Green Village Recycling Urban Green Lab Amanda Little Nomadic Independence Brett Warren The Green Wagon Jamie and the Jones Salemtown Board Co. Ziggurat Records And More!
NASHVILLE EARTH DAY APRIL 20, 2013 11AM-7PM AT CENTENNIAL PARK free family friendly event
green exhibits & marketplace international performances on the youth stage MAIN STAGE: MIKE FARRIS & THE ROSELAND RHYTHM REVUE
COKE GRAFFITI NASHVILLE PAWS STRINGFELLOW YAZOO ////////// 1
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A P RIL 2 013
Local News For April, Fools
Kelly Hays reports on SoBro’s lack of khakis and croakies, the newest trends in eating local, and how to catch a Predator
40 PARTNERS IN RHYME
Hip hop collective Ziggurat Records looks to the past to usher Nashville’s music into the future
BEER FROM HERE
Who says that alcohol decreases performance? Apparently they’ve never heard of Tennessee Brew Works
PRAISE THE ROOF: BRIDGING THE GAP
Architect David Powell brings together Nashville’s fading past and green future with The Bridge Building
For nomads, film producers Ryan Zacarias and Brooke Bernard are surprisingly easy to catch up with
Cocktail of the Month
They used to say that an apple a day kept the doctor away. Well, they lied. Just hit the confession booth with Brother John
Have the munchies? We don’t mean to be blunt—but consider this Bacon Herb Popcorn a token of our appreciation. To chef Chris Mallon: danke!
BREAKING THE TRAP
Jacob Henley lends a hand to the youth of Salemtown by teaching them to handcraft skateboards at Salemtown Board Co.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Brett Warren might not know how to say his last name. But he does know how to take a photograph
Step away from the hairspray and put down the straightener. This month, it’s not just about the environment—let your hair down
Hey Good Lookin’
Native Animal of the Month
Charles Darwin was the earthworm’s biggest fan. And for good reason—zhe’s got a lot of heart(s)
Overheard @ NATIVE
So outrageous we had to remind ourselves that yes, those things did come out of our mouths
THE ENVIRONMENTAL OUTLAW
Journalist Amanda Little doesn’t shit on Americans like the vast majority of environmentalists. Living in Nashville has given her a blue-collar approach to the energy crisis
46 GOING THE DISTANCE
At approximately 7,000 miles apart, most relationships would crumble to pieces. But not for Jamie and the Jones
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Jason DiStefano isn’t asking you to trade your car for a Prius. He’s asking you to take a chance on Green Village Recycling
LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
James Wallace is on a vulcan mission—where the journey is the destination
SAVOR THE EARTH TO SAVE IT Jeremy Barlow is saving the world one bite at a time
HOP ON THE BANDWAGON
Jennifer Casale drove her green wagon all the way from Tucson, Arizona. Now she’s asking you to hop on
Urban Green Lab
Inglewood’s newest resident green thumb, Dan Heller, wants to show you how to live sustainably
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DEAR NATIVES, Psych! Bet you guys thought we missed the mark by not covering enough environmentally friendly topics in last month’s “Green Issue.” This month, Charles Darwin would be proud, and we hope you’ll be proud too. We love green—in more ways than one. And despite the fact that we use paper to roll our...excuse me, PRINT our magazine, we’ve done our best to reduce our carbon footprint in the office. For one, we now reuse all toilet paper and Kleenex until it simply disintegrates altogether. Two, instead of rushing to the thermostat when we get the chills, we just snuggle to generate heat (an added bonus of team building, the off-set—our inability to shake the flu). But when summer rolls around, the NATIVE team plans to go completely in the nude during work hours, despite the potential for things to “get weird.” Another thing we’ve implemented—no more coffee runs for our interns. They earn their keep in life-size hamster wheels that power the entire office. And when it comes to petroleum use, NATIVE holds itself to a golden standard. It’s now company-wide rule to leave our cars at home. Not only do we save money on gas, but now that we walk to work, we don’t even need shoes anymore. Our feet are now so callused that they’ve become what some might call “skin shoes.” Yay for sustainability! Okay. Clearly, I’m April fooling you. But, really—we’re trying. And hop on the bandwagon, because green is the new black. Lock your doors,
SARAH SHARP MACKENZIE MOORE ELISE LASKO ITORO UDOKO BECCA CAPERS LAURABETH MARTIN HANNAH LOVELL
art director: sales director:
KATRINA HARTWIG CAYLA MACKEY JOSHUA SIRCHIO COLIN PIGOTT JOE CLEMONS ALEX TAPPER
EDITOR- IN- CHIEF
ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN
TIFFANY CLAPP ERIC STAPLES DANIEL MEIGS BRETT WARREN WILL HOLLAND JESSIE HOLLOWAY CAMERON POWELL DABNEY MORRIS ANDREA BEHRENDS DANIELLE ATKINS
JAMA MOHAMED WAYNE BLAKE POLLARD
ALI AKEY JUSTIN BARISICH LEIGH WARE KATE CAUTHEN TYLER WALKER
SNACKY ONASSIS JESSICA JONES PERCIVAL WALTERS HENRY PILE SARAH BROWN KELLY HAYS GILLIS BERNARD SUSANNAH FELTS KRISTEN MCDANIEL LIZ RIGGS
to advertise, contact:
JOE CLEMONS DAVE PITTMAN CAYLA MACKEY
for all other enquiries:
*Contrary to popular belief, we’re not perfect—turns out we made a boo boo in the March issue. Lauren Holland should have been credited for her beautiful photos for Farm in the City.
SPRING GREENING Here at Native, our official mission is to “make Nashville awesomer.” We feel like we’ve done a pretty good job so far, but if nothing else, we’re working hard, having a good time, and we have invented a new word. Even if “awesomer” wasn’t a word before, we take our mission seriously. We love this city, and we want to make it better. That includes making it green(er). Because after all, Nashville is a part of Tennessee, which is a part of Earth. With Earth Day right around the corner, and with our one year anniversary only a couple of months away, we felt like it was a good time to take a step back and reflect on the things that we’re doing well (environmentally speaking) and the things that we could be doing better. When you start a magazine, it’s an uphill battle in every way. The goal of sustainability is no exception. We print a paper product. More accurately, we print a lot of paper products. But that’s not an excuse, it’s just a challenge. We believe that if you’re smart and you choose to keep the planet in mind when making important decisions, almost any company can greatly reduce or even eliminate its impact on the environment. Of course, the same goes for individuals, too.
6 THINGS WE DO
That Can Help You Be Green (or Greener) Too:
1. USE GREEN POWER
We salute the businesses in Nashville and around the world that have already taken steps to be more environmentally friendly, but we’d like to challenge everyone to be a little greener. Below, you’ll find six simple things that we do to be green, and we invite you to give them a shot. Even if you only do one of the following things, you will have made Earth (and Nashville) awesomer.
2. PLANT TREES
This one is easy. You pay Nashville Electric Service for $4 “blocks,” which add 150 kWh of green power each to NES’s overall power mix. On average, it costs $32 a month to completely offset a home’s power usage. At Native, we buy more blocks than we use—just because.
It may seem obvious, but it’s hard to overemphasize how much good you can do by planting trees. Trees turn CO2 into O2. They absorb and hold water, which prevents flooding, desertification, and erosion. They also keep the air cool while providing shade and habitat for all kinds of nature. Basically, trees are amazing. We plant 100 trees for every ton of paper we use.
3. USE BICYCLES + BUSES
4. GIVE AT LEAST ONE PERCENT
5. USE RECYCLED + FSC PRODUCTS
6. RECYCLE, REUSE, AND THINK
As part of our business model, we have officially committed to giving at least one percent of our profit to environmentally-oriented nonprofits each year. This is a pretty simple policy for individuals and companies to adopt, but it can make a big difference. 6 / / // / / / / / /
Commit to only buying recycled and Forest Stewardship Council-certified products. It’s an easy way to reduce your impact and show manufacturers and retailers what you want them to make and sell. We only use recycled and FSC-certified paper products in our office and in our magazine. If you want extra credit, switch to biodegradeable trash bags.
Try replacing one car trip a week with a bike ride or bus trip. You can also combine the two—every MTA bus has a bike rack. If you don’t have a bike, check out B-cycle, Nashville’s bike sharing program. We ride a lot, and our magazines (and lunch) are delivered by bicycle, using RUSH.
Recycling is pretty simple. Before you recycle, though, reuse as long as you can. Avoid buying disposable crap. If you make things, design for longevity and recyclability. Every inch of Native is designed for “keepabilty,” but if you want to get rid of a copy and you don’t have any friends, it is recyclable.
LOCAL NEWS FOR APRIL, FOOLS BY KELLY HAYS FRATERNITY BROTHERS COMPLAIN THAT SOBRO IS NOT AS BRO AS THEY WERE LED TO BELIEVE With the new convention center and luxury hotel about to open, the SoBro district has been catching a lot of buzz. But not all of it is positive. Some are labeling the area a “fraud,” complaining that city government is intentionally misleading people with false advertising. Tau Alpha Ceti Chapter President, Troy MacGuffin, decided to check out the SoBro district after coming across the name on Google Maps while planning a road trip to Panama City Beach for
CANNIBALISM SOCIETY TO HOST POTLUCK FUNDRAISER The Sylvan Park food cooperative, Eat Local, will hold a potluck fundraiser at McCabe Regional Community Center on April 1. Eat Local members will offer a variety of dishes that feature what President Saul Green describes as “super fresh, locally-sourced meats from just around the corner.” The group was recently featured on the New York Times’ website as one of the “Top Twenty Organizations That Will Change How You Think About Food,” and was lauded for its unique spin on sustainable and locally sourced food products. “People were slow to welcome us,”
PREDATORS FAN MISUNDERSTANDS “CATFISH” TRADITION, BEGINS COURTING SEVERAL PLAYERS ONLINE After moving to Nashville from Berkeley, California, hockey fan Willy Evans pursued online relationships with a third of the Nashville Predators, after mistaking the team’s “catfish” tradition for the movie of the same name. Using a profile picture made from a composite of Kim Kardashian and 1970sera Bobby Orr, Evans created profiles on sites like Cougar Date and Christian Mingle, and was soon engaged in cyber relationships with a third of the team. “I’m not gonna lie. At times it was exhausting,” says Evans. “Like when Martin Erat started calling me every
SB2K13. He arrived from Knoxville a few days later, only to be terribly disappointed when he found the district was filled with acclaimed local restaurants and independent music venues. Local resident and Omicron Theta pledge, Troy Baker, came to the district hoping to find a retail outlet that catered to his unique fashion sense. But after several hours spent in search of the perfect croakies to match his boat shoes, he left feeling defeated. “I mean, there’s not even a single pair of khaki shorts in any of these shops,” rails Baker. “Why the hell wouldn’t you sell khakis in SoBro? It’s like not selling china in Chinatown.” Other brothers have also derided the district’s nightlife as respectful and friendly, noting that the levels of YOLO in SoBro are just too low. admits Green. “But once they realized all our meat is free range, and that we’re removing sources of methane emissions from the environment, the community really embraced us.” Sylvan Park resident Deborah Johnson applauded the group’s stalwart dedication to sustainable food practices, and says she has volunteered to help out at the potluck. “I just think it’s really great that they are so committed to eating local. I’m looking forward to being a part of their fundraising efforts.”
morning to tell me what he dreamed about, or when Kevin Klein was texting me five times a day to send me pictures of everything he ate. I was like, ‘No one cares about your dreams, Marty! Send that shit to Instagram, Kevin!’ But then I thought, hey, I’m no bandwagon fan who jumps ship when the going gets rough. I’m in this for the long haul.” Due to increasing demands from Rich Clune to “know where this thing is going,” Evans plans to end most of the online relationships this May, when his online persona will slip into a coma, then awaken from that coma, only to die in an escalator accident just in time for the playoffs.
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BREAKING THE TRAP AFTER TURNING HIS LIFE AROUND FROM A TROUBLED PAST, JACOB HENLEY CAME TO NASHVILLE DETERMINED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD
by percival walters | photography by cameron powell 8 / / // / / / / / /
My engine hums through the streets of Germantown as I pass one vibrant, historic home after another. Every house is paired with an elaborate mailbox garnering some type of charm that sets it apart from the next. You could say it’s a nice neighborhood. I continue heading north, leaving the crisp suburb, and enter a neighborhood of a starkly opposite scene—worn streets, aging apartments, derelict homes, and abandoned warehouses. This is Salemtown. Many Nashvillians unknowingly pass this neighborhood every day while on I-65, leaving trails of exhaust and echoes of burning rubber. But for a small North Nashville community, this is home. And for Jacob Henley, not only is Salemtown home, but it’s where he decided to start a business making skateboards. His skateboard venture, Salemtown Board Co., is a business with a cause— “to build the highest quality handmade skateboards and to employ, train, and mentor urban youth.” Specifically, the focus rests on the youth of its namesake, Salemtown—an urban pocket that has been called “hip yet historic” and that longtime residents sometimes call “The Trap.” Jacob Henley has lived there for almost three years now, and he intends to stay. He also intends to make a difference in his community. In a neighborhood undergoing rapid residential development, “to make a difference” is standard operating procedure. But the change that Jacob intends to make, I wouldn’t necessarily call “standard.” I watch SBC’s first promotional video, released in November of last year, which opens with a street shot of Salemtown facing south toward the city’s skyline. The frame then cuts to Jacob, sitting outside a boarded-up apartment building on 4th Avenue North, with his feet comfortably resting on a skateboard. Bright red, suede hightops are tucked under his burgundy jeans, and
From there, the video a black thermal hugs WHAT THESE reenacts the day Jacob his frame. Pushed-back drove Will and Kendsleeves reveal a tangle KIDS NEED rius to his father’s shop of tattoos. While an IS LOVE AND in Bucksnort, where all ethereal post-rock balPOSITIVE three spent the afternoon lad climbs in the backshaping skate decks out ground, Jacob—brow ROLE of seasoned oak boards. gathering with intenMODELS IN They sawed sixteen boards sity, under a fitted, gray THEIR LIVES." that first day. Jacob says, beanie—takes a few “The first time we made a moments to characboard, it was perfect.” terize the surrounding This marketing anecdote exemplifies, neighborhood. “In this zip code, 37208, we have one perhaps inadvertently, the tension inherof the country’s highest infant mortal- ent in SBC’s mission. Jacob had a father ity rates. Roughly seventy percent of the to call for help when in need. But many of kids that live in lower-income homes are the kids in Salemtown don’t have someliving without their fathers. Teenagers, one to call. While this aspect of his story especially young men, are dropping out may have escaped him in the moment of of high school like crazy.” His dark blue its telling, his own experience as a welleyes gaze directly into the lens as his supported son certainly bolsters his deface tightens with concern, declaring, “I sire to encourage others who are experibelieve what these kids need is love and encing a different type of upbringing. When I finally meet Jacob, I have the positive role models in their lives.” And this is the role Jacob is ready to opportunity to ask him about this parafill. As he tells it, he and his friend, Will digm of the “different” trying to “make a Anderson, had the vision to start a skate- difference.” Before meeting, I take a look at the board company that could take kids off the streets and give them the one-on-one website to check out some skateboards— attention and education they were miss- all cut by Will, assembled by Kendrius, ing out on, either at home or in school. and custom painted by Jacob. Each board They had a teenager in mind named Ken- bears a price tag between $175 and $225, drius, whom they could hire, train, and depending on style and level of customization. So far, the company has sold mentor. “But,” Jacob says, “the problem was upwards of thirty boards, and each one that we didn’t have any money. About of those sales contributes five dollars to all we had was a tank of gas and a dream. Kendrius’ college fund. At this stage in its development, SBC The good thing was that my dad had a woodshop about an hour outside Nash- appears to be more an exercise in social entrepreneurship than a fully operational ville, deep in the country.”
