ISSUE 84 TRAP GARDEN
8 C1TY BLVD
Design + Nature 3D Printed Stage Canopy
Thirty-five years ago, engineers created and perfected the process we now know as 3D printing. Whether used to make life-saving medical devices, fine art, or superhero figurines, 3D printing represents the limitless potential that occurs when creativity meets technological innovation. oneC1TY honors this interplay between art and engineering with the oneC1TY stage. Not only is our stage canopy one of the worldâ€™s largest 3D printed structures, itâ€™s also the outdoor anchor of a community rooted in innovative, holistic, and creative living. Like the invention of 3D printing, we hope oneC1TY encourages the makers, businesses, and artists among us to stay curious and creative.
www. swi tte r s c offe e.c o m
Contents Issue 84
The Goods 13 Beer from Here 17 Cocktail of the Month 20 Master Platers 60 You Oughta Know 65 Just Cause
Features 24 Trap Garden 34 Crappy Magic
44 Literature Spotlight: Dan Hoy 52 Contributor Spotlight: Gabriel Max Starner
52 NATIVE NASHVILLE
Behind the Issue:
Trap Garden NATIVE was founded in 2012 to help highlight, connect, and support Nashvillians doing creative things. Now because we’re in Music City, USA—and because only about five million restaurants have opened in Nashville since 2012—we’ll concede that we’ve sometimes skewed a little heavy on the music and food features when it comes to our editorial coverage. That’s not to say we haven’t covered hundreds of the incredible visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and everything in between during that time; we’re just saying that we—and the rest of Nashville, we hope—should always remember to support creative endeavors that aren’t bands or restaurants. Maybe that’s why Issue 84 ended up feeling like an accidental ode to the stuff in Nashville that isn’t always mentioned when we throw around that ever-ambiguous and endlessly malleable word creative . Some of the features in this issue, like poet Dan Hoy or NATIVE photographer Gabriel Max Starner, use traditional mediums like poetry or photography to challenge our preconceived notions about the mediums themselves (example: writing four-line poems about E.T. or making a composite photo of what can only be dubbed a “meat hand”). Others, like David Hellams of Crappy
Magic, look to discarded items and the ancient art of haggling to subvert ideas about “junk” and the very nature of business. And finally, there’s our cover story on Trap Garden, a local nonprofit that’s establishing community gardens throughout Nashville in an attempt to eliminate our city’s shamefully high number of food deserts (if you aren’t familiar with the term, go ahead and flip on over to page 24, we’ll wait). No, this isn’t a Chef’s Table-y profile on a chef that’s blowing Nashville’s culinary minds with challenging, conceptual dishes. But alas, a man—not to mention the majority of Nashville’s residents—cannot live on deconstructed hot chicken alone. We love Trap Garden because if you ask us, it’s the best type of creative endeavor: it’s brave, it’s ambitious, it unites people across socioeconomic backgrounds, and it hopes to impact Nashvillians for generations to come. And, most importantly, it does all this in hopes of solving a serious, systemic, and largely ignored problem within our community. If that’s not thinking outside the (garden) box, we don’t know what is. PS: In the spirit of keeping an open mind about what it means to be creative, we’d also like to say this is a wonderful time to keep an open mind about . . . well, everything. Happy Pride Month.
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with Kyle Cooke Writer at NATIVE Beer Name: Boil the Ocean Brewery: Southern Grist Brewing Company Style: Sour Ale ABV: 5.8% Food Pairing: Migas Tacos Appearance: Light orange, tangerine Aroma: Citrus zest Where to Find It: On draft or in cans at Southern Grist’s taprooms in East Nashville and The Nations Overall Takeaways: Although the calendar says it’s still spring, take one step outside and you’ll realize that the punishing sun begs to differ. It’s summer, calendar be damned. And in Nashville, you already know what you’re going to get this time of year: thighs sticking to beach chairs, molten seat belt buckles, and probably a sunburn or two (or twelve). It’s all very predictable. Thankfully, there’s a silver lining in this sweltering carousel we call summer, and it’s the tap list at Southern Grist Brewing Company. The beers on tap change almost weekly at Southern Grist, so if you find a beer you’re particularly keen on, make sure to stock up on their cans or maybe even get one of their 32-ounce “crowlers.” I popped into their taproom in The Nations a couple Sundays ago, sampled a flight of beers, and went home with a four-pack of Boil the Ocean, a tangerine-flavored sour with sea salt. “Reminiscent of a mimosa or a laid-back Sunday brunch,” the can reads, “this fruited sour ale is brewed with tangerine peel, tangerine purée, and sea salt.” The beer really nails it on the flavor, which is to be expected with anything that comes out of Southern Grist. In both scent and flavor, tangerine is dominant, and the sea salt finish makes you want to keep sipping. If sours aren’t your thing, I would still give this one a try. It’s citrusy and tart but won’t make your mouth pucker. I paired Boil the Ocean with migas tacos—scrambled eggs with tortilla chips, amongst other toppings—to make for a quintessential summer lunch, and I suggest you do the same. Just maybe find some shade first.
