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NOVEMBER 2016 AMANDA S HIRES


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Kayne Prime The Union Room

’ T IS T HE SE ASO N ... customized dining experiences for groups of 14 to 100

Tavern The Library

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Virago The Lotus Room

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Tavern The Patio

Saint Añejo The Tequila Library

Moto The Ivy Room

ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

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M O N D AY- F R I D AY 7 A M - 7 P M S AT U R D AY- S U N D AY 8 A M - 7 P M 6 0 3 TAY L O R S T R E E T GERMANTOWN 4 / // / / / / / / / / / / / / /////

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Now Booking Holiday Parties

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MAKING SPIRITS

BRIGHT

ALL-NATURAL COCKTAIL MIXERS

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“Hollywood’s Premier Barre Workout”

GET A DANCER’S BODY WITH NO DANCE EXPERIENCE

FIRST CLASS FREE CARDIO BARRE NASHVILLE 1512 8TH AVE SOUTH | 615.730.7676

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TABLE OF CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2016

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THE GOODS 19 Beer from Here 22 Cocktail of the Month 26 Master Platers 89 You Oughta Know 93 Animal of the Month

FEATURES

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30 Claire Boling, Timbre Cierpke, and Kelly Corcoran 40 Nomzilla 50 FALL Dance 60 Amanda Shires 72 NATIVE 2016 Gift Guide

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president, founder:

publisher, founder: 

ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN

creative director:

MACKENZIE MOORE

managing editor: 

CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

art director: 

COURTNEY SPENCER

community relations manager:

JOE CLEMONS

editor:

community representatives:

film supervisor:

          writers: photographers:

production:

POLLY RADFORD KELSEY FERGUSON CASEY FULLER CHARLIE HICKERSON HILLI LEVIN JONAH ELLER-ISAACS CHRIS PARTON COOPER BREEDEN JEN McDONALD DANIELLE ATKINS AUSTIN LORD EMILY DORIO LAURA E. PARTAIN BRETT WARREN NICK BUMGARDNER GUSTI ESCALANTE

interns:

CARLY BLAINE PAULA RAMIREZ PAIGE PENNINGTON

founding team: founder, brand director:

MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN DAVE PITTMAN

founder:

CAYLA MACKEY

to advertise, contact:

for all other inquiries:

SALES@NATIVE.IS HELLO@NATIVE.IS

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COFFEE BREAKFAST LUNCH OPEN DAILY 7AM-4PM

700 FATHERLAND ST. 615.770.7097 SKYBLUECOFFEE.COM E S TA B L I S H E D 2 0 1 0 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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THUND

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

For this month’s cocktail, we wanted to take it back to our roots with this signature classic. With the cold weather comes the holidays. Holidays bring family. With family comes . . . well, the need to drink. This favorite of ours is sophisticated enough for your snotty Park Slope brother-in-law yet simple enough that even your little nephew could assemble it faster than making Stove Top stuffing. Mmm, Stove Top.

THE GOODS 1.5 oz single malt Scotch (we like a nice, slightly salty,

speyside whiskey such as Glenrothes) 1 oz sweet vermouth (we like Cocchi Vermouth di Torino for this) 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 2-3 dashes Angostura orange bitters

F Stir all ingredients and pour into a freshly chilled coupe, rocks, or punch glass. F Garnish with a brandied cherry, snag a smoke from your sister’s purse, and drink alone on the back porch in quiet reflection.

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SCOUT'S BARBERSHOP | WWW.HAIRCUTSFORHUMANS.ORG

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T H E E O H S E E S w / A M P L I F I E D H E AT & R O N G A L L O - M E R C Y L O U N G E FIDLAR w/ SWMRS & THE FRIGHTS - MERCY LOUNGE

F L O C K O F D I M E S w / Y O U R F R I E N D - T H E H I G H WAT T T H E B O X E R R E B E L L I O N w / H E Y A N N A & T R E N TO N - M E R C Y L O U N G E DA U G H T E R - C A N N E RY BA L L R O O M B O B M O U L D w / W E S T E R N M E D I C AT I O N - M E R C Y L O U N G E S L OA N : O N E C H O R D TO A N OT H E R 2 0 T H A N N I V E R S A RY TO U R - T H E H I G H WAT T F O R E V E R A B B E Y R OA D P E R F O R M T H E B E AT L E S - M E R C Y L O U N G E T H E L O N G P L AY E R S P E R F O R M T H E M O N K E E S - M E R C Y L O U N G E S W E AT E R B E AT S - T H E H I G H WAT T BEYONCE VS. RIHANNA - MERCY LOUNGE B I G S M O - C A N N E RY BA L L R O O M U LT I M AT E PA I N T I N G - T H E H I G H WAT T THE WERKS w/ CBDB - MERCY LOUNGE S AW Y E R w / B R AV E TOW N A N D K I N G S B U RY - T H E H I G H WAT T THE WHISTLES & THE BELLS - MERCY LOUNGE DAV I D R A M I R E Z : B O OT L E G TO U R - T H E H I G H WAT T N I C K WAT E R H O U S E - M E R C Y L O U N G E 24 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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MASTER PLATERS

