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He grew up “way out in the country,” near Jefferson, South Carolina, population 800. “It’s a town nobody leaves,” he says. “My parents think I’m crazy but love me just the same.” He came to Nashville after graduating from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, for a yearlong service opportunity with UKirk, a Presbyterian campus ministry with offices at Vanderbilt and Belmont. “I was raised very conservatively, but throughout my undergraduate experience my mindset became more progressive,” Catoe says. “I wanted to reach out to the people on the margins of society—the poor, the LGBT community, those who have been neglected or

turned away from the church.” After the internship he took a job at Grins Vegetarian Cafe, the certified kosher restaurant on the Vanderbilt campus. Now the front of house manager, he starts his day with iced coffees and the occasional hot cup of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. “Around here, I’m the religious one, the churchy one,” he says with a laugh. “We are very different in a lot of ways, but most of us are progressive and accepting.” The next step in his journey will take him back to familiar territory. He has applied to Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he hopes to expand and stretch his faith even further.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS MARCH 2015

22

30 78

60

68

THE GOODS

50

19 Beer from Here 22 Cocktail of the Month 27 Master Platers 89 You Oughta Know 92 Observatory 95 Animal of the Month

FEATURES 30 Ann Catherine Carter 40 Lockeland Table 50 Nikki Lane 60 Gunther Doug 68 Andy van Roon 78 Nashville Grizzlies

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DEAR NATIVES,

T

hanks for tagging us, y’all! Be sure to check out these Instagrammers, and #nativenashville to share your photos with us.

president, founder:

ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN associate publisher:  KATRINA HARTWIG publisher, founder: 

founder, brand director:

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founder:

CAYLA MACKEY

creative director:

MACKENZIE MOORE

managing editor: 

CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

art director: 

COURTNEY SPENCER

community relations manager:

JOE CLEMONS

community representative:

LINDSAY ALDERSON

account manager:

AYLA SADLER

film supervisor:

CASEY FULLER

editor:

@_anchored

​@candiceruther

@nnotsomoody

@nashvilleinabox

          writers: photographers:

@richsparkman

@officialalexandragrace

founding team:

MATTHEW LEFF LINDSEY BUTTON JONAH ELLER-ISAACS HENRY PILE ANDREW LEAHEY CASEY FULLER GAGE ARNOLD COOPER BREEDEN

DANIELLE ATKINS LAURA E. PARTAIN EMILY B. HALL BRETT WARREN JESS WILLIAMS KRISTIN SWEETING AUSTIN LORD

MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN

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The

HIGH SOCIETY “Not named after the classic adult magazine, this drink is the perfect example of your old-fashioned and a glass of bubbles colliding on New Year’s Eve into one beautiful mistake. Drink enough of these, and you could end up the star of your own personal dirty magazine.” —Ben Clemons, No. 308

THE GOODS 1 oz Bulleit Bourbon 1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 1/4 oz Campari 1/4 oz Crème Yvette 2 dashes Angostura bitters Cava or Prosecco

F Stir all ingredients and strain into freshly iced rocks glass. F Top with Cava or Prosecco and garnish with a lemon twist, a brandied cherry, and a sprig of mint.

photo by danielle atkins 22 ////////////////////////////////// 22 //////

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HOW TO: SIMPLY ROAST VEGETABLES

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THE GOODS: Butternut squash* Salt and pepper Espelette pepper powder** Olive oil

* Any kind of hardy veggie ** Any kind of chili pepper powder

STEP 1 F Preheat oven to 375°. F Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds (throw away or save for another application).

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STEP 2 Season squash with salt and pepper, pepper powder, and good olive oil.

Place squash on a cookie sheet (skin side up) and roast in the oven for 35–45 minutes.

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ANN CATHERINE CARTER DISCUSSES THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER WORK AS AN ARTIST, CURATOR, AND MUSICIAN BY LINDSEY BUTTON | PHOTOS BY LAURA E. PARTAIN

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Ann Catherine Carter leads me through the living room of her

home in West Nashville to show me her studio. It’s a bright white room in the center of the warm wood-paneled house, and the stark contrast of the studio sandwiched between two dark wooden rooms is nearly blinding— almost surreal. “I feel like there’s just chaos in here,” says Ann Catherine with a sigh. “Sometimes I feel like I’m insane,” she says as she looks around the room. “Maybe a lot of artists would say that because they have all these ideas and we just have to let it out.” I tell her that I feel as if there is a space like this located somewhere in my own brain, but that while writers perhaps internalize that chaotic creative place, a visual artist lets it spill out into the room, where the messy process of creating is more apparent to the onlooker. “This is the bowels of my brain,” she says of her small studio. Ann Catherine is not only a visual artist but also the co-curator of The Packing Plant, a contemporary arts project space located in

the Wedgewood/Houston arts district, and a musician on the side. She first shows me her book, drawingaday, which includes both digital and hand-drawn work. “I had this book printed because I was interested in the duality between the digital image versus a hand-drawn image and the concept between the virtual and the real and what’s more sincere,” she explains. “My argument is, to some degree, that both avenues can be sincere in how they’re presented.” While I am flipping through the book and she is explaining the processes behind some of the images, I notice a Wendy’s bag, folded flat and lying on her worktable. “I originally saw one of these lying on the ground and it was all gnarled because it was just trash on the ground. But something about that reflected more of what, for me, Wendy’s represents. Not necessarily Wendy’s in particular—but advertising. Advertisements operate in a capitalist, commercial framework, and as the imagery that constructs that, they’re deceptive and I have a big issue with it.

ANN CATHERINE CARTER: View her work at anncatherinecarter.net and follow her music on Facebook @Lavender.lavender.music native.is/Ann-Catherine-Carter # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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“But there’s something about the physical ment,” she explains. “I used another logo— qualities of that sort of language that I’m in- Domino’s—but I’m also trying to compress terested in taking back—so not letting those it so it’s not so identifiable because again, I qualities be deceptive and saying, ‘I’m going want to look at the formal characteristics to take this quality of this bag lying on the of it. This paper,” she picks it up and runs ground that is actually more representative her paint-covered fingers across the edges, of what consumerism is—waste.’ It’s just “I like the physicality of how flimsy it is bewaste all of the time—but how do I avert cause, like the paper of that paper bag, it felt that? I can use a digital process to warp it more true to what advertising really is—this and recreate it to some degree. And then, degradation of society and how it pisses me with this projector, I’m able to scale it up off. So instead of it being a really solid logo and then trace it, disrupting this consumer on a sign, it’s on the ground, it’s limp, it’s falling apart. So I would hope that it would product.” It is this notion of subverting consumer- be more sincere at its approach.” A discussion of her negative feelings ism that Ann Catherine’s most recent work is concerned with. One of the large canvases about advertising and consumerism leads in the room shows a similarly warped Sprite us to talking about creativity and whether logo. While she is still largely influenced by or not creating a statement about society the dualism between the virtual and the real, through art is productive or futile. “I don’t she also wants to analyze “the way images know,” the doubt becomes more apparent are used to distract or the way they are used in her voice. “It’s kind of strange to do anyto deceive rather than be something that’s thing creative. To some degree, it’s totally irrational and it doesn’t benefit anybody. more constructive.” I am instantly drawn to a lime-green cut- I talk about how the reason why I have so out piece hanging half on the lower part many different ways of how I make things of the wall and half dragging on the floor. across the board is because I want an egali“This is a paper piece. I’m playing with the tarian society and it’s an ideal I want to purgrid that I had seen in an urban environ- sue, but then it’s like why am I not a social

