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TABLE OF CONTENTS JANUARY 2016

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44

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66

20 THE GOODS 24

15 Beer from Here 18 Cocktail 20 Master Platers 85 You Oughta Know 88 Observatory 93 Animal of the Month

FEATURES 24 Anderson East 34 Cage the Elephant 44 NATIVE High School Superlatives 58 Street Theatre Company 66 Studio NPL 76 Rotier’s Restaurant

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SEE YOU ON YOUR MAT. HYEN 2016

10

CLASSES FOR $20

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CHEMISTRY CLUB

DRUNK UNCLE by Ben Clemons of No. 308 photo by j e n mc don a l d

Equal parts SNL reference and the bitter truth. We’ve all got that family member who hangs out too long by the punch bowl during the holidays. Heck, it may even be you. If not, put on your ugliest holiday sweater, grab your Marty Moose mug, and load up on this boozy winter warmer.

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THE GOODS 1 oz Great King St. Scotch 1 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch 1 oz apple cider 1/4 oz Fee Brothers Falernum syrup

F Shake all ingredients and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass or punch glass/mug. F Garnish with a green apple slice and as much profanity as humanly possible.


e a lb u m r e le a s

featuring The

&

Dead Dea ds

mystery twins

JA

9 2 Y R NUA

Th E S tO N E Fo X


HOME EC

CHICKEN CASSOULET WITH CHEF DAN FORBERG

PHOTOS BY DANIELLE ATKINS

OWNER OF ACTUAL FOOD

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THE GOODS One 4-lb Wedge Oak whole chicken salt and pepper 1/2 cup diced bacon 4 Wedge Oak sausage links 1 yellow onion, diced 1 carrot, diced 1 stalk celery, diced 8 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 cup red wine 1 quart beef stock, divided 1/2 tsp nutmeg 8 allspice berries 4 bay leaves 4 packets gelatin 3 cans cannellini beans

DIRECTIONS F Preheat the oven to 375 F. F Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour in the upper third of the oven. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the bacon, sausage, and vegetables. F Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Brown the bacon and transfer it to a plate. Leave the bacon fat in the skillet. Set the bacon aside. F Cook the sausages in the skillet until just browned (they don’t need to be cooked through; they’ll cook more later). Remove the sausages and allow them to cool. F Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until soft. Stir in the tomato paste. F Increase the heat to medium and add the wine. With a wooden spoon, scrape and stir the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add 3 cups of stock and the nutmeg, allspice berries, and bay leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and aromatics. Stir in the gelatin and set the stock aside. F Remove the chicken from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and pull the meat. Decrease the oven to 325 F. F Slice the sausages to your preference. Add the chicken, bacon, and sausages to the skillet along with the cannellini beans and the seasoned stock. F Bake uncovered for 2 1/2 hours. Stir periodically and add stock and water as needed to prevent drying out. Increase the oven to 350 F and continue baking untouched until a crust forms, about 30 minutes. Remove and enjoy.

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VARSITY

HOW ANDERSON EAST WENT FROM SINGING IN A CHURCH CHOIR IN ALABAMA TO TOURING WITH STURGILL SIMPSON BY ANDREW LEAHEY PHOTOS BY LAURA E. PARTAIN

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ANDERSON EAST DOESN’T KNOW WHERE HE IS. “I think we are headed up to Boston,” he says one afternoon while his twelve-passenger van hurdles down another strip of long, anonymous American interstate. Anderson looks around the car, taking in the six musicians who’ve joined him on this tour. Things have changed since the beginning of 2015, when he kicked off the year as Sturgill Simpson’s opening act. Anderson was still a one-man band back then, hitting the stage every night with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and his rafter-reaching rasp of a voice. Later, while touring with artists like Brandi Carlile and the Lone Bellow, he began piecing together a proper band, welcoming more and more musicians into the van whenever the budget allowed. The lineup grew. The sound expanded. The only thing that didn’t change, really, was the pavement that stretched to the horizon day after day,

connecting one venue to the next. Today, nearly a year after Anderson hit the road with Sturgill, the highway still looks the same. “Boston, right?” he asks his passengers, hoping for confirmation. You can’t blame Anderson for being confused. It’s been a blur of a year. Back in 2014, when he was still working on the album that would become Delilah, the guy was broke, doing odd jobs around the studio to scrape together enough funds for the recording sessions. One day he’d be tracking vocals. The next he’d be vacuuming carpets and sanding floors. He even joined his producer, Dave Cobb, on a work trip to Sweden, where the two recorded the newest album by Europe, the hair-metal Scandinavians whose biggest hit—“The Final Countdown”—stormed American shores two years before Anderson was born. It was during the Sweden trip that Dave received good news: Atlantic Records had

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signed Sturgill Simpson, one of his biggest clients, to a multi-album deal. Looking to toss a bone to the producer who’d helped get him there, the Atlantic execs also awarded Dave his own record label imprint. He didn’t have to look very far for his first artist. “Anderson was the first person I thought about,” says Dave. “He had all the factors. The first time I met him, I was watching a friend of mine play a songwriters’ round at the Bluebird, and Anderson was part of the round too. It’s such a quiet place there; you aren’t allowed to make a peep. Anderson’s turn comes up, and he starts to sing, and it sounds unbelievable. I’m such a sucker for those great, raspy voices like Rod Stewart or Joe Cocker. Then he stops after about ten seconds and goes, ‘I’m sorry, guys. I have to go to the bathroom.’ Then he goes and takes a piss and holds up the entire crowd! He had everybody in the palm of his hands, just waiting. Then he comes back, and he’s slapping people on the back as he walks through the room, saying, ‘I’m sorry, buddy!’ And he gets back to the mic and starts the song again and kills it. He broke the weirdness that tends to happen in that kind of place, and he was so charming. He had everybody on his team. I was hooked from the start.” Everything moved quickly once Anderson signed with Dave’s new label, Low Country Sound. He flew home from Sweden, finished recording Delilah over Christmas weekend, and jumped into the van—nicknamed “Marge” in honor of a Homer Simpson bobblehead figurine that sits on the car’s dash—shortly after New Year’s. Then he spent an entire year on the road, racking up nearly three hundred gigs in twelve months. “He’s in a place where he gets onstage and it just clicks for him,” Dave says. “Last time I saw him was during AmericanaFest, and he was playing City Winery, where people usually sit down. But he’s up there, doing what he does, and he’s got every single person out of their seats. People were dancing on tables. He’s playing a lot of shows lately, just constantly touring, and he’s really hitting his stride out there.” XXX

ANDERSON EAST: andersoneast.com Follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @AndersonEast native.is

Things didn’t move quite so fast in Athens, Alabama, where Anderson spent his childhood. To most, the town is just an interstate exit off I-65 South, caught halfway between the bigger cities of Muscle Shoals and Huntsville. To Anderson, it was home—although not always a particularly inspiring one. “It’s a growing place now, but back then, it was pretty small,” he says. “Just your average small Southern town. A church on every block. It was a dry community too. No bars, no music scene, no real arts scene at all beyond

