ISSUE No.4 OCTOBER 2012
KOPECKY FAMILY BAND Arcade Death | Meadownoise | M채mbu | Olive and Sinclair | Daniel Holland Honeybean Boutique | Natalie Dunham | Stitch | Lazzaroli Pasta | and more...
what do you
N AT I V E
AUGUST | 2012
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CONTENTS october 2012 6
Meet Arcade Death, a reclusive Nashville-based artist who gave us an interview—and a puzzle.
Matt Glassmeyer, the frontman of this one man band, is a hurricane of creativity.
36 IN ABSTRACT
Take a trip to the coast of artist Daniel Holland’s mind.
Cocktail of the Month by No.308
Even if you don’t like bikers, Elvis, or TV, you’re sure to love this cocktail inspired by those three things.
In a funky blue house on Hayes St., this quirky, foody original is still one of the best.
Alexia Abegg runs a small sewing school above Local Honey on Belmont Blvd.— and it’s awesome.
60 FILM NERD IN MUSIC CITY: OH, THE HORROR!
It’s easy to fall in amore with Lazzaroli Pasta.
Kaelah Beauregarde and Mike Flynn just opened a great little boutique—on wheels.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to The Belcourt this month, again.
OLIVE AND SINCLAIR
After working in some of the world’s best kitchens, Scott Witherow decided to make chocolate.
Our visual arts scene is poised to go “boom.” You can count Natalie Dunham’s stunning installations among the evidence.
NATIVE ANIMAL OF THE MONTH
30 FAMILY VALUES
With a new full length album and a packed touring schedule, it’s a good time to be Kopecky Family Band. //// 3
er or a v a s e y f i rry L ypicall e t h r c e h a t no like it yet a It's not ite s i r o N sed wh p. u o f r n i d , t h . ee coug a & gin ndy-sw k a d c , o e v t a f s via collegi ount o se day m e a h t t h e rig on spirit d just the h t i w 채mbu's p s i M r . . c . , s e n ri ed Clea al cher y-infus e r r r e m h o c r f se . "juicy" in-hou ved up r m e o s s s & o l il Bl to a ch Cherry n e ubarb k h a r h f s o y l h p las gin- sim ith a sp y w ff o o easil ed S h . s t i s i n fi tw It's lemon a d n a erous! bitters g n a d ble it's drinka
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Editor’s Letter: Son of a Yorkshire steer! Be that ye, reader?
On me bones, it be ye! Ahoy, bucko! Welcome aboard. It be October, and this be our fourth ishoo. Sometimes a month be a long time for the weary, weathered hearts of pirates to be away at sea, not publishin’ and away from their belov’d readers for t’irty days. We missed seein’ ye, as we do every month. ‘Tis awkward for us t' say that? We hope not. And we hope t' September issue has been good company over t' past few weeks, keepin' you warm on t' increasin'ly cold nights, while you been shiverin’ your timbers, etc. Durin’ that time, our crew’s been hard at work—tarrin’ rope, readin’, scrawlin’ their tales and readyin’ the guns for this October adventure. Our crew has gotten grander, too. There be lots o’ new faces ‘round, but each one belongs to an able sailor. It be a proud day for our little swashbucklin’ ship, and we’re proud to welcome our new crew membaarrrrs and their talents. There be more good news, too—great things be lurking in this here fourth ishoo—treasure, buried treasure and tales of adventure—on land and t’ high… well, mostly on land—and t’ stories of some of our inland island’s most interesting and talented land lubbers. That’s includin’ the aarrrrtist Aarrrrrrcade Death, who’s created a mysterious mystery puzzle for ye to solve. According to Aarrrrcade Death, solving the puzzle could lead you to loot—a handsome reward. In honor of our fourth issue, Aarrrrrcade Death has hidden clues that number four—which ye need if ye want to solve the puzzle—within the pages of this ishoo. Good luck decipherin’ the code and finding the treasure. Sink me and shiver me soul! It be difficult to talk like a pirate. We better keep this ‘ere letter short. We hope we’ve made somet'in’ for ye t’ treasure. This ishoo be somethin’ we lub and we’re right proud of. We hope you lub it, too. T’anks for readin’ and believin’ in our vessel’s crew. Have a Happy Halloween. See you in Novembaarrr.
SARAH KLEARMAN topman:
ANN RAVANOS, MARISSA MOSS, GILLIS BERNARD
COLIN PIGOTT, JOE CLEMONS
CAT ACREE SARAH BROWN HENRY PILE ALYSSA RABUN JESSICA JONES
WILL HOLLAND ALLISTER ANN LAUREN HOLLAND ERIC STAPLES RYAN GREEN CAMERON POWELL TIFFANY CLAPP KAELAH BEAUREGARDE MIKE FLYNN
able seamen: KATIE CONDREY, DREW COX, ROBERT DUELLO, BRANDON GREER, ELISE LASKO, ALEX LOVELY, EDEN LUQUIRE, LAURABETH MARTIN, KRISTEN McDANIEL, GABRIEL MELO, COREY MILLER, JAMA MOHAMED, RALPH NOYES, REINALISA SATOYO
Dave Pittman Helmsman
to advertise, contact: SALES@NATV.IS for all other enquiries: HELLO@NATV.IS
Q: WHY DO PIRATES LOVE NATIVE ? A: BECAUSE WE SUPPORT THE AARRRRRRTS. //// 5
ATTACK! MEET ARCADE DEATH. By Bark Wahlberg
Photos by Will Holland
“I name all of my dogs after my musical heroes—well, my musical heroes who died in vehicular accidents, at least. That’s Eddy Merle,” the reclusive artist Arcade Death tells me, gesturing to the large tan and black dog licking my hand. Moments earlier, Eddy Merle had been barking at me. As is often the case, he had seemed more aggressive at first, more dangerous, but now I can see him as he is. Eddy Merle was named after Eddy Merle Watson, who died in a tractor accident. The dog’s brother, Ronnie, was named after Ronnie Van Zant from Lynyrd Skynyrd, who died in a plane crash. “I also had a dog named Duane, after Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers. He died in a motorcycle accident. There are a lot of them, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of names.” It’s a peculiar thing to name your dogs after great musicians who shared conceptually similar deaths, but Arcade Death is a peculiar person. AD stands next to me wearing a dark shop apron, at the edge of a small fence that surrounds his well-shaded backyard—Eddy Merle on one side, the two of us on the other. His head is shaved, his shirt has no sleeves, and his arms are dotted with almost hidden, mostly mysterious, black-ink-only tattoos. He doesn’t like being the center of attention. His voice is tough, and he speaks with a Southern accent, but it’s a unique model I have never heard before. It’s a version that isn’t fancy, but with each syllable, it says, “I have traveled. I have read great books. I am deeply intellectual, but I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.” I ask what happened to Ronnie. “He had some kind of cancer. By the time we found it, it was too late. That was really tough. As puppies I brought him and Eddy home from the shelter on the same day, one under each arm.” He flips his palms up and curls his arms with his elbows pointing out, as if he is holding a puppy under each arm. “They had been in the same cage together. I didn’t have it in me to separate them. He’s actually buried right there.” He points to a wooden object in the backyard that looks something like a boxy, asymmetrical Mayan pyramid. It stands four or five feet tall and is situated near the trunk of a large oak tree. I ask him what it is. “That was a doghouse I designed and built for him. After he died, I turned it on its side. I thought it would make a nice grave marker. He’s buried underneath.” AD can see I’m surprised that he built the complicated sculpture. I tell him the contemporarydoghouse-turned-monument is impressive. He laughs, a little embarrassed. “I’ve done a lot of stuff like that.” I push him fur-
ther, and he tells me he has a master’s degree in architecture and still designs houses for the occasional client; that is, of course, in addition to being a seriously talented visual artist. Arcade Death is most well known for his vibrant screen prints that are sometimes edgy and with street art grit. He has his own style, but it’s not hard to put him on a shelf with Barbara Kruger, Banksy, Invader, Shepard Fairey, or even Andy Warhol. His intricate, meaning-laden, pop prints, masks, and mixed-media works would fit seamlessly into the pages of Juxtapoz magazine and could hold their own against anything sold by Pictures On Walls in the UK. When I had arrived at his house, he had been standing in the back of his 25-year-old Ford F-150 pickup, cleaning ink off of a silkscreen with a pressure washer. It’s a ritual screen printers repeat over and over and over again, every day. There had been hot-pink earplugs in his ears and tobacco under his lip. Now, we’re standing by the fence. I keep petting Eddy Merle, but eventually he loses interest and trots off to another corner of the yard. He is a happy dog. “He hangs out with me a lot,” AD says. “His nickname is bug, because he’ll bug the hell out of you.” AD’s unassuming East Side house is made of standard red brick and was almost certainly built in the decade that followed World War II. It is two o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday, but it sounds like there is a loud party going on inside. I ask if I can see his studio. Technically, AD is from Stamford, CT but he has spent most of his life in Tennessee. He moved here as kid, when his dad got a job in Nashville. AD tells me that his father, who is a songwriter and visual artist, remains a huge influence in his life to this day. “Watching my dad, seeing someone who was able to make a living being a creative person, that was a big.” We step into the house. A long bookcase lines one wall, and a small Buddha sits on the other side of his living room, illuminated from behind by a window. A basketball hoop sits between the Buddha and the window, turned vertically to form a dramatic halo around the sculpture when viewed head-on. The bookcase
contains classic literature, philosophical writings, religious texts, art monographs, architects’ biographies, contemporary novels, and illustrated children’s books, among other titles that fall everywhere in between. We are the only ones here. Avant-garde electronic music floods the room, pouring loudly out of a couple speakers on one side. AD walks across the room and turns down the volume on a stereo receiver. In a way, this is one of the coolest art galleries I’ve ever been too. His work envelops us. Pieces of his hang on every wall and are stuffed into every open space. Some mixed-media pieces are stacked in one corner. A life-sized, cartoon-like topless woman leans against one wall. Her silhouette has been cut from wood, and her nipples are made out of red arcade game push buttons. She wears a strange and futuristic mask and has a futuristic gun in each hand. It is easy to see the aesthetic and conceptual influence of AD’s childhood in much of his work. Wrestlers, cartoon characters, outer space, tanks, guns, and jets feature prominently in much of his work, but in a tasteful, critical, controlled, and self-conscious way. Those themes and elements comprise the pop vernacular that he uses to communicate his more complex, philosophical, social, or political ideas. He adds, “Lately I’ve been really into planes. My brother is a pilot, always pointing at jets and asking if I can identify them. It’s rubbed off on me.” He shows me to his drawing room (his screen printing studio is in the basement). Found objects blanket the walls in the hallway, including the front of a gas pump that he turned into an art piece. It features his own additions next to the earlier and effectively anonymous work of graffiti writers. There are masks everywhere, from all over the world. Little green plastic army men stand, frozen in combat, atop the molding of the doorframes that line the hall. In his drawing room, a chalkboard takes up most of one wall. Stacks of sketchbooks and pieces in progress fill the room. A small metal cable extends the length of each wall. Drawings and prints hang from the cables. Some are architectural and some are art. He shows me a house that he’s currently designing. It’s an inventive contemporary home that is slated for a hillside lot overlooking the Harpeth River just outside Nashville. It was designed to be contemporary while remaining responsive to the surrounding terrain and panoramic views. From what I can see, that is exactly what AD was able to achieve. The apparent technical mastery of the design and the subdued, contemporary chic look of the house, help to demonstrate the breadth of his creative abilities. “We’ve gone through a couple of iterations on this project. It’s going to be very nice.” At that moment, I notice several giant spiders on his drawing
table. I jump a little. Then I realize the spiders are gathered together in one spot on the desk. They aren’t moving. A couple of them look dead. I stare. AD tells me they’re all dead spiders he found in his basement, which “has spiders everywhere.” He adds, “I don’t mind spiders. I kind of let them do their thing.” He tells me about how one of the spiders on his desk hadn’t actually been dead when he found it. “I thought it was dead. I brought it up here and put it on the desk. Several weeks later, I noticed it had moved a few inches. I poked it with a pencil and realized that it was still alive. It was just moving really slowly. I tried to feed it, but eventually it died right there.” He points to the spot where its body still resides. “So, it’s dogs and spider, huh?” I say, curiously. He tells me that he likes all animals, especially birds and dogs and spiders. He adds that he isn’t exactly a “cat person.” I ask him why he likes spiders. “I guess it’s just interesting to me that there are these tiny but very complex creatures crawling about in the shadows. They’re very alien-looking, like little basement robots.” He also goes on to tell me about a time that he found a black widow living in a jacket of his—one that he was wearing. “That was scary, but it didn’t bite me. I didn’t even have to kill it. It just lowered itself from the inside of my left sleeve and died on the ground. It was bizarre. That could’ve been bad, though. I try to keep the poisonous spiders out.” He also tells me about a red-shouldered hawk that he found in the middle of the road in the middle of the night. It had probably been hit by a car, but didn’t seem to have anything broken. He brought it home, and when it was able to fend for itself, he released it into his backyard where it lived for some time. “I still think I see him sometimes, but who knows.” “Recently, I accidentally stepped on a baby bird and killed it,” he says, continuing with bird stories. “That was very sad. I buried it in the backyard with Ronnie, and I memorialized it here.” He shows me one of his sketches. I’m going to have to incorporate that little fellow into a piece.” Then he shows me to his big, open basement studio. It has a tile floor, drying racks for fresh prints, a homemade worktable, and of course, spiders. He explains, “My recording studio used to be down here, but I needed more room to print. Now, I record upstairs and do all my printing, here.” He is also a musician. I had no idea. I explore the room, examining the prints on the drying racks as if I am in a museum. At times, his work is political and rebellious, and at other times, it’s all fun and games—sometimes quite literally. In addition to making cartoon-like, arcade-game-inspired works that sometimes, like the woman with push buttons for nipples, incorporate pieces from actual arcade games, Arcade Death is also obsessed with puzzles.