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[activist]? But that’s because I’m not one. That’s not “I’m even more fully understanding what I’m doing by where my passion is—my passion is making visual ob- just talking about it,” she admits and continues, “This jects. I am stimulated by that deceptive Wendy’s logo. thing with pop music, instead of it being the woman I need something to be mad at: ugh, I hate this Sprite doesn’t have control over what she’s doing, it’s like taklogo—well, that’s my point of departure. This visual ing back that control. I have a noise set, which is totally language that is our nature, it’s our new environment— abstract . . . and then with all of these different pedals I you can’t go anywhere without seeing advertisements. create an abstract soundscape. Again, I think it’s probSo how do you take that language and transform it in ably similar to my paintings because I’m invested in an a way that isn’t about deception or is trying to express abstraction, but then I’m also using advertisements as a form of departure. So I think pop music and adversomething different than the original motives?” The subversion and transformation of consumer tisement are analogous, and abstraction and noise are language is not only present in her visual art but in her analogous.” Talking through ideas seems to be music as well. “The music that I’ve an important aspect of Ann Cathejust started making is in its infancy,” rine’s work as an artist. She also leads she says. “But it’s an extension of my “Roundtable,” which is “a forum fopainting practices—the same sort cused on current and historical artists’ of topics with consumerism and adwork, writings, and criticisms, as well vertising and the construction of an as topics associated with art world poliimage, but more in relation to how tics.” Ann Catherine explains, “It’s this the feminine icon comes out of pop discussion group. It doesn’t meet very music.” often because I don’t even know how She plays bass in Neon Black with I have time to have a social life, but I her photographer and artist friends, do, a very small one. But every now and Tyler Blankenship and Brandon then, certain things will happen in the Greer. Her solo work as a musician art world—and not just locally—that is under the name Lavender. She are really hot topics to talk about.” She wanted to tap into the music realm tells me one of the most recent topics because she felt through music her was about an exhibition at the MoMA ideas had more potential of reaching a wider audience. “There’s always rules being broken called The Forever Now that is curated by a female and but I guess in a generic sense, I think of rock ‘n’ roll as composed of predominantly female painters. “There’s definitely a feminine push-back in the art heavily male dominated, while in pop music, there are a lot of pop female icons, but they are stripped away of world in general when female artists get credibility and their ability to really have control of what’s happening. how many female artists are working and operating at Like, she’s still having to depend on all of these things the same success rate as male artists. At The Packing that make up her image. So again, she becomes this fa- Plant, it’s something that even I need to be more aware çade, something really flat. So how do you take back of. It’s always a work in progress.” One of Ann Cathcontrol of that? With soloing, if a man plays a solo on a erine’s concerns, and frankly my own as well, is that guitar, it’s like he’s expressing his superiority or power. women are judged more acutely than men in all creSo as a woman, I’m doing the same thing, but not on ative fields. “That was one of the criticisms of this new the same instrument that’s typically used to do those painting show. All the male artists that are showing alongside the women in this show are much younger types of solos. It’s another form of subversion.” She gives me a tour of her bedroom, which is con- and less established.” She concludes, “The standards nected to her studio and is where she keeps her bass are set higher for women to produce things of quality.” Ann Catherine wants her work to promote a sense and two amps and her mint-green pedal board. As she is talking about all of the ideas behind her music, she of equality in all mediums and in every form. “I want is mapping them out and making sense of them herself. my work to speak really broadly in terms of materials.

“THE STANDARDS ARE SET HIGHER FOR WOMEN TO PRODUCE THINGS OF QUALITY.”

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Like an egalitarian way of creating,” she explains. “I don’t like the idea of a society being segregated or not equal in terms of economics, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion—these sort of things that make up a diverse community.” Ann Catherine grew up in a predominantly white suburb outside of Birmingham, Alabama. In 2008, in the middle of the financial crisis, her family lost their home and it was the first time she saw the veil of privilege that she had been living behind. “The particular suburb I grew up in systematically created a system, or organized the community in a way that was still segregated—that was really something that I did not like. And I think that’s why, in my practice as a visual artist, I try to have diverse approaches to media and material. I want equality but also diversity—equality in diversity. Which I guess is why I don’t negate digital media. Some may find it foreign and new, but no not really, it’s just a different way, it’s a different form. Which in the same way, has its own set of formal characteristics, but it doesn’t mean the [old and the new] can’t stand beside each other.” Ann Catherine always wanted to be a visual artist and has no doubt she always will be. “The more and more I keep making work, the more I realize that this really is something I’m dedicated to—to the idea of being a practicing visual artist. But also supporting the art community, both locally and hopefully now more expansively.” Even if Ann Catherine moves to another city (which is a possibility in the near future), she says she has no intention of completely moving on from the art community in Nashville—a community that has shaped her work, and in turn, she has helped shape.

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Sharing the Table

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HAL HOLDEN-BACHE BELIEVES FOOD IS A GIFT, AND LOCKELAND TABLE, HIS AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANT, IS HIS PRESENT TO THE MANY MOUTHS OF NASHVILLE BY JONAH ELLER-ISAACS | PHOTOS BY EMILY B. HALL

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“Food is a wonderful gift—and good food is a tremendous gift.” So says Hal Holden-Bache, chef and co-owner of Lockeland Table. Since opening in the summer of 2012, Hal’s restaurant, or, as it states on the prominent, hand-hewn wooden sign out front, this “Community Kitchen and Bar,” has bestowed the gift of marvelously good food to countless appreciative Nashvillians. Hal and I are sitting at a small table adjacent to the large windows at the front of the restaurant. The sign sways above us in the bluster of February. Carved neatly into its repurposed lumber is a meat cleaver, Lockeland Table’s logo. This is just about the friendliest, most welcoming cleaver I’ve encountered. The only thing cutting about Hal is his warm smile, which slices a wide swath through his thick beard, black with occasional specks of gray. He speaks thoughtfully and with great passion, and his enthusiasm for cooking—not to mention the consumption to which it leads—shines throughout our conversation. “I really believe that I was born to cook, man,” Hal tells me. “I was cookin’ with my mom by the age of five. By the age of eight, I was givin’ her a night off and cookin’ for the family myself.” He learned early in his West Virginian childhood that fixing a weekly meal provided more than simple sustenance. Apart from the comfort of the family’s full bellies, Hal saw his cooking as an act of compassion, or as he puts it, “nourishing another person’s self, but also bringing enjoyment, not just substance and nutrition . . . I always saw how hard my mother worked. That also brought me pleasure, to let her just sit down, relax, and read one of her books and let me take care of dinner once a week. That meant a lot to me, to be able to give my mom some personal time.” Hal’s philosophy of compassionate cuisine is central to Lockeland Table’s mission. We’re not sitting in a restaurant; we’re in a community kitchen. They’re not readying the bar for happy hour; they’re preparing for community hour. The verbal reinvention reminds me of my time studying political science and the concept

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of speech-action theory, which (oh so briefly, so please stick with me) posits that the words we choose are, in and of themselves, actions that have intrinsic power and meaning. The deceptively simple act of naming Lockeland Table a kitchen for the community not only demonstrates Hal’s dedication to creating an inviting atmosphere, but it actually plays a part in creating that atmosphere. Still, words only go so far. Along with co-owner Cara Graham and Lockeland Table’s kitchen cohorts, Hal is supremely devoted to making their modest brick-andmortar site a cozy and welcoming spot for the residents of Lockeland Springs, the charming neighborhood of Craftsman-style homes that surrounds the restaurant. Hal waves to a passing neighbor and explains that he’s always placed a central focus on his “desire and intentions to be a positive member of our community. In terms of extra events that we do, to help organizations in our own backyard, we’re very community driven . . . A percentage of proceeds [from] our community hour goes to the Lockeland Springs Elementary School PTO. That’s one way that we’re giving back on a daily basis.” Alongside the community hour, Hal also participates in the annual Our Kids Soup Sunday fundraiser and works with Second Harvest Food Bank, among others. “East Nashville does a great job supporting East Nashville,” he explains. Hal shares with me that his initial impulse to head to the kitchen wasn’t entirely altruistic. Partly his motivation was “to kinda get away from doin’ my homework.” But he did his homework with Lockeland Table, and the restaurant’s accolades began to pile up almost as soon as they opened their doors. Hal’s eyes light up when he talks about Lockeland Table making the James Beard Foundation “long list” for Best New Restaurant: “We were just shocked. It was one of those organic things . . . You can never even make this a goal in life, cause it’s kind of a foolish goal to set for yourself.” Long list is most definitely a misleading term; it’s an incredibly short list. Hal tells me that “out of forty-four thousand restaurants that opened, I believe, in the country that


LOCKELAND TABLE: lockelandtable.com Follow on Facebook or Instagram @LockelandTable native.is/lockeland-table