company. Nonetheless, it’s growing. Back in February, Jacob had the opportunity to move board production from the Bucksnort shop to a partially enclosed loading dock on 2nd Avenue North in Salemtown. By all accounts, it’s a raw space. The front side stands open to the elements, and the back half of the room is a loading ramp. That being the case, Jacob and Will were forced to engineer their workbench so that it would stand on a drastic slant. They achieved the feat and now the posture of the bench resembles that of a large baby mammal stuck in a perpetual attempt to stand up for the first time, its legs splayed and precariously placed. But it stands firmly. I even test kick one of the legs the day I meet both Jacob and Kendrius at the dock. When I walk up, Kendrius is crouched over a small workbench, fiddling with a deck that had been stenciled with the likeness of Derrick Rose—the Chicago Bulls’ point guard. The deck was to be Kendrius’ first SBC board. After we introduce ourselves, I ask him, “Have you always skated?” “Not really,” he answers, looking up. “I’d rather play basketball. But I’ve skated, yeah.” I remember Jacob telling me earlier that he and Kendrius met at the Morgan Park Community Center, so I ask Kendrius, “What’d you think of Jacob when he first walked into the gym?” “At first I didn’t know what he was there for,” Kendrius says. “But then he started playing, and I was like, okay, that’s what he’s here for.” “Jacob can play ball?” “Uh-huh.” Kendrius is wearing a crisp white hoodie, tan pants, and a pair of black and white Chuck Taylors. He’s slender—like he could be a street skater or a point guard, and strikes me as calm and patient, but not timid. He’s a junior at Hillwood High, lives with his mother and sister in Salemtown, and has two older brothers, who both attended TSU. Before getting hired at SBC, he worked the kitchen at Long John Silver’s in Rivergate, a job that required a much longer commute, and
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one that left him smelling like "I’VE ALWAYS grease instead of sawdust. He enHAD A HEART joys his new job, and as we test ride his Derrick Rose board, I can FOR YOUNG tell he’s already begun to follow KIDS IN THE his new boss’s lead. Right after I INNER CITY make a remark about Jacob’s significant number of tattoos, KenWHO DON’T drius announces his own plans KNOW THEIR to decorate his arm. Jacob sighs, DADS." “I think you should wait until you’re eighteen.” They sound like two brothers, old and young, one the door, demanding to be telling the other not to do what he’s already done. But they’re just friends let in—the scene predicted and neighbors. And they’ve been both for its own conclusion. Eventually the boyfriend stopped three years now. Jacob bought a house in Salemtown in seeing the mother, and he November 2010, moved in, and set out left the kids alone. Then one afternoon, Jaimmediately to befriend his neighbors. SALEMTOWN BOARD CO.: Soon after settling in—this was before cob got a knock on his door. To purchase skateboards, he met Kendrius—he and his wife began It was one of the boys wantvisit salemtownboardco.com. inviting a nearby family of six kids (four ing to borrow a water hose. Follow on Twitter @SalemtownBoard siblings and two cousins) to dinner on When Jacob asked why, the Wednesday nights. The kids lived in an boy said he was thirsty— apartment with the four siblings’ mother he wanted a drink. He also Hearing his own words, he quickly and her boyfriend, and once mom sized needed to fill up his family’s toilet. As adds, “In no way did we come here to be Jacob up, she happily granted permission. Jacob eventually learned, the family’s wa- the white savior riding in on the white From then on, for about a year, the ter had been shut off for a week because horse. We just wanted to intentionally dinners continued. When summertime of unpaid bills. Not long after that, the get to know our neighbors. If anything, came, the kids started stopping by to mother packed up the kids and moved to just to love on them a little bit. Also, I play in Jacob’s front yard sprinkler and Memphis. wanted to be a positive male influence.” After relating that tale, he tells me, to put in requests for popsicles and grape As his comment suggests, he recogdrinks, sometimes as often as four or five “I’ve always had a heart for young kids in nizes the potential for controversy when the inner city who don’t know their dads. a young, middle-class man (especially times a day. The other side of the story is that twice You know, their role models are LeBron a white man) announces his intention during that year, the mother’s boyfriend James and Lil’ Wayne, or the guy that’s to fulfill a role he believes is missing in suffered arrests for storming the apart- the head of the Kings of Salemtown, a poor community—a scenario some ment late at night. He banged his fists on which is the big gang here.” deride as “The White Savior Industrial
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Complex.” Now was the time to ask him about such accusations, but when I do, he hardly cares to give credence to the question. As I gather, he’s not concerned with defending himself against accusations. Instead, he offers up a little of his own history in reply to my prodding. Before taking an A&R job in Nashville, he was enrolled in a master’s program for music business in Miami Beach. By his own admission, he lived that season of his life recklessly, and his manner could, in some ways, even be likened to that of the boyfriend who got arrested for storming his girlfriend’s apartment, though Jacob never faced charges of any kind. Then, as he puts it, he experienced a transformation. His habits changed drastically, his manner mellowed. He later relocated to Nashville, started his job, and when he grew weary of the music industry, he quit and began pursuing his goal to encourage other young guys away from the path he took. This pattern is not uncommon. One man experiences a change, is visited by a different vision of life, and he wants to share that difference with others. With the arrival of spring and summer, Jacob has focused his vision onto his latest growth strategy: getting SBC boards into the hands of celebrities. Andy Mineo, a Christian rapper, has already received a customized board stenciled with the word “Ayo” on its underbelly, and in return for the gesture, Andy featured the board in a video for a song of the same name. Though not all have been shipped, boards have been customized for Houston Rockets’ player Jeremy Lin, country singer Brad Paisley, and if Jacob gets his wish, Ellen DeGeneres will one day skate across her studio set on a SBC deck. He’s got her board in the works. Whatever happens, you probably won’t see Jacob skating across Salemtown. He’s like Kendrius; he’d rather play basketball.
224 S. 11th St.
IN FIVE POINTS NEAR FATHERLAND
615 329 3959 SPECSNASHVILLE.COM
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BROUGHT TO YOU BY
We know what Shakespeare said about alcohol provoking the desire, but taking away the performance...? Riddle me this, Billy: what if the alcohol was produced really, really efficiently? Like, super efficiently. Perhaps you would perform as efficiently as the production. Find out with a hyper-local brew made right here in Nashville, at Tennessee Brew Works on Ewing Avenue (and with that Division Street connector planned…can we say “future Brewers Row?!”). Founders Christian Spears and Garr Schwartz met sixteen years ago while working in finance in New York, and both have spent the past several years enjoying Garr’s love of homebrewing. In 2011, they decided that it was finally time to take his talents to market. Tennessee Brew Works is set to launch this May. At their brewery in SoBro, they’ve acquired a Belgian-made, Meura Micro Mash Filter to operate an Aegir brewing system, complete with high quality Centec components, Kieselmann valves, and Keofitt sampling equipment. All of this is just to say that their Belgian methodology is exponentially friendlier toward the environment—far from the
German industry standard, popularized in the United States by Anheuser-Busch. These forwardthinkers are making a meaningful effort to conserve natural resources. Relative to traditional German lauter tun systems, their Meura mash filter uses up to fifty percent less water, twenty percent less raw materials, and twenty percent less energy. Tennessee Brew Works is perhaps the fourth brewery in the United States—and likely the first of its size—to employ these methods. And even their waste will be repurposed by local farmers as compost. As a reflection of their commitment to Community Supported Agriculture, Christian and Garr have decided to give away the precious processed grains, rather than sell them. In addition, the duo will create skilled jobs in Nashville, and foster a culture of deep devotion to the craft of microbrewing. So far, they estimate they’ve created and supported some thirty odd jobs in Nashville this year alone. As a policy, every employee of Tennessee Brew Works brews their own batch of beer, and if it’s a hit, they’ll have an opportunity to name it. So really, who says that alcohol can’t increase performance?
PRAISE THE ROOF
DESIGN PARTNERS: Hastings Architecture Hawkins Partners SUSTAINABILITY FEATURES: Geothermal heat pump system Solar water heaters Rainwater collection and filtration system LED lighting
BRIDGING THE GAP David Powell sees Nashville through geometric green frames. His recently completed project, The Bridge Building, is his vision of Nashville’s future. As a revitalized historic landmark, the former NABRICO Building is stacked with an arsenal of cutting-edge sustainability features. It was recently submitted for LEED Platinum certification, the highest level offered, despite having one of the oldest foundations around. The Bridge Building is one of the few edifices left from Nashville’s early twentieth century skyline. Its barge-like, rust-colored facade recalls Nashville’s past as a shipping hub. Luckily, it was pulled back from demolition after the flood in 2010, and remains a part of the growing riverfront. With its emblematic LED-lit elevator shaft, The Bridge Building is literally a glowing example of historically informed yet cutting edge architecture. by kristen mcdaniel | photography by cameron powell
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FIVE POINTS PIZZA YAZOO BREWING CO. TWO OLD HIPPIES FAT BOTTOM BREWING JENI’S ICE CREAMS NO. 308 WALDEN SILLY GOOSE UGLY MUGS THE CRYING WOLF TURNIP TRUCK TN BREW WORKS PORTER RD BUTCHER URBAN GREEN LAB
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COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH by No. 308
Brother John 2 oz. 360 Vodka
(eco-friendly, uses recycled bottles)
1 oz. fresh celery juice ½ oz. fresh lemon juice ½ oz. simple syrup ¼ oz. yellow Chartreuse 1 lemon wheel
Combine all ingredients into a tin with ice. Shake and double strain into a freshly iced collins glass. Serve with a straw and garnish with a lemon wheel. -Ben Clemons, No. 308
intro by sarah sharp | photo by andrea behrends 18 / / / / / / / / / /
“They” say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But that was before “they” tried the Brother John. When you go to the doctor and he asks you roughly how many drinks you have in a week, rule of thumb is to cut your number in half and then divide by three. Now, you don’t have to lie or do math anymore. The Brother John is sort of like eating celery—the good outweighs the bad. Made with fresh lemon and celery juices and Chartreuse—which has been deemed the “elixir of long life” with 130 herbal extracts—Brother John feeds you greens with your alcohol intake.
DEBUSSY & BRAHMs MAY 2-4
Experience an enchanted evening when Nashville Symphony performs Debussy’s captivating Nocturnes, along with one of the most brilliant pieces ever written, Brahms’ Fourth Symphony! BUY TICKETS AT: NashvilleSymphony.org 615.687.6400
Artwork by Lesley Patterson-Marx, a printmaker and mixed-media artist living in Nashville, Tennessee. View more of her work at LesleyPattersonMarx.com.
MASTER PLATERS RECIPE BY CHEF CHRIS MALLON
POPCORN Get your floss out, because it’s popcorn season. The Nashville Film Festival is around the corner, and we all know movies are just not the same without munchies...or better said, popcorn. Put that powdered cheese down and get fancy with some bacon and herbs. There’s bacon bourbon, bacon ice cream, bacon donuts—so why not try bacon popcorn with a little extra herbal kick? This is some next level shit for your taste buds. Load your bowl and grab your napkins, because your hands might get sticky icky.
1 cup popcorn 1 lb. bacon 3 g. herb of choice salt, to taste
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Start with a heavy-bottomed pot. Cook the bacon on medium heat until all the fat has been rendered. Reserve the delicious crispy bacon for another recipe, or just eat it for fun. Add the herb to the rendered bacon fat after it has cooled for 5 minutes. Resume heating the pot of herb and bacon fat on medium-low heat. After about 5 minutes you will start to smell the herb awakening. Add 2 popcorn kernels to the pot and raise to high heat. Cover the pot with a lid. When you hear the initial kernels pop, add the remaining cup of kernels and cover. Once the kernels start popping again, reduce to medium-high heat. Shake the pot until the popping stops. Immediately salt popcorn and transfer to a bowl. Enjoy! Intro by Sarah Sharp | Photo by Danielle Atkins
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT ALL OUTLETS, KROGER, THE RYMAN BOX OFFICE, RYMAN.COM OR (800) 745-3000
Tickets available at all outlets, Kroger, the Ryman Box Office, ryman.com or (800) 745-3000
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE
AS A YOUNG BOY GROWING UP IN RURAL TENNESSEE, BRETT WARREN BURIED HIMSELF IN STORIES AND FAIRY TALES. WHEN HE MADE A BALLSY PHONE CALL TO A WORLD-RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHY ICON, HE BEGAN ON A JOURNEY TO MAKE HIS DREAMS COME TRUE
by jessica jones | portraits by eric staples | photo essay by brett warren
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Brett Warren can’t say his last name. “Can you spell that?” I ask tentatively, while contemplating whether he’s saying, “warm” or “worm.” “W-A-R-R-E-N,” Brett spells out carefully. He’s dressed in a maroon tweed cardigan and dark wash jeans, sitting on a cream-colored couch in his living room. Behind him, a pair of vintage ice skates are slung over an old wooden ladder leaning against the wall. Heaps of art and photography books spill out of a built-in bookshelf next to a fireplace filled with an arrangement of suitcases stacked atop one another. A solemn, taxidermied deer presides over us, with several mismatched dishes circling its plaque. It’s a rather cozy place. “It’s a joke in my family that I can’t pronounce my last name,” he explains sheepishly, bowing his thick, dark pompadour in embarrassment towards a pair of navy socks
peeking out from his jeans. This charming slur of words was brought on by Brett telling me about his family’s bluegrass band, “creatively titled,” he quips, The Warren Family. “We cut a record in Nashville,” he playfully jeers. But by looking at his artwork, I would never have pinned him as a good ole boy. The only hint of it is in his gentle Southern drawl. He has the kind of voice that instantly makes you feel like you’re in good company. Brett grew up in McMinnville, Tennessee—a rural town that takes about four minutes to drive through, maybe less, and is home to Bluegrass Underground, a concert series that takes place in a cave. It’s pretty much its big claim to fame. “It’s an amazing place. There’s all these different characters, and everyone’s so kind,” he reminisces. I can’t help but picture Ewan McGregor in Big Fish, settling down to tell the tale of the neighborhood witch with a fortune-telling
glass eye. Instead, Brett shares stories of fishing and going to horse shows with his grandpa. He boasts of his grandma’s garden, lined with hundreds of roses, “and one impressive banana tree,” he notes. Fresh corn from their farm sits in his refrigerator right next to some homemade jelly. The more he tells me about his hometown and childhood, the more I realize he’s really not that far off from the Ewan McGregor, Big Fish reference. Brett carries a larger-than-life imagination in his head. When I walk into Brett’s kitchen, food isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind. Upon entering, I’m faced with a rolling clothing rack stuffed thick with a rainbow of vintage clothes. I recognize a red marching band jacket from Brett’s Instagram (which I stalked earlier in the week) while I run my hands over an emerald green shift dress.
