AUGUST | 2012
MESSENGERS LEGAL DOCUMENTS LUNCH BANK DEPOSITS THOUSANDS OF MAGAZINES BICYCLES GROCERIES PRESCRIPTIONS COURT FILINGS
Y O U N A M E I T, W E ’ L L D E L I V E R I T
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W W W . R U S H B I C Y C L E M E S S E N G E R S . C O M ////// 1
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Turtle Anarchy’s Fifty Shades of Black project has yielded a number of limit-pushing beers that the Franklin-based brewery is very proud of. Presented by the beer lovers at Village Pub & Beer Garden.
Acclaimed author Adam Ross reveals the hope that underlies his bleak, brutal stories.
BEER FROM HERE
MUDDY WATER AND A COUCH
Red Earth Trading Company’s Travis Gravette & Edwin Ortiz explain how those things turned into a traveling pop-up fashion shop.
SOUNDS LIKE SHUITAR
Just in time for Christmas, musician and inventor Matt Glassmeyer has a new instrument.
COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH
The Griswold is another hit from the mixologists at No. 308. It’s a clever holiday recipe that’ll put the jolly back into the holidays and everything else.
SANTA IS REAL
No, he doesn’t live on the North Pole. Yes, he does smoke like a chimney, love Red Lobster, and own Nashville’s most beloved karaoke bar.
CONTENTS DECE MBE R 2 012
Adam Ross & UTOPIA
HEY GOOD LOOKIN'
Melanie Shelley, celebrity stylist and owner of TRIM, gives her take on a classic men’s look.
TATTOOS YOU WON’T REGRET
Find out why people come all the way from Australia to get inked at Doy Gardner’s Black 13 Tattoo Parlor.
A guide to gifts that are made or sold by local businesses. It’s good for the local economy. Plus, the best stuff is already here.
Nashville street style.
NATIVE ANIMAL OF THE MONTH
...and some partridges on the last page..
May Cheung, the master baker behind Tricycle Sweets and Frothy Monkey’s treats, gives you everything you need to take a delicious, quirky, pro-ninja approach to gingerbread cookies.
Industrial designer Robert Hendrick makes furniture out of the stuff that made America—railroad ties and hundred-year-old rails.
Kathleen Cotter is spreading the Gospel of Cheese with The Bloomy Rind, her East Nashville artisan cheese shop.
28 VOICE OF AN ANGEL
The ever-talented Natalie Prass spreads her wings in Nashville. Did we mention that she’s talented? ////// 3
WARM UP WITH...
Slap a beret on with your buckskin, It’s getting chilly outside!
• Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream • Splash Of Early Times • 2 Shots Of Espresso • 1 Dollop Of Fresh Cream
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ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN DAVE PITTMAN SARAH SHARP CLAIRE GIBSON MACKENZIE MOORE HANNAH LOVELL SARAH KLEARMAN CAYLA MACKEY TAYLOR RABOIN ITORO UDOKO BECCA CAPERS KATRINA HARTWIG JOSHUA SIRCHIO COLIN PIGOTT JOE CLEMONS
KELLY HAYS HENRY PILE JESSICA JONES LIZ RIGGS GILLIS BERNARD
ALLISTER ANN WILL HOLLAND LAUREN HOLLAND ERIC STAPLES RYAN GREEN CAMERON POWELL BRANDON CHESBRO ELI McFADDEN DANIEL MEIGS
DREW COX ROBERT DUELLO BRANDON GREER ELISE LASKO EDEN LUQUIRE LAURABETH MARTIN KRISTEN McDANIEL GABRIEL MELO COREY MILLER JAMA MOHAMED RALPH NOYES
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HELMSMAN'S LETTER: Hello there, and welcome back! As always, it's good to see you. This is our sixth issue, which means it's our 1/2 birthday or 1/2 anniversary! And it's here just in time for Christmas and all of those other holidays that make this such a special time of year. So, that's at least two good reasons to get excited. Basically, we're ready to partay, and you should be, too. Woo! Reader, you may not know this, but you're kind of a big deal around here. We couldn't do what we do without you, and as a result, we've got a little bit of a crush on you...ok, fine, we f'ing love you. Like, fo' real. (Same goes for our advertisers.) Even if this is your first time reading Native, you should probably give yourself a pat on the back or a high-five or something. We thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.
COVER PHOTO BY WILL HOLLAND ILLUSTRATION BY ARCADE DEATH
Now, we've got a great issue for you. In fact, this one may be our best issue yet. For December, we come bearing stories of Natalie Prass, Black 13, the Shuitar, Santa's Pub, Rail Yard Studios, The Bloomy Rind, Red Earth Trading Co., Adam Ross, and myrrh...I mean, more. Also, make sure you check out our amazing local gift guide that makes it easy for you to buy local this holiday season. Oh, and there're some partridges on the last page...just FYI. Thanks again for reading.
Dave Pittman HELMSMAN
THE COVER'S STORY
To create this month's cover, which features the beautiful take on holiday imagery. We hatched a last minute plan that Will Holland and Arcade Death brought to life. When Will asked what we wanted, we told him "bright, simple, white wall." After a quick shoot at MOONBASE, he gave us exactly the photo we wanted. For Arcade what we wanted, and we said, "Christmas pattern." He called back the next day and said, "How about Nativity creatures from another galaxy...as a starting point?" We said, "Exactly." Basically, we wanted him to do his thing, which he did beautifully. He also contributed an amazing illustration for our gift guide. Both illustrations will be available as limited edition screen prints this month at ArcadeDeath.com // / /// 5
SCHERMERHORN SYMPHONY CENTER Artwork by Lauren Rolwing, an illustrator living in Nashville, Tennessee. See more of her work at laurenrolwing.com. 6 / / // / /
BUY TICKETS AT: NashvilleSymphony.org 615.687.6400
This summer, a “slow revolution” was launched just outside of historic Franklin. In July, Brothers Mark and Andrew Kamp, home-brewers hailing from Cape Cod by way of Belmont and MTSU, gave Williamson County its first distributing brewery. They called it Turtle Anarchy, which they say signifies the ongoing paradigm shift in the craft beer world. Although they received help from family members, their team wasn’t quite complete until they added brewmaster Mike Kraft to form a triumvirate. Mike’s twelve years of experience with the Texas-based Two Rows brewpubs helped them launch the revolution in full. Seeing that the craft beer industry rarely experiments boldly with different flavor profiles for stout beer, the team began a new project they called “50 Shades of Black.” The Kamp/Kraft brain trust started the project by infusing Turtle Anarchy’s Portly Stout with different herbs, spices, fruits and veggies. Made with three different dark malts—chocolate, black, and roasted barley—the stout makes an excellent base for
other flavors. With minimum hops, this brew creates a smooth, hearty balance that easily absorbs and accentuates each flavor. The infusion process is done in half-barrel batches, where the fresh ingredients are wrapped in a cheesecloth and set inside the barrel. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, but the end result is a wonderfully diverse array of stouts. Previous shades have included “Smoke and Mirrors,” a chipotle pepper and cinnamon stout; “Down with the Coconut,” a roasted coconut version; and “Blackwater Dark,” a whiskey stout that used a Collier & McKeel barrel only hours after it was emptied of its original contents. Since the batches are so small, each infusion is only poured at festivals and the brewery taproom. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. Each shade will be revisited eventually, but in different forms that will blend new ingredients with the original infusions. Other Turtle Anarchy brews are proudly poured in rebel outposts in Williamson and Davidson counties. Viva la revolution!
VILLAGE PUB & BEER GARDEN
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COUCH by claire gibson
photography brandon chesbro
“That was the moment I realized I can’t just go home and pretend I never saw this,” Travis Gravette tells me. A lone spoon clinks against a coffee cup, and there’s a brief silence. He’s describing an instant that became the driving force of his life. The moment he thought, this is it. For some, that moment happens in a classroom; for others in a church. But for Travis it happened in Kaihura, Uganda, looking into a hole of muddy water. Travis is thirty, sticklike, with eyes like a doe and hair that requires more than a little bit of product. He leans forward when he talks, and speaks purposefully through every syllable. Next to him, his friend and colleague Edwin Ortiz nods along adding a pleasant smile or two. In many ways, Edwin is Travis’s opposite: a plump, bespeckled Latino comedian with ROCK and ROLL tattooed across his fingers (when he displays two fists, you get the message). The two sit side by side like a modern day Jack Sprat, describing how they, the unlikeliest of pairs, manage a fashion company. We’re perched at Crema, sitting around a table covered with small dishes, a half-eaten slice of quiche and multiple coffee mugs. Caffeine-addicted writers, musicians and do-nothings queue up for their daily fix while Travis, Edwin and I get to know each other.
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ravis grew up in a military family and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. Edwin was raised by a single mother in East Los Angeles, learned to play guitar at seventeen, and ended up in Nashville as a touring technician, manager, and repairman for musicians including (quite providentially) Travis’s brother-in-law. His moment of change came later, sprawled on a Nashville couch during a dead spell between tours. But seven years before their paths crossed, Travis felt an urge to consult Almighty Google for some post-collegiate plans. In 2004, Travis typed “orphanages in Africa” into the search engine, and soon received an email from a Ugandan orphanage executive director named Faith Kunihira. She invited him to come to Uganda and volunteer. “I actually had to look up Uganda on a map,” Travis admits. The country is located in East Africa, bordered by South Sudan, Kenya, and Congo. It shares Lake Victoria with its southern neighbor, Tanzania, and in 2004, millions of displaced persons from surrounding war-torn nations were flocking there. “At that point, Africa wasn’t quite as cool as it is now. The awareness wasn’t there. A lot has changed in the last eight years.” When he arrived in Uganda for his month of service, Travis met Faith. After years in her family’s impecunious village, Faith worked her way out of poverty and into the city, where she achieved the rarest
"IF THE RED CROSS OWNED ANTHROPOLOGIE, THE RED CROSS COULD GET A LOT MORE ACCOMPLISHED."
of treasures—education and work. But later, on a short visit back to her home village, Faith faced a staggering reality: most of her peers had died from AIDS, thousands of children had been left orphaned, and the entire village, including livestock, was still drinking water from a mud hole infested with mosquitoes. Faith saw a future of service staring back from the muddy water. So did Travis. “It was the most extreme poverty I had ever experienced,” Travis says. “It was so overwhelming, but at the same time I was so inspired by Faith, her story, and how she was doing so much with so little. Faith is the reason we’re here.” That moment inspired Travis to help Faith. In 2006, Travis started a non-profit organization called Know Think Act, and he began operating out of his living room in Crieve Hall. Know Think Act’s central mission is to empower local leaders like Faith, who are already trying to change their communities from the inside out. It operates a lot like Kickstarter—people across the globe donate, and one hundred percent of their money goes to the project of their choice. Just replace needy musicians and artists with African community leaders, and rather than asking for your help to record an album, the leaders are asking for donations to build schools, clinics, and water wells. As it stands, Know Think Act has raised over $360,000 for African-based development projects, and Faith’s community has been drastically changed. After moving the operation from his living room to his refurbished garage, Travis birthed a whole new idea for a social enterprise—a money-making engine that could funnel resources back into Know Think Act. “I was looking for a way to sustain Know Think Act that didn’t require donations,” Travis explains, with a nod from Edwin. Then Travis leans in and with open hands says, “So imagine if the Red Cross owned Anthropologie.” ••• If the Red Cross owned Anthropologie, the Red Cross could get a lot more accomplished. If the Red Cross owned ////// 11
Anthropologie, capitalism could harness my desire to look cool and help people like Faith. That’s the idea behind Travis’s second endeavor, Red Earth Trading Company—a for-profit brand owned by Know Think Act. The company employs artisans across Africa, who craft the high-end designs of Red Earth’s fashion guru, Evan Barbee. The business supports African entrepreneurs like Tom, a leather designer in Kenya, and Juliette, a basket weaver in Uganda. The idea is simple, but requires a little faith. After paying its artisans a fair wage, all Red Earth profits go directly to Know Think Act. The hope is that eventually all of the overhead costs to run Know Think Act will be covered by Red Earth Trading Co. On that day, every single dollar donated through Know Think Act can go straight to Africa—not to Travis or Edwin. This is when my heart floods with doubt. Sure, the owner of TOMS says he’s giving a pair of shoes to a needy kid every time I need new kicks—but how do I know it’s really happening, or actually helping? Is this just consumerism masquerading as charity? Oh me of
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little faith. I look at Travis and Edwin with pursed lips and a furrowed brow. “I have to be honest,” I say, lowering my head a bit. “What’s so different about someone in another country making something, and then selling it in America? What would you say to a cynic like me?” Edwin doesn’t look offended. He intertwines his tattooed fingers and rests them on the table. “I can always tell when someone has heard too many horror stories of companies not doing what they say they’re doing,” Edwin consoles. “But I remind them that every dollar we earn in profit goes back to Know Think Act.” “You don’t have to manufacture something in Africa to be a social enterprise,” Travis interrupts. “It’s more about how you judge your bottom line. Is it just profits? Or are you measuring the difference that you’re making in the area you’re working?” “You know, I think it’s like people,” he continues. “You get to know somebody and you know who’s genuine and who’s not. And companies are just people, so you hang out with them long enough and you’ll see what they’re really about.” I nod along, trying to understand. Seeing that I’m not fully convinced, Edwin starts telling his side of the story. He explains that as a tour manager in the early 2000s, he used to live a “quasi dream life” of traveling, partying, and sleeping. When he wasn’t on tour, he was in Nashville repairing guitars, amps, and other equipment from his home, growing more and more discontent. And one day, he had his own mud hole moment. “It was a fun life for a while,” Edwin smiles, brows up over his round tortoise shell glasses. “I would go on the road with friends and then come home and hang out with friends. I’d get coffee everyday and sleep in.
"YOU GET TO KNOW SOMEBODY AND YOU KNOW WHO’S GENUINE AND WHO’S NOT. AND COMPANIES ARE JUST PEOPLE."