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year, we made the long list of twenty-nine . . . It with pride, “We have a menu of a lotta great food. was one of those moments in life, you don’t know And I think that’s one of the best things about if you wanna jump, cry, run . . . I mean, it’s almost our menu . . . If you come here with a four-top, like you don’t believe the person who told you. more than likely, there’s things on here to make It’s like, ‘I don’t believe you. I need to see this in everyone happy.” Ever the crowd-pleaser, Hal has made sure to include vegetarian options in every writing.’” Alongside the (not-at-all) “long” list nod, Hal’s section of the menu, and he does his best to camost proud of Lockeland Table bringing home an ter to vegans, those with dangerous allergies, and unlikely award, a hefty bronze plaque that resides celiacs—notwithstanding the bumper sticker on prominently on the host’s podium by the front the hood of his wood-fired pizza oven that reads door. He stands momentarily to grab it from its “I ♥ GLUTEN.” Looking over Lockeland Table’s menu as I chat place of honor, and when he puts it into my hands, the tablet pulls down on my neck and shoulders. with Hal, I start to salivate with Pavlovian arousal In an important-looking typeface, it reads MET- at the thought of moving beyond simply talking ROPOLITAN HISTORICAL COMMISSION AR- about the food to putting it (preferably all of it) CHITECTURAL AWARD. As the plans for build- in my mouth. It just so happens that my wedding ing out the space took shape, Hal and his site anniversary is approaching, and Hal generously team worked to recreate, as closely as possible, invites us to come and celebrate the occasion with him. My wife and I return latthe original structure, built in er in the week, and I can confirm 1936 and one of the first H.G. that, without a doubt, the folks at Hills dry goods stores. Using the James Beard Foundation were an old photograph that now completely accurate in their award hangs on the wall behind me, assessment. they were able to replicate the A small chef’s bar arcs around original façade and were honHal’s prep station, six or so stools ored with the award for their set cozily in a semicircle. The staff efforts. invites us in warmly and seats us Hal and I are sitting at the at the bar, where we have the privifront edge of the restaurant, lege of watching Hal expertly craft but we’re still a good ten-plus feet from the sidewalk. For many years, the space his exquisite fare. He’s in his element here. It’s pawas Boutique Coiffures, a beauty shop. In the tently obvious that yes, this man was indeed born 1980s, an angry husband drove his car through to cook. Though the place is packed and the meal the window, destroying the front of the parlor (a tickets are piling up, he takes the time to introstory that absolutely deserves a deeper investiga- duce us to each of our eleven courses (yes, elevtion—maybe he didn’t like his wife’s new perm?). en). He’s planned the menu to present Lockeland Elaine, the then-owner of the shop, installed Table’s most popular and most representative an inexpensive new façade where the damage dishes. We start with an appetizer plate, a crab stopped, creating a recessed entrance. Though and corn fritter on a bed of smoked vinegar slaw her façade is gone, Elaine and her stylist, Star, and remoulade alongside a traditional pork and still grace a mural on the building’s east-facing shrimp dumpling, a recipe that he kept to himself exterior wall, and Elaine celebrated her eightieth while cooking in the highly regarded kitchens of birthday at the restaurant. I hear Star still styles New York’s Gramercy Tavern, The Capitol Grille at The Hermitage, and Eastland Cafe, among othhair at Wayne’s Unisex on Gallatin Avenue. A restaurant can have an intricate history and ers. Before introducing the dumpling to his diners, a thoughtfully crafted space, but it all counts for he wanted to ensure that it wasn’t a casual stab at naught without the food. When I ask Hal about Asian fusion—“At most of those places, fusion rehis cuisine, his elevated take on his mother’s com- ally means confusion,” he says with a grin. Now he forting, hearty, down-home cooking, he tells me sells upward of one hundred of these sweet, spicy,

“AT MOST OF THOSE PLACES, FUSION REALLY MEANS CONFUSION.”

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labor-intensive morsels each day. He follows the fritter/dumpling plate with a special side for the evening, roasted fennel on a bed of pink grapefruit. Then come salads: a handsome Bibb wedge with fried green tomatoes gets Hal gushing. He loves this food, and he’s proud to serve it. The kale and arugula salad has a pleasantly bitter, spicy bite, and its mustard buttermilk dressing under a top layer of cornbread crumbs gives it a rich complexity that’s hard to achieve with a simple salad. We dive into a classic Margherita fresh

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from the oven, a beautiful, handcrafted pizza sprinkled with a handful of microgreens freshly plucked from their bed on the bar. Hal points out that we still have a long way to go, and he urges us to eat just a single slice (we take home the rest for some damn fine leftovers). I’m glad we follow his lead; the pizza is followed quickly by the regional catch, flounder with farro, charred cauliflower, shallots, pistachios, and lemon with poblano cream. Then comes one of Lockeland Table’s spectacular signature dishes, a


New York strip steak with green beans, sautéed pecans, and a chimichurri sauce that Hal has subtly altered to make it his own. The delicious recipe came with Hal from Eastland Cafe, and its popularity is evident: the regular seated next to me followed Hal, and the steak, to Lockeland Table. Thankfully, we’re served only a few slices, just a sampling of the tender, assiduously rare meat, so we’ve saved room for the indulgent, creamy Camembert with house-made fig jam and, finally, the Olive & Sinclair chocolate chip cookie, served à la mode, hot from the oven in an adorable miniature skillet. “We have eighty-two tiny cast-iron skillets!” Hal proclaims with glee. As the dessert plates are cleared, we take a breath. We’ve been here for hours. Lockeland Table has filled, and emptied, leaving only a few satisfied, rosy-cheeked eaters. Over the course of our meal, Hal has told us about his struggle to find time for his family and his son, Cole, while fulfilling his responsibilities at the restaurant (“I’m almost satisfied in my balance of chef to son,” he tells us). He delves into the history of the building, and he even gives us a few lessons in culinary technique. It’s a marvelous dining experience, and we depart already planning our return visit. That’s exactly how Hal has planned it. He explains that his working motto is to “invest in one thing every day, and that’s tomorrow. Everybody that walks out of the front door and the back door needs to want to come back. And that includes our employees . . . If you’re always invested in tomorrow, then tomorrow should be a good day. That’s everything! That’s food, that’s friendliness! That’s attitude.” Residents of Lockeland Springs already know—and new visitors to Lockeland Table will quickly find— Lockeland Table’s inviting, community-driven kitchen and world-class cuisine lead to many tomorrows spent with Hal Holden-Bache.

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FAILING TENTH-GRADE CHORUS (AND OTHER RUMORS)

A LOOK INSIDE THE SUPERSTITIOUS, SEDULOUS, AND OFTEN SCANDALOUS WORLD OF NIKKI LANE

BY HENRY PILE | PHOTOS BY BRETT WARREN PRODUCER: CHELSEA BEAUCHAMP | STYLING: ARIA CAVALIERE | HAIR: MARY STANLEY FOR STYLE KITCHEN | BEAUTY: ASHLEY MOTZ

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Nikki Lane is unequal parts sinner and saint. Her double-barrel attitude is loaded with “I don’t give a fuck” slugs, and she’s a dead shot. If you know her, you’ve heard some rumors, namely that Dan Auerbach thing, but she doesn’t care. She’s stronger than all that. She’s holding the reins on a monster music career. That monster is big, ready to do bad things, and you’re going to have to deal with it sooner or later. I’ve interviewed Nikki twice for this article. She’ll talk all night if you don’t mind splitting a joint and some bourbon, but you have no idea how hard it is to get her to sit still long enough for an interview or photo shoot. She’s busy. She’s on tour. She’s sick. She’s bowling. She bumped me once because JD McPherson was at her house cowriting. I’m about to give up on the whole damn thing. Finally she says, “Just come on over when you want to come over.” So I do. In her kitchen I stir some Willet Old-Fashioneds. From the other room, Nikki is talking about the difficulty of dating someone in California. She speaks like a machine gun powered by rocket fuel. Word after word crushes the sentence before it with very little space for a breath. When it comes to getting to know each other, she’s not building a bridge; she’s jumping the river. “I don’t have the privacy or the time to be like ‘Baby, baby, baby’ every fucking day,” she tells me with a nod to life on the road. “Imagine how hard it would be to have

