE: How/when did you first become interested in illustration? Alex: My parents and especially my grandparents were huge artistic influences in my life. My grandfather owned a sign business in Chicago in the ’60s, and then taught my dad the trade when he married my mom. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I didn't realize I could make a living at it until I was seven years old. I would draw Ninja Turtles, cut them out in cardboard, and sell them to kids at school. N: How long have you been in Nashville? A: I was raised right outside Nashville in Hendersonville— I've lived here my whole life. A true “Native,” I suppose. I've been inside the city limits for a little over six years now. N: What's your creative process? A: I usually like to start by sitting at a desk without a computer, without music, without any distractions, and just write down a list of single words. No sentences. Some words may be tangible objects that need to be represented or words that describe how a piece should feel. I feel like this is both a checklist and a way of setting the tone. It just gets me in the right mood and clears my head. I try to visualize the finished piece and then do a few very rough, very quick sketches (like thirty seconds each) to see if any of those ideas even work. Once I pick a sketch, I do research and gather reference material if needed. Finally, I actually start working once I feel like I have a good plan, a good concept, and the proper information and material to do it well. Then I work and refamilytreedesign.net 12 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E work most pieces multiple times until I feel it's right. Also, this process takes forever. N: What do you like about working on your craft in Nashville? A: I like that Nashville isn't very big. You don't get swallowed up in it. It's easy to run into people you know, and lots of businesses want to support other Nashville businesses. N: How did Familytree get started? A: Kind of a two part answer here. I originally started Familytree around 2005 as a sort of art project with a few friends who were all kind of doing their own creative thing and making stuff. We were spray-painting designs on crap we found at Goodwill, and I was selling it on Myspace (yes, Myspace) and in a shop on Belcourt Avenue. We weren't really making any money, and it kind of fizzled out. Then, a few years later in late 2007, I was laid off from a web design job, and I knew immediately that I wanted to start my own business. My dad, all my uncles, and my grandfather are all entrepreneurs, and I knew it was my time. A few months later in 2008, Familytree was reborn as a design and illustration studio, and I haven't looked back since. N: Any secret hobbies or hidden talents? A: I used to collect Star Wars stuff pretty hardcore as a teenager. I made tons of models, I still have a box full of figurines in the packages, and I even made my own life-size Yoda from scratch. I've also been told I do a pretty good Chewbacca impersonation...yeah, I'm a nerd. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 3 14 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SUPERTRAMP There’s a slight misnomer brewing on the Eastern bank of the Cumberland River. They go by the name of Little Harpeth Brewing, but the only thing diminutive about this operation is its ecological footprint. Michael Kwas and Steve Scoville offer Nashville’s craft beer enthusiasts something they’ve never seen before: lagers. German style, pre-Prohibition, hand-crafted lagers brewed just a few blocks from LP Field. These guys know beer. Scoville’s may or may not have earned a GABF gold medal for work with Boscos in the ’90s. What I’m getting at is the Chicken Scratch American Pilsner is a pint with pedigree. Brew buffs might scoff at the oxymoronic variety—yes, traditional pilsners come from the Czech city, Pilsen (like champagne from Champagne, France)—but this beer is as American as Mike the Headless Chicken (look him up). Made with grown-in-the-USA hops and malted barley, Chicken Scratch embodies drinkability. To round out the color and character of the traditional Pilsner dryness, Michael and Steve add Tennessee-grown corn—which they cook themselves. This unique addition finishes the experience with a pleasant sweetness. Knowing that beer is the bounty of Momma Nature, Little Harpeth shows the utmost respect for Her provisions. From using only fossil-free malting to repurposing all possible construction waste, they live up to their green mission “to preserve the past, enjoy the present, and sustain the future of brewing in Nashville, Tennessee.” They’ve also partnered with the Harpeth River Watershed Association. Rumor is, they’ll even have a recyclable keg system to provide libations for your next festivity. So all you chicken chasers better respect Momma Earth while you’re splashing around at Little Harpeth Brewing—ya hear? # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 5 1616 / // / / / / / / / / / / / //// /// IVENNASH AS HVILL VIL LE ##NNATATIVE E 18 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E MASTER PLATERS! BROU GHT TO YO U BY STEVEN CHANDLE SOUS R CHEF KITCHEN OF NOTES IN TH E OM NI N illustrated by Tim Cook the goods • 2 Maruchan Ramen Noodle packets (I prefer beef flavor, but any will work) • 2 qts. water • ¾ cup country ham, diced • ¾ cup collard greens, washed, dried, thinly sliced • 2 medium-sized Fresno chiles, very thinly sliced (or Jalapenoes) • 4 medium-sized pieces of okra, thinly sliced • ½ cup boiled peanuts • 2 eggs • 2 tbsp. butter • 1 tbsp. honey • 2 tbsp. whiskey • 1 tsp. hot spice blend, or cayenne • 1 tsp. smoked paprika • a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce • salt and pepper to taste ASHV ILL HOTE E L directions • Place water, along with one ramen seasoning packet, in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add butter and let melt. • Add country ham, chiles, collard greens, okra, boiled peanuts, cayenne, and paprika. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add whiskey and about ½ cup of the seasoned boiling water, reduce heat to low. • Gently place both packets of noodles in the water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove noodles and add to sauté pan with vegetables and broth, stir to combine. • With the water just simmering, crack eggs gently into the saucepan and poach eggs until whites are cooked on the outside but the yolk are still runny inside. (If intimidated by poaching eggs, a fried sunny side up egg works great, too) • Pour ramen and vegetables into a large serving bowl, place eggs on top, then drizzle with honey and hot sauce. NATIVE: What's in your fridge right now? Steven: Opening a new restaurant is pretty time-consuming, so most of my time is spent in the Kitchen Notes kitchen versus my own. At the moment, my fridge is pretty barren—just a six-pack of Yuengling, a bottle of Sriracha, and leftovers. However, when I do get the chance to grocery shop, I like to go to the Nashville Farmer’s Market and check out the local vendors. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 9 ///////////// 19 NOW DELIVERING FOR: COFFEE, LUNCH DELI DAVE’S FLOUR. SUGAR. EGGS NOMZILLA SUSHI NUVO BURRITO PHILLYMAN CHEESESTEAK RAE’S GOURMET TAMARIND INDIAN BISTRO WWW.RUSHBICYCLEMESSENGERS.COM 20 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E FEELING A LITTLE LAZY? # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 2 1 BY ANDREW SULLIVAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAMERON POWELL 22 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E Death is a pale cast of thought, so most don’t dwell on it. To think on it would allow for a certain madness to form under the surface of everything we do. Behind all the distractions we collect and call our world—our customs and cultures, our actions and ambitions, our thoughts and feelings, our beliefs and histories—there are other worlds, underworlds of undeniable obfuscation, doubt, and depression. These worlds are the ghettos of our minds. It’s from this mania, this noir, that the new is reissued into our world, and it takes a dark need to want to dwell in that place. It’s from that place that L’Orange, hip hop producer of Mello Music Group, seeks his work. Wedged between The Gulch and Sobro, L’Orange operates out of an ample house-turned-tenement building. His flat is one part studio and two parts Parisian catacomb, and an unweeded garden of vinyl makes it difficult to maneuver. There are thousands of them strewn about: catalogues of radio programs from Orson Welles and Ab- bott and Costello, jingles for Alka Seltzer—commercials, jazz, commercial jazz. It’s from these plastic bones that L’Orange picks the samples for his songs. “I absolutely refuse to explain sampling,” L’Orange says. “This is a live music town, and I’m just done. Anytime my brain develops a canned response that it can spit out whenever a specific situation arises, I try to avoid that situation. I can’t say, ‘I chop up pieces from other songs, change pitch, change tone, change filters to create an original composition’ anymore. It doesn’t achieve anything.” L’Orange displays a certain casual regard towards others. Not casual in a vapid sense, but rather an air of general unconcern. His music has never been performed live, nor does he currently have any intention of doing so. His music has an undeniably solipsistic quality to it; the man knows how to use dissonance with taste. His music is the heartbeat of a killer prowling in the night—powerful but cool, steady and subdued, waiting for you ’round the corner with a cord of chicken wire wound tight in his fists. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 2 3 It’s that lack of regard for his fan base, that deviation from accepted norms that has paradoxically given his music an appeal to a growing and supportive group of listeners. Case in point: 2012’s The Mad Writer. This record showcases just how deep into our collective neurosis L’Orange is willing to plunder. “I went insane,” he explains. “Writing The Mad Writer was the most immersing, consuming experience that I’ve ever had. When I say I’m reclusive now, it was on another level with The Mad Writer. There were days when I couldn’t get out of bed. Days of constant fear and anxiety, psychopathy and removal. The album analyzes the relationship between the artist and the viewer, the questions being, “What happens when you’ve been writing for so long that you lose your audience? At what point does your audience stop defining your art? At what point does your art start defining you?” So, let’s begin the bootless game of defining an individual. Outlining the origin story of how a boy named Austin from Wilmington, North Carolina, became L’Orange, the mind-sea psychonaut. “I remember thinking about the inevitable feeling of death when I was five or six,” 24 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E he confides. “I remember exactly when it hit. I think that’s the impetus for everyone’s anxiety and depression—knowing you’re going to die.” I won’t be so bold as to expand upon L’Orange’s formative years. Purporting on the effects of the family on the individual is the folly of armchair psychologists. All I’ll say is that he had a brother and a sister, a mother, and a stepfather that were around for some time in his life. He grew up on a cocktail of antidepressants and therapy, both of which he’s since stopped. The rest is in his words. “I missed being self-destructive and weird and dark. I was sick of being happy all the time. If I’m going to have these delusions, which are very important to me, than I need to be aware of them. I think that’s the key to happiness, making peace with the darkest parts of your life, accepting