"I GUESS IT'S JUST INTERESTING TO ME THAT THERE ARE THESE TINY BUT VERY COMPLEX CREATURES CRAWLING ABOUT IN THE SHADOWS.”
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He tells me about a book that he received as a child. The book was Masquerade by Kit Williams, an eccentric British artist, which tells the story of “Jack the hare’s journey to the Sun” through Williams’ symbol-loaded paintings. Within the bizarre and complex paintings, a hidden message was encoded—a visual riddle that, when solved, would lead the reader to discover the secret location of a very valuable piece of jewelry that Williams had made. “I’ve always been interested in the unknown. I find it intriguing—outer space, perception, the nature of reality—the spaces where large amounts of information exist, but there’s some horizon that is very difficult or impossible to see beyond,” he says, adding, “You can find those mysteries everywhere—philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, physics, under the couch, etc.” He tells me that it is the things we don’t understand or can’t know— the systems that we are a part of but can’t get any perspective on, “the big questions we have, and the resulting mysteries that they generate” that inspire him. I ask him why he chose the words “arcade” and “death” for his name. “I find technology fascinating, and I think, especially for a child of the eighties, arcade games are a good example of the lifecycle of technology— always advancing and replacing itself. I like to think of death as a big metaphor for the unknown. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a scary or morbid thing; it’s sort of like black holes or points in space that are too far away for humans to ever reach.” There are limits and mysteries to this world that are almost as hard-set as death itself, things that physics dictates we can never see or measure, and AD knows that. The universe is so big that intelligent extraterrestrial life is probable, but that doesn’t mean it’s likely that we’ll ever find it. We can’t travel in time. We can’t know the future, but we want to. AD likes to operate in those spaces, in the shadows. “I think mystery leaves a lot of room for the imagination.”
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ON MEADOWNOISE By Ann Ravanos | Photos by Will Holland
n the six months I have lived in Nashville, the romance of meeting musicians has faded a little. I admit, I’ve grown jaded. It’s an unsettling feeling for me, as music is my oxygen. The excitement of hearing new bands wasn’t as intriguing as it used to be. Then I stumbled upon Meadownoise, a one-man band that sounds more like an orchestra of glorious noise than what it actually is: one guy with an open mind and an affinity for using any instrument he finds. I listened to Meadownoise’s new album, It’s 4:00, before meeting Mr. Meadownoise himself, Matt Glassmeyer. Released on August 25th, It’s 4:00, along with its good-looking, clever packaging, immediately blew me away. A sucker for design, I had high hopes that the record would be as beautifully put together. I wasn’t disappointed. Matt plays over 20 instruments on the record, including his invented instrument: the shuitar. The album definitely has its own sound, and that sound is incredible. Matt, who has a strong history with jazz, has lived and played all over the country. He is originally from Nashville, but it was his start in improvised music in New York that so heavily affected the songs he is making now. “My reason for being there was the improv community. When that need faded, the magnetism of the music scene in my hometown made the decision easy,” he says, getting comfortable enough in his chair to explain the transition. He tells me about the Fridays he’d spend playing in the BroadwayLafayette subway station with his friends. “The type
of music I was doing in New York was instrumental, which I loved, but I got to a point where I really wanted to make music with words.” Matt’s love for James Brown and Stevie Wonder also compelled him to do something outside of instrumental recordings. It was then that he decided to leave New York, too. In 2007 Matt and his wife packed their bags and took off for the ocean and San Diego. “We needed to get away from the East Coast for a little bit. I needed a break, a new culture, something different,” Matt says. After nine months, the couple decided to come back to Nashville to settle down and be closer to family. Music was another factor in their return to the South. “It is better for me to do music here. I had to hustle so much in New York just to make time for music. It was too much.” Meadownoise’s recordings are all made in Matt’s East Nashville home; he has reasons for avoiding Music Row. “I don’t always want nice recording studio sound. I have some friends who are amazing engineers, who help me mix my records and won’t let me embarrass myself,” he says. “I give them a bunch of my songs and tell them to rank them. I appreciate them being brutally honest. It makes me feel like I can create something interesting, even though I can’t afford a state-of-the-art studio.” Matt has no problem speaking openly about his life, and his lyrics should show what type of person he is—genuine, raw, and a bit fearless. His personality, just like his music, is an open book. Take it as you will. We end up spending an hour talking about art and
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how it relates to music. “There’s a certain kind of nurturing that music provides,” he says, “which makes it different from, say, a painting of a lake.” He shrugs and takes a sip of his coffee. “I like the idea of thinking of lyrics as a photograph instead of a painting. In a painting, you’re creating an image, but in a photograph, what you see is what actually happened. That was a moment in time that was captured forever.” There's a visual side to what Matt's creating. I ask Matt about the videos he released for a few of his songs, and it is obvious that he holds deep respect for art and film. “I’ve always loved contemporary visual art. Visual artists have always been at the front of the curve for expression. As a whole, contemporary art seems to be more about looking to the future. I don’t have the visual art conventions together, but when it comes time to make
"MY REASON FOR BEING THERE WAS THE IMPROV COMMUNITY. WHEN THAT FADED, THE MAGNETISM OF THE MUSIC SCENE IN MY HOMETOWN MADE THE DECISION EASY.” things weird and different, that’s where I get excited. I feel the same way about the most unique bands. They’re always the art students: Pink Floyd, Devo, Talking Heads, The Pixies. They’re so influential because they treated music the way you treat visual art. Nothing was holding them back. When I make visual things like my record package and the videos, I try to tap into the stuff being automatically askew since I have no formal film or visual art education.” With the help of a few friends, Matt has made a couple of Talking Heads-esque videos himself, using found objects and handmade items. He even recently built bicycles that ride on railroad tracks for his new “Me and This Machine” video. “My friends are great about helping me. I like making the videos a big collaboration piece and not just something I do on my own.” Although he does most of his music by himself, he says he misses having the input of others. He takes another swig of his coffee before adding, “I get to do things faster on my own, but I’m used to having
friends in the band.” Matt tinkers with other projects around Nashville, but he never veers too far away from music. “It’s always there, always involved,” he says. “I don’t have to try to make time for music anymore. Now I have to make time for everything else. If you live in Hawaii, chances are, you probably surf. We live in Nashville. Music is what we do, you know?” Another somewhat obvious fact about Matt Glassmeyer is how much he loves Nashville. Not only is he from here (Donelson, to be precise), but he also has a strong faith in the city. “I have a lot of hope in the amount of creativity here, especially in music. It’s kind of weird how much music is here and how it’s changing. Just being involved in that is really inspiring.” I ask him what mark he wants to leave on Nashville. “My goal is to stay interested in music, write songs that sound like my own, and not put out anything shitty,” he laughs and quickly adds, “That was a terrible answer.” The most important thing is how he feels about what he’s doing. “I want
everything to be consistent, long term, slow and meaningful. I’m okay knowing that I’m not going to make a lot of money with the way I put out my music.” Aside from the music in a vacuum, the thing I enjoy most about Meadownoise is the fresh sense of experi-
“AS A WHOLE, CONTEMPORARY ART SEEMS TO BE MORE ABOUT LOOKING TO THE FUTURE.”
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mentation and the diversity that exists from one song to the next. And with his multimedia, über-creative approach to making music, Matt makes Meadownoise a band that is so different from everything else that it has reignited that music-loving flame that I had lost. I’m
glad I stumbled upon It’s 4:00 and Matt Glassmeyer. His talent is laid out perfectly for everyone to see, but his personality makes me enjoy his music even more. It’s 4:00 is an album that will get you excited and inspired—it did that for me, anyway. So, what’s to come after It’s 4:00? “I want to try to put out a song a month, like a digest instead of a packaged record. I like records, but all of the logistical parts to make one are really hard for one person to do. I want to start including more people on the songs, little stuff like that.” He lets out a big sigh, shakes his head and says, “I promised myself no new projects in 2012, but I completely f***ing ruined that. It’s just too fun, you know?”
Meadownoise’s new record is available now at The Groove (1103 Calvin Ave.) and Grimey’s (1604 8th Ave. S.). You can also hear Meadownoise live on October 19th, along with James Wallace and the Naked Light and Fly Golden Eagle at The Stone Fox (712 51st Ave N.) To find Meadownoise on the interweb, visit meadownoise.com
join the alliance.
mambu By Cat Acree | Photos by Cameron Powell
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he great Nashville food revolution had to start somewhere, and as much as we all giggled at the New York Times image of drum major Jack White leading locals down East Nashville streets to dinner, it certainly didn’t start with celeb sightings. Our collective love of independent restaurants was first sparked long ago by the brave little eateries that could, like mAmbu. mAmbu is a staple of Nashville dining and has been for the past decade. The sweet, blue houseturned-restaurant is just a little below the radar—in a short row of restaurants on Hayes Street off West End. There, it keeps to itself and serves good food in a funky atmosphere. I sat down with chef and owner Anita Hartel almost exactly 11 years after she started mAmbu. Back then, she says, “[Nashville] was more of a good ol’ boy town.” Her whimsical restaurant, once visible from West End (before the gargantuan Hutton hunkered in), was one of the first to introduce independent dining to a town now bursting with it. “The art world and the music scene have bloomed because of people coming from other cities and using Nashville as their home base. I think that’s why we have so many little restaurants now. We couldn’t have had that 20 years ago.” Back then, it was really just Anita and the fiery-haired Deb Paquette, of Zola, paving the way for both women in food and a new level of creative dining. mAmbu’s well known for its extremely odd décor—every nook has its own distinctive charm. Lone Christmas ornaments dangle from the ceiling like
remnants of a holiday party long forgotten. Upsidedown stacked lamp shades and black velvet paintings fill the lounge. A neon pink Christmas tree stands in full regalia in the front hallway. And a trinket board is packed with the oddest things, tacked up over the years by Anita’s loyal customers (though certain additions from bachelorette parties had to be removed). “It verges on Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse,” says Anita, who finds the hodgepodge familiar because her husband used to use the walls of their home as blank canvases for his folk art. Based on the childlike glee with which mAmbu seems to be designed, I expected Anita to look something like Ms. Frizzle: towering, with frizzy hair and toy jewelry. Instead, she’s a friendly firecracker, short and thin and down-to-earth. She wears no makeup on her lined face, and her graying hair is pulled in a low ponytail. She moves through mAmbu, in a pair of comfy water sandals, with that cheerful seriousness that comes from spending years devoted to the tough life of a restauranteur. Her voice is clipped and grated—a quick “Come on, Cat” leads me into the lounge—but is punctuated by frequent bursts of laughter. She’s business all right, but she’s having a hell of a lot of fun with it. It doesn’t take long for one thing to become clear: Anita loves food, and she certainly feels at home in mAmbu, but the most important thing in her world is the customer. She spends much of our chat listing off some of her favorite regulars, such as a couple who had their first date, their reception dinner, and recently a family meal with the kids—all at mAmbu.