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“TRUTH IS, I’M NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OF THESE MOTHERFUCKERS JUDGING ME.”

a sexy MO with somebody that you can’t see.” During the second interview, I find out that relationship didn’t make it. Go figure. Nikki may sound tough, but she’s a romantic. She flips open an old book stuffed with clovers. “This is my crazy four-leaf-clover collection. I found fifteen today.” She flips through and stops again. “This day is my favorite. This is the day I found my booking agent. I was grumpy so I went out in the yard and found eight in ten minutes,” she says in a breath. Each page of this book has a handwritten note. Some are dates. Some are moments like “Dad was here.” To be unimpressed by the sheer volume would be insane. I can’t help but thumb through them to check. Are they really four-leaf clovers, or is she selling me something? That’s the thing about Nikki. Sometimes you have to double-check. Some people will tell you, “Nikki’s a bullshit artist,” or “Nikki takes advantage of people and she’s a bad person who does bad things.” Nashville is a small town and rumors don’t run wild for long. Eventually, they make their way around, and Nikki has heard them all. “Is there any truth to the rumors? Of course! It’s rock


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NIKKI LANE: nikkilane.com Follow on Facebook or Twitter @NikkiLaneMusic or Instagram @nikkilane77 native.is/nikki-lane 54 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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and roll! There’s tons of truth. People was my turn to sing, I just stood there.” Her show in L.A. took place at an do dumb shit, clever shit, and other shit. Truth is, I’m no different than any art showroom. The open space filled as the audience grew from a handful of these motherfuckers judging me.” Truth is, Nikki is different from of random people to a packed room of those motherfuckers. She’s a maniac familiar faces. “Every person I ever met with a heart of gold. She’s a hardcore in L.A. was there,” she recalls. During business woman in a vintage red fringe the first song, she blacked out, broke jacket. She’s a hustler who bolted from out in hives, and then asked her friend South Carolina for California. And I how he thought it went. Looking back, she says, “My body was breaking down. don’t mean she moved. She ran. “I was nineteen, and my girlfriend I was so scared.” So much has changed in the past ten and I decided to get an apartment together. We decided we needed to get a years. With her endless touring in supwasher and dryer, so we went to Sears. port of 2014’s All or Nothin,’ she shows We were standing there talking about no signs of stage fright. For the Sports six- or twelve-month financing when I Illustrated swimsuit launch spectacle, freaked out. I had to go outside. I was Nikki took the stage in a vintage, starsthinking, ‘Oh shit! I’m about to make and-stripes, sequined swimsuit with a monthly payment on a washer and fishnet stockings. “How do you stand dryer in Greenville, South Carolina?!’ I out in a crowd of swimsuit models? told my friend I couldn’t do it. I called Wear a sparkling leotard,” Nikki laughs. She also used that performance to my parents and told them I was movdeliver new songs to her hometown ing to California.” Looking at her today—raven haired crowd. It was my first time hearing her and high energy, her red lips taking a live, and I was surprised. She was good. generous pull of bourbon, her high- Really, really good. Nikki is belligerent, waisted, vintage denim jeans—I can’t “I consider it offensive how many peoimagine her financing a washer and ple are shocked by liking me. I’m done dryer. I can’t even see her in Sears, or a trying to figure it out. It mattered to mall for that matter. The notion of her me six months ago but not anymore.” Why not? Because Nikki’s killing it. living any kind of suburban life seems She’s played SXSW, Conan, the Cayamo absurd. She landed in Los Angeles with an Cruise, and toured from coast to coast. empty resume and boundless energy. She’s hammering out top-secret deals She weaseled her way into a retail job with multinational brands on product at Fred Segal and sold $500,000 of collaborations (think boots and hats). She’s parked her traveling vintage shop, denim in her first year. In L.A., she played her first show. To High Class Hillbilly, at Moto Moda in be clear, she had sung in front of peo- East Nashville. Oh yeah, on top of writing, recordple before (if you count church choir and school chorus). But singing alone ing, and touring, Nikki is a picker. She dives headfirst into piles of vintage was not her thing. “I failed tenth-grade chorus,” she junk and comes to the top with treasays with half-closed eyes and a laugh. sure. Her house is a shrine to leather “My teacher didn’t like me. I had two so- oddities and forgotten pieces. “Look at los, and I missed both of them. When it these,” she hands me six-shooter wall

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sconces that she just scored. “I spent a year obsessing over these.” Between the vintage gear, band merch, and product collaborations, Nikki is building a product empire on the shoulders of her brand. “I’m not gonna make money selling records,” she explains. “I could sell cool things or make money on syncs, but where I always go is brand partnerships because companies are spending marketing dollars. If I can deliver them something aesthetically pleasing and brand worthy, they’ll spend money on me. I’m gonna go out, do the same job I always do, but I’m gonna work a little harder.” With a focus on the angle, Nikki looks around every corner. There’s gold in the hills, and she’s digging with the biggest shovel. Her gig is equal parts music, experience, and product placement. “People ask me, ‘Doesn’t it take away from your creative process when you have to worry about the video and marketing the T-shirt?’ That is the creative process! Who’s kidding themselves when they say the song is all there is? The song is the page in the magazine. It’s the advertising element.” I may be out on a limb here, but I suspect this willful desire to turn the game around and get paid for hard work may be the grain in the rumor mill. To be more specific, some people dislike her ambition. Not that Nikki is just ambitious, but that she

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puts it out there. Secretly, we want everything at once. She consumes our artists to suffer and enjoy it, and everything around her: the rumors most artists play the part. But Nikki and myth, the love and the loss. She knows the truth and exposes the busi- collects and resells anything that has traveled a long way. She doesn’t ness side of artistry. “I hear that I’m a bitch. Hell yeah, worry about the battle scars and road I’m a bitch,” she says. “I’m trying to wear. She takes those blemishes and keep people in line. I’m not sitting shines a light on them. She knows this around on the couch asking you to do chance at a great album, a great show, things. I’m asking you to work as hard or a great business relationship is her best chance, and she truly gives it all as me.” Nikki doesn’t wait for a four-leaf or nothing. This year she’s gearing up for her clover to show up; she goes out and finds it. And one isn’t enough when a new album. The songs have been road tested. Now she’s working on lineups dozen can be found. She takes this same go-hard ap- for the sessions. She’s toying with the proach to songcraft. “I don’t try to idea of self-production, but she rewrite. If you tell me I have to write ally wants to focus on making music. ten songs, I’m going to write them “I know more of what I want to say,” real quick,” she says with a matter- she explains. But she’s not trying to of-fact tone. “I don’t wake up in the get it right. “This is imperfect,” she morning and write a song. I hold little says about a finished tune, “but let’s ideas like three words or half of a cho- get it out there. No matter what you rus that I think are important. I don’t do, somebody’s gonna hate it. Just get overthink it. If it sounds good and it out there.” The light through the living room it’s strong and melodic and the story window has turned deep yellow. Nikmakes sense, then it’s there.” What is also there is the loss and ki’s boxing up records to ship out. I sadness, the humor and wonder, of convince her to open one up and sign her own life. Like her book of clovers, it for an unsuspecting fan. She grabs a she collects these moments until a Sharpie and writes, “You’re the shit . . . Love, Nikki.” complete song comes together. She laughs, tosses it back in the “Everything in my life has given me really good music. That’s the shipping box, and says, “If people point, right? I’ve gotten really strong would just take the time to talk to me, songs out of being completely terri- they might actually like me.” So, if fied, completely sad, and completely you see her around, swing by and say stoned,” she laughs. This is quint- hello. You might be surprised by how essential Nikki. She is “completely” much you like her.