But after a while I realized there were points in time where I’d have three months off and I’d do nothing, absolutely nothing that mattered. That started to bother me.” At that point in 2011, Edwin approached Travis, and started volunteering. Then the two crafted an idea for a different kind of tour for Edwin to manage—a Red Earth Trading Co. tour across the United States. They bought a van they lovingly call the Paddy Wagon, and Edwin put his management skills to work, pulling off house parties all by himself. After a three-month road trip of house parties, Edwin returned to Nashville to host the company’s very first pop-up store, a seventeen-day creation in the heart of Hillsboro Village. Almost overnight, they cleaned, painted, and built out an unused storefront (which used to be the Clothing Xchange) using vintage shelves, trunks, and art. And for those two weeks, Red Earth Trading Co.’s average daily sales doubled that of a house party. Since then, Edwin and a team of interns have traveled to Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Chicago, and Kansas City, setting up camp in abandoned boutiques and other neglected dwellings. Often, Edwin says, landlords are able to lease each location soon after the pop-up is over, because locals see that the space is viable for business to thrive. In his new line of work, Edwin also thrived. “I was just going to get into it for a little bit and try to do some good, but it turned into something I became very passionate about,” Edwin says very matter-of-fact. Travis looks at Edwin with a look of serene contentment. They start joking about their last trip to Africa together, and arguing over the number of times Travis has contracted Malaria. It’s clear that over a short period of time, these would-be strangers have become very close friends. As the two talk about jewelry, they name-drop Peter, Matua, and JaneRose—just a few of the African friends and artisans they’ve met over the years.
Edwin explains that last year, Know Think Act sent 130 kids to school in Faithâ€™s community, and mentions a clinic built for a leper colony in Mambasa, Kenya. Our coffee is cold; the quiche is long gone. Edwin and Travis are all smiles, excitement and honesty. And somehow, over the course of a few hours and a few cups of coffee, the cynic in me has died. I have faith.
Red Earth Trading Company is hosting its second Nashville pop-up store from November 26th through December 24th in Hillsboro Village. Visit the website for Red Earth at redearthtradingco.com and learn more about Know Think Act at knowthinkact.org
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SOUNDS LIKE SHUITAR If Matt Glassmeyer wrote this story, he wouldnâ€™t use this word. He would stop there and invent a new word because that word doesnâ€™t convey the message he wanted it to convey, or maybe because that word was just a little too bulky for international travel, or maybe because that word found on top of a waterlogged junk pile lost resonance and didn't work the way it was supposed to work, so he decided that, by attaching some letters here and there, some extra sounds, and a syllable or two, he could create a whole new word that would be uniquely purposeful for the one thing he needed it to do. This new word would be a Swiss Army knife. This new word could be used for almost anything. Depending on the situation, he might pull this letter out and cut that sentence in half. He might slide that syllable out and unscrew this line, pulling the cork out of the top, letting the words dangle. In the air. In your mouth. In your ear. In his hands. Strapped to his frame, beating on it bare handed. Matt Glassmeyer is an inventor.
by henry pile | photography by ryan green 14 / / / / / /
Well technically, he’s a father, husband, musician, and regular nice guy. He’s introverted and well-spoken, yet fun and quirky. His presence is striking. He’s the kind of guy you want to be around, except that he's an inventor, which means in his eyes, everything can be improved. You. Me. This story. That sentence. This word. Or more specifically, your drum set. Yeah, your drum set. Matt assures me, “You don’t want to hear a snare drum. You want to hear a noisy, high-pitched two and four. It doesn’t have to be a drum set.” So Matt, the inventor, challenger of tradition, sought out an unorthodox way to develop an entire drum kit of sounds with one acoustic instrument. This was the beginning of a movement—a shuitar movement. A what? Shuitar. Yes, you’re saying it correctly. It rhymes with guitar. Shuitar. Let’s face it—a guitar is just a drum body posing as a sound chamber for vibrating strings. Matt explains the concept in layman’s terms, “A banjo is a drum with strings strung across it. You can beat on a banjo. People have done that millions of times.” And he’s right. So when Matt discovered the thuddy sound of a bass drum tucked inside a weathered classical guitar (annexed from atop a dumpster, post Miami rain storm), his affinity for creating a treasure out of someone else’s trash led him to his most prized musical invention. But maybe you don’t want to beat on your banjo or your guitar. Maybe you want to strum your guitar. I seriously doubt George Harrison would melt you with “While my Guitar Gently Beats.” So, Matt beats on the shuitar. In September, Matt’s band Meadownoise showcased two of his new percussive instruments at The High Watt. As the band built to a crescendo on dueling shuitars, the crowd moved toward the stage to get a closer look at these peculiar instruments. They loved the spectacle. And Matt’s always finding ways to improve his new invention. As he labors over standardizing the original Miami beater, he’s constantly looking for better materials and more durable touch points. He’s designed, redesigned, and redesigned again the finger rings for gaining that high-pitched two and four. He’s increased the size of the bridge pad and worked with several materials to ensure protection and longevity of the instrument. He’s toyed
with cymbal sounds, bells, and hell, maybe a whistle or two. He could even find a way to use a siren, fog horn, cuckoo clock, or a full-on Pink Floyd laser light show. I wouldn’t put it past him. Herein lies Matt’s concern: could the Shuitar’s potentially clownish look take away from its true potential, becoming a gag toy with goofy (at best) value? Sure, it looks a bit hobo-ish, but he’s creating a bona fide alternative to the giant multi-piece drum kit. This is a serious instrument used by serious players like The Wood Brothers. This is a full rhythm section than can be stored in an overhead compartment. So, how does it work exactly? You can start with your guitar. Sit on your sofa, futon, bean bag, egg chair, or whatever, and place it across your knees. You are so Phil Rudd right now! Keep the rhythm going, but stand up now and play on your chest. Look out Blue Man Group! Next step, strap on your guitar and keep the headstock close to your shoulder. Keep the beat going, but slap on the guitar neck and the body. Guess what? You’re playing the basics of a shuitar. You’re welcome. So, you’ve done that before. You’ve banged on your guitar like a drum. When is someone going to call you the inventor? It’s time to take a stand. Now that you have actually invented the shuitar, you’re Googling attorneys to sue Matt for his fortune in sale (yes, “sale,” singular as in one single sale). Pipe down wise guy, as I said already, Matt’s an inventor and he knows that simply banging on a guitar isn’t anything new. So, Matt pulled design elements from the slap of the cajon, a box-shaped percussion instrument that you sit on while slapping the front face. He also kept a few guitar strings to simulate the sounds of the berimbau, a Brazilian stringed bow instrument that makes a twangy-buzzwah-wah, outer space meets pre-Jesuit priest in South America type sound. Then he left open frets for a washboard effect, and added tambourine chimes for a high hat sizzle. He totally FACED you simple guitar drum player! After he did all that, he did the most important thing. He played it. Everywhere. All the time. Not just a shuit-master, Matt can play the tuba, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, contra alto clarinet, and he can sing. The
renaissance musician he is, I bet Matt could play a hedgehog, aspirin bottle, or snorkel if he tried. But, no. He went hard on the shuitar. And the shuitar seems to be gaining some major celeb status. Matt's shuitplaying provided the percussion for The Morpholinos album, "[For Background Use Only]," and for local Pitchforkpraised country-folk group, Lambchop. It’s apparent that Matt's rhythmic abilities are respected and trusted within the Nashville music community. Take it from the words of Lambchop, who invited him to sit in on their practice. "Just come to the rehearsal. We've called you because we don't want to tell you what to play," Matt recalls them saying. Did Lambchop anticipate his plans to play straight shuitar? Well, they wouldn't
"YOU WANT TO HEAR A NOISY, HIGHPITCHED TWO AND FOUR. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A DRUM SET." know the difference between a tricked out classical guitar body or a drum set, because they sound practically identical. Before you say it, this was not a lightning bolt of inspiration. A tour of Matt’s upstairs studio and museum of musical mayhem reveals a history of bizarre and exceptionally dangerous musical inventions. Take, for example, his linked music boxes that play simultaneously, generating a finger-driven cacophony of thimblesized sound. Then over here, is a cork screw LP spinner thing, with a paper cone attached to a needle that produces a languid rendition of the original vinyl sound. Or, what about the revised mouthpiece for his tenor sax? He replaced the reed with a custom mouthpiece that turns the woodwind into a brass instrument, changing the entire sound. ////// 15
SHUITAR INFO: Shuitars, $335, are available for sale at shuitar.com.
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Then there’s my favorite. The mesh bag of broken glass. Which lucky person gets to play the mesh bag of broken glass tonight? We need a new guy, because the last guy shredded his hand during that three-minute drum breakdown at rehearsal. Even Matt laughs when he admits this one was a bit out there, but the sound is magical. Imagine amplified water rushing to shore and retreating back into a tiny sea, all in the palm of your hand, your potentially bloody hand. He has smashed and flattened bottle caps, an AM mono radio, seashells drilled and tied together, a sack of marbles, and cash register keys liberated from Wal-Mart. These represent just the top portion of a deep box of misfires, attempts, and one-offs. He pulls out a tin can and a small rod. “It’s a can with a couple of...” Matt’s voice becomes drowned out by the sounds: “Bang! Pop! Bang! Thump, bang, ding! The ribbed tin can is essentially a metal guiro (something you probably played in fourth grade music class) but experimenting with where he hits and how he hits opens the potential of the instrument. He continues over the rattle, “It’s taking a can and a rod and getting a ton of sounds out of it.” Suddenly, I am enlightened. Matt is beating and banging the hell out of this tin can, with the look of sheer delight, underscoring the entire experience. His child-like exploration of a stupid tin can, and the patience it takes to see past its true nature until it becomes “a ton of sounds,” requires a truly forward thinker. Matt allows himself to be open to the possibilities of wonder and amusement, and sometimes, in the case of the bag of broken glass, danger. All for the sake of discovery. All for the sake of creating one small sound that exists out there in the barely audible ether. He captures it. He adds it to his symphony, or throws it in a suitcase of almost-got-its. He imagines what could be, and he reaches for it. This is Matt Glassmeyer. Matt Glassmeyer is an inventor.
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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH by No. 308
Nothing says “Yuletide” like this drink’s namesake, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, standing in front of his 250-strands-of-imported-Italian-twinkle-lights–wrapped house, trilling a drumroll that begins his not-so-epic battle with said lights. Of course, that is possibly excepting Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) sipping eggnog from a mooseshaped glass while wearing a black dickie (a turtleneck-bib combo) under a white sweater. Either way, one thing is for sure—this libation is as Christmas as Rudolph in a tasteless sweater singing “Feliz Navidad.” It reminds us all that, as crazy as our families may be, there’s nothing that a little holiday spirit (along with some other spirits) can’t fix. This minty, cidery cocktail is topped with a light foam that will leave you and yours with thin white mustaches, giggling at each other, especially if you’ve had a few. So get ready to have a holly jolly one with your new friends Amaro (a class of herbal liqueurs whose name means “bitter” in Italian), Curaçao (a liqueur flavored with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit, grown on the Dutch-Caribbean island of Curaçao), and Peychaud’s Bitters (a gentian-based bitters, created circa 1830 by a Creole apothecary in New Orleans) who work together like good little elves to bring a little more joy to the world. Hallelujah!
1 oz. amaro ¾ oz. dry Curaçao liqueur ½ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice ½ oz. simple syrup 1 egg white 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters 1 mint sprig
All ingredients shaken and double-strained into a coupe glass. Garnished with 2 dashes of Peychaud’s and sprig of mint.* * Enjoy responsibly. Don’t be stupid. Designate a driver, take a cab, or walk (let’s be honest, you could probably use a little exercise this time of year).
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SANTA IS REAL By Liz Riggs | Photography by Eric Staples
“I like to go to Red Lobster, and go home and get naked.” Maybe this sentiment doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Santa’s Pub, but it does have a lot to do with Santa. As he chuckles through a thick, white beard, he has no problem confessing his unadulterated love for the chain restaurant. He’s proud of simple things, and loving Red Lobster is one of them. This resonates well with the simplicity of Santa’s Pub. It’s just about the most unassuming, unbecoming bar in Nashville. People impressed by the slip-shod workmanship of The Villager or Melrose Billiards will find themselves awing at the chintzy Christmas lights and karaoke balladry that happens inside this smoke cave. The wood-paneled walls are
SANTA'S PUB INFO: Address:2225 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204 Phone:(615) 593-1872.