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the fiddler’s convention that came through once a year. I was just an aimless youth down there. I wasn’t really sure what the hell to do.” Every Sunday, though, Anderson knew where he’d be: at Tanner First Baptist Church. It was a family tradition. His grandfather was the preacher, his mother the pianist. His dad even sang in the church choir. Anderson couldn’t have avoided going to church if he’d tried, so he showed up week after week, year after year. It became his main musical outlet, giving him the chance to sing in the choir, play guitar in the praise band, and soak up the holy-rolling spirit out in the pews. He still hasn’t lost respect for the way those gospel hymns sounded. “When I was twelve or thirteen, they tried to get hip and do the modern ‘praise and worship’ thing, but I was much more a fan of the old hymns,” he remembers. “The old songs like ‘You Are My All in All’ are the ones that stick. They’re simple and they’re easy to grasp. I think they’re meant for an entire congregation of people to sing. And when you have that sort of simplicity, I think that’s where some great pop music can happen. Pop music is for the masses. The melody of that kind of music really sticks with you.” Anderson moved to Murfreesboro after high school graduation. The original plan was to study audio engineering at MTSU, although his focus kept drifting north, where Nashville loomed less than an hour away. “It was almost a cop-out, to be so close to the big city without actually living there,” he says. Finally, the proximity became too much to ignore. With two years of school left to go, Anderson packed up his guitars and headed to the state capital, where he and another MTSU undergrad shared a place

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near Southern Thrift on Delmas Avenue. He stayed in school, but his final four semesters were harder than he’d anticipated. “Getting to MTSU was a forty-five-minute drive one way,” he remembers, “and when you had an early-ass class, it was miserable.” Even so, the time spent outside of the classroom was worth the hassle. Back home in Alabama, he’d been a big fish in a small pond, armed with the sort of super-sized voice that easily attracted attention. In Nashville, though, he was just a drop in the bucket. Here was a challenging, competitive city, filled with musicians who’d dedicated their lives to the thrill of stepping onstage. Anderson was terrified, but he was inspired too. This was what he’d been waiting for. Pushed to make a dent in a scene already filled with musicians, he got to work. “My intention was always selfish,” he says of his first years in town. “I always wanted to make my own music, release my own music, play my own shows. But I had to eat, too, so I wound up helping a lot of other people make records. I engineered albums and produced more records than I can possibly want to think about. Then I met Holly Williams, whose husband had picked up a gig as the auxiliary guy for Kings of Leon. He usually played guitar for her band, so she asked me if I could fill in, just singing harmonies and playing guitar during her shows. I did that for a while. Then I started a studio in the bottom of a house in Green Hills with my friend Scotty, where we recorded records with people like Kelsey Waldon and Jonah Tolchin. That was our little world down there, in the bottom floor of that house, for nearly four years.” Meanwhile, Anderson kept working on his own music too. Flowers of


“I’M JUST A KID WHO GREW UP IN ALABAMA, AND I’M TRYING TO BE SINCERE WITH WHAT I WRITE, AND THIS IS HOW IT SOUNDS.”

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the Broken Hearted, a double album of original tunes, hit stores in 2012, presenting a young singer rooted in the Southern soul of an older generation. Anderson recorded half of the album in Los Angeles, backed by a band that included Stevie Nicks’ lead guitarist and members of the Counting Crows. On a record filled with serious star power, though, it was Anderson’s voice that shone the brightest—even if he now describes the project’s length as “a whole lot of overcompensation.” On Delilah, Anderson sharpens his focus. The new songs are lean and greasy, filled with blasts of brass, swells of organ, and plenty of electric guitar. They’re infinitely danceable, too, from the up-tempo numbers— including a cover of George Jackson’s little-known “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em And Forget ‘Em,” cowritten in the 1970s with FAME Studios owner Rick Hall—to the ballads. Everything relies on groove and melody. Finally, with a running time of thirty-three minutes, Delilah never comes close to wearing out its welcome. “It’s just Southern, American music,” he says of the album’s sound. “Gospel, R&B, country, soul, Southern rock—I think it all holds on to the same rope. I’m just a kid who grew up in Alabama, and I’m trying to be sincere with what I write, and this is how it sounds.”

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XXX Meanwhile, back in the van, Anderson and company are still heading to Boston. Or maybe it’s New York. Or Toronto, possibly? It’s all a blur, honestly. But the road rolls on. The city looms ahead. And Anderson, after spending several years firing up the engines, is a musician on the move.

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JUST LIKE STARTING OVER

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THE HOMECOMING KINGS

CAGE THE ELEPHANT DISCUSSES RECORDING WITH DAN AUERBACH, THEIR NEW ALBUM, TELL ME I’M PRETTY, AND LIFE IN NASHVILLE BY CHARLIE HICKERSON PHOTOS BY JESS WILLIAMS

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THE FIRST TIME I SAW CAGE THE ELEPHANT, frontman Matt Shultz was climbing the scaffolding of Bonnaroo’s That Tent while wearing a red spandex bodysuit that had a syringe and a pill printed on it. A crowd surfer kicked me in the head, a security guard slammed a kid face-first into the stage, and someone official-looking told me to “back the fuck up” as I tried to join the twenty some-odd fans that had clawed their way onstage. I left feeling like I’d accomplished something—like it was a feat to survive Cage the Elephant live. Back then, in 2009, this was the sort of spectacle that defined Cage. They were baby-faced Kentuckians with a reputation for raucous live shows and a chart-topping single about prostitutes, crooked preachers, and muggers. And in a year dominated by the likes of Lady Gaga, Phoenix, and “Use Somebody”– era Kings of Leon, that was refreshing. It was gritty, no-frills rock made by gritty, no-frills dudes. Seven years and three albums later, it’s an understatement to say that things have changed. Cage has sold out arenas with The Black Keys and Foo Fighters, survived a major lineup change (former lead guitarist Lincoln Parish left amicably after 2013’s Melophobia to focus on producing), and, following their 2014 appearance on The Late Show, inspired David Letterman to exclaim, “I mean, my God, really, that’s it. No more calls, we have a winner!” The boys from Bowling Green have done good—and then some. Melophobia, the album that played a major role in spawning these opportunities, saw Cage adding horns, strings, and an Alison Mosshart feature to their traditionally bare-bones guitarbass-drums-vocals instrumentation. Lyrically, Matt turned inward, trading narratives about degenerates and kids worrying about haircuts for reflections on ennui and mortality. Suddenly, Matt—the guy who’d danced to Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” while wearing a pink tutu in a now-infamous YouTube video—was singing lines like, “From

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room to room he moves about / Fills his life with pointless things / And wonders how it all turns out.” The album established them as a twenty-first century anomaly of sorts: a straight-up rock band that could please critics, get airplay, and sell tickets. Cage earned their first-ever Grammy nomination for Alternative Album of the Year with Melophobia, and on the support tour, they revisited nearly every major American festival, taking stages that were twice the size of the ones they’d played three to four years earlier. Now, they find themselves in an interesting position: What do you do for the follow-up to your biggest album yet? XXX This morning, after a round of disc golf near bassist Daniel Tichenor’s East Nashville home, Cage doesn’t seem too worried about that question. They’re smoking Parliaments, singing the praises of Chrome Pony (who they’re seeing tonight at The Basement East), and discussing Two Ten Jack’s Brussels sprouts. It’s a rare slice of non-tour life in Cage’s adopted home, where most of the guys have taken up the domestic routine—four out of the six are now married, and two have kids. Guitarist and Matt’s brother, Brad Shultz, later laments that their upcoming outings— a quick West Coast run, an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, local release shows at Studio 615, Grimey’s, and The Basement East, and a looming European tour—will be the first where his daughter is old enough to actually realize he’s gone. Ungodly scheduling aside, Cage is proud to spend their ever-diminishing free time in Nashville. They beam over local acts such as Turbo Fruits, Fly Golden Eagle, Ranch Ghost, and Clear Plastic Masks, and they speak of Be Your Own Pet, MeeMaw, and now-demolished house venue Glenn Danzig’s House with earnest reverence. “I mean, I’ve thought about mov-

