Page 1

RAY STEVENS’ Next Big Move Leaves No Stone Unturned page 6

A Bigger Picture: Off the Wall Charlotte Avenue page 10

Contextual Overlay: What It Is, What It Isn’t and How to Apply page 14

June–July 2017 VOL. I, ISSUE 4


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Editor and Publisher MIRIAM DRENNAN

Creative Consultant EVELYN MARIE PARRISH

Historian YVONNE EAVES

Copy Editor JENNIFER GOODE STEVENS

Contributors: HOLLY DARNELL

KEENA DAY

YVONNE EAVES

CLARE FERNANDEZ

NAOMI GOLDSTONE

MIRIAM LEIBOWITZ

JOHN LOMAX III

SCOTT MERRICK

DAVID SCHRADER

STEPHANIE SEFCIK

Art Direction and Design ELLEN PARKER-BIBB

Photographers KAYLA ANDERSON

HOLLY DARNELL

YVONNE EAVES

SONIA FERNANDEZ LEBLANC

SCOTT MERRICK

CLARK THOMAS

Distribution FRANK SARACINO

Advertising Account Managers CATHEY CLARK

JILL YOCHIM

COVER Clark Thomas

Advertising Inquiries: 615.491.8909 or 372WestNashville@gmail.com. 372WN is a print and digital magazine published every other month by Next Chapter Publishing, LLC. All content presented herein, unless otherwise noted, is the exclusive property of Next Chapter Publishing and cannot be used, reprinted, or posted without permission. 372WN is free for readers; excessive removal of the product or tampering with any of our distribution racks will be considered theft and/or vandalism and subject to prosecution.


CONTENTS VOL. I, ISSUE 4 | June–July 2017

MAIN FEATURE 6

Ray Stevens’ Next Big Move Leaves No Stone Unturned

CURRENT HAPPENINGS 10

A Bigger Picture: Off the Wall Charlotte Avenue

14

Contextual Overlay: What It Is, What It Isn’t and How to Apply

FEATURES 18

Bows, Strings and Things: Nashville Violins Keeps Musicians in Tune

22

Color The Nations

26

West Nashville Houses of Worship: Past, Present . . . and Future?

32

Long Live West Nashville’s Theatre . . . and Theaters!

37

answer. Opens with a Cause

38

The Creative Detours of Ellen Parker Bibb

42

Nashville Night Market Brings Community and Arts Together

45

615Rocks! Brings Joy, Happiness to West Nashville

46

The Art of Crafts: Expressionism for the Senses

50

Nashville Ballet: A Balancing Act of Practice and Performance

54

“It all begins with a song . . . writer.”

IN EVERY ISSUE 60

372WestNosh

63

Weedeaters

64

372WhokNew?

CORRECTION: On page on page 27 of our April issue, we incorrectly identified the owner of the Pure station that stood at Murphy Road and West End Avenue as Richard Smithton. The owner’s name was Richard Smitha.

June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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372WN.com | June–July 2017

Nashville Violins (1/4 page, they’re redesigning)


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Ray Stevens’

NEXT BIG MOVE LEAVES NO STONE UNTURNED

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Miriam DRENNAN

o pun intended here—but if your only exposure to Ray Stevens consists of “The Streak,” then you’ve missed a large portion of his critical acclaim and accomplishments. While it’s true that “The Comedy King of Music City” is the man behind some of the funniest, most beloved novelty songs (“The Streak” is a multimillion-unit seller), it’s also true that he has conquered just about every form of musical entertainment out there. With 11 Grammy nominations and two awards, Stevens has hit the Top 10 on country and pop charts many times since the 1960s. He has written, produced and collaborated with a roster of who’s who in the entertainment industry: Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Andy Williams and Elvis Presley, to name only a few. His induction into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Christian Music Hall of Fame, Georgia Music Hall of Fame, among others—plus numerous awards for arranging, producing, writing and singing—have not stopped since he won his first Grammy for Male Vocalist of the Year back in 1970. In the 1990s, Stevens established himself as another type of producer when he launched “Comedy Video Classics,” a platinum-selling series he created and starred in. Banking on the success of his videos, he operated his own theater in Branson, Missouri, for many years and he continues to host his own television show and perform to this day.

But recounting all the accolades and adventures of Ray Stevens does not explain why, nearly 45 years after establishing his operations on Music Row, he has chosen to move his offices and studios to West Nashville and open CabaRay, an entertainment venue that marries state-of-the-art facilities with a throwback to a time when dinner-and-a-show wasn’t just something people did in 1950s movies. This sort of undertaking may seem impulsive, but in many respects, Stevens has been working toward this his whole life. He has covered all the details—including how to be a good neighbor and community asset to West Nashville.

EARLY LIFE As a child, Stevens knew that music would be his life’s work, but at one point he considered a different direction. “When I was in school, I thought I would go to Georgia Tech and study architecture,” he explains. That all changed when Stevens reached his teen years. “I attended Clairmont Hills Baptist Church and my Sunday School teacher was Warren Roberts,” he recalls. “He owned a radio station in Decatur, Georgia.” After Stevens played piano and sang in church, Roberts recommended Stevens visit a friend of his named Bill Lowery, a music publisher. “I went to see Bill Lowery and he said, ‘Write me a song, lad,’” Stevens laughs. “So I did, and he loved it. He called Ken

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Nelson, a friend of his who came to Nashville regularly to produce records for Capitol—he produced for a whole bunch of people back in the day, people like Ferlin Huskey, Sonny James, Tommy Sands.” When Lowery sent Nelson a copy of Stevens’ song, Nelson sent for him. Stevens arrived in Nashville and recorded “Silver Bracelet” in RCA’s iconic Studio B. “I was just 17—still in high school—and I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a speaker that big!’ I recorded the song and I was hooked. I decided right then that maybe I didn’t want to draw buildings I wanted to do this, instead.” Stevens returned to Atlanta to finish high school and enrolled at Georgia State University to study classical piano and music theory. He continued to write and record, leaving school during his junior year and ultimately accepting a job with Mercury Records in Nashville. “I moved to Nashville when I was 22,” Stevens explains. “My parents stayed in Dunwoody (Georgia), then they moved farther out. They were originally from this little town called Powder Springs, Georgia, close to Hiram and Lithia Springs. I’d gotten married the year before

I moved to Nashville, and had my first child by then. We pulled a U-Haul with our Plymouth in the snow. There were no railings on Monteagle . . . but we made it.”

SETTING UP SHOP Ray Stevens arrived in Nashville on January 2, 1962, to work in the studios. “I was a studio musician for years, wrote for other artists and worked as a producer,” he says. “I bought the first incarnation of this building back in 1973.” Motioning in a couple of directions, Stevens continues: “Then we moved this way, slowly but surely, all the way from the alley to the street. My old studio is now storage for all the props when we shoot the videos. I still have the studio down the street where we shoot “Ray Stevens’ CabaRay” now. But even before we started that, I had a lot of props.” Looking around his Music Row offices, it’s evident that Stevens has a lot of packing to do. The props and memorabilia tell the story of his ventures into music videos, “long-form videos” (like his comedy series) and television. “The power of television was very instrumental in filling up my theater in Branson,” Stevens explains. “But I belong here in Nash-

“I’ve always wanted to build a venue here.

. . . There’s a lot going on over in

West Nashville, it’s booming.” 8

372WN.com | June–July 2017

ville. We decided to do a television show to reach enough people at home and spark enough interest in coming to a new venue. My brother came up with the idea of calling the show ‘CabaRay.’” “Ray Stevens’ CabaRay” airs on Saturday evenings on WNPT in Nashville, and other markets throughout the U.S.

CABARAY, THE VENUE So why has Stevens elected to locate CabaRay, the venue, in West Nashville? “Nashville is much different now than it was in the early 60s,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to build a venue here. Lower Broad is great, I love that atmosphere, but the parking is tough to deal with. When you go downtown, you’re going to pay $30 just to park—I’ve had to pay that, even when I’m performing. There’s a lot going on over in West Nashville, it’s booming.” Stevens underscores that CabaRay will have 275 free parking spaces and room for four or five buses. When asked what served as inspiration for CabaRay’s entertainment hall, Stevens intermittently shifts from veteran performer to architectural enthusiast in his response. “The room at The Desert Inn in Las Vegas had tiered seating and a more intimate feel,” he explains. “So I’ve incorporated tiered seating into CabaRay. Most of the tables are fourtops; there will be a few six-tops, two


-tops and six wraparound booths. In the back, we’ll have a countertop with some stools.” The booths will be named for legendary music producers like Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, Fred Foster, Shelby Singleton, Bill Sherill, and Jerry Kennedy. When it came to the actual stage, however, Stevens sought a different design. “I attended a play in the Polk Theater at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center,” he recalls. “I saw a 20 x 20 they had set up and I thought, ‘Now that configuration lends itself to live music performances. Especially since there’s room in the back for a full orchestra if you need one, or you could close the curtain for a group of about six or eight and put them on a peninsula or something. There’s room to dance in the piano bar, and we’re looking into possibly segmenting portions of the stage so that people can dance there, too.” While CabaRay isn’t Stevens’ first venue, it will be a place that

rendering provided by Ray Stevens/CabaRay Nashville

reflects what he cherishes most as a performer: his audience. “There was something charming about the days when you could go to The Carousel, get a steak and hear Boots (Randolph) play,” he says. “It was a lot of fun, and that’s kind of the feel I’m going for here. What we had in Branson was totally theater seating

615-383-1444

and there’s nothing wrong with that, but CabaRay will be more relaxed—a bit more intimate and provide a way for guests to have a meal and a drink before the show.” The balcony will have theater seating for an additional 200, he explains, but he has taken the details a few steps further: continued on page 59

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A BIGGER PICTURE: Off the Wall Charlotte Avenue

photos courtesy of Off the Wall Charlotte Avenue

by David SCHRADER

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alls can be such complex objects. In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” published in 1914, the poet considered how the same boundary marker can set neighbors apart or bring them together on various levels. Today, news headlines track the divisive reactions people have to a certain international partition being proposed for our southern border. How refreshing, then, to learn about the simple purpose of Off the Wall Charlotte Avenue, an ambitious new public art project happening in West Nashville. It serves only to further revitalize the area in creative ways that promote an even stronger sense of community. Between 28th and 31st Avenues North, a 1,000-foot wall owned by Abbott West Self Storage stretches along Charlotte Avenue. The white

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cinder-block expanse wasn’t much to look at before, but one company’s nondescript exterior is another visionary’s blank canvas. Enter artist and art curator Tinsley Dempsey, a professional whose experience painting oversized interiors and outdoor murals in her hometown of Atlanta led her to move to Nashville five years ago. Upon arrival, what she did not see gave her an idea. “I started driving around town and realizing there wasn’t a lot of street art or mural work like what I’d seen in Atlanta,” she says. “So I became instantly interested in all these huge canvases in the urban corridor that were just untapped.” Soon after, Tinsley attended a Nashville Next meeting and met real estate developer Craige Hoover. Known for founding a repertory theatre in the New Urbanist community of Seaside, Florida, he’d been com-

artist and curator Tinsley Dempsey

missioned to produce a white paper on the role of arts and culture in the growing Nashville metropolitan area. Specific projects followed. “Craige needed a project manager to bring art to this wall, to create a more pedestrian-friendly section connecting West Nashville to downtown,” Tinsley says. “It’s right across the street from ONEC1TY, which is this fun, mixed-use space. And there’s the brand-new 2700 Charlotte apartment building on the


corner. 40,000 cars are passing that wall each day, but there isn’t a lot of biking or walking going on around there. So Off the Wall Charlotte Ave plays into a bigger picture.” Indeed, the wall is more than paint on bricks. A nonprofit venture, it’s designed to be a changing surface that complements surrounding development, engages repeat visitors and attracts local sponsors who can help fairly compensate emerging and established artists for their efforts. The project also gives back; Tinsley has made ties with Room in the Inn and Oasis Center and allotted wall space for contributions from local homeless and at-risk youth artists. “I’m working with the after-school program at Oasis. They’ve got a big group of new Americans—about 40 students—and we’re teaching them how to do a mural: sketching it, laying it out, going to the wall, doing chalk lines, getting a grid, picking a paint. Just showing them A to Z and how art can be a career.” There’s clear precedent for outdoor art thoughtfully invigorating urban areas, forging bonds, adding commerce and boosting property values. In Miami, the Wynwood Walls were created in 2009 to increase pedestrian activity. They’ve attracted artists from around the world and were featured in a documentary series, “Here Comes the Neighborhood.” Where Tinsley grew up, Living Walls Atlanta has sparked an annual street art conference with gallery exhibits and a sister project in Albany, New York.