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Visit MambuRestaurant.com for more info.
She talks about her “dot-org” customers who give back to the community, her patrons who come from Green Hills, Vandy professors treating out-of-towner artists to mAmbu meals, and the woman who simply gave Anita the fabulously textured 1950s peacock painting that hangs over her head as we speak. There’s really no end to how much she can say about her diners: “I know their voices on the phone when they call. I know where they sit. I know what their drinks are. They like that. It’s kind of like family. It’s community.” We finish talking in the golden hour of the afternoon. By nightfall, when I return for dinner, mAmbu has found its element. The red walls and mismatched Christmas lights have taken on a mystical charm, and it wouldn’t be any surprise to have a one-eyed old lady reading fortunes in one of the rooms. The best seat in the house is the corner booth in the bar room, where you can sit and chat with the bartender, a displaced New Yorker named Gabrielle. Gabrielle uses a tire iron to change the volume on a tiny analog TV, high above the bar, which everso-dramatically plays the film Frida. With mAmbu’s wild abandon of design norms, you might expect the food to be eccentric as well. Instead, it’s classic, simple, and made with a light hand. “To me, sometimes if you do it with a little less fluff, like a good steak, well-cooked, it’s much better than just throwing a bunch of stuff on it,” Anita explains. At the same time, she sees no reason to take food so seriously. It should be delicious, but it should never be stuffy. “I like to poke fun,” she says. “Originally, I was going to do stools—but I couldn’t figure out how to do them in the bar—that were high and filled with Cheetos and gummy bears and different shit like that.” Her voice drops at shit, revealing a gentler side. “I thought it would be awesome to have people sit at the bar on these big barrels, but I couldn’t find anything. I thought that would be so visually whoa because that’s just so not mAmbu. You’re never going to see a Cheeto here! I like Cheetos, but not here.” She laughs. “My restaurant should have character. I’m a character, so it should have character.” It’s this combination—irreverent atmosphere and traditional dishes—that has kept mAmbu successful for so long. For my meal, Anita treats me to a little trip around the
world: an appetizer of Mexican-influenced veal cheek tostada with corn salsa, and an entrée of melt-in-your-mouth seared scallops over grits. My guest really hits the winner, however, with a pork snitzel over mashed sweet potatoes that I would fight her for. Fortunately, she generously lets me go to town on her meal as well as mine. We finish up with a slice of Italian wedding cake, though the coconut pie is an in-house favorite. Each item on the menu includes a wine suggestion, but we opt to sample mAmbu’s new list of speciality drinks. The few we try mix old school flavors with sweet surprises. For example, the Lemon Balm Bomb is made with lemon Balm from the patio garden and sparkles with a thick rim of sugar. Anita’s not hoping to top the best of Nashville’s cocktail bars, but mAmbu’s offerings, at a few bucks cheaper than the norm, are gaining a notable style. The food has some local flair as well. Anita grows her own herbs out front and even brings greens from her own house. She’s all about veggies and potatoes—not so interested in butchering—and loves to see it come from within the 30-mile radius of home. “With agriculture the way it is, people are so far removed from food. People don’t know where their food comes from, where it’s grown or anything.” She’s in the right place for that, too, with Nashville on the locallygrown upswing. “It’s kind of interesting because, you know, when my grandparents were alive, local food is what they ate all the time,” she says. “And we’re kind of getting back to that.” Each of mAmbu’s elements—quirky décor, classic dishes, new drinks—is enough to keep Anita’s customers loyal for years, but the draw for new foodies is the overall package. No one goes to mAmbu to be at the sexiest new restaurant or to be in the hot new little neighborhood. “Do I think I’m the hippest restaurant in town? No. I’m so out, I’m in,” she says with a shrug. mAmbu is unpretentious and unintimidating and, on days when the shaded patio is in bloom, downright refreshing. This is a standard for unique, independent dining in Nashville that resonates still today. “I am not the hippest restaurant in town,” Anita Says with a shrug, “but I don’t want to be. I like where I am.” For evenings when you don’t feel like following the crowd to the town’s hippest, it can be a real treat to enjoy one of the originals.
“I KNOW THEIR VOICES ON THE PHONE WHEN THEY CALL. I KNOW WHERE THEY SIT. . .IT'S KIND OF LIKE FAMILY.”
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OLIVE SINCLAIR and
By Claire GiBson | Photos By eriC staPles
scott holds out a cylindrical bin full of black and brown bits and invites me to take a whiﬀ. without thinking,
i lean in eyes closed and breathe in the scent, expecting fragrant cocoa. instead, pungent fumes hit me in the face, sending my head backwards in a re�lexive jolt. “whoa! what is that?” i ask, eyes squinting, straining for the nonchalant. scott puts the top back on and smiles. i smile back, and peer over all the buckets stacked up around this corner of the shop, wondering what other surprises scott witherow has in store.
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cott, the creative mastermind behind Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company has every characteristic of a mad scientist— round tortoiseshell glasses, scruffy facial hair, and lots of unfamiliar machinery to play with. As it turns out, those piquant buckets are full of cacao nibs, the basic ingredient for fine chocolate. To unleash the powerful fragrant nibs, the Olive and Sinclair team hand sorts, slow roasts, de-shells and fractures nearly 300 pounds of cacao beans every week. Scott talks quickly, gesticulates as we go, and turns on every roasting, sorting, crunching machine, letting them rumble to life, filling the concrete shop with echoes and acerbic smells. Here in an East Nashville warehouse, Scott and his team of five conduct wild scientific experiments, all in the name of crafting fine Southern artisan chocolate. Before driving to East Nashville and his lab, I mean factory, Scott and I meet at 12 South Taproom for lunch. I recognize him immediately, not from his spread in Food & Wine Magazine, but from two rectangular packages in his hand covered with his signature (yes, award-winning) logo. He brought me chocolate, I think, smiling, salivating. He sets the chocolate bars on the table and sits down to order a BLT, while I tear into the gifted Bourbon Nib Brittle, barely saying hello. The layered mixture of chocolate and brown sugar tastes bold and buttery, with a slight hint of caramel you only find in a sinful cup of ice cream, eaten on a hot summer day. I tilt my head to
the side and shoot Scott a serious look. It’s delicious. But Scott didn’t originally set out to be the South’s original bean-to-bar chocolatier. After graduating from high school in Columbia, Tennessee, Scott set out for culinary school, disappointed when something just didn’t feel right at Johnson and Wales. Instead, he bought a one way ticket to England, and went to live with a friend in London. “It didn't even hit me going over there that the Cordon Bleu is there.” Scott says simply— “So I applied, and got in.” The famed Cordon Bleu has 12 programs across the globe (none of which are in the U.S.). Its internationally renowned graduates include Julia Child, Giada De Laurentiis, and Paul Qui (the gorgeous winner of Top Chef, season nine). Scott keeps eating his BLT and talks about life in England, but I have a feeling he’s downplaying his expertise. Sure, Scott worked as a mover and a janitor while at Le Cordon Bleu, but he ultimately landed a commis job at Nobu London, an acclaimed restaurant opened by celebrated Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa in partnership with Robert De Niro. In school, he experimented with molecular gastronomy, but also had a hand in “nose to tail” cooking at London’s famous St. John restaurant, where chefs make use of every part of an animal—including the blood. In every place, he was attracted to the sweet side. “It’s easy to be a lot more creative in pastry,” Scott says.
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“People are a lot more open with sweets, where as with savory stuff, it can be harder to sell something that’s a little weird or a new combination.” Between sips of beer, Scott describes coming home in 2004 and hopscotching among some of Nashville’s finest establishments, including a stint at Firefly as head chef. Then, he quickly mentions a one-month internship at The Fat Duck. I had to pull it out of him, but Scott finally admits that he was selected out of 4,000 applicants, and that The Fat Duck is London’s premier restaurant, regularly crowned Best Restaurant in the World. But at that point in 2007, Scott says, he was figuring out that he “didn’t want to spend every night, weekend, and holiday in a kitchen.” “I’d been reading about making chocolate for a while, and I was in Canada with a friend of mine when I ran into a bean-to-bar maker,” Scott says. “I bought at least a pound or so of chocolate. I went to my room and ate it all that evening.” He smirks, and I laugh. For the next two years, Scott worked in a kitchen at night, teaching classes during the day, and learning how to make chocolate from scratch any moment in between. At his Sylvan Park home, Scott experimented with every step of the bean to bar process. He roasted cacao beans in his home oven, cracked them with a handheld device called Mr. Crankenstein, blew away the shells with a hairdryer, and tried to formulate a recipe that his friends would like. “The first batch was terrible,” Scott says, shaking his head with disdain. “Everything was burned. I just didn’t know what you would put with cocoa beans.” But when Scott took a risk and began making chocolate with all brown sugar—a key ingredient you can find in almost every Olive and Sinclair Chocolate product today—it was instant favorite. Incubating the idea for something new and old fashioned, Scott chose the name
Olive and Sinclair, in honor of his grandfather and his wife’s great aunt. Nashville letterpress printer Bryce McCloud created the now-famous Olive and Sinclair label, and in Scott’s words, “we just started making chocolate.” In hopes to launch at the 2009 Tomato Arts Festival, Scott ordered his first large-scale equipment, including a 7,000 pound, hundred-year-old mélanger to grind the cacao beans, and a 1920s conch from Scotland, which heats and evenly mixes cocoa butter with chocolate. And promptly, the conch broke. “I was thinking oh crap,” Scott says apologetically. “It took six months to just get over here, set it up, and figure it out, and now it’s broken?” In rapid fashion, Scott and his team took the machine apart and put it back together again, just in time to make a batch for the Tomato Arts Festival. Still, Scott wasn’t completely satisfied with the taste. “So, I thought, we’ll season it like you would a tomato. You can hit it with a little salt and pepper, and it’ll bring out the flavors.” Quickly, the hard work, craft, and expertise Scott pours into each treat caught on—far beyond one East Nashville festival. A 2009 Print Magazine design award for the Olive and Sinclair logo was followed by praise from Gweneth Paltrow on her blog, Goop, and a hefty 300-pound order from the actress herself. Southern Living, Oxford American, and Food and Wine magazines have each raved over Olive and Sinclair. As the orders kept growing, so did Scott’s creative ideas. The spontaneous salt and pepper inspiration became one of Olive and Sinclair’s most popular chocolate bars, and now there’s a counterpart—the new Buttermilk White Chocolate Salt and Pepper bar. Not to mention Gweneth Paltrow’s favorite, Mexican Style CinnChili Chocolate. Though they launched in 2009 with just a small batch, Olive and
“SEASON IT LIKE YOU WOULD A TOMATO. YOU CAN HIT IT WITH A LITTLE SALT AND PEPPER, AND IT'LL BRING OUT THE FLAVOR.”