Then a pale-blonde, pleated chiffon gown steals my attention. Drawn to its glamour, I pull it away from the rest to get a better look. Although it’s beautiful, I could never see myself wearing it. These are all showstoppers, and I’m just not that girl. This rainbow of vintage clothing didn’t come from one particular designer, store, or time period. Some were gifts from friends, and others were captured at Brett’s local flea market. A dress form stands in the corner with a halfway-draped, short, cream satin dress pinned to it. “You know how to drape?” I ask, intrigued— under the impression that I was here to interview a photographer. “No, no,” he quickly corrects me. “I’m just figuring it out on my own for a shoot.” Brett is the type of guy who figures everything out on his own. He drapes, draws, crafts, builds, styles, and shoots, all for
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the perfect photograph. But neither the construction nor the finished product is his favorite part. That moment comes right before the shutter closes on his camera, when everything’s in its right place—whether it’s on a lake at the verge of sunset, or on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. “Click.” I pull up and park my car between two rusted pieces of farm equipment, and make my way across a soft lawn— still fresh from the rain—towards the back porch of the Glen Leven Estate. Somehow, Brett managed to book the 150-year-old historic home with less than two days notice. “How are you?!” Brett yells across the lawn. He smiles wide, wearing a bright red and blue button-up, while toting a turquoise lamp that I’m pretty sure lit his home a couple days prior. He takes me on a tour through the peach and mint rooms of the home, each one empty and stranger than the last. In the hallway, the wallpaper peels gracefully, and a hole in the ceiling reveals a wooden floor from the room above. The minor disrepair gives
the house a romantic time-gone-by feeling that makes this the perfect spot for Brett’s theatrical imagination to brew. He introduces me to his team and briefs me on today’s shoot. It’s for a magazine based out of New Orleans that hired Brett to do a photo story inspired by light. Using that as his starting point, Brett concocted a dark tale about two sisters trapped by their obsession with vanity. “Sometimes I’m approached with a basic concept, and I have to put a layer of story on top of it for me to work through. There has to be a story for me to feel good about it,” Brett explains. We come to a halt at the end of the house, right in front of a gilded, twenty-foot mirror stretching from the floor to the ceiling. He describes the two girls standing in front of the mirror, staring at their reflections as exploding light illuminates every feature. Storytelling is something Brett knows,
loves, and lives by. Even though his hometown wasn’t crowded with images of a bustling city—of moving life and painful realism—McMinnville was its own kind of fantasy land, with its rolling hills, Cumberland Caverns, and peculiar personalities. Perhaps if he had grown up in a big city, he wouldn’t be creating scenes from his favorite fairy tales, but rather scenes of modern grit. Back at his home, he shows me some recently edited photos on his computer next to an inspiration board filled with tears of dramatic Vogue editorials. Sarah Engelland, stares at me from the computer screen, pale-faced and wide-eyed with short black hair. She sits cocooned in an oversized knit shawl fastened with giant wooden buttons in front of a silk backdrop streaked with purple. This shoot, along with many others, was inspired by his days and nights spent reading books and short stories as a kid. One book of fairy tales by Hans
"THERE HAS TO BE A STORY FOR ME TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT."
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"I TRY TO DREAM AS Christian Andersen happens to be one of the biggest influences on Brett’s aesthetic. He BIG AS I hands it to me to thumb through, and as I flip CAN FOR to “The Little Matchstick Girl,” a piece of loose leaf paper full of scribbles falls out. “I did a A SHOOT, lot of drawing. As a kid, I would sit in church THEN I and draw an entire page of different rooms.” It seems as if, unknowingly, he was brainstorming THINK OF for his future. HOW TO And when Brett wasn’t reading fairy tales, he was watching movies. “Wizard of Oz, of course, MAKE IT was amazing. It came on cable every year, and COME TO my sister and I were so excited to watch it,” he beams. But behind all the double meanings, LIFE." plot twists, and heavy themes, what caught Brett’s attention was the handiwork that went into making the props on the set. To him, they were beautiful works of artful illusion that brought this wonderful, fantastical place called Oz to life. “They’re walking down this yellow brick road, and it looks like it goes on for infinity. But if you take yourself out of the movie for a minute and look at what’s actually happening, it’s just a small little brick road, and someone’s hand-painted an entire forty-foot-tall backdrop.” Inspired by this meticulous artistry, Brett strives to be as authentic as possible with the resources at hand. For a shoot he calls “Robotic Girl,” Brett pieced together metal pipes and old kitchen utensils to fashion robot arms for his model. “I try to dream as big as I can for a shoot, then I think
BRETT WARREN: For more info visit brettwarrenphotography.com or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brettastic
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of how to make it come to life.” Brett’s “Wooden Heart” series, based on Pinocchio, is his most treasured work because it has been his biggest dream. Tall wooden matchsticks with a box big enough to be a couch, a giant strand of pearls that could stretch the length of a room, and a life-size wooden puppet stage are just a few props handcrafted by Brett with the help of his friends and family. He spent a whole summer painting houses to afford it, and it took two months to complete. Each photograph in the series takes you to a completely different set, blanketed with details—even the most insignificant of which has been carefully mulled over. In one picture, shot in a pre-Civil War axe factory, Geppetto consoles Pinocchio amidst a pile of wooden body parts. In another, Pinocchio sits at a table adorned with liquor and colorful cakes, with Lampwick and his crew of wayward boys—who, as the story goes, ultimately meet their fate by being turned into donkeys. Brett listlessly flips through a bright blue Moleskine filled with sketches of the sets and costumes for “Wooden Heart.” I can tell by the look on his face that he wishes he could create work that detailed on a regular basis. But he’s held back by two evils—time and money. “Wooden Heart” might not have happened if it weren’t for his internship in New York with one of the most respected photographers in the world, known for famous portraits, such as one of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and one of a nude and pregnant Demi Moore. After he was laid
off from his nine-to-five as a freelance graphic designer for CMT, Brett asked himself, “What would be the biggest, most incredible adventure to do right now?” So he Googled the telephone number for the Annie Leibovitz studio, and months later, he found himself sitting in the lobby waiting for an interview. “I think her voice came on speaker phone and I had a panic attack. She’s my favorite artist in the world; she’s almost mythological.” The internship consisted mostly of researching and archiving, but thanks to Brett’s charisma, some lighting technicians let him help out on Annie’s sets. In the presence of his artistic idol, it was only natural that a fire was ignited within him. “I wanted to challenge myself upon coming back. I was really charged up to do a shoot that could tell a real story.”
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These days, Brett closely resembles the always late and perpetually frantic White Rabbit, running around, working to establish his burgeoning business. “I’m trying to find a balance between friends and work and building my company. I was up until 2:30 a.m. editing pictures the other night, and I had to be up at 6 a.m. to meet someone for coffee.” I’m starting to figure out that he’s pretty exhausted. “I drive down 12South, and I see these people walking around with their coffee, and I’m like ‘What do you do with your life?!’” Maybe he wishes he could be them for half a second, but really, he doesn’t. He dreams of opening something of an emporium where he would display his photographs and sell props from his sets. He’s headed to New York soon to shop his photographs to galleries, and he’s hoping to snag a meeting with Grace Coddington, the Creative Director at Vogue. In his “twilight years” he would like to become a teacher, educating young kids in small towns about the many ways you can have a creative career. His sister teaches ballet back home in McMinnville, and he tells me a story of watching her class recital in an auditorium filled with hundreds of people. “I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had to thank her for telling these girls about dance.” Brett is having a moment of his own today. “This is a special day for me. To get my story out and tell people if you really want to do something, it doesn’t matter if you have a full-time job or this or that—stop making excuses and do the work you wanna do. People are going to listen. It’s gonna be hard, but those are the things that are worthwhile.” Whether it’s as drastic as being laid off, or as trivial as teaching himself how to sew a dress, Brett can tackle anything. As a young boy in McMinnville, he lived in the fairy tales of other lands—places where a wooden boy could turn into real live flesh and bone or a yellow brick road could go on forever. In those imaginary tales, nothing was
"I DRIVE DOWN 12SOUTH, AND I SEE THESE PEOPLE WALKING AROUND WITH THEIR COFFEE, AND I’M LIKE ‘WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE?!’."
off-limits, and anything was possible. More than using these dream-like stories as the stomping ground for his aesthetic, Brett walks away from the countryside and approaches life head-on, knowing that he can do anything he puts his mind to. It sent him all the way to New York, landed him an internship with the Annie Leibovitz, and continues to push him every day to do something better than he did before. I surely can’t take credit as the first to give Brett the recognition he deserves. He tells me about a time he was in the backwoods of Tennessee, shooting his Hitchcock series. A man pulled his truck next to the shoot and shouted, “Hey! Hey!
You photography big time?!” Looking a bit befuddled, he answered, “I guess you could say that.” Brett might be “photography big time,” but one thing’s for sure—he’ll never forget where he came from.
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THE ENVIRONMENTAL OUTLAW AMANDA LITTLE DEFENDS HER APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE ADVOCACY: IN ORDER TO SOLVE A CRIME, YOU MUST THINK LIKE A CRIMINAL by becca capers | photography by jessie holloway
Amanda Little’s name has been on bylines for a long time. Between Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Wired, her skill in finding the hook in almost any culturally-relevant subject has and continues to land her work with some of the nation’s most respected publications. Her approach to advocacy journalism is so engaging that after years of politically-minded storytelling and gonzo journalism (e.g. going to the top of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico), she has become quite the quasicelebrity. So after countless times as the interviewer, now she finds herself on the other side of the recorder. Fresh out of college, she focused on technology. In the late nineties and early 2000s, she wrote a tech column for The Village Voice called “Urban Upgrade,” in which she
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tracked New York’s continuous transformation into a pulsing brain of a city. Talking with Amanda, you quickly realize that she is very concerned with being a herald of what is the big deal for the new generation. During her time in New York, she was under the impression that the “big deal” for the next generation was the digital revolution. As she threw herself into the inner workings of the electronic grid, she discovered that the “big deal” was energy. The discourse on energy, conservation, and climate change has evolved a great deal in her lifetime. “It's not just about saving the whales anymore,” she chuckles between bites of her meat pie. In saying that, Amanda explains that the environmental movement is much more than just saving exotic animals. She elaborates, “It’s about
tackling climate change, and in turn, saving the economy; creating innovative jobs; protecting our national security, water supply, crops, homes, and civilization as we know it.” Enter Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair with Energy—Amanda’s first published book. Given the book’s provocative subtitle, one might think it’s just another aggressive attack on our “First World problems.” I assure you, she doesn’t shit on Americans like the vast majority of environmentalists these days. The single most captivating element of her book is not a preachy admonition or a quippy put-down—it’s that she avoids those altogether, instead focusing on the objective reality of our current situation. Humans are, after all, as much victims of the ecosystem’s demise as they are culprits. Amanda wrote Power Trip not only for her neighbors on Blair Boulevard (who were moderate conservatives and Bush supporters) and in greater Nashville, but for people of all political shades. “I wanted to present the energy topic as a unifying issue, not a dividing issue. So I stripped it of any potentially polarizing, political rhetoric.” Unlike many other environmental advocates who tend to be politically extreme, Amanda realized that if she couldn’t reach her neighbors on Blair Boulevard, this whole environmental movement would be a fail. “I had just been to an anti-war pro-
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test in New York, and I came home to meet some of the nicest people. Then I saw the Bush re-election paraphernalia on their lawn and cars.” Amanda admits that when she moved down South, she was smug and shrill when it came to her environmental activism. But as she became close with more people who had differing political beliefs, Amanda came to realize her approach was all wrong. In fact, she credits her conservativeminded neighbors for teaching her that she had to change the way she told the story. Instead of painting it with a permanent shade of royal blue, it was about painting the picture of our relationship with energy. And more importantly, it’s the story of “how fossil fuels built the American superpower, made us great, and now have made us vulnerable,” she tells. Although it’s not her preferred territory, engaging with climate change skeptics is not out of Amanda’s repertoire. In fact, she was able to score a few eye-opening interviews with the likes of John McCain, James Inhofe, and Christie Todd Whitman—the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during
the Bush administration. In an interview with Christie, while writing a story about the shortcomings of Bush-era environmental policy, Amanda remembers feeling uncomfortably conscious of herself as well as her employer, Rolling Stone magazine. “Some of the most outspoken progressive thinkers have written for Rolling Stone. It was hard to get people’s trust in the Bush White House.” So she played it nice with former Secretary Whitman, easing into some of the more biting questions. As she bit, though, her trademark emphatic gesturing caused her button-up shirt to fly open. A disorienting experience to say the least. But on Blair Boulevard, she wasn’t going for sucker punches, asking pointed policy questions, or preaching the gospel of John Kerry. She was trying to make friends with the neighbors and hopefully, keep her shirt on. “At first, I was planning on writing a scathing non-fiction about how half of the nation is wrong in their lifestyle choices,” she recalls. Now, Amanda considers it imperative to her image that she live in a city like Nashville, where
HUMANS ARE, AFTER ALL, AS MUCH VICTIMS OF THE ECOSYSTEM’S DEMISE AS THEY ARE CULPRITS.
someone is more likely to call her an “eco-green” hoity-toity than to engage her in an ideological debate about whether she is enough of an advocate for environmental change, like her friends in Seattle often do. In fact, her description of the NASCAR fan who coined the term “eco-green” shows me that she actually finds him to be endearing. Her book does the same. It’s often a downright celebration of American identity. But, why? “I don’t think I’d be able to see this problem as clearly for what it is if I wasn’t a big part of it. When I stood on that oil rig and realized that I am essentially the reason Chevron is still drilling at thirty-thousand feet, I could understand why some people just didn’t want to get it.” So she succeeds in appealing to the would-be cynics—her moderate fellow Nashvillians, and even the Bible-thumping, Suburban-driving extremists—by lauding the values they cherish and insisting they can be used to better ends. And even though she drives a Prius, in no way is she saying her lifestyle is superior. Amanda approaches the issues of the energy crisis by analyzing the logic of human behavior—in general, we use additive practices over subtraction to solve our problems. In other words, she understands that most people would rather not give up the environmentally destructive habits they’ve come to rely on. Last March, at the TEDxNashville conference, she discussed her idea for an app that would catalog and
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"AS AMERICANS WRESTLE OPENLY WITH PHYSICAL OBESITY, WE’RE ALSO STRUGGLING WITH THE LESS OBVIOUS, MUCH MORE SEVERE PROBLEM OF ENERGY OBESITY."