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MASTER PL ATERS
BY JOEY MOLTENI EXECUTIVE CHEF AT HATHORNE PHOTOS BY EMILY DORIO
Roasted Golden Beets with Green Onion Puree
NATIVE NATIVE NASHVILLE NASHVILLE
THE GOODS 1 1/2 lbs golden beets (roughly three medium-sized beets) kosher salt 8 oz green onion 2/3 cup tahini 1/2 cup lemon juice 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for grilling 1 small red beet (optional)*
DIRECTIONS FOR THE GOLDEN BEETS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off of the golden beets. In a small baking pan with tall sides, pour enough salt to cover the bottom of the pan by 1/2 an inch and place the beets on top of the salt layer. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and open the foil, being careful of steam. If the beets feel slightly tender to the touch and the beet skin rubs away easily, the beets are done. If not, they may need to rest and steam. Re-cover the pan and allow to rest for another 20 to 30 minutes. Once rested, use a kitchen rag to “rub” the skin off of the beets. Slice them into portions. FOR THE GREEN ONION PUREE: Rinse the onions and pat dry. Coat the onions with just enough olive oil to keep them from sticking to the grill. Using a gas or charcoal grill (or a large saute pan) on high heat, cook the onions until charred and wilted. Rough chop the cooked onions *Beet Crumbs and Jus:
and place them in a food processor along
The beet crumbs and jus are optional but should be prepared the day before if they are
with the tahini, lemon juice, salt and
olive oil. Blitz on high speed until the
Peel and medium dice the red beet. Boil in a small pot of water until tender. Drain
onions are pureed. Add water for a thinner
the beet pieces and reserve the water for a garnish. Add the beets to a food processor
and puree until smooth.
Spoon the onion puree onto a plate and
Preheat the oven to the lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
arrange the golden beet pieces on top.
Spread the pureed beet onto the baking sheet and dry the puree in the oven until it’s
Top with red beet crumbs and beet jus if
dry to the touch. Crumble and enjoy.
desired. NATIVE NASHVILLE
HOUSEQUAKE 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY SHOW - THE HIGH WATT RHETT MILLER - MERCY LOUNGE RUEN BROTHERS - THE HIGH WATT OPERATORS w/ DOOMSQUAD - THE HIGH WATT TYLER BRYANT AND THE SHAKEDOWN - THE HIGH WATT CAR SEAT HEADREST w/ NAKED GIANTS - CANNERY BALLROOM P ARIS_MONSTER - THE HIGH WATT REEL BIG FISH & THE AQUABATS w/ DOG PARTY - CANNERY BALLROOM NO COAST & PARROTFISH - THE HIGH WATT MYSTERY SKULLS w/ PHANGS, SNOWBLOOD - THE HIGH WATT CHARLY BLISS w/ EMILY REO - MERCY LOUNGE MAN MAN w/ REBECCA BLACK - MERCY LOUNGE APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION - MERCY LOUNGE THE ALARM - MERCY LOUNGE VELCRO PYGMIES - MERCY LOUNGE RARE HARE - MERCY LOUNGE CAYUCAS - MERCY LOUNGE TIJUANA PANTHERS & TOGETHER PANGEA w/ ULTRA Q - THE HIGH WATT
CAN YOU DIG IT? 24
by KYLE COOKE photos DANIEL CHANEY
How urban farming nonprofit Trap Garden is working to eradicate Nashvilleâ€™s food deserts NATIVE NASHVILLE
IT’S RAINING THE SATURDAY BEFORE EARTH DAY. NOT A
torrential downpour by any means, but one of those perpetually hazy, gusty days that feels like the city is set in the Blade Runner universe. Certainly not an ideal day for outdoor activities, least of all manual labor. But as I pull into the back parking lot of Johnson Alternative Learning Center in South Nashville, wipers working hard, my windshield begins thumping to the anthemic beat of “Act Up” by City Girls. I have made it to the Trap Garden. Trap Garden is not a plot of fertile land, but a 501(c)3 nonprofit that Rob “Rob Veggies” Horton founded in 2014 after becoming discontent with the fact that he had to drive for miles to find a store that sold fresh produce in his community. “I got frustrated to the point where I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to see if I can grow my own. And if I fail, then I can’t really complain too much about what is available to me at the local grocery store,’” Horton says. He began his gardening career at Tennessee State University’s garden, and now his organization operates two community gardens where neighbors can harvest their own plants and vegetables on a first come, first serve basis. The Trap Garden name, Horton explains, comes from the fact that when he was growing up in St. Louis, he was more likely to see an actual trap house than he was a community garden. When he moved to Nashville to attend TSU, he noticed a lot of the same problems. But