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Sinclair Chocolate Company now hand-sorts and slow roasts countless pounds of cacao beans, churning out a thousand bars a day in over 11 different varieties, shipped to 48 states. “We were really naïve with what we were getting ourselves into,” Scott says, as we walk into his active factory. “I kind of overromanticized the idea of starting a chocolate company. I thought I could make all the chocolate, wrap all the chocolate, and ship all the chocolate, and do it all myself, and it wouldn’t be that difficult.” Inside, whirring machinery and stacked burlap bags of cacao beans fill the room with a musty aroma, almost like espresso. Plastic buckets of cracked nibs are stored in a corner. Some nibs, like the ones I sniffed, are aged in used bourbon barrels to soak up the flavor of the South’s favorite libation, and create my new favorite chocolate—Bourbon Nib Brittle. Scott sends other nibs to Madisonville, Tennessee, where Allan Benton smokes the beans alongside his prized hams to create the basic ingredient to the popular Smoked Nib Brittle. Every bar that comes out of an Olive and Sinclair mold has a brilliant shine, slow melt, and nice break. A young woman sits at a table contentedly hand-wrapping individual chocolate bars, and another employee welcomes guests at the door, ready for a factory tour. “It’s weird I’m able to do something like this and get paid for it,” Scott says, looking at the concrete floor through his round glasses. “We feel really blessed and honored. People actually like what we do, and it can be very surreal.” And then the mad-scientist looks at me with a glint in his eye and asks one more question. “Want to try our salted bourbon caramel?”
Av a i l a b l e a t . . . Th e Wi l l ow T r ee / 615. 383. 5639 4 4 2 9 M u rp h y R oa d / Na s h v i l l e, T N 37 2 0 9 MIDTOWN WINE & SPIRITS PRESENTS
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With an amazing full-length album out this month, it's a good time to be Kopecky Family Band. By Marissa R. Moss | Photos by Allister Ann
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All I can see is a yellow fuzz of blinding light. Well, to be fair, I can see the bottom half of Kelsey Kopecky and the tail end of her vodka soda resting on the high bar table, the little ripples and lines of condensation dripping down the sides. But when I look up, it’s all a hazy blur. This is because it’s that certain time of day, here at happy hour in Hillsboro Village, when the sun reflects off of just about anything and is shooting through the windows and halo-ing out Kelsey’s entire face. I’ve got a hand up over my eyebrows, salute-style, attempting to block it out. I use my handbag as a makeshift visor. I try a notebook. Squinting, too. Nothing works. After a few minutes, I finally give up trying to see and decide that listening to her voice alone is going to have to be good enough. And then I think: obviously. An hour or so earlier, on the way to meet Kelsey, the song “Change,” off of the Kopecky Family Band’s upcoming first full-length release, Kids Raising Kids, plays on my car stereo at least three times—a raw emotional ballad that shows Kelsey’s voice in high notes and complexities not properly displayed until now. It’s late summer in Nashville and the streets are unusually packed, with a BBQ festival clogging up downtown; a pre-season Titans game; and Vanderbilt students filing across one of the pedestrian bridges over 21st Avenue, carrying fresh books and talking on iPhones. They
look so young, like children, and in many ways they are. A girl stands on the walkway in a crisp new college sweatshirt: rich black with gold letters that one day, when those four years have long passed, will start to crackle and the colors will fade. “Don’t you go and change,” Kelsey sings, adding, after a beat, a breathy “for me.” Kelsey, the band’s co-vocalist and keyboardist, lives on a quiet street near Hillsboro Village in a stone apartment complex. She’s waiting outside in a black strapless dress with a blue sarong-like piece wrapped around her body and knotted in the middle of her breastbone. She hugs me hello with arms deftly toned by daily yoga, and then waves goodbye to her roommates, who are sitting on the porch. They wave back like they’re the parents and we’re their two kids heading out for a bike ride, jiggling our hands loosely at the wrists. We decide to have drinks at Jackson’s, just a short walk away. I tell her that I’ve been listening to the band’s new record in my car, and that it’s been on repeat ever since Gabe Simon, her fellow Kopecky-in-chief, vocalist and guitarist, sent it to me the day before. Kelsey looks me dead in the eye. “Aw, that’s so nice!” she says. “I’m so, so happy. That’s so moving for me.” When I emailed Gabe the same thing he wrote back “ha ha I told you
so!,” followed by a not-too-believable “just kidding.” There’s a lot of anticipation swirling around Kids Raising Kids—eleven new songs and the first LP from the six-piece band that has cranked out three EP’s in the four years since they met as students at Belmont, all while restlessly touring. The result is a true album, not just a collection of singles strung together aimlessly (though the actual single, “Heartbeat” is a fun and sly love-bopper), that vacillates between hyper drumbeats, indie-pop syncopation, energetic thumpers and sweet ballads—all held together by Kelsey and Gabe’s voices jumping and refracting off each other like waves of light. No one is tired. As different as they are, both Kelsey and Gabe’s energy slaps you in the face, albeit gently. They’re ready. “I like your shirt, very nicely embroidered,” Kelsey says to the waiter taking our order—he’s wearing a black button-up with little kitschy Western decals. They know each other. She asks a about his week and wife, and then orders her drink with a splash of orange juice. He comes back with splash of pineapple in it instead. “Don’t worry!” she says, sing-song, stirring it all with her straw. “Actually, this is more fun, because it’s a surprise.” I order sangria because the day before, on the patio of 12 South Taproom, I had been sitting with Gabe when our beers had nearly started to boil. “I could really use a sangria,” he said, but they didn’t have any. So he improvised and ordered a Sauvignon Blanc with a couple of ice cubes dropped in. Gabe wants a cold beverage and a cold beverage he will have. A pineapple substitution would never have flown like it did with Kelsey. He leaned into my recorder and said, in a mock voice-over tone, “at this moment, Gabe orders an iced wine,” like he’s tracking animal movements in the wild. Back in his normal voice: “but really, it’s so hot out. All I want is a good sangria. You know who has a good one? Jacksons.” So here we are, Kelsey and I, sipping our drinks. The band is back in town after a summer tour that included dates opening for the Lumineers and playing SXSW and Lollapalooza, and then they’ll be heading off again to San Francisco before returning in October. The new album, recorded at the Brown Owl Studio in Nashville and produced by up-and-comer Konrad Snyder, is packed and ready to go. “I’m so lucky to get to be on tour with those boys,” Kelsey says—“the boys” is how she commonly refers to her bandmates Steven (lead guitar), Corey (bass), Markus (cello), and David (drums) in addition to Gabe. “And now I know those guys better than I know anyone. It’s like, oh, someone coughed, and I know who it was. I know how David likes his Taco Bell, and how Marcus doesn’t like to eat a lot when he wakes up. And how Stephen is quiet and likes his alone time in the morning. So it’s a joy to be on the road.” Some people, when they talk, accentuate their points by curling their hands into fists and slamming the table or gesticulating wildly. Kelsey however, has a different way—she draws one or both palms into her chest as if preparing for a yogic “Namaste.” I learn over our time together that she usually does this to indicate the
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is extremely sad, but it's the truth. Vulnerability is the most sacred gift we can give each other." So- she had to let him go - for now at least. “I’ve always had a desire to have an overlap—like on a Venn diagram,” she says. “You know, my circle, their circle, and the place where they meet. I want that with someone who, and it sounds so selfish to say this, is as crazy about me as I am about them.” Her other relationship, however—the musical one—is still fully intact. As frequent writing partners and principals of the Kopecky Family Band, Gabe and Kelsey both describe their dynamic as one of the core forces that keeps it all together. “I have never experienced with a person such a deep level of trust,” she says. “Even though it’s not a romantic relationship, it’s so intimate that no one can really understand it. Anyone who has spent time with Gabe and I together can see that we are so in sync with one another that when we are both in the same place it’s like two notes ringing in tune.” Gabe feels it too, and, despite having a fiancé who he clearly adores, he knows that to some degree his first wife will always be his band. When I met him at the But family, band or to the Taproom, he was sitting outside manner born, is the most cruon the patio, a little exposed “v” cial of all to the Kopecky clan. of skin on his chest already startGrowing up in a small Minnesota town, Kelsey was exing to redden in the sun. He’d ordered a beer and started asktremely close to her mother. “My family is the most imporing me questions, his legs crossed under the table at his ankles, extant thing in my entire life. My -KELSEY mom and I are best friends,” posing a sprightly pair of off-white she says, nearly tearing up just oxfords. talking about it. “I’m sorry, I “Let’s talk about you now. can barely even say the word ‘Minnesota’ without getting You’re more interesting,” I say to change the subject. I take emotional.” She takes a breath and does a half Namaste with a sip of my Terrapin Ale, which is the same thing Gabe is her right hand. “From an early age, my parents always lis- drinking because he told me I’d like it within minutes of tened to music. I remember being in my dad’s garage and meeting me. “I doubt it,” he says. “I live my life every day. I don’t live roller-skating to John Mellencamp. Or was it John Cougar yours.” It’s a typical Gabe conversation-spinner, witty and then? And my mom likes to country line dance.” For some reason it’s easy to picture a young Kelsey scoot- quick with just a hint of good ego. But here’s what his life ing across the floor on wheels to “Jack & Diane,” maybe sing- does involve, outside of the band: coffee shops, cocktail ing along, pigtails flapping as she’d belt “oh yeah, life goes bars and taking his Yorkshire terrier out on walks with his on.” In fact, it’s easy to picture an adult Kelsey doing the bride-to-be June. At 23, he describes the two of them as same. She’s just whimsical enough, childlike and motherly “old souls.” And it’s true—Gabe’s air just isn’t vintage, it’s all at once, the type of person who sleeps with one eye open mature. He doesn’t come off as your normal twenty–somenot because she’s scared but because she doesn’t want to thing or oblivious young rocker, spitting out clever phrases miss a minute of something good. and cultural references. Growing up in Ohio, his dad owned But on this afternoon, things are a little more melancholy a business stamping metal for Honda that catapulted the than usual. She just broke things off with her long-term boy- family from struggle to prosperity rather quickly when the friend. Their relationship, along with her parent’s divorce, company became successful from a trade arrangement with was actually the motivation for the lyrics of “Change.” the Japanese. So, while Kelsey was busy swirling around on The song walks through four different relationships and is roller skates, Gabe’s father was encouraging his young son to a short snapshot of each, full of advice, the reality of pain, shoot for domination. “My dad said if you want to work for someone else, you and hope that steadfast love exists. "My biggest fear came can, or you can build your own empire. He was all about telltrue; he stopped fighting for me and what we share, which importance of something she is saying, or that whatever she is talking about keeps her centered. It makes sense, though, given her attachment to yoga. “I just always bring my yoga mat with me on tour,” she says, “and I’ll usually roll it out, put on my leggings and just take an hour.” This has happened back stage and even, occasionally, on the side of the road. Kelsey has always been a calming, nearly motherly force in the young band, despite being only a few years older than Gabe and the rest of the group. This perhaps has to do with the fact that she was a resident advisor at Belmont when they were in school, and she and Gabe first connected at a party at her house. A guitar was passed around. “I liked her sound, she liked mine, and that was it,” is how Gabe recalls it. Their name, The Kopecky Family Band, came out of a little jokey phrase that Gabe used to say to Kelsey, and it stuck: “he’d always say: ‘Kopecky! Kopecky family band! Sounds like a Polish family band!” Besides, family bands are happy. Family bands get along. And those are two extremely important things to this family band in particular, even though none of them are actually family, in the genetic sense, at all.
