July 12 • Harry Connick Jr. July 13 • Barenaked Ladies with Ben Folds Five & Guster July 19 • The Black Crowes with Tedeschi Trucks Band July 27 • Imagine Dragons August 3 • Old Crow Medicine Show August 18 • OneRepublic …and more to be announced!
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CONTENTS JUNE 2013
Cocktail of the Month
Chef Arnold Myint leads a life that most wouldn’t have the balls to admit to—that is, a double one. Meet his other half, Suzy Wong
Quit bein’ a boob and nibble one at local gin mill No. 308 with The Capone
COVER PHOTO BY BRETT WARREN
MASTER PLATERS : The Ultimate Hot Chicken Guide
Nashville’s power five in hot chicken will have you begging for mercy and coming back for more
BEER FROM HERE
Mayday Brewery’s got the prettiest blonde we ever did see. Meet the “Boro Blonde”
Hey Good Lookin’
It’s time to flip your hair...style. Guys, get out that hairbrush. Girls, your comb
YOU OUGHTA KNOW
Lightning 100 presents Nashville bayou rock outfit The Delta Saints. Someone order me a Sazerac!
Native Animal of the Month
That son of a beetle Junebug can’t seem to get out of your way
Overheard @ NATIVE
So outrageous we had to remind ourselves that yes, those things did come out of our mouths
Nashville street style
Jack of All Trades, Master of One
How Matt Urmy’s time with the Maori tribe turned him into a tech guru
Thrills on Wheels
Tuck-Hinton Architects’ Seab Tuck is the man with a plan for Nashville’s skyline
Nashville Rollergirl Maulin Monroe goes from taking orders to taking names
She doesn’t ride elephants, and she’s never lived in a tree. Ruby Amanfu’s vessel is her vocals
Filmmaker Jeff Wedding can take on almost any project, just don’t ask him to film your f*cking fruit basket
Out & About Nashville has its image renovated at the hands of a conscientious transplant named Joseph Brownell
Rewind the Scenes
86 Earning His Stripes
Most people reserve crayon art for their kids—not Herb Williams
Nisolo’s Patrick Woodyard pulls on your heart strings through your shoe strings
From the gilded stage to a Gibson 335, Mackenzie Scott, aka TORRES, has been to the moon and back
A Safe Place
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DEAR NATIVES, As Nashville expands, and the transplants pour in, the hour of change is upon us. Although it’s important to remember our city’s humble beginnings, our roots now go deeper than cowboy boots, communion, and Cash. We have a world-class convention center, our own prime time TV drama, and construction on every corner (have I used enough C words?). But with great power comes great responsibility—social responsibility, that is. We have dedicated this issue to a group of Nashvillians spearheading social progression. And we feel it’s necessary to give our utmost gratitude to these people (and to you) who unapologetically walk to the beat of their own drums. Pride isn’t just a movement, an emotion, or a big head. It’s a mindset that includes everyone, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality. So the next time you walk down your street and look at all the different people, instead of focusing on what sets you apart, realize that you share the same pride—that of our city. And one other thing—don’t forget about your dad. He’s half of the reason you’re here. So put on his favorite classic rock, listen to his bad jokes, and throw some steaks on the grill. I wanna meet that dad,
EDITOR- IN- CHIEF
BEHIND THE COVER: We gotta be honest— this cover shoot was no walk in the park. We had a huge vision and were at the mercy of a few outside factors. Weather, time, and location. Luckily, for us, we had two masterminds— photographer Brett Warren and Chef Arnold Myint—and their posses to execute what we would argue is our most playful concept yet. A special thanks goes out to the folks at the Fontanel estate for helping to make this happen.
ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN
SARAH SHARP MACKENZIE MOORE
ELISE LASKO CHARLIE HICKERSON LAURABETH MARTIN HANNAH LOVELL
art director: sales director:
KATRINA HARTWIG CAYLA MACKEY JOSHUA SIRCHIO COLIN PIGOTT JOE CLEMONS ALEX TAPPER
DANIELLE ATKINS BRETT WARREN WILL HOLLAND DANIEL MEIGS JESSIE HOLLOWAY LAUREN HOLLAND LEIGH WARE CASEY FULLER ALLISTER ANN REBECCA ADLER ROTENBERG JILLIAN HUGHES WILL VASTINE ELI MCFADDEN MELISSA MADISON FULLER
WAYNE BLAKE POLLARD
KATE CAUTHEN TYLER WALKER COURTNEY SPENCER MARY-BETH BLANKENSHIP ANGELA CONNERS
BECCA CAPERS LEIGH WARE KELLY HAYS GILLIS BERNARD MALLORIE KING CASEY SMITH KRISTEN MCDANIEL CASEY FULLER EMILY DAVIDSON NEMOY RICK JERVIS
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 MAY ISSUE. ZACH PARR SHOULD HAVE BEEN CREDITED FOR HIS PHOTO OF LULU MAE IN “YOU OUGHTA KNOW.”
JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF ONE ARTIST GROWTH’S MATT URMY TAKES TIME AWAY FROM WORK (BUT NOT THE OFFICE) TO TALK BUSINESS—POETIC, LIFE-ALTERING, DEAD BODY-LUGGING, MUSIC BUSINESS
by mallorie king | photography by daniel meigs 6 / / // / / / / / / / 6 / / // / / / / / / / /
I want to get this out of the way early— Matt Urmy is the type of guy I love to hate. He’s charming, good-looking, and fits the bill of so many Nietzsche-loving, Converse-wearing men that I’ve met before. He’s “that guy” from college, right down to the tribal necklace and organic cotton t-shirt. I quickly realize, however, that Matt Urmy is so not that guy. In the thriving world of tech start-ups, Matt is a breath of fresh air. He just might be the most genuine person I’ve met in a while. And for me, after spending months living in the entrepreneurial-crazed Silicon Valley, that doesn’t require much finesse. In his office, surrounded by white boards and cryptic formulas and graphs, we sip on some bottled beer while discussing everything but his groundbreaking music business management app, Artist Growth. Even though I’m sitting on the other side of his desk, on the interviewee’s side no less, our conversation is surpris-
ingly un-businesslike. There’s something sedative and slightly empowering about listening to someone’s biography, especially if you grew up as the shy kid who only befriended Japanese exchange students. Unlike my old Asian classmates, Matt’s only conversational obstruction is me. For some reason, Matt is the kind of guy that gets me talking. After years of touring as an acoustic guitar-slinging poet, he entered the world of start-up techies. He admits he has an inherent penchant for business, but he treats most things in life the same way he treats music—to convey his passion for storytelling. “I’m not a good musician,” he says, with an air of wiry coolness. “I can play drums; I can play guitar; I can play bass, but I’m not extraordinary at any of them. They’re a means to an end for me—to compose lyrics, which is what I love to do.” I have a
feeling that Matt may be a better businessman than he is a musician. After one year, his company is already worth approximately five million dollars, and with Artist Growth’s 2.0 software that launched this past March, the company is generating a reputation with some of the most respected music managers in the business. But an hour into our conversation, we’re still discussing our college years as writing students. What Matt found most educational, though, occurred after graduation—outside of any office. He met a tribe known as the Maori. Although this Polynesian healing tribe originates in New Zealand, they travel to the United States to work with Native Americans. As a previously displaced group of nomads, the Maori emphasize the importance of the energy between themselves and those they come in contact with.
It’s apparent that this tribe is responsible for much of Matt’s demeanor. It’s rare that you can ever pinpoint the source of someone’s “ness,” but with Matt, it was the time he spent traveling through New Zealand with this group of spiritual nomads. After receiving an invitation, Matt sold most of his belongings, including his musical equipment, to raise enough money for the four-month trip. While in New Zealand, he worked with Maori elders, practicing their methods of healing. In an attempt to work through difficult periods of loss or doubt, they administer deep tissue massages. Only after bringing these difficulties to the surface can they begin opening their patients up to growth. I guess that necklace isn’t for show after all. From behind his desk, Matt says, “I came back, and everything looked different. Before, I didn’t have access to that level of empowerment. But when you do something way out of your comfort zone, that’s when the magic happens.” Within the year, the magic did in fact happen. Matt discovered he would become a father. Knowing he would no longer be living just for himself, he decided to go back to school. In 2006, one month after his son was born, Matt began a masters program in poetry and picked up a job working in a hospital as an orderly. It was an interesting gig, even for a seasoned musician. Imagine being sent into a hospital room with the instruction to transport a recently deceased patient to
MONDAY - FRIDAY 6:30- 5 SATURDAY 8-5 SUNDAY 9-3 8 / / // / / / / / / / /
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the basement morgue. Now, imagine doing that if it was your first day and not even part of your job description. Cue Matt trying to shimmy a dead guy out of his hospital bed. The morbidity continues. Shortly after his son was born, Matt began working in the Intensive Care Unit. He spent his days caring for fatally ill newborns and researching birth defects in children, all the while reflecting on his new role as a father. Again, Matt switched gears and decided it was time for a new job. Matt continued performing until he realized that he was dissatisfied with and prepared to change his career path. The roughand-tumble lifestyle of a musician, coupled with the desire to be his own boss, helped him crystallize the initial concept for what would later become Artist Growth. “I had a vision for a new digital business model in the music industry that didn’t include selling or marketing music, but focused on how talent is developed and how artists gain support.” Life on the road could only partially prepare Matt for full-fledged entrepreneurship—the rest was sheer mindfulness. Just as the Maori equipped him with composure and confidence, Matt’s newborn son gave him the resolve to provide for his family. Fortunately, he knew someone a little older, arguably wiser, and a lot wealthier, who agreed to discuss this concept for quantifying the functions of a musician. Former Vanderbilt University Medical
ARTIST GROWTH: For more info, visit artistgrowth.com. Follow on Twitter @ArtistGrowth
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R E I L P P U S E N I L A N E R D A S ’ E L L I V H S A N
"I HAD A VISION FOR A NEW DIGITAL BUSINESS MODEL IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY THAT DIDN’T INCLUDE SELLING OR MARKETING MUSIC." 10 / / / / / / / / / / / /
School Dean-turned-venture capitalist, Dr. Harry Jacobson, was Matt’s father’s longtime work colleague. Dr. Jacobson has spent years working in Nashville’s ever-thriving and ever-growing healthcare industry, but this was his first departure into that other Nashville moneymaker—the music industry. The two men combined forces, along with award-winning music technology entrepreneur and investor, Mark Montgomery, to effectively construct a business plan. From early on, it was important that Artist Growth differentiate from what seemed like a saturated market hell bent on digitizing every component of marketing and distribution. “We had so many ideas and problems we were trying to solve,” says Matt. “That’s where Mark and Harry were instrumental in saying, ‘No, focus here. All this stuff is being done by other people.’” These guys were more interested in managing the touring and business necessities that could help the careers of fledgling musicians. The software reflects that. First, the team focused on making the interface quick and simple—the main page hosts separate icons for gigs, finances, and scheduling, with their functions streamlined in to-do lists called “Action Packs.” These “Action Packs” are more or less electronic versions of a secretary, updating the to-do lists each day in order to prepare for upcoming performances (i.e. send posters to venues, order merch, etc.). The coolest part is that these categories are broken down into statistical findings. Ever wonder where you or your band has the biggest following? Would you guess that it’s Finley, Ohio? Artist Growth analyzes data from Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and other social sites to decipher where an artist’s fan base is strongest. Then it presents this data through a visual heat map spanning the entire U.S. Luckily, I was able to run the app past some “experts.” The week before meeting with Matt, a Brooklyn-based band stayed on my couch for a week. “If it really does all of this,” one of them
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said, “I wish we had it years ago.” For a group of musicians too broke for a seven-dollar meal, but too cultured for Domino’s pizza, that’s a rave review. When I share this with Matt, he practically finishes my sentence. After all, he’s a musician too. Even if he can’t tell me the last time he played a show, he hasn’t completely channeled all his creativity into Artist Growth. This summer, after years of writing and recording, Matt will release an album with longtime hero and country music legend, “Cowboy” Jack Clement. “So,” I ask, “What’s next for Artist Growth?” After hearing how he got behind that desk, I almost don’t want to ask. Instead of simply saying “a more user-friendly dashboard” or “a larger audience,” he approaches the question head on. “If I could actually create a career path for a musician, that’s a huge thing,” says Matt. “If an eighteen year old says, ‘I want to be in a rock band,’ the guidance counselor says ‘You’re f*cked.’ But if there was a system that made it possible for young musicians to build a fanbase and a viable career path,” Matt continues, “that’s a whole different ball game for artists.” Now that he’s monetized his creativity, he wants to enable another generation to follow suit. “I think it’s time that some order comes to the table, giving all the power to artists and their management teams. I think Artist Growth really brings a lot of leverage to the artists, whereas before, the odds were totally against them.” That’s when I realize the importance of what we’ve been talking about over a couple beers. The story Matt’s telling me is his own version, perhaps the prototype, of Artist Growth. He’s discovered a way to embrace opportunities, and he’s bringing anyone who wants to come along for the ride. “I don’t know what I’ll do next,” he adds, returning to my question. Judging by where he’s been, “next” could be anywhere..