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covered with neon bar signs and miscellaneous Christmas knick-knacks. My eyes dart around the bar as I capture this scene, hoping that it sinks into my memory. Because the last time I was here, on a crowded Saturday night, not everything made its way into my memory so well. It’s good that this time around I’m taking notes with a grey Crayola marker. My first experience at Santa’s, I was half drunk and could barely hear anything over the caterwauling karaoke and slurred shouting of the crowd parading around and growing progressively drunker. Now on my way to Santa’s for the second time, I get lost, am nearly hit by a train, and end up being one of two people in the bar who isn’t working. Although, to be fair, on this Monday night, Santa isn’t on the clock, which I’m not even sure they have. Perhaps time doesn’t exist inside the walls of this Christmas fantasy dive bar. Santa, aka Denzel, is sporting a navy blue Calvin Klein buttondown that’s pretty snug against his namesake belly. He chain smokes throughout our conversation, and even though he leans over the bar, I can still barely understand him. His words are muffled between his lips and pervasive beard, and it doesn’t
help that he’s got a raspy voice, hoarse from years of smoking, or maybe from talking over belty karaoke singers. “My brother taught me how to smoke,” Santa tells me, continuing, “I started smoking when I was nine.” I double over in uncomfortable, I’vebeen-brainwashed-to-hate-cigarettes laughter. I have no idea what to say. A man who only has one lung (literally one f**king lung) tells me he’s been smoking since he was not even in the double digits, not even a preteen. I am baffled. While the other kids were gathering nickels to buy Mallo Cups, or even candy cigarettes, little Denzel was a Marlboro man before he was even the slightest bit close to manhood. Smoking is standard at Santa’s Pub. There’s a vintage-looking cigarette machine nestled across from the dingy pool table, and the ventilation of the place is relatively nonexistent. In a way, stepping into the doublewide trailer feels like you’ve walked into a cloud of smoke billowing from someone’s mouth. The bamboo curtains keep the room as dark as any bar should be, but the fluorescent lighting illuminates the weathered wrinkles on Santa’s face. As he taps his cigarette repeatedly into a black ashtray, he gives me the run-down on Santa’s Pub, full of anecdotes that feel oddly familiar. “I don’t like whiskey,” he says, shaking his head. “Whiskey makes people stupid.” This is a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree and disagree with at the same time, but I don’t argue. You just don’t argue with Santa. “I’ve never had an argument in here in all of eighteen months. If you hit on a girl in here…if you touch a girl…you’re gone.” It’s a matter of fact statement that he gruffles succinctly, while his barhand Ichabod, nods in agreement. “I’ve barred my best friend; I’ve barred my nephew,” Santa says without emotion. He shrugs and strokes his beard, reminding me of a blurry conversation we had during our first encounter. Last time, he told me that when Ke$ha was in, she asked if she could play with his beard. He laughs, remembering how he told another bar patron that night, “Some girl got glitter in my beard.” Santa
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then pointed her out, only to have the customer inform him of her celebrity status. “She came over to get a beer and she said, ‘Can I touch your beard?’ and she started doing this (he begins to twirl his scraggly beard with his hands).” He chuckles while he reenacts the strange encounter. Ke$ha’s hardly the only celebrity who’s popped in to Santa’s Pub since he took the reigns a year and half ago. The walking fame that regularly rolls into that gravel parking lot is nothing short of impressive. And Santa and Ichabod are convinced it it’ll end up like Tootsies if things continue the way they’re going now. This is all very funny, considering that when Santa bought the place, he was pret24 / / / / / /
ty much the only person who would hang out there. He coughs and taps his cigarette again, the smoke drifting towards my face. “There would be nobody in here,” he says. And Ichabod, who’s sitting on a stool, casually chimes in as a sort of unsolicited advocate for Santa. With an earnest nod he says, “I’d come in, and Santa would be behind the bar stocking beer. He’d be the only one in here.” Then one day, the guys from JEFF The Brotherhood rode by on their bikes. Santa spotted them from the bamboo-curtained window, and shouted out to them. “I asked if they were twenty-one, and I said, ‘Come in, and I’ll give you a free beer.’” You’d have to be a complete asshole to pass up free beer from a guy who looks like Santa
Claus. Quickly, the brothers from JEFF became regulars, and began spreading the word about Santa and his pub. Santa reaches for a Coors Light beneath the bar, and he sets the ice-cold beer on the countertop. He jokes that Bobby’s Idle Hour claims its beer is the coldest in town. He chuckles at this thought, glancing at the icy blue mountaintops on his frosted Coors bottle. “That’s a cold beer. And this is my off night.” He twists off the cap and takes a sip. Coors is his favorite beer, and it’s one of nine that are posted on the dry erase board menu. The only option that isn’t a beer is a strawberry daiquiri. “It’s the strongest thing on the menu,” says a voice coming from the brunette woman, sitting on a stool by the cramped karaoke stage. It’s Santa’s non-wife, Angelina. They’ve been engaged for forty-two years. “I told him if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” she announces. Angelina looks to me like she’s mildly irritated, but I can’t really tell if she’s shy, coy, or just annoyed. Maybe she doesn’t like it when people ask why the two aren’t married. Santa then tells me how they met at the restaurant she used to work at, and how he took her to Old Hickory on their first date. “She kissed me first. She couldn’t keep her hands off me,” he says. I hear Angelina scoff from across the bar, where she’s now hidden behind a beam of crackers and chips. Her skinny frame wears an oversized, white hoodie that looks like a waffle shirt, and she sounds just as hoarse as Santa from what I can assume is from years of smoking. It’s surprising to me that their habit hasn’t killed them yet, although Santa’s been pronounced dead multiple times. “I’ve been shot twice, stabbed twice, cut once, and pronounced dead four times.” He has one lung (due to lung cancer from paint fumes), and the sticker on the side of the fridge that reads “I’ll quit when Willie quits” seems to sum up Santa’s life. Especially since he f**king loves Willie Nelson. “He’s supposed to come in,” Santa says with a hint of excitement. Santa won’t die before this happens, but he might die when it happens. And I wouldn’t doubt it, because the list of celebrity Santa’s Pub patrons is
“I’VE BEEN SHOT TWICE, STABBED TWICE, CUT ONCE, AND PRONOUNCED DEAD FOUR TIMES.”
pretty admirable, especially for a place that’s less than two years old. Santa’s really took off when HER & Kings County filmed the “White Trash (Country Boy)” music video at the bar about a year ago. I stumbled upon the video like many of us stumble upon old pizza when we’re drunk. Don’t know how I got there, but I did, and I regret it. But if you hang out at Santa’s enough, maybe you’ve seen Aziz Anzari or Wanda Jackson. Maybe it’s been Richard Bailey or his daughter. Or maybe even Mumford & Sons. “The banjo player, Winston, was crying like a kid with his feet spread out against the wall,” Ichabod tells me. “They had to carry him out; he didn’t want to leave.” Whenever they’re in town, the Mumford boys make a stop at Santa’s.
We don’t talk about whether or not they sing karaoke. But there are two crowds of karaoke performers at Santa’s: those who bark along to Spice Girls songs, and those who are seasoned professionals, who practically save lives with their perfect pitch. The rest of us are left standing in a smoky haze, jaws dropped on the carpeted floor, and asses sedentary in the busted pleather chairs. But Santa’s isn’t just a place to smoke inside and sing karaoke. It’s a place to spend the holidays. And for the many who can’t be with family for one reason or another, they have a place at Santa’s. “It’s like home,” Ichabod says of holidays at the bar. Santa brings in eight turkeys, four hams, and sides for about a hundred people, and it’s all catered by Bar-BCutie. He does this for both Thanksgiving and Christmas—two of the busiest days of the year. My childhood home certainly never resembled the low-lit, low-ceilinged trailer, but then again, my childhood home wasn’t cool, and we didn’t drink PBR. So, I guess I wonder: why wouldn’t I want
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my home to be Santa’s? A place where I can have my wedding reception? Yes. A place where Spam and Vienna Sausages are always available? You know it. A bar where the owner used to be a Pentecostal preacher? “I’ve seen more love in two rhinos on the street,” Santa says dismissively, explaining why he left the church. Santa’s heart is bursting with anecdotes from a life fully-lived. Even as I set my empty Yuengling back on the bar and step up from my seat, he’s telling me more about the tight-knit community he’s built within these walls. Santa (in his strangely becoming fedora) makes these people feel like they’re part of a family that he and Angelina started. Together, they have five children and fourteen grandchildren, just like Santa Claus should. And over the holidays, Santa (dressed accordingly) and Angelina show up on the doorsteps of underprivileged families in their own neighborhood to deliver toys. So there you have it. Santa is real, and he doesn’t live on the North Pole. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Orange Holiday Gingerbread Ninja Cookies For December, we teamed up with Frothy Monkey’s overnight baker and master plater May Cheung, to whip up a frenzy of holiday cheer with a martial arts twist. Perhaps you’ve tried your hand at building a standard gingerbread house, or directed your cannibalistic urges toward biting off the heads of small gingerbread men. Whatever your personal history—we can safely assume you’ve never tried this nunchuck-swinging, star-flinging variation: gingerbread ninjas, also known as “ninja-bread men.” With ginger, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and orange zest in their flavor arsenal, these little kung-fu masters are sure to judo chop you right in the kisser with deliciousness. 26 / / / / / /
1/2 cup butter, room temperature 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 egg 2/3 cup molasses 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. orange zest 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1/4 tsp. ground cloves 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. baking soda ICING
5.5 oz. Olive & Sinclair Buttermilk White Chocolate, 45% Cacao 1/4 tsp. orange oil
DIRECTIONS Sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices together in a bowl. Set aside. Combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar in large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses to butter mixture. Beat until well mixed. Gently fold dry ingredients into the mixture. Mix until combined, but do not over mix. Wrap dough in a plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Roll out dough to approximately 1/4" thick. Cut into ninja shapes! Bake for 5-8 minutes at 375°F. Let cool before icing. Melt Olive & Sinclair Buttermilk White Chocolate in a double boiler with orange oil. Stir melted chocolate until combined with oil. Let cool and decorate gingerbread ninjas as desired.
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by jessica jones 28 / / / / / /
photography by allister ann
It's 2 a.m. on a Friday night, and Natalie Prass is singing karaoke next to a Christmas tree in a Santathemed trailer bar. I'm surprised to find her here, because it was less than a week ago that she firmly declared, “I'm never singing here again—it's too embarrassing.” This came as a shock 30 / / / / / /
to me, not only because she has a voice like an angel, but also because the majority of the room had just been clapping along to her rendition of Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step.” Regardless, the stage has pulled Natalie from her seat once more, this time she coyly sings “The Sweetest Taboo” by her musical idol, Sade. She finishes to an indifferent crowd
“I NEVER IN MY
sultry voice. And and sits quietly back down at our LIFE THOUGHT and anyone who’s heard table, looking as if she had just I WOULD her sing live can tell satisfied an uncontrollable urge. she’s spent a long time The girl can't help it. She loves LIVE HERE. I crafting and perfecting to sing. it. Natalie sings with I meet her a few days later at THOUGHT precision and restraint, Crema on a gray morning. When IT WAS ALL pulling you in with evI arrive ten minutes early, I find ery flutter and smooth the petite brunette already seated COUNTRY transition of her voice. at a table with a book and a bowl MUSIC AND Along with Sade, she of granola, patiently waiting for mentions Ciara as anme. Dressed down in a t-shirt and CHRISTIANS." other major inspirajeans, she greets me with a warm tion. “Their voices are smile. This self-professed morning person is a singer/songwriter who’s been really soft, but strong; they're not belty singmaking music in Nashville for six years now. ers. They're melodic and alluring—like you When I ask Natalie to categorize her music really listen to what they’re saying.” Natalie's passion for music led her to for me, she gets visibly stressed, tripping over adjectives. I point out her awkwardness Berklee College of Music immediately after and she immediately agrees, “I don't like do- graduating high school. But the move from ing it. However Sade is described, that's how her hometown of Virginia Beach to Boston was something of a culture shock for a girl I want to be described.” I can't blame her for getting confused. who had been living in a beach town/resort Natalie’s sound ranges from orchestral folk destination her whole life. Boston’s freezing with fingerpicked guitar, to moody, synth- temperatures and male-dominated atmofilled romantic pop. But no matter how heav- sphere made her time at Berklee a short one. ily she experiments with different styles, “I was miserable there. I was in my dorm one thing remains the same—her melodic room all the time,” she says.
Unhappy and feeling out of place, Natalie left Boston to visit a friend at Belmont. And after exploring Nashville through the eyes of a local, the young music student decided to come back South, transferring to MTSU. “I never in my life thought I would live here. I thought it was all country music and Christians, which it kind of is…but there’s so much more than that,” elates the Virginia Beach native. That “so much more” is a diverse, bustling, and competitive music scene, in which Natalie felt incredibly intimidated. “Everyone was so good, I just locked myself in a closet for like a year, and practiced my ass off. I told myself, 'I've got to do something different. Otherwise, I don't stand a chance in this town.’” But after six years, Natalie seems to be holding her own and making quite the name for herself in Nashville. She’s finishing up recording her first full-length album, and she still has hundreds of recorded songs that have never been released. “I feel like I’m coming together musically, and creating my own world here,” she tells me. And after exploring various opportunities, she’s happy to say she recently signed with Downtown Music Publishing in New York. Natalie
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words are laced with relief when she says, “Downtown is the perfect fit for me.” Sharing a publisher with artists she respects and admires such as Miike Snow and Santigold, she sees this career move not only as a way to gain recognition, but also as an opportunity for Nashville to become open to new ideas. Natalie hopes to collaborate with fellow musicians to bring a breath of fresh air to a scene she believes is stifling creativity. “Being an artist and being in a town like Nashville is difficult sometimes, because you're constantly surrounded by the business. It's not always as accepting of experimentation. Everyone's trying to make it; they're overthinking everything down to the perfect outfit. Now more than ever, I'm looking to break that.” The need for creative expression is something that’s been present in Natalie's life since she was a little girl. “My mom had to sneak the trash out when I was little, because I would dig through it and make things out of it,” she reminisces. There was also a period of two years during middle school, when Natalie sewed her own clothes
and refused to wear anything else. “I looked like a street rat,” she says with a smirk. So, from a young age, she was a dumpster-diving, fashion-designing free spirit, and this need for a creative outlet also led her to keep a sketchbook in the fourth grade. She still keeps one to this day. She's even been known to host drawing parties where she invites all her friends to doodle the night away. But music still holds the most important place in Natalie’s life. She traces her obsession all the way back to the first grade. She recalls, “I have this vivid memory of my dad playing one of his songs for me on guitar. I was like, 'Oh! People write songs.’ So that's when I started writing. I just thought it was a normal thing, like a reading a book.” Natalie also tells me that she watched her older sister Carrie sing in the school choir and compete in local talent shows, often doing Bette Midler numbers. “She was older than me, she was my idol, so I wanted to sing too.” A young and inspired Natalie quickly taught herself how to play piano by ear, and she would come home straight from school and play until bedtime. For fun, she would harmonize her voice
with the keys, and sometimes she would play blindfolded. “My dad always jokes that my sister would be practicing scales on piano, and I would just go up and play it.” This natural ability in music encouraged Natalie to be a part of many bands growing up. She formed her first band at seven with her neighbor across the street, Angela. They were named Foolish Pleasures after the beach house Natalie’s family frequented, to which Natalie says, “I thought it sounded neat.” Once every summer, they would put flyers in people's mailboxes, set up lawn chairs, and perform in matching outfits. When she was twelve, Natalie played keyboard and vocals in another group called Noh Poppy. As she tells me about it, I lend her my pen so she can recreate the band's symbol on my notes. She carefully draws a cat with jagged teeth and its eyes popping out. She describes that period of her life as a “giant weekend hangout fest,” where all the bandmates would gorge on their favorite snacks and pass around a notebook as a creative writing process. “We ////// 33
on love songs with electro-pop duo Cherub, to exchanging witty repertoire about Christmas with Evan P. Donohue, and even reworking the well-known Folger's Coffee jingle. And after playing guitar with Rayland Baxter on his tour with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, she was asked by Grace to join them as an opening act. "EVERYONE'S Natalie is thrilled, not only to play with a band TRYING TO she has the utmost reMAKE IT; spect for, but to open for such a fierce frontwoman, THEY'RE who Natalie says has one OVERTHINKING of the best female voices out right now. “There's EVERYTHING no singer like her,” she DOWN TO says of Grace, continuing, “Hard work and persis- THE PERFECT tence have gotten them where they are. I relate OUTFIT . . . I'M to that because I feel like LOOKING TO that’s what's gotten me BREAK THAT.” where I am.” Weeks later, I slide my way down a long wooden pew with a beer in hand, and settle in to enjoy Natalie’s debut at
photograph by will holand
were a really bad funk band,” she divulges. Despite Noh Poppy’s relative obscurity, the band did result in some binding ties that would stay with Natalie throughout her career. Natalie has an upcoming album in the works, featuring a ten-piece horn section, an eightpiece string section, a harp and congas, that will come to life with help from Spacebomb Records in Richmond, Virginia, which was started by Matt White, an original member of Noh Poppy. We pause the interview for what seems like the millionth time, as another one of Natalie's friends comes up to say hello. I should’ve known better than to chat with one of Nashville’s most recognized musicians at one of the most popular coffee shops in town. As we pick back up, she tells me that she has kept a pet bird since she was twelve years old. She elaborates on her admiration for them, "They're interesting, independent, beautiful, and vocal. They're comfortable with their flock." For a second, I have to remind myself we're talking about birds, as these same traits have musicians and people alike flocking to Natalie. She's done projects spanning from singing
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Nashville’s most storied venue. It was just a few days ago that she excitedly gushed, “It’s confirmed! I’m playing the Ryman!” As I rest into the wooden bench seat, I glance up and a smile spreads across my face. Center stage, overlooking a busy crew of people setting up equipment, rests a giant poster of Isaac Hayes, most known for his musical score (and deep, rich vocals) for the movie “Shaft.” This normally would have struck me as a bit strange, but after getting to know Natalie, it makes total sense. She’s just being herself. Even if that means bringing her own Isaac Hayes poster to the Ryman. Unconventional, yet tastefully dressed in a vintage tribal print romper with sheer black tights, she stands out against her
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M C G AVO C K
" I'M NOT AFRAID TO PUT MY WEIRD IDEAS OUT THERE NOW.” backing band, composed of Nashville boys appropriately clad in vintage hats and striped sweaters. At one point during her performance, she shouts, “This one’s for Isaac Hayes,” pointing to the poster. “I saw that and I had to bring it to the Ryman!” Her set completely surprises me. Of all the different musical genres we discussed, nowhere did she mention reggae. Yet, that’s exactly what most of her eight-song set sounds like (and also her next album, to be released in early 2013). “Who loves reggae ya’ll? Don’t be shy!” A shout of affirmation arises from the crowd. “Yah mon!” Natalie enthusiastically returns. I admit, at first I am bummed. Natalie has so many amazing songs, it is kind of a let down to see congas on stage. But as I sit listening to her, I realize that I had never really given reggae a chance. I started taking it in with an open mind... a mind more like Natalie’s. I watch as she claps and dances from one side of the stage to the other, looking absolutely delighted. There's a new confidence in Natalie. I don't know if it's her new publishing deal, going on tour, the anticipation of her upcoming album. “All these big changes in my life have made me really look into myself. I want to keep music fun and remind myself that this is me, and it's not just work. It's what I need to be happy. I'm not afraid to put my weird ideas out there now.” She smiles and says, “I'm gonna take it to the next level... I'm gonna pump up the volume.” I raise my eyebrows. She laughs and asks, “Is this even interesting?”
