ISSUE 83 KOKOS ICE CREAM
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Contents Issue 83
The Goods 13 Beer from Here 17 Cocktail of the Month 20 Master Platers 60 You Oughta Know 65 Just Cause
Features 24 Kokos Ice Cream 34 Contributor Spotlight: Emily Dorio
44 The Porch 52 Artist Spotlight: Xavier Payne
52 NATIVE NASHVILLE
Behind the Issue:
Kokos Ice Cream Listen, considering we run features on only local music, and considering we are called NATIVE, we try to only mention musicians from Nashville in this magazine. However, The 1975 are playing Ascend the day this issue hits stands, so we’re currently wearing out their latest record, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, in preparation for the show (okay, maybe just one member of our editorial staff is, and maybe he is a little too old to listen to a band like this). While listening, we realized the album’s opener seems especially applicable to this issue of NATIVE . Over nasally guitars, Matty Healy earnestly pleads, “So just give yourself a try / Won’t you give yourself a try?” It’s a rare moment of sincerity from a headline-grabbing aesthete—a lowering of the guard from the patron saint of millennial neuroses, if you will. At first listen, you have to wonder: Could this guy, the same one who normally writes about heroin, agoraphobia, sex, and the corrosive effects of the internet, be telling us to maybe try being happy for once? And if so, could finding happiness be as easy as “giving yourself a try”? We’re not sure about the answer to that last question, but we do think that if you want to be happy, taking it easy on yourself
isn’t a bad place to start. Yes, it can be tough to dampen the voice in your head that says you should be busier or thinner or richer. But—and we know this is easier said than done—we encourage you to remember that it’s okay to be imperfect, it’s okay to let yourself feel joy (or pain), and it’s okay to give yourself a try. It’s also okay to do things that make that sense of self-acceptance easier, and that’s where the stories featured in this issue come into play. Whether it’s a company like Kokos Plant Based Ice Cream, which is trying to make treating yourself as positive and guilt-free as possible; or The Porch, a literary nonprofit dedicated to giving writers the confidence to share their stories; or local artists and photographers simply painting and shooting exactly what they want, we believe this issue is full of Nashvillians who are not only allowing themselves to be happy but are also encouraging others to follow suit. So as you read this issue, kick back, enjoy the warm weather, maybe get yourself your favorite treat (might we suggest a cone of Kokos Lemon Pie ice cream, which you can read about starting on page 24?), and give yourself a try. You might be pleasantly surprised with who—and what—you find.
PRESIDENT, FOUNDER: PUBLISHER, FOUNDER: OPERATIONS MANAGER:
ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN JOE CLEMONS
EDITOR IN CHIEF: COPY EDITOR:
CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN ROBERTSON
DARCIE CLEMEN ROBERTSON ROBERT BRUCE
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: ART DIRECTOR:
HANNAH LOVELL COURTNEY SPENCER
NICK BUMGARDNER DANIELLE ATKINS EMILY DORIO DYLAN REYES
SHELBY GRAHAM EDWIN ORTIZ
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with Charlie Hickerson Editor in Chief at NATIVE Beer Name: Chicken Scratch Brewery: Little Harpeth Style: American Pilsner ABV: 5.25% Food Pairing: Silo’s Caramel Bacon Popcorn Appearance: light gold, like a bale of hay Aroma: wheat, light lemon Where to Find It: Silo Overall Takeaways: Once upon a time in Germantown, I lived in a little yellow house on 3rd Avenue North (it’s now a bail bondsman’s office). It was the sort of weird housing situation people in their early twenties—or at least people who are in their early twenties without their shit together—can often fall into: three people living in a sub-1,000-square-foot house; a living-room-turned-bedroom scenario; a constant orbit of discarded Wendy’s chili cups; and, oddly enough, a roommate that was well into his sixties. It was a weird time, okay? It was also an extremely fun time, thanks in large part to our neighborhood bar, Silo (this was before Jack Brown’s, Butchertown Hall, 5th and Taylor, and the new stadium and all of its surrounding bars). Maybe the warm weather has me feeling nostalgic, but when deciding on a local beer/food pairing this month, I couldn’t stop thinking about strolling down to the patio at Silo and grabbing a Chicken Scratch (in a big ole pilsner glass) and splitting an order of caramel bacon popcorn with whomever I had dragged down to the bar with me. For IPA or porter lovers, the Chicken Scratch—or pilsners in general— might not pack enough oomf in the way of hops or barley, but that’s exactly what I love about it. The Chicken Scratch is a study in subtlety. There is a hint of sweetness, maybe a touch of lemon, and a slight afterburn of hops, but ultimately, this is a beer that’s meant to be easily enjoyed. As such, it’s the perfect partner to a busy—aka decadent—food like caramel bacon popcorn. The aforementioned hint of sweetness harmonizes with the caramel, while that little bite of hops washes down the richness of the bacon and leaves your mouth feeling refreshed instead of all pork-y. As a matter of fact, this pairing is so good, it’s dangerous—if you’re not careful, you’ll end up ordering two or three of each before you can say cracker jack.