Seth Prestwood and Tinsley Dempsey begin work on his panel.

by Seth Prestwood

by Joseph“Sentrock” Perez

June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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In Nashville, artist proposals for Off the Wall Charlotte Ave are pouring in. Tinsley and her board of directors have already vetted and approved three submissions for completion as funding has become available. There are plans to unveil five more finished panels on the wall by the end of 2017. The long-term goal is to regularly fill the entire space and let each illustration show for a year before a new piece is painted over it. Artists currently featured include Alic Daniel, a 2015 graduate of Belmont University whose colorful blocks of squiggles playfully merge structure and spontaneity. Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, a Phoenix native who lives in Chicago, boldly tagged his compelling wide-winged contribution with trademark redbird imagery. Seth Prestwood, who paints sets for The Escape Game from Nashville to Minneapolis, puts his Southern gothic surrealist style to a ghostly piece drawn from a childhood photo of his sister. “I believe so strongly in (Off the Wall),” Seth says. “For me personally, it validated my work; even when some people have complained about the imagery being creepy or dark, I revel in the fact that it has someone, anyone, feeling some type of way. I like a good Johnny Cash mural as much as the next guy, but this city is yearning for something different, and we are finally getting to see it with projects like this.” The biggest challenge has been to

by Alic Daniel

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SentRock in process


detail of Seth Prestwood’s work

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Tinsley echoes Casey’s statement. “Public art engages the public in general. Passing the same white wall every day on a commute can put people in a rut. But when you have public art in a major city—especially a creative one like Nashville—it fosters innovation. Once you start changing what you normally see around you, it’s inherently inspiring.” Now, Tinsley hopes West Nashville businesses and residents will be duly inspired to support Off the Wall Charlotte Ave as the space becomes “a destination instead of something they drive right past.” Getting word out about the project is key, and just the backdrop potential for epic selfies should be enough to start people talking. For donation and sponsorship options, visit offthewallnashville.com. “Individuals are welcome to contribute,” she concludes. “And if they have connections to businesses operating in the neighborhood that support the arts, they are welcome to invite them to help get this finished. Nashville is great like that. Everyone is so friendly, and these things can happen here.” A 1,000-foot wall of art bringing people together. Are you starting to see the bigger picture? WE

secure consistent funding for Off the Wall Charlotte Ave. To Tinsley’s credit, she won’t allow “great exposure” to be each artist’s payment. All financial donations go toward purchasing supplies and artist compensation; Tinsley, who now works full-time in property development marketing, oversees the project free of charge as a true labor of love. “As an artist, all the time you hear, ‘Oh, you should do this for nothing because so many people will see it, which is gonna be great for you.’ But it never works that way,” she says. Early corporate sponsors for Off the Wall Charlotte Ave include local businesses Dog Spot West, Calypso Café, Bongo Java and M.L. Rose and—in full disclosure—372WN. The project is also supported by the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, whose Incubator fiscal sponsorship program “allows arts projects to flourish and fundraise with maximum flexibility and minimal legal formalities,” according to Executive Director Casey Summar. “We believe artists are vital contributors to our community and that Nashville will have strong, innovative solutions to social, business and civic challenges if artists are mobilized as an asset,” Casey says. “We see great potential for the Incubator program to foster innovation in the arts sector and facilitate community-based work like Off the Wall.”

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Nashville, mostly just off Charlotte Avenue. If you can’t find him, check the bargain CD section at McKay’s or the cat room at Nashville Humane Association.

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by Miriam

LEIBOWITZ, special contributor

CONTEXTUAL OVERLAY

What It Is, What It Isn’t and How to Apply

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As Nashville grows by leaps and bounds, neighbors are coming together to take steps to curb gentrification and outsized growth. Some areas are rezoning from duplex to single-family home properties to eliminate the rise of two “tall-skinnies” on one lot. Some areas are creating overlays on a block-by-block basis to restrict what can be done to existing homes by current and future residents. While there are a handful of zoning and overlay change options, some neighborhoods and blocks are considering the contextual tool as the best option for preserving the character of residential areas. The tool doesn’t prohibit any particular style of home, but it does set parameters for new housing and additions to existing homes. What It Does A contextual overlay is among the least restrictive types of overlay tools available to Nashvillians. Other types are much more detailed. An urban design overlay blankets an entire neighborhood and can place restrictions on outdoor furnishings, architectural design elements and encroachments into setback areas (awnings, porches, etc.). A historical conservation overlay restricts design elements like building materials and paint colors. According to www.nashville.gov, a contextual overlay does not alter existing zoning. It “includes appropriate design standards necessary to maintain and reinforce established form or character of residential development in a particular area.” So what does that mean in real estate terms? It helps keep the fabric of a neighborhood whole. It restricts height and lot coverage, based on the properties on either side of a home looking to expand. Instead of basing restrictions on an entire neighborhood, the restrictions are hyper-local; they are based on your immediate blockface, with specific measurements taken from immediate neighbors (if applicable, five properties total). “If applicable” includes provisions for corner lots or lots without adjacent homes.

How Do You Figure? The figuring of these can seem hairy at first. The setback, height and coverage (aka, enclosed space, not including detached garages or accessory buildings) are all based on the averages of the two homes on either side of a home interested in expansion. “Maximum height, including foundation, shall not be greater than 35 feet or 125% (of the average height) of the structures on the two lots abutting each side, whichever is less.” This height restriction essentially translates to mean that single story homes side-by-side in a neighborhood will not have multi-story homes built next door. This provides continuity (“context”) of height that lends itself to a certain degree of privacy that is often lacking when density dictates that height must make up for square footage that would be lost otherwise—which often happens when developers purchase lots along a block face. The current rate of development in established and emerging neighborhoods is making for awkward situations. In a neighborhood of single-story homes, an eight-foot fence would be all you need to keep prying eyes from your neighbors. As foundations get higher, along with the homes—not to mention the density of their placement and second-story balconies—the phrase “privacy fence” has just about lost all meaning. The contextual overlay’s height requirements does include foundations—measurements do not begin on the first floor. And heights of homes are often a needle in a haystack, so you might resort to getting

a contextual overlay . . . “includes appropriate design standards necessary to maintain and reinforce established form or character of residential development in a particular area.”

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The setback, height and coverage are all based on the averages of the two homes on either side of a home interested in expansion. permission to measure your neighbors’ homes when new construction on a lot is imminent. Coverage is another important component of contextual overlays. “Maximum coverage shall be 150% of the average of the coverage of the two abutting lots on each side . . . (and) does not include detached garages or accessory buildings.” This is a separate issue from setbacks, which are also based on an average of the lots on each side of the lot in question. A simple property search will yield the public records on the property assessor’s website, where most records will indicate a square footage of the ground floor of a property, along with the area of the lot. The percentage that the first floor—including

porches—takes in proportion to the lot is the coverage or “footprint” needed to determine the coverage requirements for new construction under the contextual overlay. There are additional limitations to contextual overlays regarding access, garages and parking. Detached and attached garage doors must not face the street. Existing garages, detached and attached, are exempt from this restriction. Multiple driveways, or those exceeding 12 feet in width, are also prohibited. The owner of a small home, whose neighbors have expanded their homes in the past, will be able to increase the size of their home by a larger average than their neighbors, ultimately creating a more equitably sized neighborhood. But they will not be able to literally overshadow them or their homes and yards.

How to Apply Metro Council approved the tool back in 2014, but neighborhood blocks still have to apply for the

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overlay. Contiguous blocks can join forces to cover larger areas. There are two ways a contextual overlay can be requested: through a neighborhood (if all property owners sign the zone change application, or through a council member (who does not need to get all property owners to sign on). Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by the Metro Planning Commission staff for review and recommendation. After the staff recommendation, the planning commission holds a public hearing and makes a recommendation to the Metro Council. If it passes three readings at the Metro Council, the second of which is a public hearing, the contextual overlay can be implemented. Once a contextual overlay is approved, neighbors need to remain proactive and report those who attempt to build beyond what is allowed under the new guidelines for that property to Metro Codes by calling the Codes Hotline at 615.862.6590 and by calling their


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TOP PRODUCING REALTOR

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councilmember. If codes is not responsive, call the non-emergency Metro Police at 615.862.8600. Developers buying up city blocks, tearing down affordable homes and building multiple, $400K+ homes in their place has effects that are not immediately apparent. If homes are built one at a time, the developer has no incentive to make infrastructure improvements, such as new sidewalks. With increased coverage from large builds, run-off has become more of an issue due to less open space, fewer trees and plants. It raises the inevitable question of where all the water Nashville has coming from streams, creeks, springs and rain will go. Contextual overlays will address the amount of land used for development in a given area, limit outsized homes in an existing neighborhood, and improve personal privacy. Opponents say building restrictions could limit the increase in property values. Proponents counter that unregulated building results in higher taxes but no long-term gain. Regardless of the opinions, contextual overlay is a simple, straightforward option for blocks and neighborhoods to preserve neighborhood integrity, open space and privacy. Eight contextual overlays have been approved so far. For West Nashville, it is an option that will help areas concerned about increasing runoff, flooding and the trees that are disappearing with each newly built home. For more information about contextual overlays, please visit: www.nashville.gov/Planning-Department/Rezoning-Subdivision/Contextual-Overlays. aspx . VI

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Miriam Leibowitz is president of the White Bridge

Neighborhood Association. Miriam was born in Knoxville and has spent a dozen years each in Boston and Nashville​. Miriam is a longtime community organizer, avid gardener, cookbook collector and user, Hebrew and cooking teacher and former sign-maker at your favorite grocery store with a terrible parking lot.

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June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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by

Naomi GOLDSTONE photos by Yvonne Eaves

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BOWS, STRINGS & THINGS Nashville Violins Keeps Musicians in Tune “Violins are so expressive. With a lot of instruments, like the piano, you can just go up to it and hit it and it makes a sound,” says Dave Wascher, owner of Nashville Violins. “A violin, though, uses a bow, so all the sound comes from that. You can express yourself through the violin in so many unique ways just by how that bow hits the strings.”

June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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ashville Violins first opened in 1999 in Sylvan Park and then moved to Berry Hill. Wascher then brought Nashville Violins back to West Nashville, this time on Georgia Avenue in The Nations neighborhood in 2006. Arriving in Nashville with intentions of becoming a fiddle player, Wascher learned quickly that making money at it was a different story. He decided to fall back on something he had done when he was younger to make some extra money: repairing instruments. “I started doing that when I was a teenager. We had instruments that no one could play on, so I would fix them. That’s how I bought my first car, and everyplace I went, I fell back on that to make extra money,” Wascher says. He later began apprenticing in Nashville with

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a few luthiers (someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments), and then Wascher decided to open Nashville Violins. Nashville Violins sells and repairs “the entire violin family. Anything that has to do with a bowed-string instrument, we do here. It is essentially a full-service shop with everything you would need to play,” Wascher says. According to Wascher, they “pretty much make violins” the same way they did 350 years ago. “There have been a few improvements over the years—such as using carbon fiber instead of wood for bows—but the violin world is slow to accept changes,” he says. One such change Wascher is glad that has been made is the move away from using sheep guts to make the strings on the violin and other stringed instruments. “Now we have metal, and those last longer and are much more consistent,” he explains. Nashville Violins has three luthiers on staff who repair and restore instruments; they sell sheet mu-

sic and other accessories like cases and music stands; and they offer music lessons. Currently, there are nine music teachers who give lessons on the violin, viola, fiddle, cello, bass, mandolin, guitar and piano. Most of the instructors at Nashville Violins teach more than one instrument. Nashville Violins offers music lessons to both adults and children, and about half of their students are adults. “The adults are often surprised that there are so many other adults who are learning how to play an instrument for the first time,” Wascher says. Jessica Wood—a music teacher and a luthier who studied for a year at the Chicago School of Violins and then apprenticed under Wascher at Nashville Violins—says she enjoys teaching both children and adults. A teacher of the violin, viola and the fiddle, Wood says that she has had students as young as three and some who are retired and in their 60s. “For a three-year old, basic verbal communication isn’t there, and most children that young cannot read, so I have to use more physical movements and games, and I have to change the routine every two minutes or so,” Wood says. “The adult student, on the other hand, tends to drive the lesson, and they tell me what they want to get out of it, so I plan accordingly.” She then adds: “I


Currently, there are nine music teachers who give lessons on the violin, viola, fiddle, cello, bass, mandolin, guitar and piano. Nashville Violins offers music lessons to both adults and children. love my adult beginners because they really want to be here and are so enthusiastic about each new thing they learn.” Nashville Violins also repairs some of the school instruments for Metro Public Schools, in part because Wascher believes that music should be a top priority in every school. “Children learn a lot of things through music,” he says. “For example, it improves their math skills, and it can teach them social skills. Although the music kids might not be the most popular kids in the school, they often learn how to interact with each other through music.” Originally from Washington State, Wascher comes from a family of musicians. “Each person in my whole family played some type of instrument,” he says. “We grew up playing music together.” It was when he was in the fourth grade that Wascher was introduced to classical violin and later, the fiddle. “Mr. Victor Sands, a music teacher in the Kennewick Public Schools, came to the school and played a bunch of things on the violin and made a bunch of sounds,” Wascher recalls, “and we thought it was so cool.” He was hooked. He started taking private lessons from Sands, who eventually “pointed me in the direction continued on page 58

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by Scott MERRICK

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In March, we learned about the giant mural that will adorn the grain silo in the new Silo Bend project; at press time, we’re awaiting the outcome. In fact, many of the large industrial and commercial buildings that still line the northeastern perimeter of The Nations neighborhood are connecting with its changing landscape by transforming their blank “canvases” into objets d’art. New projects of public art are in process, and on a large scale. Music City Tents & Events/Turtle Anarchy Warehouse Keep an eye on the huge warehouse at the corner of California Avenue and 60th Avenue North. Will White, the owner of the building that houses Music City Tents & Events and Turtle Anarchy Brewing Company, has been actively investigating artistic options for the building, so we can expect some dramatic art to adorn that 118,000-squarefoot building soon.