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REMAKING HISTORY Industrial designer Robert Hendrick makes furniture out of the stuff that made Americaâ€”railroad ties and hundred-year-old rails.
by dave pittman | photos by daniel meigs
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The horn of a train howls in the distance. The windows of my car are down, but I’m not sure why. Turbulent, brisk air rushes through and keeps me at full attention. It’s a clear morning. I approach a railroad crossing on Chestnut Street. The arm is down and the warning lights pulse in a calming rise and fall of oranges and reds. I can’t help but pay close attention to the actual rails, and the train as it approaches; I’m on my way to meet Robert Hendrick, a Nashville industrial designer who founded Rail Yard Studios, a company that makes furniture exclusively from recycled and discarded railroad parts—rails, ties, spikes. I begin to realize how little I know about trains and railroads. They’re everywhere. Think about how many times you cross railroad tracks in a given day. Our lives are completely interwoven with the railroads that stitch their way across the landscape—on the way to school, to work, to a birthday party, to a funeral, to meet an old friend for dinner—
even now, on my way to meet Robert, I am delayed by a train. Unfortunately, that seems like the only time we notice railroads at all—when a train inconveniences us. But think about all of the things that surround us that rode at one point on those rails—most of the materials and ingredients and fuels that go into everything— buildings, furniture, gadgets, food, clothing, cars, gasoline. Yet, I couldn’t tell you how big a rail is, how much it weighs, or how old. I don’t know anything about any of it. The train approaches cautiously, let’s out a couple deafening shrieks, and rolls past the crossing like a lumbering herd of introverted monsters or elephants at the zoo—big, but trying to hurry past suspicious onlookers. It’s quite impressive—the scale of the towering cars, the length of the train, the size of the wheels, the way it shakes the ground as it passes. It’s massive, but it glides by as if it’s on... well... rails, I guess. The last train car passes with a distinct electric-sounding CHICK, CHICK, CHICK. The
crossing arm lifts. I suppose it is the utter ubiquity of trains that helps them creep and roll deeper and deeper into that swamp of things we know are there but never pay attention to—those things that we would otherwise find interesting if we weren’t cynical and busy. I pull up to the old Mays Hosiery Mill on Chestnut. It’s a long, brown brick building where the socks worn by the first astronauts were made. I park at one end of the gravel parking lot. The facade is drab but charming in the way that so many old buildings are. It’s two stories tall, but the ground floor sits below the parking lot on the other side of a small ditch. The second story begins just above eye level. Daylight shines all the way through the building’s second floor, back to front, through the tall windows that line building’s entire perimeter. It is 10:10 a.m., but the neighborhood’s quietness make it seem much earlier. The entrance to Rail Yard Studios is a giant, orange steel door on the side of the building, ////// 39
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perched on the second floor. It reminds me of the freight cars that I just saw at the crossing. I climb the stairs and cross a small wooden platform that leads to the door, which is partially open. I let myself in. The room is a post-industrial cathedral. Much of the interior has been painted white. Light pours in and races across the raw wood and concrete floors. Even though the ceiling is not abnormally high, the mostly unobstructed building gives me the feeling of being in a much bigger warehouse. The building is very long, with a workshop at one end and a no-frills showroom at the other. Hundreds upon hundreds of old rails and unused railroad ties fill all of the space in between. Robert shouts “hello” from the workshop and makes his way across the massive room to introduce himself. He’s a wearing a black beanie, fleece jacket, and jeans. His eyes are blue like the melting part of a glacier and his skin is fair. His sleeves are rolled up, revealing the well-defined Popeye forearms of a man who lifts rails and railroad ties regularly. It’s clear that I’ve found him in the middle of his work. I can see several other men working on pieces down at the workshop end. The saws, routers, and sanders provide the soundtrack, and there’s a slight, pleasant smell of freshly cut wood in the air. At the showroom end, there’s a lot to take in. Dozens of completed designs line the walls. Though more than one of each design is made by RYS (excluding commissioned custom designs), every single item is unique. This is due mostly to the distinct qualities of each timber and each rail that goes into a piece. And Robert is careful to protect the distinct qualities of each object. RYS makes each
item by hand, and Robert never wants them to feel “manufactured.” Robert tells me, “Some of these rails are really old and used and worn, and we only use ties that are too imperfect to be used by the railroad companies. We save them right before they go into the furnace. We give these things a second life, often choosing them because of their flaws. They would make a bad railroad, but they’re great for making furniture. It’s kind of like Marilyn Monroe, she wouldn’t have been half as pretty without that beauty mark.” And Robert’s absolutely right. Like Marilyn, the work is beautiful. The “imperfections” are only technical. Aesthetically, the knots, and twists, and splits are understated and add interest. Though Robert would argue that function is his highest priority, his designs are undeniably sculptural. The massive presence of the materials is inescapable (though cleverly well-tempered in the smaller pieces). His desks and tables and bike stands are monolithic, geometric, and bold, like the architecture of I.M. Pei or Louis Kahn. There’s something universal, timeless, but also ancient about the designs. While the materials strongly suggest an antique American industrial aesthetic, the shapes themselves could just as easily be found in ancient Egypt or modern Shanghai. In fact, the pieces are so interesting and visually striking that Robert was asked to do a gallery show at the beginning of 2011 at the Rymer Gallery downtown. The Rymer has a reputation for working with amazingly talented artists, young and established alike. Despite the fact that they don’t usually do exhibitions of furniture, and despite the fact that Robert had to scramble to produce his designs in time for the show, it was a major success. Robert credits the show with officially launching the company. Before that, Rail Yard Studios had been nothing more than an idea and a sketchbook full of designs.
That was two years ago, and Rail Yard Studios has been struggling to keep up with demand ever since. But it hasn’t all been easy. Robert explains that the uncooperative materials can be difficult to work with, in addition to being large and “really, really heavy.” He adds, “I design everything, but there’s no way I could build all this on my own. These materials are so uncompromising, and there’s so much variation. Not just from one tie to the next, but even from one end of the same tie to the other end. As a carpenter, you get used to working with some imprecision, but nothing even close to the irregularity and variation we face everyday. And then there are the shipping and mobility questions that we have to worry about. It’s an interesting challenge, though, and I’m happy with the results.” He takes me to the middle of the room and shows me a grouping of rails laid out on the floor. “I want to show you something,” he says. He squats down and looks at the rail sideways. He points at a spot on the side of one of the rails. “Can you see that?” I bend down and look. “CARNEGIE 1899” is stamped into the side of the rail. “It’s the same with all these others. We’ve got rail from all the of the biggest and most historically-significant steel and railroad companies. And it was all going to be trashed.” As he talks, I get a strong sense of his preservationist side. “I was never a ‘railroad guy’ per se, but I always found the railroad fascinating. It is so important to our history. I couldn’t let rails stamped with ‘CARNEGIE 1899’ get thrown out like that,” he says with a faint sigh. “Now I’m getting them in front of people where they can be appreciated.
And we’re turning them into things that will be around for a very long time. Some of those rails have already lasted a hundred years outside, there’s no telling how long they’ll last inside.” We are interrupted by the roaring drone of saw and the hum of an air compressor motor. We pause. The air compressor and saw cease. “For me, it’s great to think that I someday my kids or even their kids or grandkids will come across one of these pieces out there in the world and say, ‘Wow, that’s one of dad’s or grandad’s... or great grandad’s tables.’ With the number of things we’ve made now, at least one of them will still be around.” "IT’S TAKING That would make the RYS SOMETHING story multi-generTHAT WAS ational in two directions. Robert’s DESIGNED TO dad, Jim HenHOLD 15,000 drick, has been involved in the TONS OF company since its TRAIN AND inception. Jim is a semi-retired carCOAXING IT penter who taught INTO HOLDING Robert everything he knows about AN IPAD OR A woodworking and construction. DurGUITAR.” ing his career, Jim was responsible for maintaining many of the buildings along Church Street, a job that had previously been done by his Jim’s father-in-law, a man who had such a prominent role that he became known as the “Bishop of Church Street.” Jim’s father owned a steel mill in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, northeast of Lebanon. As a kid, Robert played in the buildings that his grandfather and father maintained. Over time, he grew to appreciate their unique qualities and architecture. When a building was slated to be renovated or demolished, he and his father would scavenge the building and salvage all kinds of old fixtures and materials. He tells me that his house growing up was filled with beautiful furnishings made from reclaimed items that his father had reimagined. Robert says this gave him an appreciation for reusing materials and fixtures and giving them new life through design. As he puts it, “All of this. It all started with my dad.” Robert received a degree in industrial design from Auburn University. While still an undergrad, Robert studied abroad in Australia 42 / / / / / /
where he interned with a design studio. After Auburn, he was accepted into an industrial design graduate program at Ohio State. However, before going to Ohio, he went to Germany with group from Auburn. He ended up staying in Germany for nine months where he worked for a design firm in the small city of Ulm. During his tenure at Ohio State, he received a fellowship that allowed him to return to Germany for a year, to the city of Bonn. Going back to Germany was a great experience, but one that didn’t give him as much practical experience as his earlier trip. He did work for several Swiss companies on his second stay, but in Ulm, he had been able to work on many projects, designing everything from chainsaws to blood pipettes. However, one project in Ulm still stands out to him as strangely profound— bottle caps for an Italian soda company. “It sounds really mundane, but I had probably 200 different designs for a bottle cap. It was fun because it showed me how something very simple could have many, many different variations,” he explains, pausing briefly. “When I first started this, I designed three coffee tables and three desks, and I felt like that was it, but then I started pushing myself to create more. Then it was just like the bottle caps. I couldn’t stop. The floodgates opened. At this point, we’ve produced about 40 of my furniture designs, and we have another 40 or so that are ready to go into production. But we’ve only scratched the surface.” After receiving his master’s, Robert moved back to Nashville and began working in the digital world as a user experience designer. He started his own company that eventually merged with another tech company. A few entrepreneurial ventures later, Robert found himself looking for something to do. He had always been interested in railroads and desperately missed working with his hands. A railroad maintenance and repair company seemed like a good enough fit. And thus, Robert found himself at the helm of Railroad Services. Today, Robert co-owns Railroad Services with Rob Humphreys who is also a partner in Rail Yard Studios. Rail Yard Studios could not and would not exist without Railroad Services. The main reason is that it’s very difficult to get authentic railroad rail. The railroads are protected from vandals, terrorists, and over-zealous collectors alike by a strict Federal legal framework. However, because Railroad Services is licensed railroad con-
tractor, they are able to easily and legally acquire rails. But that’s not the only reason Railroad Services is important to this story—the idea for RYS was borne out of a desire to create work for Railroad Services employees when business was slow in the post-crash economy. Today, the guys that craft the pieces are still the same guys that work out on the rails. All of that said, RYS has grown so much that it has begun to demand more time than Railroad Services. That shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, though. They’re selling handmade, easy-to-assemble, green, recycled, unique, historically-significant, American-made furniture that is guaranteed to outlast your Ikea coffee table by at least a century. (When I share that I’ve observed all of these positive qualities, Robert is also quick to point that their ties have not been treated with the toxic creosote that is often used to pressure-treat railroad ties.) While all of those things are important, more than anything else, I believe it is the sheer amount of effort and design that goes into each piece that is driving the company’s popularity. Well before he ever starts drawing, Robert employs his problem-solving skills as a designer. “It’s all based off of two simple, long, straight, heavy materials. Each design starts with a rail and a timber. And that fact alone often suggests a design, but there’s always this interrogation process. I look at all the things those materials will have to be made to do—the dimensions of the item it will hold for example—and all of the other constraints. The challenge is then figuring out how to make the materials work, and on a more human scale, in a home or office,” he says. “That’s the importance of design in this. It’s taking something that was designed to hold 15,000 tons of train and coaxing it into holding an ipad or a guitar. It’s a challenge, but the result is something really unique that stands out.” His design background informs every step of developing a new piece. It’s not just aesthetics. For example, he goes to painstaking lengths to make sure that a piece is easy to ship, and if necessary, assemble. The pieces only employ railroad construction techniques, which means there are no tiny screws to lose or complicated instructions. It adds another layer of complexity to the design pro-
cess, but pays off in the form of happier customers and better sales. Most of the designs that need “assembly” can be put together in less than five minutes by 1 or 2 people. This often means stacking and interlocking a few large pieces, as most of his bigger designs are held together by their own weight and friction. I ask how stable that is, and I am invited to kick a coffee table. It doesn’t budge. When the steam locomotive was invented at the turn of the 19th century, it was seen as revolutionary, and of course, it was. The steam-powered train was the Internet, automobile, and airplane of the 1800s. It connected people and places, it shortened distances, and disrupted the culture and world that had been. The railroads captured the popular imagination and found their way into the popular culture of the times—paintings, novels, etc. Interest in trains held steady for over a century as railroad pioneers carved their way through technological and geographic frontiers, continuously shrinking travel times and expanding access to the places that people wanted to go, eventually covering the entire map with steel. Despite the fact that the train remained an important part of daily life and culture in the early 20th century, its symbolic, inspirational, and practical importance understandably faded with the mass production of the automobile and the invention of airplane, among countless other massive innovations. Now, in 2012, Rail Yard Studios gives us a way to commemorate our common, steam-powered history and the titans of industry who made it so. RYS pieces now ship all over the country and all over the world from Nashville, and they’re giving us a reason to get excited about the railroads all over again. They’ve found their way into the offices and homes of prominent companies and businesspeople, including the home of Tumblr co-founder and Instapaper founder Marco Arment. While people love this furniture for many reasons, I think one of the most important reasons is that these pieces remind us that the trains are still there. I leave the building and step out into the now warm, bright day. I get back in my car and I turn out onto Chestnut. I only make it about a hundred feet before the arm at the railroad crossing drops— lights blinking. Not again.