SALT BRICK C HICKEN

W I T H R O B E R T G R AC E , E X E C U T I V E C H E F O F KAY N E P R I M E PHOT OS BY DAN IELLE AT KIN S 26 / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////// //////

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THE GOODS SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 8 x 2 x 4 salt brick or foil-wrapped brick FOR THE CHICKEN: 1 whole chicken, deboned except for the drumsticks and wings, split in half extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste 2 sprigs rosemary 4 sprigs thyme 4 leaves sage 4 cloves garlic 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (preferably homemade chicken stock) 1/4 cup butter FOR THE GREMOLATA: 2/3 cup marcona almonds, chopped 1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped zest of 1 lemon 1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS METHOD FOR THE CHICKEN: F Preheat oven to 500 F. Place the brick inside to preheat as well. F Heat a large sautĂŠ pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a small amount of olive oil in the pan. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan and quickly slide the chicken back and forth to keep it from sticking. Add the herbs and garlic to the pan. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Using tongs or a hot pad, set the hot salt brick on top of the chicken. F Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes. The chicken should reach an internal temp of 160 F (the chicken will continue cooking once removed and reach 165 F). F Remove the chicken from the oven. F Remove the brick from the chicken and place the brick back in the oven to burn off any residue. Transfer the chicken to a rack to rest, turning it over so that it is skin side up. Leave the herbs in the pan. F Heat the pan over medium heat. Add the chicken stock, stir, and allow the stock to reduce by at least half. Stir in the butter. Season to taste. F Once the chicken has rested, place it on a plate and place a few spoons of the gremolata around the chicken. Pour the pan sauce over the top and enjoy. METHOD FOR THE GREMOLATA: F In a large bowl, add the chopped marcona almonds, chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Stir in extra virgin olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

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Evening service starting in November / Riverside Village

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Photo: Giles Clements

@dannybadfootjames

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T T LI E S NG E S C H OR T E B Y

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C H A R L I E

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H I C K E R S O N

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The world of classical music is unfortunately— yet perhaps unsurprisingly—male-dominated. W h i l e i t ’s c e r t a i n l y n o t u n c o m m o n f o r w o m e n t o p e r f o r m i n s y m p h o n i e s , o p e r a s , o r c h o i r s a ro u n d t h e c o u n t r y, t h e re ’s s t i l l a s t a g g e r i n g g e n d e r e q u a l i t y g a p i n c l a s s i c a l p ro g r a m m i n g a n d c o n d u c t i n g . A c c o rd i n g t o a J u n e s t u d y c o n d u c t e d b y t h e B a l t i m o re S y m p h o n y O rc h e s t r a , o n l y 1 . 8 p e rc e n t o f p i e c e s p e r f o r m e d b y t h e t o p t w e n t y - t w o U S o rc h e s t r a s i n t h e 2 0 1 4 – 2 0 1 5 s e a s o n w e re c o m p o s e d b y w o m e n . A n d a s o f 2 0 1 3 , o u t o f 1 0 3 h i g h - b u d g e t U S o rc h e s t r a s , 9 0 p e rc e n t w e re conducted by men. L i v i n g co mpo s ers ( bot h fem ale and m ale) d on’t fair too well either. Ro u g h ly 1 1 percen t o f pieces p er for m ed b y the aforem entioned to p t w en t y-t w o o rch es t ra s in the countr y were com p osed b y l i v i n g co mpo s ers . B u t even am ong liv ing com p oser s, the gap remains: 8 5 .7 perc e n t ma le , 1 4 . 3 pe rc e n t f e ma le . L u c k i l y, N a s h v i l l e i s h o m e t o a h o s t o f w o m e n w h o a re c h a l l e n g i n g t h e i d e a t h a t c l a s s i c a l m u s i c i s c re a t e d b y a n d f o r a b u n c h o f o l d ( o r i n m o s t c a s e s , d e a d ) m e n . We h a d t h e h o n o r o f p a r t n e r i n g w i t h t h e N a s h v i l l e O p e r a t o f a c i l i t a t e a ro u n d t a b l e d i s c u s s i o n w i t h t h re e s u c h w o m e n : C l a i re B o l i n g , a s o p r a n o a t t h e N a s h v i l l e O p e r a ; T i m b re C i e r p k e , d i re c t o r o f S o n u s C h o i r a n d h a r p i s t / v o c a l i s t / c o m p o s e r b e h i n d T i m b re ; a n d K e l l y C o rc o r a n , t h e a r t i s t i c d i re c t o r a n d c o n d u c t o r o f I N T E R S E C T I O N C o n t e m p o r a r y M u s i c E n s e m b l e .