chart our daily energy intake, called DECAL (for daily energy calories). She created the idea as a storytelling device to capture the attention of The New York Times editors, with the intention of nailing her real target—the public. “As Americans wrestle openly with physical obesity, we’re also struggling with the less obvious, much more severe problem of energy obesity,” she says. Amanda’s oped, “Making Every Oil Calorie Count,” explains how we can use the same system of public nutritional information and calorie counting to apply to the energy problem as well. “If every product had a label that detailed the reality of its carbon footprint,” she says, “companies would be forced to rethink their use of fossil fuels, just like food companies were forced to rethink their use of trans fats.” This clear and simple way of putting things is normal for Amanda, and it also got the attention of a Wall Street investor, an MIT professor, and even General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who contacted her after reading the op-ed to express his interest in her idea. Because of Amanda’s talent for effectively verbalizing to the public what could potentially be a complicated plan, scientists have been at work on the concept. She’s not sure how the app would work in real life, but she knows it would require a lot of systemic changes that take time and red tape dodging. Again, the idea was an attempt to depict a more symbiotic relationship with energy consumption through storytelling. Amanda just co-wrote a memoir about an urban gardener in Chicago, that’s scheduled to hit
shelves in July. It’s called From the Ground Up. In retelling the subject’s captivating story, the author feels like she’s making strides toward a practical, sustainable lifestyle through the stories of real people who get their hands dirty for the environment every day. “Hopefully,” she confides, “I’ll find a way of telling the story of energy and climate change in a way that’s as emotionally compelling as a memoir. The thing that was frustrating for me about writing Power Trip was that I met so many amazing people, but I didn’t have the pages to delve deep enough into their stories.” At Vanderbilt University, Amanda teaches a journalism class called “The Story of Climate Change.” In her class, she challenges her students to do as she has done: to investigate and explain incredibly complex problems on a human level. I can imagine her before a class of enthusiastic students, her arms gesturing wildly as they did with Christie Todd Whitman, but to far less embarrassing ends. “Young people are where it’s at,” she says, grinning, after a lecture at Hume-Fogg. The downtown magnet school does a lunchtime lecture series called “Food For Thought,” and they recruited Amanda to grace it with a redux of her TEDx talk. After her lecture, she was cornered by eager high schoolers who asked her where they could sign a petition to make her—so far imaginary—app real. I have a feeling she never imagined this much support for something so foreign to our inherent Americanness. “It’s very difficult to sell Americans on the idea of using less,” Amanda says. “Efficiency is a painfully boring topic.” She admits that most Americans aren’t even receptive to more exciting ideas like renewable energy. For example, though solar power was invented on American soil, the Japanese and Chinese are leaps and bounds ahead of us in the race to fuel fit-
AMANDA LITTLE: Follow Amanda on Twitter @littletrip or on her website: www.amandalittle.com 38 / / / / / / / / / /
ness. They have mass-produced cheap solar panels that put American companies like Solyndra out of business. But she believes that American spirit can be as much of a tool as it has been a hindrance. She recognizes that consumers, as of yet, are not empowered to make holistically responsible decisions with regards to fossil fuel economy, but they might be so empowered if they were to collectively demand cheaper alternatives. “American ingenuity got us into this mess,” she exclaims. “And now it’s going to get us out!” This has sort of been her mantra since her book came out, and it’s as much of an argument for climate change skeptics as it is for climate change activists. That is, journalism and celebrity are not the only worlds Amanda straddles. She threw herself full-force into the world of advocating real solutions to the real problems of the energy crisis. There are those who, like Amanda, publicize the issues of climate change and put forth solutions that cooperate with traditional American values like capitalism. She is very much on the grid, stubbornly identifying as part of the grand problem. With a fuel-guzzling household full of deli meats, Keurig coffee machines, and disposable diapers, it’s not enough to simply drive a Prius. Those who would associate themselves as “off the grid”—the advocates who militantly disavow all motorized transportation and abstain from reproducing to “save the planet”—often chastise her for not being a good enough environmental role model. Okay, so her aim isn’t to be a role model. Amanda’s version of advocacy is through accessible language—that of our own personal struggles—so that the vast majority of Americans can relate to what she’s pushing. And she feels obligated to keep it that way. “If we keep thinking of solutions that only appeal to people who live zero-carbon lifestyles, the issue will continue to be polarized. Does that make me a lazy environmentalist? Maybe it’s just a part of my identity. I’m a bit of an environmental outlaw.” That’s certainly what Amanda’s picture on her website would have you think—slinging gas pumps like pistols, her long, denim-clad legs ending in cowboy boots. But perhaps a more appropriate image would be one that comes right out of the intro to Power Trip. She’s surrounded by signs of America’s obsession with petroleum products: paper coffee cups, imported bananas, Chinese takeout, pens, aspirin, and notebook paper. Two children are climbing all over her, while she hushes a crying baby with a plastic pacifier. But the work on her laptop, a sacred light that holds her attention, brings her toward the solution to this clusterf*ck. It’s always from a strain of the disease that you find a cure.
"…INGENUITY GOT US INTO THIS MESS, AND NOW IT’S GOING TO GET US OUT."
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PARTNERS IN RHYME ZIGGURAT RECORDS IS A COMPOSITE OF EVERYTHING THEY’VE READ AND EVERYWHERE THEY’VE BEEN: MESOPOTAMIA, THE FAR EAST, AND THE EAST COAST. BUT MOVING TO NASHVILLE WAS THE FINAL PIECE IN THEIR COMPLEX PUZZLE
I finish reading a text message and look up from my phone just in time to witness Miyagi and Purpl Monk of Ziggurat Records droppin’ some knowledge. I come in on the back end of their conversation, as they hop from one metaphor to another, with Miyagi saying he’s a “bull in a china shop” and a “gorilla in the opium den.” How transcendental. You don’t even have to catch the joke to follow their humor; their laidback and witty tones are enough. I glance over at Purpl Monk as he maintains the same deadpan look he often speaks with, even as he laughs. And this distinct delivery comes to life when he’s rapping. We’re at Bobbie’s Ice Cream on Charlotte Avenue, not too far from Miyagi’s crib. It’s one of Ziggurat’s favorite spots, especially Miyagi, who recently stopped a lady walking down Charlotte with a McDonald’s ice cream cone and took it upon himself to refer her to Bobbie’s. Today Purpl Monk is rocking
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a tangerine red “Vacation Forever” tshirt, jeans he bleached himself, some kicks with cannabis-inspired socks, and a Mishka hat with palm trees. Amidst the tropical, multi-colored picnic tables and umbrellas at Bobbie’s, Monk seems right at home. So does Miyagi. And as I glance again at his spaceman Mishka fitted hat, I can’t help but shake my head and grin. Purpl Monk and Miyagi are twothirds of Ziggurat, along with Purpl’s Monk’s brother, LGHTSWTCH, who lives in Brooklyn. LGHTSWTCH handles the majority of production duties. Miyagi, who also produces, raps alongside Purpl Monk, who handles the business side of things as well. Together they form like Voltron to create new-age, hip hop throwbacks, and are a big part of the reason why Nashville is witnessing its most vibrant hip hop and street culture resurgence ever. It only takes one listen to realize Ziggurat Records is not your average hip hop group. Purpl Monk and Miyagi are
artists above all else, and the crew originally formed through mutual interests in art, old school hip hop, science, and Eastern philosophy and religion. In fact, the name Ziggurat comes from the ancient pyramid temple structures of the Mesopotamian Valley, and it serves as a symbol of the trio’s mission. “The image of the ziggurat is a magnificent thing we can build with music. It’s like a temple, something that’s positive and helps people progress to a new understanding of things,” Miyagi explains. It’s this deep reverence for the history of cultures new and old, and inspirations well-known and obscure, that sets Ziggurat Records apart from anyone else making music in Nashville. They are artists of the mind—rap purists who take just as much interest in reviving the essence of civilizations past as they do in reviving the sensibilities of a genre of music that, over the years, has seemingly become about money and swag. That’s why Miyagi still samples vinyl records like it’s 1993. “Picking records and in a sense, letting the records pick me, is a divine thing—because to me, hip hop is largely about resurrection.” And so is Ziggurat. But despite having a sound inspired by old school hip hop, they still manage to be one of the most progressive rap acts making music anywhere right now. Their debut album, Flossed In Space, typifies Ziggurat—wise and charismatic old souls who still look and sound like the hippest kids on the block. With influences ranging from the Annunaki to the Wu-Tang Clan, they create a masterpiece that speaks volumes over millenia. It’s a fifteen-track space odyssey of psychedelic, introspective complexity that clocks in at just thirty-three minutes and thirty-six seconds—a journey that takes you into the minds of this spectacular trio with some help from friends along the way. One such friend is Nashville’s own DJ KDSML, who adds his unique electro-spin on classic turntablism, creating a fresh sound as futuristic as the year 2020.
The two tell me of how Ziggurat RECORDS came to be, and more importantly, PICK ME IS how they wound up in Nashville. All three members of the collecA DIVINE tive hail from North Carolina, where they were heavily involved THING— in the art and music scenes. BECAUSE TO Purpl Monk recalls things before Nashville, “Asheville’s cool, but ME, HIP HOP it’s like the mountains and shit. IS LARGELY Everything has its place, but the hip hop scene isn’t as strong over ABOUT RESthere.” He recounts to me how he URRECTION." dropped out of art school to move to Boston, where his brother was studying. While he was there, he became part of a bohemian art crew with LGHTSWTCH. Sadly though, their studio—which was also their home— burned down in 2005, forcing the brothers back to North Carolina. Upon their return, they befriended Miyagi, and the Ziggurat baby was born. Soon after, Purpl Monk decided to finish art school. His senior painting project, which was inspired by the convergence of science, spirituality, and art, was fundamental to his creative growth. He describes the idea, “These three different paths throughout history have defined our existence in different ways, not really getting the whole picture. Society should merge these three realms to embody a new consciousness.” It blows my mind a little to hear him detailing the themes that would eventually define Flossed In Space in such a different context. Except it’s not really that different a context. After all, the ziggurat was a massive structure of self-expression: a temple used for religious work and scientific study. Purpl Monk leans back in his seat, breaking it down for me further. “To me, even our videos and album art are just extensions of what I was do -ing with visual art. They work hand-in-hand with the music, enabling you to really create a whole body of work with one song.” I think back to the definitive hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan, and how they too were able to build their own artistic universe, populated by a unique lexicon and a distinct visual language. The groundbreaking music video for Wu-Tang’s
“Triumph” blew up the airwaves in the summer of ‘97, and was the reason a twelve-yearold Miyagi fell in love with hip hop. The decision to take their music career to the next level spurred Ziggurat’s jump to Nashville, because of its evolving scene and vibrant creative community. Although LGHTSWTCH was on his way to Brooklyn, Miyagi and Monk decided that living in the same city was integral to growing as a collective. In August 2010, Purpl Monk made the first move to Music City, having only visited once. “It was here or Brooklyn, and Nashville just seemed to be calling my name. The music scene had been popping off, and I love the South—the cost of living and the pace.” After landing, Monk helped launch streetwear boutique Love Is Earth, all the while making connections in the fashion, street culture, and hip hop circles in town. Then Miyagi took a leap of faith when he decided to join his “partner in rhyme” in a city he’d never even seen. “I left Charlotte at six in the morning, with my Volvo full of shit, and my dog riding shotgun. I had no idea where I was going. It was a crazy time, completely diving into the unknown.” But to say that it’s paid off would be an understatement.
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ZIGGURAT RECORDS: For more info visit zigguratrecords.com. Follow them on Twitter @zigguratrecords
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Ziggurat arrived to Music City just in time to catch the wave of the new hip hop movement, and quickly established themselves in the right circles, becoming one of the most respected acts in town. Purpl Monk says, “At first, no shows were really popping on a regular basis. I watched the renaissance happen from its inception, so being a part of it is a really good feeling. This is what I’ve always wanted but never had. We’ve got something good here, and it’s still growing.” And so is their fan base, which they describe as “quality over quantity, at this point.” Nashville has more than just country. Ziggurat is out to show that our city has more than just punk and garage rock too. And to do that, they’re working with some of the best hip hop acts from Nashville and around the world. Forget all the clichés and tropes common of Southern rap: codeine, candy paint, and Cadillac Coupe de Villes. It’s not 2001, and Young Buck isn’t the only rapper in Nashville anymore. Aside from DJ and turntablist KDSML, Ziggurat has also worked with local trip hop group Bohemian Hype Cult, as well as some of the hottest and most established hip hop acts on the globe, including Bronx’s own Legendary Rhyme Inspector Percee P, whose rap pedigree dates back to 1979.
So what’s next for Ziggurat Records? “We sound is more psychedelic. Miyagi’s producgot a lot of love for the videos we put out in tion has some digital sensibilities, but alludes 2012,” Purpl Monk tells me. And after letting more to early nineties boom bap—digi-bap is me sneak preview the videos for “Beam Me what he calls it. Purpl Monk only raps, but his outgoing personality Back Down” and “Aloha,” stands in contrast to the the latter of which they more reserved natures of made with the producFORGET ALL the other two. Miyagi comtion duo Two Fresh, all THE CLICHÉS pares he and Monk to “the signs point to the love yin and the yang”—from continuing to flow. Purpl AND TROPES personalities to writing Monk tells me to expect styles to appearances. The COMMON OF solo projects from the former is a small ethnic trio, aimed at showcasing SOUTHERN guy; the latter is tall and their individual personalities. His will be released RAP: CODEINE, white. But as the yin and the first, most likely in late CANDY PAINT, yang unite harmoniously spring or early summer. After that, they plan to AND CADILLAC to create the Dao, the three members of Ziggurat Refollow up Flossed In Space COUPE DE cords unite harmoniously with another collective to create far-out music. album. VILLES. “Things go in cycles,” MiMonk leans toward me yagi tells me. “History is and continues to detail their plans, while I quietly anticipate the a huge study for humankind and always has prospect of solo projects from Miyagi, Purpl been. It’s important to show people how hip Monk, and LGHTSWTCH. They’re all dis- hop was built.” So as they resurrect the oritinct characters, artistically and personally, gins of rap, while moving it onward to places yet they mesh so cohesively when working it’s never been, they hope they can usher together. Both LGHTSWTCH and Miyagi use Nashville into a new cycle as well: the era of analog production, though LGHTSWTCH’s hip hop.