ENJOY A BURGER & A PINT IN OUR BEER GARDEN!
CHEESE, PLEASE. KATHLEEN COTTER IS SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF ARTISANAL CHEESE, ONE CONVERT AT A TIME.
by kelly hays / photography by lauren holland 44 / / / / / /
Kathleen Cotter loves cheese. When I sit down with her over a cheese plate at Jackalope Brewery to talk shop, she readily sings the praises of each offering on the plate, throwing out adjectives I never would have associated with cheese, like “nutty” and “cocoa flavored,” and labeling what all look like the same white cheese with names as long and complicated as an Icelandic volcano. She talks about cheese like a record store nerd talks about Brian Eno. She’ll make you realize that in the same way different music producers can take the same band and give them wildly different sounds, different cheesemakers can produce the same style of cheese with wildly varying notes and flavors. During the course of our two-hour conversation about cheese (arranged marriages have been built on less), she lists the names of culture proteins, schools me on the history and genesis of cheese-making, and namedrops more American specialty cheeses than I ever knew existed. She’s a true turophile—a lover of cheese—and it’s easy to be infected by her enthusiasm. Kathleen is the owner and head cheese46 / / / / / /
monger at The Bloomy Rind, the artisanal cheese seller that shares a retail space with Porter Road Butcher, on Gallatin Road in East Nashville. While some people might object on purely aesthetic grounds to being labeled a “monger” of any sort, Kathleen says she not only respects the term, but uses the word “honor” to describe her attempt to live up to the title. “For a long time I wouldn’t call myself a cheesemonger, because I felt like it was something that you earned, and I felt that I was too much of a novice. I have colleagues who have studied [cheese] for years and years, and are still learning new things. I describe myself as a cheesemonger tentatively, with respect to the people who have been doing it a lot longer.” This statement appears to indicate that Kathleen considers herself far from a cheese expert, but don’t let her modesty fool you. An Atlanta refugee who studied political science at Vanderbilt, Kathleen found her way into the cheese business after losing a job in human resources. “I had this gut feeling that I knew I didn’t want to go work in a cubicle for the rest of my life. I really even resisted updating my resumé. So I made this list, and on it I listed all the things I was really passionate about: travel, food, photography, sustainability. I decided to focus on food and saw that we didn’t have a great presence of artisan cheese in Nashville, and I thought there was room for a great cheese shop here.” So she founded The Bloomy Rind in 2010, and it has since grown from a small stand at the Nashville Farmer’s market to a brick and mortar retail shop that also distributes to several local eateries. “I decided with this business I could really support and promote things I believed in by selling sustainably made, American artisanal cheeses.” Long the purview of states like Vermont and Wisconsin, American cheesemaking has been steadily growing with prominence in the South over the past few decades—so much so that last October, Kathleen founded The Southern Artisan Cheese Festival in Nashville. Twenty-one artisan cheesemakers representing six southern states traveled to Nashville to showcase their goods alongside regional craft breweries and vineyards. “Everyone had a great time. The cheesemakers and people really came together, which is all you could ask for,” Kathleen reminisces. But some-
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thing tells me the success of this festival has as much to do with Kathleen Cotter’s enthusiasm for cheese, as it does with the quality of the products themselves. You leave any discussion with Kathleen feeling that craft cheese is a precious part of our American heritage, a delicate artifact from a bygone era that should be jealously protected like heirloom breeds of hens or tomatoes. Far from the massproduced, sulfur-colored blocks of wiggly goop served to you in school lunches, The Bloomy Rind’s all-natural cheese goes straight from the cheesemaker, to the display case, to your table. And it’s a miracle that cheese even makes it to the table. Cheese can be very labor intensive, and the turnaround time for aged cheese can be anywhere from six months to two years. “One of the things that I try to bring home to people is that, when cheese is aged, the cheesemaker doesn’t get paid until they sell their cheese. Imagine if you did a day’s work and I told you I wasn’t going to pay you until 9 months from now. That’s the reality for many of these cheesemakers.” That labor intensive process, along with sustainable dairy practices, can often mean higher prices per wedge. But for Kathleen, it’s an issue of quality over quantity, “I mean, you do what you can. You sort of vote with your dollars and decide to support small businesses and artisans with that money.” Not that there isn’t a place for cheaper, less well-crafted cheese products. “Oh my god, the white cheese dip in Mexican restaurants,” she effuses. “What is that? I don’t know what it is, or how they get it to that consistency, but I love that stuff.” This assertion about loving queso blanco really takes the intimidation factor out of talking fancy cheese with Kathleen. Quite frankly, the world of artisanal cheese can be complicated, and a little intimidating. Some cheeses you can (and should) eat the rind, while for other cheeses you shouldn’t. Many American cheeses go by their own unique names and are variations on European styles of cheese; you’d need a dictionary and notecards to keep it all straight. Several times during our conversation, I feel like my head is spinning with all the names of the different cheeses and dairies Kathleen tosses out like a film nerd referencing obscure French film noir 48 / / / / / /
directors. But Kathleen readily admits that although she’s been studying intensely for years, she’s still learning new things every day. “We want to kind of take the ‘snobbishness’ out of artisanal cheese. It’s really just about finding what you like.” “There was this woman who came in and her husband was shopping at Porter Road Butcher, and she was kind of peering at [our] cheese case full of options. I offered to help, saying I’d be happy to explain anything and answer any questions, and she just kind of backed away with this look of fear on her face and said, ‘I just need to go to Kroger.’” That’s exactly the kind of attitude towards specialty cheese that Kathleen hopes to change. For assembling a cheese plate, Kathleen recommends doing a variety of consistencies (hard, semi- soft, soft, crumbly) and milks (one goat, one sheep, one cow). Alternatively, you can do what’s known as a vertical tasting—a selection of cheeses made with the same type of milk, but with different consistencies and intensities of flavor. You may also want to introduce a seasonal cheese into the mix. The flavor depends on factors like humidity and what the animals are eating, so it evolves over the course of the year and some varieties are only available during certain months. When asked to recommend a spectacular fall cheese, Kathleen’s eyes sparkle as she talks about Rush Creek Reserve—a rich, soft cheese wrapped in spruce bark that’s only available during colder months, because its flavor depends on using milk from cows that have been fed on hay (instead of grass). Once you’ve narrowed down your selection with Kathleen’s help, there are several different serving options. Although a well-done cheese plate can be a culinary work of art, if you don’t have the time or inclination to cut up and arrange your cheeses into the dairy equivalent of a Chihuly installation, Kathleen suggests putting out a butcher’s block with a few wedges, crackers and jam, and letting your guests “push the cheese around” a bit. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As Kathleen and I wrap up our marathon discussion about cheese, I haven’t yet finished my cheese plate. Before meeting Kathleen, I probably would’ve just abandoned the leftovers on the table. But
there’s no way I could ever do that now. After knowing the amount of work and dairy alchemy that goes into making these masterpieces, leaving them to be tossed into the rubbish bin would be like throwing away a Christmas present in front of Santa Claus. Kathleen graciously offers to get some plastic wrap from the kitchen and wrap up my leftovers for me. While she’s gone, another bar patron asks me about the plate in my hands .“It’s a plate of artisanal cheeses,” I explain, “regionally sourced, made from different milks—goat’s milk, sheep’s milk…” and I offer him a bite. “Once you know how much work goes into this cheese and what a miracle it is that it ever even makes it to your plate, you’ll never look at cheese the same way again. You’ll never be able to leave any of it leftover on your plate, because it’s so precious.” Kathleen returns with the plastic wrap, and as I bundle up my precious takeout and head for the door, I overhear that same bar patron flag down the bartender and order a large cheese plate. Kathleen Cotter is spreading the gospel of artisanal cheese, one convert at a time. And it appears she may have a new disciple.
CHEESE PLATING INFO: Ellington (the halved pyramid centerpiece)- A softripened, ashed pyramid of goat cheese from Looking Glass Creamery in Asheville, NC. Harmony Encore (the very golden squattier shape)- A raw, washed rind cows' milk cheese from Nature's Harmony Farm, near Athens, GA. Coppinger (long skinny triangle w/ holes)- A subtle, somewhat Swiss-y cow's milk cheese from Sequatchie Cove Creamery, near Chattanooga, TN. Dante (long skinny triangle with thin, reddish rind)Nutty, butterscotchy, 18-month aged sheep's milk cheese from the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative. Bayley Hazen Blue (the only blue)- Robust cows' milk blue with rich, roasty notes from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, VT. Selecting Cheeses for a Holiday Cheese Plate Aim for a nice mix of styles, textures, and milks. On this plate, goat, cow, and sheep milks are represented, and there are soft, semi-soft, hard, and blue cheeses. Also, consider the look of the cheeses, so they contrast visually to make the display more interesting. Cutting and platingâ€Ś Choose a centerpiece cheese around which to plate the other cheeses. In this case, the Ellington is the center, but a buttery Camembert style or another round cheese would work nicely, too. With wedges of cheese, trim the rind and slice to produce angular pieces. The rind is both visually interesting and gives people an end they can pick up. Some cheeses, like the blue here, are very crumbly. Instead of struggling to keep it in tidy slices, just let the cheese crumble as it wants to and plate it in big chunks that people can pick up with a toothpick or tongs. ////// 49
Utopia ADAM ROSS &
by becca capers | photography by ryan green 50 / / / / / /
You might know of Adam Ross from his time as a middle school English teacher at Harpeth Hall, or you might recognize his name from the Nashville Scene. If you happen to scour the Times Book Review or bookstore windows, you would know that he recently published his first two books, which were both criticstartling. His debut novel and incumbent chef-d'oeuvre Mr. Peanut (2010), is a vivisection of three broken marriages, whose narratives reflect in each partner, the unattainable desire for a clean-cut exit—whether it be through art, sex, or murder. In the subsequent collection of stories he published that same year, Ladies and Gentlemen, the narrators grapple with a vision of utopia they fear will lead them to destruction. Morality looms large in Adam’s fictional worlds, and he illustrates it as an endless Escher-esque staircase of rule-breaking and lesson-learning. I had two chances to sit in the author’s book-lined home study, and scribble silently as he soliloquized about his own utopian visions. Whether he was decked out in white-collar work garb and sipping black coffee, or in exercise duds with a beer in hand, remote in the other, tiVoing “SEAL Team Six” on CNN, it wasn’t much of a gearshift for him to go between home life and book talk. This is an American author. Adam, both proud and baffled by Mr. Peanut’s wild success, didn’t anticipate such a strong response to his debut. Duly so, the book achieves somewhat of an autobiographical representation, but in a completely eccentric work of fiction. That is, its three narratives, which press the readers’ noses against the windowpanes of strangers’ marriages, illustrate Adam’s views on marriage and morality. But Adam’s literary worlds aren’t reflections of his marital realities. Rather, the author claims, they depict his worst unfounded fears for his own marriage. “I’ve been to places in my marriage that make me sympathetic to [husbands in Mr. Peanut],” he admits,
gravely, with a qualifying burp from his Yuengling, “but my take on those stories is hyperbolic.” Adam has two daughters, one of whom bashfully interrupts our conversation to give him a kiss on the cheek, which he invites with a raspy, “C’mere.” I meet his beautiful wife in their herb garden, where she trims basil with a smile. As he muses on this “good life”, which I have just witnessed firsthand, the author says, “That’s the most Escher-like idea! Our happiness traces the outline of a possible form of unhappiness. We’re sometimes so close to the opposite of
"WE’RE SOMETIMES SO CLOSE TO THE OPPOSITE OF WHERE WE ARE. THAT, I THINK, IS REALLY AMERICAN." where we are. That, I think, is really American.” This idea of Americanness, though, is mostly something I have to force on our discussion. Not being one for poetry of place, Adam explains that his interest in place “is mostly limited to the way it affects the mind.” Place only incidentally controls his plots, differentiating him from other contemporary writers such as Jonathan Franzen or Johnathan Safran-Foer. He employs a Hitchcockian trick—situating his stories in a somewhat arbitrary time and place without weaving either too crucially into his narrative. But he is no less socially engaging for doing so. Adam has a great ability to invent realistic worst-case scenarios and their guides to both success and failure. However, it’s tempting to think that he might have been inspired by
his upbringing in New York or his life in Nashville, where he’s party to the alleged high societies of Green Hills and Belle Meade. But he still claims his spark wasn’t ignited by one particular location. Adam believes subconscious inspiration presents itself in inexplicable ways, and he refuses to claim his own genius. He laughs, recalling Paris, where in September he spoke on a panel with contemporary heavy hitters like Karen Russell and Louise Erdrich, where Adam was even celebrated as an auteur demigod. Apparently, in France, they still give writers as much credit for knowledge of the human psyche, as we in America give to televised political pundits. “People give the artist too much credit for control over his muse,” he chuckles. “I don’t know what I know until I write it. I’m just looking for some sort of internal consistency with what I put on the page.” And the grisly stories he constructs from elements of his own life remain consistent in their journeys and purposes: they travel into symbolic, surreal territories, designed to cast the readers into self-reflection. Adam’s symbolic tangents are hypnotizing, to the effect that you fully insert yourself into these complicated hypothetical situations he creates, becoming perplexed with how you would behave. "I hope,” he says, “that I'm learning from these object lessons and cautionary tales I write." He's living paragraph to paragraph again, holding himself against the standard of his own alleged genius. The novel to which he's currently holding his pistol of a pen is called Playworld, and talk of it twists his face into a diabolical smirk. "Maybe this book will never be finished," he jokes, flaunting this passive relationship to his own creation, giving full credit to his elusive, muselike subconscious, "maybe I hang myself first." He continues, to my delight, to talk about Playworld. Set in New York City, it examines the life of a ////// 51
man through his own eyes, as he comes to terms with the “muttness” (aka supreme Americanness) of his being, with all the dark and light spots exposed, yet he’s still able to find hope for the future. “When we're young," he explains, "we see things that are f**ked up but don't realize they're f**ked up. Unfortunately, by the time it dawns on us that they were f**ked up, we're f**ked up. Not exactly a Bildungsroman...more like a novel of awakening to something that's already happened.” The hope for a not-so-f**kedup life comes from Adam’s own personal realizations on this front. His frosty eyes lose focus as he remembers, “On a bus, at age twenty-two, I realized I would have to jettison certain dogging things about myself in order to be a better person. That’s the point I’m trying to get across in Playworld, and it’s the reason it’ll be my most hopeful book yet. Realizations like these are the beginning of responsibility.” But the author seems to be puzzled about the limitations of art—whether it can ever realize the artist’s intentions. In Mr. Peanut, the tortured protagonist, David Pepin, commits the ultimate crime against his dying marriage, when he tries to save it and himself by writing a quasi-autobiographical novel. Without being preachy or explicit (at least not as preachy and explicit as he was in our interviews), Adam simply hopes again to thoroughly weave threads of morality, humanity, and goodness through characters like David. Days after our first interview, Adam recounts an experience he had at a local bookclub meeting: “One of [my readers] pulled me aside and said that one of the things few people understand about the stories [in Ladies and Gentlemen] and Mr. Peanut is that they're about goodness, or the fate of goodness. I practically wanted to burst into tears, because it's true…” I’m thinking, ‘Okay, he’s baiting me for another interview.’ The author, however serious, is one of those people whose face is hard to imagine crying. "Goodness hovers over all my work,” he continues. “The hope for it, the dream of being a better person, the forgetfulness of it, the missed
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opportunities to do good and those that are seized.” The stories in Ladies and Gentlemen demonstrate human struggles with everyday morality, knitted together with many threads. One of the strongest, and perhaps the most compelling of them—the idea of commitment. “In the Basement” and “When in Rome” deal with characters who are unable to commit to a life of righteous triumph. Instead, they cling to pictureperfect marriages, criminal or fatal daredevilry, and extramarital sex as a means of avoiding their harsh realities. "The title [Ladies and Gentleman] comes from the concept of humans on their best behavior,” Adam explains, “and if it has one theme, it’s that being good to other people is the only thing in life we can control.” But Adam doesn’t want to proscribe his readers a solution to the human problems he portrays. He wants to “set them dreaming” (à la Flaubert), to create a storm of questions that mirrors his own uncertainties about his art. “Art doesn’t provide answers,” he says, “it provides questions.” So, what’s the value in the desire for progress? Is fear of the inevitable a tool for destruction or education? These are the kinds of questions that he’s not sure even have answers. Twisted as his means are of propounding “the good,” Adam fights tooth and nail for his reputation as such a proponent. So it’s ironic that he also questions the timeliness of his art. If there’s ever been a time for Godless folk to find some reason to act well, it’s now. If there’s ever been a person who can secularly inspire, it’s Adam Ross, swallowing the lump of his flawed past selves and taping “SEAL Team Six” for his wife to watch later. If he’s not the socially-responsible one, then it must be his muse who is.