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ON NASHVILLE’S PERCEPTION OF CLASSICAL MUSIC CORCORAN: Generally speaking, I do think that the average person maybe if they haven’t experienced classical music and you ask them about it, they’re going to say, “I don’t know if I would like that,” or “That’s not for me.” There are these barriers. I don’t know if you guys would agree. I guess it’s better here because of the general culture of consuming music. It might be easier to get somebody to say, “Oh sure, I’ll try that,” but I think the barrier is still there for sure. BOLING: I think we have to work really hard to break that and reach the younger audiences. The opera, you’re dealing with Mozart and all these people that were alive years and years ago. We have to pick stuff that would be more acceptable to someone in their twenties going to see a show—something that they can relate to. I think as a whole it is Music City, and Music City is open to all music and not just the country scene. I mean, the symphony center is right across from the Country Music Hall of Fame, for crying out loud. At least we got that going for us! [laughs] CIERPKE: I think Nashville has a high percentage of artistic people and it draws artistic people. By definition, people in that personality are going to be more experimental and willing to try different things. I think they’re also more oriented toward experience, like having an experience. I think that’s something that classical offers that’s different from anything else. Even if [listeners] don’t have context for [a performance] but have experienced it before, they recognize it when they see it and then they want more of it. I think that’s an opportunity that happens in Nashville more than most places. It might be hard to get audiences there the first time, but once they have a good experience, they’re going to be dedicated to it. People in Nash-

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ville are so dedicated to music that once they find their value in it, they’re going to stick to it.

ON POPS SERIES AND APPEALING TO YOUNGER AUDIENCES BOLING: I think you have to sell them to get them in the door, but then once they’re there, they can appreciate the artistry that goes into it. You can start slowly adding in the older, stigmatized classical things. Once they’re in there, once they’re open to it and receptive to it, they can appreciate the work and the talent that goes into these older things. CORCORAN: It’s like when country went through a time where there were stigmas [around it]—like the rhinestones and cowboy boots and people thinking of it as a certain thing. And obviously country music is much more than that. There’s a lot of depth. I think that’s part of what we have to combat with classical music. People think of classical music and they think of something really old and Mozart and all this stuff. To me, when I’m conducting a full orchestra and it’s [the] Zelda [score], that’s classical music to me. I don’t think like, “Oh, that’s kind of classical.” It’s a full orchestra playing symphonic orchestral music. Why is that any different than when I’m conducting a Mozart symphony? I think that’s part of the dialogue, it’s like that classical music is alive and current and relevant and it’s the music of now and the music of today. It’s connecting to this lineage of the past, but it’s still so much more.

CIERPKE: I love, love, love the Romantic era and that kind of stuff, and somewhere in my heart I’m convinced that once people hear it, they’re just going to fall in love with it . . . I don’t think that we always give people enough credit that when they hear something of value—something that’s beautiful, even if they don’t understand how the themes are interacting with each other—they’re going to still have an emotional reaction to it.

ADVICE FOR NASHVILLIANS ATTENDING A CLASSICAL PERFORMANCE FOR THE FIRST TIME CIERPKE: If I had a friend who had never listened to classical music and they wanted to go to their first symphony concert, my personal idea would be for them to come to something that’s more emotionally engaging. For me that’s Romanticera, Russian, or French composers, because I feel like [they’re] so dynamic, and even if you don’t have a lot of training, you can catch the emotion because it’s very much emotionally oriented. I would recommend against starting out with something like Mozart because it’s more formula and less emotion. Some people really connect to that, but I think if you don’t have a context for understanding the structure, it’s going to be boring for a lot of people. That would be my first suggestion: jump into the more dynamic composers, find a concert that has the Russians or something from the Romantic era. That’s going to be the most engaging.

“CLASSICAL MUSIC IS ALIVE AND CURRENT AND RELEVANT AND IT’S THE MUSIC OF NOW AND THE MUSIC OF TODAY”

BOLING: Turandot was the highest-


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grossing production [The Nashville Opera] has done. About ten of my friends who had never been to an opera before came to this one because it was a spectacle. It was grand. It was loud. It was emotional. The costumes were amazing. It was an experience that got almost all of the senses. I don’t know if you could taste the opera [laughs], but you could at least get the rest of them in there—[you could] feel the sound waves going through your hair. I think as far as an old classic, it’s great to have something that is just massive and a spectacle so they can really see how grand [classical music] can actually be. CORCORAN: I think there’s two things functioning: the listening experience of how we engage with this music, and then the physical experience of going to a concert and whether or not you feel a sense of belonging. On the listening side, I totally agree with all that you guys have said about these Romantic pieces and these big masterpieces and just the full scope. I would say to somebody, “There is no right or wrong in terms of how you feel or how you react to this.” If you listen to this thing for fortyfive minutes and you’re like, “Okay, I have no idea why, but I really enjoy it,” that’s okay. Your association and connection with the music will deepen the more and more that you listen to it.