“ VULNERABILITY IS THE MOST SACRED GIFT WE CAN GIVE EACH OTHER.”
ing me to build my own empire, and it was something I always wanted to do.” Gabe sees the Kopecky Family Band as an empire that he just happens to co-own with five other people. And as much as he loves his art, he’s clearly a businessman, too. Which is also unlike Kelsey, who rather happily describes herself as “one of the poorest people I know” and makes nary a reference to the fact and figures side of things, Gabe hones in on it. He has a strategy, a strong will to survive. One element that he recognized, even when Kopecky Family Band was starting back in 2007 as students, is that things were going to have to be equal if people were going to be happy. “What we did early on is create value for everyone,” he says . They’ve structured the band so that, no matter what, every member gets a piece of every song. This is a shrewd move not only meant to keep the peace but also inspire. “I don’t want people to be thinking about how much they are
“ Go get on the road, find your story.” -GABE
worth. I want them to be thinking about how much we are worth,” putting emphasis on the word “we.” Gabe spent some time trying to establish himself as a songwriter on the Nashville circuit, but found it difficult to write in the confines of small studios and writer rooms. “I can’t write here,” he says. “I write better music on the road when I am out experiencing things. Go get on the road, find your story. And besides, I feel like there are so many songs in the air here it’s hard to hear.” Kelsey, on the other hand, writes every day in the large black notebook she carries with her everywhere, littered with lyrics, doodles and thoughts. Suddenly, Gabe looks down at my beer, which is only about ¼ drunk. At this point, it’s more like fermented tea than beer, steeping in the sun. “You don’t like that, do you?” he asks. “I do, I do,” I say. “I just can’t drink too much. If I do, I’ll start asking you about teddy bears.” “I love teddy bears! I had one my freshman year of college.” Stuffed animals aside, Gabe was wary of being labeled a “Belmont band,” so he took the crew on a trajectory that had them touring most states except their actual hometown. The plan was to come home to crowds that would see them as established, not a bunch of college kids strumming guitars and trying to make Music Row jump. And it worked, to a point. Things are still a bit of an up-and-down roller coaster,
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but with more ups than downs, and certainly no steep drops. “We just played Lollapalooza, and it was such a high, we felt so good,” says Gabe, giving an example. “And then the next day we played a show in Minneapolis and there were only 100 people there. It goes from unreality to reality. It’s a hard thing to take.” On the other hand, he’s thoroughly optimistic about how the public will react to Kids Raising Kids. He loves it, after all. It’s not an arrogant confidence, just a supreme sense of pride and hope, nearly fulfilling that prophecy your parents tell you time and time again: if you act positive, positive things will happen. “What we’ve been doing in the past are short stories,” he says. “This is a book.” And it’s a novel where all six authors, characters as they are, are fine with sharing one joint byline. “When you’re a family band, you can’t hate each other. If you’re Guns & Roses, it’s expected of you,” he says, shaking the last slivers of ice in his glass that have yet to melt. He scoots under the awning for a little shade from the intense, blazing sunlight. “But we’re a family band. We have to live up to our name.” The next day, in that same blinding sunlight, I am listening to Kelsey’s voice alone, my eyes nearly closed as she talks. The sun finally drops behind another building, and she comes into focus again. “I just have a feeling in my heart about this record,” she says, but this time her hands aren’t in Namaste prayer. Instead, they are layered flat, one on top of the other on the left side of her chest. They remain there for a minute, in the impending dusk of this crowded bar, feeling the beat.
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In Abstract By Henry Pile | Photos by Lauren Holland
tour of Daniel Holland’s work winds from a linear, caveman shape to the crudely etched phrases written in a vaguely familiar yet foreign language. As a tour guide, Daniel is sanguine. He loves the meandering walk on the round-the-room painting path. As he steps, he explains, “I don’t like to use a lot of color and ﬁller, but I use enough to add composition that can pull you around. My work is laid out in the way I want it expressed. I try not to have recognizable things, because when you’re doing abstract art, you’re trying to get these bigger ideas across. When you have recognizable shapes or words or ideas, people are going to latch on to what they know and inevitably, you’re going to lose them.” Despite the oblique nature of his work and his sometimes riddle-like explanations, Daniel is a willing tour guide. He’s ready to walk you through each element, stretching vast emptiness and arching over faint symbols of government, religion and sex, along with the swirling spirals of confusion and kinetic energy within the dream state. To add to the spectacle, Daniel makes noises like “hmmff ” and “wwwish” to describe some of his pieces. There are no words, just sounds to evoke a certain feeling or movement. That said, Daniel doesn’t extemporize when explaining his work. His direction is quite clear, be it a memento to his grandmother or his fears of someday raising a boy. His parlance dips into the abstract, but generally remains intelligible, though his passion is what truly sells each piece. His hawkish features sharpen across his face with every word of raw honesty. He sinks deeper into his consciousness, drinking the sweet and bitter of the months dedicated to creating a piece he readily admits looks like he painted in a half an hour. “I can’t stand when artists get on this pedestal and make things that seem over your head and then won’t explain it. What’s the point? Why? Are you trying that hard to be cool? Do you have this one secret and when you lose it, you’re done for? I love explaining my
art to people. I want it to have a universal connection.” It is evident that he doesn’t sneer with a titular rule over his own work. He’s keenly aware of the reality of the non-reality his works portray. Rather than hiding behind it, he offers succor to those seemingly stumped by the lack of clear direction. He revels in the opportunity to offer support, tell the story, and clearly explain. The real doubloon is, according to Daniel’s artist statement, when a viewer is led “to a conclusion that was there all along but believed it was discovered through their own reason,” the viewer then overlays their own experience to derive a slightly new and unique Weltanschauung. When this happens, Daniel avers his feeling of success. Daniel is the oldest of three children born to a passionately religious, lower-middle-class family in Greenville, South Carolina. His education consisted of various Christian-focused schools where, by Daniel’s own admission, he didn’t do well. His strengths in reading and writing could not overcome his deﬁcit in math. He constantly got in trouble, and the approach to intellectual development was focused less on learning and more on “praying the stupid out of you.” Inevitably, he dropped out of high school and decided to get away. “Growing up poor puts a ﬁre in you that never goes out. I really don’t care about the things I get or make. I want to take over and be kind on the way. I want to take all the bad that’s been given to me and quadruple it with good.” Does that mean he wants to get rich? Is Daniel Holland only interested in making great amounts of money? “No, but I want to have money in the bank because I know what it’s like not to. It sucks. I can’t stop thinking that I’ll be a middle or low income artist. I’ll be 80 years old and still pushing.” He understands that being a great artist has less value than being a great person. His goals are bigger than his work. Daniel moved to Nashville in 2009. After settling into the city, he got married, earned his GED, and was
offered a scholarship to Watkins College. Over the past two years, he has marked a dramatic shift in his work. He has felt increased and positive pressure from the demand for shows and other forms of attention. Recently, Daniel and other artists with whom he had been sharing a studio all decided to move out, but the result was even more output. “Now that we don’t have the space, we don’t have this endpoint. We’ve become more industrious. Everyone has so many things going on.” And they're still close, sharing events and showings and offering support to each other along the way. But everything begins with an empty canvas, and the bridge from empty to rich with symbolic meaning requires nascent accretion. Maybe a plan, maybe not. Still, there is science to the art, and Daniel understands the ratio of inspiration to perspiration. “I spend most of my time keeping my mind less cluttered. I like to wake up and be inspired by something creative online, or just not do anything and use my brain. I don’t to have to be inspired every time I do something.” But sometimes, inspiration ignites an idea during a movie, on a drive, or at dinner. “I'm always asking waiters for a pen; I have these random images drawn on scraps of paper. I get a series
"THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I GET HOME AND I THINK 'WHAT THE F*** IS THAT? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?'" of words and ideas and I’m like “Oh man, that’s good,” and I know a painting is going to come from it. I want these symbols to be the energy of the paintings.” He admits that the meaning can sometimes be indecipherable. “There are times when I get home and I think 'What the f*** is that? What does this mean?'” Still, the work begins. Wedged between being a husband and a server at The Pharmacy in East Nashville, Daniel makes time to paint. That time may not follow the rigor of your typical job, but it happens. “As soon as I said “From 9 to Noon I’m going to work on art” I would not do it.” He’s an artist, and some of that ﬂair for irreverence must exist, but he also desires an empty mind before the fusillade. “I’ve done a lot of good pieces just by forcing myself, but every now and then, inﬂuence comes and I knock them out in a day. Sometimes they are my favorite paintings.” Some works are a labor of love. “Sex Wolves on the Coast took months of washing over and washing over and washing over.” Derived from the last line of a poem he wrote, Sex Wolves focuses on the ubiquitous, brutish honesty of sex. The wolf is the animalistic instinct and the coast is the furthest
Daniel Holland will be showing this month at Main Street Gallery, a new gallery in East Nashville, from October 12th – 18th The opening reception will be held Friday October 12th from 6P.M. to 9P.M. Visit HollandDaniel.tumblr.com for more info.
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you can go (literally and metaphorically). The painting shows faint clouds and birds, a glowing sun and shimmering waves. The power of the mural resides in the stark, thick shape across the middle: the phallus, the sex. The one thing we, beast and man, all have in common. Compare it to one of his “done in a day” pieces and you may not understand why one took so much longer than the other. “The composition of the idea and colors have to flow, then I just know that idea is complete. I’ll stare at it forever, hanging it in the house, then I’ll know it’s done.” Sometimes that only takes a day, sometimes, longer. In the living room of his East Nashville home, a finished work, the size of a coffee table and layered with more colors than past pieces, leans against the bookcase with nonchalance. In the back, his wife rests in bed with a cold. Daniel leans against a post on the back porch. He’s covered in darkness, with the exception of the reddish cherry light coming from each drag of his cigarette. He expounds about some of his local contemporaries like Aaron Martin, David Hellan, and former studio mate, Kuntal Patel. He mentions a few of his favorite Nashville galleries—Cumberland Gallery and Zeitgeist—and discusses his take on the Saturday Art Crawl. He dissects his own work. “I don’t think every painting has to have a huge point or statement. That’s just the way mine is. That’s what I prefer.” More than making a point, he wants to offer himself through art. He’s asking questions to start a conversation, not to make a point or pick a side. He’s looking to you for an answer, right or wrong. “It’s a very personal thing. It’s my soul searching. This is my life.” Washed over in layers and rudimentary images, days or months of revisions, until a balance has been struck, and there it is. Stepping into the light of the kitchen from the darkness of the porch, there is Daniel Holland clearly in abstract. Now, feel free to ask a question.
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T HE L AWN AT R IVERFRONT P ARK FRIDAY & SATURDAY
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By Jessica Jones
Photos by Kaelah
Beauregarde and Mike Flynn
It was 3 A.M. in Chicago, and Kaelah Beauregarde and her fiancé Mike Flynn were lingering at a cookout. In town from Nashville to visit Kaelah’s best friend, Susannah Bean, the two women were debating into the night how they could, one day, live in the same city. “I was trying to convince her to move down here, and she was trying to convince me to move up there,” Kaelah says. Neither was going to budge. So Kaelah grabbed a pen and began furiously jotting down ideas—if they couldn’t be close by, maybe they could think of a mutual business venture. It was way past midnight, after all; the time of night when crazy ideas don’t sound so crazy anymore. Underneath the moonlight, the idea of a mobile clothing store emerged: “we had a whole notebook filled within 45 minutes,” she recalls.