Blank “canvas” Music City Tents & Events/Turtle Anarchy building. photo credit: Scott Merrick

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NATIONS Bold, artistic expressions connect industrial roots to a bright future

Nashville Cash & Carry’s eastern wall. photo credit: Yvonne Eaves

“My family has always been big into farmland,” White explains, who has forged a career in real estate since moving to Nashville 10 years ago with the intention of acquiring and trading land. When he heard that the owners of the Music City Tents & Events property wanted to sell the property and rent it back, he jumped on the opportunity and gave them a seat at the table. “Music City Tents & Events has been great to work with,” he says. “We’re starting to look at artists, and we’d love to incorporate local artists into the project.” Taking advantage of the exterior surface on the three-block side of the building that faces 60th Avenue North between California Avenue and Morrow, “we will possibly have

several different artists each with a panel of the wall, creating something both visually appealing and celebrating a sense of pride in the neighborhood for the residents,” White explains. He also shared that the rest of the building will be painted a new, attractive solid color and that, “We are considering building on that big grassy space between the warehouse and California Avenue, likely commercial and office space that would help us move toward being something more than the ‘sore thumb’ of the neighborhood.”

West Park Mural What does your neighborhood get in return for the City of Nashville building a multi-million-gallon

sewage overflow tank in the middle of its historic, green, cherished, community park? According to Metro Nashville District 20 Council Representative Mary Carolyn Roberts, it was one of the first questions she asked Metro Parks and Recreation when she assumed her office in fall of 2015. She says the answer she received was that her predecessor “didn’t ask for much. It’s a done deal now.” She explains that her immediate response was that the construction had just begun, and that her community deserved some negotiation. The April issue of 372WN highlighted some of the park improvements that would work in tandem with the overflow tank, some of which include athletic fields and

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courts, a picnic pavilion, greenway expansion and playground. Many of these improvements owe their existence to that negotiation process, as does what will be the most visible newly added piece: A mural that will make the look of the huge tank more iconic than utilitarian, as well as maintain a little bit of summery cheer year-round. Nations resident Scott Gillihan has followed this project’s twists and turns from the beginning. “The tank, like the one already there, is intended to hold stormwater to keep it from mixing into the sewer system at peak rain events,” he explains, citing the May 2010 flood as an example. “There’s also a pumping station at West Park that sends wastewater to the treatment plant near Whites Creek in Bordeaux. Metro originally intended to place the tank closer to Richland Creek, but the 2010 flood forced a change of plans.” For this reason, Scott says, the building site was moved to higher ground behind

Artist’s concept for the West Nashville Water Equalization project photo courtesy of Eric Henn Murals

the West Park Community Center. According to Cleary Construction’s Dan Bryant, an administrator in the company’s regional office in Louisville, Kentucky, at one time in the planning process this was to be the largest closed-top tank in the country, and as it reaches completion it will still be in the top three.

Detail of New Life Record Shop’s mural on their eastern wall.

The Nations Bar and Grill: Local artist Troy Duff painted the name on the building’s exterior last winter.

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Internationally acclaimed muralist Eric Henn has created large-scale murals for more than 28 years, and his company, Eric Henn Murals, specializes in industrial and architectural applications ranging from historic downtown building walls to petroleum storage tanks encompassing over 50,000 square feet of

The Centennial’s mural includes their logo boldly painted on their front entrance, along with panels from the film Point Break.

Freshly painted mural at EiO + The Hive


Mural on Tailgate Beer’s west-facing wall. Photo credit: Sonia Fernandez LeBlanc

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who resides in The Nations and teaches public elementary school students about technology. Connect at http://about.me/ scottmerrick.

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These and other efforts will be interesting additions to our growing community, and they will bring artistic flair to everyday life in The Nations.

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painted mural area. The West Park mural will offer the artist about 90,000 square feet of surface. Cleary Construction selected his design out of several bids received. “Every project is a challenge,” he explains. “I’ll begin on the raw, concrete exterior with a thick concrete base paint—it’s like spreading pudding. Everything will be rolled on from the beginning, using the actual area colors in the approximately 15,000 gallons of base paint. Once all that has been applied, bottom to top, and has set, I’ll begin adding details by hand.” Eric will be spending a lot of time in the air, on a JLG sky-boom, as paint is applied. The project will more than likely begin in late summer or early fall, and it should be completed in about two months of workdays.

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Which West Nashville murals are your favorites? Send your photos to 372WestNashville@gmail.com

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West Nashville Houses of Worship photos and text by Yvonne EAVES (unless otherwise noted)

Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ, courtesy of Metro Nashville Archives.

Past, Present . . . and Future? If The South is considered “the Bible belt,” then certainly Nashville is its buckle. West Nashville is quite diversified with places of worship— churches, temples, synagogues and more dot the landscape . . . or, rather, they saturate it. And it’s by design. In 1887, a group of businessmen created Nashville Land Co. with the intention of designating West Nashville as a manufacturing metropolis. They also wanted to design premium suburbs. One of West Nashville’s decision-makers was Capt. Mark Sterling Cockrill, who was great-nephew of James and Charlotte Robertson. Cockrill was quoted saying he wanted, “A church on every corner, and not a saloon in sight.”

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The Exchange Building When the Exchange Building opened in 1887, it was the first commercial structure built in West Nashville and was at 45th and Charlotte avenues (the current site of the post office). Three churches were planned and built within a couple years of the development of West Nashville, and all three congregations initially used the Exchange Building as a place of worship. First Methodist–Episcopal Church First Methodist–Episcopal Church was the first church organized in West Nashville. The first chapel was the Clifton Methodist Episcopal Church at Delaware and 40th (Clifton). West Nashville United Methodist Church By August 1888, there was another groundbreaking for the church located on the north east corner at 48th Avenue and Charlotte Pike. The church was later known as the West Nashville United Methodist Church, where it remained until 2016, when the church sold the building. The building has a bright future, however. The structure recently sold

TOP: Howell Memorial (courtesy of Park Avenue Baptist Church) MIDDLE: Park Avenue Baptist Church (courtesy of Park Avenue Baptist Church) LEFT: West Nashville United Methodist Church

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to Brenda and Dan Cook, owners of the event venue Ruby on Blakemore Avenue in Hillsboro Village. The current plans are to create Clementine Hall, a new event hall, with the church’s former fellowship hall as a restaurant. Southern Methodist Church Southern Methodist Church is at Colorado and 45th avenues. In the early 1940s, building materials were scarce due to World War II. The old West Nashville High School was being demolished as the church was beginning construction, and community members saved some of the bricks, windows and a bell tower for building the church. The first service was held in August 1944.

Howell Memorial Baptist Church

Calvary Baptist Church

Howell Memorial Baptist Church was the second church in West Nashville. Howell Memorial was named in memory of Dr. Robert Boyte C. Howell who was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Nashville. In 1888, the first location was 4604 Georgia Ave. (see photo on page 27). In 1909, the congregation opened a new building at 328 44th Avenue. The name of church changed to Park Avenue Baptist Church. The oldest building is a hexagon-shaped building. In 1926, the Sadler Auditorium was opened (see photo on page 27). A group of ladies in 1891 from Park Avenue Baptist Church founded the Tennessee Baptist Orphans’ Home. The church supported the institution for 20 years, and in 1911, the orphanage moved to its present site in Brentwood; it now is known as The Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. The Demoss home, located near 42nd and Delaware avenues, was spacious enough to use one side as the West Nashville Hotel and the other as home to the children.

In 1948, Calvary Baptist Church bought property at 101 Bowling Ave. Elkins Avenue Baptist Church merged with Calvary Baptist Church, and the property at 101 Bowling Ave. is now known as Green Hills Church.

Richland Baptist Church Richland Baptist Church started in 1928 as a mission from Park Avenue Baptist; during the 1950s the church was at 5701 Robertson. Sixty-first Avenue United Methodist Sixty-first Avenue United Methodist is at 6018 New York Ave. First known as Cherokee Park Methodist Episcopal Church, by 1913 the church established a kindergarten for children in the West Nashville community. For many years at Christmas, the church has been a responsible for the Last Minute Toy Store. Recently, the property owners have placed the building up for sale. The Hispanic congregation, Ministerio Metodista Ebenezer will remain in West Nashville. (Interesting note: Seven nations are represented in Ministerio Metodista Ebenezer!)

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Westwood Baptist Church Westwood Baptist Church began as a mission of Mill Creek Baptist Church, initially meeting for a few months in a tent. In 1950, Westwood Baptist met in a small house on O’Brien Avenue, built by a group of men in the congregation. By 1960, the church raised enough to build a new auditorium.

West Nashville Christian Church, Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ, West Nashville Heights Church of Christ: Charlotte Heights Church of Christ West Nashville Christian Church was the third church in West Nashville, eventually changing its name to Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ. By 1891, the congregation was given land in consideration for $1.00 to build a new facility at 4508 Charlotte Pike (see photo on page 26). On August 20, 1944, West Nashville Heights Church of Christ started in a little house at the corner of Lellyett and O’Brien avenues. The following year, services were in a basement building at 5807 Charlotte Pike. By 1950, the congregation was meeting in an auditorium seating more than 500 worshipers. The church continued to grow, in 1970 the church was having two services with more than 600 members. A year later, Nashville Christian School was established. A few years later, Nashville Christian School had grown and moved to its campus on Sawyer Brown Road. The last service at the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ was in November 2007. Services were held at the West Nashville Heights location at 5807 Charlotte Pike. The combination of the Charlotte Ave Church of Christ and West Nashville Heights Church of Christ created Charlotte Heights Church of Christ. The new location for Charlotte Heights Church of Christ is on Old Charlotte and Templeton roads.


Hinton Chapel, Park Avenue Baptist Church

West Nashville Cumberland Presbyterian

On a hill behind the CVS store off Orlando Avenue was the site of Hinton Chapel. In about 1913, a small building was on the property belonging to James Watts—owner of Westview Dairy. Hinton Chapel was the forerunner of Richland Creek Church of Christ. Richland Creek Church of Christ served the community for almost 30 years. The group had some issues with their church doctrine, which created West Nashville Heights Church of Christ.

Organized in 1893 after a tent revival, West Nashville Cumberland Presbyterian’s first services were on June 18, 1895, with 25 members. In April 1900, they held a dedication of a new building at 51st and Kentucky avenues. In 1927, a new building was built facing 51st, and in 1976, construction began at the current site, 6849 Charlotte Pike.

Park Avenue Church of Christ Park Avenue Church of Christ merged with Brookmeade Church of Christ to create Western Hills Church of Christ. All Saints Episcopal Church All Saints Episcopal Church is now at 4513 Park Ave. The building was moved to this site in 1927 from Michigan Avenue. Formerly a frame building known as St. Andrews Chapel, the stone front of the building was added years later.

Concordia Lutheran Church Concordia Lutheran Church at 3501 Central Ave. was founded in 1930. Within seven years, the church met in three locations before the current property was dedicated in January 1938. In 1954, the bell tower and new education center were opened. The building’s exterior was built using bricks from the old L&N Railroad roundhouse.

A new church was built in 1939, and the current church building was added in 1960. The St. Ann’s campus has a total of five buildings.

West End Synagogue The Jewish community has been active in West Nashville for well over a century, many drawn to the area as retail merchants who set up their shops along Charlotte Pike; during the early 1900s, most lived in quarters attached to the businesses. Khal Kodesh Adath Israel was established in 1874 in downtown Nashville. By 1886, the congregation moved to a house on North Market; the property was acquired and remodeled as a place of worship. A year later, a full-time rabbi was appointed. In September 1902, a new synagogue opened on Gay Street between Vine and High streets, and by 1951, the congregation became West End Synagogue and was located at 3810 West End Ave. The property on Vine Street was demolished to make way for improvements around the state capitol building.

West Nashville Presbyterian Chapel Located along 47th Avenue on the backside of Darkhorse Theater, the chapel was built in about 1900. About 1917, the West Nashville Presbyterian Church grew into the site at 4610 Charlotte. The chapel was founded by Capt. Mark S. Cockrill, who began a class of the Presbyterian Sabbath School as early as 1898 in Richland Hall.