SMALL B GREAT UNZ, CANZ
M O ERVIN G DE R N FOO DA D UN Y J U TIL 3 KE A JO M IN T
SIO IVI 7D 90 t1 Na OW I DT NM
T FR EE LIVE IN N ASH MUS VILL IC E
S EA B’ S S K YL I NE Within the walls of what used to be the Elm Street Methodist Church, architect Seab Tuck of Tuck-Hinton Architects sheds light on his past and present adventures, including the Music City Center in his firm’s own backyard
Seab Tuck never used coloring books. Not because he didn’t want to. When he was five, his uncle, who was a teacher, replaced his scribbled masterpieces and crayons with a blank sheet of paper and a No. 2 pencil. “That was my first memory of drawing,” says Seab, sipping on a Brisk lemon-lime soda. “I never used a coloring book again.” As the two of us sit in the stark white conference room of his architecture firm on Elm Street, I’d say Seab’s uncle was on to something. Hundreds of blackframed project plans and photographs of buildings
A: Al Capone 14 / / / / / / / / / / / /
by kristen mcdaniel | photography by jessie holloway
line the walls of Tuck-Hinton Architects’ repurposed space—a historic, nineteenth-century Methodist church. With projects like the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Music City Center (the new convention center), it’s hard to imagine Nashville without Seab and his partner, Kem Hinton.
"'PEOPLE PAY YOU TO MAKE THOSE MODELS?' AND THAT’S WHEN I KNEW."
SEAB TUCK: For more info, visit tuck-hinton.com or nashvilleconventionctr.com
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But on the green pastures of Roanoke, Virginia, Seab never really thought about going into architecture. Like most young boys in their stone skippin’ days, he loved making models and using his hands. But apart from his Lego towers and scrawled doodles, there was little indulgence into his creative side. “I sort of thought I was going to be an artist, but I didn’t really know what an artist was,” Seab says, leaning back in his black leather chair. While on a family vacation to
New Orleans, among the fortune tellers and street performers of the French Quarter’s Jackson Square, Seab discovered art—in the form of the Elvis on Velvet caricature series. “I stood there in fascination watching these artists,” he says. But for Seab, a street artist’s gig in The Big Easy wasn’t exactly the dream. It was on a 1965 Atlanta visit to old family friend and architect Sam Gilliam when fifteen-year-old Seab caught a slice of heaven—within the basement walls of Sam’s California-
style home. “There were models and drawings everywhere,” Seab recalls, with boy-like amazement. “And I remember running upstairs, asking Sam questions at a mile-a-minute like, ‘People pay you to make those models?’ And that’s when I knew.” It was the first time Seab put it all together: building models + drawing = architecture. Adjusting his metal-framed eyeglasses, he continues this trip down memory lane, reminiscing about his “hippie days,” when he studied architecture at Auburn University. He remembers his first day of architecture school, twiddling his thumbs and waiting nervously for his professor to arrive. While most people remember their college professors by their foreign accents or spiffy clothing, Seab calls to mind a man clad in desert boots and an untucked white t-shirt, carrying a cigarette in one hand and a coffee in the other. “Bob Faust was truly an original,” he smiles.
“Our first assignment was making sculptures out of aluminum foil.” After receiving word of Seab’s unconventional school supply list, his dad wasn’t all too crazy about his son’s first day. But the undergrad architect didn’t miss a beat. While he only recalls using his pencil to poke holes into his sculpture. From that moment on, Seab tells me, he never looked back. Glancing out the window to the Music City Center just blocks away, he mentions that he never thought he would end up in Nashville, or love it so much. But after a job offer in his late twenties brought him to Music City, Seab felt the same sense of history that he felt in Roanoke. Every inch of this city, especially its people, is part of an age-old story, and while Nashville may have been a new chapter in his life, his efforts continue to build on what makes our city unique. With landmarks like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Tennessee Bicentennial Capitol Mall, Frist Center, Nashville Public Square, Adventure Science Center, Tennessee World War II Memorial, The Adelicia Condominiums, and countless other projects, Seab, Kem, and the rest of the Tuck-Hinton team
Red Simpson, The Monsters,
Shooter Jennings, Scott Kelly & the Road Home, Larry and His Flask, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Dale Watson, Deadbolt, Whitey Morgan & the 78’s, Greg Garing, Sean & Zander, Hellbound Glory, Reverend Beatman, Jack Oblivian, Left Lane Cruiser, Austin Lucas, The Planet Rockers, Hillbilly Casino, Eerie Von, Joe Buck Yourself, Bob Wayne, Joe Huber, Holly Golightly, Two Man Gentlemen Band, The Tillers, Delaney Davidson, Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost, Otis Gibbs, Dash Rip Rock, Joshua Black Wilkins, Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons, Rachel Brooke, Burlesque Le Moustache, and a truck load more!
SEAB AND KEMâ€™S CONNECTION TO THE CITY IS MORE THAN JUST CONCRETE.
have defined Nashville. And after almost thirty successful years, Seab and Kemâ€™s connection to the city is more than just concrete. They are heavily involved with the community, always working towards progressive growth for Nashville, Middle Tennessee, and the Southeast. In Nashville alone, Seab is a founding member of the Nashville
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Civic Design Center, and as president, initiated the Plan of Nashville. He is also the Leadership Middle Tennessee Chairman, Cumberland Region Tomorrow board member, and the Arts in the Airport former chairman. With all that under his belt, he still manages to hold his position as Vice Chair of the Auburn University College of Architecture,
Design, and Construction Executive Board. As many locals raise concerns about our little big town getting too big for its britches, it’s safe to say that those who are at the forefront, like Seab and Tuck-Hinton, are mindful of preserving the city’s history as they develop plans for its future. “Nashville shows a real appreciation of what a city is, since the old is contrasted with the new,” Seab says. “It’s important to keep history but to move forward.” With one of the hottest building markets in the country, Nashville has grown from its small-town roots into a city of endless opportunities, and the new convention center stands as the poster child. Just south of Broadway on a sixteen-acre plot between 5th and 8th Avenues, the Music City Center encompasses 1.2 million square feet of space, over 350,000 square feet of which is used for exhibits and 90,000 square feet for meeting rooms. But its commitment to LEED silver certification is one of the primary acclaims of the newest addition to Nashville’s skyline. With a grass roof of over 175,000 square feet and a rainwater collection tank of over 360,000 gallons, this massive building will not only enhance the unique flair of Music City, but also enforce its commitment to a more sustainable and green building future. For Seab, the convention center, along with its countless collaborators, is a perfect example of how building the Nashville community is a group effort. “We all need to come together to build a great city, keeping the balance between contemporary and tradition. After all, it’s the details and quirks that give a city its personality,” he finishes. And this personality wouldn’t be the same without Seab and Kem.
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THE PERFECT LEMONADE 2 parts fresh lemon juice 1 part sugar 4 parts water
We, for one, are happy that the whole Prohibition thing is a figment of the past. But those rum-runners did know a thing or two about stirring a stiff drink. This frozen Negroni-Americano hybrid will wet your whistle and give you
that sheba at the end of the bar. Who knows, with a couple of these boys, that doll could be ya moll by the end of the night. But remember to drink responsibly, or you could end up in bracelets and the big house. Or even worse, the meat wagon.
1 oz. Aperol (similar to Campari) 1 oz. sweet vermouth ½ oz. Aylesbury Duck Vodka 1 oz. fresh lemonade 1 mint sprig garnish
THE SLANG: • rum-runners: bootleggers • sheba: sexy woman • moll: gangster’s girlfriend
Blend ingredients with ice, serve in a rocks glass, and garnish with a mint sprig. -Ben Clemons, No. 308
intro by sarah sharp | photo by danielle atkins
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• bracelets: handcuffs • big house: jail • meat wagon: ambulance
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©2012, Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey® 46.5% alc./vol. Distilled and bottled by Popcorn Sutton Distilling, Nashville, Tennessee. Popcorn says “Enjoy My Whiskey Responsibly”
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LUCKY ONE SHE’S A FORMER HOMECOMING QUEEN AND CLASS PRESIDENT, AN AVID COOK, AND A SINGING POWERHOUSE. RUBY AMANFU IS NO MYSTERY GIRL
by leigh ware | photography by jillian hughes
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RUBY AMANFU: For more info, visit rubyamanfu.com or follow on Twitter @RubyAmanfu
THE LOOK: THIS PAGE: Armani Collezioni black micro pin dot jacket/pants PREVIOUS PAGE: Vince black leather tee shirt, Lanvin white silk faille skirt (Jamie); Christyâ€™s black felt wide brim hat (State); Stuart Weitzman Sahara Nappa pump
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“I’m an introvert,”
Ruby Amanfu tells me. She could’ve fooled me. From recording her first songs at sixteen, to the recent buzz surrounding her über-sultry performance on Jack White’s “Love Interruption,” to her forthcoming solo album, I would say Ruby is anything but timid. “But I’m an extrovert when called upon. It goes back to my childhood—as a little girl, I was quiet and shy, and I learned to assert myself in a certain time and place.” Her success comes as the product of a long journey spanning continents, genres, and decades. Her story is one of dogged perseverance. Oh, and she makes a mean pear trifle dessert, too. We meet at Barista Parlor off Gallatin Avenue, a spot Ruby’s been eager to try for months. I take a seat at one of the tables on the new pine porch, and I look down at my phone as it lights up with a text message from Ruby. “I’m a bad, bad girl. 11:45. Promise,” she says. And even though she’s already pushed back our meeting twice, I tell her not to worry. “You’re a saint,” she replies. In truth, I’m listening to her smooth vibrato on my iPod—everything from her poppy, early solo work, to Sam & Ruby, to her recent duet, “I Wonder,” with Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard. Ruby walks in looking much more rock ‘n’ roll than I’d imagined. Clad in a striped shirt, black jeans, and a pair of low-heeled, fringe booties—everything aligns within a sharp palette of black and white. Her dark, radiant skin and loose curls belie her thirty-three years. “We match!” she exclaims, introducing herself. I’m immediately caught by the ease and friendliness with which she speaks. So it’s no surprise that when we head to order, the barista behind the counter recognizes and greets her like an old friend. “I can’t believe it’s my first time here,” Ruby says to him. Under his guidance, she winds up with a scientifically crafted coffee and a salted chocolate chip cookie on the house. She grabs my arm, insisting on buying my fancy chocolate bar to make up for being late. We settle back onto the patio with our wares, joking about the now ageold practice of Instagramming your meal. Ruby puts the cookie under her nose. “For some reason, this smell reminds me of moving here from Ghana,” she says. A perfect segue into talking about her family’s
"IT’S THE PEOPLE, THE EASE, THE WAY EVERYONE IS RELAXED. LADIES SIT ON THE FRONT PORCH AND GOSSIP, AND KIDS PLAY IN THE YARD."
relocation after her father, a computer programmer, accepted a position in Nashville. Ruby was just shy of three years old. The move brought their family 6,000 miles from their home to a country where we use ninety-eight percent more electricity, and where, according to statistics, we experience twelve percent more of a class divide. But despite these apparent differences, now that Ruby’s older, she understands why her parents were drawn to Nashville. The city she’s inhabited for the majority of her life bears an unexpected resemblance to the country of her birth. “It’s the people, the ease, the way everyone is relaxed,” she says. “Ladies sit on the front porch and gossip, and kids play in the yard. I think, maybe instinctively, the Southern way of Nashville fit something my parents were seeking.” Ruby’s mother, an English teacher in Ghana, helped the family prepare for the move by tutoring them in English until they were speaking it exclusively in the home, thus dropping Ewe, their native language. Ruby doesn’t remember much from the move, but she does vividly recall her second day in the states—a family trip to Opryland, an atypical introduction to the South. “I didn’t know what Southern was,” she says, “but it felt Southern.” A theme park was a sure departure from Ghana. The family settled in East Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood. Initially, Ruby and her siblings attended private school, not because her parents could easily afford it, but because they thought some American kids were illdisciplined and wanted to provide the most protected environment for their children. Ruby’s mother raised the family full-time, and Ruby tells me, “Oh, how we needed that. Seeing her on the front porch steps when we came home from school was irreplaceable.” The family scrimped and saved, until eventually, all three children were accepted into magnet schools.