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Are We Cross
2 oz Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum
Combine all ingredients with cubed ice
1/2 oz Carpano Bianco Vermouth
in a mixing glass. Stir to combine and chill.
1/2 oz Carpano Dry Vermouth
Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Cut the orange
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Originale
peel into a 2- to 3-inch strip. Squeeze the peel
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the rim of the glass with the peel. Twirl the peel
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PHOTO BY NICK BUMGARDNER
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MASTER PL ATERS
FROM THE UPCOMING THE PEACH TRUCK COOKBOOK, AVAILABLE JUNE 25 PHOTOS BY ELIESA JOHNSON
Peach Caprese Salad
Yield: 4 servings
THE GOODS 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp stone ground mustard 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp chopped shallot 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced 2 large peaches, sliced into rounds 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced small handful of basil leaves flaky sea salt
DIRECTIONS Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, shallot, kosher salt, and pepper in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing is emulsified. Arrange the mozzarella, peaches, tomatoes, and basil on a serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle with the dressing, sprinkle with flaky salt, and serve. Excerpt from The Peach Truck Cookbook by Jessica N. Rose and Stephen K. Rose. Copyright ÂŠ 2019 by S&J Rose, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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Double Scoop of Happiness
Kokos Ice Cream creators Jerusa van Lith and Sam Brooker want to show you just how good ice cream can be by DARCIE CLEMEN ROBERTSON photos DANIELLE ATKINS
ON ONE OF THE LAST RAINY, COLD SPRING DAYS, I PULL UP TO
the ONEC1TY complex on Charlotte Avenue and note how all the grey shipping container buildings look like they’re in hibernation mode. But the new addition to their block is a pale pink container with string lights glowing around the outside and some cheery modern deck furniture defying the grey weather. This is the flagship “Skoop Shop” for Kokos, Nashville’s newest dairy-free and plant-based ice cream company. Two years in the making, the shop is perfectly nestled amongst similarly health-conscious neighbors like Avo, SandBar, Full Ride Cycling, and CrossFit—as if they’d all planned for decades to be here. Inside I’m greeted by cofounders Jerusa van Lith and Sam Brooker, and the most elegant, grammable décor I’ve ever seen in an ice cream shop or shippingcontainer-turned-retail-space: emerald-green velvet chairs and stools, tiny gold side tables, happy plants, warm lighting, and walls painted in wide stripes of pale ice cream colors. In short, a place where you want to hang out to see and be seen. Van Lith, Brooker, and I walk over to the ONEC1TY building to talk in a quiet corner of the lobby, and they take turns telling me more about the scene they’ve intentionally set at the shop and with their plant-based ice cream. “Anything anywhere we can have a positive vibration or good effect with anything we do, we do that. We choose that over almost anything really,” Van Lith shares. “[When you make] music, you hope people feel something. That’s the goal, right? Is that you create something that [makes] people feel something,” Brooker says. “That’s what ties into Kokos, too, is like you walk in and we want you to feel something, feel like the world’s a little bit more beautiful.” Before Brooker and Van Lith were making the world a bit more beautiful with ice cream, they were doing it through music. They had each traveled back and forth to Nashville for years for development deals as artists— Van Lith coming from Amsterdam and Brooker coming from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Then one night at a show, they intersected. “I saw Jerusa and she’s standing with all my friends, and I was like, ‘I know all of you, but I don’t know you,’”