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E H T G N I GO E C N A T S I D WHEN JAMIE AND THE JONES ANNOUNCED THEY WERE TAKING A BREAK, EVERYONE THOUGHT IT WAS OVER FOR THE YOUNG NASHVILLE DESIGNER DUO. BUT SOON ENOUGH, THEY DISCOVERED THAT ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER by henry pile | photography by will holland 46 / / / / / / / / / /
“Jamie and the Jones are back together!” Well, sort of—if you call weekly Skype dates, ocean freight shipping, and the 6,927 miles spanning from Nashville, Tennessee, to Seoul, South Korea— “together.” Not to mention, while one eats breakfast, the other eats dinner. But wait a minute, did they ever really break up in the first place? “We told people we were taking a hiatus and they were like, ‘What are you doing?’ We’re not some huge corporation. In Nashville, we’re something. But in the world scope, Hannah and I know we’re nothing,” Jamie Frazier says. Perhaps they’re not giving themselves enough credit. After all, in 2009, the pair stepped off the commencement stage
After reading the headlines a few days from O’More College of Design and right onto the runway of Nashville Fash- later, Hannah Jones recalls her feelings, ion Week with twelve knockout looks. “We were like, well, nobody’s going to So maybe a “break” is a big f*cking deal. read it anyway. Half of Nashville doesn’t To amplify this epic breakup, they didn’t even know who we are.” But people noticed. The breakup took just declare the news at a house party or over coffee and a donut—they were on a on a life of its own, almost becoming as panel with Imogene + Willie’s Matt and definitive of their brand as the designs Carrie Eddmenson and leather goods themselves. They started receiving as many inquiries about their relationmaster Phillip Nappi (of Peter Nappi). Carrie—co-founder and president of ship—“We’re not in a relationship!” Imogene + Willie—applauded the idea, Hannah assures—as they did about recounting her own sabbatical. But for their clothing line. The irony is, they weren’t massall the journalists in the crowd, all they could envision was a headline steaming manufacturing clothes or taking custom with sensationalism. To them, this was orders for high-end clients. They didn’t the end of the beginning and the begin- have a regular pool of buyers to supply ning of the end for Jamie and the Jones. with their latest spring or fall collections. Rather, they only made clothes for It was doomsday.
the runway, which is to say, their days and nights were spent obsessing over color pallets, pouring over the smallest details, and hand-stitching every single piece. Each final garment was created for a monstrously tall, unfairly thin runway model, with no alterations for the masses. This meant to recoup the costs invested in the shows, they had to sell these one-of-a-kind pieces. For a lot of money. To an extremely tall, abnormally skinny woman. Who just happened to stop in at their only retailer, Local Honey. At the right time. When these timeconsuming creations were ready for the rack. The probability of this happening was slim to none. Just writing those fragments made me want to break up with Hannah and Jamie. Their tedious work netted glorified reviews from Nylon, Elle.com, The Tennessean, and an award for nD Emerging Fashion Designer. The award came with cash funding for further runway designs, but in the business of business, one must make some money or the coffer runneth dry. And it did. In March of 2012, Jamie and the Jones broke up. It was time to regroup, explore, and get a job. Hannah returned to Oâ€™More and took up teaching. Jamie and her husband, Drew, who was raised in Korea, left for Seoul to be closer to his family. Eventually,
"ITâ€™S LIKE WE WERE GETTING SOBER."
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Jamie found work, and everyone moved on. “It’s like we were getting sober,” Hannah recalls. But five months into their recovery, Jamie and Hannah relapsed. “We got bored,” Hannah says. “We just picked up and started working again because it’s what we love.” And just like that, Jamie and the Jones turned the engine over. Like all of their collections, the creative process starts with color. So for their spring 2013 collection, they were inspired by the color orange. But this time around, they decided to add a new element to their repertoire—prints. Hannah, in Tennessee, would sketch patterns and send Jamie, in Seoul, on a wild goose chase through the Dongdaemun Market. Sometimes Hannah, as if she was Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, would even issue the challenge “Find the Best Print You Can.” Jamie tells me, “We have never used a print that was already made. We thought, we’re doing spring, so let’s go bright, and let’s go crazy.” Hannah laughs as she imagines Jamie swallowed in swatches and bolts and pelted with Koreanspeaking store owners as they shop together via FaceTime. She recalls directing Jamie, “Turn the camera, maybe ninety degrees this way.” Through thousands of prints and patterns, Jamie strikes gold by finding one nearly identical to Hannah’s sketch. “Yes!” Hannah says with closed eyes and a raised fist, “This is why we work together!” With fabrics procured and designs finalized, the process of creation began, but this time around,
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JAMIE AND THE JONES: For more info visit jamieandthejones.com. Follow them on Twitter @jamie_thejones or Instagram @jamieandthejones. Shop their designs at Local Honey or online at allmostfamousonline.com/ designers/jamie-and-the-jones/
they were going the route of ready-to-wear pieces. Luckily, Jamie, who has more of a business sense, was able to scale the language barrier and go on the search for tailors in Seoul. Soon enough, she found one named Jake, and he quickly became their mentor, tailor, and tour guide on this fashion odyssey. “Once Jake had made the patterns, he could tell me exactly how many yards we needed,” Jamie says. With the exact measurements in mind, she went back to the market and selected the fabrics that fit their budget as well as their aesthetic. She factored in manufacturing expenses, material costs, ATM fees, and boxing and shipping to the U.S. This little design duo began their transformation into a business with cost management and accountability. Jamie describes the columns of numbers on her spreadsheet, exclaiming, “I freaking love
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"WE THOUGHT, WE’RE DOING SPRING, SO LET’S GO BRIGHT, AND LET’S GO CRAZY."
it!” Now with the looks complete and multiple sizes of each cut and sewn, Jamie boxes them and sets them free. This is the hand-off to Hannah. And touchdown. Curious about this new direction for Jamie and the Jones, I ask Hannah to describe their new spring line not in fashion lingo, but in layman’s terms. So like Hannah challenged Jamie to find the best print she could in Seoul, I challenge Hannah to describe their new designs in terms of food. “Food terms?” Hannah asks, caught off guard. She covers her face with her hands and says, “I can’t do it.” Then she looks up, “You start.” With faux confidence, I suggest, “creamy fabrics” and “acidic colors.” Keep in mind, I haven’t even seen the outfits. She snorts and rolls her eyes at what I now think is a totally ridiculous thing to ask. Probably to save me from my own embarrassment and stuttering, she throws me a line, “Can I show you the pictures?” As I skim through the photos, I see
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that the pieces are cut for a tailored fit. Silky orange pants, akin to pajamas, stretch high to a printed, scoop-neck shirt with a cinched empire waist. A dress dotted with vintage cars hits at the knee, donned with epaulets on the shoulders and a buttoned flap on the back. Then there’s a long, fishtail blouse covered in poppies. Their new looks stray from anything Jamie and Hannah have shown on the runway. Whereas before, their signature was free-forming dresses and boxy cuts made to accentuate the slimmest, tallest figures, their new designs don’t exclude any body type. The fabrics are rich in quality yet light in nature, with a flat-
tering weightless drape. Some are sheer, some are shiny, yet all can be dressed up or dressed down. This collection is fun and bold, versatile and classic. It seems as if Jamie and the Jones have entered a new age of their “relationship” with fashion. As Hannah takes me through the sketches one-by-one, she describes the woman who represents this collection. “She’s creative, likes to be different—maybe a musician or a painter. She’s a non-traditional person who can wear a comfortable outfit to work and play.” In many ways, “she” is Jamie and the Jones. Rather than aspiring for the tallest, thinnest mannequinshaped woman, Jamie and Hannah
THE FABRICS ARE RICH IN QUALITY YET LIGHT IN NATURE, WITH A FLATTERING WEIGHTLESS DRAPE. 52 / / / / / / / / / /
are thinking about women who juggle three kids on one arm, run a business, and travel the globe. Women who have a whole world on their plate, yet still manage to come out on top. Women who live. And whether they’re together behind the runway at Nashville Fashion Week, teaching at O’More, or browsing textile factories in South Korea, Jamie and Hannah live. And Jamie and the Jones is more than heritage Americana or high fashion. It’s Nashville fashion through a global lens, like country living in Asian silk pants—a lotus flower in a minivan, if you will. Despite this rebirth, their journey has been bittersweet. Hannah
misses Jamie, and Jamie misses Hannah. If they could only have two hours face to face, Hannah says, “We would probably sit in front of a fire watching Reba, with a Gentlemen Jack and Coke in hand, and sew together.” That sounds nice, but their business is not all rainbows and butterflies. “Things aren’t always peachykeen,” Jamie says. Running a business is hard enough, especially from all the way across the planet. “I’m not going to stand on the street and starve just to make this work,” Jamie declares. But Hannah assures me, “We haven’t given up.” And I have a feeling they never will. They say that in relationships, absence makes the heart grow fonder. That seems to be the case for Jamie and the Jones, who took a seemingly finite obstacle in their relationship, and turned it into a new beginning. Instead of just throwing in the towel, excusing it by the inability to work through long distance, the pair took on this challenge, and it proved to be a blessing. The truest test of a relationship is to see how it reacts to an unstoppable outside force. Taking a chance on a pair of orange pants seems lightweight compared to taking a chance on running a business from halfway across the world. For most, 7,000 miles would be enough to never see, think, or speak of someone again. For Jamie and the Jones, it put their relationship into perspective. Sure—FaceTime, Skype, email, and emojis aren’t the most ideal form of communication. But Jamie and Hannah make it work. Despite a massive stretch in distance and a hell-of-a shipping cost, to them, it’s worth the challenge, the insanity, and most of all, the adventure.
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TWOâ€™S COMPANY Close friends Ryan Zacarias and Brooke Bernard have been making movies together since college. Now they are just starting to get the recognition they deserve in Nashville
by sarah brown | photography by daniel meigs 54 / / / / / / / / / /
For nomads, they were surprisingly easy to catch up with. The hearts and minds behind local film production company Nomadic Independence, Ryan Zacarias and Brooke Bernard, are a far cry from the sleekly, schmoozy Hollywood sharks that generally leap to mind when one thinks “movie producer.” I met with the pair at my favorite neighborhood haunt, The Gold Rush, and from the start, it was obvious we were going to get along like a house on fire. Ryan, sporting close-shorn, heavily salted hair, and Brooke, wearing a charming grin, are a pair of not-too-young adults that exude an air of laid-back, unpretentious ease. We migrate to the dark side of the bar, where, over “manmosas,” cabernet, and numerous cigarettes, we get down to some real talk. They’ve both lived here for a decade or so, and they possess as much dyed-inthe-wool loyalty as any true local. They met at Watkins College of Art—his major in producing, hers in editing—and began the process common to film students, assisting
each other on their short film projects. A shared love of filmmaking laid the foundation for their incredibly cohesive relationship as creative partners, business teammates, and personal friends. It shows in the casual intimacy they display. They finish each other’s sentences with the kind of natural flow generally observed between twins. During and after school, Ryan and Brooke worked on various film projects around town, collaborating with friends and local filmmakers. They realized their rapport was something not only unique, but bankable. So, almost on a whim, they decided to start their own production company. “We were working on a commercial with Brent Stewart and Harmony Korine,” recalls Brooke. “Ryan and I were like, ‘Let’s do a feature!” With the money they made from the commercial, they were able to produce their first film, The Colonel’s Bride, in 2010. It was a moving tale shot on 35mm celluloid, nearly unheard of for a film with such a micro budget. Thus Nomadic Independence was born. The film premiered at the Sarasota Film Festival
and worked the circuit, amassing praise and providing Ryan and Brooke with the connections needed for their next project. And the next. And the next. With each new project, their understanding of what a producer is and does changes. “You keep on learning. There’s no ‘a producer does this,’” Brooke says. “We wear so many different hats.” Depending on the size and budget of a film, they do whatever it takes. From coordinating the key players, to scheduling, budgeting, and financing, there’s not much they don’t do. In their earliest
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days, they even humbly organized and manned the, oh-so-essential, on-set craft services (providing food and beverage to the other departments or “crafts”). Brooke says, “We make a lot of sacrifices. We do what we can to give our team what they need.” Ryan continues, “It’s a very strenuous position to be in, because you have this responsibility toward people, the production, and the artistic voice.” And for the pair, the loving collaboration between everyone on set is what fulfills them most. But there’s no rest for the weary. Even
after a film is finished, Brooke and Ryan must promote, market, and distribute. In the beginning, they were more focused on obscure and unconventional films, but catering to a niche market was not conducive to growth. After all, limited audiences mean limited investments— with negative repercussions for every aspect of the creative process. There’s a huge chunk of the filmmaking world that a lot of people know nothing about. Ryan and Brooke’s favorite aspect? The festival game. Aside from all the cultural and intellectual stimulation,
"IT’S ABOUT GETTING OUT THERE AND EXPERIENCING OTHER PEOPLE AND OTHER PLACES." film festivals are a place for them to shake hands and kiss babies—in other words, network. When Brooke and Ryan go to festivals, they connect with potential investors and collaborators. Self-described “director addicts,” they generally have to be fans of someone’s work before they’ll even consider going into production with them, which means they watch a lot of movies. I’m imagining Ryan and Brooke buried under a mountain of popcorn, Twizzlers, and Milk Duds, but I’m sure it’s much more professional than that. Ultimately, it’s about connecting with the global film community. “We’ve got to go beyond Nashville and our festival, which we love, but it’s about getting out there and experiencing other people and other places,” Ryan explains. Speaking of our festival, their most recent offering, Matthew Porterfield’s I Used To Be Darker, makes its hometown debut this month. Already generating buzz from premieres at Sundance and the Berlinale, it’s a deceptively simple film, a long vignette into the lives of four family members on the cusp of lifechanging transition, each coping in their own inescapably human ways. Haunting and bittersweet, drenched in both timeliness and realism, the film picks up with no explanation and cuts off with no resolution, but is all the more affecting because of it. Brooke and Ryan rave about the writer/director, whom they describe as “a filmmaking prodigy. The way he works with actors, the realism, his influences; he just knows what’s good.” These two know the special
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touch when they see it, and have built their company around being able to find and attract that talent, even if it takes, as they put it, “obsessive stalking.” The modern world has made “obsessive stalking” much easier to facilitate. Trying to develop a company like theirs in this town would have been nearly impossible before the digital era. While they do try to keep as much of their work at home as possible—fiercely loyal to their colleagues and friends in Nashville—their projects come together across a sizzling network that spans the country. Via email, phone, and Skype, they’re able to meet and confer with directors and writers in far-flung locales, coordinating the various aspects of their productions. Brooke and Ryan have been doing a lot overseas lately, particularly in Europe, where film appreciation is so refined that directors often have as much star power as their acting counterparts. Despite the preconceived notions of blockbuster Hollywood, the pair was relieved to find out how willing European filmmakers were to working with American indie filmmakers. “We have the entire world to play with, and that’s the next phase,” Ryan tells me. But no matter how far afield their vision is drawn, their focus is always fixated on Nashville. They have nothing but flattering praise for their adopted city, expounding on the benefits of working in a town that’s already such a creative hotspot. Music is Nashville’s bread and butter, and is an influence that Brooke and Ryan don’t take for granted. When looking for inspiration for film scores, their local musician friends are the first that come to mind. Music, itself, is very cinematic in nature, evoking abstract images and experiences. However, as local music appreciation soars, they’re underwhelmed by Nashville’s reception to the film scene. “It’d be so beneficial if those two worlds— music and film—could exist like they do in New York. People always assume we’re from New York, and when we say we’re from Nashville, they get kind of excited about it,”
Ryan says. “I think that people are starting to realize that New York and Los Angeles aren’t really that interesting anymore, and they’re starting to pay attention to us.” Both Brooke and Ryan recognize their duty to push Nashville into a more prominent position on the film map. “We want to show our city as the creative, artistic hub that it is. Now it’s being promoted as an ‘it’ city—with cuisine, music, and locals like Jack White. Film is still one of those things that’s not looked at as closely as the others,” Brooke elaborates. While they enjoy their international attention and accolades, Brooke and Ryan are disappointed that they receive more recognition overseas than they do in their own burg. “People know our work in Germany and Italy, but my own neighbor doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s frustrating,” Ryan
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grieves. “So many parts of the US and the world are recognizing that it’s an exciting time for Nashville filmmaking, and we want Nashville to recognize it too. We’re ready for our hometown to support us.” This is a sentiment close to my heart, but I must admit, I’m just as guilty as anyone else for not doing my share. When the juggernaut that is our local music scene is as dominant as it is, it practically eclipses all other points of interest, including film. Unlike the music scene, the Nashville film community doesn’t have an established support network of venues and a rabid fanbase. But there’s no excuse in subjecting yourself to the bland offerings churned out by the Hollywood industrial machine; no more Rom-Coms starring Kate Hudson or Michael Bay action thrillers. Great film is all around, and most importantly, it’s here at home. May I suggest our local film festival as a point of departure? I’ll be there, Nomadic Independence will be there, and hopefully, you will too. See you in the dark.