Once Ruby left the private school bubble, she started to see herself as different. It’s one thing to be a minority in the predominantly white, conservative South, but to be a true foreigner? “We weren’t even African American. We were just African.” This was the early ’80s, Ruby reminds me, and “minority was the buzz word.” For a few years, she was surprised that African Americans taunted her, not necessarily out of spite, but as a result of being perceived as an even greater minority. “When you are in a situation where people are similar, but not quite alike, the differences seem to be more exaggerated.” She would walk down the hall, and her classmates would ask her, “Did you live in trees? Did you ride on elephants?” “They had these awful names,” she continues. “It’s funny looking back on it now, but it’s bitter-funny. They would call me African Booty Scratcher.” Ruby waves her hand in the air, shocked at the
Back in Ghana, her father had been a choir director, where he met her mother, a singer in the choir. Throughout her childhood in Nashville, Ruby remembers taking hikes with her father and writing some of her first songs with him at the age of five. By the time she was in middle school, she was singing in a classical choir. During a rendition of “Joy to the World,” the director informed Ruby that her voice was “too fuzzy,” not classical enough. “It was crushing to be pointed out like that,” she tells me. But her love for classical music continued. At fifteen, while in high school at HumeFogg, Ruby auditioned for the Nashville Symphony Chorus. She proved her former director wrong, becoming the youngest member to date. The next year, a friend introduced her to local music scenesters Dave and Becky Matthews, “the coolest hippie couple,” she says. Ruby refers to Dave as a “scientific entrepreneur,” who also repurposes commonplace objects to create instruments. Becky works as Senior Educator and Special Projects Manager at the Adventure Science Center. They offered to fund her first project. Just sixteen, Ruby recorded her first solo album inside the walls of the Matthews’ home. At this time, she was approaching graduation and would soon be attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. But during her one year up North, the album she recorded in Nashville was garnering favorable attention, specifically from famous industry critics like Robert K. Oermann. Although in a music student’s dream school, she decided to head back to her hometown to kick up some dust. She transferred to Belmont, but by the second semester of her sophomore year, she decided to ditch college to become a full-time musician. “My parents weren’t keen on me quitting school,” she grins with a look of mischief. “I mean, we moved here as children to ‘American dream it up.’ And I wasn’t going to finish college? It took
. . . HER CLASSMATES WOULD ASK HER, "DID YOU LIVE IN TREES? DID YOU RIDE ON ELEPHANTS?"
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ridiculousness of this statement. “Like, what? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” But Ruby’s days of bashfulness didn’t last long. As she got older, she learned to abandon her insecurities and embrace her heritage. “When you are the only one, that uniqueness is a strength,” she tells me. The shy little girl turned into her junior year class president and high school homecoming queen. Because of this newfound empowerment, she began standing up for herself, even to her own friends. Ruby remembers when a close friend referred to her as “the whitest black girl she knew.” She looks at me from across the table, a fierce look in her eyes, and says, “My personality’s not based on my skin color.” But it is based on her willingness to “go for it,” as she later puts it. This was especially true when it came to music.
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"IT WAS GOING TO BE THROWN ON THE WALL LIKE SPAGHETTI."
THE LOOK: Carolina Herrera abstract print color blocked dress (Gus Mayer); Christy’s black wide brim hat, Ferocity Jewelry pyramid ring (State)
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almost ten years for them to breathe a sigh of relief.” In Nashville, it took that long for people to notice Ruby. Even though she tells me she’s afraid of sounding like a boring soccer mom, I think focused describes her much more accurately. What Ruby pursues, she faces bravely and single-mindedly. She may not have experienced immediate success in Nashville, but in 1999, she started working with local songwriter Tommy Sims on a track called “Sugah.” A British weekly magazine, The Tip Sheet, caught wind of the pop song and featured it as the “Unsigned Artist Song of the Month.” This publicity soon led to a co-venture proposed by UK record label Polydor and Scandinavian Murlyn Music Group to bring Ruby to London to record an album, Smoke and Honey. After she finished the project, the co-venture fell apart, leaving Ruby in limbo. She moved back to Nashville in 2002, with the album set to release the following spring. “I was crossing my fingers, biting my nails, knowing
that it had no marketing budget. It was going to be thrown on the wall like spaghetti.” It may have lacked backing, but the album climbed to an impressive No. 3 on Billboard’s Pop Songs radio airplay chart. “And then it just fizzled away,” she tells me, seemingly unfazed by what would have discouraged most young artists. A testament to her dauntlessness, Ruby jumped right back into the game. She started writing with local songwriter Sam Brooker, and it soon turned into a sweet-sounding singer-songwriter duo—Sam & Ruby. They released their first EP in 2006, and in 2009, finished their first and only full-length record, The Here And The Now, named “Best Album of the Year” by the Associated Press’ top ten albums list. Despite the success, touring was not something she loved. “I’m very much a homebody and nester, so being in a different city every day was a challenge.” After years of working together, it was time for Sam & Ruby to go their separate ways and focus on their independent careers. As someone who claims to be shy, Ruby’s next venture shocks me. She lets out a loud “Hah!” when I bring up season three of NBC’s The SingOff, where she performed as part of The Collective, a group of nine independent Nashville artists. This decision was a major step outside her comfort zone. “On stage, I felt like a deer in headlights,” she says. I’m not sure what deer she’s been hanging around. The last time I checked, the way she slinks self-assuredly across stage, leveling her brown eyes in a stare down with the camera, shows no trace of fear. “It was a learning experience, and it definitely gave me a distinct way of performing.” Ruby’s first foray under the scorching camera lights would not be her last. In January 2011, she met Jack White, who asked her to sing backup for Wanda Jackson on tour, with whom she’d perform on The
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Late Show with David Letterman and Conan. “We had a ball doing that, and I ended up doing other projects that Jack was working on for Third Man Records.” One of those included singing backup on a track with Seasick Steve. “I’ve never had that experience before, where I walked into someone else’s session and was given the opportunity to stand on my own two feet.” That’s how it’s always been for her with the Third Man family. After belting out backup vocals on Jack’s “Love Interruption,” she performed with him at this year’s Grammys, sporting long lashes and a glamorous beehive, standing out as the polished, seasoned performer she is. Ruby’s appearance on the track prompted a very, well, interesting reaction. After the song dropped, she received a tweet from a British fan, asking if she had contributed to the recording. Ruby replied, “Confirmed. I am the lucky one.” Media outlets picked up the story, twisting it into the headline: “Nashville singer says she’s ‘lucky’ to have hooked up with ex-White Stripes man.” Ruby raises her eyebrows incredulously at the incident. Instead of focusing on her as a performer in her own right, they chose to paint her as one of Jack’s mystery girls. “Literally, they used my tweet as a quote! Maybe some people who were introduced to me initially thought, Oh, she’s a backup singer. But no, I’m an artist, who just happens to be working with Jack.” A work relationship that she clearly values. Now, Ruby tells me she’s back in the
studio recording her first solo album in ten years, with a determination to continue stepping out of that comfort zone. After steering her career through its many stages, she’s morphed from a focus on her writing to a newfound appreciation for the power of her pipes. “Now that I realize that my voice is an equal tool, I’m extremely open to co-writing, or hearing other people’s songs where my voice can be a vessel.” Just how open to pushing the boundaries is she? When I ask her about her dream collaboration, she says, “Holy Mazola,” and I can’t help but laugh at her answer— Jay-Z. “I don’t think I’ve heard one thing he’s done that hasn’t spoken to me in a surprising way,” she elaborates. Apparently, she’s always been a closet fan, and his music gets her “head bobbin’ in a new way.” Mine too, Ruby. Mine too. Ruby’s desire to just “go for it” will perhaps lead her into a new career direction. That is, as a chef. She’s an avid cook, loving food as much as she does music. When she’s stressed, she’ll carefully plan out dinners for ten, or stay in the kitchen for hours. Simply watching her describe the recipe for chocolate bark, gesturing as she recounts each layer, I’m starting to salivate. And this passion has further developed her interest in gardening. “I feel so at home when I’m in the dirt!” she laughs. Then Ruby interjects, “Remind me to tell you about the best dessert in the world!” For the record, it was a pear trifle with a balsamic reduction, though I’m going to have to keep that recipe for my own selfish enjoyment. My sweet tooth and I can envision big things for Ruby’s culinary future. Based on her pursuit of her musical career, there’s not a doubt in my mind that whatever she decides to do, she’ll do it well. What else will she do next? “I’m going to act, too. I can feel it,” she announces. “I really love the stage now. Used to dread it. They say if you squander your gifts, you lose them, and I believe that.” Who knows. Maybe you’ll see her on the next Food Network show, combining her talents into some homegrown, sustainable, culinary musical. I wouldn’t put it past her.
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GAYME CHANGER JOSEPH BROWNELL REALIZES THE VITALITY OF WHAT HE CALLS A “GLBT” POLITICAL FORCE. NOW, HE’S GOT A NEWSPAPER AND HE’S NOT AFRAID TO USE IT
by becca capers | photography by will vastine
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Joseph Brownell thought he had narrowly escaped a writing career when, as he describes it, he “tossed a coin” and went with a degree in sociology instead of English. But years after he graduated from Georgia State University, Joseph was swiftly escorted into journalism by a fast-moving bicycle. He was in Copenhagen with his boyfriend, at the time. In the midst of a fight, Joseph stormed off when a cyclist almost clipped him. “I had a Carrie Bradshaw moment, not to get really gay here,” he remembers. In the has-been HBO series Sex in the City, Carrie Bradshaw’s voiceovers describe the climactic moment of an episode when
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she realizes that the pickles she didn’t want on her hamburger perfectly symbolize the trust issues she’s experiencing with her current lover. I’ve only seen two episodes, so forgive my uncharitable paraphrasing. But Joseph’s experience with seemingly random, narrow avoidance of a serious injury by bicycle is similarly human. “I realized, you learn how to ride a bicycle by yourself, but you never learn to ride one with someone else,” he chuckles. It’s true—riding a tandem bicycle is harder, sweatier, and less romantic than it seems. Just like love. Joseph penned his poignant introspection, and it was quickly
"HAVING SOMETHING I COULDN'T SAY OR DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO SAY, AT A YOUNG AGE, IS WHAT LED ME TO WRITING."
published by David Atlanta, a GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender) magazine in Atlanta. Two months passed, and he found himself writing a weekly column in the magazine, á la Carrie Bradshaw. Though this quick transition into journalism was a direct result of having a special person in his life, Joseph insists that it wasn’t his gayness that directed him into this career. “Having something I couldn’t say or didn’t know how to say, at a young age, is what led me to writing,” he enunciates. “That’s how I would put it.” He was thirteen when he realized he was attracted to the same sex—in the Boy Scouts no less. “It was a catch-22. I was at an age where my peers were also discovering sexuality, but on a plane that was much different than mine.” He continues, “I was excited by this revelation about myself, but truly felt I had no way to express it.” Though he admits, “I didn’t know what ‘gay’ was until the ’90s,” he knew he was
not like the other Boy Scouts. He knew he didn’t want to marry a woman like his military dad. Since he feared the worst judgments from his parents and peers, he just wrote volumes of poetry about what he was going through. “Writing lets me fully flesh out my thoughts and ideas before presenting them. I am not sure where I would be if I wasn’t able to write.” Now, the wiry and meticulously-groomed Joseph is the new Managing Editor of Nashville’s GLBT monthly, Out & About Nashville. Our first meeting (out of two) was at nine o’clock in the morning, and we didn't get to half of the grit I was hoping to discuss—but not for lack of gab. “I’m not much of a morning person,” he tells me. But the man is a go-getter, showing no signs of bags under his bespectacled eyes and no day-old stubble on his neck. In February, he moved from Atlanta to Nashville for his job and hit the ground running— both professionally and socially. To build his growing friend base here, Joseph has even been participating in a GLBT softball league, though he admits bowling is more his speed. Anyway, he and his new friends have a lot to discuss in the dugout. His responsibilities with O&AN are not limited to editing and organization. He also tasks himself with collecting stories and checking the pulse of Middle Tennessee’s GLBT community. Joseph embraces the change from a magazine like David Atlanta, which focuses on gay nightlife, to O&AN, which covers a broader array of artists and events. “Bars have always played a central part of our lives,” he says. “When you’re coming out, that’s where you go if you want to meet gay people. But I’m in my thirties now, and there’s more to life than
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going out and having fun.” Being gay isn’t about going to bars and ogling people of your persuasion any more than being straight is. Being gay is about getting involved—educating yourself, educating others, and teaching tolerance. It’s unfortunate that GLBT community members have to fight just to be themselves, but that’s how Joseph sees it. “I’m trying to stay up to date with gay rights issues and events that are going on in the nation. It’s really difficult, even to stay on top of Nashville’s scene.” He wants O&AN to remain a timely medium for GLBT news and opinions, and he realizes that image and Internet viability carry a lot of that weight. In its beginning, O&AN was a more traditional paper. It was a newsprint publication, distributed by mail, and it mostly covered…well, news. Now, it has a glossy cover and a website that flaunts ads and ticket giveaways. They publish interviews, opinion pieces, and political rumors. These changes occurred
"AS WE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, WE HAVE TO EDUCATE OURSELVES ABOUT THE
naturally. With wider acceptance of the paper in straighter Nashville, so came sponsorship by major local entities like the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. And now with local backing, Joseph has the ability to captivate Middle Tennessee’s youth with a fresh perspective on the local GLBT scene. Joseph senses that, as they become ostensibly more accepted by their peers and lawmakers, GLBT youth become less involved in activism and community building. “As we fight for equality, we have to educate ourselves about the inequality,” he sighs over jasmine tea. “Gay youth don’t feel the need to fight anymore.”