the name also has a deeper meaning. “Really it was about that work ethic. Somebody who was working within a trap house, you know, they’re putting out an illegal item,” Horton says. “It’s the actual work ethic that they put into creating that item. So trying to get repeat customers, trying to get them hooked on whatever it is they’re trying to put out in the streets. We’re just trying to get people hooked on fresh, healthy, good items that are going to be good for their body.” With a name that evokes illicit activity and abandoned buildings, there were some skeptics at first. Those critics, Horton says, didn’t understand the cultural influences of not only trap houses but trap music. “If you don’t come from a community or you don’t have a background in understanding not only what the name means but also the music perspective—
trap music is something that’s very influential as well,” Horton says. “Those are things that people did not initially understand if they didn’t come from similar backgrounds of the communities we service.” Horton’s favorite trap song, for what it’s worth, is “That’s What’s Up” by Yo Gotti. On the day I meet Horton, Trap Garden is hosting an Earth Day event at their community garden at Johnson ALC, planting everything from f lowers to basil to peppers. Despite the less than favorable conditions, about fifty people—including kids—are clad in gloves, work boots, and rain jackets and tending to the garden, which is located on the school’s property. Horton’s organization has two main goals. The first is to combat food deserts in Nashville by providing fresh produce in community gardens. Food deserts, for urban areas, are defined as low-income neighborhoods in which a supermarket is more than a mile away. In 2014, the Tennessean reported that one in five Nashville residents live in a food desert. Metro Nashville’s website identifies four food deserts in the city: North Nashville, East Nashville, South Nashville (Edgehill), and Napier-Sudekum. Johnson ALC is in the Napier-Sudekum neighborhood. Another contributing factor to what makes a food desert is a community’s access to transportation. Looking at data on the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas, you can see that in certain neighborhoods surrounding TSU’s campus, for example, over 20 percent of residents do not have a car and live over half a mile away from a supermarket. This makes grocery shopping difficult, and also forces individuals— usually low-income individuals—to purchase food at convenience stores where fresh, healthy items are scarce. At the Earth Day event, Horton introduces me to Don Frost, a Trap Garden team member who has lived in the neighborhood near Johnson ALC for over five years. Even for those who do have cars, Frost says, access to fruits and vegetables is not easy. Residents can literally be blocked from getting to a supermarket. “Once the train stops on the one-way street from 4th Avenue, there’s not a good way to get to a grocery store—to get to 8th Avenue—if you want to get some fresh produce,” he says. “Those opportunities aren’t available in this proximity.” NATIVE NASHVILLE
This is why the community gardens are vital. For people who live far from supermarkets or don’t have a means of driving to one, they can come to the garden at Johnson ALC and have their pick of peppers, squash, green beans, asparagus—whatever is in season. The same goes for the neighbors near Trap Garden’s other community garden at Buena Vista Elementary. And it’s all free. Frost adds that the garden has also helped him connect with his neighbors. “I can go to a cookout whenever I want to,” he says. The second main goal for Trap Garden is community outreach and education. Horton introduces me to Kanita Hutchinson, a masters student in agriculture business at TSU who has been working with Trap Garden since she was an undergraduate student. After starting as an intern, then moving up to volunteer coordinator, Hutchinson is now Trap Garden’s program director. She works closely with youth in the community to show them how to grow and prepare fresh vegetables. “We have our Eat, Live, Grow program over at Buena Vista Elementary,” Hutchinson says. “We get a chance to have [students] try different foods they wouldn’t normally try . . . Third graders are very brutal, honest people.” Despite their candid reviews, Hutchinson says the kids have been overwhelmingly receptive to the idea of eating predominantly vegetarian meals. But it’s the parents that do the shopping and cooking, so how is the Trap Garden making sure these new habits make their way to the students’ homes? “With the adults, we have cooking demonstrations,” Hutchinson says. “Those are free.” Even the Earth Day celebration functioned as a learning experience for many in attendance. Volunteers were introduced to