ON DEFINING CLASSICAL MUSIC CORCORAN: I’ve put a lot of thought into this since there certainly was a lot of discussion when I started INTERSECTION about, “Should we be calling it composed music or something else?” Craig Havighurst, who is on our board, put this whole article together about making the case for calling it “composed music” . . . At the beginning, when I launched into this internal discussion, there was a period of time where I was like, “Well, I don’t really want to call it classical.” I almost felt like making apologies for the word classical. And then at a certain point I said, “You know what, I’m going to call it classical until we come up with a better word that really encapsulates all of it.”

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CIERPKE: Honestly, I feel like that word is changing anyway. [With] the rise of so many neoclassical crossover artists and new composers, the name itself is changing. It’s being redefined just because of the people that are pursuing it. I think that’s more maybe what our role is if we feel like it’s got a stigma attached to it: let’s remove the stigma and recreate how it feels. I think that is happening. Even the idea of neoclassical, that’s the genre my band is in . . . that’s still being defined. To me, in my understanding, it’s usually classical instrumentation but more on the songwriting side. Or it’s also minimalism, like all these things just mushed together, but it’s all under this umbrella of classical, and I think that’s the point. It’s becoming less and less defined, and because of that, it’s becoming more and more accessible. BOLING: Everything is a crossover, everything we do I feel like these days. CIERPKE: There is no art that’s not influenced by something else—whether it’s influenced by other music or whether it’s influenced by literature or philosophy of the time. You can even look back at when Debussy was writing, you can see that you also had the impressionist artists. You can look at Monet and listen to Debussy and see how they completely go together. I think the same thing is happening now. Classical music is being deeply influenced by culture, and culture, whether it realizes it or not, is being influenced by classical music. Some of those boundaries that we set with our semantics don’t actually exist.

ON THE PREVALENCE OF WOMEN IN CLASSICAL MUSIC LEADERSHIP ROLES, IN NASHVILLE AND NATIONALLY CORCORAN: I do think that there are a lot of strong creative women in Nashville, and I love having the camaraderie of my fellow strong woman creative colleagues in the city in artistic leadership positions. I’m not sure I would narrow that to conducting specifically, but just in terms of arts leaders in classical music, I think there’s a lot of great women in power. But I think [the number of women in classical music lead-

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CLASSICAL WOMEN: For more info on Timbre, INTERSECTION, or the Nashville Opera, visit native.is

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ership roles] is absolutely still an issue. I think it’s, frankly speaking, such a hard thing to talk about . . . I’ve had those reviews in newspapers where at the end they say, “And she did it all in heels!” and those kinds of things where it’s like, “Okay, but what about how the performance was? Was it necessary to say that at the end of the review?” That wasn’t here in Nashville. That was somewhere else . . . I think the fact that we’re at a point where it’s still this taboo thing to have female conductors, it means that obviously it’s still an issue. I guess what I’m trying to say is, [I used to] narrow the conversation to, “Well, I just think about the music and I just focus on the music and it all goes away.” But the reality is, I focus on the music, and it doesn’t all go away. BOLING: I don’t deal with as much of the leadership as you two with your own groups and everything, but as far as the involvement, I’m only in one show a year because we have so many sopranos. There are tons of women involved in creating the music and wanting to be a part of things. We’re always looking for more opportunities so we can actually get in front of people and make music. Leadership, I think it’s still an issue, but I think we’re making leaps and bounds all the time. CIERPKE: [To Corcoran] I so respect what you’re doing and how much respect you’ve garnered as a female conductor. That’s something that’s super, super lacking in the classical world. One of the symphonies that I played in, when they were going through an audition process for a conductor, there was one woman out of six people applying. Even in the orchestra, I heard so many comments. “She did great for a woman conductor”—that was a prevalent comment. You’ll hear people say, “She’s a good drummer for a girl” . . . There’s a qualification for it. There’s an expectation that it’s going to be lower value. That expectation is what we’re pushing against.