That is, gay youth in cities don’t feel the need to fight. To put it roughly, they have OkCupid, Grindr, Scruff, and GLBT bars and clubs, so they don’t yearn for the picket sign. This April, Play Dance Bar hosted The Music City Sisters, our local queens in nun drag. Their annual show, “H8’s a Drag,” is a drag show for all ages—just a little toned down from Ru Paul’s standards. This year, it included a special feature called “Stomp H8.” It was specifically geared towards an under-eighteen audience. Joseph exuded palpable glee that two local church groups, Belmont Reconciling Ministries and Nashville Area Reconciling Ministries, participated in and helped fund the event. “Aside from what I believe, religion often gets a bad wrap when we’re talking about homosexuality, because it’s the goto argument that people on the far right tend to use.” He says that this cohesive organization is characteristic of Nashville’s
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GLBT scene, especially in comparison to those in larger cities. But the GLBT kids out in the boondocks? The young people who live in communities with literacy rates that only make room for the Bible? Joseph brags about distributing to more than 140 Krogers in the Middle Tennessee area. And their News Channel 5 segment on Friday and
Saturday nights, “Out & About Today,” has the biggest following in rural areas. But Senator Stacey Campfield is doing his part to make sure that the state’s less literate never learn what “gay” is. Two years ago, the Senator tried and failed to pass the Classroom Protection Act into law, which would make it illegal to discuss homosexuality in sex educa-
tion classes until high school. Again, he brought the bill back with a bite—stipulating that teachers must also privately alert the parents of a student who confides that he or she might be gay. And once again, it failed to pass. Within his first weeks as a Tennessean, Joseph went with several members of the Tennessee Equality Project to their
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Advancing Equality Day on the Hill to meet with Knoxville’s resident foot-in-mouth legislator. His fifteen minutes in Campfield’s office consisted of waiting until the senator gave them the time of day, only to recount some questionable statistics about suicide rates. According to the senator, since homosexuality “became popular,” national suicide rates have spiked. Joseph admits to never having experienced ignorance like that firsthand. This nightmare led him to publish an Opinion piece in O&AN, titled “Stacey Campfield: a Newcomer’s Perspective.” It was Joseph’s first stab at a political opinion piece, and he nailed it. “Sometimes when I’m out, I wonder if I’m going to hear the word ‘faggot.’ It’s difficult, in Tennessee, to have an open and accessible forum for gay people,” Joseph complains, and with reason. Schools, our most effective machines of socialization, should be tools for tolerance, but they often provide the grounds of the GLBT movement’s most gruesome battles. “When you pass something like the Classroom Protection Act, you cast out one of the main avenues for that kind of discussion.” It’s easy to tell, after perusing an issue of O&AN, that the writing staff is a ready-and-willing team of support for sexualities that deviate from the hetero-norm, a tour de force of information and discussion. But, Joseph points out, “Nobody writing for the magazine is on a crusade for his or her sexual-
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ity.” Sure, someone’s sexual orientation will naturally present itself in his or her writing. Joseph would be the first to admit that reasons for self-expression are often tangled up in a need for it. And he knows it’s way past time to start acknowledging the voices of people who want to be heard. Joseph admits most of O&AN’s publishing staff, himself included, are white and male. April’s cover was the first in a while that has pictured a female: Margot McCormack of Marché and Margot Café in East Nashville. But the editors don’t want to get to the point where they’re just paying lip service to minority communities, or just trying to reach a quota. Joseph knows everyone’s voice is equally valuable, but he also knows some people are better writers. It’s a complicated line to tread. As a man of words and a member of the GLBT community, he strives to use the appropriate adjectives to describe people of different sexual identities. “It’s
through their lenses that I have seen segments of the population that I too have overlooked.” It’s definitely difficult to use “they/them/their” for a singular transgender person, especially if you are, by trade, somewhat concerned with grammar rules. Exhausting as it is, Joseph puts great weight in political correctness. He knows that when you describe a person in terms of their choosing, you are implicitly granting them the liberty to live as they choose. GLBT is a convenient acronym, but that’s pretty much all it is—a convenience. Though it helps us to refer to a diverse cultural group without having to say “gay, lesbian, bi, trans,” it does no more to define the millions of people that identify as GLBT than the word “queer.” So, maybe our version of the classic ’80s march chant “We’re here, we’re queer, get over it!” should be “We’re here, our choices of gender pronouns are clear, get used to it!” Even Joseph isn’t beyond the implied reproach in this chant. Yes, his sexuality
puts him in a relative minority. But fortunately, he’s avoided being marginalized. He admits to never having watered down his personality for the sake of a career, which is still, in 2013, a problem for sexual minorities. Fighting this problem is part of the reason why Joseph sees himself in the South. Things are moving more quickly elsewhere, but that only means that regions like the Southeast need more passionate people spreading the force of pride and tenacity. Joseph wants to get married eventually—have a dog, then a family, he says. For that, he might want to move to somewhere like Washington state or Colorado, where it’s easier for people to find their dream lives outside the hetero-norm. But he feels strongly about his position in Nashville, for now. “There’s value in having to work to attain your ideal lifestyle— fighting for it and holding onto it with more passion.”
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SEEING DOUBLE ARNOLD MYINT LEADS A LIFE THAT MOST DON’T HAVE THE BALLS TO ADMIT TO—THAT IS, A DOUBLE ONE. AND HE DOES IT IN PUBLIC, NO LESS
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E intro by sarah sharp | photography by brett warren
For those of you who have eaten your way through Nashville, you know Arnold Myint as the prolific and trendy chef/restaurateur staking claim all over the city. If you’re a Bravo junkie, you know him from Top Chef Season 7 as the buttoned-up, bow-tied, and newsie-capped star of the show, flashing a thirty-two-teeth smile. But what (or who) a lot of you don’t have the pleasure of knowing, is Arnold’s other half—Nashville’s own drag diva and cocktail queen, Suzy Wong. Maybe “double life” doesn’t accurately describe this situation. In fact, Arnold
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tells me, “Suzy and I have never met.” This comes as a surprise. After all, they share the same DNA, heart, brain, and body. Still, these alters remain separate. Arnold runs PM, blvd, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, AM@FM (his real estate at the Farmer’s Market), and donates to a number of charities. Suzy, on the other hand, is the perfect blend of socialite, philanthropist, fashionista, and performer. A whole lot of personality for one person. Gay, straight, or purely for entertainment’s sake, it’s about time you get to know the real Arnold Myint and Suzy Wong.
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HIBISCUS CHAMPAGNE SPRITZER
ROASTED CORN & EDAMAME SALSA 4 ears Corn, roasted (grilled) and shaved off cobb 3 cups Edamame pods 1/2 cup Red onion, diced 1 cup Grape tomatoes, sliced 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Scallions, thinly sliced 2 tbsp. Olive oil 1/4 cup Lime juice 2 tbsp. Sugar 1 tbsp. Chili powder 1 tbsp. Sesame oil 1 tbsp. Kosher salt Combine all ingredients and serve chilled.
1 bottle (750mL) of Brut Rose sparkling wine 1/2 cup Hibiscus syrup 1/4 cup Lemon juice 12 oz. Ginger ale Combine all ingredients on ice and stir. DIRECTIONS FOR HIBISCUS SYRUP Steep your favorite Hibiscus or Rooibos tea with equal parts sugar and water to make a simple syrup.
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MAYDAY BORO BLONDE: I bet you never thought a blonde could do it for you, but this one’s different. A rare breed indeed—she comes from Murfreesboro, where the locals call it “The Boro.” As soon as your lips press against hers, you’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot. On first impression, she’s bright and citrusy, but her backside is full and round with a nice malty finish, just how you like it. Don’t let this darling Clementine fool you though—she’s quite the heartbreaker. Everyone’s been wantin’ a piece of that. But damn is she hard to find; she’s always running out on me. I know what you’re thinking. No, she doesn’t whore herself around town. This blondie only hangs at certain bars. So if you catch her out, you better bottle her up, take her home, and finish her off. by rick jervis
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Perhaps Carlos likes his coffee black because it’s simpler that way. Carlos Ruiz moved to the United States when he was five years old. Other kids his age were dreaming of being astronauts, doctors, ball players, and perhaps presidents. Carlos, as an undocumented immigrant, was too young to know that unless something changed, he couldn’t be any of those things. His life has been complicated and perhaps unfair. He worked hard, got good grades, and stayed out of trouble. But he couldn’t get a job, wasn’t sure if he could go to college, and it was unclear if he could or even should stay in this country. Suddenly, Carlos can control his future. President Obama last year made it possible for undocumented children to work and go to school in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Pending legislation may provide a path toward citizenship. Carlos also got a scholarship to Trevecca University, one of the few colleges that make it possible for undocumented immigrants to attend college. He plans on going to graduate school and eventually working on immigration issues. Carlos is a full-time barista at Fido. His coffee is black.
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His future is clear.
PATRICK WOODYARD, THE PHILANTHROPIC MASTERMIND BEHIND NISOLO SHOES, REINVENTS CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM WHILE TACKLING POVERTY IN PERU
by kelly hays | photography by allister ann /////////// 55 //////////// 55
The most remarkable thing about Patrick Woodyard is that he is so unremarkable. His height—average. His hair—a common shade of brown. Devoid of flamboyance—lacking identifiable personality quirks. You’ve walked past him a hundred times at a coffee shop and have never given him a second thought. And yet, he’s the founder and CEO of a brand getting nods from some of the country’s top fashion rags. More importantly, he’s giving several families in Peru the opportunity to rise out of
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"NO FOREIGN INVESTOR IS EVER GOING TO COME INTO A PLACE LIKE TRUJILLO."
poverty. Patrick meets me in the gravel lot of an old flour mill and firmly shakes my hand before wiping the sweat from his brow. He’s the kind of guy who goes kayaking when he’s hot instead of turning on the air conditioner—if he even owns one. He leads me through a rickety doorway where dusty floors and misplaced tools are evidence of ongoing construction. “Lock the door” is spray-painted in black on a metal door that leans drunkenly against its frame while a Bettie Page lookalike roller skates around the foyer (I’m told later this is the building manager). This old mill is undergoing a renaissance—a renewal from abandoned hobo squat pad to boutique hipster office space. Whether you call it gentrification or urban renewal, someone looked past the dirt, dust, and bird shit that covered this old building and saw an interesting space with an authentic (and potentially profitable) allure. All of this makes it a fitting location for Nisolo’s new showroom and warehouse space. Taking its name from a portmanteau of Spanish words that roughly translates as “not alone,” Nisolo is a for-profit social enterprise that sells shoes and accessories online and in more than forty boutiques around the country, including The Perfect Pair and American Rag. The designs have been worn by everyone from Dawes to Sister Hazel and featured in Women’s Wear Daily and Forbes. Nisolo doesn’t just focus on making cute shoes and turning a profit. It also strives to provide a sustainable income for the Peruvian artisans whom it employs. Fair trade isn’t anything new, but Nisolo’s approach and dedication place Patrick and his cohorts, Zoe Cleary and Nick Meyer, as fashion dissidents spearheading a revolution in consumerism. A fluent Spanish speaker and graduate of the University of Mississippi’s International Studies program, Patrick makes you feel like you’re a waste of space. While you were spending your college years recovering from alcohol poisoning on the cold tile bathroom floor, he was busy organizing a non-profit called Education Development Uganda, which provided livestock rotation training, education, and outreach for children orphaned by AIDS. But it was during his postgraduate work with Sinergia, a microfinance organization working in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Trujillo, Peru, that the idea of founding Nisolo was born. One of Sinergia’s sponsored programs works with women in Trujillo to start and grow small businesses. During his work with the program, Patrick met a woman named
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Doris. While speaking in her dirtfloored, metal-roofed home, he was continually distracted by the sound of hammering coming from another room. Upon investigation, Patrick discovered Doris’ husband, Willan, who was busy constructing an impressively crafted leather shoe. “For me,” Patrick begins, “that was the ‘aha’ moment. Someone with so much talent and potential is stuck in the middle of nowhere with no access to capital and no way to research outside markets.” Willan is not the only shoemaker in Trujillo. In fact, the city is known as the shoemaking capital of Peru with hundreds of artisans selling their products to other Peruvian cities. It escaped the notice of the outside world by being so far below the radar of investors and sweatshoppers that it was essentially invisible. “No foreign investor is ever going to come into a place like Trujillo unless they have a compassionate reason for being there,” Patrick explains. “When I first walked into Willan’s house, there were nails everywhere, and his kids were running around playing with them. And when it rained, the water would leak and ruin the shoes. No one would believe the quality of his craft.” No one, that is, except Patrick. After meeting Willan, Patrick spent months in Trujillo finding craftsmen (and women) who had the work ethic, skill, and willingness to take a chance on a young American entrepreneur, or as Patrick calls himself “some random guy who’s telling them he can sell their shoes in the States.” Two partners came and went, abandoning the enterprise, leaving twenty-three-year-old Patrick struggling to get his business off the ground. His experience in philanthropy and economics had served him well up to this point, but outside of his own fashion sense, he knew little about making and selling shoes. “I was at a point where I really needed people with knowledge of things I didn’t know about.”
"'WE’RE NOT A BUNCH OF TREE HUGGERS. WE’RE LOCAL, SOUTHERN GUYS THAT BELIEVE IN THIS TRADITION, AND IT’S NOT OKAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE ACTING LIKE NONE OF THIS STUFF EXISTS.'"