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GUNTHER DOUG ON HILLBILLY PSYCH ROCK, MYSTERY STAINS, AND CRAIGSLIST FINDS BY ANDREW LEAHEY | PHOTOS BY JESS WILLIAMS

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The five-second rule doesn’t really apply to the Elberta Mansion, a sprawling home several minutes south of downtown Nashville. Drop a piece of food onto the kitchen floor—where nine roommates, two dogs, and one cat walk every day—and it’s best to leave it lying there, contaminated by whatever sort of bacteria grows inside a house that wasn’t even clean when the members of Gunther Doug moved into the place three years ago. “We were kicked out of our last place by our landlord, once she found out we had eight people sleeping in a two-bedroom home,” says Devin Robinson, Gunther Doug’s frontman and de facto leader. “So I typed ‘band’ into the house listings on Craigslist, and the only thing that came up was this ad that said, ‘Eight-bedroom mansion! Perfect for bands! Perfect for parties!’ We said, ‘Hey, that sounds great,’ and everyone from the first house moved into the new house on Elberta Street, which looked like a completely destroyed frat house. One of the first things we did was fill up five trash bags of solo cups that we’d pulled out of the backyard.” It didn’t take long for the new tenants to start throwing some parties of their own . . . although these parties were technically house shows. Since everyone who lived in the Elberta Mansion was an artist of some sort, there was plenty of live music to go around. A rectangular room on the second floor became

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the home’s official “showroom,” with a small stage in one corner and enough room for 125 or so audience members to stand shoulder to shoulder. The whole thing was seriously DIY, but that didn’t stop people from showing up. Word spread. Shows grew. These days, the Elberta Mansion has grown so much in legitimacy that Nashville Scene often posts its upcoming shows in the paper’s music calendar, right alongside the weekly listings for official venues like Cannery Ballroom and The 5 Spot. Devin, whose bedroom is just down the hallway from the Elberta’s stage, says his band has always preferred house shows and DIY gigs over more traditional concerts. Gunther Doug was born out of that loose spirit—out of the desire to make music that subverted the usual rules without losing its accessibility or the crucial connection between artist and audience. “It’s cool to be on the same level as everyone else, rather than climbing on top of a stage and saying, ‘I’m up here, you’re down there, and I’m gonna go backstage after this is done,’” he says. “I’d rather be part of something bigger.” Drummer Ryan Elwell agrees, adding, “Our band is more about the moment and the vibe. The environment affects everything. No one’s dad is going to listen to us and say, ‘These guys are the best thing I’ve heard in decades. These guys are chops guys!’ Some of our best shows have been the drunk, sloppy shows,


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GUNTHER DOUG: guntherdoug.com Follow on Facebook or Twitter @GuntherDoug native.is/gunther-doug

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just because everyone else is drunk and sloppy, too, and we’re all having a fun time.” Gunther Doug’s three members all grew up in Sarasota, Florida, a gulf coast city better known for its circus culture—the Ringling Brothers were some of the area’s biggest investors during the early 20th century—than any sort of ongoing music scene. Still, that didn’t stop Devin from developing a local reputation as a wild, buzzy solo artist shortly after graduating high school. According to him, the music was “a folky, screamy thing,” influenced by everything from Les Claypool’s funky experiments to Against Me!’s punky rebellion. According to others, it sounded more like “Bob Dylan on speed.” Whatever the description, the sound piqued the interest of his former classmate, Ryan, who was playing drums for a different band at the time. The two crossed paths again during one of Ryan’s gigs. “I somehow got invited onstage to play a couple of songs before his band [went onstage],” Devin remembers, “and the next day, Ryan MySpaced me and said, ‘Hey, if you ever need a drummer, let me know.’ So I brought some beer and a sack of weed over to his parents’ house the next day and we started playing music, and we’ve basically been in love ever since.” The two began playing together, with Devin running his acoustic guitar through a distortion pedal and an amplifier while Ryan banged along on a drum set. Eventually, they added bass player Dre Randaci to the mix, and the group moved to Nashville in search of better opportunities and a bigger music scene. They were young, living on their own for the first time ever, and making music that reflected that sort of lively, lawless energy. Devin remembers going to countless shows during those initial months in Tennessee, including Yes Fest at the Little Hamilton Collective—a small, DIY venue that closed its doors back in 2012—and an early Diarrhea Planet gig. He felt

“ NO ONE’S

like he’d found his new home. After a few detours— including an entire summer spent at the Nantahala Gorge in North Carolina, where all three bandmates worked as river guides—the guys returned to Nashville and changed their band’s name to Gunther Doug. (“Mom,” their first choice for a new name, had already been taken by an all-girl punk group featuring Natalie Prass.) They also switched band members, with Justin Hamilton taking Dre’s place. “I’m a bit younger than Devin and Ryan,” says Justin, “and when I was in high school, those guys were like the kings of Sarasota. They were the band. I played in my own group called the Forefathers before joining them, and we actually played a gig in Ryan’s backyard.” With Justin onboard, the time has come for a reinvigorated Gunther Doug to make some serious noise. They’ve started establishing themselves not only in Nashville, but on the road, too, where they travel in a beat-up minivan with a ceiling that’s splattered with some sort of mystery stain. (One bandmate thinks it’s mold. Another claims it’s coffee.) They’ve played houses, clubs, festivals, record stores, and motorcycle repair shops from Tennessee to Tampa, with stops at festivals like South by Southwest and Wild Wild West along the way. Just like Devin’s solo shows back in Florida, Gunther Doug’s music has proven difficult to describe. The “surf punk” tag gets tossed around quite a bit, but the guys don’t completely agree with it. They’re no Dick Dale wannabes. Another common description, “hillbilly psych rock,” lands a bit closer to home, but it still doesn’t sit entirely well with the band. They’d rather occupy their own niche, carv-

ing out a sound with touchstones that veer from Modest Mouse’s herky-jerky bounce to Tame Impala’s trippy swirl to Diarrhea Planet’s chaotic sweep. The guys understand that it might be more convenient to file their music under the header of some universally recognizable genre, but they prefer existing between the margins. “A lot of thought never went into it,” Ryan says of the band’s sound. “We just started writing music together. It wasn’t Devin Robinson’s project anymore—it was more of a band. We all listen to different stuff, so there’s a lot of different influences going into it . . . but we also want it to be accessible. When I think about drum parts for a song, I just want something that’s gonna make people move.” “That’s the difference between you and me,” Devin adds. “When I’m writing a song, I never think about anybody else. I just sit down with a guitar and start writing.” With a full-length album on the horizon, the three have been spending most of 2015 creating demos of new songs. The recordings are purposely rough, but they still showcase a band that’s added a good deal of nuance to its noisy racket. Devin’s vocals have a wider reach than before—he now yelps, yowls, screams, and croons in equal measure—and the rhythm section has started moving together in a tight, coordinated stomp, with Justin approaching his one-year anniversary with the band. Things are looking up. “We’re following a pretty strict production schedule and hoping to release something before fall,” says Devin. “Everything’s still in the planning stages, but we’re making demos at the Elberta house and searching for studios. It’s gonna be good, whatever happens.”

DAD IS GOING TO LISTEN TO US AND SAY, ‘THESE GUYS ARE THE BEST THING I'VE HEARD IN DECADES.’”

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Nashville

FAIR

200 Vendors From 20+ States

Findings@Summerhouse

#clfair

South Porch Antiques

Featured vendor: Shannon of Stash Style

The pages of Country Living magazine come to life!

April 24-25-26, 2015 Just 25 minutes east of Nashville at exit 239 of I-40. The James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Lebanon, TN

Great Shopping • Seminars & How-Tos • Meet The Editors Over 200 booths selling antiques & vintage, furniture, lighting, upcycled home decor & gifts, artisan-made goods, art, clothing, handcrafted jewelry, specialty foods, textiles, signs, & more. Special Guest: Appearing Saturday, Mike Wolfe, star of HISTORY’s American Pickers, best-selling author and creator/owner of Antique Archaeology. PLUS: Cooking Channel’s The Fabulous Beekman Boys, HGTV’s Cari Cucksey of Cash & Cari, Sisters on the Fly, DIY Network contributing designer Joanne Palmisano, musicians Thomas Wesley Stern, & many more.

countryliving.com/fair for photos & videos. For Fair details & advance tickets: stellashows.com • 1-866-500-FAIR Hours: 10-5 each day - rain or shine. Admission: One day $16/$13 advance; Weekend pass $20/$15 advance; Early bird $40 - early birds can enter at 8:30 a.m. on Fri. and/or Sat. for 90 minutes of priority shopping. Advance tickets are available until 3 days before the Fair opens on Friday; TICKETS ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE FAIR DAYS AT THE BOX OFFICE. Address for GPS: James E. Ward Agricultural Center, 945 East Baddour 66 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / ////// # N AT IVE N ASH VI LLE Parkway, Lebanon, TN 37087. Pets are not permitted. Guest appearances and vendors subject to change.