the nuances of soil ratios, lasagna mulching methods, even how to construct a compost bin and what to put in it. Connecting people, Hutchinson adds, is Trap Garden’s greatest strength. Most of the organization’s volunteers were first-time gardeners before using the community gardens, so they rely heavily on the teach one, grow one method. Social media has also proved invaluable to Trap Garden. With close to five thousand followers on Instagram alone, Horton and his team are able to spread the word
about community events, recruit new team members, and share their FRSH Bite series, in which local influencers (like rapper and past NATIVE cover story Mike Floss) try vegan dishes prepared by the folks at Riddim N’ Spice. In their latest episode, Floss and others try soy chicken, though they aren’t told what they’re eating beforehand. “Y’all finna tell me it’s some wild shit. It’s clearly chicken,” Floss says in the video, cracking up. “At this point, y’all just lying for reaction.” When I ask Horton what the organization’s
biggest challenge is moving forward, he is quick to say gentrification in Nashville. They can’t serve their community if their community is being displaced by new developments. “We don’t even know where these people are being displaced or moved to . . . and we probably won’t know until later census data is established and available,” Horton says. The fact that Trap Garden does not own any of the land they grow on presents other challenges. The organization used to operate a total of four gardens. Now, they’re down to two. They lost the other two because the land was sold and the new tenants did not want to use the extra space as a garden for the community. Of the four Trap Garden team members I speak with, only Artist Hall, the garden supervisor, was born and raised in Nashville. He says the rapid change of the city has served as somewhat of a wake-up call. “Once communities and groups of people start to notice displacement or the change of settings, if you will, it gives you a mindset of what else is changing?” Hall says. “ What else is being moved around and displaced?” Food has become a par t of that conversation. Just like traffic, insufficient public transportation, and scarce affordable housing, limited access to healthy food options is yet another unfortunate side effect of Nashville’s rapid transformation into It City. And these problems disproportionately affect low-income residents, usually people of color. “These are the individuals that are doing those day-to-day jobs that make the city run,” Hall says. “So if you’re pushing them way out of town or setting prices so high that they can’t afford to live, what happens to the
aspects around them? What happens to school? What happens to food?” For some people, Hall says, a tall and skinny being built next door forces them to think, How much time do I have left? To make matters worse, efforts by local lawmakers to combat the food desert crisis have largely fallen short. In 2014, Democratic Rep. Harold Love proposed a house bill that would’ve diverted less than a tenth of a percent of money collected from a tax on sugary drinks to a fund created to help improve low-income communities’ access to healthy food. The bill never even made it to subcommittee. In 2018, the legislation was refiled and passed, but this time it only required a study on the costs and benefits of creating a special fund to provide relief to help eliminate food deserts, i.e. building grocery stores. That study recommended that the state should work to improve the already existing options for fresh food instead of building grocery stores in communities that need them. Until neighborhoods like NapierSudekum actually have a grocery store with fresh produce, community gardens like the ones operated by Trap Garden are one of the few options for healthy fruits and vegetables. I ask Horton if they plan on buying land to create more gardens. He says no, that their goal now is to make the two gardens that they do have as strong as possible. That includes increasing their educational programming efforts to show that these gardens are helping the community. “A lot of people are benefiting from Nashville, but not all people are benefiting from this growth in Nashville right now,” Horton tells me. “And so we’re just trying to make sure we’re supporting those who need it most.”