“I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT MOVING ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES, AND THE ONLY PLACE I WANT TO LIVE—AND THE ONLY PLACE I IMAGINE MYSELF LIVING IN—IS NASHVILLE.”

ing anywhere in the United States, and the only place I want to live—and the only place I imagine myself living in—is Nashville,” says Nick Bockrath, who, along with multiinstrumentalist Matthan Minster, is the newest addition to Cage’s lineup. They were both recruited through fellow Bowling Green natives Morning Teleportation, and Nick used to play with local singersongwriter Rayland Baxter. “[Nashville] has been hugely influential,” Matt adds. “We’ve made a lot of great friends too. There’s a purity in the approach that I wouldn’t say is unmatched, but it’s just . . . the bands that are making music here are supercharged for their cause. And that’s to be admired.” Given their tour history and affinity for Nashville-based acts, it’s not a shocker that Cage tapped The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach to produce their latest album, Tell Me I’m Pretty. Not only is the album their first without Lincoln, the guitar wunderkind who’d first joined Cage at fifteen years old, it’s also their first without local producer Jay Joyce. “We knew the direction we were going in for this record and knew we were looking for a raw, grittier sound,” Matt explains. “And when you think about guys on the production side, there’s not a lot of people that are doing that kind of thing at the level Dan is.” Matt’s emphasis on rawness is echoed by the rest of band throughout the morning, which makes sense when


“RECOGNIZING THE SAD AND THE DARK IN THE WORLD.

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CAGE THE ELEPHANT: cagetheelephant.com Follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @CagetheElephant native.is

you consider the sound of and process kind of cliché, but when you go through leading up to Melophobia. Sure, the something like that, you grow closer.” Tell Me I’m Pretty’s straightforward album has its fair share of aggressive noise rock (see the jarring “Teeth” and nature can also be attributed to Dan, “Spiderhead”), but it also shows Cage who encouraged Cage to value sponat their most polished. If Melophobia— taneity over perfection. Scratch vocals with its ambitious arrangements, layers were used throughout the album, guion layers of overdubs, and months-long tars were left gnarled and raspy, and recording process—is Cage’s Imagine, some songs, like the slinky, melancholic Tell Me I’m Pretty is their Plastic Ono “How Are You True” were even knocked Band. It’s a sparse, somber bit of expres- out in one take. During the sessions, sionism that was recorded in less than Dan would also play esoteric records— a third of the time it took them to com- like Brazilian garage rock—from his personal collection to help inspire the guys. plete their last record. “It became this game in the band to try “Melophobia is what we needed to bring us to this record,” Brad says. “We got a and figure out what Dan was playing us. lot better at understanding each other We couldn’t even Shazam it,” Brad says, throughout that process . . . Honestly laughing. “Me and Nick would be like, that record was hell to make. And it’s ‘Cool, what’s that?’ And he’d just [an-

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swer], ‘Yeah,’ and kind of turn his iPod away and walk away . . . He just gets you into a really creative headspace.” That creative headspace yielded a Cage record that strays even further from their ’90s alt-rock roots than Melophobia. It’s their most cinematic effort yet, coating everything from neo-noir to surf rock to rockabilly with a Syd Barrett-y sheen. Sonically, you could make the case that it’s a love letter to the Beatles, Tommy James and The Shondells, and Joe Cocker records that the Shultzes grew up listening to with their parents. The album even begins with a muddy, galloping bass line that calls to mind The Shondells’ “Draggin’ the Line.” It’s a collection of honest, three- to fourminute songs made by a group of guys


who love honest, three- to four-minute songs. “For the first time in a long time, it kind of felt like we were those same kids in Bowling Green, Kentucky, getting together, jamming, making music,” Brad says. “Creatively, I felt like there was a weight lifted off of my chest. Like I could create songs and have fun with it.” The process was less romantic for Matt. On the one hand, his efforts to shed the characters and storytelling that characterized earlier Cage releases have produced some of his best lyrics to date. On the other, the introspection he’s replaced those stories with takes an emotional toll. It’s a doubleedged sword that he hasn’t fully come

Matt pleads: “Got so much to lose / Got to terms with. “With each record, I’m trying to be so much to prove / God don’t let me more and more transparent. And at a lose my mind.” “There are times where things in certain point, it becomes kind of uncomfortable. It’s like, this is basically a your life become so valuable. And journal entry. Some of it felt a little too when it feels like everything is closing in around you, the idea of imminent close,” he reveals. These journal entries come out most doom can start to weigh pretty heavy notably on “Trouble” and “How Are on your mind,” Matt says. “[‘Trouble’] You True,” a pair of ballads that serve is about waiting for life’s next big blow, as the centerpiece of the album. The I guess.” Brad shakes his head and gives an alformer depicts a scenario in which two people sit down to have the ever-dread- most bemused smirk. “That really has ed “deep talk,” but midway through the been me and Matt’s whole life. When conversation, one party begins to won- times are good, it always seems like . . der if the whole process is anything .” he trails off before Matt, who looks more than pageantry. Over a grandiose like he’s still thinking about “Trouble,” fuzz line that sounds like The Stooges cuts back in. “There are different seasons in life. playing The Phantom of the Opera riff,

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There are peaks and valleys. I think for a “And it’s this presentation of only highs, long time I’ve been afraid of the valleys, so it’s this unreachable . . .” “Unbalanced perception of life,” Danbut, you know, we’ll see where life takes us. They’re both important,” he pauses, iel says in his even-keeled baritone almost as if to reassure himself that he’s while staring at the ground. Coming off of Brad and Matt’s animated back-andright. “They’re both important.” The idea of accepting the valleys and forth, it’s an almost startling change in honestly presenting them relates to the the conversation’s tone. Like Daniel is album’s title, which is a partial reaction the Elwood to the Shultzes’ Jake. “Exactly,” Matt continues, more reto the personas people cultivate through social media. “We live in a selfie genera- served. “Not only that, but people are tion where we’re constantly curating the dying to be accepted or loved and [want presentation of our lives,” Matt begins. to] force you to accept them. And hon-