wo weeks later, Kaelah bought a vintage camper with the intention of starting that very business. “I’m a very impatient person,” she professes. She hand-picked the 1968 Yellowstone camper and commissioned a family in Kentucky to ready it for hauling and dislplaying clothes. A fresh layer of pink paint and a brand new interior later, Honeybean Boutique was born. On one particularly bright and sunny day, as I walk down a dirt path to the small cottage in East Nashville that she shares with Mike, I spot that pink camper, affectionately named Honeybean, in their driveway. Stepping over a cat food bowl on the porch, I ring the doorbell and Kaelah greets me with a sweet southern drawl. She is wearing a sundress
filled with flower barrettes sit on shelves nearby. I may have also spotted a vintage bubblegum machine with pink gumballs, but that could have been me hallucinating. This camper isn’t just cute, it’s adorable. Among the endlessly charming product mix are Susannah’s hand-knit bow scarves and crocheted fox ear headbands; Kaelah is able to sell Susannah’s knitted goods in Honeybean now, but hopes to involve her more in the future. Until then, Mike has stepped in as her business partner and she doesn't hesitate to express her gratitude: “Honeybean would not exist without him. He handles a lot of the business side.” The two stay up most nights ‘til the early morning, working away on Honeybean together, their 65-pound bulldog snoring blissfully in the
“If Honeybean were to crash and burn (figuratively), at least we'd still have a really cute camper.” that contrasts with the tattoos peeking out from her ballet-flatted feet. First, she shows me her closet— through two French glass-paned doors I can see it bursting with clothes. A pink glittered shoe sits on a pedestal nearby. In the living room, I admire the glass door that's been repurposed as a coffee table. Kaelah says Mike made it and points out a missing glass pane. It’s been that way for months. “We just haven't gotten around to fixing it,” she laughs. We gather around as Kaelah explains how it felt to have her late night brainstorm unfold after only a mere three weeks. “It was a whirlwind,” she says. “I feel like that's how most things happen around here,” Mike adds, who is seated next to Kaelah, wearing black rimmed glasses and a plaid button up. Together they keep Honeybean stocked full of colorful clothes and handmade accessories. From the outside, the camper looks like it could potentially belong to Barbie, (if Barbie would ever go camping) white curtains hang in the windows above pink scallops and glowing bulbs are strung up above the entrance. Inside, a rack is stuffed with clothes from independent designers over a black and white checkered floor. An antique serving tray displaying handmade buttons and a mustard yellow suitcase
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background. Mike and Kaelah's dream of being their own bosses came as a result of years of disappointing retail and bartending jobs. “I died a little bit inside every time I had to clock in somewhere,” says Kaelah. I ask how the two are learning the basics of business ownership and Mike confesses, “we don't know.” They’re figuring it out on their own, which sometimes means making three copies of every document since “we’ve lost the original one too many times.” They’re optimistic, even about failing: “If Honeybean were to crash and burn (figuratively), at least we’d still have a really cute camper,” Kaelah says. That possibility seems far-fetched, considering Honeybean's success. At Porter Flea this past June, Kaelah and Mike experienced first-hand the joys of owning their own business, as buyers eagerly admired and snatched up their wares. “I decided this is exactly what I want to do. I would run on three hours a night of sleep to do that every day,” she says. A self-proclaimed type-A personality, Kaelah was perhaps destined to own a small business. “The best way to get it done is to do it yourself,” she says. While in New York City for a Bust magazine internship, Kaelah started a blog to keep her family updat-
ed on her activities and whereabouts. Just shy of three years later, Kaelah's blog (Kaelahbee. com) gets 14,000 hits a day. I ask her how she acquired that many followers. “I wrote about my life and people started reading it, I guess,” she says. Don't let her nonchalance fool you—Kaelah regularly incorporates sponsorship deals to help monetize her blog, and when several people started asking for advice on how to run their own websites, she decided to write a 44-page page book on PR and marketing for bloggers. It covers everything from starting your own blog to reaching out to brands in order to promote yourself—all carefully explained in Kaelah’s down to earth voice. After publishing it herself and offering it as a download less than a year ago, she has sold over 200 copies. Honeybean's whereabouts can be tracked on their website, Honeybeanboutique. com, and Kaelah and Mike plan to be at the Nashville Flea Market in October. They’ll also be docking in other places around town on the weekends. Honeybean will also come to you—the camper is available to rent for a wedding, party or other special event. “We’re willing to go wherever. It's fun for us,” Kaelah says. Currently in the works are a revamped online boutique, a Honeybean dress line and a brick and mortar location. One of Kaelah's goals before she turns 25 next year is to open her own storefront, but the clothes-packed pink camper won’t be leaving the streets of Nashville. “We'll never get rid of Honeybean. It will always be a vital part of the brand,” she says. I leave Kaelah and Mike to busily prepare for another upcoming photo shoot. That missing pane in the coffee table will just have to wait.
Visit HoneybeanBoutique.com for more info. 46 / / / /
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EXHIBIT D We may not be called “Art City” anytime soon, but our visual arts scene is poised to go “boom” in a big way. We count Natalie Dunham’s stunning installations among the evidence.
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By Ann Ravanos
Photos by Allister Ann
Unlike a lot of 27-year-olds, installation artist Natalie Dunham, has figured out her path—or at least what she’s good at. Nowadays, not a lot of people her age can say that they are in a field that they love, enjoy going to work every morning, and have met people to help them with their careers. Natalie knows she is lucky, and by no means does she take her luck for granted. “I am thankful every day for the people I have met and who have helped me, so I really want to pass that on to emerging artists. More people working together is better than all of us trying to do it on our own.”
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t’s Sunday afternoon, and Natalie has invited me to hang out with her at The Rymer Gallery, located downtown on 5th Avenue. The Rymer is closed, but because she is the gallery’s director, she unlocks the door and invites me to take a look around. “I’ve shown here a few times, actually. The space is so beautiful. I love hanging my pieces in here.” The lights are off, but the windows are so huge and the space so open, that all of the natural light coming through makes the place perfectly inviting. It’s hard not to glance in through the windows when passing by. It’s so inviting that a few people stumble in to have a look around, even though the gallery is closed. Natalie lets them come in and tells them they can turn on the lights if they want, but they remain off and the couple strolls through the open space ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every piece they see.
CARRIE MAE WEEMS Three Decades of Photography and Video
“I STARTED COLLEGE AS A BUSINESS MAJOR WHO PLAYED SOCCER. I DIDN'T THINK ART
WAS EVER AN OPTION.” It’s no secret that our city is known more for country music, rock stars, and our growing conglomerate of twirlymustached hipsters, than it for the visual arts, but if you look, you’ll find a budding art movement that’s about to explode at any moment. And that’s because of artists like Natalie, who make mesmerizing, conceptually-rich, sometimes challenging (in a good way) yet enthralling and always beautiful sculptural installations. She knows it’s a good time to be an artist here. She seems to understand the role that she is playing, the movement that she is part of, and yet she is too humble for the talent she obviously has. Sitting on a white, leather couch, she tells me how she has never been more excited to be back in Nashville and in the middle of it all. Growing up in the Air Force, Natalie has lived in her fair share of states, but ended up returning to Tennessee a little over a year ago. “I went to high school in Franklin, college in Birmingham, and then got my master’s in Baltimore.” When Natalie first started school, art was never something that crossed her mind. “I started college as a business major who played soccer. I didn’t think art was ever an option.” Thankfully, the college she chose to go to, Birmingham Southern,
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The exhibition is supported in part by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and a gift from Robert and Richard Menschel. Carrie Mae Weems. Afro-Chic (video still), 2010. DVD, 5 minutes, 30 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Carrie Mae Weems //// 51
is a liberal arts school that required her to take a few art classes. Her first one came during the second semester of her freshman year when she took up painting. “It was the only thing that was familiar to me, so that’s what I chose to do. Also, Birmingham Southern assigns you random advisers, so my advisor was the sculpture professor. I ended up spending a lot of time in the art building. I slowly went from being a business major to a business major with an art minor.” While in Birmingham, Natalie spent her Sunday mornings attending a casual get together of fellow church members before the service that allowed everyone to release their creativity. “I spent my time creating things. Other people would write or play music—whatever they wanted. I remember one Sunday, the day before I had a huge business test, I couldn’t move my hands to do anything productive. I felt paralyzed. I was so worried about this test and I knew that wasn’t right. That was my major and I shouldn’t have felt so scared and miserable about it.” The next morning, during her test, Natalie looked down at her paper, mind going blank, and handed in her empty test to her teacher. “It was nothing personal, he was a great teacher and I made sure he knew that before I left. I told him I was giving him my test, leaving the class, and going to administration to drop the class.” That Monday was also the last day to drop a class without any penalty. And Natalie had enough credits to change her major without falling behind on her graduation. From that point on, everything revolved around art for her. After graduating from Birmingham Southern, Natalie went to Baltimore where she got her master’s in sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art’s Rinehart School of Sculpture—the oldest program in the country of its kind. “Once I had my degree, I started to think about moving back to Tennessee. I started looking up the best places for art in the state and was so surprised Nashville kept popping
up. I decided to pack my things and give this city a shot.” As an installation artist, Natalie wasn’t sure her work was going to fit into Nashville’s art world. “I knew there would be a few people who liked it, but I was so surprised at how open and welcoming the Nashville art crowd was when I moved here. It was crazy to come back and see how much it had all changed.” Pulling her inspiration from various outlets, including the 1960s, architecture, geometric shapes, and nature, Natalie tries to keep each new piece different, unique, and open for interpretation by the viewer. “My art has shown all over the place, which is great, because I love to cross promote my installations with how much our city is growing and all of the amazing things we have going on.” She leans back on the couch and starts telling me different stories of her life and how she wants to incorporate them in her art. “I have this affinity for simplifying. Everyone wants things to be bigger and better. It’s hard to keep up. That’s where I feel like I am different.” Though she may strive to keep her work simple, she is still working hard. “I don’t think I’ve ever done a piece, from start to finish, that has been completed in under 120 hours.” Natalie is the epitome of how diverse Nashville really is. She is proof that there is more to Music City than music— way more. While she happily fills a role as part of a larger picture, she is exceptional, too. Her installations easily bring a gallery to life. And as for Natalie herself: she’s the type of person you want to know—always smiling, ready to help in any way possible, and excited about all of the new things coming her way. “I really love Nashville. The longer I’m here, the more I love it. I want to be utilized in whatever way I am needed. I just want to see this city continue to grow, and I want to be someone who brings attention to how great and diverse this place is.” From the white, leather couch, she twirls her hair around as if she has something exciting she is wants to tell me. The unexpected guest slowly drift out of the gallery, getting hung up on each piece that stands between them and the door. They exit. As if she has been holding her breath, Natalie finally bursts, “I love this. We’re closed on Sundays, but it makes me so happy to see people enjoying the gallery. There are a lot of people advocating for the fine arts and showcasing what we’re doing, so I am really proud to be a part of that in this moment. When people think of Nashville, they think of music. The art is sometimes overshadowed, but I think that’s all about to change. ”
“I HAVE THIS AFFINITY FOR SIMPLIFYING.”
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Visit NatalieDunham.com for more info.
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MANGIA! Itâ€™s easy to fall in amore w
ith Lazzaroli Pasta.