the beauty in them, and embracing your own delusions. “I admired people who were tortured because they could embrace it in a way that I wanted to. The people that I grew up admiring had managed to channel this troubling awareness of existence, this painful clarity into something that others could relate to, even if they weren’t going through “I THINK THAT’S THE KEY TO HAPPINESS, MAKING PEACE WITH THE DARKEST PARTS OF YOUR LIFE.” it. And I couldn’t do that on those drugs.” We continue at some length discussing the influences of his art, some of which seem quite telling and atypical—others, more expected. J. Dilla, for instance, is something of a grounding device for men of beats. Tom Waits comes up in conversation as well, mostly in praise of his unconventional approach to people and his sideshow humor. Leaning towards the recherché, we have comics, intellectuals, and bards: Carlin, Einstein, and Shakespeare respectively. L’Orange always wanted to play Iago. You can draw your own conclusion from that. Still, though these aforementioned figures decorate the reliquary of his thoughts, they are not his heroes. He reserves that # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 2 5 26 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E 10 SESSIONS FOR $20 5 SOUTH 9TH ST BEHIND FAT BOTTOM BREWERY title for those who, on their own terms, helped mentor and hone his way with the beat—not from works left behind, but from actual interactions on a real, human level. “All my heroes have day jobs,” he puts candidly. L’Orange attributes much of his early development to the tutelage of Kon Sci, a producer out of Wilmington, North Carolina. “I used to think I was good, and then I would go hang out with him, watch him make a beat, and I’d come back just destroyed. He was exceedingly better than I ever thought I could be, and probably ever can be. After trying to emulate him for a long time, and making terrible, terrible beats, I realized that it wasn’t about the complexity. It was about finding the unquantifiable inside of me—whatever that was.” L’Orange will be the first to tell you that his art, and dare I say art in general, is an inherently selfish form of expression. Moreover, he’ll say that artists try their best to hide what really defines their NOW SERVING OUR HOUSE BLOODY MARY MIX MADE EXCLUSIVELY WITH SPICEMONGERS’ SPICES 700 FATHERLAND ST • 615.770.7097 • SKYBLUECAFE.COM # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 27 art. This, at least in his experience, is particularly true of the relatively young beat culture. To L’Orange, you cannot simply take a course in hip hop production, and no one will outline the lessons for you. Rather, you have to keep your ears open, take in the world around them, and make what they will with it. It was Kon Sci, he states, who inadvertently brought him to this conclusion, and is thus his reluctant hero. “Back to Nashville,” he continues, all but negating this line of thought, “It’s perfect for me because I don’t know anyone here. And I don’t especially go out of my way to know people here. In North Carolina, I was surrounded by people I respect and people that I appreciate, musically and personally. But here, no one bothers me. I can dedicate myself to what I do.” L’Orange’s latest release, The City Under The City, leaves a marked opening in that perspective, teaming up with MC Stik Figa. Though he’s worked with other MCs, never has he collaborated on a project of this scale. As particular as L’Orange is with people, he’s even more so in regard to his MCs. L’ORANGE: lorangeproductions.com Follow on Facebook and Twitter @LOrangeMusic native.is/lorange 28 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E “Hip hop is very difficult because when you try to approach it like any other craft— which is to come at it intellectually and with repetition—you fail. Hip hop was born out of free speech, rhythm, and movement. Developing interesting cadences, wordplay, a relationship with the beat—all these things are very important—but you have to be able to express them and feel them.” Rest assured, Stik Figa passed the audition. From The City Under The City’s opening track, “Dusty Speakers,” Figa moves through the beat like it’s his favorite back alley, and with each subsequent appearance, he plays Artful Dodger to the viewer, exposing this undercity’s soundscape from the low-rises to the back rooms. Guest MC Rapsody’s addition to “Before Midnight” enters and exits like an ancillary character who has his own play to play out. L’Orange’s instrumental tracks take fantastic turns in scope. “The Wind Picked Us Up” comes from a place of solitude, rising with this powerful choral line of horns, falling back by the roadside—rising, falling, then cutting away. And when the needle clicked, we were both back at his flat, sitting beside the recordings and vinyl crypts of so many dead but not gone from this world. “I’m hoping that I can just cease one day.” He tells me, “I just want to not be there anymore. Not that I want to die; I want to be this random black and white spectre that haunts your ear for a while, then fades.” He shares this with me on a cold October night, appropriately cold for the upper half of the upper half of the equator, but still oddly cold for Nashville. We’ve been drinking cold coffee, and with each successive pull from my cigarette, I feel the cold shiver into my fingertips. L’Orange doesn’t really seem to notice. Outside, his neighbors are sitting around a fire. We watch from the back porch, and I come to think that even all this yields only an otiose understanding of what it takes to define L’Orange. “2007 was the year I became removed from everything.” It’s like I’m not even there anymore, and he’s just speaking freely to himself. “I would sleep in my car—I have vague memories of this—I wasn’t really eating for about four months, so my brain stopped registering things the same way. I’d sleep in my car, and when it got too hot, I’d get out and sleep in front of some church. I was never very religious—I just knew the cops wouldn’t bother me there.” If anything else, unbothered serves as his touchstone to the rest of us. From that place of reclusivity, L’Orange can channel a very real, very dark grain of the human condition and toss it into the sound. I’m standing right next to him and he seems worlds away. He continues, “It wasn’t until 2009 that I surfaced from all that. But even so—and I count this as a blessing—everything seems so foreign to me.” Foreign. I suppose in some way, behind everything said above, that’s what we all are to each other and to ourselves. I suppose that’s something we’ll have to learn to love and discover with each moment of our dying. And I suppose that’s what we’ll leave behind when we drop out of the song of this world and let the beat ride. IN EDGEHILL VILLAGE TUESDAY - SATURDAY 11:30 - 9 | SUNDAY 12 - 8 615 530 3190 | LEGATOGELATO.COM # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 2 9 30 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 1 BEN FOLDS HOLDS THE KEYS TO MUSIC CITY By Henry Pile | Photography by Joshua Black Wilkins 32 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E The Crying Wolf isn’t a bar—it’s a front for a primitive wolf-worshipping cult that’s planning to take over East Nashville By Matt Colangelo | Photography by Rebecca Adler Rotenberg # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 3 When I heard about the The Crying Wolf, I had my suspicions. Four happy Los Angelenos move to East Nashville to open a bar? That can’t be the whole story. I canvassed my sources for inside knowledge and stumbled upon a more likely scenario: The Crying Wolf is actually a co-ed wolf-worshipping cult whose centuriesold founder once lived in the basement of the bar. That’s why they came to Nashville. That’s why they have a taxidermy wolf head stashed in the closet. And that’s why some people report hearing after-hours chanting coming from the basement. It all makes sense. To investigate this theory and protect thousands of stray dogs from savage animal torture, I convinced NATIVE to let me do a story on them. Now, let’s talk about my current predicament. I’m parked across the street from Rosepepper Cantina, where I’ve agreed to meet with the four founders of T.C.W. (that’s their evil acronym). It’s a dark and overcast afternoon, even for December. My dashboard says it’s thirtythree degrees and raining, with a little flashing snowflake icon warning me that the roads are icy. Cars are going twentyfive in what I’m pretty sure is a forty-five mph zone. Everyone around me is erring on the side of caution, except me—I’m about to break tortilla with a gang of EVERYONE AROUND ME IS ERRING ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION, EXCEPT ME— I’M ABOUT TO BREAK TORTILLA WITH A GANG OF SUSPECTED WOLF SHAMANS. 34 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E known as street riding and released a fasuspected wolf shamans. They invited me to a conspicuous mous BMX video called “Nowhere Fast.” Mexican restaurant for “margos and ta- Jake has a background in fine art photogcos,” which is either an attempt to get raphy and graphic design. He started a me drunk and convert me to animal clothing line in Japan and wrote a blog worship or just one of their nostalgic of witty giraffe cartoons. Daniel and Erica, on the other hand, creature comforts. From what my sources tell me, it’s are definitely a married couple. They probably the latter. The founders of both have armloads of tattoos; they’re T.C.W.—Daniel, Erica, Dave, and Jake— both wearing wedding rings; and they’re all came to this thirty-three-degree, both standing in each other’s personal freezing rainland by way of Los Ange- bubbles, approximately half an inch les. Sunny LA, land of revealing bikinis away from each other. As if they couldn’t and hard-boiled crime dramas. Why be more similar, they both moonlight in they would travel 2,000 miles to es- the fashion industry. Daniel models for cape eighty-five-degree weather, I have Original Penguin (he’s actually their no idea. Maybe they’re on the lam. Add “Nashville face”), while Erica designs it to the growing list of things I’m figura- clothing and jewelry. They met each other outside a bar in tively dying (and might be literally dying) LA. Daniel was managing one night and to know about this crew. I walk into the restaurant and spot the stepped outside to for a cigarette. Erica four of them huddled around the host- walked up to him and said “hi.” That was ess, laughing and acting jovial. I make it. “I snagged him,” she says, looking at eye contact and walk over. We exchange Daniel with a wry smile. I’m noticing a a round of handshakes and pleasantries: stereotypical band dynamic here: a cou“Hi, I’m Daniel,” “Hey, I’m Erica,” “I’m ple of dudes on one side versus a couple Jake,” “Dave.” I know, I’ve heard all about on the other. Who has the tiebreaking you guys and your lupine séances. What I vote? Do they all get along? I have a lot really say is, “Hey guys, I’m Matt. Nice of questions to ask. We walk over to a big table in the back to finally meet you.” Dave, the ringleader, is about five feet and sit down—me on one side and the nine inches tall with a medium build four of them on the other. The first quesand one of those long scruffy beards tion I ask them is, “Who had the idea for that puts him in the ninetieth percen- the bar?” Everybody looks at Daniel, but tile of beard-sporters, but still nowhere Dave responds first, “Daniel and I talked near Duck Dynasty status. If you follow about it ten years ago in LA. I was still baseball, think Red Sox playoff beard. at the Cha Cha Bar; Erica was probably Betraying his age are a few wisps of in Miami. We were just