Brooker says, pointing at his partner. They laugh and Van Lith’s eyes grow wide. “We found out that for five years that I was here, we had been circling in these same circles of people but never met,” she says. “And then in typical Nashville style,” says Brooker, “our first hang was we wrote a song.” The natural next step was to begin making music together and supporting each other’s projects. Brooker was starting a music publishing company with a friend, and Van Lith was writing and recording her first EP. But even with their success in music, both felt the need to keep pushing to the next challenge, the next expression. So, how did ice cream—and planted-based ice cream at that—become the medium for that expression? When I ask Brooker and Van Lith about this, they volley back and forth to explain. “How do you explain that? It was just a conversation that happened,” Van Lith says. “One thing is I can’t eat dairy,” says Brooker. “That was the first . . . why the conversation even came up, I guess . . . that turned into this concept of creating vegan ice cream, plant-based ice cream.” “What we’re trying to say is, it could have been something else, but it isn’t something else because of all of our—how do you say that, like our independent lives and the life steps,” Van Lith explains. Before Brooker came back to Nashville to stay, he had toyed with the idea of starting a chocolate shop in Wisconsin, where he grew up. But that was his only almost-foray into food. Van Lith, on the other hand, is no stranger to the service industry—or vegan cuisine. Her brother is a chef, her sister-in-law owns two vegan restaurants, and Amsterdam, like most European metropolises, is leagues ahead of the States when it comes to plant-based food. Brooker had caught the entrepreneurial bug with the publishing company (where he signed the writer who penned Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise”), and both he and Van Lith had learned self-marketing through being artists. Throw in two good palates and a passion for pushing boundaries, and Kokos was born. True artists, Van Lith and Brooker sought to challenge people’s beliefs about ice cream and what it means to treat yourself. Van Lith says, “It’s ice cream so you’re thinking, well, how much can you challenge NATIVE NASHVILLE
people with that? It’s actually, for some people—it can rub them the wrong way because you’re taking something that is so ingrained in culture, in American culture as well, and something you enjoyed throughout your childhood with your parents, with your grandparents, with your siblings . . . Then, if someone comes along and says, ‘Hey, actually, we made it better,’ does that mean that what you’ve enjoyed wasn’t good? You know what I mean? Unconsciously, that might be a trigger for people to have their walls up.” Brooker chimes in. “But it’s interesting, people’s preconceived notion. First of all, dairy-free can be really bad. We agree with that. We’re saying, ‘Yeah, it’s horrible.’ That’s why we created Kokos, to make it better. We say it’s better than ice cream. “We’ve had so many people that at first get fooled. They don’t know, they eat it, and then they’re like, ‘Oh, I was expecting to have a stomachache after. Wait, this is plant based? Wow.’ Yeah, so that’s fun.” But Kokos isn’t about getting on a dietary high horse and looking down on dairy-eaters. Instead, Brooker and Van Lith wanted to make something that was healthier yet generally delicious—for vegans and non vegans alike. The plant-based recipe was always central; they never thought of making it just an option on a traditional ice cream menu. “It was never even a thought. It was let’s make the best ice cream we can, with the best ingredients. In turn, it just happens that our plant-based ice cream is as good if not better than using dairy, so why would we even think about it?” Brooker says. For Kokos, the “best ingredients” include a 100 percent organic coconut milk base,
organic and local ingredients where possible, and no nuts, so as to be allergy-friendly. “We just wanted to make a happy, happy thing,” Van Lith says. “Really, it’s a happy experience, happy product, happy people. It’s just something light.” They also took this idea into the shop space. Brooker points out that most ice cream shops don’t have mirrors on the walls, because you’re indulging in a guilty pleasure. Who wants to look at themselves when they’re feeling guilty? But Kokos has five mirrors in the Skoop Shop, which serve to not only brighten up the space but also remind customers that they can feel good about seeing themselves, about making a good choice. “You don’t have to hide anything. You can feel proud of yourself,” Van Lith beams. “Sure, there’s still sugar in there, but it’s not as much as regular ice cream, and it’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s just a happy pleasure.” (The rest of the inviting décor also comes from her creative mind—as Brooker jokes, “I didn’t see that much pink in my mind.”) So far it sounds like Nashville likes that idea, because the grand opening of the Skoop Shop on April 11 was a hit: people lined up around the building before listening to The