St. Ann’s Catholic Church Originally known as St. Peter’s Mission, St. Ann’s Catholic Church first met on the second floor of a hardware store on Charlotte. In October 1917, 115 worshippers were present for the congregation’s first mass. The church became St. Ann’s in 1921, when they moved into the current location at 51st and Charlotte.

Congregation Sherith Israel In the mid-1940s, Congregation Sherith Israel acquired property at West End and Bowling. The congregation built a school and a synagogue. (Before relocating to the West End location, the congregation had been downtown next to Ryman Auditorium.). June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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Mt. Olive Baptist Church West Nashville has been home to many historically black churches, one predates the Civil War. Mt. Olive Baptist Church at 3411 Albion St. is considered one of the three oldest that originated out of Nashville’s First Colored Baptist Church in 1835. Belle Meade United Primitive Baptist Church Belle Meade United Primitive Baptist Church began in 1891 at 1018 42nd Ave. N.

Located at 949 T. S. Jackson Ave., St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was founded in 1898 by Rev. Terry Spencer Jackson. Rev. Jackson was the first pastor and preached at St. Andrew’s until his death in 1941. In 1952, construction began and was completed in 1955 on the current building. In 2001, St. Andrew’s merged with John Calvin Presbyterian. St. James Missionary Baptist Church On Sept. 25, 1925, in a storefront near downtown Nashville, St. James Missionary Baptist Church held its first gathering. By 1929, the church needed a larger place of worship, so the congregation moved to Pearl Street. In November 1949, the church moved to the current location, 600 28th Ave.

More houses of worship continue to bring diversity and options to our community, including: • West End Community Church (White Bridge Road) • Hope Community Church (Tennessee Avenue) • Sylvan Park Church (part of Church of the City, meets at Cohn) • Chùa Tịnh Tâm (Summerly Drive) • Nashville Center for Spiritual Living (Charlotte Pike) • Sri Ganesha Temple (Old Hickory Boulevard) The 1901 Nashville City Directory mentions seven churches in West Nashville: The West Nashville Methodist Church, the West Nashville Presbyterian Church, the Christian Church, the Howell Memorial Baptist Church, the West Nashville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Mount Nebo Baptist and the Primitive Baptist Church. Today, there may not be a church on every corner, but it makes one wonder if Capt. Cockrill would be proud of the diversity of places of worship in West Nashville. IN

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Long considered West Nashville’s historian, Yvonne Eaves spends a lot of time documenting its changes through the lens of her camera. She is the former president of the Cohn High School Alumni Association and author of Nashville’s Sylvan Park (along with co-author Doug Eckert), Arcadia Publishing.

SOURCES: West Nashville, its people and environs by Sarah Foster Kelley (S.F. Kelley, 1987) Acorns to Oaks: The Story of Nashville Baptist Association and Its Affiliated Churches by Alfred L. Crabb (Nashville Baptist Association, 1972) CharlotteHeights.org Westendsyn.org sherithisrael.com Saintannparish.com standrewspres.net stjmbc.com wncp.org concordianashville.org BlackPast.org

We know there are plenty more in our community, so let us know about your favorite houses of worship: 372WestNashville@gmail.com

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by Clare FERNANDEZ photos by Eric Ventress, unless otherwise noted

Long Live West Nashville’s Theatre . . . and Theaters! Nashville boasts a thriving arts and culture scene that extends beyond the familiar moniker of “Music City.” The theatre is a living, breathing art form that is constantly evolving to encompass new forms of expression. . . . and it is alive and well in West Nashville, thanks to the theatre artists who strive to keep it relevant.

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The Darkhorse Theater:

A Bright Spot in Nashville’s Creative Community

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he Darkhorse Theater sits inconspicuously on the Charlotte corridor of West Nashville, a beautiful, old building amid modern growth. When husband-and-wife team Shannon Wood and Peter Kurland purchased the building in 1989, it was a church that was downsizing. At the time, Shannon was a stage manager at what was then Tennessee Repertory Theatre, and many in the company yearned for a space where they could perform “challenging and unusual work in their downtime,” Peter says. The duo saw an opportunity in purchasing the former church, so they seized it. They partnered with a film production company to buy and renovate the space. The Darkhorse began as a theatrical company that produced its members’ plays. When the founders got together to brainstorm names, Myke Mueller thought “Darkhorse,” and it immediately felt right. The Darkhorse soon transitioned to a performance venue because of the high demand for performance space from other groups. The Darkhorse has housed many companies over the years, such as ACT 1, SistaStyle Productions and Destiny Theatre Experience, which have been with the theatre for many years. (ACT 1 performs its entire season exclusively at the Darkhorse.)

The Darkhorse lives up to its name. Shannon describes its evolution as “starting out as a little-known theater that has grown to successfully nurture alternative, original and indigenous theater.” Now a staple in the progression of the theatre community in Nashville, the theater has seen many companies come and go, or evolve into other initiatives. “When we started, there was almost nowhere to stage smaller shows in a theatrical venue at an affordable price, especially for new or controversial work.” Peter says. “Although there are more spaces now in town,

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affordability remains a big issue, as does a lack of available space. We’ve been solidly booked for years and haven’t raised rent since we started in 1989.” Peter and Shannon agree that one of the best things about West Nashville is the socioeconomic diversity, and they remain hopeful that even as the community changes, it will continue to embrace The Darkhorse’s emphasis on featuring a wide variety of exciting and unusual theatrical performances, particularly for those who lack outlets for such expression. “The explosive growth in West Nashville, particularly along the Charlotte corridor, means a new demographic,” Peter says. “[It] will need an artistic outlet and a place to experience a variety of entertainment.” The West Side is home to many in Nashville’s creative community, so Peter hopes “all the new residents will want to participate in the community aspect of Darkhorse, as both audience members and potential cast and crew.”

C H EC K O U T T H E R E S T O F T H E DA R K H O R S E S E A S O N : “Reefer Madness - The Musical” | June 9–24 Presented by ACT 1 ​7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday Tickets: $15, students (high school & younger) free on Thurs. and Sun. For reservations: tickets.act1online.com or call 615.973.1449 “Water’s Edge” | June 30–July 8 Presented by KB Productions Performances 7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday

“A Dance Concert” | July 14–15 Presented by Husted Dance

7th Annual Sideshow Fringe Festival | August 3–6 Presented by Actor’s Bridge

“The Drowning Girl” | Aug. 18–26 Presented by Distraction Performances 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Sunday For information and reservations, call 615.440.1270

“Shades of Black Festival” | Sept. 1–30 Presented by Destiny Theatre Experience, SistaStyle & Dream 7

For more information on member and other companies, visit darkhorsetheater.weebly.com.

photo credit: Yvonne Eaves

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Actors Bridge Ensemble: Theatre for a New Nashville

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ne such member company focusing on exciting and unusual theatrical performances is Actors Bridge Ensemble (ABE). Vali Forrister co-founded ABE with Bill Feehely in 1995 and serves as the artistic director. A native Nashvillian, Vali says: “I wanted to bring to my hometown the kinds of plays that never came here—new work I was lucky enough to be seeing in New York, Chicago and London. I wanted to do plays addressing social issues and bring into the light the kinds of conversations Nashville often keeps hidden.” Bill, on the other hand, wanted to bring professional actor training in Meisner technique to Nashville. Twenty-two years later, ABE continues to thrive at its original mission. That mission has also evolved over the years to encompass nontraditional and experimental forms of theatre and to provide an outlet for marginalized voices. Their tagline, “Theatre for a New Nashville,” born a decade ago, also has evolved. Ten years ago, its focus was a distinction between cultural institutions producing a more old-school, classical repertoire and the modern and unexplored works that ABE was producing. Today, “New Nashville” means something completely different. Vali adds, “As scores of creatives move here, we aspire to be a home for emerging theater makers and a place of inspiration for other artists as we continue to take healthy creative risks and tell the stories Nashville most needs to hear.” The goal since the beginning has been a focus on socially conscious plays. The leadership team at ABE reads hundreds of plays throughout the year and takes recommenda-

tions from local artists, audience members and theatre critics. Then is up to Vali and her leadership team, Jessika Malone, associate artistic director, and Mitch Massaro, design and technical director, to decide, in Vali’s words, “which stories seem the most prescient, are best served within the parameters of our space, and which we have the talent to produce with integrity.” The mission extends into their other programming, as well. Act Like a GRRRL (ALAG), which was founded by Vali in 2005, is an annual autobiographical writing and performance program that takes place during the summer and is geared toward girls aged 12–18. In

this program, girls write and create to find their unique voices, learn from professional female mentors in creative fields, and develop friendships with girls from diverse backgrounds. “ALAG creates a place for girls to express themselves,” Vali says. “To practice speaking out and learning what they have to say, to practice being strong and loud, to practice taking up space and pushing back so that they become active change agents rather than passive recipients of cultural messages.” The Sideshow Fringe Festival was co-founded in 2011 by Jessika and Mitch “in response to the need for emerging artists to have the space and support to express themselves

Act like a GRRRL

Jessika Malone

Vali Forrister

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in ways that the traditional theatre model was not providing,” Jessika says. Over the past seven years, this festival has attracted aerial artists, jugglers, acrobats, puppeteers, new playwrights and performance artists of all kinds, allowing them to bring their fantastical stories to life. Jessika highlights the importance of the fringe as “a celebration of outside the box art that invites all persons to consider themselves capable of creation, but also because it provides the essential support for producers to make something of their own that would likely otherwise be impossible for them to achieve.” This is an exciting opportunity for any artist feeling the barriers that come with the overhead of self-producing, because they are 50-50

partners with the festival, receiving rehearsal and performance space, as well as technical support, marketing assistance and more, with the only cost being a share of their box office proceeds. ABE has more than thrived in its 22 years and it continues to do so with West Nashville as its home base. From 2013 to 2015, ABE occupied a small studio space in the LeQuire Gallery on Charlotte Avenue. Once they outgrew the space, they moved into the Darkhorse Chapel, which became available for the first time in more than 20 years. The opportunity to call the Darkhorse home, after many years performing in the upstairs space, came at the perfect time, but ABE’s West Nashville roots date back even

we feel truly fortunate to be so rooted in an area of the city we love so well.” As a professional theatre company, ABE has produced more than 90 plays, 60 of which were Nashville premieres and 14 of which were world premieres. They have trained more than 4,000 students in the Meisner technique, and those actors are local, regional, and national performers. And they’re not slowing down. ABE is in the process of formalizing mentorship and apprentice opportunities for diverse emerging theater artists as well as a “second stage” series that will give these performers further performing and producing opportunities. And they are excited to make it all happen in the heart of West Nashville. Vali sees their role in the West Side’s growth

CO M I N G U P AT AC TO R ’ S B R I D G E : Act Like a GRRRL 2017 | June 22–24 Directed by Vali Forrister Belmont University’s Black Box Theater For more information, visit actlikeagrrrl.org. 7th Annual Sideshow Fringe Festival | July 27–30 and Aug. 3–6 For more information, visit www.sideshowfringe.com. First Time Stories | First Friday of every month 7–10 p.m. at the Darkhorse Chapel $5 cover plus cash donation for the bar. For more information, visit actorsbridge.org/first-time-stories. The Darkhorse Chapel

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as “a gathering space for neighbors to share their stories and see their truth reflected back to themselves.” “We are here for our neighbors,” says Vali. “And we want our neighborhood to be as diverse and beautiful as we have always known West Nashville.” WE

Side Show Fringe Festival

further. Both native Nashvillians, Vali and Jessika have several generations of connections to West Nashville. “We carry West Nashville in our DNA,” Vali says. “So, to make our theater home here feels deeply resonant with our mission.” “Calling the Darkhorse home base of our operations as an adult feels like a homecoming,” Jessika adds. “West Nashville is thriving, so

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A native Nashvillian, Clare Fernandez is an arts integration advocate, professional laugher, lifelong actress, obsessive proofreader and lover of coffee and wine. She works as a data analyst by day and enjoys spending her free time serving as board president of Poverty & the Arts, reading, hiking at Radnor Lake, belting out show tunes off-key, traveling, and exploring the growing arts and culture scene in Nashville.


answer.

OPENS WITH A CAUSE

Prior to their grand opening on Tuesday, April 4, answer. restaurant hosted a VIP preview event for Nashville influencers and friends/family. $2,000 from the evening’s sales went to SEAC—the Special Education Advocacy Center—which works to improve education opportunities for students with disabilities. Located at 132 46th Avenue North in Sylvan Park, answer. is a welcome addition to West Nashville!