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NATURAL SELECTION As the beauty industry moves towards all-natural products, parabens and sulfates have become dirty words. “It’s no longer necessary to abuse your hair and scalp to get gorgeous hair,” says Michael Moorehead, one of Nashville’s top stylists. “My girls are wearing their natural texture, experimenting with sexy shapes, and coming in for chemical-free blowouts when the mood strikes. Real, healthy hair—with all its quirks—is very now.” Melanie Shelley, TRIM Legendary Beauty | Photography by Eli McFadden
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NEEDTOBREATHE Rusko Miguel Mat Kearney Baauer Delta Spirit Juvenile The Apache Relay Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors The Kicks Humming House Tickets on Sale NOW at all Ticketmaster Locations Gates Open: 4:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday
For general event information, General Public Weekend Pass â€“ Purchased call 615-343-3361 orin Advance: $50 Faculty/Staff Weekend Pass (One Ticket Per Faculty/Staff): $40 www.vanderbilt.edu/ros/ Week of Show: $60 (April 14) Single Day Tickets: $40 (Available April 1)
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LIVE LONG AND
PROSPER These are the voyages of James Wallace & the Naked Light. Their mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no band has gone before
by liz riggs | photography by dabney morris
Before I met James Wallace for the first time, he emailed me a story about a page and a half long with no context whatsoever. A month later, he sent a thirty-six page, edited version. He asked me to read it so we would have “no real starting point in the universe” for our conversation. The story was set in an abandoned warehouse that James and a friend found themselves rummaging around. They stumbled upon a bunch of letters, which led to James going to Arizona to meet a man who, more or less, was the leader of a mystical cult. The end. To most, this gesture would seem a bit strange before meeting someone for the first time. But for James, this is just a friendly introduction into his world. When we finally meet in person, we sit down outside at a picnic table at a local dive bar that should probably remain
JAMES WALLACE & THE NAKED LIGHT: For more info visit jwatnl.com.Or follow them on Twitter @nonakedlight
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anonymous. There’s a plastic baggie sitting next to us on the damp table. The afternoon bartender—a weathered man with sandy hair—comes outside and acknowledges the bag, throws it away, and informs us there’s a tray underneath the table for all our “rolling” needs. Five minutes later, a trio of haggard-looking, presumed regulars comes out and says they’re going to smoke some weed. This comically surreal setting feels strangely appropriate for a conversation with James Wallace. As he speaks, his brown, almondshaped eyes dart around, avoiding eye contact. He’s not being rude, and he’s not uncomfortable. It reflects the way he thinks, which appears to be about everything at once—ideas, moments, shapes, and thoughts far beyond the realm of this patio. James is eccentric, but only in a way that makes you feel like maybe your brain isn’t on his wavelength. A red and white trucker hat rests atop his boyishly unkempt hair while he taps his long fingers on the tabletop, telling me how Nashville fueled his musical creativity after moving here six years ago from Richmond, Virginia. “After I got hit by a car, I slipped into a
different mindset,” he says, describing a bicycle accident that burst his spleen in 2009. He was riding down Wedgewood in between 8th and 12th, and a car heading his direction failed to yield while making a left turn. Unable to stop as he was barreling down a hill, James T-boned the car and was thrown from his bike. Luckily, he didn’t undergo any more serious injuries than a burst spleen, but it did put him out of commission for several months. And even though it happened years ago, it’s an incident that has permeated his consciousness and bled into his music. His black, high-top Nikes are propped on the edge of his chair as we get into all that inspires James. We start to notice that everyone in this bar looks like they just got back from A&E’s Intervention. Looking at each other, we wonder if we’ve just walked into some weird twilight zone. We quickly return to all things James—music, his near-death experience, strange adventures, and Star Trek, of which James is a devout fan. I think, what is it exactly about Star Trek that mesmerizes him so much? “It tells the story with as little effects as possible—as long as you get the idea of a
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"WE THINK IT’S A REALLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF FIXING A BROKEN FOOD SYSTEM." spaceship, you believe it’s a spaceship, and you don’t need to have anything beyond that.” He tells me I can hear this in the album, and I start to understand what James is saying. Why do we need all of these expensive effects and lights and sounds if all we really need is just enough to make us believe what’s real? Despite my relative indifference to the idea of watching the outdated space-age series, he recommends a few episodes for when I get home. Instead of taking his advice, I go see his band, James Wallace & the Naked Light, later on that evening. As soon as I walk in, a couple asks me where they can find some cocaine. I figure I should direct them to a certain dive bar that might meet
their needs, but then I just chuckle, shake my head, and walk away. The live show is drastically different than the album—with the energy of the Naked Light on that tiny stage, James’ songs come to life with drums pounding and his voice wailing. His band has always been a rotating cast of close friends from Nashville and Richmond, who all share a common goal of living for the adventure. These kindred spirits form a special energy that is James Wallace & the Naked Light. “Matthew E. White, Pinson Chanselle, and Nate Mathews—we all made the album in an attic over the course of ten days. Matthew produced it; Pinson did all the percussion arrangements; Nate played bass.” This is what James would describe as his Richmond crew: a group
"AFTER I GOT HIT BY A CAR, I SLIPPED INTO A DIFFERENT MINDSET."
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that has worked on and off with James throughout his career. However, living in Nashville has led James to develop a local version of the Naked Light. “The four of us made that record, but Dabney Morris is also a major part of everything—he helped out with overdubs. At the moment, there are two other guys, Ric Alessio and DJ Murphy, who play in my band now. We’ve been playing together for over a year.” James met DJ by playing with his band, Heypenny. Dabney plays drums for Wild Cub, and Ric plays keys for Promised Land. With all this talent pouring in and out of different local bands, it’s no surprise that the Naked Light exudes as much energy and electricity as they do. James explains how this rotating cast of musicians from two different cities has evolved into one cohesive group. “They are the Naked Light, not just hired guns. They bring creativity to the table and a lot of personality. I really do consider them all a part of the band, and I would use anyone from either of those camps at any time.”
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Naturally, the anchor of the Naked Light is James, who writes all the music. He has a particular affinity for early twentieth century gospel, and an even keener liking for songs that tell a story. It’s true—there are some otherworldly and apocalyptic references in James’ repertoire. “Most of the songs came from bad things happening, and me feeling like I could take risks to express them that I hadn’t before. And it all had to do with some alien and bizarrely prophetic circumstances.” And at this undisclosed bar, bizarre characters and happenings seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Between the rugged bikers hanging out and the drug paraphernalia floating around, James’ talk about aliens and the end of the world is, quite frankly, right at home. A crowd of strangers surrounding the u-shaped bar stare at the two of us drinking Yuengling while nestled by the frosted window. The bartender offers us a gingersnap, and James gracefully snatches one from the bin. I hesitate,
assuming the cookie is laced with hallucinogens, and then take one anyway. I think, if there’s ever a time to eat a laced cookie, talking about the paranormal with James Wallace seems appropriate. Munching away, we discuss his new album, which will be officially released on vinyl this April 30. I would describe it like a weaving together of fantasy tales and lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll. And though he’s releasing it now, it was actually recorded years ago in a home studio in Richmond. The album kicks off with “Colored
Lights,” the essence of which seems to encompass James’ creative process. “I had no idea “Colored Lights” was going to sound the way it did. And it ended up being the song that depicted the vibe of the album.” The songs wander a bit like James. He’s insatiably curious about the world around him, how stories interact and overlap, and as he winds through conversation, I lose him from time to time. But the more I hang out with James, the more I realize that losing him is really
just a part of knowing him. Around town, he’s known as an incredible storyteller—it’s the one thing all his friends have to say about him. But I guess that would make sense when you’ve experienced more than most people can say they’ve accomplished in their entire lives. And he’s only twentyeight. He tells me about the time he worked as a Chinese translator for ice carvers from Harbin, China, at Opryland, for the production “ICE!” James elaborates, “I basically lived with them in their work trailer behind the mall for three months—drove them, cooked with them, drank with them, fought with them, took them to Home Depot, and one time, my job was to accompany
them to a strip club.” He shrugs as if it’s not a big deal. Maybe it’s because he’s been to China more than the average person (Chinese culture is one of his passions). It doesn’t matter if he’s spending time with Chinese ice carvers or the Naked Light, James keeps an open mind and is simply riding out his journey— wherever it may take him. “What I know about being out on the road with people who are like-minded is that we can explore and share experiences and adventures. Because that’s all I really look to get out of it,” James says. In his voice, I sense an honest gratitude for the life he’s had so far, even if that came with a burst spleen.
". . . ONE TIME, MY JOB WAS TO ACCOMPANY THEM TO A STRIP CLUB."
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IT TAKES A
VILLAGE While traveling around the country, Jason DiStefano noticed that in other places, recycling was like second nature. When he came back to Nashville, he came home with a plan
by sarah sharp | photography by kate cauthen
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For the last seven years of my life, I have worked in a restaurant. I’ve hosted, I’ve served, I’ve bartended. I went in at five, came out at twelve, stayed up ‘til four, and did it all over again. Every day. But beyond all the human interaction, brown-nosing, and non-slip shoes, one thing I noticed in all those years was the amount of waste one restaurant produced in one hour, one shift, and one day. It may have been food, wine, paper, plastic, or glass. But it all went to the same place— the trash. One day I said to my manager, “Hey, look at all this waste. It’s just going in the trash. What if we recycled?” I was thinking, how can this be legal? How could a business that produced that much daily waste not recycle? A fire was ignited inside of me, and for the first time, I actually cared. My manager gave me a look of sheer exhaustion and indifference as he said, “It costs money. Call corporate—good luck with that.” He poured a giant bucket of water on my fire. I threw
my hands up in defeat, wondering how I could make even a little difference in the grand scheme of things. ••• Meet Jason DiStefano. Jason has spent the majority of his career traveling across the country for various marketing and telecommunications projects. He’s gone to big cities. He’s gone to small cities. He’s driven through sleepy towns and through towns that never sleep. And as he stayed in hotels and perused public spaces, he noticed that, in many places, recycling was second nature. But the more he came home to Nashville, the more he noticed how behind the city was in the push for sustainability. As he sits across the table drinking coffee, he starts with his hands like a true Italian, and says, “I thought, what’s restricting us from doing this? It almost seemed like there was a rule against it. I started investigating, and I found out that Tennessee was ranked 44th in the nation for recycling.” After some research, Jason
discovered that Tennessee also happens to implement the highest landfilling costs in the country. In other words, the landfills are charging more than $150 per ton of waste. There was no way around this model, unless you could somehow impact the streams of trash. It seemed as if trash was big business. Jason saw a demand, and he saw a chance to do something that mattered. Already committed to his full-time job, he knew if he wanted to start any other business project, he would need the help of those he could trust. In 2008, he went to Chris Parker and Lee Haynes with the idea for a privately-owned recycling company that would be called Green Village Recycling. “People told us we were crazy,” says Jason. At the time, the economy was in a major state of recession, and the arrows seemed to be pointing toward the ground. On the other hand, municipal programs were lacking, so perhaps a private company was the right answer. After speaking with mayors and city leaders, the determined marketing exec-
turned-small business owner realized that many places simply could not afford to recycle. But a private company could offer different services than a municipality program because of a bigger budget. “We started with one truck and one customer—as organic as any business could start.” Despite the excitement and momentum Green Village was gaining, like any family, they experienced their fair share of hurdles. They were eager to open their new office in Hendersonville in April of 2010, but the disastrous flood drowned their dream—literally. Jason says, “Within two hours, this building was flooded to our shoulders,” as he directs me to a photo of the same building that I’m standing in, but flooded to mid-window level. At the time, their spirits were sunken, along with the rest of Nashville. But though the city was in a state of ruin, Jason, Chris, and Lee saw this obstacle as a sign. “If you don’t try, you don’t know,” Jason preaches. If Nashville could come together and work to recover all that was lost, so could Green Village. It was time to pick up the pieces and start all
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over again. Naturally, the first step for this recycling company was to recycle their own office. Luckily, their neighboring construction company offered to help with the reconstruction, and they all went to work removing floors and gutting the building. One year later, on April 22, 2011—Earth Day—Jason, Chris, and Lee brought Green Village Recycling out from under the water and above ground. The first time I heard about GVR, it was a Sunday. It was the day after the Mercy Lounge 10th Anniversary Party, and I woke up on a friend’s couch, crusty-eyed and hungover. We were in dire need of some hearty brunch and some hair of the dog. So we went off to No. 308 to meet up with a few friends. Little did I know, I’d make a couple new friends who are what I call “pure business.” As these two guys were screaming in both of my ears about how we could do business together, I was doing my best to act like I cared. I’d respond periodically, “Interesting. Mmhmm. Interesting.” Though I was physically there, mentally, I was in another place—a place that
has no name or location. A place uncharted. It wasn’t until my friend Josh started talking about his new job with this recycling company—how they were implementing sustainability educational programs in schools—that my body and mind finally came together. How cool, I thought. Education is the beginning of change. You can’t have a plant without a seed, and education is the seed. Because if people aren’t told why they should do something, how can you expect them to know any better? So when it comes to their own customer base, Jason tells me, “It’s always important for them to remember to use the service. If they don’t remember, they’re not going to want to pay for it.” Along with sending a reminder to all of their customers the day before they do a pickup, they offer a monthly newsletter to educate their users about what’s going on in the industry, in the state, and with Green Village. The more people know about the processes behind their waste, the more they will care about what happens when it leaves their hand and hits the bottom of a can. But even better than being of ser-
vice to their own customers, Jason, Chris, and Lee go beyond those who pay them. And even if their small staff ends up doing a lot of volunteer work, Jason explains, “We realize our goal is bigger than our immediate need.” For him, that means educating the kids. Instead of shoving good practice down their throats, Jason knows that kids will listen if you give them a reason to listen. For some, it’s as simple as seeing an image of a cute animal that’s affected by waste pollution— like “Peanut the Turtle,” who grew into the shape of a peanut after getting caught in the rings of a plastic sixpack carrier as a little baby. Although she proved to be a golden case of adaptation, the image of a baby turtle caught in what is essentially a plastic death trap is not ideal. As Peanut is sort of a symbol for change against waste pollution, Jason is an advocate for recycling. But he uses a different image—a frog. “One of the reasons we use our little green frog as our mascot is because he’s like the canary in the coal mine. When something’s wrong in the environment, these little guys are affected first, because they’re so close to the water table. And the kids love him.” And for Jason, kids are where it’s at. “They totally understand it—there are no preconceived notions,” he says. The truth is, the longer you do something—whether it’s smoking, drinking, eating late, or not recycling—the harder it is to change your ways. So in creating these free educational programs, they are creating better habits for the next generation. Habits that will last a lifetime. They work with Montessori Kindergarten and Pre-K Schools for the real youngsters, and a few other elementary and middle schools throughout the Middle Tennessee area. The family man that he is, Jason has passed on his good environmental habits to his daughter, Ashley, who is a seventh grader at Ellis Middle School in Hendersonville. This also happens to be one of the schools where they have implemented their educational program.