Band Pacific live on the deck or grabbing a taco from the Succulent Vegan Tacos truck. The space has been buzzing ever since, even on cold and rainy days. Their Kokos bicycle cart and Eastside to-go shop have been all the rage the past two years, but Van Lith and Brooker still seem humbled and surprised by the response to the shop. And that saying “positive energy begets positive energy” applies here. Van Lith and Brooker’s dream is to take the Kokos brand global with pints in grocery stores and more Skoop Shop locations, and already local retailers like Graze, The Soda Parlor, Vege-licious Cafe, Herban Market, and the Vanderbilt campus market are spreading the Kokos plant-based gospel. They’re also currently building out a space in the Columbia arts district for their first Skoop Shop outside of Nashville. And they’ve got plans for a night market and festival that will feature local makers and musicians. They can’t not keep the creative spark going. “We wanna be a part of the growth, a part of the change, and keep adding more beauty into the city,” Brooker says. All this, and they’re still making music as a duo called A Man and A Woman and traveling to Denmark to write with Danish friends (and
Brooker is working on a music tech project). Is this a testament to this ice cream making you feel light and energetic? If so, I’ll take all the scoops, please. Even with this in mind, I’m cautiously optimistic about trying Kokos for the first time. Like Brooker, my family is midwestern, so I basically have dairy running in my veins. Try as I might, I can’t quit cheese or ice cream, even when eating some Ben & Jerry’s after dinner means I will feel it burning through my system the rest of the night. I also love coconut milk but know from using it that it can be a finicky ingredient, sometimes “splitting” or becoming chalky. We brave the rain to head back to the shop, where I try samples of all the day’s flavors: Holy Chocolate, The Jam, Cherry Bomb, Matcha Mint, Moka Frappé, and Lemon Pie. The first thing I pay attention to is the texture, which Van Lith and Brooker say is a mix between American hard ice cream and European gelato. It’s a spot-on description, as this is possibly the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had. Luxurious but light. Next I focus on the flavors, which the duo come up with based on their own tastes. They stick to six flavors, with a few regulars and a couple of seasonals in the mix. The Holy Chocolate gets the ravest reviews, and I immediately see why. The chocolate flavor, credited to high-quality chocolate (Brooker was almost in the biz), demands a moment of silence. Cherry Bomb is up there for me because I love cherries and it has a hint of coconut flavor (most of the other flavors do not, so coconut haters, don’t hate). I’m usually not a fan of matcha, but they add just enough to ground the delicate mint, and I would eat a whole bowl of it. The Moka is the punchy coffee flavor you want when
you’re feeling up for a fight; The Jam is the vanilla with berry jam that takes you back to eating ice cream with your gram on the front porch swing. And all of these are dairy-free, vegan, glutenfree, and nut-free. Last but not least, if you can do gluten, the Lemon Pie is zingy, true-lemon flavor ice cream with a crunchy graham crust mixed in. It’s everything I want it to be. I want to live at Kokos now. Given the choice, I would choose Kokos over regular ice cream—the flavors are balanced, it’s not greasy, it’s creamy to the max with no stodgy aftertaste, and I feel light and happy afterward instead of achy and gross. The only downside is this means I could just keep eating it, and since it does contain the aforementioned coconut milk and evaporated cane sugar, I would probably gain some happy pounds. But dang, my skin would look good from those healthy fats. Thankfully, for now, the pair send me home with just two Kokos Kubes, which are their adorable pints packaged in an eco-conscious, origami-looking box complete with the Kokos signature palm leaf design on the outside. Now to keep my ice-cream pounding husband from them. I do share with him later, and for all his skepticism about anything nontraditional, he admits he wouldn’t have known it was anything other than real ice cream, and really good ice cream at that. Another convert. If Van Lith and Brooker keep going at their current pace, it won’t be long before eating Kokos on the reg will be a convenient possibility for all of us. Until then, it’s definitely worth scooting over to ONEC1TY for a cone or a cup, a healthy dose of pink, and treating yourself better.