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ELLEN PARKER BIBB design | painting | letterpress

ellenparkerbibb.com

Danielle Elks Danielle Elks Danielle Elks

P.O. Box 162 • Burns, TN 37029 Box 162 • Burns, TN 37029 Contact:P.O. 615-243-1844 or www.ELKSLAW.com Box 162 • Burns, TN 37029 Contact:P.O. 615-243-1844 or www.ELKSLAW.com Contact: 615-243-1844 or www.ELKSLAW.com June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Scott MERRICK photos by Kayla Anderson

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The Creative Detours of

ELLEN PARKER BIBB

If you have flipped through 372WN, you are familiar with the work of Ellen Parker Bibb—she designs every issue. Her techniques as a fine artist ensure that each 372WN is as beautiful as the last.

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lifes.” Her current tool for photogralanded her first design job with llen grew up in West Nashville, phy is her phone, though “of course hyper-realist artist Camille Engel at where her grandmother lived on in the beginning, it was all about Camille Engel Advertising. “I was Lynnbrook Road. Her grand35mm film.” the low person on the totem pole,” mother ran the Duncanwood Daycare She also admits there are no patshe recalls. “That was back in the Center, not far from where Dose terns or limits to her style and subdays of paste-up, so I’d leave there Coffee & Tea is now. “I think when ject selections. “I go through phases with little pieces of type stuck in my they built 440, they moved the dayof what I think is interesting,” she hair.” Years later, Ellen reignited her care to Granny White,” she recalls, explains. “Some of it has to do with interest in painting when she took “but when I was a little girl, I used to where I may have been traveling an Open Studio class at Cheekwood; go there all the time. They had the and works from other painters that coincidentally, she reconnected with doorknobs that were higher up so inspire me.” Though she still enjoys Camille Engel in this same class. the little kids couldn’t get them, and traveling, Ellen’s latest interI remember getting stuck ests have turned indoors, in a room sometimes.” with her latest series of paintA house on Clearview ings of various interiors. Drive was the first one Ellen loves Italy especially, she remembers living in, mentioning that she was ecthen her family moved to static to discover the Italian Belle Meade when she was installation in Disney’s Epcot seven. After her parents’ Center because it was all so divorce, she spent her familiar after having travelled high school years on South there. In late April, she travWilson Boulevard and later eled to Dubrovnik, Croatia, Stokes Lane. Graduating where her software engineer from Hillsboro High School, husband has a work assignEllen set her sights on ment; while in Europe, she Auburn University. also traveled to Budapest and “I went to Auburn to bethen detoured to Barcelona, come a commercial artist, where her brother lives. because that’s what they When asked about her called it back then,” she artistic influences, Ellen exexplains. “And I’ve always plains that early on she was been into art, making “a fan of super-detail, like in things; like I’d wake up the work of Norman Rockand say, ‘What can I make well,” but that now she has today?’ And I would drive developed a fascination my mom crazy because with less-detailed imagery, I was always asking her as in the work of modern imwhat I could make. I wantThis is a painting from Ellen’s trip to Barcelona . . . yet to be finished and named. pressionists. In particular, ed to have a career and she finds the work of make money doing it, so Spanish impressionist Carlos San Ellen’s passion is oils. Initially, she I decided that my career would be Millán inspirational. started with watercolors and acryl‘commercial art.’ Since She takes the overlooked and ics, but discovered that she’s fond I was also kind of traditional, I ordinary and—using color and of mixing colors on the canvas while wanted to go to a university. Aulight—shows their magnificence: A painting, and that oils—which take burn had a great art program—they desk piled with to-do lists, children longer to set—are “more forgiving.” did back then, and I’m sure they walking down a busy street, a small When talking about her subject still do. So that’s where I went, to batch of coneflowers in various stagmatter, she candidly admits that it’s get that full university experience es of bloom, all thrust center-stage ever-changing. “I’m kind of all over and go to a school to study what I onto her canvases, captured from the place,” she says. “I see other was interested in.” unusual perspectives and angles. artists, and it feels like they have a After graduating from Auburn, When given the opportunity to see sort of a defining style. I’m not sure I she moved back to Nashville and Ellen’s subjects as she does, three have that. Usually I paint things that eventually settled into Sylvan Park, questions ultimately arise: Why have I’ve taken photographs of, or stillwhere she still lives today. Ellen

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everybody was just like me. Nobody had it all figured out, they were just wanting to, you know, do the best they can in the world and that’s kind of the way I look at it. … Everybody has their own path, and their own way, and I’m comfortable understanding that—we all must figure out what that is for ourselves.” To round out—or rather, fill up—her life, Ellen’s family includes two of her own children and three stepsons. The oldest is her daughter, “Parker (my middle name) and she is 16; and the next are my twin stepsons, who turned 16 in March. Their names are Jackson and Parker, so we have two Parkers. And then, along comes Carson, 13, and then a few months after him is Lewis, who’s also 13. So there are five teenagers in the house, and they go to four different schools.” As if that house weren’t full enough, she has three dogs, three cats and a chinchilla (which was featured in 372WN’s inaugural issue). Many of Ellen’s paintings are available for sale, and she works as a freelance graphic designer. 2W

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away so you try to think of something you can do with it, then you don’t really want to store it so you end up recycling it. Still, it’s a fascinating piece of equipment.” Her website (ellenparkerbibb. com) features beautiful examples of her design work, her painting, her letterpress experimentation and a new project she calls “I Stand with Love”—a series of pins, stickers and T-shirts. “I came up with the ‘I Stand with Love’ campaign in my therapist’s office the day after this last election,” she says. “I just thought, you don’t want to walk around and have people go ‘are you a hater, or where do you stand? Can I trust you?’ … I created ‘I Stand with Love’ because I wanted to have a way for people to show that, no matter who they voted for, maybe they did it for reasons that don’t involve hating.” Ellen is dedicated to her faith community at West End United Methodist Church. “When I came back to Nashville, I started going to the same church that I grew up in, and I realized how much

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we never noticed? Why have we never looked at it that way? And finally: What else we’ve missed because we didn’t take a moment to notice? Another artistic detour Ellen has embarked upon is letterpress (relief printing)—which explains the antique (and still-functioning) printing press in her home studio. “It’s a Chandler and Price, a clamshell press, weighs a couple thousand pounds,” she smiles. “I’ve had it for a while and I paid more for upgrading the rollers and moving it in than I did for the press itself. I love stationery, I love the feel of it, I love the texture of paper. I’ve done printed pieces for a few wedding invitations, and I simply love it.” She reached out to famed Nashville printer Jim Sherraden before she made the purchase. “He sort of put me to the test,” she recalls. “Before I got it, he wanted to make sure I really knew what I was getting into. He told me about Dave McQuiddy at McQuiddy Printing, who is missing some appendages because of letterpress. Finally, he told me that I passed the test: He approved me. He actually set me up with someone who came over and taught me how to use my letterpress.” Ellen says that the only thing she doesn’t like about it is the waste. “Because you get paper, and it takes a lot for the ‘make ready,’ and you print, and you usually try to print more than you actually need and you’ve got all of the mistakes, and it’s just, you don’t want to throw it

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Scott Merrick is a West Nashville native who resides in The Nations and teaches public elementary school students about technology. Connect at http://about.me/ scottmerrick.

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Nashville Night Market Brings COMMUNITY and ARTS Together by Keena DAY photos courtesy of Nashville Night Market

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IN NEED OF A LATE NIGHT OF awesomeness that includes extravagant performances, great food, fabulous jewelry, clothing and other exotic items just outside West Nashville proper? Then mark your calendar for the first Friday of each month and experience an artistic and vending extravaganza called the Nashville Night Market.

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ot to be confused with the Nashville Farmers’ Market event, The Nashville Night Market was launched in August 2016 by friends Jason Bosserman, Jenni McCray and Case Bloom with the purpose of “cultivating a creative and interactive nightlife scene that supports and showcases a variety of performers and creators of goods” as outlined on their website: bridgebelowspace.com/nashville-night-market. The old warehouse off DB Todd and Charlotte under the Jubilee Singers Bridge has been transformed into the versatile and raw venue called Bridge Below Space at 808 19th Avenue; the space symbolizes abandonment that has turned to inspiration. “We found the space filled with garbage,” Jason says. “We cleaned it up and now present arts events and showcase cool performers and artists.” The space now holds events, art exhibitions and music showcases close to downtown. Each of the trio of friends is a creator in their own right and holds a personal stake in the arts and entertainment realm of Nashville nightlife. Bosserman, part owner of the space, is a chef and DJ who is working to expand the minds and palates of Nashville’s restaurant scene. It was his vision for a space where people could come together and tune themselves to one another’s vibration using music, food, art, community and love that helped develop the concept for the event. “The concept itself came from the space. I saw the space and helped come up with the idea for the Night Market based on events I had seen in places like Boston, New Orleans and Houston. I wanted to bring something similar to Nashville,” Jason says. Bloom is an area DJ known for his Thursday night DJ residency

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at Bar Sovereign and his monthly weekend residencies at The Boom Bap and Funky Good Time—two favorite music events for Nashvillians. He also is owner of the wildly successful Tucker & Bloom bags, where he has worked with music visionaries DJ Rich Medina, Jack White of Third Man Records and more to design signature bags. McCray is a Nashville native who has traveled extensively working for an indie record label. She pulls inspiration for Bridge Below Space and Nashville Night Market from markets and night life from her travels abroad. She has a passion for wine, foreign language, dance and DIY products. The three combine their inter-

ests of wine, music, DIY, food and talent for an unforgettable event filled with a variety of artistry for people of all ages to enjoy. And they do, based on the rave reviews by clientele on their Facebook page Nashville Night Market. The monthly event displays the creativity and diversity Nashville has to offer — the Nashville Night Market features an array of performers including bands, DJs, live acts, musical and dance performances and other forms of performance art to give customers a visual experience while they shop. This has included acrobats from Suspended Gravity Circus soaring from the ceilings, fire twirlers, on-site graffiti artists and more. While performers


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initiative rooted in kindness that is taking West Nashville by storm. Led by Emily Pohlman Gouldener, 615ROCKS! is designed for members of the community to spread joy and encourage creativity by painting rocks with kind messagu es and “planting” them in different yR nc a areas of Bellevue. Inspired :N p h ot o by a similar movement in Memphis, Emily launched it here with the founder’s blessing — beginning in Bellevue, where she lives. ph “The purpose of oto as : Co n ni e T h o m 615ROCKS! is to cultivate kindness, plant joy and harvest hope for a better 615,” Emily says. tit p h o to : Te rr i Pe t She began the movement with her nine-yearold son by painting rocks and planting them all over Bellevue; the movement has spread. Not only are people painting and replanting rocks in Bellevue, but also schools such as Harpeth Valley Elementary and Gower Elementary have had rock-painting stations, Ensworth School complet- p h s oto ma : Con ed a 615ROCKS! project for their service learning nie Th o day, and several area Boy Scout troops are participating. It is easy to participate. Grab a rock, paint a design, tag your rock on the Facebook page, seal your rock with a spray sealant and put the rock in nature to be found. Heartwarming stories have come from this process: a gorgeous rock was done as a headstone for a child who had passed away until the official stone was ready. Emily is excited about the momentum the movement has had and expects the initiative to continue for years: “I am always asked how long this will last. My honest answer is I have no idea, as long as the center of it is joy! The core of it is kindness.”

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are generally uncompensated, they are invited to take advantage of the opportunity to reach thousands of visitors with their talents and to immerse themselves in Nashville’s art scene as part of the “who’s who” in local and regional entertainment. The nucleus of the market is the vendors. They are encouraged to have a cohesive and distinctive design aesthetic, plus an established and professional online presence with a unique selection of inventory. Vendors are encouraged to have goods ranging from $1 to $300 in price and have a mission to improve the local community. Event organizers are particularly looking for vendors who make innovative handmade jewelry, clothing, beauty products, art and home goods; food trucks and produce; uniquely curated collections from domestic manufacturers; and vintage goods and rarities produced more than 20 years ago. This criteria and upcoming dates for the event can be found on their website. Vending spaces are $45 for 12’x8’ or 10’x10’ spaces, and vendors must bring their own tables, chairs and extension cords. Applications for vendors and performers can be found on the website. “Submit applications any time,” Jason says. “We like recycled, repurposed goods especially. We have people making furniture and selling records. We strive to have a wide range of goods and encourage vendors from everywhere. We had a pair of sisters from Birmingham come up a few times. People from Atlanta, Louisville. We encourage vendors from across the region to participate.” The vibrancy of the event is known throughout Nashville. As the Nashville Night Market revs up for an exciting summer, Jason looks to turn the event and venue into Nashville’s premiere leader in cultivating night life with an appeal to a wide variety of interests. “We want families. Sometimes we have face painting, acrobatics and other activities for children to enjoy. We even had a car show once. It’s a great time for everybody.” VI

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by Clare FERNANDEZ

THE

ART OF

CRAFTS : EXPRESSIONISM FOR THE

SENSES

West Nashville has no shortage of opportunities to enjoy a fancy cocktail, ice-cold brew or glass of crisp wine, but did you know that many of them are crafted right here in our own community? Most of them have migrated from other locations, but they’ve planted their flags right here in West Nashville. Here are a few ways you can libate local . . . like, hyperlocal.