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estly, I’m not against social media in any regard; we all have our own choice on how to use those things. And everyone falls into those pitfalls in life, and we all have done it at one time or another . . . We always counter reality with imagery we project.” Perception is a topic Cage has addressed throughout their career, on songs like the satirical “Indy Kidz” and the record industry put-down “Sell Yourself.” Even their second-ever single, 2010’s “In One Ear,” broaches the subject: “They say that we ain’t got the style, we ain’t got the class / We ain’t got the tunes that’s gonna put us on the map . . . So all the critics who despise us / Go ahead and criticize us.” Cage has always been adamant about making the records they want to make, with little regard for the expectations surrounding “high culture” or “art” rock. As Brad bluntly puts it later in our interview, “It’s all about just making music. You don’t want any of that shit in your mind when you’re making a fucking song.” It’s an attitude that aligns them—at least in terms of ideology—with fellow blue-collar bands throughout rock history, from Oasis to Lynyrd Skynyrd. It won’t land them in Pitchfork (who, to this day, has only mentioned Cage once in passing) anytime soon, but they really don’t give a damn about being in Pitchfork anyway. “If you’re making music to be perceived as some intellect—or God forbid a genius—or for any reason other than to communicate an intentional thing, an intentional expression, you’re teetering a dangerous line,” Matt argues. “If you stay true to that conviction and your intention in that thing, then I think you’re moving toward something that’s going to be cathartic for you and hopefully reach other people. When you’re outside those lines, then you’re playing with people’s sensibilities—then you’re trying to reach their filter of cool . . . Then you’re just an accessory.” Matt eases back into his seat and crosses his legs. Then, with a Kanyeesque shrug, he adds, “I don’t want peo-


ple to change me like they change their shoes. I wanna make stuff that’s deeper than that.” XXX Two weeks after our interview, I’m maneuvering through a four-hundredperson crowd at The Basement East for Cage’s aforementioned release show. It’s the latest in a series of intimate local shows they’ve been doing since a 2014 gig at Mercy Lounge—all of which have almost immediately sold out. And tonight’s no exception: a solid crowd is already assembled before openers Clear Plastic Masks even start, and before the show, somebody claimed that tickets were being sold for as much as $300 on some dark corner of Craigslist. After a charged version of “Cry Baby” in which Matthan’s backing vocals shine, Matt takes a second to catch his breath before yelling, “Feels good to be back home in Nashville. Home, sweet home.” The crowd predictably goes wild—especially the pogoing Rivers Cuomo ringer and selfie-taking (sorry, Matt) middle-aged couple I’m sandwiched between. While the show’s undoubtedly rowdy, it’s not the straight-up hazardous affair that I saw at Bonnaroo in ’09. Instead of a spandex suit, Matt’s wearing a red-striped jacket that makes him look like a ringleader who’s into Saint Laurent. There are no kids bumrushing the stage, and I’m not worried about breaking any bones. The chaos of early Cage shows has seemingly been replaced by tighter instrumentation, stronger vocals, and a new reserved intensity, and I’m left to wonder: Is this what a matured, cautious Cage the Elephant looks like? Then, as the band launches into “In One Ear,” Matt points to a spot in the crowd like Babe Ruth calling his shot in Wrigley. After a couple of seconds of deliberation, he’s walking on top of a sea of kids a la Iggy Pop—just like when I saw them in ’09. Well, maybe not too cautious.

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For our first-ever Yearbook Issue,

we decided to ask what Nashville would look like as a high school. We got a little carried away and even came up with a mock superlative list. Not surprisingly, the people that made our list of hypothetical NATIVE High School Superlatives are a lot cooler than the jerks that won when we were in school (we still have grim flashbacks about the kid that won Most Athletic stuffing us into a locker). Maybe if these folks had ruled our high schools, we wouldn’t have ditched class to go doodle in the art room while listening to Blink-182. P H O T O S B Y J O N AT H O N K I N G S B U R Y

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MOST LIKELY TO BUST OUT THE PAINT PALETTE AND/OR RAP AFTER A HEATED POKÉMON BATTLE Daryle Carstaphen, aka BLKSUNCHILD, is a musician, painter, director, and selfdescribed “multidisciplinary artist with a bohemian nature.” A Nashvillian since the age of ten, he’s recently returned from a stint in Brooklyn because, as he puts it, “there’s a lot of fucking work that needs to be done in Nashville.” His most recent project, Low Off The Hii EP, heavily features local R&B singer Kiya Lacey and is a wobbly, melted take on classic alternative hip-hop. And when he isn’t recording or making paintings inspired by—in his words— “nerdy-ass video games,” BLKSUNCHILD is working with his multimedia collective, The Anxious Youth.

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MOST LIKELY TO SAVE THE WORLD ONE PASTIE AT A TIME Music City Burlesque has been promoting body-positive, femaleproduced performance art in Nashville for nearly a decade. Bawdy, clever, sexy, and nerdy, the ladies of Music City Burlesque are international, award-winning artists who’ve done everything from fundraising for local charities to putting on sold-out shows at the Belcourt Theatre to headlining national festivals. See them live at The Smoking Strip Show on January 15 at The State Room or The Cabin Fever Peep Show on January 23 at Marathon Music Works.

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MOST LIKELY TO MAKE YOU SHOOT MILLER HIGH LIFE OUT OF YOUR NOSE Ever wanted to go to a comedy show but you didn’t feel like spending $20 on a ticket, another $10 on bar food you don’t want or need, and yet another $10 to fulfill the club’s two-drink minimum? Well, Corporate Juggernaut, a series of comedy shows organized by Gary Fletcher, Brandon Jazz, and an assorted gang of co-conspirators, feels your pain. Since 2011, CJ has provided Nashville with high-quality comedy sans the bullshit (i.e. high ticket prices and drink minimums). At regular shows such as Ultimate Comedy Open Mic, Lineup, and CJ Presents, they’ve booked funny people like W. Kamau Bell, Emmy winner Kurt Metzger (Inside Amy Schumer, Chappelle’s Show), and rising star Dave Ross. Keep an eye out for their next shows: Derek Sheen on February 2 at The Crying Wolf and Duncan Trussell on April 23 at The Basement East.

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MOST LIKELY TO INSPIRE YOU TO MAKE POOR DECISIONS WHILE LISTENING TO BIG FREEDIA Being a hype man isn’t for the faint of heart. They’re the Atlas of the party, carrying the weight of a crowd’s drunken debauchery on their shoulders. It’s a tough cross—albeit a sticky, beer-stained, confetti-covered cross—to bear, but fortunately, Nashville has local DJ/ master of ceremonies/party hero Spice J to help ease the burden. Whether he’s performing with The Protomen or calling the shots at FooBAR’s Freak Me, one thing’s for sure: there ain’t no party like a Spice J party ’cause a Spice J party don’t . . . well, they eventually stop. But nonetheless, they’re really fun.

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MOST LIKELY TO BRING A NOVEL OR SKETCHBOOK TO THE BAR Authors and Artists: The Regenerates is a group of Southern authors and visual artists who lose sleep listening for “the unbridled holler bursting from the dark corners of the South.� They pride themselves on being a hive mind of artistic expression and interpretation across mediums, both written and visual. They put together cultured soirees at The Stone Fox the second Monday of every month, where they feature three authors reading their works live, a visual artist displaying his or her interpretations, and live music, libations, and celebrations. Come join them next time for a glimpse of Southern chaos and hospitality. Alongside their endeavors into the book publishing world under the pseudonym April Gloaming Publishing, the collective is beginning work toward a larger art and literature celebration and revival in spring 2016.