drunk, talking….” Dumbledore gray around his chin. His Daniel elaborates, “We were at a warelongtime friend, Jake, is taller and house, drunk, skating a half-pipe. I said, lankier, probably around six feet with a ‘You know what, man, you’re a good guy. twenty-nine-inch waist. He too sports We gotta open a bar.’” Daniel is also the person who came facial hair, but it doesn’t exactly qualify as a beard. It’s more of an overgrown up with the name, and Dave is the first to give him credit, “We were sitting one hipster stubble. Dave and Jake are an odd couple. The day, chatting, and he was just like, ‘I got two things connecting them are their a perfect name for that bar: The Crying affinity for baseball hats and their expe- Wolf.’” My attention now shifts to Danrience bartending together in LA. Apart iel as the ringleader, the quiet but charfrom that, they couldn’t be more differ- ismatic man who assembled the group. ent. Dave used to be a professional BMX I see it now: Daniel convinced Dave to rider, back when the sport was taking start the “bar” (probably with sedatives), off in the ’90s. He pioneered a style then met Erica, then brought on Dave’s # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 5 friend Jake. They nod, yes, that’s correct, mean?” They have two answers to this quesminus the sedatives. Jake adds that coming to Nashville tion, both of them quirky and totally was a leap of faith: “I was trying to open non-cultish. Okay, they’re not in a cult. a bar with Dave in LA, separately. I had Daniel and Erica tell me that it started actually never met Daniel and Erica un- with a short story. Daniel gives me the til I got off the plane. I flew to Nashville six-second summary, “There was this on a one-way ticket with nothing but a short story that Erica and I wrote one night when we were working at the bar duffel bag.” Judging by how nice they are and and nobody was there. It was about a how many times they’ve said the word schizophrenic guy who works at a bar “bar” with a straight face, I’m starting that’s so slow he starts creating his own to believe that they did just move here customers.” He says the story was called to start a bar—that I’m mistaken about “The Crying Wolf,” though he doesn’t rethis whole cult business. Just to make member why. That’s when Jake and Dave jump in sure, I ask one last question about the name, “What does The Crying Wolf with an excitement that says: “Oh, we DAVE YOUNG Age: 34 Moved to Nashville: May something, 2012 Main job: Jack of all trades Spirit animal: Country Bear Jamboree 36 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E know where the name comes from.” Jake goes first, “Because everybody talked about it—yeah, we’re going to open a bar—it was totally the boy who cried wolf. But then it actually happened.” So that was the joke, the boy who cried wolf. Dave nods his head and rhetorically asks the question that they had been asking themselves seriously for ten years, “Are we crying ‘wolf,’ or are we really going to do this?” It’s a question that speaks to the difference between having an idea and realizing an idea. Many of us have business ideas, but few of us ever realize them. Few of us convince our friends to invest money in our company; few of us JAKE MANNY Age: 37 Moved to Nashville: June 2012 from LA via Seattle Main job: Behind the scenes jams Spirit animal: Nic Cage drive around the city looking for a place to lease; and few of us decide to rent a nearly condemned space in East Nashville and spend nine months renovating it. That was the time it took them to rent the space, fix it up, get all the proper licenses, and launch. According to Dave, this process was supposed to be faster. “Originally, we planned on a six-month turnaround. We came in, we gutted it, we cleaned it up as much as we could.” Then, the four founders went to the Metro Department of Codes and Building Safety, expecting to get the green light. Long story short, they didn’t get the green light; Metro informed them that the building wasn’t up to code. Apparently, they didn’t even have building permits. With permits and renovations and everything else, getting the building up to code would take another three months. After a moment of silence, Dave says something that makes my eyebrows furrow and pulse quicken, “The Wolf forced us to do it.” Hold on, The Wolf forced you? Here we go again. Just when I thought these guys were bona fide business owners, Dave has to reference an imaginary wolf that forces him to do things. I ask them who The Wolf is, with a chuckle more nervous than Shelley Du- vall’s in The Shining. Erica, who’s been pretty quiet up to this point, assures me that they’re not going to chase me down and murder me with an axe, “The Wolf is the building itself.” The Wolf is the building, not the stuffed animal you pray to at night? A relieved smile comes across my face as Dave waxes dramatic about the building and the role it’s played in their decision making, “The Wolf is its own thing. The Wolf makes you do what it wants. There are four of us, but we answer to the Wolf.” Erica understated the importance of The Wolf. It’s bigger than the building. It’s an externalization of the entire busi- ERICA BO NESS Age: 33 Moved to Nashville: July 23, 2011 Main job: Keeping three guys organized. They call that being a “secretary,” apparently. Spirit animal: Translucent unicorn DANIEL RICHARD NESS Age: 31 Moved to Nashville: July 23, 2011 Main job: Takin’ care of business Spirit animal:Duh # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 7 THE CRYING WOLF: located at 823 woodland st. native.is/the-crying-wolf 38 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E ness, an animal whose well-being is the most important thing in the world. All decisions are made in its best interests; it holds the tie-breaking vote in every debate. Jake offers an example: “All four of us will have ideas—like for the hallway—and we’ll throw them all out there, and the Wolf will decide.” The idea that they can build and pay for wins. The fact that they need an imaginary wolf to resolve design issues says something about the business: namely, that having an even number of owners complicates the decision-making process. Besides the imaginary wolf, there is no tiebreaking vote. They are four # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 9 “THE WOLF IS ITS Working together to get the results you want. 615.500.2748 615.373.4347 ext 22 BT@LiveInNashville.com LiveInNashville.com 40 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E hovering parents and the bar is their (furry animal) child. To make the right decisions for the bar, they need to be unselfish and make compromises. Making things more difficult is the fact that Daniel, Dave, Erica, and Jake all come from design backgrounds. (Dave and Daniel also worked as graphic designers.) They all have ideas about how the bar should look, and they want to contribute them. This leads to a lot of debates. One strategy they use to share ideas and resolve their inevitable design quarrels, all you Pinterest users will be happy to know, is mood-boarding. That’s right, you heard it here first, the owners of The Crying Wolf mood-board. Dave explains it like this, “We’ll put our ideas up on the wall, draw them, and think about what will work—budget-wise, time-wise, structure-wise—and the Wolf will decide.” There’s that pesky wolf again, deciding things. Our waiter brings us another round of drinks and overhears the wolf talk. I wonder if he’s going to be our waiter for much longer. One benefit of having four founders is that T.C.W. has been able to develop a system of divided labor, where people do the tasks that they are the most willing and able to do. Dave does most of the design and construction on the building. Daniel sees to the business side of things. Jake handles the infrastructure, licensing, and legal matters. And Erica is the proud designer of their booths and ladies’ bathroom. By dividing the labor and specializing in the tasks that they are best at, the four founders can run a business that would make Adam Smith proud. Which is good, because they’re still not done with the bar. In fact, from their perspective, they won’t ever be done. Jake describes T.C.W. as a bar “in constant evolution,” and Dave says that they’re “constantly changing things.” By approaching their business as a perpetual work-in-progress, the founders have made themselves its indentured servants. While they’re not praying to the Wolf every night, they are working their tails off for it. I think I understand why they’ve created this mythical wolf figure. It’s not just OWN THING. THE WOLF MAKES YOU DO WHAT IT WANTS. THERE ARE FOUR OF US, BUT WE ANSWER TO THE WOLF.” because they “cried wolf” for ten years, and it’s not just to resolve design issues. It’s because they want to embody the entity for whom they are working. They want a constant reminder of who their leader is and why they are putting in all this work. The Wolf represents the dream that they have been working towards for over a year (and talking about for over ten): to open a neighborhood bar that supports the local community and art scene. It’s their boozy version of Gatsby’s green light, something that they have gazed at from a distance for years. The only difference is that they’re realizing it. When I ask them where they want T.C.W. to be in five years, Dave says he wants it to be the “clubhouse” of Greater Five Points, a bar that evolves with the area and helps the area evolve. From afar, it seems like T.C.W. launched without a hitch; that it went from abandoned building to scenester bar in the blink of an eye; that it didn’t take over nine months to renovate; that the Metro Department of Codes and Building Safety didn’t almost rain on their parade; that they hadn’t been planning the bar for over ten years. But appearances can be deceiving. Like many other businesses starting up in Nashville, The Crying Wolf is a product of fifteen million decisions and setbacks, none of which involves animal worship. CELEBRATING 1O YEARS IN NASHVILLE THIS FEBRUARY! wormsway.com 901 main street | 615 227 7261 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 4 1 LOCAL HATTER GIGI GASKINS REVITALIZES A CENTURIES-OLD FASHION WITH AN EYE FOR QUALITY AND A MOUTH TO BE RECKONED WITH Nate at Black Abbey Brewing Co. BY HENRY PILE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSIE HOLLOWAY 42 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// 42 / / / / / / / / / / / / ///// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # N AT IVE N AS H VIL LE The first time I walk into hatWRKS on 8th Avenue, owner Gigi Gaskins shouts a brief hello and recites her list of instructions: 1. Feel free to try on anything you like. 2. Touch the hats with clean hands, please. 3. Don’t grab the hat by the pinch. 4. Hold the hat with two hands by the brim. 5. And don’t, under any circumstance, touch the crown. Welcome to hatWRKS. A rush of cedar bombards my nose. This is the secret transport to a great Northwest cabin getaway hidden between ready-totopple columns of Stetsons and Dobbs. High piles of orange-felted fedoras dare me to touch them; their hickory brown bands wrap elegantly around the slightly tapered crown, creating an illusion of height contrasted by exotic color. An orange fedora is not for everyone. For that matter, hats are not for everyone, but don’t tell Gigi. “So many people say ‘I want hats to come back in fashion.’ I just want to vomit when I hear people say that,” she says with a stop. Hats do seem to be ubiquitous. They transcend time and style by offering a modern twist on a bygone era. Around Nashville and beyond, hipsters and senior citizens alike sport Goorin Bros. fedoras and Otis James Brawlers. The hat as an accessory can be more than a billboard for your favorite college team—simply put, it can be a statement about who you are. The shop is busier than I would expect. College-aged girls try on bowlers, middleaged guys eye the dress greys, bearded fellas try on the round ranger styles. Gigi is right. People from all walks of life stroll through her maze-of-a-shop each looking to complement their lifestyle with a fine piece of headwear. To a typical business owner, this would be great, and Gigi is happy to have customers, but she didn’t set out to open a retail shop. She just wanted to make hats. And to get here, she took the long way around. Gigi’s parents moved from Hollywood, Florida to Hendersonville, Tennessee, when she was six months old. Her father and grandfather were glass men who followed the opening of a new Ford Motor plant, and together, they established a glass fabrication business called Nashville Tempered Glass Co. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 4 3 44 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E “OF COURSE IT Her father then opened a second business, Décor Glass, store; she only needed as a retail storefront. Because he couldn’t run both com- more space to house the panies, he turned Décor Glass over to Gigi, who, at sev- antique machines that serve in the creation of enteen years old, was thrust into business. While her friends were shoving off to college, Gigi custom hats. The store was neck-deep in a man’s world, haggling with construc- became a bi-product of tion contractors and delivery truck drivers. She ran ev- the space. She signed a lease ery element of the business, from coordinating repair work to creating stained glass by hand. She packaged in February 2011 and frames, managed the accounting, and negotiated prices. opened the doors in “People think I’m crazy now…they should have seen me April. “As soon as I running Décor Glass,” Gigi says with a crooked grin bent opened, people started on nostalgia. Against all odds, she grew the business and coming,” Gigi says with a bit of surprise. Gentlestayed with it for twenty-three years. Looking for a change in lifestyle, she wandered for a men who had previously few years. She spent time living in London and Hawaii traveled to Detroit, Loubefore finally returning to Nashville, where she began isville, and Atlanta to investing in home construction and making some mon- buy bespoke hats now had a local shop. This is her key market. These are the ey through real estate. In 2005, she bought a piece of land on Wedgewood guys who have overcome any anxiety about what it near the fairgrounds. Her vision was to establish a com- means to wear a hat. To offer a cliché, they wear the hat; munity garden. She spent four years clearing the land the hat does not wear them. Newbies also began wandering in. These are the peoand creating a huge space for growing and harvesting produce. Though she developed a green thumb, the ple who get the brunt of Gigi’s signature tongue lashings. community aspect of the garden was more elusive. With Their faces twist as they attempt to decipher hat sizes. a look of resolution, she concedes, “I learned that I am They grimace as they view their hatted heads reflecting not a community builder.” The truth is, many people back. What is the most common concern? The height. in Nashville have yards and, for the most part, if they “Of course it looks big on your head!” she exclaims, “It’s want gardens, they plant them in their own yards. Gigi a hat!” Just because there are plenty of options at hatWRKS handed her land over to The Nashville Food Project who combined the garden with another on Woodmont. By doesn’t mean they are easy to come by. Though Gigi leveraging their deep community roots to gather volun- makes true “one of a kind” pieces, even the retail Stetsons are special. “People don’t know what I go through teers, they were able to bring her vision to life. Chance guided Gigi to her next adventure. On an invi- to get these hats here,” she explains. Once a size or style tation from a friend, she made the last-minute decision sells out or someone pinches the crown with oily fingers, to see Coco Before Chanel at The Belcourt. (This was the she could wait up to six months for a replacement. So film’s last showing in Nashville.) As she recalls, “I ran when Gigi tells you not to touch the crown, don’t touch out of the house, ran to see that movie, and watched the crown. Once you get past the myriad options, Gigi’s true Coco making hats.” She left with inspiration and immediately started her research. Three months later, Gigi delight comes into focus. In the middle of the shop is was flying to the West Coast to take her first millinery the sales counter. Behind that, an array of wood blocks, steamers, irons, and nearly-completed custom pieces course. Though her introduction into the art and science of lay in wait. This is where Gigi comes alive and the guidhatmaking was only a few weeks long, she took 2010 to ed tour begins. We start in the very back of hatWRKS. Cedar-lined wrap up work at the garden and get her head wrapped around hat-making. By the end of the year (and nearly closets protect hat bodies from moth eggs. She runs her a year after her inspiration at The Belcourt), Gigi was hands down stacks of premium rabbit and beaver felts. communicating with hatters, purchasing refurbished, The thick, unfinished nap has immediately noticeable vintage equipment, and reviewing leases for a space to softness. She pulls a tobacco brown felt and walks back begin her work. To be clear, she was not opening a retail to her workbench. LOOKS BIG ON YOUR HEAD! IT’S A HAT!” # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 4 5 hatWRKS: Located at 1027 8th Avenue S. hatwrks.com native.is/hatwrks 46 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E To give the hat shape, she takes a heavy wooden block from the shelf above. There may be one hundred hat blocks resting in rows along the side and back walls of the space. They are whiskey brown and honey yellow with butcher-block seams. Gigi knows the story of every hat block—where she found it, the previous hatters’ names, what happened to their businesses. These blocks are expensive, old friends saved from fireplaces and dumpsters. She softens the felt with steam before pressing the hat body over the block. On her tippy toes, she bites her lip and presses her entire weight to shape the body. She uses what looks like a short boomerang to define the brim. Pulling and cutting a length of white rope, she ties the hat tight around the block and transfers it to an automated hat iron. The wood hat block has a cored center that attaches to an ironing machine, allowing it to spin as the hot plate irons the crown. “The felt is like clay. It moves and is shaped,” Gigi explains. I’ve noticed we’ve shifted gears: she’s teaching me about hats rather than telling me about them. Unlike the retail pieces, she asks me to touch everything from the machinery to the hat bodies. She runs the silk ribbons through her fingers and passes them over to me. She hands me various bodies to consider the flexibility, density, and texture of each. The tactile engagement with the textiles is energizing and bounces as she works. Pulling the felt-covered block off the iron, she moves to a whirling machine, which sands the body of the hat to extract loose fur. This process produces a shine, giving it a premium look and feel. To get the remaining bits of fur, she sprays the hat with a bit of alcohol. “This is my favorite part,” she says as she flambés the fur. The smell of singed hair hangs over like a cloud before her laugh disperses it. This process is repeated over and over until the hat takes shape and shows signs of a smooth finish. Next, www.BangCandyCompany.com Marathon Village, 1300 Clinton St, Suite 127 SAFEHOUSE TATTOO EDGEHILL VILLAGE NASHVILLE, TN # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 4 7 A student-created and student-run business. Part of Belmont’s nationally recognized Entrepreneurship Program. 2006 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN. 615 460 8011 Full Service Organic Salon Hair | Styling | Wardrobe | Makeup | Massage purenashvillesalon.com | (615) 953-7502 | 1219 17th Avenue South Nashville, TN 37212 48 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N@purenashville ASH VILL E | email@example.com she must finish the brim, then sew in sweatbands and finishing touches. The process of taking the raw body to a finished product can take over a week. Just like any piece of bespoke clothing, a fitting will be needed, followed by inevitable edits and minor fixes, ending with a finished product. Winded from the explanation, Gigi smiles and says, “I love making hats, but it can be hard work and a total pain in the ass.” Despite the frustration of a wishy-washy client or a tough project to complete, Gigi loves making hats. She hopes to put twenty years into this venture. She’s not lookwhere fashion meets ph ing to ride a trend or make a quick a student-created stude investment return. She wants and to master Part the artof of hat-making and Belmont’s nationa knows that time must be spent Entrepreneurship P learning and relearning. 2006 Belmont B She also wants to honor the hat makers who came before her. EmoNashville, TN tion overcomes her as she talks about the vintage equipment615 she 460 8011 acquired. “While you may think you have so many opportunities in the beginning, it is so true that the paths get very narrow. For the people who owned, made, and worked with this old equipment, this was their life’s work. And for the few people who choose to make hatting tools today, it's their very narrow life’s path.” More than anything, she enjoys the people who wear and love hats. The men who come to her shop focus on every detail and will spend tremendous time designing a custom hat. From the color of the felt to the width of the band to the pinch in the crown—every piece matters because hats are an extension of their owners. “They live in their hats almost every day,” Gigi says. “You cannot say that about a coat or a shirt. I can see it in a pair of boots…but nothing else comes close to a hat.” # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 4 9 RIVERSIDE 50 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E VILLAGE 1308 M C G A V O C K P I K E "Stag" Illustration by Alex Pearson of Familytree # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 5 1 more info at facebook.com/germantowncohousingnashville 52 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 5 3 SPEAKING SONGS ABOUT THE SOUTHLAND MIDDLIN SISTERS, MINKS, AND MONOLOGUES: SOUTHERN SAGE MINTON SPARKS GOES FROM GOOD MORNING AMERICA TO GOLD DIGGIN’ LEARNTWICE Two Vandy grads use children’s books to illustrate that cultural literacy is all one language BY CHARLIE HICKERSON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIC STAPLES 54 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E With 2010’s Live at the Station Inn, Minton Sparks stepped into Nashville’s art scene like a Southern housewife sauntering onto her front porch. Donning her floral ’50s halterneck dress and Betty Draper handbag—medals of honor for a highly-decorated general of Delta domesticity—Sparks fills the historic venue with tales that are grounded yet grandiose, tongue-in-cheek yet chilling, foreign yet relatable. Not only did the live album send a much-needed jolt of adrenaline into the heart of the downtown country scene; it left critics wondering what exactly a Minton Sparks show is. Her merch claims she’s the “best country singer that doesn’t sing,” while Marshall Chapman called her the spectral offspring of Flannery O’Connor and Hank Williams. John