1013 Fatherland St. 6592 Highway 100 Suite 1
EAST NASHVILLE BELLE MEADE
Kokos Skoop Shop is open Monday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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Contributor Spotlight: EMILY DORIO
As a commercial photographer, I am a conduit for other people’s visions of themselves or brands or physical creations. Often, I feel that my work isn’t always my own; rather, it’s a collaboration, and I am just the creative vessel for final fruition. This collection of (mostly film) photographs was created during a moment of pause: a nice detour on the way to a destination that was another final project; a moment of beauty or joy shot on the way to somewhere else. They capture those fleeting, often overlooked moments in life—the time we record for ourselves instead of other people. —Emily
Made Exclusively for You, By Hand in Nashville
Write All About It How literary nonprofit The Porch is giving local writers the tools—and the confidence—they need to share their stories
by ROBERT BRUCE Photos DYLAN REYES
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. —Sylvia Plath “YOU’RE A PRETTY GOOD WRITER. YOU MIGHT WANT
to consider doing something with that.” An adjunct literature professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham said that to me in passing a few months before I was set to graduate with an English degree in the spring of 2002. I can’t remember her name. I can barely recall what she looked like. But I do remember what she said, more than seventeen years later. Interestingly enough, I’ve been a professional writer for fifteen of those years, spurred on by a passion I rediscovered in my twenties, a passion that was only enhanced by literary and creative writing professors just like her. Her passing comment wasn’t the reason I became a writer. Had she not made it, I believe I’d likely still be where I am today. But I can tell you one thing for certain: her comment meant something to me as a young twentysomething unsure of myself and my voice. It was, perhaps, one of those small turning points, a quick push around the corner that provided the momentum through the homestretch of earning my degree and beginning my career. As writers and creatives, or just as humans in general, we all need the occasional nudge like that. We need the voice that reaffirms or redirects us toward whatever it is we’re called to do—or even toward realizing that it’s just something we like to do. Native Nashvillians Susannah Felts and Katie
McDougall are giving local writers that nudge via The Porch, a five-year-old nonprofit organization that just found a new home on a quiet street in the Berry Hill neighborhood—walking distance from coffee shops and eateries like Vui’s Kitchen. As writers, Felts and McDougall have checked off many items on a typical writer’s career to-do list. MFA? Got it. Published short stories? Yep. Novels? Done. Teaching position? Absolutely. Despite having accomplished so much, the duo behind The Porch wanted to do more. But this time, they wanted to give back. From that desire, the idea of The Porch was born. Their mission is simple: Help people become better writers and promote literary culture. But in reality, The Porch involves so much more than that. What started as a passing flicker in Felt’s brain in 2013 has slowly evolved into a growing community of eager and passionate writers throughout Nashville. Six years ago, however, the idea of The Porch was foggy at best. “I had been freelance writing, editing, and teaching in an adjunct role,” Felts says. “I was real involved with the independent literary scene in Chicago, published a YA novel, then we moved [back] here. I had this idea that I just wanted to teach writing classes in the community,” she added. Around then, Felts and McDougall met in a writing group, and the idea of The Porch slowly took shape. “At that point, I was really tired of grading papers on The Great Gatsby by sophomore boys who hadn’t read the book,” McDougall says.
“After Susannah and I met, which was all very serendipitous, she kept talking about how Nashville needed a literary arts organization. By then, I told her I was game to take a leap of faith.” They looked around the country and tried to model their efforts on other similar but established literary arts nonprofits. The Loft in Minneapolis. Grub Street in Boston. The Lighthouse in Denver. Hugo House in Seattle. But back in Nashville, no one really got it . . . yet. They quickly found that the idea of a “literary center” didn’t exactly resonate with the average person on the street, and even the creative community. “We had a lot of educating to do—and, to some extent we still do,” Felts says. When The Porch opened in 2014, the nonprofit hosted 25 workshops with 150 participants. “This year, we’re teaching around 70 classes with nearly 1,000 participants,” McDougall says. Felts adds that they see people from all across the Nashville spectrum. “The hankering to write is universal,” she says. “We see young people who just moved to Nashville, who maybe loved writing in college. We see savvy professionals who want to add something to their work life. We see empty nesters who are looking to do something new. A typical class might include everyone from ages twenty-three to seventy-five. It’s a real mix.” “How often do you see millennials engaging in conversation and shared activities with retirees, mom and dads, and everyone in between?” says Felts. “Everyone gets so siloed—like mothers hanging out only with other mothers— so seeing a change in that has been really rewarding for both us and the participants.”