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MY SP E E D DATE

WIT H

A NDY VAN R OON

ANDY VAN ROON, FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF FILM NASHVILLE, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF FILMCOM, AND FOUNDING PRODUCER OF THE NASHVILLE 48 HOUR FILM PROJECT, DISCUSSES HOW TO SUPPORT NASHVILLE’S GROWING FILM COMMUNITY

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ANDY VAN ROON HAS BEEN a coordinator, chair, president, creator, executive producer, founder, or advisor of just about every aspect of the film flywheel in Nashville since the ’90s. In those two decades, his consistent work, creative development, and innovative approaches have helped Nashville emerge as a global marketplace in film and television. Year after year, Andy’s annual Film-Com attracts production companies, financiers, and distributors looking to help launch or develop film/ TV productions and video gaming trans media concepts created by local and international filmmakers alike. When he’s not creating an industry we all benefit from, he is working as a writer and executive producer. With film and TV projects being produced with the Jim Henson Company, producers of The Amazing Race, and Dark Knight executive producer Michael Uslan, Andy proves there is no time for bullshit. He lives by a few simple rules: love your family, empower the community, write down every idea you have, and act. I hand Andy his joe . . .


BY CASEY FULLER | PHOTOS BY LAURA E. PARTAIN

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AVR: Where do we start? CF: Let’s start at USC. AVR: That was a long time ago. [chuckles] CF: Were you born in California? AVR: No, I was born in Australia. Brisbane, Australia. Raised in Chicago. Went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for undergrad in creative writing. I went to USC to study professional screenwriting and film business. Got my master’s there. Then I went to New York for a few years and lived in Manhattan, then worked on some screenplays and novels. I then moved to the Pacific Northwest for a while. I spent a few months in Alaska, Oregon, Washington State, and moved back down to California, then came to Nashville in the mid-90s. CF: Some journey. How did you survive along the way? Was it expensive? AVR: Yeah. And not really. I was living as a creative vagabond. When you are living in places like Manhattan, you get to a juncture where you are surrounded by others and their creative work, and you can get saturated with that to a point where your own creativity is in some ways smothered. You want to get out and reboot your soul, which is why I went to Alaska where I was able to purge my entire system. CF: Where was your family during that time? AVR: They were in Chicago, my mother and father. CF: Were they influential in you being in the arts? AVR: No. My mother was a manager for a large accounting firm in Chicago. My father was an electro-optical engineer for Zenith. He used to build laser beams in the sixties. He was mainly a loner scientist. My mom was more of a people person. So their net influence was the science of business. I tend to be more a loner and prefer to be a behind-the-scenes individual. CF: Are you still close to your parents? AVR: I am; I am an only child and have always been close to them. My mother passed away. She developed acute leukemia and passed away five weeks later. She was my best friend, so that was pretty tough. She was also my dad’s best friend, so when she left, I began looking after my dad. The idea of my dad being lonely

was not something I could tolerate. I don’t want him to even think about being alone. He is a good guy but is a strong, silent Dutchman who is the opposite of my mother, who was a friend to everyone. He is very quiet and reserved. CF: How did you land here? AVR: On one of my visits here I discovered there were quite a few professionals in Nashville who specialized in music videos and short-form works-for-hire. Though there was also a contingent who had developed the Ernest films and other original content. CF: What film people existed here at the time? AVR: The Nashville Film Video Association. They had lobbied Mayor Bredesen to have a Nashville film office, which is relevant today because we have circled back to that. We are trying to reboot a Nashville film office. The other organization was the Tennessee Screenwriting Association. They were meeting every Wednesday at seven o’clock. They are still doing that to this day. They are the hardest working group in the city in terms of being a nonprofit. The other organization was The Sinking Creek Film Festival, which has metamorphosed itself into the Nashville Film Festival. CF: I actually like that name for the festival. AVR: Watkins Film School was starting around then, and I was an advisor to them. I produced the three-day Independent Filmmakers Symposium for the Watkins Film School. Those were the entities at the time. It was a developmental era in the industry. Our community has expanded significantly since then—now there are ten higher ed programs related to filmmaking in our area. CF: I have competed in The 48 Hour Film Project before. While it was fun and a good experience, I’d like to know your take on the benefits of participating in the 48 for local filmmakers. AVR: In 2003, Film Nashville brought The 48 Hour Film Project here. The idea was to develop relationships in our filmmaker environment . . . The main benefits are 1) work with a team that can in fact have the experience of creating and writing a

screenplay and, more importantly, 2) any of these films done at the 48 can potentially be used as long-form prototypes. Not all need to be a feature film but some could be. In some cases I have seen films in the 48 that could be great for television. All the creativity and labor people go through for this weekend can in some cases be used for something greater. CF: You acted as the coordinator for the state of Tennessee to secure the first film incentive. Where are we now? AVR: The initial effort for the incentives was headed by David Bennett, the head of the Tennessee Film Commission [TFC] at the time. He was the one who said we needed to compete with the other states that were developing incentives of their own. He and Deputy Director Jan Austin worked very hard to get the incentive going. At a certain point the baton was passed to me. I worked with Memphis and Knoxville and our counterparts. We raised ten million bucks in our first year. Where we are right now is, we had a second year of $10 million and there has been kind of a roller coaster since, with great management by our current Tennesee Film Commision. A challenging factor is this: our state does not have an income tax, and we are competing with states like Louisiana and Georgia that do have income tax. The simple thing here is a film incentive fund is capitalized when a project does an in­-state spend. Then a percentage of the corporate taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes paid to the production crew go back into the state coffers. So when the state is giving away the rebates or transferable tax credits, the taxes paid by those productions enable the state to keep providing further incentives. In a state without income taxes, it becomes more challenging for it to be revenue-positive from the state’s perspective. The countervailing factor there is if a project promotes tourism. [If so], the state can also add tourism dollars to their calculus. CF: Let’s talk about Film-Com . . . How many years has it been around? AVR: We’re in our sixth year. CF: Do you work in conjunction with the film festival? AVR: We love the film festival. We have

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about fifty to sixty executives a year that fly in, and we put them at the Hilton Downtown Nashville, where we have established a campus. We do our expo at the Titans Stadium, where we have the TV/film/gaming project displays. There are booths, TV screens, and . . . CF: Like the film market in L.A.? AVR: The market in L.A. doesn’t really do what we do. The AFM, American Film Market in Santa Monica, does their primary event in hotel suites occupied by distributors selling their current inventory. At Film-Com, our New Project Expo is a trade show where each table is a different project with plasma screens, laptops, scripts, and biz plans. Content creators are seeking funding, distribution, or co-production partners for their feature film, TV, doc, or video-gaming concepts. CF: So for local filmmakers, can we utilize Film-Com? Can we write a screenplay, shoot a sizzle reel of a longform narrative film, put together a business plan, and take it to Film-Com? AVR: Right. CF: Have you had projects get financing from being at Film-Com? AVR: We have had projects find international distribution, projects put on SHOWTIME, and projects that are

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currently getting financed, from microbudgets to $35 million projects. CF: Anything local? AVR: Most of them are local. A lot of them are not. We have filmmakers come in from all over the world. We advertise through Withoutabox [online application service for film festivals]. We absolutely encourage our Tennessee base to submit to Film-Com. It’s our own market, which is our original objective. CF: Who are some of the distribution outlets that attend? AVR: We’ve had the Weinstein Company, Lionsgate, Dreamworks Animation, Fox, CBS, A&E, Discovery Channel, TruTV, Destination America, American Public Television, and many more. When you bring in entities like this, you need to show them the best work from everywhere, especially from Nashville and Tennessee. The networking constantly proves itself fruitful at these events. This is not a recruiting tool. It is a supplement to what the Tennessee Film Commission is managing. Our goal is to develop equity and lender financier contacts to supplement the state film incentives. If content creators can come to Nashville and get their projects financed or packaged or distributed by coming to Film-