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(SUSHI) D R E A M

HOW NOMZILL A MASTERM IND THET H. TINT WENT FROM STUDYIN G MEDICINE TO SERVING UP HOT CHICKEN SUSHI

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WHEN THET H. TINT WAS APPLYING TO AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES WHILE LIVING IN YANGON, the capital city of Myanmar (formerly Burma), he couldn’t point Nashville out on a map—actually, he had never even heard of it. The buoyant and easygoing entrepreneur had his heart set on moving to the US with his mother, and thanks to a generous scholarship from Vanderbilt University, he arrived in Middle Tennessee in 2002. He graduated with a degree in microbiology and had big plans to stay the academic course all the way to a PhD program and become a pharmaceutical researcher. But how did he go from studying for a serious career in medicine to being the owner of a successful restaurant with a silly, om-nomming sushi monster named “Nommy” as its mascot? Tint blames it all on his impatience. “Here is a crazy story,” he says with a smile.                                 When Tint finished undergrad, the economy was heading toward a crash, and he decided the pragmatic thing to do before going into years and years of rigorous PhD study would be to just get a job. So he switched gears and attended nursing school at Aquinas College. He was a geriatric nurse for two years and specialized in working with dementia patients. But his restlessness started gnawing at him again. “As soon as I started nursing school, I knew it was not for me. Here’s my problem: I have an issue with authority. It’s so cliché, but trust me, that’s exactly what my problem is. And I hate paperwork,” he says. So what’s a restless guy with an authority issue to do? Become his own boss, of course. A sushi restaurant was the obvious choice, he explains. His mother had years of experience making sushi for the Mt. Juliet Kroger, but he admits he had zero restaurant experience of his own. Having a mentor could have made things a little easier in the beginning. “I didn’t have one and that was the tough part. There’s a lot of nuance that they don’t tell you about,” he says. “The whole restaurant thing . . . I had no idea. I learned a lot of things the hard way, but I did learn, and I tried to improve so we survived.” His determination eventually paid off, and

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he opened the first Nomzilla Sushi in a small Edgehill Village space in 2012 as a fast-casual concept. Perhaps it harkens back to Tint’s laboratory experience, but the Nomzilla way is all about deconstruction and examination. That’s why the first location was centered on a build-yourown sushi roll experience. His concept was a breath of fresh air for sushi fans who usually shied away from traditional rolls because of certain ingredients that were deal breakers. “I’m a picky eater, and I want to make sure I’m doing my best to cater to everybody,” he says. But as Edgehill Village and the surrounding Music Row neighborhood began to draw more and more attention, Tint came face-to-face with the downside of the Nashville boom: his building changed hands and the rent went up. Way up. “For about six to seven months, I didn’t know if I was going to have another Nomzilla or not because it was a difficult time to find a suitable location,” he says. But he eventually settled on a large building in East Nashville that he would share with Isaac Beard’s Pepperfire. “This is much better than the old place,” he beams. Nomzilla 2.0 opened in summer 2015 to great excitement from a neighborhood that—at least according to the infamous East Nashville Facebook page—is always looking for more sushi options on their side of the river. The new dining space is bright and roomy with a clean, modern design. No longer a place where diners build their own rolls at the counter to take on the go, Nomzilla has morphed into a full-service restaurant and bar. Expanded lunch and dinner menus feature everything from house-made gyoza and Japanese fried

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chicken to kimchi fried rice and inventive desserts like the Panko Fried Brownie. The signature Fire Breathing Roll (made with ghost peppers) is still available, along with a hot chicken sushi collaboration with their neighbors at Pepperfire. Tint is also highly conscious of vegetarians, vegans, and those with gluten intolerances, and he’s made sure to include options for all of them. For someone who couldn’t find Nashville on a map a little over a decade ago, Tint has definitely made a mark on the city’s food scene through his playful personality and accommodating stance on food. But for all of the positives that have come with his experience of achieving the American dream, I can’t ignore the elephant in the room. With the current political climate and a certain candidate’s heated rhetoric around issues of immigration, what is Tint’s take? “Let me tell you about the whole thing I’m feeling right now. All these things about police brutality and stuff like that . . . I kind of get almost a PTSD [feeling] because in the country where I came from, that is the norm. It’s kind of sad that we’re seeing that in this country where everything is supposed to be perfect. Before we emigrated here, we had kind of an idealized view of America. It’s not what we thought it [was],” he says. “I blame the education system, it’s not effective anymore. It’s more about politics than actually making the country better. Maybe I just have this view because I come from a different country and I have an outsider’s view.” But Tint makes an effort not to get bogged down with the recent negativity. Even though he’s come to see the country’s flaws, he still