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Blackstone Brewery As the oldest brewery in Nashville, Blackstone entered the scene in 1994 and has enjoyed being a staple amid the growth of West Nashville, taproom manager Cassie Bailey-Langjahr says. “The West side is home to many recent transplants to Nashville and loads of young families, all looking for ‘their place’ to grab a good brew and spend some quality time. We are more than happy to provide that.” Kent Taylor, owner of Blackstone, was inspired to pursue this craft after reading David Miller’s book, Home Brewing for Americans. In fact, Miller was the very first brewmaster for Blackstone. The brewery “has focused on staying true to the traditional style of each beer that we brew,” Cassie says. They have, however, recently branched out into the creation of sour beers and have been successful with their Watermelon Gose and Blueberry Yum-Yum. Cassie says she pours more Adam Bomb IPA than most anything else, but her favorite is the St. Charles Porter. She says it’s “the beer that made me fall in love with Blackstone years ago and is my favorite to this day.” Last year, Taylor opened a taproom in Blackstone’s brewing facility at 2312 Clifton Avenue. Shortly thereafter, their brewpub on West End closed for renovations. In February, however, they announced it will not be reopening. According to Cassie, “This allows more focus to be put on our brewing facility, as well as our Taphouse and Biergarten” on Clifton Avenue.

View from Blackstone’s tap room. Photo courtesy of Blackstone Brewery.

a great brewery, but also embedded in a quickly growing neighborhood, where we could gather a loyal following of consumers and grow the brand.” The brewery’s new location, on 44th Avenue, opened in February 2017. As a craft beer lover, Ben was a home brewer for 10 years. All that experience gave way to flavor experimentation within the brand. One of Ben’s favorite experiments was a curry and black pepper witbier. The classics still hold their own, with the Knockout IPA as the most popular brew. Ben has been enjoying the Baroness, their newly released barrel-aged stout. The reception to the new location has been positive. “Even before we got the brewery open,” Ben says, “we saw a lot of interest from the bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, which was very gratifying and reinforced that The Nations was the right neighborhood for the brewery.”

Fat Bottom Brewing Company As East Nashville’s first brewery, Fat Bottom opened its doors in August 2012. Steady growth pushed the owner, Ben Bredesen, to begin looking for a larger facility. His pursuits eventually brought him to The Nations, where Ben found exactly what he needed: “A large amount of industrial space where I could build

photo courtesy of Fat Bottom Brewery

photo courtesy of Turtle Anarchy

Turtle Anarchy Brewing Company A family-owned microbrewery, Turtle Anarchy opened its doors in 2012 in Franklin. Owner Mark Kamp first started home brewing with his brother and Turtle Anarchy brewmaster, Andrew. They knew pretty early that brewing beer was their calling. The business grew quickly, with distribution to bars and restaurants beginning soon after the taproom opened. Once the business grew from kegs to the addition of cans, it was time to search for a larger facility. Mark found what he was looking for—ample warehouse space and proximity to the city center—in West Nashville and began construction on the new facility in March 2015. Now located on California Avenue in The Nations (adjacent to Music City Tents and Events), Turtle Anarchy will also have a taproom near the brewery, offering a limJune–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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ited food menu and brewery tours, which is likely to open around the end of this year. At the taproom, you’ll get to enjoy their beer offerings, including the very popular Portly Stout. They have done many variations on the stout, including adding vanilla, making it in whiskey barrels, and a particularly popular variation called Smoke & Mirrors, which added cinnamon and chipotle peppers. “We plan on continuing to produce different varietals when we open the tap room at our new location,” Mark shared. Mark hopes that Turtle Anarchy will become truly integrated into the West Nashville community and become a neighborhood spot for friends to gather and a brand that supports the neighborhood through events and other opportunities.

photos courtesy of SPEAKeasy Spirits

SPEAKeasy Spirits Distillery

Belle Meade Winery Belle Meade Winery was founded in 2009 by Belle Meade Plantation (BMP) Executive Director Alton Kelley and board member John Rochford as a fundraiser for BMP. The response to the winery has been very positive over the years with a strong upward trend, attracting tourists and locals alike. Michael Hedges, operations manager, feels that West Nashville is often overshadowed by other “hotter” neighborhoods. He touts its charms, sharing that the “community has a lot of pride in preserving the beautiful, tree-lined neighborhoods and historic architecture.”

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Award-winning winemaker Brian Hamm has been at the winery since its inception and is constantly striving for consistency, balance and character. “The real art of winemaking,” Michael says, “is in creating a product whose natural flavors are expressed to the fullest.” For example, the Race Day White is a bone-dry 100% Chenin blanc, which contains no sugar yet “has such a dominant melon and honey flavor that it tastes as sweet as a bite of fresh fruit,” Michael says. BMP is devoted to educational opportunities for its visitors, and the winery is no different. “The winery strives to pass on an appreciation and understanding of wine culture to its guests,” Michael says. The winery is open seven days a week (wine can be purchased on Sundays!), and tours and tastings are offered in conjunction with historic tours of the plantation and grounds.

Jeff and Jenny Pennington opened SPEAKeasy in The Nations in 2011. They have lived on the west side for more than 15 years and are happy with the growth. “It is such a tightknit community—so you run into coworkers, neighbors and friends everywhere you go,” Jenny says. Jeff and Jenny grew up in Franklin and moved to Nashville after college to work in the wine and spirits industry. When a law passed in 2009 allowing new distilleries to open in Nashville, Jeff and Jenny jumped at the chance to open their own. SPEAKeasy owns and produces five brands: Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, Pickers Vodka, Pennington’s Flavored Rye, Collins Cordials and Walton’s Finest Vodka. They also produce three types of whiskey that will be aged a minimum of four years at their release in early 2018. “All of our products are unique and have their own identity. We have something for everyone,” Jenny says. SPEAKeasy has a full-time chemist whose job is to create consistent product and to experiment with new ideas for their product line. Tours are offered by appointment, and the facility is undergoing an expansion that will include a dedicated tasting room, gift shop and private event space. Their

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brands can be found at just about every wine and liquor store in Middle Tennessee. Blood Orange Paloma 2 oz. Pickers Blood Orange Vodka 1 oz. silver tequila 1 oz. lime juice 4 oz. ruby-red grapefruit Juice Salt rim Build in glass with ice Pickers’ Blood Orange Paloma photo courtesy of SPEAKeasy Spirits photo courtesy of TC Craft Spirits

The Adelaide Palomino

The TC Craft Margarita

1 oz. blanco tequila 1/2 oz. Adelaide 3 oz. grapefruit soda Ice Garnish with lime

2 oz. lime juice 2 oz. light agave nectar 2 oz. pure water 2 oz. TC Craft blanco or reposado tequila Ice Shake Salt rim (if desired) Serve with laughter S

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TC Craft, founded by brothers Todd and Chad Bottorff, offers a fine line of craft tequilas: blanco, reposado and añejo. The business launched in February 2017, and “the response has been phenomenal,” Todd says. The brothers spent seven years traveling in search of the finest agave and distilling process by which to make their craft tequila. Their journey led them to open their own distillery in Jalisco,

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& Bar in The Nations. Matt’s current favorite is the Adelaide Palomino, which is perfect for warmer weather. Reception over the past six months has been promising, and Matt is “very excited to see what the rest of 2017 has in store for the brand.” Make sure to visit Grand Cru, where Matt works, to ask him about cocktails featuring Adelaide or to pick up a cocktail list.

Mexico. The tequila is handmade in small batches, bottled locally and then shipped to Nashville (TC Craft’s American headquarters) for distribution. “We both love the process of taking something natural from the earth and crafting it into an artful product that pairs well with friends and good times,” Todd says. Todd and Chad were raised in West Nashville and are proud to still call The West Side home. “It [West Nashville] is a creative, entrepreneurial, diverse place but has retained its neighborly feel,” Todd says. “TC Craft loves being a part of that.” For the most updated list of restaurants and stores that carry TC Craft tequilas, visit www.tccrafttequila.com/get-some.

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A native Nashvillian, Clare Fernandez is an arts integration advocate, professional laugher, lifelong actress, obsessive proofreader and lover of coffee and wine. She works as a data analyst by day and enjoys spending her free time reading, hiking at Radnor Lake, belting show tunes off-key, traveling and exploring the growing arts and culture scene in Nashville.

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NASHVILLE

BALLET PRACTICE & PERFORMANCE

a balancing act of

Ballerina Trista Brantley photo credit: Kayla Anderson

by Stephanie SEFCIK photo credit: Susan Adcock

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Shabaz Ujima teaches Nashville Ballet’s Community photo credit: Tim Broekema


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alking into the Martin Center located in Sylvan Heights, home of the Nashville Ballet, is intimidating. As a ballet dropout (at the age of three, no less), I nervously look around expecting to be ambushed from all sides by graceful, lithe ballerinas who will know of my klutziness just by looking at me. I straighten up to make myself look taller and await the arrival of Trista Brantley, a 14-year-old dancer in Level 6 (of 7) of the school’s prestigious Academy Division. After a few minutes, Nashville Ballet’s own tiny dancer, Trista, bounces into the building all smiles. Her flawless ballet bun and amazing posture reflect her discipline, even while her energy keeps her on the edge of her chair during our interview. I confess to Trista that I am a total klutz, and she replies, “Honestly, I am, too! I think most of the girls here would say that out on the street we’re clumsy. But in the studio, it’s different.” She has danced for 11 years—with the Nashville Ballet for the past five—and Trista’s roles have grown in both dance and acting. Though she has been the lead in four Shakespear-

Ballerina Trista Brantley photo credit: Kayla Anderson

Trista Brantley (first row, second from left) performs in the youth cast of The Nutcracker. photo credit: Tim Broekema

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ean school plays, and Trista explains it’s really all about one dance: The Nutcracker. Last fall, after three years as a “party girl” in the entourage of the coveted lead girl, Clara, Trista earned a very special and long-awaited debut role as Clara. “That’s definitely the highlight of my dance career so far,” because, she said, “you’re a 10-year-old girl— you’d be the happiest girl, then heartbroken because somebody broke your nutcracker, or terrified because there’s this rat king chasing you around.” Despite her meteoric rise in the past two years, Trista has a humble nature. She confesses her “biggest shock” was at the end of The Nutcracker, when “there were people actually cheering for me, and I didn’t expect that at all!” Her humility is a reflection of the values instilled by mother Wendy and the School of Nashville Ballet. Trista says Nashville Ballet is not like the reality show “Dance Moms” at all: “We’re not cutthroat here.” In fact, Trista said, school is a priority, not being divas. “I take all advanced classes,” she says, and when pressed about whether her crazy-busy schedule affects her grades, she admits, “I get straight As.” Finishing high school is a

self-proclaimed necessity for this rising star, and she’s got college in her sights, as well—impressive for such a talented young ballerina juggling so much. Wendy credits the ballet’s teachers and role models for their influence in all of the young dancers’ professional growth and attitudes. Trista gushes about her professional adult counterparts in the Nashville Ballet Company. It’s amazing “being able to see the dancers all the time and ask them for advice.” And she takes their critique in stride. “When they say something to us, it’s more like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you talked to me!’” she says of her and friends’ interactions with the older dancers. The company dancers have hero-celebrity-level status among the younger crowd at the ballet, and they play a keen role in teaching younger dancers how to deal with pressure, challenges, victory and disappointment.

The Professionals One of those company members (or “movie stars” according to Trista), Julia Mitchell, sheds some light on the professional side of the Nashville Ballet. Julia began her career with the Nashville Ballet as part of NB2, the ballet’s second company, which focuses on community engagement

Nashville Ballet’s Community Division (DANCEFIX). photo credit: Karyn Photography

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with middle, high and post-secondary schools. Choreographed by Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling and dancer Christopher Stuart, NB2’s most recent show, FRANK, is about a boy (Frank N. Stein) who looks different and is bullied because of it. (For more information about the community engagement program and the work NB2 does in schools, visitors may peruse the community engagement page on the ballet’s website.) After dancing in NB2, Julia was promoted to full company member, where she dances and teaches Level 5 ballet variations and teaches pointe class to Level 7 students. When coaching her students, she harkens to her own ballet classes, recognizing that “it really does make a difference when you have someone who is pushing you.” Especially for her Level 7 students, who are making the all-important decisions of whether they will stay with the ballet or go to college, Julia says she tries to “open up their worlds a little bit,” and push them to new creative and technical heights. Having danced in countless performances throughout her schooling and career, one of Julia’s favorite roles involves more than complicated movements. “My favorite role recently is Lucy in Dracula,” she explains. “I like acting roles, combining the dramatic with the technical demands” and, of course for Dracula, “the transformation into vampire.” Not everything for Julia and the Nashville Ballet is vampires and darkness, of course. The ballet’s programming for the year usually opens with a storybook ballet, like this year’s Cinderella, centered toward younger audiences. Unexpected visitors backstage at family-centered shows like the Nutcracker are actually to be expected, as Julia says, “They usually bring the kids backstage, and they just stare—they love the sparkles, pointe shoes, costumes … and that’s another awesome part of the job, to see that you’re inspiring kids.” Julia’s influence has


“There’s learning and working, but also it should be fun.That’s what we have here.” –JULIA MITCHELL photo credit: Chad Driver

already led to a young student at the ballet choosing to do a school project on her.