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SARAH SEVEN, CLAIRE PETTIBONE, RUE DE SEINE, SARAH JANKS, HOUGHTON, CHRISTOS, ANNA CAMPBELL, TWIGS & HONEY, TRUVELLE, KATIE MAY, HAYLEY PAIGE

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DRAMA CLUB

STREET THEATRE COMPANY WANTS TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE WAY NASHVILLE THINKS ABOUT THEATER BY LINDSEY BUTTON PHOTOS BY KRISTIN SWEETING

Theater isn’t often mentioned in the conversation about the growing creative communities in Nashville. For instance, Street Theatre Company has been in existence for ten years, yet the name did not sound familiar at all to me. While the music scene has long been conquered and visual arts are growing more every day, theater is the final frontier of Nashville’s artistic growth. Street Theatre Company wants to break down that wall and show Nashville how much they could love theater. Jason Tucker, the new artistic director of Street Theatre Company, leads me down a hall in the warehouse where STC once did their performances. Now it is filled with costumes, pieces of sets, and props. He introduces me to Cathy Street, the former artistic director and founder of STC. Cathy moved to Nashville from New Hampshire in 2003. “I didn’t come here with the plan to start a theater company at all,” she explains. “I just wanted to be a part of the theater scene because that was a part of my background. But then I saw that something like this was missing. There were

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a lot of community theaters and a few really profes- shows that a lot of the times people aren’t necessarily sional companies, but I didn’t see a lot of in-between, familiar with, but we’ve also developed an audience for which is the semi-pro or regional kind of vibe, the the- ten years of people that trust us and they know that aters where you can make a little bit of money. It’s not when they come—even if they don’t know what the going to be your full-time job, but then you can raise show is—they’re going to find it interesting. Generally your quality because you’re paying people, so you get speaking, it’s going to be something that’s been writbetter talent, and that’s what I felt like there was not ten in the last fifteen to twenty years, so it’s modern, and a lot of times it’s shows that no one has done here.” a lot of here.” In their most recent season, three out of four shows After putting together a couple of shows, Cathy decided that if she wanted to do more, she was going to (Memphis, Dogfight, Heathers: The Musical) were the have to become a nonprofit. “I didn’t have any back- premiere productions in Nashville. For their fourth ground or experience in that, so I bought the Nonprof- show, they did Bat Boy: The Musical, a production they introduced to Nashville in 2007. its for Dummies book, and I read it and I did it.” “[Rogue theater] is about finding a way to challenge,” Street Theatre was obviously named after Cathy, but it also holds another meaning relating to the type Jason further explains. “To have a conversation that of theater she wanted to create. “As we were thinking you might not have had otherwise and to entertain in about what to call the company, I did look up street ways that are unexpected.” “I agree, but I will say we don’t do it just for the shock theater, and I really believed in what the whole idea of street theater was, which was theater for the masses, value,” Cathy adds. When they performed The Full accessible, usually socially and politically relevant. Monty, in which the actors are nude, while it was edgy, And all of those really spoke to what I believe theater shock was not the main point. “The thing about The can do. I believe that theater can make people have Full Monty is that by the end of the show, the process conversations. I believe that everybody should be able of doing the ‘full monty’ becomes a microcosm of the to come see it, that money shouldn’t be a reason you show because these actors, who are not supermodels can’t go to the theater, and so it was a really great play or anything, have to get up in front of their friends and strip. So that’s what’s happening in the show and that’s on words.” Making theater accessible was especially something what’s happening with the performers, and by the end they focused on in their 2015 season, when they tried of it, your audiences are cheering them on. A lot of the out a pay-what-you-can system for ticketing. “We said, shows we do have content that can cause people to ‘Let’s take money out of the equation and see if we can raise their eyebrows, but we always do a show [where] get bigger audiences,’” Cathy explains. “It did every- there’s a reason for the [questionable content], so that thing we hoped it would do. Our audiences were larger; hopefully you do leave and have a conversation about it.” we sold out a couple of shows.” Their small budget is focused almost entirely on the “That discussion of value versus what people will pay,” Jason adds, “is an important discussion . . . find- artists themselves. The performances you will see at ing that balance and then growing with that, it’s a re- STC tend to have a simpler production style than a big ally difficult discussion. It requires a community to theater, but that is because they put a lot of their focus contribute, which is cool! The community has to be (and money) on the talent. Owning their own space is another goal they are cura partner for there to be a pay-what-you-can theater. The community has to be on board with that and sup- rently focused on for the future. For the first four years, port it, which is why there are very few. I can think of they didn’t have a theater space. In 2010, they moved six in the country . . . We’re riding along a precipice the into the space we are now sitting in, but in 2014, it was no longer cost-effective, and they have been paying a whole time, which feels very rogue.” Jason uses the word rogue often when discussing small amount to use it as storage for the theater until STC. “It’s theater that feels on the edge; it feels like it the owner rents it once again. They made the decision might break a few rules and it might grab a little bit . . . to be a transient company for their 2015 season. Their performances in 2015 were at Bailey Middle it might feel a little dangerous to you, it’s not necessarSchool, where they created a yearlong partnership. ily comfortable—it’s not aggressive, but—” “It’s not safe,” Cathy chimes in. “We’re not doing any “When we were leaving this space, the principal there safe shows; we won’t ever do Oklahoma. We’re doing at the time was a really big arts proponent, and he be-

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lieved in what the arts could do for don’t want to complain too much, the school,” Cathy explains. “Bailey because being a transient company is a disadvantaged school, and there does allow them to experiment in was no performing arts program in ways they wouldn’t if they were alplace when we got there. So in ex- ways in a traditional theater. “We change for using their space in the don’t mind doing theater in a space evening, we beautified the space, that isn’t classically a theater space. added lights and set pieces, and then That’s actually kind of cool. You I teach a class over there and bring solve problems differently, and the some street theater performers over audience comes in and they start there to work with the students a performance with a different set sometimes. So it helps them and of ideas. You walk into a standard it helps us. But that was a program theater, there’s an understanding that was in place for 2015. We are of what’s about to happen, which finishing out 2015 there, but 2016, can be very useful. But another useful thing is to walk into a space that we’re not quite sure yet.” “The number of places we have doesn’t look like a theater at all, and inquired at is unbelievably larger then the expectations of the audithan the number of spaces we can ence change a little bit and they have actually have a conversation with,” to work a little harder to be a part of Jason explains. “We get shut down the performance, and that’s what we pretty much immediately. Theatri- want. We want an engaged audience . cal performance space in Nashville . . So there are elements of a nontheis a major problem. Especially for atrical space that can be really useful. such a large and cosmopolitan city We’re fine doing it as long as it’s posas Nashville is and becoming more sible to do good theater.” Next year will be an exciting and of. Theatrical spaces are at an inchallenging year for STC as they credible minimum.” With the exception of staples like work toward finding a more solid Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre and home and transition from Cathy Nashville Children’s Theatre, there stepping down and Jason stepping are few Nashville theaters that actu- up as artistic director. “I feel like a ally own their own space. Not having new set of eyes will bring certainly a enough available spaces to perform new energy and a new belief,” Cathy seems to be the defining reason states. “I have years of climbing and for the Nashville theater commu- being disappointed and then saying, nity’s stunted growth. “And I think ‘Well, we’re not going to be able to that the biggest thing too is valid- do that because we haven’t been ity,” Cathy says. “When you have a able to do that.’ Well, now somespace and you have a home, you’re body can come in and say, ‘Well, I suddenly a valid company. If you’re think we can do it. And I’m going transient and you have to be fol- to try to do it.’ He’s going to have lowed around, I think there’s a sense a very different approach than I do. of ‘They must not be very good’ or Our energies and our styles are very different. The way I approach some‘They must not be professionals.’” While both Cathy and Jason thing versus the way he’s going to believe there needs to be a better approach something. So this was a focus on theater spaces, they also very well thought-out decision.”