Com, we have a scenario where major production entities can couple with our local production entities to get their projects launched. CF: What is the submission process for Film-Com? AVR: It’s mainly about professional packaging. Having only a screenplay will not work at Film-Com, because we’re not a screenplay market. What we encourage is for filmmakers to have some form of package together. CF: Such as? AVR: Practical components for a project such as actors, a production team, a sizzle reel, and director attachments are some examples. We have had films that are completed and need finishing funds for post-production. Projects officially “in development” are what the industry execs are looking for in order to get any traction at Film-Com. CF: You are constantly around content. How do you advise filmmakers out there who have something special? There is junk out there that gets made and sold in many cases. AVR: It all depends on the genre. When you try to sell work these days, [because of] the diminishing returns on VHS/DVD and electronic units, the majority of revenues come through international sales. As a result of

selling to foreign [markets], anyone creating long-form content should be aware that domestic distribution usually helps a project break, even while foreign distribution and projecting the film worldwide shows the greatest return. To answer your question, you have to [be mindful as you] create something that in order for it to be profitable it needs to be distributed around the planet, not just to American audiences. That means that you have to have concepts that translate easily. If they rely on lots of humor or subtlety that cultures just don’t understand, you can’t sell in those international regions. Because of this, the most profitable genres have been horror, action adventure, and sci-fi. CF: Why? AVR: Because you can understand those across any language. You can understand Godzilla across any language, right? All these are not subtle. All can understand it. What is challenging are dramas and comedies. Now Charlie Chaplin became known worldwide because he did not rely on humor from elaborate dialogue. It was what he did physically, the scenes he set up, and he translated his comedy in a way that the entire planet could understand. He is a magnificent model for that whole premise. The more intricate you get, the less cul-

ANDY VAN ROON: film-com.com 48hourfilm.com native.is/avr # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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tures can understand. While having big stars is great, you really don’t need them in the horror, action adventure, and scifi genres. These already sell well. CF: Are there any examples of dramas that have done well? AVR: In the case of dramas, you do need a star attached in order to sell and for those audiences to attempt to understand or resonate with it. People want to see Jennifer Lawrence, Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt. When you have a beautiful film like Tree of Life by Terrence Malik without Brad Pitt, it might have been very challenging to get financed. If you have seen it, it is an incredible work of art. But it is hard to penetrate and you need a star like Brad Pitt to believe in it, star in it, and be very generous with his involvement in the film. CF: With the progress and direction Nashville film/tv has taken since the mid-90s, what do we do to sustain the path we are on? Better yet, how do we become a consistent staple in the industry on a national or even worldwide level? AVR: I mainly want to create a filmmaking permaculture, a thick environment where you have three primary elements of filmmaking going on: a deep sense of the art of filmmaking, a profound sense of professionalism in production, and the third component is a working knowledge of the business of film and television. Of the three components, we have many artists, many people in production, and a lack in the business side. So what we really need to develop the permaculture is the third rail, people dedicated to the business side. Artists and production personnel are not these people. We need to create an entire sector of the community dedicated to this side. They can do the film comps, the business plans, the packaging, and everything else on the business side. That takes educating, training, and creating our own power base of professionals that that know this language, partner with creatives and production professionals, and then present coherent information to financiers. All in all, we’re getting there.

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SOLIDARITY

IN THE SCRUM FOR THE NASHVILLE GRIZZLIES, THE RUGBY PITCH ISN’T JUST A PLACE TO COMPETE—IT’S A PLACE TO CALL HOME BY GAGE ARNOLD | PHOTOS BY KRISTIN SWEETING

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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BROTHERHOOD. ALWAYS HAS BEEN. ALWAYS WILL BE. If you dig deeper to find out what the brotherhood actually is, Jon Glassmeyer won’t be able to hide his grin. He’s smiling, of course, because the game he loves and the team he cherishes are both finally grabbing their foothold in Nashville. Jon is a rugby player, but you wouldn’t be able to tell it today. His checkered blue dress shirt is tucked into a pair of dark-washed jeans. His brown oxfords look fresh out of the box, and his coifed hair has shades of gray creeping up near his sideburns. Today, he’s a historian, an advocate, and the treasurer for the Nashville Grizzlies, the city’s first and only men’s gay and inclusive rugby squad. Jon is social, neat, and organized—a fitting description for the person who ensures all the moving administrative cogs for the Grizzlies click together. He’s a caretaker, a man who commands respect and is approachable all at the same time. We open our conversation with a history lesson on the Grizzlies. The team, comprised of about two-thirds gay men and one-third straight, has competed on the USA Rugby Division III circuit since 2006 with relative success. The men range from ages eighteen to fifty-three, welcoming all who want to join, though Jon says the average age is thirty-five. He estimates there are about twentyfive players that come weekly. On the first Saturday in February, not quite twenty-five Grizzlies are out for their weekend practice at Shelby Bottoms Park in preparation for the spring season. The squad’s first match is March 7 in Charleston, South Carolina. Their home opener falls on March 28 against the Washington Scandals. The team is

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competitive, Jon says, though success the Charlotte Royals, the team realized varies yearly depending on which play- Shannon had never taught them how to ers stay or go because of their profes- line up for the kickoff,” Jon says. Her insional obligations. But things haven’t structions? “‘Just go out there and kick it off,’” Jon recalls. “It was truly the blind always been dreamy for the squad. Their very first practice was on a frig- leading the blind.” Today, nine years since that initial id Saturday in March 2006. The wind howled at Elmington Park, which sits practice, the Grizzlies have found orjust across from West End High School. ganization both on and off the field. SeIt was the type of day for staying inside, curing a permanent home, though, has making it an ideal day to start a rugby proven to be one of the team’s biggest hurdles. club. The Grizzlies began playing on A few months prior, Ben Marks and his partner, Adam Ross, dreamed of starting Hawkins Field at Vanderbilt University a more inclusive rugby club in Nashville. until their agreement fell through. They Ben had recently returned to his home- moved to a field in Hermitage before town of Nashville after a stint in Dallas, getting the boot from there as well. In where he played for the Dallas Diablos, recent years they settled into Fisk Unian inclusive team. Nashville didn’t offer versity’s old football field. The Grizzlies any such club. Ben and Adam’s mission even raised funds to refine it and leave was then defined. Around fifteen men it better than they found it. But once stepped forward for an interest meeting the field became presentable, many that winter, and six players braved the students at the university were asking weather on that icy morning in March, administration to use the facility. Once forming what are now the Grizzlies. again the Grizzlies were homeless. The team raises its own funds Those six multiplied to twenty-plus members, though many have come and through each player’s dues and select fundraisers, totaling what Jon estimates gone throughout the years. After practicing throughout the spring is a $30,000 yearly budget for the squad. and summer, the team landed a coach in “Everything outside of a bake sale, you Shannon Bustillos. “Without her, I don’t better believe we’re out there doing it,” think we’d have a team today,” Jon says. he says with a chuckle. “We’re the nomads,” Jon continues, Shannon was a Nashville native who played rugby and was a standout player his voice trailing off now. “Unfortuat Middle Tennessee State University. nately that’s the way of rugby in AmerShe brought semblance to the Grizzlies’ ica. We could raise the money to do our own thing, but we need the initial chunk, discombobulation. Jon recalls the team’s first game with and that’s hard to get. I think it’ll hapa type of playful chuckle you’d use when pen one day. In ten years, it’ll be everydescribing an embarrassing story from where.” He cites its similarities to soccer’s high school. Although many of the initial members were eager to learn the sport, meteoric rise in the States. He cites the a majority of them had never picked up growing number of youth getting into or seen “that weird-shaped ball,” as Jon the sport. He even cites the US Men’s recollects. That meant pandemonium National Rugby Team’s friendly against would ensue. “In the first match against New Zealand that saw more than 61,000