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thinks America is great. He’s hopeful that the future will be brighter, and he’s bolstered by his experience as an immigrant in Nashville. “It’s the South. If you’re nice to people, they’re nice to you,” he says. The city’s high immigrant population, which helped him not feel like the only outsider, combined with Southern hospitality and Nashville’s more recent boom, have made it an ideal place for Tint’s business to flourish. You won’t find him railing about Nashville’s transplants; instead, he welcomes them with open arms, just like the city welcomed him more than a decade ago. More people in the neighborhood means more people to share food with. Tint has tentative plans for opening an additional restaurant, and although it won’t be another sushi joint, he’s going to stay the course with Asian fusion. He’s skeptical about Nashville’s appetite for a full-blown Burmese restaurant (“too fishy”), but he does have plans to incorporate a few more dishes from his home country at Nomzilla. As quickly as he lays out his rough sketch for this new venture, though, he’s excitedly telling me about a slew of other new pursuits: drone photography and videography, real estate flipping. He laughs at my surprise and explains, “I’m a big nerd.” Tint’s the kind of guy that has a hard time standing still for too long— he’s always looking to learn new things and put that knowledge into action. As much as this entrepreneur loves dreaming up new future pursuits, he has plenty of things to be excited about in the present. “I just got married; we’re trying to have a family. The whole white picket fence,” he laughs. Nomzilla is still keeping Tint busy seven days a week, but it’s a labor of love. “The best thing about having a restaurant is seeing the client enjoy and appreciate the things you put out,” he says. “You can’t please everybody. But it doesn’t really bother me anymore. That difference should be embraced.” Luckily, Nashville has been quick to embrace Tint and his singular, fresh take on sushi.

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FA L L D A N C E

COMBINES THE S P E C TA C L E O F AERIAL DANCE WITH POWERFUL CONTEMPORARY ARTISTRY

BY JONAH ELLER-ISAACS | PHOTOS BY LAURA E. PARTAIN

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“Your spine is your center of everything,” THE AUDIENCE GASPS AS BETH ANNE LOOSMORE PLUMMETS TOWARD THE Barger asserts. “So I’ve had a pretty injuSTAGE. The force of her fall sucks the air ry-prone career. It just happens.” By her out of the crowd. I think she’s died. The tal- midtwenties, she was living with chronic ented dancer has hanged herself with a long, pain. She remembers asking herself, How dark swath of silk. A pause. Wait. No, she much longer can I really perform and do all of this? After a short stint living in Nashville stirs. Loosmore has simply executed a breath- in the early 2000s, yet another injury sent taking drop, hurtling down from the raf- Barger back home to Oklahoma to recuperters only to catch herself midway down, ate. There, she happened upon Perpetual taking her considerable momentum to a Motion, an aerial dance company based in dead stop. She gracefully twists and lowers Oklahoma City. “I discovered aerial dance herself slowly toward the ground. The au- when I was twenty-six,” she recalls. It was dience, and I, exhale. The performance at a revelation. “I [felt] like this might be the Belmont’s Troutt Theater continues. This thing that allows me to perform for longer. moment of tremendous drama is one of It’s less direct impact. It’s definitely physimany throughout Dear Apocalypse, a stun- cally taxing, but in a different way.” Barger and I are sitting on my couch, rening creative collaboration between musician Kat Jones, of Kat Jones & The Prophets, viewing clips of FALL’s work. Scoliosis is a and Rebekah Hampton Barger, founder and notoriously painful condition, though here artistic director of the contemporary aerial at my home, or at rehearsals, she rarely shows any signs of discomfort. Her arms dance company FALL. Her piano teacher noticed it first. None outstretched across the cushions are abof Barger’s many dance instructors saw solutely ripped, evidence of sweat, effort, anything odd in the way the thirteen-year- struggle. Thinking she’d only rest briefly in the old student carried herself, but by the time she saw the first x-rays, severe scoliosis Oklahoma City suburbs, Barger instead had already contorted her natural spinal joined Perpetual Motion and danced with curvature to a disastrously unnatural sixty- them for four years. She had zero experitwo degrees. Now a working artist in her ence with aerial dance before coming on midthirties, Barger explains how she’s man- board with the company: “Literally my first aged: “Dance has pretty much saved me. I introduction to aerial dance was in the audishouldn’t be able to move and do the things tion. They were like, ‘Well, there’s a double that I do.” Her primary training in ballet, trapeze. Do you wanna jump on?’ I was like, she tells me, was especially critical. “The ‘Yes, please!’” As it turns out, dangling from her ankles, focus on posture and alignment and flexibility has allowed me to, for the most part, free from the shackles of gravity, Barger find ways to stay upright, to fight the pull of found release. “The aerial aspect, the hanging, when [I’m] suspended, it gives me some gravity on that curve. traction. That allows for some relief of the