We’ll help you find a gift for everyone on your list. 3900 Hillsboro Pike Nashville, TN 37215 615.953.2243 parnassusbooks.net ////// 53
FORM+FUNCTION Photography by Eli McFadden As a former military man, aeronautical inspector, and dedicated pipe smoker, Homer C. says a fussy haircut can’t be trusted. And according to Melanie Shelley, owner and celebrity stylist at TRIM Classic Barber, “Style-wise, we’re right back where we started. Rock and roll hair now has a cleanly barbered edge, well within the confines of the classic gentleman rogue.” Ask your barber to blend your sideburns tightly to your beard to keep your look crisp and your mug warm for the holidays.
Kiehl’s Squadron Close Shaver’s Cream: Kiehl’s, Green Hills $16 // Tobacco Pouch (circa 1956) & Mechanical Razor (circa 1931): Model’s Family Heirlooms // Pipe: Uptown’s Smoke Shop, Green Hills 615.292.6866 for pricing // Kingsley Pure Badger Bristle Shave Brush: TRIM Classic Barber, 12 South $39.99 // Classic Shave Mug: TRIM Classic Barber, 12 South $6
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Model: Homer C. for MACS/AMAX // Hair & Grooming: Melanie Shelley at TRIM Classic Barber & Legendary Beauty for MACS/AMAX // Overcoat: Savant Vintage Couture, $95 // Sweater: United States Standard Military Issue
BLACK by liz riggs / photography by will holland
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TATTOOS YOU WON’T REGRET.
“Can you move? I need to spit on this girl,” a half-drunken stranger asks me at Black 13’s fourth anniversary party at Mercy Lounge. The tic-tac launches from his sloppy tongue into the hair of a girl who I assume is his good friend. He then excuses himself for interrupting me. Despite the absurdity of this tic-tac launching introduction, this was my first foray into the realm of Black 13, and it was even better than I expected. When I later meet the shop owner, I have the exact same sentiment. Doy Gardner makes me interview him in a closet. Ish. It’s sort of an extra storage space at the tattoo shop that he hasn’t quite decided what to do with yet. As we talk, his hazel eyes strike me, seeming as if they could reach into the depths of my soul, practically peeling back my skin. His even-keeled attitude and matter-of-fact demeanor give the impression that they’ve played a hand in Black 13’s success. When I crash down onto the black leather couch, I notice the sun is high in the long window facing me. By the time we finish our interview (re-
sembling a psychiatrist appointment), the dusk is creeping in, making the storage area feel more like a low-lit alleyway. And then there’s the fact that after about an hour or so, I turn the recorder off, because we’re talking more about tandem bikes and Michelle Branch, than we are about tattoo shops. Whoops. Sorry for partying. Doy doesn’t know how funny he is. He’s wearing something like a seven-piece suit (it was probably three), and his greyish black hair is strategically parted. It lays just above his ears, cutting across his forehead, grazing his eyes. At first glance, it’s hard to tell that he’s covered from head to toe in tattoos, because his suit covers most of them, except for those on his hands. But as he tells me, no neck tattoos; that one’s for mom (whose face is on his right hand). Like most people who come to Nashville, music is what brought Doy here in 1999. At eighteen, he left his tiny ass hometown of Loxley, Alabama, to pursue a career as a drummer. After his third year studying at Belmont, Doy jumped ship, traveling the country with way too many musicians to name. All
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you really need to know is that no, he didn’t get Michelle Branch’s phone number when he played for The Wreckers, and yes, he can play the drums better than you. He was always a session or touring player, meaning he wasn’t playing for his own band. And as any working musician can attest to, that sort of job lends itself to long days, and even longer nights. “There’s so much down time. You live for an hour a day maybe to load in, sound check, play a show…so I think that’s how the shop came about. I loved doing what I was doing, but I never had ownership in anything.” He tells me this with a straightforward gaze, describing the places his brain would wander while hanging out on a tour bus for hours on end every day. “I started brainstorming. I’d been getting tattoos since I was eighteen, but I never had a passion to actually do it, because I don’t feel like I’m artistic in that way. But I had friends who were tattoo artists. I started to see a need to do something different, from the perspective of a customer and an artist.” In between touring and living in Nashville, Doy was traveling to Atlanta for his own tattoos, where he met Josh Woods. If you’ve never heard of Josh Woods, that’s probably because you have naked, untouched, uninked skin, and don’t own a television or eyes. He’s known for his colorful cartoonish style, and he’s been featured on SPIKE! TV’s Ink Master and Mike Devries’s tattoo art book, Tattoo Prodigies. He’s among the tattoo world’s cream of the crop.
This is when the idea for Black 13 started to take form. Not only did Doy need a head artist to flesh out his dream of owning a tattoo shop, but Josh also became his business partner. “We got along great, and I think the idea kind of clicked between us,” Doy says of Josh, who was on board after seeing the space at Cummins Station. Together, the two noticed a trend in Nashville tattooing: there were a lot of places to get permanently branded in town, but there weren’t a lot of places that were drawing customers from out of town. And apparently, this is something people do often. Nashville was still under the radar within the tattoo community. It was never seen as a place to get high-caliber specialized work done, because tattoo culture was still relatively small. But just like any other business model, there was a demand in the market, and Doy had the opportunity to supply it. Enter Black 13 in 2008. “You never really heard of people coming to Nashville to get tattooed. The biggest thing we had to embrace was that we wanted it to be an experience for people,” Doy explains. This is a must for Black 13, especially because much of their clientele is from out of state and even from out of the country. So, when people come to the shop to get tattoos, they aren’t just coming to the shop; they’re coming to Nashville. Doy tells me they’ve had people from all around the
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world, even from Australia. Usually, though, they’re getting larger custom pieces done by artists like Josh, who hold somewhat of a celebrity status in the world of tattooing. As far as the look and feel of the shop, it’s obvious that Doy had a very specific vision for the space—from when people first enter, to the giant open room where all the tattoo artists work simultaneously. When you walk in, you feel like you’re in a tattoo parlor—the ambiance dark and sinister, but it’s spacious and clean, and to my surprise, heavy metal isn’t blasting. There’s a fresh, modern look to it, with tasteful rustic accents like the wood-paneled walls and dim lighting in the front room. As I walk through the narrow hallway and into the tattoo room, I’m impressed. It has an open air vibe, with hardwood floors, sharp angles, and beams across the high ceiling. The nearlyfloor-length windows are draped in enormous black curtains. Simply put: it’s beautiful. And that’s the way Doy wanted it. In fact, he wanted it to be comfortable for the guy covered in tattoos, but cozy enough for your sweet, inkless grandmother. And I notice this when I come in for my first and only tattoo. Like a true novice, I forget to eat, chug a Coors Light, and bring moral support (a hand I could squeeze the life out of ). Thirty seconds in, I’m about to throw up, so I ask the burly yet gentle man, Jon, to stop. God, please stop. I’m screaming like a child in a room where
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people are face down on leather massage tables getting extensive work done that was probably going to take hours. “Sorry, first time!” I shout. I ask Jon if he has a cookie. He brings me a Laffy Taffy and a lollipop. I devour the lollipop, then down a Dixie Cup filled with water. I don’t throw up, but damnit, it was a close call. That’s the thing about Black 13: a place that specializes in some serious inkwork can cater to some newb like me. Who knows, maybe this tattoo novice will be converted into a vet at the needles of Black 13. So what differentiates Doy’s place from other tattoo parlors? The entire space is open, so that people get tattooed in the same room and the artists can communicate with each other while they work. Doy also offers health insurance to his employees after six months. They even have William Ritter, a full-time staffer who’s responsible for setting up, cleaning, and tearing down every day so the artists can focus on what they’re good at. And according to Black 13’s website, they all know William, the deep cleaner, as Mr. Buttery Voice. And, then there’s the fact that many (not just one) of Black 13’s artists have developed reputations so noteworthy that people travel from everywhere to get inked. Josh Woods. His next opening is at least three months
out. And that’s only if your application suits him. If it’s not his specialty and won’t be at least a three-hour session, he won’t do it. No, it’s not because he’s an asshole. It’s because he’s an artist, and he wants the type of people who are planning on having pieces permanently embedded on their body to get the absolute best quality work. And, why shouldn’t he be picky about his craft? He’s the best of the best. If he doesn’t want to tattoo you, he doesn’t have to. There’s an array of other talent in the shop, ranging from Amanda Leadman, who has a knack for bird and flower imagery, to Marty “Riet” McEwen, whose gauged ears and clown tattoos will catch your eye just as much as his handiwork (devel-
IF HE DOESN’T WANT TO TATTOO YOU, HE DOESN’T HAVE TO.
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oped during his apprenticeship with Josh Woods). You can see samples from most of the artists on the website, or at the very least, you can see them all posing for pictures like idiots in Christmas costumes. There’s so much more that could be said about Black 13, as they do all kinds of events around town other than inking people up. The yearly zombie prom looks like a drunken disaster of debauchery, and they’ll be hosting a Christmas open house for people to see the shop, get snacks, see live music, and get drunk (I hope). Doy, with his vision for Black 13, is changing the culture of tattooing in Nashville. He’s transforming a business model in an industry that’s done things the same way for years. The idea is not only to tattoo Nashville and beyond, but to infiltrate this city with more than needles and talent—with a family. Between zombie proms and free anniversary parties, Doy Gardner has established himself as a small-business-owning tattoo king in Nashville, and he hardly needs to spit tictacs on you to make himself known.
A holiday crossword puzzle for you, because why not?