Classes and Programming The school and the company ballet dancers are nurtured by a strong faculty, including Shabaz Ujima, contemporary dance instructor and DANCEFIX community class master, who caters not only to the talented dancers of the ballet, but also to dance enthusiasts in the community. A self-proclaimed proponent of dance diversity, “I think one of the most important things about the community we’re cultivating here is that it is of inclusiveness— if you like dance in any way, you can come in here and have a good time.” Shabaz’s DANCEFIX classes are for adults, even for those with no dance experience, who want to

come move, have a good time and play with dance in a safe environment. Shabaz’s pedagogy includes exposure to a wide variety of influences and styles for his students, which he admits can be uncomfortable for them at first, breaking out of classical ballet’s stiff technical poses. For Shabaz, “it’s good for the students to see the adults come in and dance for fun, take a risk in a safe, judgment-free zone,” to remind them that vulnerability is essential for learning, and that having fun is what it’s all about. The DANCEFIX classes, which are all drop-in, rotate on a 10-week rolling schedule, and at only $5, the first class is a steal. For a more traditional dance experience, community members continued on page 59

photo credit: Tim Broekema

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“It all begins with a song . . . writer”

by John

LOMAX III, special contributor

photos by Scott MERRICK photos by Clark THOMAS/simplePhotographs.com

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WRITERS’ NIGHTS AT

The Commodore Grille On a per-capita basis, it’s entirely feasible that Nashville has more songwriters than anyplace on Earth. You can see these tunesmiths in action any night of the week for little or no cover charge at dozens of venues scattered over all areas of the city and surrounding counties. I modified the long-established motto of the Nashville Songwriter’s Association in the headline above by adding the word “Writer,” for no song exists until it is written.

Songwriters David Alan Loy, Collette Bruhn, Rhett McDonald

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y first encounter with this aspect of show business was around 1955 in our living room in Texas. My father sang as an avocation and was a founder of the Houston Folklore Society. In the beginning, the members, later including Guy Clark, Lucinda Williams and Kay T. Oslin, gathered monthly for a “hootenanny.” Then, when I moved here in 1973, I learned that such occasions were called “guitar pulls.” They migrated from private song swaps to public venues in the 1970s. They then gained two new sobriquets as a “Writers’ Night” (scheduled writers booked in advance) or an “Open-Mic” approach (participants signing up the night-of). And in all cases, the same equal-opportunity philosophy rules. Every participant, no matter their skill set, can present their creations, in most cases “passing the guitar” after a song, to politely await their next turn. Later these presentations also became known as “rounds,” after our most famous small club, The Bluebird Café, began presenting writers “in the round” instead of lined up in a row.

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L to R: Melinda Judy, Jamie Cutler, Johnny Ray, Ryan Beck.

a longtime West Nashville resident and recent school board candidate, and his Sales/Marketing Manager Nancy Keiser, oversee The Commodore Grille and their Writers Night shows six nights a week. Thom greenlighted the writer’s shows many years ago. “We are proud to showcase the incredible talent in the Songwriter community and being a longstarted going to Debi’s writer nights time partner in growing at the Broken Spoke before she ever the sound of Nashville,” moved it to The Commodore Grille. he told me, showing justifiable pride in the role She has created a place of discovery for songwriters. Writers I met years ago at her the room has played and continues to play nights are dominating the charts. Years in the musical fabric of later, Debi still provides an encouraging Music City. “The most important and welcome environment for all levels of to me (about The songwriters and aspiring music executives. thing Commodore Grille) is –Bradley Collins, BMI executive they present so many opportunities for writers to show their work,” says Dennis Lord of SESAC. And what’s not to like at The Commodore? No cover charge, a spacious room, comfortable seats and a good sound system. In 90 minutes, I recently saw 12 writers, had a glass of wine, a coffee and a club sandwich, all for $17. Most nights, you’ll find Debi Champion as ringmaster, booking the shows, emceeing, overseeing the sound system . . . and sometimes, singing harmony. “I usually average around 25 writers per night, four nights a week, for over 13 years now,” Champion explains. Her shows feature scheduled writers until 10 p.m., with an open mic following for another hour or more. Debi holds court Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, while Rick and Tammy Stewart present the Friday and Saturday shows.

Thanks to the internationally viewed TV show, “Nashville,” The Bluebird continues as our city’s best-known writers’ haven, though they only give one night a week to aspiring writers. The other six nights feature shows starring the city’s top writers, many signed to major labels.

An Unlikely Venue So where does one go to see the most writers? That quest led me to an unlikely place—a breakfast/ lunch spot-turned-nocturnal writers’ hang in the lobby of a chain hostelry, the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt, across from Centennial Park. There, General Manager Thom Druffel,

Debi Champion

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ongwriter nights and the open-mic nights at The Commodore Grille are part of the songwriter fabric in Nashville. The Commodore Grille is one of the important venues and is part of every Nashville songwriter’s journey. –Bart Herbison, Executive Director, Nashville Songwriters Association a hundred per week. The Stewarts, another two dozen. That means The Commodore Grille is providing a total of 6,448 songwriter performance opportunities every year! In addition to providing a platform for new writers or Nashville newcomers to hone their craft, network with other tunesmiths and check out the competition, you never know which industry bigwig might be in the audience—a circumstance that can lead to a dream fulfilled.

It Can Happen

Songwriter Collette Bruhn

“Our shows are Friday and Saturday, three one-hour sets, four writers per set. Our shows always run on time. When we started, we promised favoritism would never happen and to this date, we have kept this policy,” Rick explains. “The 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m. shows are booked months ahead, with one hour at the end going to new guests or anyone wanting to perform.” Let’s do the math. A typical night’s show runs three or four hours, meaning The Commodore Grille presents 20+ hours of writers’ nights weekly! Taking a deeper dive, Debi oversees four nights weekly, at least 25 writers/night,

One evening an unknown artist approached a struggling songwriter at a Douglas Corner writers’ night. “I’m going to get a record deal, and when I do, I want to record that song,” the wannabe said. “Great,” said the writer. “I’ll hang on to it, call me when you get your deal.” He never imag-

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henever anyone asks me for a recommendation for a place to hook up that involves the big four in my life: music, refreshment, songwriters and entertainment, my mind goes immediately to The Commodore Grille Writers’ Nights. I love the open harmonies, the atmosphere, the musicianship . . . Debi Champion and Rick Stewart cover it all . . . it's all there! –Ralph Murphy, Murphy Music Consulting, longtime ASCAP representative June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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When she is not being dragged around The Nations by her four dogs, Naomi Goldstone is a professor of English and coordinator of the African American Studies minor at Austin Peay State University. She is also the author of Integrating the Forty Acres and dwonnaknowwhatithink.com, a blog she promises to write more often. ST

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ined anything further would happen. A few weeks later that wannabe artist, who by then had been turned down by nine record labels, was himself performing at a writers’ night at The Bluebird. A record executive there was so impressed that he persuaded his label president to see this artist. That’s how Garth Brooks, the biggest-selling artist in U.S. history, was discovered. Lynn Shults heard him at a writers’ night, leading to Brooks’ signing with Capitol Records, headed here by Jim Foglesong. And the aspiring writer’s song? It was “The Dance,” written by Tony Arata, a Brooks signature song for the last quarter-century. Admittedly, this is a rare occurrence, but take a gander at just a few of The Commodore Grille alumni who have gone to greater glory: Vince Gill, Kelsea Ballerini, the Osborne Brothers, David Lee Murphy, Wood Newton, Jerry Foster, Will Rambeaux, Frankie Ballard, Doug Stone, Sherrie Austin, David Ball and hundreds more. So scoot on over, take advantage of being in a city boasting more songwriters per capita than any other and seize the opportunity to attend a Writers’ Night at The Commodore Grille, the venue presenting more writers than any other spot!

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photo courtesy of Debi Champion

to get into fiddling.” After graduating from the University of Idaho with a degree in music, Wascher taught music for a few years in the public school systems in Idaho and later, Wyoming. His last year in Wyoming, he was teaching at seven schools. “During the winter,” he recalls, “just as soon as I had scraped the ice and snow off my car, it was time for me to scrape it off again and go to the next school to teach.” Then he smiles and adds, “I loved what I was doing, but I don’t miss that part of the job.” Eventually, Wascher wanted to play fiddle in a country band. “Everyone says if you’re going to play the fiddle, you need to move to Nashville,” he says. So, in 1997, he loaded down a ten-foot trailer and his two-door GMC Jimmy with his possessions, and along with his musician friend Dave Stewart, embarked on the long drive from Wyoming to Nashville. Stewart, who later authored Heart and Sole, recalls that moment he had “walked all the way to Nashville from Wyoming. I swear it wasn’t intentional,” Wascher chuckles. “We ran out of gas just as we were pulling into Nashville.” Wascher says that Stewart gave him a hard time about this, but that Stewart probably “enjoyed having to walk back into Nashville.” During this period, Wascher had a lot of opportunities to play in different bands, kicking off his first week in town by playing fiddle on stage at the Ryman for “Mangeldesh,” a benefit concert for Phil Kaufmann (aka, “the Road Mangler”). Wascher soon realized, however, that it was “not easy to make a living in this town as a musician. The reality is that most of us need a day job to support our hobby,” he says. The rest is, of course, Nashville Violins’ history. For Wascher, music is the most “universal of all languages because, for the most part, every place you go, it’s the same no matter where you are,” he says. “And if you’re really lucky,” Wascher adds, “you can play music until the day you die.” VI

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NASHVILLE BALLET, continued from page 53

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can also try their hand (or foot) in ballet, modern, contemporary, hiphop, and jazz classes. For prospective young male dancers, the ballet has a special scholarship program, which the Director of the School of Nashville Ballet Nick Mullikin says has more than doubled the number of boys in their dance program in the past year. “Watching them overcome the challenges they didn’t think they could take on and then acting like it’s no big deal afterward” is the most rewarding part of teaching his students, Nick says. He encourages any boys interested in ballet to apply through the school’s website. Nashville Ballet is a West Nashville treasure—a place where ordinary children and adults can move and play in a safe, judgment-free world of dance. The guardians of this dancers’ paradise open their doors wide, and the only requirement to enter is a love of dance and the willingness to explore. LLE

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When asked who has been tapped for his earliest shows, Stevens smiles wryly and says, “Everybody.” He intends to work the room, too, but not at the pace that he worked in Branson. “I’m planning to work it a lot,” he chuckles, “but I’m getting to be of an age that I don’t want to work every night. In Branson, we worked six days a week, two shows a day . . . and we also knew all the back roads to get to the hospital, just in case. But this go ’round, I need a lot of help to keep it going. For performances, we’re open to anything—this is CabaRay Nashville. We’ll book acts that are representative of Nashville; I won’t mention any names right now, but I’m looking at all types of acts, even plays. On Sundays, we’re talking about having a gospel show in the afternoons. We’ve talked to several different types of entertainers and discussed the shows we want to put in there.” If Stevens could book one performer or performance—living or dead, current or cancelled—who would it be and why? After a long pause and laugh, he replies, “Gosh, I don’t know.” Pausing again, the wheels start turning in his head. “I go way back,” he explains. “I worked Vegas a lot, have worked all over, worked with some of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen. I might book Don Rickles, he was a lot of fun. He and Bob Newhart were good buddies, and the two of them together would have been quite a package. I did Andy Williams’ summer show back in 1970 on NBC, and I never saw him deliver a bad show. He was a pro.” In fact,

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WHO WILL PERFORM?