When he takes me on a day out with Green Village, we stop at the school to talk with the kids who head the school’s environmental club. As we walk inside the school, I remember my days as an awkward teenager, wearing Abercrombie & Fitch and rocking all-white K-Swiss. After the afternoon announcements, a group of four kids comes in, ready to talk with me about their environmental club. It seems that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, because Ashley happens to be the seventh grade coordinator. Since Green Village got involved with the school, things have changed—now the entire community is involved. There are single-stream recycling bins in every classroom—meaning all recyclable materials go
in the same bin (except for glass). They’ve done the same for the gym and cafeteria, which has downsized from twelve to six bags of trash per day since implementing the program. Though Jason and his co-workers have received much positive reception in the community, there has been opposition to change—an inescapable truth about living in the South. Some of the Green Village team is from the South; some hail from the West Coast. But to certain people, they’re all “tree-huggin’ West Coast hippies that just want to promote an agenda,” Jason laughs. It’s not like Jason is asking you to trade your SUV for a Prius, live by candlelight, and cover your house in solar panels. He’s asking you to throw your trash that can be recycled into a separate can. That’s not asking much. But Jason, Chris, and Lee all realize that change doesn’t happen overnight, and there will always be a certain amount of people—whether you live in
GREEN VILLAGE RECYCLING: Green Village is located at 179 Center Point Road South Hendersonville, TN 37075. For more info visit greenvillagerecycling.com, or call 615.265.8599
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Portland, Nashville, New York, or Miami—that will not adapt. But Chris, with genuine eyes and a realistic optimism, makes a good point. “It’s like monkey see, monkey do,” he says. In other words, you must lead by example. Let’s say someone thinks recycling is a waste of time, and they would rather burn their trash (as crazy as it sounds, Jason confirms that people actually use that as a “valid” excuse). But if they see someone they respect using this model, eventually they’ll adopt the procedure. On the other side, you have businesses that have already partnered and are content with Waste Management. When the three amigos were first starting out, “We thought we would just drive around and hit every business, and they’d be excited,” Jason says. “They looked at us like we had two heads; like ‘What are you doing here? Waste Management handles our stuff.’” His next question was always if they were recycling, and they said, “Yeah, cardboard.” So it seems there was, and still is, a big misconception about what recycling is. Green Village continues to grow— now with a customer base of 500 residential and commercial businesses. Jason and his Green Village, full of family and close friends, might have had humble beginnings, but now they are taking Nashville by the sack (of trash. Get your head out of the gutter). Though they recycled more than 180,000 pounds last year, with the help from partnerships with Live On The Green, 11 North, and Bell Midtown, they’re not satisfied. They’ve come up with a plan called “Recycle the Row,” which aims to have all of Music Row recycling by the end of 2013. It’s all part of a larger goal to recycle one million pounds by the end of the year. With a new sustainability center opening this April on their two year anniversary, Green Village is shooting high. Because if you don’t try, you never know.
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SAVOR THE EARTH TO SAVE IT Itâ€™s about more than just cooking for Jeremy Barlow. The Sloco chef is headed from the kitchen to the Capitol to change the way we eat
by elise lasko | photography by kate cauthen
SLOCO: Visit Sloco at 2905 12th Ave. S Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For menu, visit slocolocal.com
It’s one of those days that doesn’t belong in early March.
The sun is daring, urging me to abandon my winter coat for short sleeves and corduroys for a skirt. My knees boldly peek out under the fabric, finally able to breathe. Businesses prop open their doors, inviting wanderers inside. As I meander around 12South, I pass Burger Up and Las Paletas, watching people devour burgers and popsicles. I hear the familiar rhythm of a song by A Tribe Called Quest, the slow crescendo of a man’s voice singing along, “Can I kick it?” and answering himself with a vigorous “Yes, you can!” The voice is projecting from Sloco sandwich shop, along with rumbles of conver-
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sation and echoes of laughter. As I turn towards the store, I read the easel propped on the sidewalk: “Local, Organic, and Quick Sandwiches.” As a vegetarian, I’m always doubtful that a sandwich shop can accommodate my diet. But after hearing that nearly thirty percent of Sloco’s customer base is vegetarian, it comes as no surprise that I find a vegan meatball sub stuffed with quinoa clusters, micro herb, tomato sauce, and Daiya mozzarella. Starving, the last thing on my mind is grabbing a napkin. After shoving the sub down the hatch, I hurriedly wipe my mouth with the back of my hand, like I did as a kid when my mom wasn’t looking. A tacky red mess quickly
accumulates on my sleeve, but I could care less who notices. I like watching chefs in their element— sleeves rolled, brows furrowed, and hands moving at a dizzying speed. Such is the case with the founder and owner of Sloco, super foodie Jeremy Barlow. He prepares my sandwich with the agility of a piano player, hands moving precisely at the right pace. My meatball sub was ready to eat in less than two minutes. My eyes move from the “Deep and Complex” text on Jeremy’s graphic tee to his short sleeves that expose two brave tattoos inked on his inner forearms—on his left, a rendering of his book, Chefs Can Save The World, and on his right,
an abstract illustration of the word “Tayst,” his nine-year fine dining restaurant that he laid to rest last year. In the rush of hungry families and twenty-somethings, Jeremy and I claim our seats in the next room over. Its orange-painted walls and picnic table splattered haphazardly with paint remind me of a kindergarten classroom. Jeremy says hello to a woman unpacking boxes of t-shirts for sale before I sit down with him, hoping to make out his voice amidst the clamor of rumbling stomachs and loud conversations. ••• The Mississippi-born cook spent most of his childhood summers working at the White Dog Cafe in Nantucket, a place his family has called home for over two hundred years. I can easily imagine a young Jeremy with a worn baseball hat adorning his head—one of his signatures—while mastering the delicate dance of bussing tables and washing dishes. Here, he had a pivotal realization: the best quality food was always local and was less harmful on the environment, not to mention, buying local meant supporting the community. With every step he learned in the restaurant routine, came a deeper appreciation for wholesome, healthy food. But it wasn’t until he attended Vanderbilt to pursue a degree in psychology that he discovered nutrition was his calling. Soon after graduating, he chased his love for food all the way to New York at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). During this time, he traveled to Walland, Tennessee, to intern at one of the premiere chateaus in the world—Blackberry Farm. After finishing his culinary training, he returned to Nashville to make a name for himself in the restaurant business. I’ve always wondered what “Sloco” meant: “Stay Local” or “Some Local Company?” It turns out “Sloco” is a fabricated word that has great significance to Jeremy and his customers. It’s all about “real food fast” that doesn’t leave you feeling like your stomach
was hit by a bus, while also shaving a few minutes off your lunch hour. “You won’t feel dead after lunch; you’ll be energized because of the high quality food you’ve put in your body,” Jeremy says. Each sandwich is made with an average of seven ingredients. Whether they are grains or antibiotic-free meats, you are eating healthy fast food. While this is a paradox, it’s becoming the future of eateries in progressive cities like Nashville. Jeremy confirms, “Nashville is hitting foodie status, which is killer, and it’s not going to stop. One of the important things to distinguish in the local food business is how to define
sustainability. I have to be honest, it’s still a gray area.” To my surprise, not all local food is sustainable. I learn that many farms use chemicals, pesticides, conventional farming, and antibiotics in meat. But Jeremy is determined to source responsibly. “Here, we can be one hundred percent sustainable and ninetyfive percent local.” Produce floods the sandwich shop three to five times a week from various farms. And when Jeremy can’t get a product from a farmer he knows, he makes sure it’s certified organic, without any chemicals, addi-
"NASHVILLE IS HITTING FOODIE STATUS, WHICH IS KILLER, AND IT’S NOT GOING TO STOP."
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tives, or preservatives. He can’t even list many of the farms he uses out of the sheer number, but among those are the Bell Bend Farms and the Urban Hydro Project located off Fifth Avenue, Nashville’s newest attempt at urban agriculture. The shop seemed to advertise itself almost immediately after it opened in October of 2011, despite the lack of suits in the 12South area. And with the cost of each sandwich priced at $7.27, it’s easier than you think to convince people to shell out the extra dollar or two for a more nutritional meal. “We eliminate the middle man by buying directly from farmers. That way we can be creative in utilizing our products to ensure that we’re profitable with our prices.” But is there a magic number for healthy, filling food? With Sloco’s motto of “real food fast” untainted by additives, you taste the difference. He explains, “When people eat one of our sandwiches, they wonder, why does this taste different than Subway or Jersey Mike’s? You have to give people what they want, and I’m doing that by raising the standards.” The advantages of those Doritos Locos Tacos, Big Macs, or Whoppers are evident. The
affordable price and convenience make fast food more accessible to a greater number of people; while the income of these customers varies, their hankering for greasy fries and a creamy Frosty is the same. Accessibility is fast food’s foundation, but it’s an industry built on inferior food quality. He says, “In order for fast food to be successful, food itself has to be centralized and almost de-structured. This eliminates the diversity of farms across the country.” Jeremy’s obsession with sustainability began with his former project, Tayst. So I ask what everyone is wondering, “What happened to Tayst?” Jeremy’s simple, three-word response says it all. “I got tired,” he smiles. He continues unexpectedly, “Sloco has great potential, and it needs to be expanded. It’s got a greater purpose than just making kickass sandwiches. It’s mimicking the fast food industry, but rebuilding the food system that has been destroyed by fast food.” But fast food is only the beginning. He’s also busy lobbying food policies both locally and nationally. He plans to visit the Capitol twice this spring to advocate against antibiotic use in animal husbandry and farm bills, which would restore support programs for small and organic farmers. His passion lies with the nutrition of not only his own children’s eating habits, but kids’ diets nationwide. I go back to my days in the lunch line watching the hair-netted lunch lady scoop instant mashed goop onto my tray. At the time, I thought powdered mashed potatoes were a delicacy. Add a couple frozen chicken tenders to that, and call it a meal! But it was never complete without my Coke and microwaved chocolate chip cookie. It seems as if Jeremy is reading my mind. “Schools are teaching kids that chicken patties and French fries are okay all the time. My motto is ‘savor the earth to save it.’ The more you appreciate its bounty, the more concerned you are with how it’s grown—for your kids and even your grandkids,” he adds. But despite his political ambitions, he admits that he still has one foot in the traditional sit-down, wait-to-beC
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M C G AVO C K
served, type of restaurants. “My heart will always be in fine dining,” he admits. Comparing Tayst with Sloco, he implies that they’re two different ball games. Jeremy knows that it’s impossible to please everyone—a dreaded but unavoidable mantra in the food industry—but his attitude about it varies. “If someone doesn’t like a seven-dollar sandwich,” he starts nonchalantly, “I’m like, bummer. Here’s a cookie. Try something else next time.” But a disappointed diner at Tayst was more of a chink in his confidence armor. “It’s disheartening. It definitely takes a toll emotionally,” he tells me. I ask him which of the two projects he prefers, which he gracefully avoids, answering instead, “This is the only job I’ve ever had really—the food world. I like being home at night and picking up my kids from school.” His two daughters, sevenyear-old Ava and nine-year-old Olivia, aren’t new to the concept of sustainable food. Jeremy and his wife of almost twenty years, Alison, ensure that their home is preservative-free and that their children understand the importance of eating nutritiously. He tells me that children’s eating habits develop between the ages of three and nine, so setting an example is paramount. “The wife comes home and dinner’s on the table. After twenty years of
"WE’RE TATTOOED, WE DRINK A LOT, AND WE CAN GO OUT ALL NIGHT. PEOPLE LIKE US."
not cooking for her, it’s a fair trade, I guess,” Jeremy laughs, affectionately calling his wife a “veg-head,” slang for vegan. Chefs are more “deep and complex” than we may think. He smiles, “One of the powers of chefs is that we’re freakin’ cool. We’re tattooed, we drink a lot, and we can go out all night. People like us. It’s an unbelievable platform to get the right message out there.” Jeremy Barlow might know how to make a mean sandwich, but for him, it’s more than just meat, cheese, bread, and vegan meatballs. It’s about treating your food and your planet like you should treat your body. But all that being said, he can still make a mean ass sandwich, so Jeremy’s welcome at my house any day. Can he kick it? Yes, he can.