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compression and inflammation that happens in a lot of my joints.” For artists that pursue disciplines dependent on physical strength, an uncooperative body can be devastating; think of a promising high school running back who blows out his knee his sophomore year. Barger’s scoliosis forced her to face the tangible fragility of her body—perhaps it’s because she confronted her disability so early in life that she now thrives where so many others might have despaired. In aerial dance, she’s found a medium that not only inspires her to create but actively allows her to do so. Barger now describes herself as “a dancer who likes climbing on things.” She’s spent much of the last decade honing her body for her craft (see: arms, ripped). Aerial dances use a collection of apparatuses—silks, trapezes, boxes, kite-shaped frames—all able to hold a dancer brave enough, and strong enough, to climb up. The form is usually categorized as a circus art; Dear Apocalypse was shown as part of the Sideshow Fringe Festival. Barger’s contribution to the genre is her integration of a contemporary dance vocabulary with aerial devices and techniques. Her choreography lives in a space between an entertaining circus of performers soaring twenty-five feet in the air and the subtle, often abstract artistry of contemporary modern dance. FALL, in Barger’s words, is “a dance company that incorporates basically anything that we can get our hands or feet on

to make whatever art it seems like needs to be made.” As artistic director, she faces a constant challenge to keep her work from becoming gimmicky; the superhuman abilities of dancers harnessed to aerial devices can easily overpower a delicate artistic construction. She shares her strategy to confront that issue: “I made a very deliberate choice to bring on . . . performers that are dancers first—people that have a really high level of technical, classical, contemporary training—and then teaching them whatever aerial components I might need for them to do some choreography, as opposed to bringing on aerialists and trying to teach them to move how I want them to move.” Barger adds with a laugh, “I need former ballet dancers who wanna be upside down.” Among those happy to live in Barger’s upside-down dance world is Beth Anne Loosmore, a Baltimore native and FALL company member. Loosmore lived through her dramatic plunge and is sitting across the table from me with a pot of herbal tea. Like Barger, Loosmore comes from a classical ballet background and was deeply immersed in the pursuit of her dance dreams by high school—until she suffered labral tears in both hips. It’s a somewhat common dance injury, Loosmore explains, and many dancers power through the pain for their entire careers. “I had a doctor tell me I could do anything that I wanted—it was just going to hurt,” she recalls. “My hip would get numb. Sometimes I wouldn’t know where my leg was. It was very awkward, trying to figure out how to dance when you don’t know where your legs are and it hurts to

“LITERALLY MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO AERIAL DANCE WAS IN THE AUDITION.”

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walk . . . I was like, ‘Oh cool, everything I’ve worked for my entire life since I was twelve is done now. Alright. Crap. Now what?’” Now, as you can probably guess, it was FALL. Loosmore also had little experience with aerial equipment, but she found her way to abrasiveMedia in Houston Station, where FALL rehearses and hosts open classes. The sessions were challenging, though as Loosmore points out, “I don’t think any dancer is happy unless they’re learning and progressing and pushing and doing something new.” Loosmore considers the transformative process of those initial sessions: “I thought my journey with pushing my body to do stuff, to make art, to be beautiful, was over. I thought all of that was just done, and then all of a sudden there’s this whole other avenue, this whole other world of, ‘This doesn’t hurt when I do it!’ And I can use everything I already know, and I can learn so many new things.” “I am not afraid of the stones in my past / Underneath the peach tree I’ll stand tall!” So sings Kat Jones in the title track of Dear Apocalypse. The show explores the destructive force of trauma—a subject all too familiar to many of the artists involved. After the festival performances, the weighty themes are still bouncing around Barger’s brain. She’s working on a piece, one that will explicitly explore her physical limitations, and she freely admits her fear. “That’s a scary enough thing, [an] emotionally draining enough thing to work through, that if it was up to me, I’d probably be like, ‘Oh, that’s like two years down the road.’ And continue to say that, forever.” With the gentle encouragement of Lauren Snelling, the brilliant creative mind behind OZ Arts’ programming, Barger and FALL are set to perform with the artist Mary Mooney at OZ in June 2017. Until then, Barger will continue her long journey, one she began when she was just a teenage girl, to live into her body, to stand tall, facing the stones in her past. All she has to do is jump. The silk will hold.

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AMANDA SHIRES’ MY PIECE OF LAND MAPS THE CRAZINESS OF BECOMING A MOM

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BY CHRIS PARTON | PHOTOS BY BRETT WARREN

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“I APPARENTLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO BACK UP TO AN ICLOUD OR WHATEVER,” says the sarcastic but sweet Amanda Shires: singer-songwriter, recovering fiddle side gal, and matriarch of Americana’s coolest family. She’s still fuming over a September tour van burglary that cost her a computer and her nearly finished master’s thesis in poetry, along with some new songs and assorted gear. “Like, what the fuck is an iCloud? What happens when the iCloud rains? All your pictures just land in other people’s yards?” A thirty-four-year-old Texas smart aleck who started her career as a teenage fiddle player in The Texas Playboys, Shires might not be tech savvy enough for a job at Apple’s Genius Bar, but she is an expert in things like soul-baring music and verse—and she’s put that knowledge to good use after a rollercoaster ride of pre-parental anxiety. My Piece of Land, Shires’ fifth album, was inspired, written, and recorded during the third trimester of her first pregnancy, a strange time when she was forced off the tour trail and into an exile of anticipation. While waiting for the arrival of daughter Mercy, Shires’ husband—Grammy-winning songsmith and roots star Jason Isbell—was out on tour, so she was stuck at home with nothing but her thoughts for company . . . and those quickly ran wild. From shadowy worst-case scenarios to optimistic determination, Shires was able to capture the mildly insane nature of bringing new life into the world in almost real time. Yet this collection is different from her previous work; it’s focused and vocal-based, relaxed but sophisticated. There’s less of her songbird warble (a nervous tell, she says), and the fiddle is downplayed. Now sitting at a sidewalk cafe table on one of Nashville’s first cool days of fall, a busy