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A look inside the beautifully cheesy world of Crappy Magic It’s difficult to classify things in this post-genre, post-facts, post–Donald Glover world (seriously, what do we call Donald Glover? A musician? An actor? A comic? God?). The creative floodgates that once—perhaps arbitrarily—divided artistic mediums and various forms of entertainment are now gone. As a result, the art that tends to stick out in today’s cultural stew brings audiences a general experience or a world—not just a single piece of work like an album or an exhibit. Joe Rogan fans, for instance, aren’t particularly drawn to his comedy or his MMA commentary or his penchant for trendy chemicals. Rather, they’re drawn to the concept of Joe Rogan—this thing or vibe that’s created when you mix all of the above (and Lord, what a vibe it is). Such is the case with local “art enterprise” Crappy Magic. Defining it is sort of tricky. Yes, it’s an art magazine. Yes, it’s an “experimental retailer.” Yes, it’s a collection of loosely connected experiential art exhibits and a series of faux infomercials posted on Instagram. But more than anything, it’s the weird cosmos of David Hellams’ mind. With help from a rotating cast of collaborators like David King, Tyler Blankenship, and past NATIVE artist spotlight subject Rachel 34
Growden, Hellams has created a world that’s somewhere between PeeWee’s Playhouse and Tim and Eric—an endearing collection of absurd art projects and events that include everything from The Crappy Magic Experience (a sort of found-object bazaar in which patrons scan thrift store items at a video kiosk and then watch Hellams-directed videos relating to said items) to The Commission to Rescue Abandoned Paintings (an art gallery that “plucks the discarded works of amateur and unknown artists from the brink of oblivion and gives them another chance to be enjoyed”). Hellams’ last project was a collaboration with Erin Plew called The Medium is the Message: Answering Machine, which showed at the Packing Plant in early June. For the exhibit, the duo created a living room (complete with buyable used objects) based on tapes from an old answering machine that Plew found (more on that later). While the decor of the living room was pretty standard for the late ’90s, the contents on the answering machine—which detail the hospice arrangements for an aging family member—were anything but normal. We sat down with Hellams and Plew to talk Crappy Magic, the genius of kitsch, and what it means to mourn.
Okay, because Crappy Magic is outside of what some readers expect from an art project, can you briefly explain what exactly this “thing” is? David Hellams: Crappy Magic began as a photography magazine, depicting piles of disorganized, discarded consumer goods in sometimes artful ways. I was making the images largely in-store while shopping at thrift outlet stores in Nashville and elsewhere. What began in 2015 as an independently produced photo zine expanded the following year into a series of interactive art events called the Crappy Magic Experience, developed in partnership with my friend David King. People really responded to our curated collection of thrift store items and the interactive displays based on the items. We also staged performance art benefit auctions, which people enjoyed both for their absurdity and for the competitive thrill of bidding at low dollar amounts.
stores, I allow impulses or intuition to tell me what is actually worth running against the system. If it passes, I buy or snap the picture. Items that will go in the Crappy Magic Experience bins can’t be too fragile, for instance, because viewers will handle them at the shows. But more importantly, an item should have the potential to spark an imaginative response in viewers, which by now is a determination I make both by intuition and experience. In making a photo, I may see a decent composition lining up around a toy dinosaur ravaging a circuit board city, but if there are too many shoppers around or the background isn’t ideal, I might not bother making the picture, since I have already made other successful ones with similar elements. At this point I can be pretty picky, because I have learned that everything I take on board creates more work!
You describe Crappy Magic as an “enterprise” rather than just an art project or magazine. Can you elaborate on what that means beyond the obvious fact that Crappy Magic incorporates multiple artistic mediums? Hellams: I have produced a lot of things now under the name Crappy Magic. I view Crappy Magic as a conceptual business. Now, it is not a profitable one yet—I do want it to be that someday. But to me it is a conceptual success already, in that the means by which Crappy Magic goes about the business of selling items, videos, or experiences is in itself the substance of my “art.” In each Crappy Magic sales event, I carefully consider the merchandise I will present and the processes by which viewers will browse and purchase from the show. I create these sort of video art infomercials that advertise the show while also outlining its themes. The items you buy from the showroom might or might not be works of art. Either way, my aim is that the experience you have at the sales event be thought-provoking, distinctive, and truly memorable.