Down 1. “Later, we’ll have some pie.” 3. “All I want for Christmas is my .” 4. The furry companion of a grouch suffering from an undersized heart 7. The film in which the holiday son “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was made famous 8. This man improved the way we travel through snow 10. This author describes Santa’s flight as being “like the down of a thistle.” 11 The number of uninvited guests who gave a certain unpleasant man a late night visit 12 With electricity came the end of this bolder, more daring kind of tree decor 15 Adam Sandler provides the voice for this many characters in his first animated feature 16 German children leave these out on New Year’s Eve to be filled with candy 18 The color of the Christmas sash Scarlett gives to Ashley in “Gone With the Wind”
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Across 2. Canadians can’t just call it a hat... 5. Major winter holiday created in the 60s 6. Narrator of the animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 9. The Festival of Lights 11. The amount Charlie will have to pay Lucy if he wants her psychiatric help this Christmas 13. Candy canes hail from this foreign land 14. Christmas carol that ripped off a popular English tune 17. Kevin McCallister’s favorite pizza 19. Christmas song originally intended for Thanksgiving
puzzle by laurabeth martin
photos by Cameron Powell | illustration by Arcade Death | styling by OMG
The gift ideas on the following pages are our gift to you—a gift that keeps on giving, if you will. We’ve done our best to showcase as many amazing things as possible, and all of them are made or sold by local businesses in Nashville. We didn’t know what we would find when we set out to make an all-local gift guide, but we were pleasantly shocked by the number of well-made, well-designed, rare, beautiful, intriguing, stylish, practical, and delicious items we found. We hope you love them as much as we do. This gift guide was arguably our most ambitious project ever. The pages that follow include over 300 items, and all of the photos were taken in a single day. So why buy local? Well, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy and $27 leaves. For every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, by comparison, $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves. If that’s not reason enough, then consider that when you shop local, your money creates up to 75% more tax revenue for your community than if you didn’t shop local. So, basically, that snappy, hand-stitched dog sweater isn’t just keeping your style-conscious pup warm in December, it’s funding the elementary school down the street, building new bicycle lanes and dog parks, and keeping your firefighter neighbor employed (assuming your firefighter neighbor is a Nashville firefighter). Buying local, especially for other people, is the least selfish way to shop. If you’re looking to be selfish, no problem. There are plenty of selfish reasons to be generous. As it turns out, some studies have found that generosity helps you live longer while also making you happier and more attractive to the opposite sex. By shopping local this holiday season, you can satisfy the people on your list while also helping your community, which helps you, because you live in your community. The point is, it’s hard to be generous without helping yourself, and the best way to be selfish is to be generous. Selfishness or altruism, in either case generosity is the answer, and the best way to be generous is to get out there and get gifts to give from local businesses. When you give local, you’ll be happier, live longer, improve your community, and score (karma points). Happy (local) Holidays from all of us here at Native. // / /// 3
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1.On The Loose By Blackfoot Gypsies, The Groove 2.The Lion The Beast The Beat By Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Groove 3.Marc Scibilia Ep, Grimey’s 4.Sense Of Transcendence By Natalie Prass, The Groove 5.Charlatans At The Gate By Tristen, The Groove 6.Poly Trio 7 Inch Vinyl, The Groove 7.United States Of Being By Pujol, The Groove 8.Civilized Man By Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes 9.R & A By Evan P. Donohue, The Groove 10.Kids Raising Kids By Kopecky Family Band, The Groove 11.El Camino By The Black Keys, The Groove 12.Hotel Chicamauga By Kansas Bible Company, Grimey’s 13.Blunderbuss By Jack White, Third Man Records 14.Youth By Wild Cub, The Groove 15.The Dirt Is Near By Church Of Cleanliness, The Groove 16.Wicked Will By The Ettes, The Groove 17.No Expectations By The Inscape, The Groove 18.Kaleidoscope By Vitek, Grimey’s 19.Mega/Baby Split Cassette By Penicillin Baby And Megajoos 20.Eskuché Headphones, The Groove 21.It’s 4 O’clock By Meadownoise, The Groove 22.To The Memory Of A Once Great Man By Umbrella Tree, Grimey’s 23.Salvation On The Ground By Allen Thompson Band, The Groove 24.Jazzputin By Evan P. Donohue, The Groove 25.Black Rabbit By Pujol, Third Man Records
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24 7 19 29
1.Kala Ukelele, Corner Music 2.Guitar Picks, Corner Music 3.Shuitar 4.Corner Music Gibson Guitar, Corner Music 5.Ipad Platform, Rail Yard Studios 6.Cigar Box Guitar, Fanny’s House Of Music 7.Morgan Ac20 Dextluxe Amp And Custom Cabinet, Rock Block Guitars Works By David Byrne, Bookmanbookwoman
9.E.T. Burk V Shelves, E.T. Burk 10.Otis James
Handmade Iphone Sleeve Case, Griffin Technology 11.Woodtones Reclaimed Wood Earbuds Griffin Technology 12.Leather Mandolin And Guitar Straps, Templar 13.Long Hollow Leather Guitar Straps, Corner Music 14.Ludwig Classic Maple Patrick Carney Signature Drumset, Fork’s Drum Closet 15.Cmatmods Brownie Overdrive Pedal, Rock Block Guitars
Overdrive Pedal, Rock Block Guitars 17.Studioconnect Audio Midi Charge Dock For Ipad, Griffin Technologies 18.Tamborine, Fork’s Drum Closet 19.Kimble Mandolin, Cotten Music 20.Collings Guitar, Cotten Music 21.Thomas Suitcase Boombox, Thump Trunk 22.Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Rock Block Guitars 23.Cowbell, Fork’s Drum Closet 24.Duesenberg Imperial Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Rock Block Guitars 25.Cooperstand Wood And Plastic Folding Mandolin And Guitar Stands, The Old Time Pickin Parlor 26.Guitar Stand, Corner Music 27.Brushes, Fork’s Drum Closet 28.Wood Ladder, Old Made Good 29.Third Man Records Portable Record Player, Third Man Records 30.String Swing Wall Mount, Corner Music 31.Planet Waves Capo, Corner Music 32.Drum Sticks, Fork’s Drum Closet
1. i+w x Leather Head Football, imogene + willie 2. Coat Rack, Rail Yard Studios 3. Vintage Letterman Cardigan Sweater, Tidwell and Perryman 4. Small Messenger Bag, Hawkes Leather Company 5. Real Trees Snapback Cap, Love Is Earth 6. Vintage Flannel, Tidwell and Perryman 7. Suede Sweater, Old Made Good 8. The Captain Cap in Wool, Otis James 9. Poster, Old Made Good 10.Nashville Hood Print by The Hood Shop, Bloom 11.Horns, Old Made Good 12.Growth Chart, Sideshow Sign Co. 13.Pillow, Old Made Good 14.Emilio Chukka, Nisolo 15.Metal Box, Old Made Good 16.Vintage Military Blanket with Red Cross, Tidwell and Perryman 17.Templar Cuffs, Trim Classic Barber 18.Lapel Flowers, JandHP Clothing 19.Homak Toolbox, Cumberland Hardware 20.Case USA pocket knife, Cumberland Hardware21.Hand-dyed Men’s Julius Boot, Peter Nappi 22.Custom “I Believe in Nashville” denim jacket, DCXV 23.Hippie Trash Pack Drug Rug 5-Panel Cap, Love Is Earth 24.Leather Weekend Rambler, Emil Erwin 25.First Aid Kit, Old Made Good 26.Bead Bracelets by Scott Osterbind, Brooklyn South Vintage 27.Cordovan Eyeglass Case, Emil Erwin 28.Handmade Raw Leather Single Fold Wallet, Hawkes Leather Company 29.Bowtie by TRVLR///, Brooklyn South Vintage 30.Moonshine Cologne, The Trunk Nashville 31.Conway Belt, Emil Erwin 32.Billfold, Emil Erwin 33.Green Printers Box, Old Made Good 34.Leather Traveler, Red Earth Trading Company 35.Luggage Tag, Emil Erwin 36.Antlers, Old Made Good 37.Skinny Ties by TRVLR///, Brooklyn South Vintage 38.Willie Rigid, imogene + willie 39.Wooden Ladder, Old Made Good 40.metal crate, Old Made Good 41.Plaid Blanket, Old Made Good 42.Tennessee Paperweight, Old Made Good 43.The Sportsman Boot by Browning, Nashville Boot Union 44.vintage Hand-Tooled Music City and Pinup wallets, Old Made Good 45.B112 Bowtie, Otis James
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15 28 29 44
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1. Custom Western W, Sideshow Sign Co. 2. Flowers, Bloom 3. gold wardrobe, Old Made Good 4. Gilded Shield necklace, Acorn + Archer 5. Isadora Necklace, Red Earth Trading Company 6. Crop Circles necklace by Beth McDaniel, Gas Lamp Too 7. Eastern Antiquity Class Necklace, Red Earth Trading Company 8. blue fitted cowl, Jenna Lane 9. womens oxford shirt, JandHP Clothing 10.antlers, Old Made Good 11.Freedom Bracelet, Lotus Links 12.Bone Feather Front Clasp Clutch, The Trunk Nashville 13.silver and gold chair, Old Made Good 14.Naughty needlepoint, Old Made Good 15.fancy lady dress, Old Made Good 16.Speakeasy perfume, The Trunk Nashville 17.Frisky Bumblebee soy candle, Kore +nashville 18.Lavender Body Butter, Thistle Farms 19.Thistle Farms Citrus Vanilla hand lotion, Turnip Truck 20.Alchemy of Sol all-natural Patchouli Mint candle, Turnip Truck 21.Utopian Body hair, body and room fragrance in Bliss, Turnip Truck 22.Classic Campus Boot by Frye, Nashville Boot Union 23.Hood Tee V Neck by The Hood Shop, Bloom 24.Womenâ€™s Messenger, Emil Erwin 25.The Light Grey Cowl, Jamie and the Jones 26.Imogene Slim, imogene + willie 27.Vintage Military Canvas Satchel, Tidwell and Perryman 28.vintage Harley Davidson tee, Old Made Good 29.lucky arrow, Old Made Good
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1.Zig-Zag Ruler Bracelets by Beth McDaniel, Gas Lamp Too 2.Nerd Alert Necklace, Old Made Good 3.Vintage Frame and Tassel Necklace, Old Made Good 4.Gilded Shield Necklace, Acorn + Archer 5.Geometric Love, Old Made Good 6.Black Stone and Cream Lace Crochet Necklace, Jenna Lane 7.Metal Sliding Shelves, Old Made Good 8.Tennessee Necklace, Old Made Good 9.Olivia Terrell Stack Rings, The Trunk Nashville 10.I Fall To Pieces Bracelet by Beth McDaniel, Gas Lamp Too 11.Brass Cuff Locker Tag Necklace, Old Made Good 12.Stamp Letters, Old Made Good 13.Vintage ID Bracelet, Old Made Good
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HOME 1.French Periodic Table Print on Canvas, Sideshow Sign Co. 2.Metal Vintage Clothing Rack, Old Made Good 3.Vintage Wood Arrows, Old Made Good 4.Bottle, Old Made Good 5.E.T. Burk Cornercase, E.T. Burk 6.Wall Task Light, Southern Lights 7.Bang Candy Company Mug, Bang Candy Company 8.E.T. Burk V Shelves, E.T. Burk 9.Algernon Blackwood and Emily Dickinson Book Art by Jeff Dertrand, East Side Story 10.Vintage Cases and Luggage by Ike & Annie, Brooklyn South Vintage 11.Chalkboard Skull, Nashpop 12.E.T. Burk Candlesticks, E.T. Burk 13.Frisky Bumblebee soy candle, Kore +nashville 14.CSArt (Community Supported Art) Share Crate, Seed Space 15.Cowboys and Indians Vintage Blanket, Old Made Good 16.Vintage Tribal Print Blanket, Old Made Good 17.Starck Eros Chair, Highbrow Furniture 18.Nashville Field Guide by Wildsam Field Guides, Emil Erwin + Otis James 19.Custom R, Sideshow Sign Co. 20.Beam Stool by HollerDesign 21.Ex Libris Skull Handmade Cards, Fido 22.Wire Basket, Old Made Good 23.World Changing Ideas by Richard Myers & Bob Isherwood
FOOD 30 15
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1.Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Porter Road Butcher 2.Grab The Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, Turnip Truck 3.Sweeteeth Chocolate, Barista Parlor 4.Moon Pies 5.Dick Taylor Chocolate, Barista Parlor 6.Syrups, Bang Candy Company 7.Goo Goo Clusters 8.12-Pack Cookie Sampler, Chucklet & Honey Southern Bakery 9.Taza Chocolate, Barista Parlor 10.Small Cheese Board By Hollerdesign, Porter Road Butcher/The Bloomy Rind 11.Mast Brothers Chocolate, Barista Parlor 12.Askinosie Chocolate, Dose Coffee And Tea 13.Olive & Sinclair Chocolate, Turnip Truck 14.Pear Butter, Porter Road Butcher 15.Bluegrass Soy Sauce Co. Soy Sauce, Porter Road Butcher 16.Holiday Marshmallow Selection, Bang Candy Company 17.Caramels, Bang Candy Company 18.Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Pops, Nashville Cake Pops 19.Bathtub Gin Fruit Spreads Sampler Pack, The Bloomy Rind 20.Olive & Sinclair Nib Brittle In Smoked And Bourbon, Turnip Truck 21.Tricycle Sweets Gift Basket, Tricycle Sweets 22.Tru Bee Local Honey, Turnip Truck 23.Bella Bark By Colts Chocolates, Turnip Truck 24.Grandad’s Gravy Balsamic Vinegar And Extra Virgin Olive Oil, The Produce Place 25.Wedge Of Sequatchie Cove Creamery Dancing Fern Cheese, The Bloomy Rind 26.Hunk Of Sequatchie Cove Creamery Cumberland Cheese, The Bloomy Rind 27.Large Cheese Board By Hollerdesign, Porter Road Butcher 28.9-Drawer Dresser By Ike & Annie, Brooklyn South Vintage 29.Ritual Chocolate, Barista Parlor 30.Bathtub Gin Fruit Spreads Jar, The Bloomy Rind 31.Evelyn Farris Raines Herb Vinegar, Kore +Nashville 32.Butternut Squash, Turnips, And Plum Pickles, Pickle Me This 33.For The Love Of Honey Local Honey, Porter Road Butcher 34.Grandad’s Gravy Pasta Sauce, The Produce Place 35.End Grain Cutting Board By Holler Design 36.Bourbon Smoked Paprika By Bourbon Barrel Foods, Porter Road Butcher 37.Indulge Gift Basket, Kernels Southern Gourmet Popcorn 38.Smoked Salt By Porter Road Butcher, Porter Road Butcher 39.Marie Mcgee’s Bumblebees By Colts Chocolates, Turnip Truck 40.Askinosie Chocolate Hey, Hey Hazelnut! Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Dose Coffee And Tea 41.Living Raw Truffles, Hot & Cold