Andy’s brother Don was Stevens’ manager for 25 years. CabaRay has been in Stevens’ head and heart for a long time, and though he is of an age where most people would rest on their laurels, Stevens is just getting started. “I don’t want to take life easy,” he says. “I think that’s boring. I like to perform, I like to design buildings—remember, I’m a frustrated architect. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and that’s why I’m doing it. Most people will have never been in a place like this; I’m planning on everyone having a great time.” At press time, CabaRay is scheduled to open at 5724 River Road in August. WE

Seating is carefully placed and spaced so that guests are not climbing over each other to enter and exit, and the guardrail will be made of glass to ensure everyone has a clear view of the show. In a time where Nashville is shoving as many houses onto lots as possible and airlines are taking away inches of leg room on airplanes, CabaRay’s seating seems downright luxurious. Stevens knows Nashville is weary of the sardine effect. “If we were to take out the tables and chairs and put in theater seating, I’m guessing we could fit 1,500 people in there,” he explains. “But that’s not the point. That’s just too many to feel intimate. With 500, however, the audience can get into the show and really engage. As a performer, that kind of experience is a lot of fun.” Maybe it’s business acumen or simply returning to a common-sense strategy of taking care of guests—either way, CabaRay will bring back something that has been missing from Nashville for decades. That’s not to say it won’t be innovative and logistically slick. Stevens has carefully curated every detail. “Right now, we’re thinking the meal will be optional, but most people will want to eat,” says Stevens. “When they go online, they’ll have the opportunity to choose a meal when they purchase their tickets so that we won’t have to send out a server to take their order or risk running out of what they wanted or having them wait—we’ll know what they want and where they’re sitting. The food won’t take long to arrive. We’re thinking maybe doors open at 5:00, dinner at 6:00, and show begins at 7:30. There might be a small group onstage playing soft dinner music, nothing intrusive, something light. We may have an emcee that warms up the crowd just before the show begins.” The large, covered entrance allows for all-weather/season loading and unloading, and free, accessible parking means less bottle-necking.

All of the public spaces double as a museum of Nashville music history, beginning with the wallpaper designed with photographs of famous recording sessions. Everywhere you look, there’s memorabilia, artifacts and décor that you won’t find anywhere else and some of which has been made available for public viewing for the first time. The lobby will also contain a gift shop. Stevens is overseeing every detail.

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Robertson neighborhood, along with her dog, Zephyr. She is an avid gardener, and—when she isn’t working on home projects—loves working with her team at Vanderbilt University.

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372WestNosh

by Constant

EATER

Patio weather has arrived and plenty West Nashville’s restaurants have got you covered— and heated, air-conditioned and . . . well, open-aired. Here are just a few ways to have your breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails al fresco! STAR BAGEL 4502 Murphy Road

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ocated in the heart of Sylvan Park, Star Bagel is a beloved neighborhood staple. It was the first locally owned bagel cafe and has been in operation since 1995. Initially located in West Meade, the cafe began as a mostly wholesale location with a small storefront featuring grab-and-go items. “We have evolved and are continuing to evolve,” says Krista Miller, marketing and advertising director. “We now have juices and a larger variety of sandwiches. We’ve been a part of Sylvan Park long before it was a good place to be.” Star Bagel believes in using high quality ingredients to produce high

Breakfast at Star Bagel photo credit: Holly Darnell

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quality food products. “We try and use as many locally sourced, organic products as we can,” Miller explains, noting that Star Bagel added whole pressed juices to their menu three years ago when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. “We’re health-conscious. Our smoothies use real fruit and vegetables and we don’t add anything else to it. Everything is made in house from our smoothies and bagels, to Star Bagel patio photo credit: Holly Darnell granola and even the culture for our yogurt. That’s danishes, and sources their coffee how we can have high quality food and specialty drinks from Drew’s at a reasonable price. We try to do Brew’s, a locally owned hand-roastas much in-house as possible.” ed coffee company. A wide variety of breakfast seThe family-friendly restaurant fealections are available all day. Bagel tures a dog-friendly patio that makes lovers, take note: Selections include a great perch to take in the sights of whole wheat, blueberry, cinnamon the Sylvan Park neighborhood. Relax raisin and ‘everything’ bagels. If with a bagel sandwich and a good bagels aren’t your thing, Star Bagel book, magazine (you know which offers cracked wheat bread, croismagazine we’d recommend) or sants or a jalapeno-cheddar biscuit newspaper or a good friend. (the latter available on weekends only). Pair these with cream cheese, HOURS: 6:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., jams or butter—or have them made Monday–Sunday into breakfast sandwiches with eggs, CREDIT CARDS: All veggies, meat options and add-ons. RESERVATIONS: No Star Bagel also offers fresh fruit, house-made granola muffins and

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designated spot with games and a play kitchen for children. Coco’s is a great way to escape to Italy for lunch, dinner, or even weekend brunch. HOURS: 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m., Monday–Thursday 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m., Saturday–Sunday CREDIT CARDS: All RESERVATIONS: Yes

BLUE MOON WATERFRONT GRILLE 525 Basswood Avenue

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Year-round patio seating at Coco’s.

COCO’S ITALIAN MARKET 411 51st Ave North

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ocated on the corner of Charlotte Ave and 51st, Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurant is a family-owned authentic Italian restaurant and marketplace. Owner Chuck Cinelli grew up in New York surrounded by family-owned restaurants and has been bringing his Italian food and recipes to Nashville for the past ten years. With a traditional bocce ball court and beautiful greenery outside, the restaurant exudes an Italian feel. Patrons feel immediately transported to Italy upon entering, taking in the sights and aromas of the marketplace. The marketplace features goods imported from Italy ranging from house-made pastas, sauces, and olive oils, to meats, cheeses, and an olive bar. Italian cookies, cannolis, and gelato are also available. Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurant uses fresh ingredients and makes all pastas and sauces from scratch, including his grandmother’s secret marinara sauce. Even basil is sourced from the owner’s local farm. “I have three acres on 54th and Charlotte that I grow a lot of basil on,” explains Cinelli. “I’ve grown one thousand basil seedlings with the

seeds we sell in our store from Italy.” Pizzas are authentic, and made from imported 00 flour, hand-stretched and baked in their brick oven. Another highlight on the menu is the housemade burrata which can be enjoyed as an appetizer or added to salads, pastas, and pizzas. Coco’s patio is spacious, covered and—because it’s heated and cooled—can be enjoyed throughout all seasons of the year, rain or shine. Built with families in mind, it has a

The Razz-tini at Blue Moon.

ucked away in West Nashville, The Blue Moon Waterfront Grille sits on the Cumberland River as a part of the Rock Harbor Marina. Partner and general manager Dougie Ray describes the restaurant as “a hidden gem. You can stay here and get away from the ordinary in Nashville.” Open from early March to late October, the restaurant can be accessed by car or also by boat, (just off mile marker 175 on the Cumberland River). The restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere and a casual, friendly vibe. Chef David Billings has developed a seafood-focused menu includes some “land” options; items range from sandwiches and wraps to pistachio-crusted salmon, grilled mahi-mahi and steak medallions. Their weekend brunch menu offers staples like biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, grits and eggs. Constant Eater highly recommends the ahi-tuna appetizer, served on a bed of greens, which has just enough zing to enhance the über-fresh tuna without overpowering it. A highlight of Blue Moon Waterfront Grill is their outdoor dock patio. Patrons can enjoy Blue Moon’s famous Razz-tini or another cocktail from their fully stocked bar and take in the breeze at sunset. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the ambience includes live music played on their newly installed floating band stages. June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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60 Bistro is an upscale wine bistro located just off Highway 100 in West Meade.“For the past 10 years, we have been a neighborhood restaurant,” explains General manager Brett Allen. “A majority of the people that come here know each other. You can meet up here, have cocktails with friends and join for dinner.” With low lighting and white tablecloths, this fine dining establishment makes patrons feel com-

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The restaurant also hosts a writer’s night on Wednesday nights. Happy hour is seven days a week from 3:00–6:00 p.m. If you’re looking for a leisurely meal with what may be one of Nashville’s most beautiful views of The Cumberland, Dougie Ray offers this advice: “How can you be stressed when you’re on the water?”

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Blue Moon’s ahi tuna appetizer.

And what better way to toast than fortable, yet elegant. on their enclosed, air-conditioned 360 Bistro features patio? Sliding doors open when the a seasonal menu weather is nice, and small bistro while supporting local tables are available outside. “People farms. Their creations love to be outside and like to be feature “a variety and seen,” says Allen. “They come in seasonal produce here from the golf course or tennis makes it fun for guests court, or after enjoying the spa next to enjoy,” Allen says. door and relax with a glass of wine. The restaurant also Then they go on and enjoy the rest has a bar menu with of their day. It’s a good experience, smaller portions and being able to build friendships and appetizers ranging watch kids grow up. We host their from truffle butter birthday parties, then graduations popcorn to a cheese and baby showers. It’s fun to learn and charcuterie plate. about our community and become a How about a curatpart of their lives.” ed drink to go with all that deliciousness? HOURS: 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., At 360 Bistro, their drink menu Monday–Saturday shines. Ninety-nine percent of the 5:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m., Sunday wine is chosen by the owner, Nick Jacobsen, and Allen. “We have CREDIT CARDS: All three to six tastings a week and it’s RESERVATIONS: Yes nice to try new things,” Allen says. “And we have a continuity between Constant Eater is dedicated to discovering our menu and wine, and our wine the West Side’s best breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktails. . . in the name of fair and menu. There are now 15 wine reporting and satisfied tummies, of course. distributors here in Nashville, with tons of wine out there, but if it doesn’t work with the menu, it doesn’t get added to our list.” Patrons can order a wine flight to sample a variety of wines and an iPad® is available to help with selections. Guests can search wines by region, price, label and varietal. The wine information can be emailed so that it is not forgotten. On their cocktail list, 360 Bistro constantly experiments with different spirits and recipes. For example, they currently have a bourbon barrel-aged wine that has been sitting in a Belle Meade bourbon cask. With an extensive wine list and several cocktails and beers to choose from, everyone’s palate Perfect pairing: Wine and Bistro 360’s patio can be satiated. photo credit: Holly Darnell VI

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by Miriam DRENNAN

WEEDEATERS only YOU have to know it’s yard clippings

My first attempt at eating a dandelion was accidental. I was a toddler blowing the fluffy top . . . against the wind. I sputtered my mouthful of cottony seeds and even today, can still taste their bitterness. It would be years before I would actually eat them on purpose and thank goodness I did. Root to blossom—the yellow blossom, to clarify—every bit of this weed is edible and delicious. So before you spend money trying to get rid of yours, consider this: dandelions are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plus a good source of folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. If you’re still ready to attack them, consider foraging them instead. Dandelions are a very good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K and B6; and if that isn’t enough, top off all that nutrition with thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. They’re recommended for those with digestive issues and may even ease rheumatism or liver ailments. That’s one dandy little weed! It’s also quite versatile. The greens have a flavor mild enough to be eaten raw or cooked, packing only a bit of bite (much like raddichio or other bitter lettuces). Some enjoy it the same way they cook spinach or kale, wilting the greens in a skillet already heated with a drop of olive oil and garlic. Play with this a bit—maybe add some onion, or try a dash of red pepper flakes. Spritz with a bit of lemon juice, and you’ve got a delicious side dish in under five minutes. Others enjoy frying the blossoms in a batter made from milk, salt, eggs and flour—the taste is similar to morel mushrooms. Some make wine, jelly and even coffee from dandelions. As with many weeds, the younger the plant, the better the flavor. But what about using the greens in something heartier . . . like a calzone, or pesto? The answer is yes and yes! When making pesto, I have often turned to carrot greens if I find myself short on basil, but it turns out dandelion greens complement basil’s flavor even better. And the following calzone recipe can be modified to suit your palate, but this basic version is delicious!

DANDY CALZONES ¼ cup olive oil, divide out 1 tbsp ½ pound mushrooms, sliced 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 bunch dandelion greens, washed and dried, stems removed Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 pound pizza dough ½ pound shredded mozzarella cheese ¼ pound parmesan cheese, reserve a small amount for sprinkling marinara sauce from your favorite Italian restaurant Preheat oven to 475°. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil on medium-high heat. Cook the mushrooms and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom edges begin to turn dark brown. Add the greens and wilt for about three minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat set. Divide the dough into two parts. Lightly flour a biscuit board and roll into two rounds, approximately ten inches in diameter. Place on a floured baking sheet. Reserving a small amount of the parmesan for later, combine the cheeses and sprinkle a layer on half of each round, stopping at about one inch of its edge. Add the dandelion and mushroom mixture on top of the cheese and then add another layer of cheese. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling—it should form a half-circle. Press and crimp the edges together to seal. Using a knife, poke a hole or two in the top for it to “breathe” while baking. Brush the calzones with the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for about 11–15 minutes, until the calzones are crisp and turning golden. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan immediately after removing from oven. Serve with marinara from your favorite Italian restaurant—we have some great options in West Nashville—and salud, chindon!

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Help us start a yard-to-table movement! Send us a recipe or idea for the Weedeaters: 372WestNashville@gmail.com. June–July 2017 | 372WN.com

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372Who kNew? Theo Morrison Morrison Capitol Strateg ies

Name: What’s your relationship to West Nashville? How long have you been here? Favorite thing about West Nashville? Favorite food? color? drink? dessert? hobby? Where will you be on Friday night? Dog or cat?

THEO WAS THE GOALIE FOR THE 1985 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM AT HILLSBORO HIGH!

Mustard or mayonaise? Mountains or beach? Dream occupation when you were five? What’s your hidden talent? What’s your superpower? What excites you about West Nashville?

THEO’S FAMILY >>>

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372WN.com | June–July 2017


372wn vol i issue4  

June–July 2017

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