Of all the found objects you’ve salvaged or thrifted, what is your favorite? Hellams: That’s a tough one! There’s this painting that I’ve had hanging over my bed for a couple years now. It is a landscape with a pond in the middle of a field with some background hills. It is damaged, with multiple tears in the middle of the canvas. And it’s one of the most beautiful things I own. It’s signed simply in the bottom right corner, “B.” I’ll send you a picture of it. My personal associations with it include the little hidden lakes in the first Zelda game, the pond where I got high for the first time as a teenager, and a pleasant sort of folk art vision of the afterlife. The damage makes it more interesting, not less—a constellation of holes above the pond makes a little face, like a pond spirit. Currently I am also very much enamored with a bear doll I acquired recently—it looks super old, stuffed with some kind of straw or wood shavings, which you can see through a large hole in its left side, and its cartoon eyes look either gentle or dead, depending on your angle of view.
What do you look for in found objects when you’re out thrifting or shooting for the Crappy Magic magazine? Do you have an intentional set of guidelines that dictate what you’re looking for, or is it more an impulsive thing? Hellams: In both photographing and buying for Crappy Magic, I have developed a loose internal system that tells me what I can use and how much I’m willing to spend or work to get a shot. But as I’m browsing the
At the Crappy Magic Experience 2018 exhibit, you encouraged viewers to haggle with you over items. And at NATIVE’s May 2019 Creative Release party, you made this cheesy, Tim and Eric – adjacent infomercial for your collaboration with Rachel Growden. In both of these instances, you seemed to ride a line between parodying kitsch and actually really admiring or loving kitsch. So, my question is: Does Crappy Magic ironically love
that kind of tackiness, or do you have a genuine admiration for kitschy media? Hellams: Crappy Magic is partly about the functional role of kitsch objects and culture in daily life. It’s also a satire on consumer culture and the art market, but I hope it comes across as a good-natured one that challenges our thinking by positing alternatives to the status quo in a celebratory and welcoming fashion. For the most part, I genuinely admire the items I share as part of the Crappy Magic Collection. If admire isn’t always the right word, I at least see some imagination-sparking capacity in the items that tells me viewers may respond similarly if things are presented well. The reason I’m haggling over the things is because I consider them to be of a certain value, and I take the exercise seriously, though many of the things are admittedly silly and useless by some standards. If I ask you for a few dollars more on a really neat item, that is not out of whimsy or capriciousness, but out of a genuine regard for the item—its market value, age, and uniqueness. I have to weigh the amount of pleasure it gives to me and to the people who experience it in our shows against my desire to move merchandise and send customers home happy. I will acknowledge that there is a certain amount of theater to the formal haggling process, and in light of the merchandise it could seem like an ironic gesture, but whether it is or not, it does succeed in opening people’s minds to what these items could be worth. That’s both a conceptual and a business goal of mine! I’m glad you raise the relation between my videos and contemporary ironic sketch comedy but also asked about a possible distinction. The media content I want to create definitely trades in some absurd humor, but hopefully it is warmer, calmer, maybe even “safe for work” much of the time. I was an adult fan of Fred Rogers for many years prior to last year’s beautiful biographical documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? My generation has grown up on a lot of sardonic, frenetic comedy. Maybe as we get a little older, and we’ve seen the effects of that side of our culture taken to their fullest extent, we might like to take our absurdity sometimes with a dose of congeniality. Like Mr. Rogers, I want my videos to be like a welcoming place viewers can become familiar with and return to.
Walk us through the process behind The Medium is the Message: Answering Machine. How did you come up with the idea, and where did you find the answering machine? Did finding the machine inspire the show, or vice versa? Erin Plew: In the process of gathering props for an indie film I worked on in Appalachia last fall [The Evening Hour], I found this amazing wood paneled answering machine. I was surprised when I plugged it in that the cassettes still had the recordings of the machine’s former owners. Having no time to listen to it in the whirlwind of working on that movie, I was excited to show it to David when I got back to Nashville. We rewound and listened and couldn’t believe the beautiful and poignant—and sometimes funny—stories these recordings told. You really start to empathize with the mother, Barbara. The sadness in her voice is palpable as she speaks to concerned friends and family members and arranges hospice care for her dying husband. When the son starts calling in, desperately trying to get through to get some nutrients and a trip to the RadioShack, it’s a little unsettling at first. But it becomes almost a farce as his persistent calls continue to be ignored. As listeners, we had to reconcile our perception of the family’s grief with this series of obsessive, repetitive rants that sounded not unlike a stand-up comedian’s monologue. We loved the story and began throwing out ideas of how best to present it. A lot of those ideas seemed to take away from the story and its characters, and we ultimately decided to create [Barbara’s space] as we saw it—based on what the recording tells us about the characters. We surmised that the original voicemails were probably left in the late ’90s or early 2000s, so everything in the space is from that time period and before. Found family photos can be seen on the walls, in frames and in a family photo album on the coffee table, providing a further glimpse into what kind of people this family could be. The more you listen, the more you feel like you know them and pick up on subtleties that you hadn’t previously noticed. We really enjoyed getting to know this family through this artifact they left behind and took special care to respect the kind of people they may have been and the space they could have inhabited.