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Jason moved to Nashville three years ago and has a strong background in musical theater. He reached out to Cathy when he moved and almost immediately began working as a director for STC. Jason has a new enthusiasm for reforming the way Nashville views theater. “I’d like Street Theatre Company to be a huge part of the conversation here in Nashville that gets an audience on that next level,” he says of his future plans. “That can then be supported by not just Street Theatre but also by The Rep and Studio Tenn and whatever other theaters might pop up to support different areas. There’s no reason that we should be in competition with other theaters. We should all be working together to build a community of not just actors, but audience . . . The biggest theater with the biggest audience is Nashville Children’s Theatre, and that’s awesome that kids are seeing good theater, but no one can see where the next theater is. There’s a line or something . . . It’s very frustrating.” Cathy adds, “As far as how I think the theater scene has changed in Nashville—I think, woefully, probably not enough. My little soapbox is kind of what Jason was saying, which is with all of the growth we are seeing in Nashville and all of the influx of people, I think Nashville is still really stuck in being Music City, USA. There’s so much time and energy and marketing dollars focused on sports and country music and music in general. People just aren’t getting the theater audiences that this city should be having. Like in Chicago, or somewhere else, where you say, ‘What theater show do you want to see tonight?’ That doesn’t happen here. There are a ton of


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STREET THEATRE COMPANY: streettheatrecompany.org Follow on Facebook @StreetTheatreCompany and Twitter @StreetTheatreCo native.is

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theater companies here. There is a lot of theater happening, but you have to search it out, and there are very few places. And there are one, maybe two reviewers in town who will do theater reviews.” “If you like the arts, why are you not making it to see theater, and what can we do to make sure you’ve at least heard the name Street Theatre Company?” Cathy asks me. “You are a perfect example of someone who would love our stuff, so how do we reach Lindsey?” Jason adds, “You are our goal, Lindsey—to find people who don’t know just how much they would enjoy theater . . . how cool it is—I hate the word cool, but it is fun and it’s not your father’s theater. I respect what has come before, but I’m using it to have a conversation in 2015.” The first show of the 2016 season will be In the Heights. “It’s written by the same gentleman who is doing Hamilton right now, and it’s an all-Latino cast,” Cathy explains. “It’s hip-hop flare, and nobody else has done that here yet, and it was big. It won Tony Awards for Best Musical just a few years ago, so this should definitely reach out to a whole new audience of people if we can get people to come see it.” With the transition of artistic directors, there are endless possibilities for what Jason’s visions will bring to the future of Street Theatre Company. “With a theater like this, when the founder steps down in the way that she is and hands it off to a new driver, that shows extreme fortitude, and it also shows that the theater itself can handle it,” Jason says. “And so, my goal for my first year is to make sure that all of our friends here in Nashville know that Street Theatre is here. We’re doing exactly what they expect us to do plus a bunch of stuff they don’t expect us to do. And then, my longer term goal is to make sure that Street Theatre—along with some other theaters in the city— becomes a force in this city and not just a sidebar. I’d like Nashville to be one of the main cosmopolitan cities in the country where you can go and see good theater.”

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STUDIO NPL PUTS PRO-GRADE MEDIA TECHNOLOGY IN THE HANDS OF TEENAGERS. STUDIO COORDINATOR NIQ TOGNONI IS THERE TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE FUN WHILE THEY LEARN

BY JONAH ELLER-ISAACS | PHOTOS BY JEN MCDONALD

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THE AV CLUB

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LIBRARIES HAVE CHANGED SINCE MY CHILDHOOD IN THE 1980s. It’s unlikely I’ll ever again hear the soft hiss of a microfiche viewer speeding through decades of newsprint. Card catalogs might still exist deep in the stacks, but who would want to use such a cumbersome system? I’m a proponent of the humble, tactile experience of a good book, a real book, made of paper and ink, held in one’s hands. Yet there’s something to be said for the convenience inherent in e-readers. Hundreds of books can fit in your pocket. Online library resources now feature downloadable electronic editions and audiobooks; their collections are indexed and available for instant search from anywhere. Just as the book has undergone a dramatic transformation through technological innovation, so has the library itself. Until today, I don’t think I really understood what that meant in concrete, practical terms, both for the library and for its patrons. But here on the third floor of the main downtown branch of the Nashville Public Library, I’m getting an introduction to the awesome power of the library of the twenty-first century. I’ve come to Studio NPL. Inside the studio space, a palm-sized gyrocopter crashes dramatically and skitters across the floor. Someone scrambles out from behind a central circular desk, laughing as he gives chase. This is Niq Tognoni, studio coordinator and my host for the afternoon. Studio NPL has just opened up for the day’s after-school programming, and already the space is humming with energy and creativity: a 3D printer’s injection needle buzzes across its production surface, teenagers are removing musical instruments from their cases, and a group of kids and adults alike are huddled around a massive jib, swinging the camera crane across the room and watching as the footage is presented on a wall-sized projection screen. There are cascades of laughter, loud exclamations of excitement, and passionate conversations coming from every corner. This . . . this is a library? It’s a bit hectic for a conversation, so Niq and I sit down in his office instead. He’s a wiry

man in his thirties, sporting a pierced ear that holds a turquoise stud, black-and-white plaid skater shoes, and socks decorated with orange and purple cassette tapes. When he tells me that he used to teach theater in Chicago, it makes total sense. Through some side work in graphic design, he found his way to a project called YOUmedia. Niq explains that YOUmedia “was basically part of this huge national grant the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services put together to see what would happen if we loaded up the space in a community center, either a museum or a library . . . and filled it with cool equipment, with really good software and professionals, working professionals in different fields.” The project proved so successful that the learning labs quickly grew from a single library site to ten in Chicago and then began to spread across the country. Niq helped to oversee the expansion in Chicago, and when Nashville won a grant to develop their own network of labs, he moved to town to oversee the development of the program here. “That was in January [2015],” Niq tells me. I’m amazed at how far they’ve come in a year. Every weekday afternoon, programs take place here at their central studio and at satellite labs in five other libraries across the city. They offer a remarkable range and breadth of classes and workshops: audio and video production, spoken word, photography, 3D printing, electrical engineering, coding, animation, and more. I’m not the only one to marvel at their fast progress. Niq’s been delighted to find support in Nashville. “There is such a respected library culture here,” he says. “Whereas in Chicago, we had to really fight to get people to our space and get people in the doors, here . . . there are hundreds of kids in here every day. So it was pretty easy to essentially crack open our doors and just get an influx of students right off the bat, which is really cool.” Beyond Nashville’s historical dedication to strong community spaces, there’s also the city’s “collaborative nature,” which, Niq admits, is “maybe not necessarily unique to

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Nashville, but it’s very heightened. So a lot of awesome other organizations came knocking on our doors the first day we were open to see how they could help. Could they do some programming? Could they send kids our way? . . . Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, come in, doors are open, our kids are your kids, our teachers are your teachers, whatever you need.’ I haven’t contacted a single organization yet where they’re just like, ‘No, we can’t get on board with what you do.’ So that’s really cool and really useful.” Beyond the growing list of partner organizations, Studio NPL depends heavily on its parttime instructors. Not surprisingly for Music City, they have a wealth of music professionals already on board, but Niq tells me that the studio is “always looking for more artists. Right now especially, we’re looking for engineers and makers and inventors.” Niq shows me back into the main operating space for a tour. We walk past a row of laptops, perhaps half of which are occupied by teen users. “Nashville is sort of notorious for having a very low [rate of ] Internet access at home compared to other cities,” Niq explains, “which I found really fascinating. But I do know that with all these digital inclusion grants, especially what the library helps manage, that’s one of the big sales pitches—