Prine even gave his two cents, saying, “Minton Sparks is a great storyteller—humanity with humidity, all told humorously with humility.” Alliteration aside, Minton’s fifth album, Gold Digger, is set to be released this month. But even after a few international tours, collaborations with Waylon Jennings and Punch Brothers’ Chris Thile, and a mountain of press, there’s still ambiguity surrounding Minton’s artistic genre. Is it simply spoken word with musical accompaniment? Performance art in the tradition of Laurie Anderson? A modern revamp of traditional Southern storytelling with a theatrical air? It’s August, and I squeeze into a sweaty, sold-out, claustrophobia-inducing show at The Basement in hopes of demystifying the myth of Minton, but what followed only added to the legend of the self-proclaimed “speaker-songwriter.” Sandwiched between two welldressed, extremely polite architects sipping pinot, I bear witness to what can only be described as “the Minton experience.” She takes the stage like a descendent of Faulkner’s Compson family, preaching about sexually explorative middle schoolers on the back of a bus, suburban snake handlers sitting on barstools, and horny good ole boys ogling cleavage at gas stations. Meanwhile, Telecaster-wielding accompanist and band leader John Jackson conjures the likes of Chet Atkins and Luther Perkins while mimicking Minton’s every vocal inflection. Together, they’re like a country-fried Mick and Keith, a comparison that’s certainly reinforced as Minton shuffles across the stage à la Chuck Berry, minus the Gibson ES-350T. Like some sort of Southern black hole, Minton forces everyone from The Basement’s bartenders to the tobaccospitting Charlie Daniels look-alike in the front row into the cosmos of rural Arkansas. By the time the set reaches “I Am From”—a chugging ode to Southern childhood that Minton relays with a sense of backwoods regality—the audience has transformed from a group of well-behaved baby boomers to rowdy rednecks whoopin’ and hollerin’ at mentions of Hee Haw and Pat Summitt. I leave the venue even more unsure about what her act actually is, but nonetheless, I can’t stop thinking about the characters I met over the course of the night: Giddy Up Gibson, Wicked Widow Pots, Aunt Dixie, and most notably, Minton Sparks. Weeks later, a considerably calmer (and more casually dressed) Minton meets me for coffee at Portland Brew, and our conversation begins in a manner perfectly consistent with the persona I’d seen at The Basement. “You have a great Southern accent,” she says, eyes softer than they are onstage, yet every bit as ernest. “Not all Southern accents are good, but you have nice one.” I guess being from rural Tennessee is good for something—let’s hope my accent doesn’t end up in a song next to Wicked Widow Pots. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 5 5 MINTON SPARKS: mintonsparks.com Follow on Facebook and Twitter @mintonsparks Watch live performances on Mintonâ€™s YouTube channel native.is/minton-sparks 56 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E We talk about where I’m from for a while before I finally switch the subject back to the subject. Surprisingly, I learn that Minton’s from a nonrural section of Murfreesboro, but her songs focus on a line of extended family from West Tennessee and Arkansas that she visited periodically throughout her childhood. “You know how you drive down a country road and wonder, ‘Who lives in that house?’” she begins, her stage smirk starting to form. “Well, somebody from my family lived in that house. Every one of my narratives are real experiences, so I love when somebody kinda acts awful in my family. When my father died, my aunt got up in the casket to get her picture taken. I was going, ‘Thank you, you’re a tax write-off for me!’ It’s almost like the worse stuff that happens, the better for me.” Minton’s résumé is almost as numerous as the family members and friends she writes about: everything from a prematurely-ended run at divinity school to interning at Good Morning America to adjunct teaching at MTSU and TSU to finally taking on a position as a counselor and social worker. All the while, she remained a poet searching for a way to present her work, a process that came with a considerable amount of trial and error. “I did some terrible stuff early on, like playing a djembe drum and just saying a poem—or vacuuming or rolling my hair while saying a poem,” she explains, chuckling. After a twenty-minute guest spot in her brother’s one-man show, Sermons from the Road, and a little help from thenguitar teacher John Jackson, Minton landed a record deal and released 2001’s Middlin Sisters, an album dedicated to her grandmothers and greataunts. Thirteen years, three albums, two books, and a concert DVD later, she still has the live dress code, Southern setting, and dark humor. Everything else, however, has changed with the # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 5 7 new record, Gold Digger. Comparing Minton now to Minton in 2001 is like talking about Dylan before and after the Newport Folk Festival or Lou Reed post-Velvets: the new sound is bigger, bolder, and glossier without losing an ounce of its original hands-onhips attitude. On the title track, Minton spits out lines like, “Her Pappa put Penthouse parameters around what’s pretty / Early and often,” with new conviction, confirming that whatever sentimentality Middlin’ Sisters might have possessed is long gone. As the speaker-songwriter aptly puts it, “My first record was about my greataunts and grandmothers, and my second record came up a generation, and now 58 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E I’m not even necessarily writing about my family. There are family things, but it’s really just sort of observing the South.” The sound has evolved as well. John’s traded his intricate acoustic fingerpicking for twangy, Creedence-esque swamp-blues licks. Backing vocalists Luella Wood (of local Southern goths Luella and the Sun) and Etta Britt echo Minton like soulful cadets answering a roots-rock drill sergeant. If the previous sound was a relaxed afternoon sipping sweet tea on the front porch, the new album is a high-speed ride through marshlands on a rickety airboat. “This is a really different record because we’ve finally figured out what we’re doing after wondering for about four other records,” Minton bluntly begins. “There’s a lock-in with the music now—it’s a groove. Instead of sounding like a musical score to a movie, the music is locked in a dialogue with the words. It’s like I’m writing a cadence, not lyrics. I’m a singer now.” And just as Lou continued to sing about drugs, sex, and general depravity after Bowie and Mick Ronson stepped in to help with Transformer, Gold Digger still deals with one of Minton’s major themes: Southern femininity. Her stories highlight women of a bygone age—women that are defined by strings of pearls, white leather kid gloves, and impeccable table manners. “THE TRUTH However, when asked if her tendency to focus on performance.” But Minton’s passion for these archetypal Southern housewives is an effort to subvert the era’s gender norms, Minton (as she does sparking (shitty pun honestthroughout our entire interview) gracefully deflects ly not intended) interest in the question: “There’s not a theme that I’m writing the oral tradition stretches into it. It’s almost like I write something, then I listen beyond the classroom and to it and it’s in there. And a lot of times, it is a cel- the stage. It’s a philosoebration of the women in my family, which is probably phy that informs her entire worldview—a mission that because I had a great-grandmother who….” She pauses, looking for words around the room. “I she’s compulsively drawn to, don’t think she really spoke. I don’t come from a long just as Faulkner was drawn line of women storytellers, so I feel like it’s my respon- to illustrating humanity’s sibility to bring their experience to life. I feel like the plight through Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi. torchbearer of the open mouth of Southern women.” And just as the pride of But Minton shares these women’s experiences through more than just her albums and performances. Oxford held that “to underShe creates (what I can only describe as) postmodern stand the world, you must folk art, writes short stories and novels, and, most re- first understand a place like cently, she’s been working on a screenplay tentatively Mississippi,” Minton’s stotitled Guilty Not Guilty, which will hopefully premiere ries about the West Tennessee and Arkansas Deltas— in New York in the not-so-distant future. “It’s a spoken word musical about this woman whose even with their outrageous sanity is on trial, and the audience is her jury,” Minton characters like Vicky Pickexplains. “She’s presenting her case via these stories, les’ momma, whose leopand at the very end of the play, it’ll be ‘All rise,’ and ard print bathing suit turns you’ll never know whether she was judged as guilty or heads at the local pool’s not.” Instinctively, I ask if she feels like she’s on trial snackbar—speak to our own for some buried transgression against the Southern traditions and customs. As the writer tellingly reveals, society she writes about. “No, no. I don’t know where this came from,” she “We always start workshop at answers. “It’s just an interesting way to tell the story. the institute by saying, ‘The I have an endless…,” again, she pauses, discarding a dirt you’re born over comes series of words at the tip of her tongue before land- out of your mouth,’ and that’s the thing I love about ing on “hunger.” “I have an endless hunger to figure the oral tradition. There’s something about bringing out ways to put these stories out in the world that are the presence of who you are—the clay of who you are—to an audience. So I don’t ever think, ‘Okay, here powerful.” And she’s spreading that hunger around town comes some Southern writing.’ It’s just that I am that.” As I take a seat in the Loveless Cafe barn to witness through The Nashville Writing and Performance Institute, a monthly writing workshop that’s held at my second Minton show—fried chicken, biscuits, and Scarritt Bennett Center. Formed in 2012, the institute sweet tea precariously balanced in my lap—there’s aims to connect people to their heritage through per- no debating that she is indeed that. Sporting a thick formance and self-expression in various artistic out- mink shawl and navy gala gown, Minton pushes back lets. Minton got the idea for the institute after fans her calculatedly frizzled hair and drives straight into started approaching her post-show and asking how “Gold Digger,” staring each unsuspecting audience they could apply the Southern sage’s brand of perfor- member down as she exclaims, “The truth is / a Rolex / a houseboat / and that full-length fur coat / won’t mance to their own lives. Elaborating on the project, she recalls, “I told them, bring young and yesterday back again.” Next to me, a painfully hip twentysomething ‘Well, I’ll teach you what I know about what I know how to do.’ I think people are disconnected with dressed like an estranged member of Fleet Foxes their own narrative sometimes. I have this passion for turns to his girlfriend and stage whispers, “What the sparking that connection in other people—that’s how hell is this?!” To quote Minton’s song “I am From,” you weave a community together. I love teaching with that “College boy / Yankee!” couldn’t begin to underit, because I feel like somebody can get sparked by a stand what she really is. IS / A ROLEX / A HOUSE- BOAT / AND THAT FULLLENGTH FUR COAT / WON’T BRING YOUNG AND YESTERDAY BACK AGAIN.” # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 5 9 60 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E "The Moth Queen" Illustration by Alex Pearson of Familytree FLOUR SUGAR EGGS 1201 5th ave n 615 823 3002 floursugareggs.net # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 6 1 62 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 6 3 64 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E JW: Should anything be kept off screen? CCK: My answer is no, but there are certain things I probably would never do. A Serbian Film, which contains pedophilia, is an example. I think you could imply that and give the same impact. It comes down to a level of taste in what you’re showing and what you’re trying to say or do in a film. But my first answer is no. “I EVENTUALLY CONVINCED MY MOM I NEEDED TO BUY PLAYBOY SO I COULD LEARN HOW TO DO LIVE DRAWING.” JW: Do you remember when you first started to become interested in film? CCK: I was always into movies as a kid. I didn’t wake up for cartoons on Saturday mornings; I got up around 10 a.m. to watch Commander USA, where this weird host dressed up in a superhero costume. He showed kung fu and horror movies, which were the things I was most into. I built this big Lego mask to wear when I watched horror movies because I would sometimes get scared. JW:Did you write as a child? CCK: In second grade, I had the neatest handwriting in my entire class, but I couldn’t spell to save my life. So, I developed this crazy way of writing to cover up the fact I couldn’t spell. Because of this, I really hid from writing and focused on art instead. At first, I went to these sketch classes with mostly fat guys as models. I eventually convinced my mom I needed to buy Playboy so I could learn how to do live drawing. JW: That’s an interesting segue into making films. CCK: [Laughs] I grew up in the small town of Fayetteville, Tennessee, and I had no idea how movies were made. In high school, my parents bought a VHS camcorder, and I would make little horror films with my buddies. Of course we didn’t have the means to edit, so I would rewind the tape and pause it where I wanted the cut to be. JW: So it seems like the logical next step would have been film school, right? CCK: When it came time to go to college, I figured I’d better go to art school since I was the “art kid.” One guy from my dorm was in the video arts program. He showed me a project he was working on, and it looked just like the films I had made in high school. Suddenly, I was like, “Shit. I can learn how to do this here? I can learn to make movies?” I went to the first class and was hooked. INTRODUCTION BY CASEY FULLER | INTERVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF WEDDING The back office in the old train station offers few modern elements, but has an abundance of rustic charm—worn leather seats, dusty rugs, aged brick walls. Excluding the current tenant’s editing bay, it would feel as if we had been transported back a hundred years. I begin to think how interesting sitting in on this interview is going to be, due to the fact that our June feature in film, Jeff Wedding, is going to be interviewing this month’s feature in film, Chad Crawford Kinkle. Both writer/directors were selected on FEARnet’s top ten indie genre directors to look out for. Both gentlemen have received national attention for their recent horror film projects. Jeff’s A Measure of the Sin buries a newborn child in a pasture, while Chad’s Jug Face births from incest a miscarried fetus in a bathtub. As I ready myself for the first question... JW: Tell me about Harpe: America’s First Serial Killers. CCK: I had just moved to Nashville, and I attended the Nashville Screenwriters Conference where I met a guy that really liked my writing. He told me about these guys called the Harpes who terrorized Tennessee and Kentucky around the time of the Revolutionary War. I later met an illustrator, Adam Shaw, and together we created the graphic novel Harpe: Ameri- # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 6 5 66 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E Excerpt from Harpe: Americaâ€™s First Serial Killers. Written by Chad Crawford Kinkle and illustrated by Adam Shaw could direct the film myself. On my flight back home, I read Jason Zinoman’s book Shock Value about horror directors in the JW: You won the grand prize at Slamdance ’60s and ’70s making films any way they for your Jug Face script. How did that could. With each page, I became more and more energized. I got back to Nashville award enable you to get the film made? CCK: Before I won, no one would take my and knew I had to find someone that was call. But after that night, everyone would crazy enough to make this film and allow at least listen to what I was saying. At the me to direct it. I thought about the people Slamdance Awards, people looked at me who had made The Woman and emailed different after I won, even though I was the producer, Andrew van den Houten. He still the same nervous guy standing in the called me seven minutes later and told me that it sounded interesting. I sent him the corner about to have a heart attack. script and told him to read it while I finished editing Organ Grinder. He watched JW: So tell us what Jug Face is about. CCK: Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant the film and loved it—I was directing Jug teen trying to escape a backwoods com- Face less than six months later. munity when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a mysterious pit. The en- JW: Do you plan on staying in the horror tity in the pit requires a life for keeping the genre, or would you like to branch out and community safe. The face of the person to do something different in the future? be sacrificed is crafted onto a ceramic jug. CCK: I made the decision in school that When ignored, the entity unleashes an evil I wanted to devote my life to making horonto the community. Now, no one is safe ror movies. It drives me crazy when people as tragedy befalls each member one by one, ask what I’m working on next. I tell them and they soon realize that the pit wants it’s another horror movie, and they’re surprised that anyone would want to stick what it wants. with it. My goal has always been to make JW: When’s the last time you’ve been be- my mark on the horror genre. hind a camera? CCK: After moving to Nashville, I didn’t JW: Because that’s how you’re wired—you make a short for eight years. It wasn’t until think in terms of horror when you get creafter writing Jug Face that I felt I needed ative. a new short to show that I could direct. I CCK: Exactly. The only ideas I ever come timed it where I shot my short film Organ up with are horrors. Jug Face is a horror, Grinder as I began to hear from screenwrit- but it’s skewed over to one side, so there’s been a bit of a pushback from people ing competitions about Jug Face. whose idea of horror is way too narrow. JW: Was selling the Jug Face script and Many horror movies that have been proallowing another director to come in to duced post-9/11 have been more visceral, torture-porn horrors, which I’m fine with. make the picture ever an option? CCK: It wasn’t my preference. Slam- But those aren’t the only emotions that dance already had an executive producer can be explored in the genre. involved, but they wanted to hire a more “seasoned” director. The budget they were JW: It’s almost like the attention span of talking about wasn’t even that big, so I be- viewers, especially when it comes to genre gan to wonder what it was going to take to films, has been minimized over the years, get a chance to direct. It was really con- and the intelligence of the movie is refusing because I took all of these meet- moved or non-existent to begin with. ings and was being asked if I could write CCK: Right. People act like it’s crazy to action films and all kinds of stuff, but I have real characters in a horror film. It’s really wanted to direct Jug Face. I didn’t like they’ve never seen Rosemary’s Baby— know whether I should sell the script or those are real characters and that’s a real hold off and find my own producer so I horror movie. The situation is terrifying, ca’s First Serial Killers, which I wrote and he drew. WEEKNIGHT prixe fixe MENU DINNER HOURS TUESDAY - THURSDAY 6pm - 9pm FRIDAY - SATURDAY 6pm - 10pm BRUNCH HOURS SATURDAY - SUNDAY 9am - 2pm 615 • 915 • 0738 1115 PORTER RD CAFEFUNDAMENTAL.COM # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 6 7 and that, to me, is what horror is. JW: Who are some of your artistic influences? CCK: I’ve always been attracted to the surrealist movement. Anything dark, I’m drawn to. Influential movies would be Freaks, Rosemary’s Baby, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and of course, all of the horror classics like Frankenstein, Cat People, and so on. I even like the bad movies, like what Full Moon was putting out when I was younger. I’m a fan of the Subspecies vampire films they did. Southern culture is also really big with me because of where I grew up. I didn’t realize how different it was until I moved to New York and started meeting people from other backgrounds, which made me understand how much my small town had actually shaped me. JW: What about literature? CCK: Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” was huge. I read it in junior high, and it was the most impactful story I had ever read because I could see the story happening in my hometown so easily. I also read Lord of the Flies around the same time. Those kinds of stories just really spoke to me. Going to church in the country and meeting people that are snake handlers and knowing people that have Christian offshoots where they grow their hair really long and speak in tongues has always fascinated me. Much of that environment is what led me to the face jugs, which are southern folk pottery. JW: If you had to choose writing or directing, which would you choose? CCK: To me, they’re the same thing; directing is just the continuation of the process. I’m definitely the happiest writing. I enjoy that creative experience much more than the realities of bringing the screenplay to life, because that’s painful. Writing is nerve-wracking and lonely, but directing and making what’s on the page come to life is very stressful. 68 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E JW: Would you ever direct something you didn’t write? CCK: Probably, but it would have to speak to the ideas that I like. It’s hard for me to imagine taking something someone else wrote and not being able to shape it into what I’d want. I would prefer to be able to change it, so that if I had an idea, I could incorporate it and make it into my own. Of course, the writer in me is like, ‘You f*cking asshole!’ because that would be the worst thing ever—to have a director come in and do something to what I had written. JW: I won’t ask you to describe yourself as a filmmaker, but are there any particular themes you expect to reappear in your work from one piece to the next? “ACTORS BRING THE CHARACTERS ALIVE TO TELL THE STORY, BUT WITHOUT A GOOD SCRIPT, A FILM IS PRETTY MUCH DOOMED.” CCK: Issues with community and family will probably always have some relevance. Jug Face is obviously about family dynamics, and the script I’m writing now is about family issues. JW: With the influx of high quality video equipment that can be had for cheap, it seems everyone is in a rush to make movies without being prepared with a solid script. Do you find this disturbing and potentially damaging to the future of cinema? CCK: The technology is cool because it’s giving people who would otherwise have no voice the opportunity to express themselves through making movies, while also providing them with a chance at getting noticed. So, that’s a positive. The negative is that everyone and their dog thinks because they’ve bought a Red One camera, they can go make a movie and it’s going to be awesome. In general, screenwriters, even in Hollywood, aren’t thought of as highly as directors, which is strange. Actors don’t make up the characters and the story—it has been created by a writer. Actors bring the characters alive to tell the story, but without a good script, a film is pretty much doomed. JW: Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers? CCK: I’m seeing way too many imitations at the moment. So I would say to any filmmaker or creative person: just do your own thing and not be swayed by doing something because it’s trendy. I’d also tell them not to look for external motivations for why they’re doing it, but to do it because it’s what speaks to them. Before I finished Jug Face, I was trying to write a screenplay that was, in my mind, a commercial movie, and it was paralyzing. I couldn’t write a thing that way. Finally I said, ‘F*ck everybody,’ and I wrote exactly what I wanted. JW: What’s next for you? CCK: Writing. My latest script is set in an urban environment in the South and deals with family secrets. Once I’m satisfied with it, I’ll send it out and work on getting it made. VIENER GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN CUISINE WITH AN AMERICAN ACCENT 117 28TH AVE N | 615.730.5085 200 HOUR PRANA FLOW YOGA TEACHER TRAINING An Affiliate Program of Shiva Rea’s Samudra Global School of Living Yoga www.studiodakini.com 615-481-3204 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 6 9 70 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 7 1 IT’S YouR hip urban MovE historic HOME MARK DEUTSCHMANN NEWELL ANDERSON KELLY RAMOS CASEY ZOLEZZI DANIELLE HASLEY 615.369.6151 / NashvilleCityLiving.com 72 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E City Living CRYSTAL ATKINSON # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 7 3 74 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E THE CHROME BAR’S ALETHEA AUSTIN IS DEBUNKING NOTIONS OF POLE DANCING BY TRANSFORMING IT INTO AN INTRICATE ART BY ELISE LASKO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY KEITH LEMAN POLE DANCING IS DAMN SEXY—THERE’S NO WAY AROUND IT. But when most of us hear “pole dancers,” we think strippers wearing skimpy g-strings that are better suited holding the night’s earnings than providing decent coverage. Other than seedy, smoke-filled sex dens and a handful of exotic boudoirs, we don’t imagine poles belonging anywhere else. For the small but growing pole dance community, it is an art that transcends false conceptions by trading gaudy and horny for elegant and sensual. It is a performance that demands more strength and flexibility than most other variations of dance. Think Cirque du Soleil. Undeniably, these two perspectives are bound to overlap in some respects, but their fundamental differences make them opposites. The first degrades; the second empowers. I know this now, but before I met Alethea Austin, world-renowned pole dancer and owner of The Chrome Bar, I was one among others leaning over the stage, dollar bill in hand. ••• Sitting atop the parking lot of Hermitage Lighting, The Chrome Bar looks like a displaced black box floating in a concrete sea. I can’t find the entrance, so I circle the place a couple times before hearing a door open behind me. I enter the warmth of the studio and over the loud, gritty riffs of Alice in Chains, we introduce ourselves. Meet Alethea Austin. Even without her ten-inch stilettos and rhinestoned two-piece number, I know what she’s capable of. Alethea is intimidating, but gracefully so. Cateyed and high-cheekboned, she has a calm, alluring presence that is restated by her athletic build. I follow closely as she gives me a tour of her studio. I notice something leopard-like in the way she walks, her gyrating hips exuding sex and dominance. The entrance room displays “I work out at the bar” koozies and Alethea’s DVD series, among colorful varieties of pole apparel. Above us is a chandelier adorned with pole dancing platform shoes. Noticing the direction of my gaze, Alethea tells me that it’s an homage to one of her former students who recently lost a battle with cancer. The main studio is open-aired and # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 7 5 “HAVING A SEA peaceful, almost sacred. I count six twelve-foot poles in the 2100 square foot dance space. “They’re removable, which allows us to turn this into an event space,” she tells me. She also points to an area of the room where she’s going to install a partial stage. Back in the sitting room, red and blue rays from the tinted windows above bathe us in color, transforming the room into a stiletto sanctuary. ••• The thirty-four year old was born in Bloomington, Indiana, to a nuclear physicist father and a European mother. Early on, Alethea knew she wanted to be an artist, but didn’t find her calling right away. “I couldn’t write or sing worth shit, and I failed violin,” she says, emitting a quiet giggle. “I didn’t know anything else could be art until later on.” When she was three, her parents enrolled her in gymnastics, and although she admits she wasn’t truly committed, she went on to participate in high-level competitions through high school. Still hungry for a creative outlet, she began experimenting in film photography when she began to see how powerful messages can be in the absence of words. After attending Rhode Island School of Design, Alethea was confident she could freelance in a city with more opportunities. Following her 2004 exhibit, “From Indiana, With Love,” that showed in New York City and The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, she moved to Los Angeles, giving in to an inward calling to go West. Once there, she freelanced for magazines like Mass Appeal and Revolver when she was unexpectedly approached to do stunt work. But she stopped before she got in too deep. “I didn’t go to art school to test stunts for Fear Factor! Alethea exclaims. “I wasn’t even certified!” Despite her invincibility on-screen, Alethea’s life came to a screeching halt the summer of 2005. While she was driving on Interstate 210 a U-Haul driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel sideswiped Alethea’s car, breaking her wrist 76 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E OF TRAINED and sternum and severely injuring her neck. The year that followed was a blur of surgeries and physical therapy, putting her photography and everything else on hold. “After that happened, I couldn’t find myself for a year. You can’t just jump back into normal life after something like that.” She makes her hands into fists and holds them out to me. In Gothic script, her knuckles spell “push past”—a reminder of her accident and affirmation of her strength. “I’m flattered by fans Soleil,” who quickly became a valuable who get the same tattoo. I wasn’t in- mentor to Alethea and who encouraged tending that to happen. But everyone’s her to compete in next year’s competibeen through something—no matter tion. what it is.” Determined to reach Jenyne’s level Looking for the right physical routine of skill, Alethea entered the 2010 comto help her regain strength, twenty- petition with determination to perform eight-year-old Alethea took her first pole nothing short of her best. “Pole is still dancing class at LA’s BeSpun Pole after taboo and fringe, so it weeds a lot of discovering the studio on YouTube. “I people out pretty quickly. But at that thought, Yeah, pole dancing will be awe- point, I was hellbent on not being one some! We’ll just sit around drinking whis- of them.” key and listening to Alice in Chains!” she “There aren’t really any rules with smiles. After she says this, I notice a pole—anything goes,” Alethea articustring of lights illuminating an impres- lates as she remembers her second sive collection of Jack Daniels empties time at US Pole Federation. Moments along the wall. before her routine, she dislocated her Her first attempt at the pole, as it is knee backstage, but determined to push for everyone, was physically and mental- past her vision-altering pain, she handly taxing. “I was so unprepared for how cuffed herself to the pole as planned and hard it was going to be—it’s deceivingly prepared for the first chords of Tool’s hard.” “Sober.” “It was ‘make it or break it’ for But luckily, Alethea was well- me then. I knew I couldn’t go back to a equipped. With backgrounds in gymnas- normal job. I told myself, ‘I’m married tics and photography, she not only had to this—better or worse.’” an acute awareness of her body and conAlethea completed her routine and trol over its movements; she also had an was named 2010’s US Pole Federation eye for lines and composition. She ex- Champion. “I think the injury helped my plains, “I gravitate towards sensuality— performance,” she muses. “Now I know the way legs create lines in an effortless, that I can channel that when I need to, weightless fluidity. A lot of chicks like it but hearing that song still makes my because it’s tough, but that’s what really knee twitch.” turned me on to pole.” By this point, the pole industry was Just a few months after her first class, growing, and what had begun as a few a very surprised Alethea was asked to YouTube videos of homemade pole begin teaching at BeSpun. In 2009, she tricks was transforming into a more acmade her pole dance debut at the US cessible and a more practiced art. AlePole Federation where she befriended thea knew what she had to do next: tour. the winner, world-renowned Jenyne The next three years, Alethea travButterfly. Alethea classifies the profes- eled around the globe guest teaching sional dancer as “high-level Cirque du DANCERS GIVE YOU A STANDING APPLAUSE— IT WAS A BIG MOMENT.” THE CHROME BAR: Located at 533 Lafayette St. Follow on Twitter @TheChromeBar and on YouTube at youtube.com/thechromebar thechromebar.com aletheaaustin.com native.is/the-chrome-bar # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 7 7 workshops, participating in competitions, growing her fan base, and honing her craft. Alethea talks excitedly about one of her most notable achievements— her appearance in 2012’s Rock of Ages alongside New York City dancer Marlo Fisken, mentor Jenyne Butterfly, and inspiration, Mia Michaels. “Shooting it was much better than the actual filmed scene,” she smiles. “Having a sea of trained dancers give you a standing applause—it was a big moment.” By her third year of touring (her second clocking in at 300 days on the road), Alethea was ready to devote her time to teaching consistently and locally. “While I was teaching on tour, I’d teach girls for ninety minutes, take pictures with them, and never see them again.” Ready to develop more intimate relationships with her students, she decided to open her own studio. For a city still new to pole dancing, 78 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E Alethea didn’t encounter much pushback from her neighbors or the larger community. “It’s all about how you approach people and show that you’re good at what you do.” In fact, her biggest collaborators are the Music City Burlesque dancers, who will be hosting performances at The Chrome Bar later this year. Together, she and her husband Keith bought a five-and-a-half-acre house on the outskirts of Fontanel. Alethea gracefully switches the cross of her legs and confesses, “The reason I moved to Nashville was that I knew it was the only place I could live the way I wanted—as a business owner, pole dancer, and artist.” She continues, expressing how she perceives her role in Nashville’s artist community. “I’ve found a niche as a dancer and a visual artist, and I feel like I have the ability