By Alyssa Rabun | Photogr aphy by Tiffany Cla
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arked under the red, green and white awning of Lazzaroli Pasta, the license plate on Tom and Jenny Lazzaro’s SUV reads “RAVIOLI.” It’s true, the couple lives and breathes the art of pasta-making. “Pasta is our universe,” Tom says. Their unique shop is a little taste of Italy in the heart of Germantown, offering hand-crafted pasta, homemade sauces, local and imported meats and cheeses, and a selection of gourmet Italian ingredients that can be hard to find elsewhere. After meeting with Tom and getting a tour of Lazzaroli, I decided to try my hand at cooking a meal using only Lazzaroli ingredients. Of course, to do it right, I needed tips from the experts themselves. The shop’s decor screams, “We are proud to be Italian!” A map of Italy is hung above shelves that are lined with colorful and flavor-loaded products. Bottles of tangy balsamic lead to rows of extra virgin olive oils, and the biscotti tray overflows with flavors from cinnamon to Heath. Goods are accompanied by descriptions, which highlight the product’s origin and propose directions on how to enhance each flavor experience. A brochure for Balsamico Tradizionale, for example, encourages visitors to discover their “balsamic side” by noting the relationship between the vinegar’s acidity, aromatic complexity, taste and lifespan. Two large refrigerators draped with red and green waxed grapes contain the store’s signature item: handmade ravioli. Thin, delicately rolled sheets of pasta, individually filled with anything and everything delicious. From meats and vegetables to Italian cheeses, herbs and spices, these exquisite domes erupt with flavor. “I’ll stick anything in ravioli. I’ll chop up that handbag, put it in ravioli, and make it taste good,” jokes Tom, pointing at my purse, as he draws out a ham and cheese stuffed ravioli from the cooler. The shop offers a variety of imported products from around the world, but the Lazzaros strive to use local products whenever possible. They carry flavors of ravioli with local ingredients like shiitake mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes from Timbertop Farms in Ashland City and aged meats from The Hamery in Murfreesboro. They also serve coffee blends from Nashville’s Drew’s Brews and freshly baked biscotti from Tutto Bene Bakery in Goodlettsville. Mingling with the varied dishes they serve is your average cast of ItalianAmerican icons. Above the meat cooler, signed photographs of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro face each other in a playful duel. But these famous figures do not hold center stage. Instead, black-and-white photographs of Tom and Jenny’s ancestors are displayed in prominent locations around the store, reminding shoppers of the cultural and familial inspiration for the store’s creation. One photograph depicts Tom’s grandmother, Grandmom Amoroso, an Italian immigrant from the island of Sicily. He remembers her, saying,
“Although she passed when I was young, I remember her making fresh pasta on our kitchen counter, using flour and whole eggs.” Tom says that Grandmom Amoroso would either hand cut the pasta or use a make-shift chittara and rolling pin to craft the spaghetti. “My father and I pieced together her recipes with other family recipes passed down through generations. These authentic and highly successful cooking methods inspired us to produce pasta for the public.” In 2002, Tom and Jenny started making pasta out of a commercial kitchen in their Hendersonville, TN home. In 2005, they began selling their pasta out of a van at the Nashville Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. In 2007, due to an increasing demand for their product, the couple opened Lazzaroli Pasta Shop in Germantown with the help of Jenny’s mother, Debbie. They chose this location based on its accessibility to Nashvillians and citizens of surrounding towns. They also considered its proximity to their beginnings at the nearby Nashville Farmer’s Market. They promised to provide “the highest quality pasta possible.” This sounds simple enough. “We are an artisan pasta shop,” Tom says. “We have no interest in getting in the restaurant business. We just want to make the best pasta in the country. All we want to do is give
Lazzaroli Pasta is open 10–6 Tuesday–Saturday at 1314 5th Ave. N. Visit Lazzaroli.com for more info.
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people high quality, fresh pasta.” But it’s not always easy for Tom, Jenny and Debbie. They have to eat, sleep and breathe pasta in order to maintain this level of excellence. “Like I said, pasta is our universe,” Tom reiterates as I continue to browse the aisles. The shop caters to a large pool of regulars in addition to the steady flow of new
“WE HAVE NO INTEREST IN GETTING IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS.
WE JUST WANT TO MAKE THE BEST PASTA IN THE COUNTRY.” customers. “Many of our regulars come on Saturdays. On Saturday mornings we arrive early to make fresh mozzarella. We melt and shape mozzarella curds into succulent white spheres of cheese, and by early afternoon, we have sold out,” says Tom. Local pasta-lovers also come in to stock up on ravioli and sauces. The Lazzaroli team makes small batches of pasta, which allows
them to make a wide variety of flavors. At any given time, there may be up to twenty different flavors of ravioli and twenty varieties of sauce for sale in the shop. With this impressive variety, I was grateful to have the experts offer me guidance while I perused ingredients for my Italian feast. “I am a trained professional in manufacturing pasta,” says Tom, “but I am also a trained professional in eating it. So I can definitely make well-informed suggestions.” Tom recommended that I cook a local favorite, the goat cheese & pear ravioli topped with brown butter sauce, which offers a blend of premium goat cheese, subtle spice and sweet pears sautéed in white wine. Handmade and hand-stuffed in the shop and sold frozen, this pasta was one of the most divine meals I have ever made myself, with little thanks to my cooking abilities and a load of thanks to the Lazzaroli Pasta artisans that provided me with such an easily-prepared, but wildly delicious meal. After licking my plate clean of dribbled goat cheese and nearly forgotten pine nuts, I satisfied my sweet tooth with an oh-sotender butter pecan biscotti. It’s safe to say that I will be back to Germantown’s Micro Italy in the very near future. If “divine” and “simple” sound good to you, then pick up some ravioli and see for yourself. Buon Appetito!
PREPARING GOAT CHEESE & PEAR RAVIOLI WITH BROWN BUTTER SAUCE: Bring 6–8 quarts of water to boil. Add 2 Tbsp salt. Add frozen ravioli a few at a time to the boiling water. Stir ravioli frequently to prevent sticking. Cook for approximately 12–15 minutes, or until corners are tender. Do not overcook. To test, remove one ravioli and clip off a corner to taste. It should be al denté, not tough. Use a slotted spoon to remove ravioli, not a colander. Heat brown butter sauce in a saucepan until it is boiling slightly. Top ravioli with sauce and serve immediately to prevent drying. For an extra zing, sprinkle with lightly roasted pine nuts.
PREPARING BROWN BUTTER SAUCE: Cook ¼ stick butter in small non-black sauce pan on low heat. Stir until light brown in color, no longer. Remove from heat. You may add fresh sage to butter before cooking.
Recipe and ingredients: Courtesy of Lazzaroli Pasta
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By Jessica Jones | Photos by Ryan Green
n old stone house with red wooden shutters sits quietly at 2009 Belmont Boulevard. People mill back and forth in front of it. Nothing hints to its contents except a white sign tacked above the porch that reads: LOCAL HONEY. A fairly plain exterior might lead you to believe that nothing interesting is going on behind its doors. However, Local Honey showcases clothes by some of Nashville’s best designers and seamstresses. And upstairs, Alexia Abegg, is slowly trying to change sewing's reputation with her D.I.Y. sewing school, STITCH. I climb an old wooden staircase in the back of the store and turn the corner to find a room filled with stacks upon stacks of vibrantly-printed fabrics. They form tall towers of potential future projects. Alexia sits sewing at a table in the middle of them, facing a large window that looks out onto the boulevard below. She notices me, and we greet each other as she leads me into the adjacent room, which she uses for STITCH. Six work stations line the walls, and a green chalkboard shows remnants of last week's notes on how to do side seams. The smell of a warming iron fills the air. Class will begin soon. Alexia positions herself in front of the window so she can watch for incoming students. She peeks her head out every now and then for a better look. The coast is clear. STITCH offers three basic classes that are specifically designed for you to have a fun, stress-free experience. In Sewing 101 students complete simple projects, including a pincushion, wallet, and tote within a five-week period. Alexia says, “You learn a variety of techniques that are about getting comfortable on your machine, having fun, and not worrying about making mistakes along the way. You don't have to be a crazy perfectionist always ripping out your stitches.” After most of the two hour classes in Sewing 101, you'll be able to hold in your hands something you’ve made. “I'm very much about creating finished items. The most gratifying thing when you're learning to sew is actually completing something,” she says. Sewing 102 allows students to bring in a project of any skill level to work on. Alexia is able to give the students the individual attention they need for their specific projects because of her six-student class limit. She says, “I've made so many different things over the course of the last fifteen years
that I can say with confidence: anything someone stumbles across in 102, I can help them with.” Similar to Sewing 101, STITCH's Beginner’s Quilting class requires no previous knowledge of its subject. Students learn how to patchwork fabric pieces into a quilt top and complete a sampler of multiple quilting techniques.“If you like fabric and you like pairing fabrics together, more than likely you will like quilting,” says Alexia. In addition to all of the STITCH classes, she offers private lessons and oneday workshops on hand embroidery, scrap quilting, and gift making (around the holiday season). As students for her Sewing 102 class filter in, I start asking them how they heard about STITCH and why they're taking classes here. Two girls say they had bad experiences taking lessons at a craft store chain and heard good things about STITCH. One student has been taking lessons with Alexia since STITCH opened two years ago. She keeps retaking Sewing 102, bringing in different projects to work on. Today she's piecing together a ruffle on an A-line dress. Another student is struggling with the fit of her nearly complete satin top; Alexia offers a quick fix with elastic, and the problem is resolved within minutes. Classes take place in the evenings, starting at 6:30 pm on weekdays. “If they've just gotten off work, this is something that they can come and do that's fun,” she says. Sewing 101 and 102 are also offered on Saturdays. “It's a social time where you're visiting with different people. Usually there's a pretty good age span in each class and a variety of students from different vocations and neighborhoods,” Alexia says. Every once in a while Alexia will get a guy in her class. She says she has a mind to develop a male-based version of Sewing 101 that focuses on making utility items such as tool rolls or shop aprons. Like her business, Alexia's whole life seems to be a case of one craft project after another. This might be due in part to a childhood of watching her mother create beautiful pieces for freelance sewing jobs. There was no question that Alexia would learn to sew one day, and her mother would be the one to teach her. Neither predicted it would go awry. Alexia recalls, “I was 11 or 12, and it was my first real ‘Mom’s gonna teach me how to sew’ moment.” She picked out her pattern:
All enquiries related to STITCH classes can be directed to: StitchNashville@yahoo.com.
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a long sleeveless empire waist dress with twenty buttons up the front, a classic 90’s show-stopper. An impatient Alexia could only get five steps into the pattern before she gave in and asked her mother, “Do you actually like doing this?” She laughs, “I love my mother, and she’s a big part of why I do this, but she’s a perfectionist, and that’s not always the best kind of teacher.” Incidentally, this formed Alexia's laid back philosophy when it comes to teaching beginners. “That dress is probably in a box somewhere still unfinished,” she says. Her mother let Alexia borrow the sewing machine again a couple of years after the first lesson—this time sans guidance or rules. “I just started experimenting, and that's what made me come to love sewing—making mistakes and making terribly ugly dresses out of old sheets from the thrift store,” Alexia says. Alexia consistently sewed throughout her teenage years, but went on to pursue photography and, later, wardrobe styling. It was when she found herself sewing clothes for her wardrobe job that a light bulb went off, prompting her to apply to work at a local fabric store, Textile Fabrics. Things started falling into place. “I saw all of these amazing things people were making, all the time, every day. Not only did being immersed in it teach me an immense amount about sewing, it was also inspiring. So I just started sewing a lot,” Alexia says. She started making clothes and purses and selling them around town on consignment. Customers would often ask her to sew things for them. Suddenly she found herself making everything from bridesmaid dresses to Christmas stockings. Intrigued by fashion but still chained to a love of fine arts, Alexia decided it was time to go to design school. She started attending O'More College of Design, a small local college in Franklin. It was there that Alexia got her first taste of teaching. Her sewing experience was evident in her construction classes, and classmates would often ask her for help installing zippers.“I got a glimpse of that interaction and I loved it,” she says. When an opportunity to teach a few classes at Textile Fabrics came up, Alexia took it. After two years at O'More and Textile, Alexia became restless. She was eager to fulfill her creative calling, but she didn't know exactly what it looked like yet; a move to New York was in order. After she and her husband were settled, Alexia got a job at a quilting shop in Manhattan called The City Quilter. This small shop opened up her eyes much like Textile did in Nashville years before. Ev-
ery day of the week, The City Quilter offered classes that were always filled with students. She says, “It was the first time that I saw craft classes on that type of scale. I thought ‘This is interesting.’ I like the idea that you can have a regular flow of new and intriguing classes. It brings people together.” She began assisting with some of those classes, mentally taking notes. Alexia and her husband moved back to Nashville after a full year of being inspired by New York, though she occasionally made trips back to teach classes at The City Quilter. “Those classes were just more and more affirmation for me. I kept thinking – ‘Okay, this is something I want to be doing.'” In Nashville, Alexia started to teach private lessons from her home. At first it was just friends, but she gradually saw more and more people she didn’t know sign up. The last six months she was teaching at her house, Alexia started envisioning what it would look like if she were to do this on a bigger scale. She says, “I got to experiment with my curriculum. I figured out the structure of teaching the basics and began to see how more advanced classes would work.” Alexia mentioned her plans to Shea Steele, who was relocating her boutique, Local Honey, at the time. As Shea was considering the house on Belmont Boulevard, Alexia came to mind. Alexia says, “The combination of these things in the same place just kind of made sense. I thought, ‘Ok I either take the leap, or I don’t.'” Right now Alexia is perfectly happy to be perched above Local Honey. She says, “I think the great thing about this location and Shea is that she's open to a lot of different things. She's always supported small businesses and welcomed them into her spaces. This building will provide a great opportunity for someone else when I'm ready to move on. Somebody else will be able to come in and get with Shea and have that help.” As for the future, Alexia feels there’s potential for STITCH. She says, “I think I've just committed myself to being patient and growing this in a very organic way. I hope to keep it that way as much as possible.” Alexia is still keeping an eye out for the perfect stand-alone space for STITCH, and she hopes to incorporate a retail store with the additional space. “I would love to be able to offer everything in-house that you'd need for a class—fabric, supplies, all of that.” Alexia is in love with Nashville and thinks this is the ideal spot for her business. “If you have an idea that's unique and true to yourself, it’s more than likely you can do it here. I hope that in some small way we are establishing ourselves as a creative, openminded community of people that want to learn and want to make their own path.”