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that we’re really far behind.” The laptops help bridge that gap. We open the door of a music studio and find an instructor and three students discussing the science of sine waves and harmonic frequencies. The second studio, added because space was in such high demand, holds two teenagers deep into beats and rhymes, one holding a mic and the other wearing large padded studio headphones. They play us a sample: their tune is sophisticated, dense with texture and off-kilter rhythms. With each successive station, it becomes clear that Niq not only cares deeply about the students but also about the depth and quality of their experience. The third and last studio we enter is used for video production and graphic design, and someone is working on a flyer. A kid opens the door, and Niq engages with him immediately. “Sup, Jared?” he offers. “Chris is working on a graphic design here today. You should shadow him! That’s not something you’ve done before!” We stand behind a trio of girls working at an animation station, and Niq asks for a preview. Fuzzy woodland creatures wiggle across the screen and begin shouting at each other. Niq’s feedback: “I like that you just skipped the exposition and went right for the screaming. That’s awesome.” Back in the middle of the classroom, a team is


MORE INFO: If you’d like to learn about volunteering at Studio NPL, visit: nashvillepubliclibrary.org/studionpl/ native.is

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still huddled around the jib. Niq lies down beneath the camera mounted at the end of the waving mechanical limb. Bands of LED lights begin flashing, controlled remotely via iPad. From the ground, Niq shouts, “Who’s gonna be a jib operator when they grow up?!” The question speaks to the greater mission of Studio NPL. Teen participants may seek to develop individual skills, but it all adds up to “immersion in the digital arts,” as Niq puts it. “We want to see this program show the young people of Nashville about this sort of creator spirit, the inventor spirit, the maker spirit that I think runs rampant in Nashville. But maybe some of the young people don’t realize that it’s out there, that they can be a part of it. So we really want to try and grow that next generation of inventor or creator.” Studio NPL is changing the very definition of library, surrounding their students with cutting-edge technology to teach them how to learn. Adult mentors are trained to cultivate an environment that makes it easy to HOMAGO: Hang Out, Mess Around, Geek Out. It’s a simple philosophy that encourages a low-pressure, broadspectrum approach to learning. Rather than starting their students with indepth workshops, learning tools are left out in the open, always accessible for experimenting. Kids who express interest in particular subjects are then channeled toward resources for deeper exploration. Studio NPL aims to help the teenagers of Nashville find their passion by giving them access to technology that might otherwise be out of reach. Niq explains that the ultimate goal is “to grow the next great citizen of this community, both locally and globally.” The students of Studio NPL will leave as highly skilled individuals with advanced technological savvy and minds filled with unlimited potential. That’s good news for Nashville and the world beyond.

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Good Wood Nashville is proud to partner with these clients and more on their custom projects. Thank you, Nashville, for your support.

H AND C R A F T E D R E C L A I M E D F L OO R S, BAR N WO O D WAL L S, C U S TO M F U R N I T U RE & RE CL AI ME D L U MBE R GOOD WOOD NASHVILLE - OPEN TO THE TRADE & PUBLIC - EAST NASHVILLE OPEN MONDAY-SATURDAY 8AM-5PM - 615-454-3817 74 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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THE AFTER-SCHOOL HANG

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B Y S C O T T M A R Q U A R T | P H O T O S B Y D A N I E L L E AT K I N S

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WHEN YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY CHANGE AT EVERY TURN, you need something to hold on to—a place you can count on to always stay the same. Flanked on all sides by new construction— hotels, office buildings, and luxury condos, for the most part—the Rotier family’s restaurant on Elliston Place is one of the last holdovers from a different time. “That used to be a Firestone,” Charlie Rotier tells me, nodding slightly toward the Rite Aid building next door. “All those grease monkeys, all those people from the funeral home across the street—back when people used to eat breakfast, it was a big party in here in the morning.” The world has turned over and back since those days, but Rotier’s hasn’t. “We’re still the same,” Charlie says in his low, gravelly

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voice. “Our food is like it always was. It’s better quality today, but that’s it.” Charlie’s parents, John and Evelyn Rotier, opened the place back in 1945 as a beer joint with a gambling component. To hold everybody over, they offered a few sandwiches as well. Nothing fancy—the kind of stuff your mother might make you on a school night. One day, Evelyn got the idea to put a burger on French bread, and it was a hit. “I remember them bringing one with the French bread home to me,” Charlie says. “It tasted a bit different [back then],” he admits, but then again, everything tasted better when you were a kid. Eventually, gambling was made illegal in Tennessee and the Rotiers turned the place into a regular restaurant, putting the


ROTIER’S RESTAURANT: rotiersrestaurant.com Follow on Facebook @Rotier’sRestaurant, Twitter @rotiers2413, or Instagram @rotiersnashville # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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focus on their famed twenty-five cent cheeseburger. They’ve stuck to that formula ever since. XXX If not for the iconic red and green neon signs and striped canopy out front, you might never know there was anything here. From the street, the front door might just as well be an entrance to a back staircase. But the inside is hardly unassuming. The door opens right up to the bar, where Charlie’s daughter, Charley, stands smiling. The walls are filled up with pictures, postcards, and knickknacks they’ve collected over the years. There’s a Budweiser Clydesdale diorama and a plaque from the Coca Cola company honoring seventy years serving Coke. Lording over it all is a picture of Evelyn Rotier—who, despite her passing last year, is still keeping a watchful eye over the place. For all of the ornamentation— some might call it clutter—the place is still clean, as attested by the “100” health inspection report poking out from behind the bar. The menu features everything from chicken gizzards and fried zucchini to spaghetti with meat sauce, but Charley and I both know I’m here for a burger. I ask about the Rotier’s burger (the one on French bread), but she tells me I have to go with the grilled cheeseburger instead. “I’m a Rotier, and I like the grilled,” she says. I can’t argue with that. The burger comes out fast and

hot, and it tastes great. It’s just ground beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, cheese, and mustard on grilled white bread. You could make it at home, but you wouldn’t. The hashbrown casserole tastes just like one you’d find at the center of a Sunday church potluck. I know I should take my time, say the burger was succulent and the casserole tantalizing, but this isn’t my first time at Rotier’s, and I don’t eat that way. The burger was good. Damn good. That’s all you need to know.

“BACK THEN, YOU COULD GET A PACK OF CIGARETTES AND A GALLON OF GAS AND GET CHANGE BACK FROM A FIFTY-CENT PIECE.”

XXX Charlie has been in the back for a while, working with the cooks to perfect the broth for tomorrow’s soup. Every so often he’ll poke his head out to chat, then a younger cook will ask a question and he’ll head back into the kitchen to answer it. These days Charlie gives the cooks a bit more leeway, but he does admit to “guiding them through it somewhat,” especially when it comes to the soup and chili. “The green chili is fire,” he says. “Some woman put up on the Internet it was the best she ever had in her life.”