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No doubt—there are several places around Nashville to get your hands on some live chickens should you desire a coop’s worth, not to mention places to get the coop. Unfortunately, I’m not the person to consult about where those places may be, but I can tell you where to procure locally made, organic feed for those new backyard hens. There’s only one such place. Fortunately, while you’re there for your chicken feed, you can also grab a jug of kombucha, a few scoops of eco-friendly laundry soap sold by the weighted ounce, and a sack of pebble-shaped soy crayons. You might even discover relief for your acne or your irritable bowel, or pick up shoes for your baby, a leash for your dog, or fancy chocolate for your sweetheart. You may even find it difficult to pass up a bar of soap. We’re speaking of The Green Wagon in Five Points in East Nashville. It’s kind of like Target, but a whole lot smaller, a whole lot more environmentally friendly, and stocked with approximately zero commodities from
China. Okay, so it’s not really like Target at all. But you might walk out of there spending a whole lot more money than you intended. Because it feels good. Jennifer Casale has always had “a deep respect for the natural world,” she tells me. Growing up in Kentucky, she loved to hike and was crazy about animals. Many years later, while pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of Arizona in Tucson, she took a job teaching recycling and water conservation to schoolkids. The deeper she got into teaching, the more she felt responsible to truly practice what she preached. “That really took it to the next level for me,” she recalls. “I started looking at everything I was doing. I felt that I had to be as good an example as I could for those kids. So I sold my car, bought an old diesel Mercedes, and started running it on vegetable oil.” That ‘82 wagon was Jennifer’s first biodiesel ride—dubbed “the green wagon.” Many other sustainability tweaks to her daily routine followed. “I started really paying attention to where products were being made, and challenged myself to
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only buy products that were made in the United States,” she says. “And it was a huge challenge. I had to go to all these different stores to find everyday things.” After hours spent reading shampoo ingredient labels in drugstore aisles and canvassing Tucson in search of recycled toilet paper, Jennifer realized she’d stumbled upon a niche worth filling. She wondered why retailers couldn’t make things easier on the aspiring green consumer. What if someone could suss out quality items and sell them all in one place? Or even better—sell only products manufactured and processed in the United States. It could be like a green general store. But Arizona wasn’t the place. Jennifer, who had lived in Nashville while attending Vanderbilt as an undergrad, had a feeling that Music City was ripe for this kind of retail. As one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, and with a growing progressive ethos, Nashville seemed like a place where Jennifer’s idea could take hold and really make a difference. “I felt like Nashville needed this more than Tucson,” she says. Business savvy came into play, too. Jennifer had a fair number of contacts here from her Vandy days and from working briefly in the music industry. “I had a network of people that I felt could be a support system. And I knew this concept would be special here.” But others weren’t exactly sold on the brilliance of her business plan. “People were like, ‘You’re going to have the hardest time doing that,’” she recalls. And maybe it was kind of crazy, she now acknowledges. “I was a poet
"I HAD TO GO TO ALL THESE DIFFERENT STORES TO FIND EVERYDAY THINGS."
who wanted to open a green general store!” She soon discovered that her entrepreneurial vision was not the kind banks were likely to gamble on. Several times over, her request for a small business loan was turned down. So she moved on to plan B: funding her dream green store through her own savings, plus some microloans from a network of folks she’d gotten to know during her undergraduate days. Though she ended up with about onefifth of the seed money she’d budgeted for opening, she managed to secure a small space in Sylvan Park and took on the build-out herself. To save money, she says, “I turned off my heat and slept in my coat the winter leading up to the opening. I ate beans and rice. It was very much a labor of love and sweat and hard, hard work. It was a leap of faith.” Jennifer bought what inventory she could afford. When The Green Wagon opened in January 2009, “there wasn’t very much stuff on the shelves,” she recalls. Not helping matters was the fact that, days before the opening, her computer crashed, robbing her of all her email contacts, throwing a giant wrench in the plan to rely on her homegrown network for publicity. So she sent an email out to about a dozen people whose addresses she could remember, and begged them to forward it along. The fix worked. “That email circulated like crazy; I think Al Gore got it. On opening day, the store
was packed and people bought almost everything we had.” The second location opened eight months later in East Nashville, and the store in Sylvan Park closed a few months after. In January 2011, Jennifer, citing health problems, handed the reins to a young couple, Johnny and Tara Shields, to whom she sold a license to run the store and use the name (not quite a franchise, but something like it). Johnny and Tara, with their two young sons, were the face of The Green Wagon—hence a number of Facebook page updates about potty training—until recently, when Jennifer stepped back in, along with old friend and early investor in the shop, Sam Ravage. But not long after returning to the store’s helm, Jennifer stepped away again—as of right now, she’s traveling the world, interviewing environmentalists for a book project, speaking with like-minded folks who are “doing amazing things in their own backyards to make the world a better, healthier place.” Her first stop is Australia, where she’s working on a farm. Later she’ll lend a hand at an ecolodge in Turkey, and she’ll visit Sri Lanka, where she’ll interview an activist involved with water pollution and pesticide contamination in the local farming community. “Pollution from pesticides is becoming a huge health concern, but people don’t know that this is why they’re getting sick,” she explains. “So this guy talks to farmers about their practices and encourages them not to use these pesticides.” Jennifer will film her interviews with various activists in the countries she visits and later share them on her blog. “I’m interested in these people’s projects, but I’m equally interested in what motivated them to do these things. I’m fascinated by
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people’s stories,” she says. And her current project will connect back to her work with The Green Wagon through online regional and local sales. A percentage of the profits from the website will go to fund environmental and sustainability projects in other countries, including the ones Jennifer plans to write about. “We want to keep the local idea, but we want to have a global impact,” she explains. “This gives our customers a way to shop local while knowing that a percentage of whatever they buy is going to fund other, international efforts that they hopefully care about. It’s a way for them to have an impact as well.” Meanwhile, The Green Wagon is not closing down, as suggested by a rumor that circulated recently—perhaps triggered by the Shields’ exit. The inventory continues to grow, its range ever-remarkably diverse. Always popular are the aromatic herbal soaps by Music City Suds and Alchemy del Sol, which was the first product line Jennifer stumbled upon when she began doing research for her big idea, back in Arizona years ago. Alchemy del Sol’s lavender washing powder, sold by the package or weighted ounce, happens to be The Green Wagon’s bestselling product. She also sells handmade brooms crafted from blowdowns and homegrown straw near Gatlinburg, and
honey from Arrington-based TruBee. In the future, Jennifer tells me, she’d like to bring in more supplies for gardening and urban farming. But the store may be as well known—and as frequently visited— for its events as for its retail. It’s become a community gathering grounds of sorts, hosting numerous fundraisers and workshops, such as cloth diapering, landscaping, and making kombucha. It’s also known as one of the city’s Community Supported Agriculture drops. Sometimes the actual green wagon— well, technically, the second incarnation, an ‘85 Mercedes wagon that replaced the ‘82 model— is parked outside. “The store appeals to different people for different reasons,” Jennifer says. “There are people that like the idea of things being handcrafted; there are those that come for the environmental aspect; and the tourists come seeking gifts that are Nashville-esque. Then there are people who have health issues, and the products here are the only ones they can use.” And then there are the people that, well, just really like the way it smells. “People always walk in and say, oh my god, it smells so good in here,” Jennifer says. “It’s the soap.”
". . .I’M EQUALLY INTERESTED IN WHAT MOTIVATED THEM TO DO THESE THINGS. I’M FASCINATED BY PEOPLE’S STORIES."
Working together to get the results you want.
615.500.2748 615.373.4347 ext 22 BT@LiveInNashville.com LiveInNashville.com
animal of the month by Gillis Bernard
W H RT
M R O
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Annelida Class: Oligochaeta Haplotaxida Order: Megadrilacea Suborder: Lumbricina & Moniligastrida
In honor of April Fools’ Day, let us begin with a timeless joke: Why did the earthworm cross the road? Because it was raining. It’s true that this squirming species only shows its poor excuse for a face (or butt, because really, who can tell the difference?) above ground when it’s raining. Biologically, without moisture from soil, or a strong dose of April showers, the worm will dry out and die. RIP, bro. And because tears are incognito when it rains, this is when the lonely little earthworm gets his cry on. And no one knows it better than him—we all need a good cry every once in a while. His tears are metaphorical though, because worms don’t have eyes...or legs, or arms, or skeletons. This wriggling fellow is an invertebrate, both literally and figuratively. He’s all heart, God bless the little guy. These nightcrawlin’ softies have five hearts, or aortic arches, for each of their multiple muscular segments. Maybe that explains why the earthworm is such a giver. Charity comes so naturally to him; it’s almost as if he doesn’t even have to try. All he does is make burrows, eat dirt, and excrete nitrogen-rich casts, also known as worm shit. This composting holy trinity guides the wiggler’s everyday routine; the only thing missing is the “rinse and repeat.” Thanks to earthworms, organic matter of all sizes—from an inconspicuous pile of dead leaves to that unidentifiable road kill you passed on Hillsboro Pike—is broken down and transformed into a super fertile layer of soil known as “humus.” No, it’s not rich 92 / / / / / / / / / /
with chickpeas and tahini. But it is rich in asexual and “get theirs” by producing clones. To take a note from Old Gregg, carbon, and is perfect for planting. As a result of these good deeds, every the earthworm’s “downstairs mix-up” is so often, a new member of the earthworm thought to have divine powers. Chiefs of the clan is voted “Philanthropist of the Year.” aboriginal Māori tribe of New Zealand ate At the infamous award show of 1881, famed “noke” (aka worm) to gain everlasting life. Don’t worry, ladies. In a way, these creepy English naturalist Charles Darwin was slated to present this accolade to that year’s crawlers are still on the market. A pound Lumbricina representative. Unfortunately, of Eisenia Fetida—a type of earthworm Darwin arrived an hour late, smelling of commonly known to farmers and gardeners scotch, and stumbling down the red carpet as Red Wigglers—gives you a thoroughly in his house shoes. As a humble apology fertilized garden, about 600 to 1,000 new for stealing the spotlight (typical Charlie) limbless friends, and, if you’re in New from that year’s earthworm honoree, he Zealand, potentially a gastronomic delicacy dedicated the next forty-four years of his that can serve a family of four. All this can life to penning the book, The Formation of be yours for only twenty-five dollars. Or Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, you can buy two packs of gummy worms with Observations on their Habits. With for a dollar at Mapco and call it even. But really, you only need look to thousands of copies sold just weeks after it hit shelves, Darwin’s biography on the your backyard to find some crawling lifestyle of his squiggling muses became companionship—one acre of land can an underdog bestseller in nineteenth- house up to one million earthworms. But century England. “Without the work of just a heads up—they’re really into the this humble creature, who knows nothing underground scene. So don’t even try getting of the benefits he confers upon mankind,” him to wear Paw Paw’s old seersucker suit said the naturalist, “agriculture, as we know to Easter brunch with the fam. So when you’re juggling your skinny, it, would be very difficult, if not wholly vanilla soy chai latte, gluten-free bran impossible.” Amen to that, doc. If the earthworm had a Facebook, his muffin, and 100% bamboo, locally sourced relationship status would totes be “It’s umbrella, while caught in one of Nashville’s Complicated,” especially because he’s in a sudden spring downpours, consider the relationship with himself. The earthworm’s earthworm, and keep an eye out, dammit. never really been into gender norms, but Because they certainly can’t. After all, mostly because he, um, she, well, shim, WWDD? What Would Darwin Do? (He’d or better said, “zhe,” is a hermaphrodite. most likely replace your soy latte with While some species of earthworms require scotch, and your bran muffin? He’d replace another lover to reproduce, many are that with scotch, too.)
Overheard @ N A T I V E
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URBAN GREEN LAB " IT'S A FUN AND EASY PLACE TO MEET NEIGHBORS AND LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY." In the last few years, sustainability has become a word that’s on everyone’s mind. As
more and more people become aware of how important it is to go green, Nashville, along with other cities, is joining the movement. But it’s one thing to want to go green. Finding practical ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle is an entirely different battle. Enter Urban Green Lab, the brainchild of local real estate developer Dan Heller. Urban Green Lab aims to bridge the gap between “thinking” and “doing.” It’s a multi-purpose space that will combine the cornerstones of sustainable living—energy efficiency, urban agriculture, and community building. The idea for a “community center for sustainability” struck Dan in the spring of 2009. And the
Inglewood neighborhood of East Nashville seemed like the perfect location. “The land has great visibility, high traffic, and is open and relatively flat. Plus, there’s a lot of diversity and a dynamic mix of demographics in the area. “Urban Green Lab is a continuation of the neighborhood’s renewal and how it has transformed over the last few years,” Dan says. But you don’t have to live in East Nashville to be involved. It’s a space that everyone in town can benefit from. “We take a different approach to engaging the community. It’s action-oriented, highly collaborative for programming, and very social. It’s a fun and easy place to meet neighbors and learn everything you need to live more sustainably.” Urban Green Lab will be housed in an existing, green-renovated building—the
most sustainable option possible—and equipped with adjacent gardens, a greenhouse, an amphitheater, an outdoor exercise area, and vending spaces. You’ll be able to catch a concert or movie, attend a workshop, pick fruit, shop at a neighborhood market, or just hang out with a cup of coffee or tea. Sustainable living can be good for the environment, good for the community, and good for your health. Urban Green Lab wants to show you how. The non-profit community center opens in the late summer or early fall. But in the meantime, you can sign up for the monthly e-newsletter, make a donation, or schedule Dan to give a talk on sustainability. There will also be plenty of volunteering opportunities in the upcoming months. So visit urbangreenlab.org to find out how you can be involved.
URBAN GREEN LAB:
by itoro udoko | photography by kate cauthen
For more information visit urbangreenlab.org Follow them on Twitter: @urbangreenlab ////////// 95
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Regions supports Nashville GreenBikes, Nashville's first free bike share program. Regions has donated over 100 bicycles to the Nashville GreenBikes fleet to promote bicycling, our greenways, and our public green spaces. Nashville Greenbikes links 94 miles of greenways, and 133 miles of bike lanes and routes, including the Music City Bikeway. Residents and visitors can use Nashville Greenbikes for free with an ID or proof of address. Check out a bike at these parks and greenways: Wakins Park, Hadley Park, Riverfront Park, Morgan Park (Morgan Park Greenway), Buena Vista Park, Hartman Park (Whites Creek Greenway), East Park, Shelby Bottoms (Shelby Bottoms Greenway), Sylvan Park (Richland Creek Greenway), Antioch Park (Mill Creek Greenway). Visit NashvilleBikeShare.org for times and availabilities and join the Nashville GreenBikes movement!
the spirit of a healthy, active, and green city
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The Green(er) Issue featuring Nashville's Brett Warren, Green Village Recycling, Sloco, Green Wagon, Urban Green Lab, James Wallace and the...