The show flyer for The Medium reads, “There is a universal pathos to the messages related to this family’s arrangements for hospice care and offers of assistance and condolence.” What did the messages teach you about family and grief? Plew: Another’s grief is almost impossible to completely understand. We all experience it in profoundly varying ways that are as unique as each of us. Sometimes the only thing we can do is to reach out to those we love going through personal tragedies, but our words often sound trite and shallow in comparison to the enormity of what the grieving person is experiencing. It’s interesting to hear those close with the family on the answering machine attempt to convey their sympathy and put these feelings into words. Alternatively, the way in which the social workers and the VA talk to the family seems sometimes flippant as they leave messages about end-of-life plans. It’s strange to feel as if you almost embody Barbara’s person by sitting on her couch, surrounded by her belongings, casually listening to the alternating messages. I think creating her space around the viewer takes away some of the inherent voyeurism and replaces it with a bit more of an understanding and empathy for what she must be going through.
Crappy Magic’s next project, a collaboration with Bridget Bailey tentatively titled The Commission to Rescue Abandoned Middle School Ceramics Projects, will open July 6 at The Packing Plant’s Crappy Magic Showroom.
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Literature Spotlight: DAN HOY Illustrations COURTNEY SPENCER
This selection is from Enscificlopedia , an in-progress poem-catalog of every sci-fi movie I’ve ever seen. These aren’t so much microreviews or summaries or even hot takes as they are tiny distillations of some theme or image that struck me and stuck with me. Each poem is its own world, but taken together, they’re artifacts of a cosmos I internalized during my formative years in the ’80s—a cosmos in which minor accidents of cinematic narrative become universal declarations on what it is to be a human creature on this planet. —Dan
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978) Every human body is a potential vector for screaming.
E.T. (1982) To be alive is to be homesick. Home is where oblivion is.
TRON (1982) You are the title character of your life & yet you are not the protagonist.
BRAINSTORM (1983) Weaponize your life with intense sexual & near death experiences. 46
THE TERMINATOR (1984) Fuck the future. Give birth to it.
2010 (1984) Only thing more powerful than a god is the death of a god. NATIVE NASHVILLE
D.A.R.Y.L. (1985) Death Algorithms Rule Your Life.
MODERN DAY HOBO SERIES // NASHVILLE EDITION
Find Hobo at the following local retailers: Fire Finch, Nashville * Alegria, Nashville * Pieces, Nashville Philanthropy, Franklin * Perfect Setting, Franklin Sew What Gifts, Brentwood * Stacey Rhodes, Brentwood Chattanooga Shoe Co., Chattanooga
“If I like it, it goes”
Contributor Spotlight: GABRIEL MAX STARNER About me: I’m a millennial that grew up in the South. I studied religion and studio art in undergrad and marriage and family therapy in grad school. Now, I work as a commercial photographer. I’m queer and non-religious, and some of my family’s still upset about it. I really like gardening. INFJ 4w5. Photography: I mostly shoot products and food. Making weird composite photos is my favorite, but those projects usually don’t pay the bills. Hopes and dreams: Universal health care, student loan forgiveness, reparations, fully funded education, luxury wages for teachers, sex positivity, universal basic income, the end of conversion therapy, the end of private prisons, the end of religious fundamentalism, and more Democratic candidates elected in Nashville and in the South. Important messages: I want every queer and trans person to know that they are precious and worthy of love. Bad theology kills. Black lives matter. Protect trans kids. Website/Instagram: gabrielmaxstarner.com @gabrielmaxstarner —Gabriel
E N J O Y T H E T E R R A C E AT T H E M I D WAY L I F T E D J U S T A B O V E 4 T H AV E N U E
LOCATED ON THE 4TH FLOOR OF THE FAIRLANE HOTEL AT 4TH AND UNION
YOU OUGHTA KNOW:
Briston Maroney by NATIVE STAFF
photos LAURA E. PARTAIN