Their outreach has even stretched into the immigrant and refugee community. The Porch has hosted workshops for ESL speakers from twenty-six different countries of origin over the last three years. These groups usually get so confined to their own communities, says McDougall, but this outlet allows them to grow as individuals and share their world experiences with others. Felts adds, “Everyone in the class is ESL, so they probably aren’t as nervous as they would be in a normal class. Then at the end we have a celebration and everyone brings food from their countries, and we have a public reading with friends and families invited.” McDougall and Felts even plan on having an anthology of the writings from the immigrants and refugees available later this year. Since its inception, The Porch has helped give many a budding writer the motivation they need to find their voice, learn to become storytellers, get accepted into MFA programs, publish literary pieces, and even become writing teachers themselves. As much as Felts and McDougall have played a part in transforming the lives of these writers, they’ve also seen transformation in themselves. “A lot of writers are introverts,” says Felts. “So being the co-director of a growing organization has required me to push outside that comfort zone a lot.” She says that’s not just about speaking at fundraisers or networking at events, but it’s more about just building relationships in the community. “When we got back in Nashville, I didn’t know many writers and I had a small child, so I didn’t get out much. This has been a challenge for me, but it’s also been
a gift—putting myself out there and helping stir this up in our city.” “It’s been rewarding to help form a tribe while being part of that tribe,” McDougall adds. “Teaching classes is just the heart and soul of it for me. I always just fall in love with everyone in the room, with the conversations we’re having, with the relationships that are forming. A lot of our classes end up staying together and meeting as groups. So that’s been really special and gratifying.” As a nonprofit, The Porch is obviously dependent on grants and generous donors. Their large annual fundraiser occurs every spring—this year it’s happening June 8 at Corsair Distillery and will feature critically acclaimed author Lauren Groff reading her work. The fundraiser not only allows Felts and McDougall to build the nonprofit, but it also allows them to meet many more people in Nashville’s literary community. “We’re always excited to meet new writers,” says Felts. “We really are a welcoming community. This isn’t something you have to ‘join.’ Just come out to one of our readings, happy hours, or open mics and say hello.” Community is what makes The Porch tick. For writers, community often helps creativity and confidence thrive—which, in turn, kills that notorious enemy of the writer: selfdoubt. I was for tunate to have an encouraging community around me when I started pursuing writing, but so many writers don’t have that. I see so much of what I had in what The Porch is doing these days—it’s teachers helping writers grow, writers learning from other writers, and a slowly budding group of people who paint pictures with the written word. And partly thanks to Felts and McDougall, there’s never been a better time in Nashville for a writer to learn and a literary community to grow.
The Porch will host their annual spring fundraiser on June 8 at Corsair Distillery. To stay updated on The Porch’s events, classes, and more, visit porchtn.org.
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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
Artist Spotlight: XAVIER PAYNE
The only thing Xavier Payne wants to do is make pictures. He grew up on typical â&#x20AC;&#x2122;90s cliches: Sega Genesis, Ninja Turtles, and the Fresh Prince to name a few. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t until attending Watkins College of Art, Design and Film that he decided to combine these interests with his painting and graphic art skills. He now focuses on Pop Art aimed at a Black American perspective.
IT'S A NICE NIGHT FOR AN EVENING.