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1.5-Bottle Wine Rack, Rail Yard Studios 2.Nashville Brewing 3.Belle Meade Bourbon By Green Briar Distillery, Bud’s Wine & Liquors 4.Arrignton Vinyards Red Fox Red Wine, Bud’s Wine & Liquors 5.Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, Bud’s Wine & Liquors 6.Lonely Cow Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Wine, Bud’s Wine & Liquors 7.Corsair Artisan Gin, Corsair Artisan Distillery 8.Ryemageddon Rye Whiskey, Corsair Artisan Distillery 9.Spiced Rum, Corsair Artisan Distillery 10.Drink Cart, Old Made Good 11.Beer Mug, Antique Archeology 12.Retro Glasses, Old Made Good 13.Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey Moonshine, Bud’s Wine & Liquors 14.Ice Bucket, Old Made Good 15.Alt Whiskeys By Darek Bell Of Corsair Artisan Distillery, Corsair Artisan Distillery 16.Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey, Corsair Artisan Distillery 17.Jackalope Growler Of Grog, Jackalope Brewing Company 18.Fat Bottom Brewery Pint Glass, Fat Bottom Brewery 19.Growler With Optional Koozie, Yazoo Brewing Company 20.Vintage Wine Stoppers By Knobstopper, Cake
1.Bongo Java Postcards, Bongo Java 2.Crema Mug, Crema 3.Spirit Of Nashville Coffees And Cans, Bongo Java Roasting Company 4.Chemex, Barista Parlor 5.Counter Culture Cascara Tea Made From The Fruit Of The Coffee Plant, Part Of Gift Set, Dose Coffee and Tea 6.Stumptown Coffee, Barista Parlor 7.Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Casablanca Coffee 8.Hazelnut Cinnamon Coffee, Davis Cookware & Cutlery Shop 9.Kilenso Sidama Cooperative Coffee, Barista Parlor 10.Kaldi’s Dog Roast, Bongo Java Roasting Company 11.Crema Espresso, Crema 12.Madcap Coffee, Barista Parlor 13.Cold Cup + Straw, Bongo Java Roasting Company 14.Humphreys Street Coffee, Table 3 15.Crema Coffee, Crema 16.Straining Mug, Casablanca Coffee 17.Sight Glass Coffee, Barista Parlor 18.Barista Parlor Airscape Coffee Canister, Barista Parlor 19.Dose Coffee And Tea Insulated Travel Mug, Dose Coffee And Tea 20.Fido Nashville Coffee Mug, Fido 21.Drew’s Brews Coffee, Casablanca Coffee 22.Barista Parlor Mug, Barista Parlor 23.Dose Airscape Coffee Canister, Dose Coffee And Tea 24.Road Rage And Anger Management Blends, Garage Coffee Company Nashville 25.Counter Culture Coffee, Barista Parlor 26.Barista Parlor Kleen Kanteen, Barista Parlor 27.Intelligentsia Coffee, Barista Parlor 28.Bongo Java Piping Hot Coffee Cup, Bongo Java 29.Electric Coffee Grinder, Davis Cookware & Cutlery Shop 30.Counter Culture Holiday Blend Coffee Roast, Part Of Gift Set, Dose Coffee And Tea
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1.Pork Cuts Print On Canvas, Sideshow Sign Co. 2.Metal Vintage Clothing Rack, Old Made Good 3.Nashville Bicycle Alliance T-Shirt, Green Fleet Hub 4.Daytona Metal Flake Cruiser Helmet, Garage Coffee Company Nashville 5.Fat Bottom Brewery Racing Jersey, Fat Bottom 6.The Cycling Wangdoos By Kelly Pulley, Green Fleet Hub 7.Local Dog Treats, Wags & Whiskers 8.Nashville Groove Cycling Map, Green Fleet Hub 9.Original Bike Box, Halcyon Bike Shop 10.Water Bottle, Halcyon Bike Shop 11.Rebuilt Bike, Halcyon Bike Shop 12.Locally-Manufactured Bike, Homegrown Bicycles 13.Dalman Supply Co. Bike Lock, Halcyon Bike Shop 14.Annie Williams Bike Satchel, Halcyon Bike Shop 15.Ride For Reading Swiftwick Socks, Green Fleet Hub 16.Sustain Recycled Socks, Swiftwick 17.Solo Bike Rack, Rail Yard Studios
BOOKS 11 3
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21 33 20
1.Kinfolk Magazine, West Elm 2.The Cymbal Crashing Clouds by Ben Shive, East Side Story 3.World Changing Ideas by Richard Myers & Bob Isherwood 4.V is for Volunteer by Michael Shoulders and illustrated by Bruce Langton, Parnassus Books 5.Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray, Parnassus Books 6.Remnant by Cary Graham, BookmanBookwoman 7.Diary of B.B. Bright by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, BookmanBookwoman 8.Your Screenplay Sucks! by William M. Akers, Parnassus Books 9.Power Trip by Amanda Little, McKay’s Used Books 10.Herman’s Journey by Jamina Carder & Kaaren Engel, Parnassus Books 11.Sons of the Rapture by Todd Dills, East Side Story 12.Nashville: Home of History Makers by William Beard, BookmanBookwoman 13.Abigail’s Revenge by Pat Ballard, East Side Story 14.Bowling Avenue by Ann Shayne, East Side Story 15.Nashville by Design, Parnassus Books 16.Hello, Norma Jean by Sue Dolleris, East Side Story 17.arts, inc. by Bill Ivey, Barnes & Noble 18.Ladies and Gentlemen: Stories by Adam Ross, Parnassus Books 19.Hatch Show Print, Hatch Show Print 20.Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross, BookmanBookwoman 21.The Chomsky Effect by Bob Barsky, Parnassus Books by special order 22.Chinaberry Sidewalks by Rodney Crowell, BookmanBookwoman 23.The Boy, The Kite, & The Wind by Al Andrews illustrated by Jonathan Bouw, East Side Story 24.The Snow Whale by John Minichillo, East Side Story 25.Dose of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Nancy Lee Andrews, BookmanBookwoman 26.Rebel Yell by Alice Randall, BookmanBookwoman 27.Home to Us by The Land Trust of Tennessee, Parnassus Books 28.Nashville Streets and Their Stories by Ridley Willis II, Parnassus Books 29.The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall, BookmanBookwoman 30.Goodbye Little Rock and Roller by Marshall Chapman, Parnassus Books 31.Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams, East Side Story 32.Dirtober Blues by Cyril E. Vetter, Parnassus Books 33.Brazil by Marshall Eakin 34.What A Book by Tom T. Hall, BookmanBookwoman 35.Carry My Bones by J. Wes Yoder, Barnes & Noble 36.The Bluebird Café Scrapbook by Amy Kurland, Mark Benner & Neil Fagan, Parnassus Books 37.Ladies and Gentlemen: Stories by Adam Ross, Parnassus Books 38.The Blue Star by Tony Earley, Parnassus Books 39.This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record by Susannah Felts, East Side Story 40.Now What by Ann Patchett, Parnassus Books 41.The Invasion Year by Dewey Lambdin, Parnassus Books
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14 13 9
5 18 16
BODY 1.Gift Wrap, Friendly Arctic 2.Tru Bee Beeswax Rub, Turnip Truck 3.Disco Skull, Globe, And Clay Rabbit, Goodwill 4.Happy Holidays Banner Card With Envelope, Cake 5.Antique Archeology Deck Of Cards, Antique Archeology 6.Wow! Soap 7.Utopian Body Dead Sea Salt Body Polish Scrub In Bliss, Turnip Truck 8.Frisky Bumblebee Soy Candles, Kore +Nashville 9.Thistle Farms Lavender Body Butter, Turnip Truck 10.Thistle Farms Citrus Vanilla Shower
12.Kraken Paper Coasters, Cake 13.Babybearshop Baby Soap, Kore +Nashville 14.Thistle Farms Citrus Vanilla Hand Lotion, Turnip Truck 15.Ruler And Stamp Letter Set, Old Made Good 16.9-Drawer Dresser By Ike & Annie, Brooklyn South Vintage 17.Thistle Farms Tea Tree Mint Candle, Turnip Truck 18.Hand Rolled Pocket Square, Jandhp Clothing 19.Alchemy Of Sol Lemonlyptus Candle, Turnip Truck 20.Arboreal Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper, Kore +Nashville 21.Alchemy Of Sol Peppermint Soap Bars, Turnip Truck 22.Music City Suds Soap Trio Box Set, O.Liv Body Bar
Brick + Mortar Antique Archeology Bang Candy Company Barista Parlor Barnes & Noble Bloom Flowers & Gifts The Bloomy Rind Bongo Java Bongo Java (East) BookmanBookwoman Brooklyn South Vintage Bud’s Liquors + Wines Cake Casablanca Coffee Corner Music Corsair Artisan Distillery Cotten Music Crema Cumberland Hardware DCXV Clothing Davis Cookware + Cutlery Shop Dose Coffee and Tea E.T. Burk East Side Story Emil Erwin Fanny’s House of Music Fat Bottom Brewing Fido Fork’s Drum Closet Friendly Arctic Garage Coffee Company Green Fleet Hub Griffin Technology The Groove Halcyon Bike Shop Hatch Show Print Highbrow Furniture Hot + Cold imogene + willie Jamie + the Jones/Local Honey JandHP Clothing Jackalope Brewing KORE + Nashville Love is Earth McKay Used Books Nashville Cake Pops Old Made Good The Old Time Pickin Parlor O.liv Body Bar Otis James Parnassus Books Peter Nappi Porter Road Butcher The Produce Place Rail Yard Studios Red Earth Trading Co. Rock Block Guitars Seed Space Table 3 Templar/Trim Classic Barber Third Man Records Thistle Farms Tidwell + Perryman/Local Honey The Turnip Truck (East) The Turnip Truck Wags + Whiskers (East) Wags + Whiskers West Elm Yazoo Brewing Company
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WHERE TO BUY
OBSERVATORY By Itoro Udoko
STYLE WARS Jackson’s sweater looks like a wearable wall, complete with specks of chipped paint. Throw his hat into the mix, and we’ve got the coziest kid on the block. We all know how warm Mexican Baja jackets can be—they’re basically blankets with sleeves, and the same logic applies to that five-panel HUF he’s rocking.
PAINT IT BLACK... AND GREEN...AND BLUE Black is the most elegant of colors, but there are right and wrong ways to wear it. This is one of the right ways. Keiko’s flowing, black trench coat, black bowleresque hat, and black stockings provide a foundation. Then it gets fun—her springy, green and blue plaid dress with a lace collar adds subtle color, while her blue heels have more pop than the Billboard Hot 100. And with that, we have a hit for winter.
Ray-Ban Clubmasters with the right outfit can make anyone look like a movie star. At first, I thought Daniel was Ryan Gosling in The Notebook (don’t hate). That was my bad. With this look it’s all about basics, carefully perfected with a flawless fit. Take some quick notes: 1. Blue oxford wIth a club collar 2. CompleMenting cuffed, dark-wash jeans with whiskers 3. A hErringbone blazer 4. BLack boots rEady for anything 5. Ray-BanS with a contraSting, white accent color. Did you see that, see how that spells T-IM-E-L-E-S-S?
Couples often coordinate their outfits, which can be quite obnoxious. Here's how to not be that couple. In this case, the gal finishes her dark palette with a 90sish light-washed denim jacket. The guy does the opposite, matching off-white tones with a black leather jacket. And both looks utilize some other big trends, too. Most people don’t like war, but everyone appreciate the sartorial options borne from such destruction. As such, military influence is huge right now—chukka boots, combat boots, and camouflage. By contrast, floral prints, especially ironic Hawaiian patterns, have migrated to the mainland—and they look even better when you have cool tattoos to keep them company. ////// 79
NATIVE ANIMAL OF THE MONTH
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Genus: Aves, Order: Galliformes, Family: Phasianidae
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been practicing my Little Drummer Boy solo, and checking grocery stores for candy canes since November 1st. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate decorating the Christmas tree, sharing glad tidings, spinning the dreidel, and overdosing on gingerbread men? The Partridge. That’s right, folks. There’s a new Grinch in town, giving Ebenezer Scrooge a run for his money. How would you feel if you were stuck up in a tree for the holiday season, like some tacky ornament? Of course, I’m referring to the famed carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” in which our winged friend and his co-star, the pear tree, are the first of the dozen gift series. But how did they even get that little guy up into the pear tree in the first place? Well, he certainly didn’t fly up there. The partridge needs to be close to the ground to find food, and to construct canoes. Yes, canoes. According to Passamaquoddy legend, the Partridge used to be token canoe-builder for all the other birds. How industrious. How generous of him! One day, after the Fish Hawk rudely asked why the Partridge didn’t have his 80 / / / / / /
own canoe (classic Fish Hawk), the Par- weeks after he was born. It’s a touchy tridge decided to create his own circular subject for the shy, mysterious bird. The “canoe.” Needless to say, it failed miser- only silver lining to his frumpy feathers is ably. He dove into the underbrush to es- that it helps him hide from his predators, cape the mocking laughter of all the other which are namely hunters. The partridge birds, which is why, to this day, the Par- and his close relatives in the Phasianidae family, the quail and the pheasant, make tridge flies close to the ground. This leads us to believe that either up the most treasured hunting fowl in the (A) ladder-making is also within the Par- country. But hunters, beware! If the partridge’s scope of carpentry abilities or tridge has no easy means of escape, he (B) the Partridge’s so-called fair-feathered may throw obstacles, such as pebbles and “friends” stranded him up in the branches twigs, in the path of his pursuer. A pebble as a cruel joke. Let’s hope it's the former. will surely stop an armed human being. When he’s not busy being objectified in Let’s face it, he’s not the cleverest bird in Christmas carols, the partridge can often the bevy. In fact, our beloved state of Tennessee be found flitting about farmland or woodlands, searching for berries and seeds. designated the partridge as the official Sometimes he’ll munch on grasshoppers state game bird back in 1987. The dark and other bugs to get more protein, be- meat bird has been a popular plate ever cause if anything were to happen to those since 20th century French chefs started ripped pectorals, he’d be a total mess. See, serving Perdrix Braisé, or braised parthe partridge is a little top heavy. His “un- tridge, stuffed with a mix of sausage and usually plump” chest makes Santa look chicken paté, and served with a vegetable like a fitness instructor. Small and squat, bouillon. Bon appetit to that. So, if you’re unfortunate enough to rethe partridge’s body typically measures about twenty-eight to thirty-two centime- ceive a partridge in a pear tree as some cruel Secret Santa trick this holiday seaters in total. While the partridge was born a downy son, at least you’ll get a free meal out of it. brunette, his plumage grayed only a few And maybe a canoe. -GILLIS BERNARD
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Nashville, TN 37206