to make a mark for a long time. It’s my dream as an artist to be respected in both communities.” In regard to her growing vision of The Chrome Bar, she tells me, “Pole right now is the Wild West. It started to generate a lot of money and mainstream capabilities, but there are no rules. I try to change that, she says. And she already is with her first Live Dancing Girls showcase last October featuring over twenty dancers and pole champions from around the globe. The series returns to Exit/In in this February Out of curiosity, I ask what her audience was like, and her answer reinforces the changing notions of the art of pole dancing: “Our audience came from every part of the city. There were grandmothers sitting next to producers, musicians, and trained dancers.” I ask about her complementary interests—teaching and performing—and how she envisions her own pole dancing future. “If I only taught, I wouldn’t be # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 7 9 satisfied; and if I only performed, I wouldn’t feel satisfied either.” Now, she tours twice a year internationally and spends the rest of her time helping to grow Nashville’s pole dancing community. ••• GRAND OPENING JANUARY 16TH TASTY FOOD • GAMES • CRAFT BEER CLASSIC COCKTAIL MENU 1520 DEMONBREUN ST. WWW.TWOBITSNASH.COM @TwoBitsNash EAST NASHVILLE 615 385 1800 1004 Gallatin Ave 80 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E MT JULIET 615 754 Play 485 N Mt Juliet Rd A few weeks later, I don my stilettos for my first pole class with Alethea and slip in the studio to watch the last ten minutes of her class before mine. Watching her on the pole was almost indescribable. Transforming into an acrobat, contortionist, and dancer the instant she positions her hands to slowly ascend the pole, she embodies sensuality and empowerment on a visceral level. She makes it look so easy, and from my years of classical ballet training, I know the measure of a truly gifted dancer is the ability to make something so demanding and intricate look effortless. She doesn’t blink in her signature upside-down split with only the strength of her legs keeping her horizontal and on the pole. That, along with her controlled drops, makes the pole that’s been wiped down with rubbing alcohol seem like it’s covered in oil as she slowly descends into a floor split. At once, I see the art of pole dancing. After successfully making it off the ground on my first day, I experience firsthand the overwhelming confidence that pole dancing is possible—though it would take more than the five years it took the creative mastermind behind The Chrome Bar to perfect. Alethea and I are in conversation after class, and one of the last things she says before I emerge from the black box to a concrete sea is, “I’m in love with my students here. They don’t know who I am—they just want to take a pole class.” And I’m honored to be one of them now. NEW SOUND, NEW LIGHTS, AND PHENOMENAL NIGHTS! HUGE DYNAMIC VIDEO WALL 20+ SHOWS IN JANUARY 12THANDPORTERLIVE.COM NOW OPEN IN 12TH & PORTER! MUSICCITYPIZZA.COM 114 12TH AVE NORTH FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC, PIZZA, & BEER P.S. NASHVILLE NEEDS TO DANCE MORE! # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 8 1 BEER BACON & BURLESQUE UNLIMITED SAMPLES OF 80 WINTER AND SPRING SEASONALS ARTISAN BACON FROM 25 LOCAL VENDORS THREE BURLESQUE SHOWS BY MUSIC CITY BURLESQUE FEBRUARY 1, 2014 NOON - 6PM MARATHON MUSIC WORKS MUSIC BY: MOSELEY • BREE • CHERRY VALANCE 82 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 8 3 HEY GOOD LOOKIN' Melanie Shelley, TRIM Classic Barber | Photography by Eli McFadden 84 84 / // // // // // // // // // // / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E TRY: & Other Stories Cashmere Day Cream, Stories.com, $25 | Smashbox Brow Tech Trio, The Cosmetic Market, $25 | Clarins Instant Concealer, Nordstrom, $30 | Davines Invisible No Gas Hairspray, TRIM Legendary Beauty, $29 The Beauty: Danielle Maltby @AMAX Talent | Concept, Hair, Makeup, Clothing: Melanie Shelley @ TRIMNashville for AMAXtalent.com | Pleated Cape Coat: Savant Vintage Couture, $115 | Ribbed Cream Sweater, Gap, $44 | Five-row Metro bangle 18k white gold with diamonds, Tiffany, $23,000 STATE OF GRACE Once the hallmark of great fashion, effortless style has become startlingly rare. Amidst the chaos of tweeting and twerking, the simplicity and elegance of Grace Kelly’s sideswept bob appears downright alternative. “2014 marks a return to classic lines,” says TRIM session stylist Melanie Shelley. “Ask your stylist for a haircut with a sharp, strong edge and flick it up and over to one side to keep it fresh.” ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL THURSDAY JANUARY 16TH PABLO GARZON WITH SERENATA 7-10 2 FOR 1 HOUSE WINE AND SANGRIA 6-8 FRIDAY JANUARY 17TH MARCELA PINILLA TRIO AND DJ PARA LOS QUE BAILAN 9PM-2PM 2 FOR 1 DONQ RUM ALL DAY 11AM TO 10PM 2 FOR 1 SANGRIA 8-10 SATURDAY JANUARY 18TH SALSA DANCING NIGHT WITH DJ ARIES 9PM-2PM HAPPY HOUR ALL DAY SANGRIA (WHITE AND RED) FROM 11AM TO 10PM. 2 FOR 1 DONQ FROM 8-10 O VE 11th A ST N U NBRE VE A h t 12 DEM EL LAUR S U B N E E R G E T U O R ST PIN 12th AVE ISIO 86 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E N 10t DIV OVE RTO N ST ES T NashvilleGulch.com LA FA YE TT EAV ES ST 8th AV E GL E ACCESSOREYES | ADAGIO MASSAGE CO. | APRICOT LANE | ARNOLDS始S COUNTRY KITCHEN | BAR LOUIE | BARRY始S BOOTCAMP | BLUSH BOUTIQUE | BOND COFFEE COMPANY | BURGER REPUBLIC | CANTINA LAREDO | th CARTER VINTAGE GUITARS | CASHMERE SALONSPA | COLTS CHOCOLATE | 9th E.ALLEN | GALERIE RAVIN | HOPS & CRAFTS | HOTBOX | ILEX FOR FLOWERS | JACKALOPE BREWING CO. | JUICE.NASHVILLE | KAYNE PRIME | KENNY & COMPANY | KING BABY | KOCKTAILS & KOUTURE | LUCCHESE | PEG LEG PORKER | RUMOURS WINE BAR | RU SANS | SAMBUCA | SIPS N STROKES | STATION INN | SUBWAY | THE PUB | TURNIP TRUCK | TWO OLD HIPPIES | URBAN OUTFITTERS | VIRAGO | WATERMARK | WEDDING 101 | WHISKEY KITCHEN | YAZOO BREWING CO # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 8 7 ... ... ... # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E LUNCH monday-friday ... 88 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// BREAKFAST tuesday-saturday ... WEST LOCATION NOW SERVING ... EAST SIDE 501 GALLATIN AVE 615 650 4440 ’S LE VIL S SH SE NA HEE TO N C ME SA HO ARTI WEST SIDE 4816 CHARLOTTE AVE 615 454 2995 by wells adams, lightning 100 | photo by solomon davis YOU OUGHTA KNOW: MODOC I’M A LITTLE EMBARRASSED. When it comes to local music, I like to think I have the jump on the likes of say iTunes or Fox Sports. But I guess it’s better late than never. In November, it was announced that Pearl Jam would be Fox Sports’ Artist of the Month, which meant that the station would play the grunge group’s music during its programs. This wasn’t too surprising, considering Eddie Vedder and company had just released their tenth studio album and seized their fifth number one record. I guess what was surprising to me was that thirty days later, Nashville’s own MODOC was announced as Fox Sports’ Artist of the month for December. So, at Lightning 100, we decided to follow suit and made them our Local Band of the Week. MODOC’s “Runnin’,” the third track of the self-titled album, was put into heavy rotation for the first week of December on Lightning 100. I was like, “Good call, Fox Sports. Good call.” Last month was shaping up to be pretty solid for the band, but they were just getting started. On the Second Day of Christmas, Rock Island gave to them: a really cool Daytrotter session. For those of you who don’t know, Daytrotter is a website that’s been responsible for more than twenty-one million song downloads. (FYI, I’ve been ripping off Daytrotter information and passing it off as my own for years now.) MODOC recorded their session at Daytrotter’s home studio, The Horseshack, a studio that prides itself on recording sessions with up-and-coming indie bands. For those up-and-coming musicians, it’s truly an honor to be selected to record there. MODOC’s Daytrotter session was just released on December 2nd and is downloadable now at daytrotter.com. For most bands, that would have been one hell of a December. But on the Tenth Day of Christmas, iTunes gave to them: a really awesome promotion. MODOC was selected as one of their New and Noteworthy alternative artists. For the rest of the month, iTunes offered their music at a special price, and even put the band on their front page. So here it is. You oughta know that MODOC has a self-titled record out right now, and it’s awesome. You oughta know that I think you should go buy it. And if you don’t trust me, you oughta know that iTunes, Fox Sports, Lightning 100, and Daytrotter agree with me. # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 8 9 90 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 9 1 OVERHEARD@ NATIVE RIT SPI MAL ANI N TIO I D E 92 / / / / / / / / / / / / / //// /// IVENNAS ASH VILLEE ##NNATATIVE H VILL # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 9 3 "The Kraken" Illustration by Alex Pearson of Familytree # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 9 5 Kingdom: Of Make Believe Phylum: THE ELECTRIC SALMON A Very Noble Fish Indeed By Alex Pearson THE ELECTRIC SALMON IS AN EXTREMELY RARE AND MYSTICAL FISH. Many doubt his existence at all, and those who do will of course never have the privilege of seeing him Catching an electric salmon is even more uncommon than seeing one. However, many men will do just about anything to catch this special fish. You see, the electric salmon has an affinity for coins— silver, in particular. In fact, he eats coins and seems to have the ability to store an infinite amount of them within his magical body. Some even say that the fish is made of silver. This fish’s incomprehensible ability to store precious metal is only matched by the greed of men who wish to take it from him. To catch this valuable fish, you must attach a silver hook to your fishing line and use a silver coin as bait. Now, getting this method to work is another matter completely, because he is no fool. Most anglers report that this fish simply snatches the coin from the hook and swims off unnoticed—the victor of the spoils. Yes, many a greedy man have lost life fortunes in his pursuits of the electric salmon. Now, a word of caution to those wishing to line their pockets with this fish’s silver. I have not yet explained to you why this special salmon is in fact electric. Silver, as you may or may not know, is the best conductor of electricity among all metals, and this sly salmon uses that to his advantage. Beware, for this fish can deliver a mighty shock indeed (if he need protect himself ). He is not of an aggressive nature, but he can read the greedy heart of man, and will not give up his treasure easily to the dishonest. To the humble, those in true need, and those not looking for selfish gain, the electric salmon will reveal himself readily. Consider yourself a very fortunate soul indeed if you find him willing to show himself to you. He may just jump into your boat without the need for hook and line. This fish can read hearts both greedy and meek. And to the meek in need, he gracefully bestows his silver treasure— filling your boat with all of the coins it can contain. 96 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E Class: Order: Chordata Actinopterygii Salmoniformes Family: Salmonidae Genus: Salmo Species: S. electricus # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E // / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 9 7 SEASONAL PRODUCE FRESH MEAT & SEAFOOD CRAFT BEER FILL MEALS TO-GO 1201 PORTER ROAD BOONEANDSONSMARKET.COM 98 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /// # N AT IVE N ASH VILL E