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Enter Zoe Cleary, who has a degree in Fashion Management and an interest in fashion with a cause. She had previously helmed a swimwear line called Acqua Sabbia that featured ’60s-style designs crafted by seamstresses in Mexico who received fair wages. Although she had moved on to a corporate job, she was always on the lookout for another enterprise that combined fashion with social change. A mutual friend put Zoe in touch with Patrick. The first time they talked on the phone, the conversation lasted four hours. She flew down to Peru the next week, and a month later, came on board as Nisolo’s Vice President of Design and Chief Operating Officer. Patrick would soon discover a second partner, Nick Meyer, who had also worked with Sinergia. Although he had since landed a job with a corporate startup in Austin, Nick jumped at the chance to add his sales experience to the Nisolo team, and was soon brought on board as Vice President of Sales. With the dream team assembled, Patrick, Zoe, and Nick feverishly developed a product line along with thirty-one artisans. The designs are named after anything that inspires them: “Delicias,” a two-strap leather sandal named for a beach in Peru; “Sandi,” a leather flip-flop named for an early supporter of the company; and the “Oliver Oxford,” a women’s lace-up sharing
Patrick’s mother’s maiden name. One design will go through six or seven iterations—making sure the color is right, the stitching is tight, that it doesn’t give you a blister—before arriving at a final product. While Zoe and Patrick are in Peru, they run from house to house with backpacks in tow, collecting shoe prototypes. “There have been a couple times when I just threw everything in my backpack,” he admits sheepishly. In the interest of time, Patrick would often shove the shoes into his backpack without a second thought about the work that went into them. But the artisans never fail to remind Patrick that shoemaking is a delicate art. As Patrick explains, “Not everyone can make a shoe, and it’s worthy of praise.” After several months of tweaking, the line was finally ready. Nisolo officially launched in Oxford, Mississippi, in 2011. After a sixteen-city roadshow, they decided to settle down in Nashville, partly because of its reputation for being startup friendly, but also because, as a Southerner, Patrick wanted to change the way people thought about philanthropy in the South. “Very few social enterprises are based or headquartered in the South, and it’s always bothered me. For some reason, the combination of wealth and Bible Belt culture don’t equal social enterprise. I wanted to base the Nisolo brand in the heart of the South and say, ‘We’re not a bunch of tree huggers. We’re local, Southern guys that believe in this tradition, and it’s
not okay to live your life acting like none of this stuff exists.’” As we walk through the new warehouse and office space, Patrick tells me about Nisolo’s plans for the future. They hope to open a showroom where both private and commercial customers can view and buy their shoes, host in-house performances by local musicians, and expand their product line to jewelry and handbags. He speaks with the fondness of a proud parent talking about a child going off to college. Scheduled to open the first of June, the showroom’s trendy loft spaces are a far cry from Nisolo’s humble beginnings in a converted bungalow on 8th Avenue South. But the old location still serves as both business headquarters and home to Zoe Cleary and two interns, Meghan and Kate, who are compensated with a place to sleep and the satisfaction of contributing to Nisolo’s positive social impact. Patrick calls Nisolo’s influence “deep rather than wide,” meaning although they may only be working with thirty families, the difference in their lives is profound. Artisans working for Nisolo make triple what they earned before. That’s still only about $650 a month, but it’s more than twice the Peruvian minimum wage. Gone are
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the days of Willan’s leaky roof and naillittered floor. “Now he’s been able to redo his home. What used to be a dirt floor is now concrete,” Patrick explains. “And the food they’re eating has changed their nutrition completely.” This year, two of the artisans who work for Nisolo will be sending their children to college—a first in both families and something unheard of in their neighborhoods. “We want to transform the way people view those in poverty,” he tells me. “It’s not about putting shoes on their feet and clothes on their back, or giving them food and water. Their greatest
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need is employment—a way to provide for themselves. And that’s what we’re able to do at Nisolo. Willan has four sons, and he’s able to show them, ‘This is what happens when you work hard.’ Not, ‘This is what happens when you meet a bunch of foreigners with money.’” I ask Patrick if he thinks people buy Nisolo’s shoes because of the mission behind the product, or because they just want good-looking shoes. “I think people buy them because they like them,” he admits. “We work hard to make products that are going to sell—regardless of the cause. We are using consum-
erism for something positive.” All of this provides consumers with a moral “out.” With over 250 million people employed in a global supply chain that supports the fashion industry—every item of clothing, every shoe we see in a store—is the result of someone else’s hard work. Patrick sees brands like Nisolo as the perfect solution to the moral consumerists’ dilemma. “What we really want to be a part of is changing the conscious consumerism movement into a conscious consumerism revolution—truly disrupting the current model. Our customers deserve high-quality products. The goal from
the start was to create a brand people could trust.” I ask him how many pairs of shoes he owned before starting Nisolo. “Not counting athletics?” Not counting athletics. “Four.” And how many now? “About fifteen.” He laughs. I ask him about the pair he’s wearing, a style of brown suede wingtip so new it doesn’t even have a name yet. He looks at the shoe, and you can tell he isn’t entirely here in this room anymore. He’s back in Peru, eyes clouded with fondness and nostalgia, finding some memory in the decorative details of the shoe. He rubs the stitches like an old, well-healed wound, as he begins to talk about Juan, one of Nisolo’s artisans. “When we were first coming up with these samples, I was trying to do this,” gesturing to a line of decorative holes punched along the stitching. “So I took this hammer and these little tools and went, ‘Tap.’” “Juan took the tool, positioned it on the leather, and went ‘Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,’” he says, miming a quick staccato of confident hammer blows. “I couldn’t believe how talented this guy was.” It’s a demonstration of something that looks so simple, but is irritatingly impossible when you try doing it yourself—something most of us would never have the patience or desire to learn. Something Patrick Woodyard treasures, and in his own way, is working to develop and preserve, one sole at a time.
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THRILLS ON WHEELS Off the track, Jennifer Bobbitt waits tables and rides a little red scooter. But when she laces up her skates and puts on her helmet, sheâ€™s Nashville Rollergirl Maulin Monroe
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by casey smith | photography by rebecca adler rotenberg
“Are you Maulin? I ask, already certain that she is. I immediately recognize Maulin Monroe because she is exactly how I pictured her— strong. Her eyes are a fierce blue that strike me immediately, and her voice is mighty in her reply. As she confirms, I study her pronounced jaw line and notice her arms are not the wet noodles that hang familiarly from my shoulders, but sculpted masterpieces. As her name suggests, she’s a knockout blonde, a mix between the grace of old Hollywood glamour and the brawn of American Gladiators. The sun is setting, painting the Berry Hill landscape with a beautiful pink hue. It’s one of the first days of spring that is as it should be, warm and inviting. A faint green blanket of pollen coats my car, a welcome reminder of gorgeous days to come. We sit on a patio, as all good Southerners do, jawing on about the wonderful things in life, like our favorite local restaurants, celebrity sightings, and, of course, roller derby. Maulin grew up in the suburbs of Mt. Juliet. “So, I’m a native,” she tells me. We both laugh with a little unease, probably because we’re
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attempting to have a meaningful conversation under such contrived circumstances. I am instantly relieved that Maulin doesn’t seem like she wants to pulverize me, and I am guilt-ridden with my former assumptions of roller derby. Roller skating had been a part of Maulin’s life since childhood, but she didn’t know about derby until six years ago, when at the ripe age of twentyseven, she went to visit a friend in Oregon. “She had just started playing for a team up there, and I was sitting on the sidelines, watching them practice, and I saw all these really rad chicks having so much fun. I was like, ‘I wanna do that.’ At the time, a lot of my girl friends were getting married, having children, and that just wasn’t something I wanted to do at that point in my life.” And that was that. She came home, found the Nashville Rollergirls website, bought some skates, and showed up to a practice. “I loved that I was good at it. It’s a different type of woman that does roller derby. She can have any type of body or any type of career and fit in.” In uniform, it may seem like Maulin and her teammates aren’t the typical girls-next-door, but
"IT’S A DIFFERENT TYPE OF WOMAN THAT DOES ROLLER DERBY. SHE CAN HAVE ANY TYPE OF BODY OR ANY TYPE OF CAREER AND FIT IN."
"I WAS EXPECTING THESE BIG GIRLS WITH NO TEETH, PUSHING EACH OTHER. BUT THEY AREN’T LIKE THAT AT ALL."
NASHVILLE ROLLERGIRLS: For NRG’s schedule and info, visit nashvillerollergirls.com Follow on Twitter @NashRollerGirls
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off the track, they really are. Some of the players are nurses, teachers, and mothers, and squeeze knocking ladies on their asses into their busy schedules of diaper-changing and healing boo boos. “I thought roller girls were refrigerators on skates. I was expecting these big girls with no teeth, pushing each other. But they aren’t like that at all.” Six years ago, becoming a Nashville Rollergirl was a much simpler process than it is today. Now, there’s an eightweek training program followed by a skills test, which each new member must complete before she can safely skate at practices. Since joining in 2007, Maulin has seen the competitiveness of the team grow and bloom into a hunger for victory. And now, she’s more than just a teammate—she’s become a roller derby trainer. While Maulin is not afraid to use her vocals during bouts (or games) or while training the players, she chooses to leave the yelling to the team’s coach, Susan, who is entering her first year with a reputation for a boisterous attitude. Maulin is on her seventh year with the team, making her the secondlongest playing member of Nashville Rollergirls. Her understanding of derby goes from knowing the rules of the game, to running a boot camp, to training upand-coming derby teams. Maulin has evolved with the team, and in lieu of going out and drinking every night, the girls meet up over workouts and smoothies. Ranked seventh after last year’s national championships, the Nashville Rollergirls have built themselves from the ground up. Through the labyrinth of back roads near the fairgrounds, I understand why Maulin wanted me to follow her to the NRG practice space. Making a sharp turn up a hill, we reach the top, and she points to a parking spot. We enter a warehouse-turned-track comprised of tape and rope handmade by the team. Several girls dripping with sweat take turns nudging into each other, bracing themselves for highimpact body checks.
Because this is a scrimmage, half of the girls wear black shirts or tanks, and half wear white. I use the girls’ mismatched helmets and pads to keep up with the game. I take a seat on a worn-in couch to watch while Maulin catches up with her teammates. To help increase stamina for the upcoming weekend bout, the players will scrimmage for two halves lasting forty-five minutes each, instead of the normal length—thirty minutes. Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” plays from a boombox on the floor as the girls swerve around and bump into each other, testing balance. Still visualizing the derby I’ve seen on television, featuring burly, scowling women, I’m
surprised to see that roller derby is family friendly. A kid doing his fourth grade math worksheet sits next to me. Maulin introduces me to Stampeedee Gonzales, who is currently injured and unable to play. “Peedee” is feisty and petite, with a hazelnut complexion. Her jersey reads, “#UNO,” but anywhere she’s not sporting eight wheels, she’s known as Stephanie Gonzales. Peedee is in charge of the NRG’s marketing and promotions. Because the derby is a nonprofit organization she, along with every other player, is a volunteer. The NRG gives a portion of the proceeds from every bout to a local charity, including the Nashville Humane Association, Big
Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Alliance on Mental Illness, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Sports 4 All. I can tell the brace Peedee wears around her knee is the only thing between her and the track. All she can do now is wait for the results of her MRI to find out how long until she can play again. As I try to make sense of it all, she explains the rules of each two-minute period of play, or as they say in derby, jam. Roller derby is the only sport I can think of where teams are simultaneously playing offense and defense. With two
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teams of five players shoving and clawing from the referees to the players to the feeling empowered. It seems ironic that to the front of the pack, things can get a stat takers, chooses a derby identity. After shoving another woman down would be running countless names by friends and “empowering,” but that’s not really what little confusing. The jammer (lead offense) passes fellow derby girls, Maulin (or Jennifer) the game’s all about. As with most competitive sports, I the other team and loops back around, decided on “Maulin Monroe” for her own assume that the opposing team is viewed earning points for every opposing player ferocity and love for Marilyn Monroe. Just as Superman bursts out of Clark as the enemy, which Maulin assures me she passes. Three blockers and a pivot prevent her by any means necessary. Kent to fight crime, Maulin Monroe is not the case. Due to the nature of the Maulin plays pivot—the brain of the play, pummels through opposing players until game, there’s a large risk for injury, so and it’s her job to simultaneously defend the brink of despair. But in the “real good sportsmanship is key. For these against the offense. She wears a helmet world,” she is Jennifer Bobbitt, who waits ladies, a broken leg or a torn muscle could prevent them from working or paying cover called “panties,” scandalously tables and rides a faded red scooter. For Maulin, the moment of their bills. The waitress with a broken enough, that can be switched with the transformation when she felt more arm only has one hand to refill drinks. jammer during a play. After every bout, the NRG go out with While sitting with her dog, Stampeedee “Maulin” and less “Jennifer” happened shares the sacredness of “the derby during her first game, when she the away team to celebrate, and in a way, name.” Everyone in the derby community, “mauled” a player for the first time, give props to the players who only hours
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ago bashed their heads into the ground. These girls definitely deserve respect. They practice up to four times a week, not including workouts, and all pitch in to manage every aspect of running a team. Maulin contributes as a trainer for one practice a week and coaches the newer girls, “The Crawl Stars.” On bout days, each member of the team must also do a job—whether it be taking tickets or cleaning up after the fans leave—in addition to playing their hearts out. As I step into an almost vacant Municipal Auditorium, I feel partially like a new kid wondering about her elementary school’s cafeteria, hesitant about choosing the right table. A girl at the merch table suggests I sit in the “suicide seats,” spots on the cold, gray concrete adjacent to the track. “Be careful, you may end up with a girl in your lap or a skate in your face,” she says. I look down at my outfit and consider this. I’m wearing my new skirt and a white silk top, an ensemble not suitable for floor sitting. It becomes suddenly obvious to me that I have overdressed for the occasion. I decide on actual seats behind the NRG bench. The stadium DJ is playing ’80s hair metal and Katy Perry mashups, and I can’t help but bob my head like an embarrassing mom sitting alone. As people start to filter in and find their seats, I realize that Maulin was spot on when she said the regular crowd was diverse. There is a smiling elderly couple sitting seats away from a group of teenagers wearing Grateful Dead shirts and a cluster of college kids unapologetically enjoying the stadium’s adult beverage selection.