“I LIKE THE IDEA THAT YOU CAN HAVE A REGULAR FLOW OF NEW AND INTRIGUING CLASSES. IT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER.”
OH, F I LM N E RD I N MUSICCITY
the roCKy horror PiCture show is BaCK this month, aGain. BY SARAH BROWN
would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey”— a journey into the wildly exuberant, kinky and downright weird world of the greatest cult film experience of all time—The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This raucous musical adventure details the exploits of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, “two young, ordinary, healthy kids,” who become lost on the back roads of southern Ohio on a stormy night and, finding themselves with a flat, must seek assistance at a nearby isolated castle. Immediately they are sucked into the Bedlam-worthy shenanigans of sweet transvestite and mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter and his entourage of tap-dancing groupies, incestuous extraterrestrial servants, unconventional conventionalists and one golden-clad, bioengineered boy-toy named Rocky. What ensues is a night of genderblind seduction and betrayal, artificial birth and icy axe murder, antimatter rays and elbow sex, and just a dash of cannibalism to keep things interesting. If “greatest of all time” seems like a difficult superlative pill to swallow, grab a tall glass of water and prepare to gulp down the truth. Marking its thirty-seventh anniversary at the end of last month, RHPS is still shown in theaters around the globe, weekly at some, and boasts the longest running theatrical release in the history of film. Although the film initially flopped, it has since grossed nearly 140 times its production budget of just over a million dollars—and it’s still going strong. In fact, for better or worse, the Halloween-time midnight screenings (if you could call them that) grow in popularity every year, a phenomenon that can be witnessed right here in Nashville. In the decade or so since our local midnight productions moved from Franklin to Hillsboro Village’s Belcourt, audiences have swelled dramatically, with tickets for the Halloween shows selling out earlier and earlier each year. A film seemingly destined to languish, forgotten, in Ed Wood’s moldy basement, it now enjoys a permanent spot in the halls of pop culture glory. It is the ironclad standard by which all other cult movies are measured, and it has spawned countless imitators trying all too self-consciously to recreate the Rocky Horror experience, generally with little success. Just what is it that makes this B-movie spoof of B-movies so perennially enjoyable? In 1973, from the twisted mind of Richard O’Brien sprang a horror genre homage of a rock n’ roll musical called The Rocky Horror Show, which ran as a six-week workshop in the experimental Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court in London. It immediately became such a sensation that it was forced to relocate to progressively larger venues to accommodate its ever-burgeoning audiences. Ode Records owner and powerhouse producer Lou Adler saw the play during a visit to England and loved it so much that he acquired the rights within 36 hours to produce it for the American stage. It was a natural progression that led to the adaptation of the dynamic play into a film; after all, it is film itself that the story both parodies and pays heartfelt homage.
It retained much of the original cast, including O’Brien himself the butler Riff Raff and the 28-year-old breakout sensation Tim Curry as leading man Frank. They were joined by then little-known actors Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon to round out the cast as Brad and Janet, and thus nearly career-devastating history was made. Debuting on September 26, 1975, the film was almost immediately a failure—except at the theater in Los Angeles where it premiered. There, the same people were showing up night after night. However, it truly broke out on the other coast, where the Waverly Theater in New York City continued its very successful midnight movie series with a screening of RHPS on April Fools Day, 1976. It was a smash with Manhattan viewers and began cultivating its own rabid following. According to Sal Piro, longtime president of the official fan club and author of RHPS bible Creatures of the Night, there was a general party atmosphere to be felt at these early showings which naturally generated audience response to the film—booing and cheering at the appropriate situations. On Labor Day weekend 1976, it was one of these regulars who made cult history when he felt compelled to yell a humorous “call-back” at the screen. Needless to say, the practice proved more contagious than the common cold. A few weeks later, people started showing up in costume. Some of the regular participants started a lip-syncing gag which eventually progressed into a spontaneous live floor show—to tremendous audience response. Cleverer call backs were tossed out each week, while the ranks of the costumed contingency became ever larger and more elaborate. Before long, the showings had evolved into a fully interactive experience, complete with numerous props to be employed at certain cues, a canonized script of counterlines memorized by rote, full houses dancing the iconic “Time Warp,” and eventually “shadow casts”—the diehards who rose up from their seats to act out the entire film in front of the screen. It was officially a sensation. From New York it spread, slowly at first but gaining wildfire momentum, to theaters all across the country. Eventually, of course, it found its way to Music City, where weekly midnight screenings were run at the Cinema South Theater starting in 1979. At that time, there was no Nashville shadow cast, but when the event was relocated to the Franklin Theater in the Eighties, a group of fans gelled together. Two of the founding members, Brandy Salter and Tracy Saunier, aptly named it “Little Morals,” drawing on a line from the film. Little Morals has been dominating RHPS audience participation in this town ever since, moving with the screenings to our beloved Belcourt in the nineties, where it shows to this day. While not affiliated with the Belcourt in any official capacity, the cast is essential in orchestrating the grand spectacle of audience participation, with their obsessive mastery of the art of call-backs and screen gags providing structure to what would otherwise be a disorderly
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the roCKy horror PiCture show will Be PlayinG: midniGht on oCtoBer 26 and 27 + 10Pm on halloween. Visit BelCourt.orG For more inFo.
NASHVILLE mob of drunks shouting incoherently at the screen and stumbling through the dances; they make it possible for even the Virgin (as RHPS first-timers are called) to keep up with the madness. Little Morals’ ringleader and retired Eddie-protrayer Ryan Williams was generous enough to grant us an interview, in which he expounded on the virtues of the Rocky Horror experience. As he explains, the film’s solid cinematic production, comedic melodrama, and irresistibly catchy musical numbers are enough in themselves to inspire the devotion of film lovers, but it is the viewing experience that truly draws in the crowds. It is often social outcasts, proud sexual deviants and lighthearted degenerates who find that participating in the rambunctious antics of these recurrent showings offer them a sense of belonging. The general attitude of the Rocky Horror devotee is one that not only accepts outrageous behavior but ardently encourages it, providing an outlet rarely found elsewhere in the humdrum world of polite convention. It is an experience that feeds off of “youthful energy, rebellion, non-conformity and downright kink,” centered around this little marvel of a film with its “strong iconography of sexual liberation.” To the Virgin, Ryan recommends attending one of the inexplicably mellower Saturday night showings (as opposed to the often surlier, harsher and more critical Fridays) with friends who are already fans so one can follow their lead through the ridiculous antics of the evening. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the mania, but like any first time, one should just stay relaxed, have another drink and let it happen. The wild ride that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one not to be missed, whether it’s the first time or the one hundred and first, so get those tickets early before they inevitably sell out. Happy Halloween, film lovers! See you in the dark.
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NATIVE ANIMAL OF THE MONTH
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum:Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Chiroptera, Family: Vespertilionidae, Genus: Lasiurus, Species: L. Cinereus
HOARY BAT Lasiurus Cinereus: (n) A cuddly flying micro werewolf. Other names: flittermouse (Old English), chauve-souris ("bald-mouse" in French), murciélago ("blind mouse" in Spanish), letuchaya mysh ("flying mouse" in Russian), nahkhiir ("leather mouse" in Estonian), vlermuis (“winged mouse” in Afrikaans)
ou probably think of Halloween when you think of bats, which is (of course) why the hoary bat is the October “Native Animal of the Month.” That and, well, it’s got a pretty funny name. But most people have bats all wrong. Take the bat’s name, for starters. Across many languages, it’s been called every type of mouse: bald, blind, flying, leather, winged, you name it. But bats aren’t mice at all. They’re not even closely related to mice, or rodents for that matter. They’re more closely related to bears, dolphins, hippopotamuses, and horses. The fact that bats are nocturnal is a poor excuse for us knowing so little about them. Nearly a quarter of all mammals on Earth are bats. Hoary bats themselves are thought to be found across all 50 states, making them the most widespread in the country. And they’re helpful, too. Bats eat pesky bugs and contribute to a healthy ecosystem by controlling the insect population. In Tennessee alone, bats save the agricultural industry an estimated $313 million a year. As the only mammals able to maintain true and sustained flight, bats use echolocation to find their way around in the dark. Hoary bats eat mostly moths, some of which have adapted to bats in surprising ways. Instinctively, some moths twitch and flutter errati-
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cally when they detect a bat, sending the moth into evasive maneuvers. (Humans may have a similar reflex, but this has yet to be scientifically proven.) Contrary to popular belief, when bats swoop close to you, they’re not trying to get in your hair—unless you use Pert Plus. They’re just trying to eat small bugs near your face. So, say “thank you” next time a bat narrowly misses your noggin’. The hoary bat is what you would expect a bat to be. It’s a standard midsize model, about half a foot long, with a wingspan of 16 inches and weighs in at about an ounce. (By comparison, the smallest bat is the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, which weighs less than a penny, and the largest bat is the giant golden-crowned flying fox, which has a wingspan of six feet.) Despite their average size, hoary bats aren’t exactly ordinary. They’re reproductively exceptional. Despite what you might guess, the hoary bat’s name doesn’t comment on its, um, “socialness.” Although they do “get around,” “hoary” actually means “frosty- or ash-colored hairy tail.” (Sure, it does.) We’ll spare you the details about its extra nipples and unusually large broods, but let’s just say it’s no wonder hoary bats aren’t in any danger of extinction. Sadly, the same can’t be said of many of the hoary bat’s cousins, including the
gray bat. A fungal infection called whitenose syndrome has ravaged bat populations across the globe, and has seriously impacted gray bat populations in Tennessee. With a mortality rate of 95%, millions of bats have already died across 19 states. Tennessee’s bat population has been reduced to half of what it was before the disease spread. There’s no treatment and no cure; however, we do know that the fungus is an invasive species from Europe—like manpris—but that’s about all that is known about the deadly white-nose syndrome (which, it should be pointed out, has not been known to infect humans in any way). Luckily, The Nature Conservancy is working to save the bats, in spite of their desperate need for financial support. Just last month, The Nature Conservancy opened a new artificial bat cave near Nashville to address this urgent issue. The subterranean cave can accommodate 200,000 bats, and could save local populations from extinction. This “bat bunker,” is open for business just in time for the winter. Even though you can’t live there (unless you have an exceedingly convincing Halloween costume), you can support those who can. Just visit nature.org and make a donation to the Tennessee chapter. Tell us you made a donation by tweeting #BatCave to @NativeNashville.
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Lunch specials daily. 1012 Woodland Street Nashville, TN 37206 (615) 915 - 4174 FivePointsPizza.com 66 / / / /
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Published on Oct 1, 2012
Featuring Nashville's Kopecky Family Band, Arcade Death, Meadownoise, Mambu, Olive and Sinclair, Daniel Holland, Honeybean Natalie Dunham, L...