LOCATED ON THE 4TH FLOOR OF THE FAIRLANE HOTEL AT 4TH AND UNION
YOU OUGHTA KNOW:
Internet Boyfriend by NATIVE STAFF
photos EMILY DORIO
There’s a moment on Blood Orange’s superb fourth album, Negro Swan, where writer, director, actor, producer, and trans activist Janet Mock ends a spoken word monolgue by saying, “People try to put us down by saying ‘She’s doing the most,’ or ‘He’s way too much.’ But, like, why would we want to do the least?” It’s a question that forces us to wonder why some traits—autonomy, eccentricity, confidence—are celebrated when displayed by some people (e.g. white straight men) and vilified when displayed by others (e.g. literally anyone else). To make a sports analogy, why is Serena Williams fined and called “hysterical” when she challenges an umpire, but John McEnroe is celebrated as a “tough” or “passionate” competitor? We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we do know one thing: we want to celebrate anyone who is doing the most. That’s why we think You Oughta Know about local rapper and online aesthete Internet Boyfriend (aka Charles Martinez, aka Kahlo). Internet Boyfriend’s debut mixtape, 2018’s Bitch in the Black Beret, is a testament to just how much he is doing. On the one hand, the lofi, Grimes-esque beats and deadpan vocal delivery remind us of ’90s and early aughts acts like Underworld or Peaches—or even Robyn on a housier track like “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do.” But on the other hand, Martinez (who is currently writing his debut EP, B.B) has this hilarious, often acerbic wit that’ll keep you laughing—and thinking—long after your feet stop moving. A couple of our favorite sample lines from standout single “Problematic”: “Your shit is problematic / Your rhetoric problematic / Your scene is problematic,” and “They say, ‘Kahlo he toxic,’ ‘Kahlo’s unstable’ / Look into that mirror as I cut that fucking fable.” If you are going to do too much, there’s no better place to do it than in Printer’s Alley. Says Martinez about his favorite area in town: “Printer’s Alley is my downtown guilty pleasure! Skull’s and Dirty Little Secret are always top of my list. One is rich in heritage, and the other is an update in the direction Nashville is going.” We hope that direction includes Martinez. Internet Boyfriend’s latest single, “I Know (What I Like),” is available May 25, and a Martinez-directed video for the single will be out the following week.
with Brandon Frohne 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 Brandon Frohne, who appeared in NATIVE in November 2013. Though it was only less than a decade ago, the Nashville that appeared in Issue 17 of NATIVE seemed like a different place. And while we could point to virtually anything in this city to bolster that claim, let’s focus on food. That issue of NATIVE featured a prof ile on Brandon Frohne, a wunderkind that had just taken the reins at Mason’s, the upscale Southern eatery housed in the bottom of the venerable Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. In November 2013, the whole idea of “elevated” Southern food was relatively fresh: Sean Brock had won his first James Beard only three years prior, and Husk Nashville had been open less than a year. Other restaurants that had less than two years under their belts: Catbird Seat, Rolf & Daughters, and Etch. With the exception of a few pioneers like Margot McCormack and City House’s Tandy Wilson, the notion of going to a Nashville restaurant because of the chef behind said restaurant wasn’t as widespread as it is today. The land of Maneet Chauhans and Jonathan Waxmans this was not. Now as the culinary dust seemingly begins to settle, we realize that a lot of what excited us during this period has come and gone. Luckily, a few of our favorite chefs have managed to thrive in this post–Parts Unknown Nashville, and Brandon Frohne is one of those. Since our feature on him, Frohne has appeared on Chopped (and Chopped Redemption , for what it’s worth),
been named Chef of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association, and served two dinners at the James Beard House. And, as if all this weren’t enough, Forage South, the Southern food brand he founded in 2012, still offers a legendary biscuit mix (seriously, buy it now), and he’s going to be at the Music City Food and Wine Festival this fall. But most notably, Frohne has cemented his status as Nashville’s chief biscuit-whisperer by becoming the culinary director of Holler & Dash, a national biscuit house chain that—sorry, we know this could be blasphemous—might just make the perfect chicken biscuit. Given that biscuits are the greatest communal food of all time (who has ever been mad about seeing a big plate of biscuits at the center of a breakfast table?), it makes sense that Frohne chose The Nashville Food Project as his favorite local nonprofit. Through gardening, communal cooking, and food trucks, the org takes a holistic approach to ending hunger in Nashville and beyond. Says Frohne, “I love their mission of cultivating community through food. Middle Tennessee has lots of people in need, and Nashville Food Project is working to alleviate that hunger.” If you’d like to learn more or volunteer with The Nashville Food Project, visit thenashvillefoodproject. org. To get tickets to see Frohne at the Music City Food and Wine Festival, visit musiccityfoodandwinefestival.com.
Photographer: @dredrea | Model: @powellarchitects
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