The brave quickly stake claim to the “suicide seats,” while others catch up with friends the way my parents do before church. I find Maulin in a pair of overalls, checking in with different people on the floor while the Brawl Stars (the b-team) warm up. “So, do you have any pre-game rituals?” I ask her. For some reason, I envision her blasting heavy metal music and making intimidating faces in the mirror, but I’m a tad off base. “I like to put on my headphones and listen to reggae music to take a few minutes and chill out.” Unlike other sports, both teams warm up simultaneously using the same track. They focus on their own team, swiftly passing the other girls as if they are ghosts, undetected. Maulin’s jersey boasts “#36DD,” and I see her golden pigtails flowing from her helmet as she glides across the floor. The clock counts down the seconds until the game starts, and the team huddles together. Air horns sound sporadically, mingled in between cheers and cowbells. The jam starts, and the NRG and the Atlanta Dirty South Rollergirls scramble to get their jammers out of the pack. I watch Maulin as she expertly blocks the opposing jammer. There is beauty and grace in the way she moves. Unfortunately, as Maulin and her teammates gasp for air, the other team mercilessly scores point after point. The NRG don’t beat the Dirty South Rollergirls. In fact, as the bout announcer, Dr. Gonzo, puts it, the home team got slaughtered. No one likes to lose, but the final score of this match is not of the utmost importance to Maulin. She will go to bed tonight, and Jennifer will step out in the morning and ride her scooter to work. But the leftover bruises are enough for Maulin to stay within close reach. C
REWIND THE SCENES Jeff Wedding is a tobaccodipping, color-blind film buff bent on creating a visceral cinematic experience
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photography and story by casey fuller
“I've never directed a bear before. I mean, I’ve imagined conversations with one. But I never knew I’d be directing one having his way with a woman.” I sit inside a private theater for an invite-only screening of Jeff Wedding’s most recent feature film, A Measure of the Sin. This is an intimate moment, like Old Testament foot washing, as he shares a film that took nearly five years to complete. It also happens to be his birthday. He’s wearing maybe a 34x32 jean, a regular non-form-fitting tee, and comfortable shoes. Within the first five minutes, he reaches in his left back pocket for his snuff, but I don’t mind—my sinuses could use the scent of menthol. I can understand how it must feel to let go of a project that has been raised, loved, cursed, abused, disciplined, and sent out into the world, only to be judged by everyone who can bat an eye at it. I probably would have turned to something a bit stronger, but he is nearly two years sober. Jeff is a meticulous man. For A Measure of the Sin, he was director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor—what most in the industry would consider a “no-no.” His reasoning? “Welcome to independent cinema.” True to his meticulous nature, A Measure of the Sin was shot on Kodak film. These are the days of highly accessible, high-quality digital cameras, like ones used to shoot big studio films like The Hobbit or a film student’s first project. “People pick up DSLRs and call themselves filmmakers, but their stories suck,” Jeff begins. “I once edited a music video in which I discovered over five hours of footage of a f*cking fruit basket.” He later found out someone had accidentally left the camera running. Given the expense and time it takes to develop and edit film stock, this would be unheard of. If everyone had to learn the concrete fundamentals of film, Jeff says, “there would be a lot less filmmakers.” Let’s create a scene here: If Moses, played by Kirk Cameron, came back
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from the meeting at the burning bush, in which God, played by Clint Eastwood, gave him the Ten Commandments of Filmmaking, the first one would read, “Don’t waste film,” followed by “Don’t waste time.” And Jeff doesn’t waste either. The inspiration for A Measure of the Sin came about when Jeff submitted a story to Third Coast, a short fiction journal. While he didn’t get his piece published, he did receive a copy of the journal, where he first read a short story by Kristy Nielsen. “I landed on this story that started with these women carrying buckets of water they had collected on their trip into town. And instantly, I knew I wanted to put that visual on screen,” Jeff remembers. Gravitating toward his next feature film, he envisioned fairy tale-like characters including wicked stepsisters, a sinister patriarch, and a woman akin to a fairy godmother. Rich, vibrant colors, such as high-resolution reds and greens, are used to tie these characters to their landscape. But A Measure of the Sin is no fairy tale. Jeff ’s mission in all of his films is to tattoo the audience with a cinematic image. “Nothing should be kept off screen unless you are breaking the law,” he counters, after seeing my reaction (blank stare) to the bear rape scene. “Create an experience, don’t make things based on what people like, and always do what is necessary for the story.” Two days after my first screening, I get a text from Jeff a little after 10 p.m. “You around? Wanna eat?” Twelve minutes later, we’re waiting on spaghetti at Italia. Here, I learn that Jeff and his older brother Steve left Evansville, Indiana, to come to Nashville in 1998. At nineteen years old, Jeff was still a young cub, but he and his brother were serious about making movies.
And to be sure, that year was a serious one for all of us. Maybe Jeff was so upset over Bill Clinton’s impeachment that he completely denied himself intimacy, locked himself in a room, and became obsessed with film. Well, that’s not exactly how it went. But Nashville offered Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film, the closest film school to home. So the brothers pricked their palms with fishhooks and made a pact to head down South. Once they arrived and went over tuition budget, they made yet another risky decision—nixing Watkins and spending the tuition money on their first feature film, Blind. Jeff upholds the decision, saying, “having a backup plan is planning on failure.” “Blind was our film school,” Jeff recalls. It was a thriller—a genre the brothers agreed would sell. The inspiration for the movie came when Steve was working at Kmart, copying keys. Realizing that he had access to the names and addresses of all his customers, the two became fascinated with the concept of a character taking advantage of this privilege. The idea stuck, and while it wasn’t a Blockbuster hit, it ultimately received a distribution deal through Ardustry Home Entertainment—quite a feat for their first feature. Despite their initial success, the brothers were dealt a devastating blow. The same year they moved to Nashville, they lost their mother to cancer. Before she died, she made Jeff promise that he would live his life in pursuit of his passions, no matter what it took. Recalling that moment, Jeff tells me, “Making motion cinematically is what I’m supposed to do.” But it was Jeff’s father who was the film buff of the family. As we take quick breaths between mouthfuls of spaghetti, he tells me his dad bought him and Steve their first VCRs when they were twelve and thirteen years old. Jeff’s dad also had an
"NOTHING SHOULD BE KEPT OFF SCREEN UNLESS YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW."
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addiction to cooking on the grill— regardless of the weather. “While he cooked, Steve and I would be in our rooms watching movies,” Jeff explains. While Jeff was having movie marathons in his bedroom, we were probably out roller skating or something. When he and I start diving into the excitement and the woes of their first film, I can’t help but remember how free I felt cruising at eleven miles per hour, t-shirts flapping in the wind, doing the crossover in rented roller skates to the sound of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Shit, I thought I was cool. And I bet Jeff and Steve thought they were too, making Blind. But soon enough, the brothers learned how difficult it was to produce, cast, and insure a film. They ran out of gas and money during production, so Jeff took its empty tank, walked to the station, and filled it up again. Steve went on and got bit by life—he got married, had kids, and found a job. For Jeff, the filling station was the mailroom. He had to get a “real” job, or something like that. Organizing mail and cleaning up the law firm of Neal & Harwell became his call to recognition, as he remembers. The intercom came on one day and Jim Neal, the owner said, “Whoever threw away my cigar, please come to my office immediately.” Jeff shifted his clank and walked the plank to the head honcho’s domain, remembering the chewed-up cigar he threw away from the break room. Once in the big office, Jim asked, “Son, what’s your name?” He answered, “Jeff Wedding,” to which Jim replied, “Well, now I know.” Jim had a dominating presence. He had difficulty remembering his own attorneys’ names, but somehow took a liking to Jeff after their first encounter. He tells me he remembers standing in Jim’s office, honest and unafraid,
“YOU ALWAYS SEE THE BAD IN ANYTHING YOU CREATE.”
as his boss peered over him, clearly filmmaker went to L.A. seeking dis- to keep my creative feet moving while Blind sat in the fridge”—literfrustrated with his thrown-away tribution deals for Blind. Although Landis decided against ally (film stock must be kept cool). cigar. Jeff ’s eyes wandered around Jim’s office and landed on a picture funding Blind, he was a strong sup- “Look,” Jeff begins, “I don’t call myof John Landis, the famous director porter of Jeff’s most acclaimed self a writer.” Writer or not, it was of The Blues Brothers, An American picture to date, Gracie: The Diary his publishing deal that was the fiWerewolf in London, and Coming to of a Coma Patient (re-releasing this nancial push he needed to render America. He found out that Neal & month). Gracie appeared in festivals Blind complete. We shift to discussing primary Harwell saved Landis’ career during all over the circuit—Winnipeg Interone of the most controversial court national, HP Lovecraft, Antimatter, colors, and I try to figure out how cases in film history—a suit regard- and Eerie Horror, where Jeff won Jeff captures scenes, since he is part ing the deaths of three actors while “Best Cinematography.” He informs of the seven percent of the male me, “I wanted Gracie to feel like population that is color-blind. He shooting for The Twilight Zone. Quickly, the conversation shifted someone moved into an old home, says, “I know how film will handle to Jeff ’s passion for film. Taking a climbed into the attic, and found colors.” I reply, “But you don’t know liking to the cigar waster, Jim en- this movie in a shoe box.” So he shot what color your scenes are?” Jeff sured that his new mentee was al- it on Super 8mm film—the same responds, “Doesn’t matter. The imways on task in his writing and film- type of film that he first learned to portance of color is the way I see it. Things make their way on camera making, but unfortunately, like Jeff ’s use. Somehow, during all this, Jeff because I want them there.” mother, he too passed away battling The morning of A Measure of the cancer. But before he did, he intro- wrote and published A Manor of duced Jeff to Landis when the young Disposition, his first novel. “I had Sin’s screening, we sit over home-
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brewed cups of coffee at his apartment. I take in his large collection of VHS tapes and chest full of film. It starts to make perfect sense to me why he is so true to this process. I notice the smell of the books, the tapes everywhere, the VCRs in each room, and the framed film posters. He has always shot on film and always will. Jeff says, “It doesn’t look better than video—it just looks different.” I ask him, “What movie would you only watch on VHS and not DVD?” He quickly replies, “Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the very best! Before the MCA Universal Edition, no one was able to experience the film the way it appeared in cinemas in its 70mm scope ratio. The updated releases are too manipulated. I like to see chemical specs, a little dirt, etc. It adds to the charm of the film, and the tape actually moves through a machine. And that beautiful hiss pleases me.” What a film geek. As the closing credits roll off the screen after A Measure of the Sin’s private viewing, Jeff says, “I don’t feel good about it.” I turn to him and see nearly a full cup of tobacco spit. “People are go-
ing to boo this movie. Tonight, I will cry over this.” “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I say. Jeff continues, “You always see the bad in anything you create. But I know this is a project where you cannot ride the fence. You love it or you endure it.” I truly believe this film is not for everyone—not many of Jeff’s creative endeavors are. I like that. It’s a movie that I’ll only watch every couple years. Like all his work, it exudes education, growth, death, internalized fear, progression, and the pursuit of light through a small angle. This is exactly what Jeff personifies. He has imprinted a lifetime of his own complexities on screen, leaving his images and sounds embedded in my memory. Jeff closed A Measure of the Sin with the narration of Meredith, the main character, saying, “If the man were here now, I’d tell him that survival is simple. Survival is a serrated stone that you must swallow, cough up, and swallow again.” No one knows the implications of that line more than Jeff. Looking at his tenyear career as an accomplished artist, it seems more than fitting.