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Charlie smirks with pride. It sounds like a fairy tale that you used to be able to get a meal like this for a quarter, but Charlie remembers those days well. “Back then, you could get a pack of cigarettes and a gallon of gas and get change back from a fifty-cent piece,” he says. Still, though they’ve made some tweaks in the years since, for the most part the menu has stayed the same. “It’s been added to,” he says, “but it’s always had fried chicken, gizzards, liver, barbecue,” in addition to the famous burgers, of course. Even though the menu hasn’t changed much, Rotier’s has hardly been shaded from the spotlight that’s been burning ever brighter on the city. Everyone from Jimmy Fallon to Robin

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Williams has popped in to see what all the fuss is about, and Charlie’s met them all. “I waited on Taylor Swift—I didn’t even know who she was.” Charlie’s not shy about all the attention— he’s just equally proud to see faces from this town as he is from Tinseltown. “Channel 4’s been big here,” he says, raising his eyebrows, “but a lot of Channel 5 comes in too.” The Elliston block has changed plenty since the early days, but not in the gradual way you might expect. “It all was about the same,” he shrugs, “until about ten years ago.” Since then, the place has exploded with construction, and the pace only seems to ratchet up every year. After seventy years, they’re still leas-


ing their space. These days, with so many sharks trying to make a quick buck by turning an old neighborhood block into a luxury condominium tower, leasing is riskier business than ever. Charlie figures they’re safe, for the time being anyway. “We’re pretty landlocked,” he says. But he does admit that Walgreens’ recent buyout of Rite Aid could spell trouble if they get any ideas about expanding the space next to them, where the Firestone used to be. Still, Charlie’s confident that if other restaurants have managed to stand the test of time, his can too. “Like Sir Pizza, near the police station on Charlotte,” he says. “That place has been there since I was in beauty school.” I laugh, he doesn’t. “Did you really go to beauty school?” I ask. He nods, “I cut hair for a while.” The younger cook comes out to tell Charlie he’s done with the broth. “Alright. Taste it,” Charlie says. “I have been,” the cook says. “It’s good.” He nods, sure of his work. Charlie swallows, then nods. “If you’re proud of it, I’m good with it.” He turns to me and shrugs, “I ain’t messing with nobody’s art.” I ask why he thinks generation after generation keeps coming back to Rotier’s, never tiring of the food or the atmosphere. “It’s a one-of-a-kind place, kind of like walking into an antique mall,” he says. “You’re gonna get fed good—and it’s not that expensive.” The trick is, Charlie doesn’t have to spend a fortune on fancy ingredients to keep people coming back. The flavor comes from the soul of the place—in particular, the stovetop they’ve been cooking every burger on for decades. They don’t even put salt and pepper on their beef; it all comes from the stove. Charlie admits it might be nice to cook on a new one for a change, but we both agree—it wouldn’t be right. Some things should never change.

615-988-0513 - 525 Hagan St. - AmericanHotelLiquidators.com 10am-7pm Mon-Sat and 12-5pm Sunday

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T H E

S H O P S

AT

Photo By Kaitlin Dunn

GALLATIN& STRATTON

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ONLY om e.bandcamp.c onlynashvill ok @Only bo ce Fa on Follow native.is

JUNIOR VARSITY: ONLY

With an EP release back in June, a single release in November, and a busy local performance schedule, dream pop trio Only has been off to a hardworking start. Imagine Johnny Marr of The Smiths growing up below the Mason-Dixon and getting into Sweetheart of the Rodeo–era Byrds instead of Turn! Turn! Turn!– era Byrds, and you’ll get a good idea of Only’s sound. When we sat down to ask them yearbook-related questions, BJay and Bryan Moore—like any good brothers—were quick to throw one another under the embarrassment bus (the juiciest tidbit revealed: one band member collects gnome figurines). This familial bond works to their advantage during shows, where Only executes tight and seamless sets that leave us feeling like we’re driving down I-24 on a sunny summer day with no traffic. There’s a reason they call it dream pop, right?

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Photo: Danielle Holbert

1200 VILLA PLACE - SUITE 403 - (615) 730-5367 castillejanashville.com @ c a s t i l l e j a n a s h v i l l e # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

BIOLOGY 101 Written by Cooper Breeden*

BLACK BASS

We’ve all heard of many of the fish we see darting past us while we enjoy the water: bluegill, largemouth bass, crappie, maybe even pumpkinseed. However, you may not know that most of these familiar fish are cousins in the sunfish family. Some of the larger members of this family consist of various kinds of basses, most notably the black basses of the genus Micropterus. Though there ar several different black bass species, Tennessee only are has four, the most well-known being the largemouth and smallmouth bass. As you might imagine, smallmouth and largemouth can be distinguished by—you guessed it—their mouths. The key is to see how the back of their mouth lines up with their eye. The back of a smallie’s mouth will line up to about the middle of the fish’s eye. On a largemouth, the back of the mouth will extend beyond its eye. A bass’ body patterns can also help with identification. The dead give giveaway for the largemouth is the horizontal band that runs down the side of its body. This line might appear jagged if you have a chance to look up close, but if you’re looking down on the bass from a bridge or canoe, it will often look like one solid line. The smallmouth, on the other hand, has vertical bars running the length of its body. Aside from the large and smallmouth bass, there are a couple other species that can be found in Tennessee: the spotted and redeye bass. The redeye, or Coosa bass (not to be mistaken for the common rock bass, which is dubbed “red eye” for obvious reasons and is not actually in the black bass genus), has a native range restricted to the Coosa River system. This only consists of a small corn in Southeast Tennessee, but the redeye bass has corner

also been introduced in the Cumberland Plateau areas of the Tennessee River system. The spotted bass is pretty common statewide. Each of the black bass species has distinct environmental preferences. The largemouth prefers still water with structures like fallen trees or weed beds to hide in and can tolerate higher water temperatures than the other basses. Smallmouth bass prefer cooler, cleaner, and faster water with rocky bottoms. Since the smallmouth bass prefers cleaner and clearer water and has a wide native distribution, it is often used as an indicator of water quality. If the smallmouth population in a river falls, it is often an indication that some human-caused disturbance has tainted the water quality upstream. Though every black bass species prefers different types of habitat, they may still be found in close proximity to each other. For example, a smallmouth may live in the shallow riffles of a stream, but a largemouth may live in the still water just downstream of a riffle. Each of the four species of bass has similar spawning (reproductive) habits that begin in the spring, and the best spawning ground in a river or lake may end up being the same place for two different species. For this reason, two different types of black bass may hybridize. Around Nashville, the largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass are all fairly common. We’re lucky to have several different lakes and rivers nearby with so many different public access points. As they say, the worst day fishing is better than the best day at work, so the next time we have one of those unseasonably warm days, go grab some fishing gear, a few buddies, and see if you can’t get lun yourself a lunker!

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NATIVE CLASS OF ’15

Henry Pile

Kristin Sweeting

P H O T O S B Y G A B R I E L M A X S TA R N E R

These are a few of the writers and photographers who contributed to NATIVE in 2015. And since it’s a Yearbook Issue, we found it fitting to shoot them class-picture style. On top of being some of the city’s best writers and photographers, they’re musicians, filmmakers, marketing gurus, moms, dads, authors, visual artists—you get the idea. We’re incredibly fortunate to work with them every month, and we’re even more fortunate to call them friends.

Marc Acton

Danielle Atkins

Ryan Green

Cooper Breeden

Gabriel Max Starner

Jonathon Kingsbury

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Jess Williams

Scott Marquart

Lindsey Button

Will Holland

Rebecca Adler

Jonah Eller-Isaacs

Benjamin Hurston

Dylan Reyes

Andrew Leahey

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Profile for Native

NATIVE | JANUARY 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Our first Yearbook Issue, featuring: Cage the Elephant, Anderson East, Rotier's Restaurant, Studio NPL, Street Theatre Company, and many mor...

NATIVE | JANUARY 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Our first Yearbook Issue, featuring: Cage the Elephant, Anderson East, Rotier's Restaurant, Studio NPL, Street Theatre Company, and many mor...

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