In case you couldn’t tell from the past couple years of NATIVE events and music coverage, we love hearing locals bare their souls over synths, drum machines, and lots of sub-bass. This new-ish crop of Nashville pop is, after all, what most of the kids in town seem to be making—plus we’re never mad about music we can dance to. However, this doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about the alt rock most of us on staff grew up on, either. Call us archaic or stuck in the Obama-era blogosphere, but we’ll always have a soft spot for vulnerable coming-of-age tunes over (real) bass, drums, and guitars. As of late, Briston Maroney is filling that indie void in our life. Since 2017, the twenty-one-year-old has put out three solid EPs, each of which has been more polished— in terms of production, playing, and writing—than the last. Indiana, the latest in that trio, seems like the perfect marriage of Maroney’s early folk material and the Kings of Leon-y stomp of 2018’s Carnival. This is a young writer refining his craft and honing in on what it means to be himself, and—judging by the power-pop hooks in “Small Talk” and the wise-beyond-his-years portrait painted in “Caroline”—it’s only going to get better from here. Considering Maroney writes bittersweet rock for presumably like-minded old souls, it’s appropriate that there’s a tinge of sadness in his pick for favorite local restaurant. “International Market has always been a place I know I can see familiar faces of folks who gave me some of the best memories of my early days in Nashville,” Maroney tells us. “A part of my soul will be gone when it so tragically closes. Thank you for the memories, IM!” Let’s hope we get a song about it closing (might we suggest a requiem to the pad Thai?). Listen to Indiana everywhere now, and don’t miss Maroney at Musicians Corner on June 22.
with *repeat repeat by NATIVE STAFF illustrations COURTNEY SPENCER
In Just Cause, NATIVE checks in with musicians, artists, writers, chefs, and pretty much anyone else who has appeared in the magazine to see what they’re up to these days. We also ask about their favorite local nonprofit or charity. This month, we’re checking in with *repeat repeat, who appeared in NATIVE in June 2016. We’re sick of hearing about the concept of “making it” in the music industry. At best, the term is nebulous, and at worst it’s needlessly narrow-minded and cruel. What, we often ask ourselves, is making it? When does one know they’ve made it? And if you fail to make it, does that mean your art is bad? Does it mean you didn’t work hard enough, or does it simply mean you weren’t in the right place at the right time? Of course these questions are impossible to answer, and that’s primarily because there is—especially in the post-streaming, post-influencer wilderness we find ourselves in—no such thing as “making it.” However, if there were such a thing as making it, we’d argue that local duo *repeat repeat has done just that. Since we spoke to Kristyn and Jared Corder during the lead up to their debut LP, 2017’s Floral Canyon , the couple has been hard at work touring (they’ve now played fests like Bonnaroo and Shaky Knees, and they’ve opened for Car Seat Headrest and Cold War Kids); hanging on a twelve-acre farm with their ten rescue animals; and, most notably, recording their sophomore effort, Glazed, which was released on May 31. To emphasize that hard in “hard at work”: the album was recorded over the course of twenty twelve-hour-day studio shifts with Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, who produced and
played drums. In an appropriately familycentric twist, Michelle Branch even sang on a track (she and Carney married back in 2017, in case you’re not up to date on the latest in indie domesticity). And this summer, the Corders and company will celebrate Glazed with a US and Canada tour before hitting the road with the Black Keys and Modest Mouse in the fall. Again, we don’t love the term “making it,” but sometimes the shoe fits. Given their love of all things furry, we’re not surprised that Kristyn and Jared picked Pet Community Center—a high-volume, lowcost spay and neuter clinic in East Nashville— as their preferred local nonprofit. Founded in 2011, the org services 10,000 animals annually and has been a key player in helping Davidson County’s shelter euthanasia rate drop from 80 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2018. As the Corders wrote over email: “For those of us who feel it is our responsibility to provide care and love and empathy for the animals we share the world with, this locally driven nonprofit makes it so much easier for people to help—whether it’s for animals in your home or a stray that you want to help (Do that! You actually can with PCC).” If you’d like to support or volunteer with PCC, you can find more info at petcommunitycenter.org. *repeat repeat is currently on tour, and Glazed is available everywhere now.
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Featuring Trap Garden, Crappy Magic, Dan Hoy, and many more.