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EARNING HIS STRIPES During a twelve-hour deep sleep, artist Herb Williams came to a revelation about his future in art—he discovered a medium that could span oceans and ages
I meet Herb Williams in the thrust of a tornado warning I have stupidly ignored. As I blissfully neglect the sounding weather alarms and blackening sky, Herb messages me, “Hunker down and be careful.” While the tornado sirens blare, I explain that I have already made it downtown and am just blocks away from his studio wedged between the Nashville Public Library and The Hermitage Hotel. Herb asks if I have an umbrella and offers to come and get me if I don’t. I like him already. Annoyingly detail-oriented, I had spent much of the night before reading everything I could about him, even though I was already familiar with his work. I own a piece of his—a cherry
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cobbler Occupie that was part of a share I purchased from the first season of the Seed Space Community Supported Art program—it works much like a farm share, except instead of a box of kale, subscribers receive local art. I’ll admit it. I didn’t quite “get” that piece. When I looked at it, all I saw were crayons and glitter in a miniature pie tin. And when I read that it was “a response to the glitter bombing of politicians who are claiming that such American wholesome values and symbols are strictly a moral or Christian right,” I rolled my eyes a bit. I thought about that as I walked into his studio. I was immediately floored by the life-size crayon sculptures and brightly colored paintings in progress. Every table surface was filled with something—all surrounded by boxes and boxes of crayons. Herb clears off a space for us to sit, and we dive into the pastries and java I had picked up. We munch on cheddar-bacon scones and drink coffee with the sort of zest that a rainy, storm-filled day calls for. Herb’s warm and friendly vibe sets the tone for our conversation, making up for the ominous weather. I begin by asking him about his childhood beginnings in Prattville, Alabama. Herb’s first understanding of materials came via construction work, which he did every summer as a teenager with his stepdad. Through that experience, Herb developed an appreciation for working with his hands. He often found himself carving into the clay hills surrounding the pecan orchard where he grew up, even doodling while out on dates—contour drawings he hoped to one day turn into animations. Herb was also active in football, but his decision to stick with art was an easy one. Senior year, his coach informed him that to “make it,” he would need to gain sixty-five pounds. Instead of bulking up, he received a scholarship to Birmingham-Southern College and earned a degree in sculpture. After graduation, Herb relocated to West Palm
Beach, Florida, where he worked at the Luis Montoya Foundry casting sculptures for artists such as Popliteo and Duane Hanson. “It’s a little like living on the surface of the sun,” he tells me, “because you suit up in spaceman garb and walk into ovens to pull out molds that are white hot.” Though he loved the process and learned a tremendous amount, the intense labor involved in this type of work left Herb with little energy for creating his own art. In 1998, he moved to Nashville where he finally found that energy. But he was less than pleased with his own projects, still searching for a voice of his own. He experimented with different mediums, churning out tons of work, most of which he later destroyed. “I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t survive on making bad art,” he says. “I couldn’t sell it, and I didn’t want to show it to anybody.” Eventually, Herb decided that if he was ever going to make a living, he needed to better understand the inner workings of the gallery business. During his employment at the foundry, he delivered sculptures to galleries and was able to observe the relationship between artist and gallerist. To him, it felt very glamorous and oldworld, but it still baffled him. He couldn’t understand how the system worked or how artists promoted and marketed themselves. So he set out in pursuit of a gallery job, eventually landing himself a role at The Arts Company under the guidance of Anne Brown, a pioneer in the Nashville arts movement. Herb worked there for ten years, learning how to market and sell his art. During this time, he created his first crayon piece. Crayons would go on to become his signature medium—an idea that came to him during an incredibly dark period. “I drove myself a little crazy,” he says. “I couldn’t sleep or rest until I found something unique, something I thought was my own. And, honestly, I got to a point where I couldn’t find it. I was so frustrated and
"I REALIZED PRETTY QUICKLY THAT I COULDN’T SURVIVE ON MAKING BAD ART."
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HERB WILLIAMS: Visit herbwilliamsart.com and therymergallery.com Watch The Call of the Wild, a short documentary about Herb, at http://vimeo.com/60426348 90 / / / / / / / / / / / /
dark and angry that I gave up. So one day, I burned a lot of my work.” That same night, an exhausted Herb slept for a solid twelve hours. “I had the most vivid dream,” he continues. He had imagined that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art contacted him and asked for a retrospective of his work. “I went to the show and wandered through, and there were sculptures of every different material you could find. I finally came to one of these little sculptures made out of crayons. I woke up and immediately began drawing in the sketchbook by my bed. I’ve been making them ever since.” Herb’s crayon sculptures have been successful, in part, because the medium resonates universally with kids and adults alike. But there are often energetic, larger, sometimes even darker ideas attached to his bright designs. This is part of the unique grab of using crayons as a medium. They allow for grim concepts to be interpreted as playful, which Herb describes as his “misleading hook.” These sculptures have been featured globally in galleries and museums. An Obama crayon sculpture constructed from 50,000 crayons and weighing 150 pounds was on display during the 2008 inauguration. The administration also commissioned him to design pieces intended as gifts for foreign dignitaries. In September 2007, Herb partnered with Jeff Rymer to found The Rymer Gallery. The pair traveled extensively, researching other galleries across the U.S. and abroad, before developing their own unique vision here in Nashville. Their mission statement is to “foster artwork that entices, engages, and lures artists, collectors, and enthusiasts to Nashville’s expanding art scene.” Herb’s primary role at the gallery is that of curator. He feels that, nationally, a bias exists. It’s a belief
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that “Southern artists haven’t earned their stripes.” His mission is to dispel that partiality and bolster artists who haven’t found the right breaks. “Opportunities aren’t the same here as they are in Boston or New York,” he explains. “I’m always trying to pair real international talent with local artists who are worth their salt and haven’t gotten a fair shake.” By now, the tornado sirens have long since died down, and we can see through the window that the skies have cleared. Perhaps it’s the sun that makes me feel bold. I ask Herb if the crayon sculpture work ever gets old now that it’s become so popular. “Once you’re comfortable in what you’re doing, you’re kind of dead,” he tells me. “The crayon work is obviously my most popular stuff. But I still do art in every material I can find.” Variation (with painting and more) is what invigorates Herb and ultimately helps him build on the ideas that have propelled him into success. The numerous boxes of crayons stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling in his studio are an indication that he won’t be putting the medium to the wayside anytime soon. Yet he plans to continue to evolve the crayon sculptures into something new—he’s just not sure what that means. “You’ve got to pay attention to the work you’re doing. You can’t regurgitate it. Somehow, it’s got to be different and better or you’re not growing—you’re just treading water.” In his current Call of the Wild series, Herb features totem animals that celebrate the larger, mysterious world of the unexplained. The work is based on the idea that nature communicates through a spectrum of colors that we cannot see. “Amazing things are happening through their acts, but we are too busy
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"I COULDN’T SLEEP OR REST UNTIL I FOUND SOMETHING UNIQUE, SOMETHING I THOUGHT WAS MY OWN. AND, HONESTLY, I GOT TO A POINT WHERE I COULDN’T FIND IT." //////////// 93
"IF YOU’RE FEELING LIKE THE 99%, AT LEAST YOU CAN EAT LIKE THE 1%.""
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to notice,” he explains. “We’re missing the greater significance of the beauty that’s right in front of us.” In addition to their homes in galleries, Herb’s colorful animals can be found throughout Nashville, on the walls of some of his favorite shops and watering holes. “They’re kind of like my totem animals that give me comfort from being in this urban jungle,” he emphasizes. There’s a fox on a low brick wall outside of Rolf and Daughters, a bear on the loading dock of Yazoo Brewery, and a stag on the wall outside of Old Made Good. “The graffiti is really exciting to me,” Herb continues. “I love exploring what makes something fine art if you hang it in a gallery as opposed to vandalism if you put it on a brick wall. The questions about who it belongs to are so cool.” He later admits that he’s not certain of the direction of the ongoing series, but that he’s completely okay with that. “That’s part of the beauty to me,” he explains. “I’m still trying to tease it out. That’s the best part of making art—when you’re driven to create and you don’t understand why, you just have to do it.” As we wrap up our conversation, my head spins with inspiration. The man is a creative type to the core. He’s also a musician and songwriter, planning to cut his first album before he turns forty. He has a practice space set up in his basement and enjoys listening to live music. Of his favorite local bands, Girls and Money tops the list. Back at home, I immediately search for the Occupie and proudly put it out on display. I re-read his artist statements in their entirety and discover what I had not seen before. Herb’s humor and mischief shines through his words, “If you’re feeling like the 99%, at least you can eat like the 1%.” He’s currently working on two different projects that speak to drought and flood issues, the first of which is in Texas. He draws inspiration from a poem about an aquifer (an underground
layer of water-bearing rock) that runs dry. Sculpting the poem’s words out of native clay from the now-dry riverbeds, the letters will be a foot tall and wrap around an entire park trail. It will be a successor of sorts to his 2011, globally publicized melting crayon sculpture that exposed the ungodly heat that stoked Texas wildfires during the state’s worst drought in history. The other project speaks to the recent flood in Nashville, aimed specifically at creating resources that can route excess floodwater to areas of drought. Herb is creating a sculpture that will be an enormous wave wall, with the wave’s crest spiraling out like the scrolling at the neck of a fiddle. The wave sculpture, along with music acts and other art installations regarding drought and flood relief, will travel in a touring exhibition. In addition, he was recently commissioned to create an eightfoot-long crayon sculpture of the Nashville skyline for the new Music City Center. The piece is made from 30,000 crayons and took four months to create. Also, the new Omni Hotel has asked him to create a large skyline installation for their bar area, which will be made from 13,000 or so miniature liquor bottles. Although Herb gets lots of love from Nashville, his work has been garnering some serious international attention. He’s been asked to create a series of sculptures for an exhibition in China and Japan with sixty works of art, both new and existing. The project has not been finalized, but if it does come to fruition, the Asian tour would travel for two years to six different cities. It would focus on his current body of work, Call of the Wild, though there is talk of a Taipei skyline sculpture— which would definitely put this wellstriped Southern artist on the international map.
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place Mackenzie Scott grew up singing show tunes, but she never took herself too seriously. It wasnâ€™t until someone told her she could sing that she found her voice under the name TORRES
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by elise lasko | photography by will holland
“What’s your name?” I ask the girl in all black standing next to me. We’re at a friend’s birthday party, and despite the rain, we have both gravitated towards the keg in the backyard. Though nearly everyone around us has cigarettes poised between their pointer and middle fingers, she does not. “Mackenzie Scott,” she replies with a smile, playing along with my ignorance. She is a refreshing presence and a familiar one, but I can’t seem to place her. We had met on a few occasions, but I remember a long-haired version of the twenty-two-year-old, Georgia-born soul rocker standing to my right.
S H E WA S A LWAY S UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT SHE COULDN’T SING—NO ONE EVER TOLD HER SHE COULD.
TORRES: To listen to her music, visit torrestorrestorres.bandcamp.com. Follow her on Twitter @torreslovesyou
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We meet again a month or so later at her apartment. I’m a little directionally challenged, but I know I’m at her building— it’s just a matter of which door is hers. Since they’re not numbered or lettered, I knock hesitantly on one door I choose at random. Right foot behind the left, ready to make a run for it, I am greeted by a delicately tousled and makeupless Mackenzie. Her smile exposes more than teeth—a warmth that intensifies the soft pink of her lips and the flush in her cheeks. Over her shoulder, I see a snug studio apartment illuminated only by natural light, though she has a collection of lamps adorning the desk between her bed and assortment of instruments. The walls are a shrine to St. Vincent and Brandi Carlile, while a condenser microphone droops by its neck next to her desk. As I jealously eye her Gibson 335, she explains that it was a combined Christmas and birthday present from her entire family who pitched in for the guitar that Mackenzie had wanted for several years. Her bed occupies most of the living room, with just enough leftover space for a small table that straddles the invisible line between the living room and kitchen. I notice her signature flat-brimmed hat perched on one of the bedposts with a bird’s-eye view of the room, only rivaled by her cat, Little Bat, who is balancing on the highest pillow on Mackenzie’s bed. She offers me tea, the kettle on the stove already hissing. Once I sit down, Little Bat pounces in an arc over the length of the bed, stepping on the table and nuzzling my shoulder. Mackenzie returns from the kitchen, and her cat switches alliances, choosing a spot on the bed near her.
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"IF I WANT TO SING ABOUT GOD, I’M GOING TO SING ABOUT GOD. AND IF I WANT TO SING ABOUT DRUGS OR SOMETHING R E A L LY AW F U L , I’M GOING TO SING ABOUT THAT TOO.”
Though Mackenzie wasn’t raised on music, along with several one-act plays. She also she began playing the flute and piano at a began learning the guitar, going to one of the young age. Singing was never on her radar, nursing homes in her hometown in Macon but when fourteen-year-old Mackenzie saw each week to sing hymns for the residents. the Phantom of the Opera film in 2004, she “It was my every Saturday kind of gig. It was had a lightbulb moment. She told herself something that really got to me—nursing that she needed to sing, imagining herself in homes. It’s probably the saddest thing to me, a sequined gown glittering like a chandelier seeing how lonely some of those people are under the Broadway spotlight. She began who don’t get visitors and don’t get to do what prancing around the house singing “Angel of they want.” Mackenzie also sang and played guitar Music” and “Music of the Night” in a feigned falsetto while listening to the tracks on her during church services while she was in high Walkman she carried with care. “I was really school—the first song she learned on the self-conscious about singing, so I would sing guitar was the hymn, “It is Well.” She didn’t replicate her favorite bands’ songs, explaining to that soundtrack as a joke.” She was always under the impression that instead that she began by writing her own. Her public performances helped develop she couldn’t sing—no one ever told her she could. Until one day, her family had heard not only her guitar skills and stage presence, enough of her theatrical interpretation of but also her ability to relate to other people. various musicals. They told her, “If you Perhaps one of the most affirming moments in actually tried being serious, you’d probably her music career was meeting the alternative have a good voice. But we have no idea folk-rock musician Brandi Carlile in the summer of 2010 after Mackenzie’s freshman because you treat it as a joke.” She took her family’s words of wisdom year at Belmont. Brandi was performing as a to heart and performed in her high school’s part of Music City Roots in the Loveless Barn production of Fiddler on the Roof and the at a packed-out show. At the time, Mackenzie recalls feeling like ’80s futuristic sci-fi space musical Starmites,
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M C G AVO C K
“a really small fish in a giant pond” in Nashville. Her initial plan was to pursue musical theater and was unsure if she had made the right decision to switch her focus to songwriting. She waited after the show to meet the songstress who enthusiastically kept asking the nineteen year old what she liked to write and sing about before departing with the unforgettable
compliment, “I can’t wait to hear you someday.” It was just what Mackenzie needed. She thought, Oh, that’s it! She’s got to hear me someday. “She’ll never know that something so small and seemingly insignificant completely gave me the kick in the pants and the self-confidence boost that I needed,” Mackenzie explains. Since their
initial meeting, she has spoken to Brandi and seen her perform several times. Also among her muses is the Arkansasturned-Tennessee native Johnny Cash. Mackenzie particularly admires his authenticity. “The same song about church and Jesus would have a line or two about cocaine in it.” The two musicians’ shared backgrounds in religious music isn’t the only similarity between Cash
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THIRD MAN your turntable’s not dead!