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spectators fill Soldier Field in Chicago this past November. The sport returns to the Olympics in 2016, ending its ninety-year absence from the games. “We’re just about to hit the turning point,” Jon says. “We’re right on the cusp of history.” Sports were never in Jon’s blood; as a young man, he didn’t find his identity in his accomplishments on the field. But rugby changed that. And as a forty-seven-year-old, Jon tells me how he used rugby as his entire basis for a recent job interview. His glory stories come from each of the team’s world championship trips he took in his forties, not a high school state championship game his junior year. He’s learned teamwork, discipline, hard work, and determination—it just took him until age forty on a rugby pitch. “About that time when football really started getting serious with coaches screaming at you, I was like, ‘This is just not for me,’” says Jon, who attended McGavock High School and completed his undergraduate degree at Sewanee. But after the insistence of a few close friends to come watch the Grizzlies practice, he caught the fever. “I was absolutely hooked,” he concludes. Jon joined the Grizzlies in 2007, rising through the leadership ranks. He served two stints as president and resides as the secretary for the International Gay Rugby Association and Board. He’s also entering his fourth year as the team’s treasurer, signalling his move to more of the administrative side. The team is now scrimmaging, Coach Jimmy Arredondo announces, as Jon and I share observations of practice. They’re playing two-hand touch and Jon says, “It’s not the most exciting thing to watch, but we’ve had players get hurt before matches when we tackle in practice.” One of those players he was alluding to was himself. Leading up to the team’s first appearance in the Bingham Cup in 2008 in Dublin, Ireland, Jon suffered a laceration above his eye that required fourteen stitches. Would he play? “The paramedic said, ‘You know you really shouldn’t,’ and I said, ‘No, no, no, you don’t understand. I came all this way, and I’m going to play.’ My eye was so swollen I looked like a pirate, but I was going to play.” And he did, pushing through the pain and spurring the team on to the Plate Division Championship. His cleats are, for the most part, hung up now. He retired from the team after the 2014 Bingham Cup in Sydney, Australia. “It’s tough

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“MY EYE WAS SO SWOLLEN I LOOKED LIKE A PIRATE, BUT I WAS GOING TO PLAY.”

for a forty-seven-year-old guy to keep up with a bunch of twenty-two-yearolds for eighty minutes,” Jon says with a laugh. And he’s right. But competitiveness doesn’t define this club. Men of different shapes and sizes—tall and slender, short and pudgy, old and young—are united and comfortable in their own skin. That’s the lynchpin for these men. Their guards are down and they’re at home, even if home is just a baseball field in East Nashville with a train rumbling by a few hundred feet away and weeds sprouting in the outfield. Stan Schklar is one of the original six players. In fact, he’s the only original member still playing on the team. He’s round with short legs, a graying beard, and a timid smile. He’s an accountant for the United Steelworkers Union and, at fifty-three years old, is the team’s oldest player. But today he’s taking hits and running through tackling drills just like everyone else. “I literally teared up and couldn’t work at my job,” Stan says, taking a walk down memory lane as practice wraps up and the team poses for photos. He’s referencing the day the Grizzlies won a prestigious honor last summer. Nashville received word it will be hosting the 2016 Bingham Cup. The “It City” edged out Chicago by a two-thirds vote. Past host cities include San Francisco, London, New York, Dublin, and Minneapolis. Translation: it’s a gargantuan step toward rugby etching its permanent place in the Nashville scene. The Cup, started by the San Francisco Fog in 2002, is named in honor of Mark Bingham, who passed away on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11. “Chicago had flash, but we had substance,” Jon says defiantly. Substance included a booming city paired with a growing interest in the sport and a clear-cut plan for organizing the event. “No one was more surprised than me, though,” Jon recalls. “I remember being on the conference call, and Chicago had all their executives and board members and I was the only one representing Nashville. They asked, ‘Jon, is it just you?’ I said, ‘Yep, just me.’” Jon’s now grinning again. Without his orchestration and execution, Nashville wouldn’t have landed the bid. But he won’t tell you that. Forty to fifty teams from more than fifteen different countries will visit Nashville in summer 2016. Vanderbilt University will host


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NASHVILLE GRIZZLIES: grizzliesrugby.org Follow on Facebook @NashvilleGrizzliesRFC Or Twitter @GrizzliesRugby native.is/grizzlies

the games and house the teams. In the gling to find the courage to step out and tion, but for those of us that came out in meantime, Jon seems to like the team’s join. Now? He says he’s a changed man our thirties or forties or something like chances of being successful on the pitch because of the team. That’s high praise. that, you know, that’s a hard thing. Gay He carefully chooses his next few words, people like sports as much as straight for the upcoming spring season. Yet, if you ask each player what keeps taking time to form each syllable. “‘You people, and it’s always been so inviting them coming back each week, the answer seem happier now,’ my friends say, and I here.” Loneliness had plagued Stan for will begin to sound like a broken record. say, ‘Yes, because I’ve found somewhere I years before he joined the Grizzlies. Now he’s grateful to have the deep friendships It’s not the tournaments or the accolades. feel good at,’” Willie says confidently. Stan, who joined the team at age forty- he so longed for. It’s something deeper. “It takes fifteen guys to play, everybody “The brotherhood,” repeats almost ev- four, once carried Willie’s struggles as ery Grizzly I talk to after practice. Find- well. “I think over the years there have has a job, and everyone has to do their ing a sense of belonging and value, ori- been guys, like myself, who would never job,” Jon says, going out of his way to unentations aside, is what the team is all come out to a sports team that wasn’t pack the theory behind the game he loves. inclusive, like ours, because they’d be “If someone’s not doing their job, then about. Take Willie Cabral, for example. He shy about it and because they didn’t feel someone else has to take up the slack. joined the team this past fall for his like they were good enough,” Stan says. It’s fifteen guys all playing their heart out, first season after four years of strug- “It’s not so bad for the younger genera- and that’s what makes rugby special.” 84 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD. L I G H T N I N G 1 0 0 ' S

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MARAT HON M U SI C WO R KS. C O M


YOU OUGHTA KNOW: MATT HAECK

MATT HAECK matthaeck.com Follow on Facebook @MattHaeckMusic or Twitter @MattHaeck

Whether he’s playing a solo acoustic show, strumming alongside members of The Avett Brothers, or channeling the Man in Black onstage in The Cash Legacy, you can always count on Matt Haeck (pronounced “heck”) to be one thing: the real deal. His live show is one of the most earnest, charismatic, no-bullshit affairs in town, and we’re willing

to bet his upcoming album, Late Bloomer, will be the same way. For this month’s You Oughta Know, Matt came to the office and chatted about The Sandlot, Casey Affleck (the greatest Affleck), and his (in)famous one-pot meal recipe. Check it out above and pick up Late Bloomer on April 18 if you want to hear a real modern cowboy troubadour. # NAT I V ENAS HV IHV L L EI L L E ///////// # NAT I V ENAS ///// /////////////////////// / /8/9 8 9


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ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

Written by Cooper Breeden*

Belted Kingfisher If you happen to find yourself out on the water**, keep an eye out for the belted kingfisher. While birders around here can catch a glimpse of them year round, March is the time to see them during their breeding season. The belted kingfisher courtship ritual starts with a raucous aerial chase, then moves to a dance on a perch above the water, and concludes with the male suitor lavishing his new bride with a fresh fish. At first glance, you may mistake the kingfisher for a blue jay—both birds are a shade of blue and have a stylish crest on their head. However, a closer look will show that the belted kingfisher has a bit of a disproportionately large head, bulky beak, and a larger, more disheveled crest. Its colors are not as bright as that of the blue jay’s, though the belted kingfisher is one of the few birds whose female is more brightly colored than the male. The belted kingfisher actually has very few relatives in the United States. Most of the kingfisher species live in the tropical parts of the world. In fact, one of its better-known cousins is the “merry merry king of the bush that sits in the old gum tree,” the acclaimed kookaburra. Some of the kingfisher’s more defining traits are its habitat and feeding behavior. Whereas you’re likely to see a blue jay picking worms out of your front lawn, you’re only going to see the piscivorous (fish-eating) kingfisher around our rivers and lakes. When not on the lookout for fish, belted kingfishers spend their time in the tunnels that they dig with their mates in the riverbanks.

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Native | March 2015 | Nashville, TN  
Native | March 2015 | Nashville, TN  

Featuring Nikki Lane, Ann Catherine Carter, Lockeland Table, Gunther Doug, Andy van Roon, the Nashville Grizzlies, and more.