Third Man Records is a non-genre specific record label that specializes in the exploration of the romance of the vinyl record and expanding the confines of the imagination of the record industry. We feature 45's and LPs produced, pressed and distributed from our hometown of Nashville TN. Our catalog takes in not only varying styles and genres spanning the musical spectrum, but also spoken word records, long lost re-issues, records recorded live to analog tape from guests to our live venue, Fan Club releases in the Vault, and much much more. Come and visit our shop or see a show in our live venue. Everything is made with love and pressed with soul!
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and Mackenzie. There’s something about his honesty that the blossoming singer aims to capture in her own work. “I believe every word that he sings, and I strive to achieve that in my own stuff. I’m not going to stray away from talking about anything if it speaks to my experience as a human. And the thing about humans is that there’s both goodness and evil,
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and we deal with all of it. If I want to sing about God, I’m going to sing about God. And if I want to sing about drugs or something really awful, I’m going to sing about that too.” St. Vincent (Annie Clark) also sits high on the list of music inspirations for Mackenzie. She jokes, looking at her various posters and album covers of the
singer-songwriter, “I hope it doesn’t get back to her I have all of this on my wall.” She continues, “She’s one of those artists that you don’t really get, and then all of a sudden, you hear something and you think, Oh my god.” Something in Mackenzie clicked, and she quickly became obsessed with St. Vincent, the sole artist she listened to while she was
making her record this past summer. But despite her infatuation with Annie Clark, Mackenzie’s encounter with her wasn’t the most graceful. Last October, she waited outside the Ryman alley for two hours after the David Byrne & St. Vincent show. When the singer finally returned to her tour bus, Mackenzie panicked, taking off in the opposite direction. If it wasn’t for her friend who grabbed her and steered her towards Annie, Mackenzie would have made it back to Belmont in no time. “I had no idea what to say. It was my turn to step up to the plate and get my picture with her, and I started having an actual panic attack.” Mackenzie informed Annie of her current condition, to which Annie responded by taking Mackenzie’s hand in between hers and saying, “There are no safe people, places, or things.” The words might as well be tattooed on Mackenzie. She tells me, “It’s all I needed to hear. Essentially, if nothing is safe, it cancels out, and everything becomes safe. There’s
nothing to panic about because no thing grandfather, she decided to use his last name, Torres, as her alternate name. “I is safer than the next.” Annie’s influence reaches far, playing wanted the name to mean something an important role in Mackenzie’s to me personally, even though I decision to begin using the moniker wasn’t using my own name—not just TORRES. “The way she presents herself something that sounded cool.” It wasn’t in the public eye is really enticing to the first moniker she thought of, though. me,” Mackenzie says, drumming her She began by scouring her extensive fingernails against her mug, creating a book collection (they are everywhere in her apartment, it seems), searching soft and repetitive bell-like chant. “TORRES gives me that boost to be for two words that were eye-catching more creative and surround myself with together. Mackenzie soon stopped some sort of mystique—anything to trying and resolved that it would come heighten the game, though I hate to call to her naturally. And it did. She explains, it a game. It’s also a way to move away “I like the idea of being able to carry on from my previous identity as a singer- both names—the Scott name from my songwriter with an acoustic guitar.” dad’s side and the Torres name from my Mackenzie started playing with a band mom’s side of the family. It gives me the when she released her album, turning ability to connect to both.” Most of the songs from her debut up her performances by several notches. She also replaced the acoustic with an album, TORRES, were products of the electric, and soon enough, everything songwriting curriculum at Belmont. became louder and much more dynamic. “I’d write and write and write. It’s not To her, it seemed like a necessary because I thought I needed a degree in songwriting. I thought that if it was transition. Paying homage to her late maternal going to be my homework, might as
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well.” The album was released in January of this year, and in the very same month, Pitchfork wrote a glowing review, calling TORRES “an overwhelming rush of feeling, [connecting] with throat-seizing immediacy.” The sound of the album is visceral and intensifying, music that would give you the chills if you listened to it alone in the dark. The lyrics of her most lauded song, “Honey,” paints a picture that is both vivid and heartbreaking: “Honey, while you were ashing in your coffee / I was thinking of telling you what you’ve done to me.” Though she had the opportunity and support to record her first album while she was at Belmont, something stopped her from recording it until last summer. She says, “I knew that if I put out a record while I was in school, I wasn’t going to be able to do anything about it, especially tour. I also knew I wasn’t in a place where I could make the record I wanted. I needed to wait and grow up a bit, become more individualized. It was also very important to my family that I finish school, so for their sake, I stuck it out,” she laughs. Mackenzie graduated from Belmont a semester early in December of 2012, more than ready to expand her repertoire of venues beyond Bongo Java and open mic nights. Like Cash’s gritty and truthful ballads, Mackenzie’s song “Moon & Back” tells the story of her adoption. Mackenzie learned that she was adopted at a very young age, but didn’t write “Moon & Back,” chronicling the experience, until her freshman year of college. The singer’s parents went to great lengths to make her feel at home with her older brother and sister. “They always wanted me to feel very good about it and very loved—never abandoned like so many adopted children feel.” For her high school graduation, her parents gave her a journal that her birth mother had kept while she was pregnant with Mackenzie. She read the journal cover to cover and decided to write “Moon & Back” from her biological mother’s perspective. “It’s the most meaningful song to me. I always goes back to that one,” she explains. When I ask her how she classifies her music, she responds quickly with “I don’t,” followed by a high chuckle. She continues, “Everything about music has been completely intuitive for me, so I always have a hard time with the genre question. Ultimately, I just want to tell the truth—or a truth. If I’m as honest as possible, I can make a connection. And connections make people feel not so alone. That’s what music has always been for me.”
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YOU OUGHTA KNOW: THE DELTA SAINTS by wells adams, lightning 100 photo by melissa madison fuller
After graduating college, I did what many recent grads do —bought a Euro pass, sewed a flag on my backpack, and blew my savings on cheap hostels and expensive pints. Just like I do now, back then, I wouldn’t shut up about music. And naturally, as an American, I thought I knew all there was to know. But abroad, a funny thing happened—these Europeans were telling me about American music. They wouldn’t stop talking about Kings of Leon, and I wouldn’t listen. Sure, I had a copy of Youth And Young Manhood, and I loved it. But they were by no means the arena-rock juggernaut they are today. It was two years later when Kings grabbed two Brit awards, and their stateside stardom exploded. I learned two things after that: 1) Don’t get into drinking competitions with lads from Leeds and 2) Our friends from across the pond know their freakin’ music. Don’t worry, this isn’t a “You Oughta Know” about the Followills, but I’m sharing this
THE B FULL ANDS' F IRST LEN DEAT GTH ALBU H LE TTER M, JUBI COMP LEE, WAS LETE L FUND Y FAN ED
to tell about the first time I saw The Delta Saints. It was 2007, and they were playing a small show on Demonbreun Street. I remember thinking, Damn! Demonbreun just morphed into Frenchman Street in New Orleans. Someone order me a Sazerac! The lead singer was sitting on his amp, warbling about cheap booze and loose women and bleeding all over his dobro. A skinny John Popper was wailing on the harp, and a human helicopter was slapping the bass, pinwheeling his rather long dreads across the stage. As the drummer beat the skins whilst rocking a sweaty wifebeater, I ordered my whiskey neat. Fast-forward to this year. The Saints embarked on their third European run, this time in support of their most recent full-length album, Death Letter Jubilee. With forty gigs (selling out more than half of them), their bayou rock crossed over a multitude of Western European cities. In late June, the boys will once again hop across the pond for another string of sureto-be-sold-out dates. When they return home, they will have spent almost nine months of the past two years on European soil. I don’t have the money, time, energy, or liver for that. But if I were to trek across Europe again, I bet people would tell me about The Delta Saints, and this time, I’d listen.
animal of the month by Gillis Bernard
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Anthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Coleopter Family: Scarabaeidae Subfamily: Cetoniinae Tribe: Gymnetini Genus: Cotinis Species: C. nitida
A violet-tangerine colored twilight touches down on the Nashville skyline as you wrap your arms around your sweet summer fling. It’s that kind of slow-paced and sultry Southern June evening that makes you feel high on life and the joys of fleeting and blissfully irresponsible summertime lovin’. Yeah, it’s true—everything’s hotter in Nashville in the summertime. And, of course, no treat quite quells a case of first-date jitters like a few heaping scoops of Jeni’s Ice Cream. You step out from inside the air-conditioned oasis of the shop and back into the East side’s warm air, brandishing one large cup brimming with dairy goodness. With a well-timed wink, you lift a spoonful of ice cream up to your lover’s lips. But just as you lean in to coyly whisper some naughty nothings into your sweetie’s ear, a sudden, piercing hisssss cracks through the thick air faster than you can say “It’s business time.” With a furrowed brow, you shoot glances towards the sound’s locale until you see an inch of shiny reddish-brown scuttling through the early evening moonshine. With this, you realize the culprit can only be the Junebug. As the temperature rises in this town, so does the population of sweaty hand-holding hipsters. And there’s nothing the Junebug likes to do more than spoil some young love. The Junebug is notorious for ruining such sublime summer fun with his snarky complaints and sighs, which he
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makes by using his wings to force air down and grass. During their baby-fat larva his back. What he’s complaining about phase, they’re not as innocent as they may exactly with his booing and hissing we’re look. Because Junebug larvae eat the roots not sure, but it could have something to of these plants, they also cut off the plants’ do with the fact that he’s been cooped access to water and nutrients in the soil. up underground for two years of his Even during the Junebug’s off-seasons in three-year life cycle, and he’s finally the fall and spring, he can impose upon ready to get it on himself (talk about a your romantic plan to present a perfect long dry spell). Wee June-grubs typically bouquet to that special someone. We might have a little more pity for the remain underground, developing for a couple years during that whole chubby, guy if the Junebug was seriously lacking in awkward middle-school phase. Let’s just prospects, but the bug has more potential call it some much-needed “beauty sleep” bachelorettes than Deacon Claybourne for these little guys. Once fully grown, on Nashville. There are more than 260 however, the Junebug emerges from the species of these beetles in the world, and each female lays about sixty to seventyground ready to party. Unfortunately, what the Junebug really five eggs every mating season. That being means by “party” is turning your party said, however, the Junebug does have of two into a party of three at the most some competition. Once the sun sets, a inopportune moments…Like oh, say, a single babe of a female beetle moves into not-so-innocent trip out at Percy Priest the spotlight of a neighborhood street Lake at sundown. You and your fine lamp and gives off a distinctive scent piece of summer tail find a shady spot that attracts nearly all the males within and decide to shimmy off those cut-off twenty yards, commencing a total nymjorts and cannonball into the holy water. Phyllophaga orgy. So, when that Imogene + Willie gingerAs you two lovebirds cuddle post-skinny dip, your fling begins to tenderly comb -mahogany-scented candle is lit, and through your semi-greasy beach locks. that eight-dollar bottle of white wine is But all of a sudden, your boo screeches, empty, be sure to shut your screen door and you feel something fluttering on your to keep out any unwanted visitors that head. “I think it was a bat!” your darling prefer a little swinger action as opposed albeit dumb lover exclaims. Alas, you to monogamy. We’re pretty sure Nicholas alone know that the unwelcomed third Sparks didn’t write the Junebug into any wheel was this cockblocking, anti-lovebug. of his love scenes, so why should you and In addition to ruining moods, Junebugs your summer fling have to deal with him? is also notorious for killing flowers, plants,
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observatory by leigh ware
DYLAN, 21: Nike “Bloody Gums” limited edition shoes from Flight Club AG Jeans Playclothes shirt Moscot sunglasses
HELEN, 22: Office shoes Black Keys concert tee Warby Parker sunglasses
Favorite Feature: “My lips or my hair. Actually, my hair. I don’t think guys can say lips. Or my creativity.”
Favorite Feature: “My biting sarcasm. Or maybe my pale skin.”
IAN, 25: Zara shirt; John Fluevog shoes Favorite Feature: Hey girl... “I care about people. And I’m a good listener.”
BAILEY, 27: She made her necklace out of two separate necklaces that broke
This playboy plays bass for local pop-rock band Hot Chelle Rae
Favorite Feature: “My hair. I get it cut by Melanie Shelley.”
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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!
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