avenue roaring over her shoulder and more than a year removed from those fretful weeks, Shires describes the descent into baby madness that made My Piece of Land her most revealing body of work to date. “I was deep into pregnancy, and I started organizing all the drawers and cleaning the ceiling fans and setting the nursery up,” she says. “I did everything I could, and then I was done with all the distractions and I was left to face the reality and truth of bringing a child into the world and what that meant. Like, ‘Am I gonna be a good mom? How’s this gonna work with traveling? How’s this gonna work with being a songwriter? Will I still wanna do both things?’” Produced by song-whisperer Dave Cobb (who also guided Isbell’s masterful Southeastern and Something More Than Free), the ten songs on My Piece of Land dart back and forth between excitement and exhaustion, each one facing another fear common to expecting mothers but brand-new to Shires. Along the way she answers a few of her own questions and, in the end, realizes there’s no “right way” to raise a child. But it wasn’t an easy road. “In that moment I didn’t know everything was gonna be just fine, and a lot of that was probably due to hormones,” she says with a smirk, half apologizing. “But I came from a family where they’re divorced and they’ve each been married like a hundred times, so I was like, ‘I don’t want that to happen to [Mercy]’ . . . I don’t think it will, but I started thinking about all that stuff and then going down the rabbit hole.” “Slippin’” is one such trip down the rabbit hole, a standout with its delicate melody and impending-doom lyrics. At the time she was feeling “really huge and uncomfortable,” she explains, and imagined Isbell saw her the same way. Then she wondered, “What if that makes him fall off the wagon?”

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“It’s a truthful, honest feeling of insecurity that happened then and occasionally happens now,” she explains, almost ashamed to admit it. Isbell has been sober since she helped get him there in 2012. “An addiction to alcohol is different than an addiction to drugs. You can drive into any grocery store or gas station and get anything you want, and you see signs like ‘Buy this beer!’ or ‘Buy this whiskey!’ There’s no ‘Buy this crack!’ signs to remind you. I worry for him sometimes, but he’s doing well.” Likewise, “Harmless” finds Shires contemplating her own level of commitment. Beginning with a poetic description of a stranger on the street and a fleeting rush of desire, she bravely wonders aloud how far she might go. “Imagine a streetlight that falls across somebody,” she says, setting the scene, “and somehow the light is magical and makes them look super awesome, and you just want to explore that, but you know there’s a line you can’t cross. But where is the line? Is thinking it crossing it? And was it harmless? Who knows.” “When You’re Gone” takes a different route to the same mental space, approaching loneliness with an upbeat, highway-rock feel—“I wouldn’t call it silence / It’s a different kind of quiet”— while “The Way It Dimmed” kicks off the project with playful hand claps and an admission that fires do sometimes burn out. Those thoughts were intense but ultimately short-lived, as there was never any real doubt about her and Isbell’s bond. “Sometimes, it’s best just to say some-

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thing, just to see how silly it sounds,” she admits. Eventually Shires came to a moment of clarity that gave her album its theme—and helped her become the mother she was scared of failing to be. It’s a simple but impactful concept: Home doesn’t have to be a place. “I started thinking about what [Mercy’s] home was gonna be like and what it would mean to be traveling all the time,” she explains. “Would she even have a real sense of home? And I sort of came around to figuring out that home is more fluid, and it’s not really anything to do with an address . . . Really for me, it’s all about being with the people I love, and that could be anywhere.” This was the root of Shires’ worry, it seems, as the divorce of her own parents left her with a poor sense of “home.” You can hear it in “Mineral Wells,” an older song that reappears here with a new meaning. What once was a tree that belonged nowhere—it had roots and leaves in two different Texas towns—is now proud of its unique nature. “I still really need that song for some reason, so I like to play it,” she admits. Meanwhile, “You Are My Home” solidifies her new embrace of an untethered life, a determined, hell-or-high-water oath to Isbell and Mercy. It’s full of resolve yet slightly dark, nodding to the challenges that are sure to await, but it features a reassuring guitar solo from Isbell. Isbell shows up in various ways throughout the album, co-penning two poetic songs—check out the “eagle-feathered roach clip” line in “Pale Fire” and the welcome destruction caused by “My Love – The Storm”—while also providing harmony vocals and stellar guitar support all around. For her part, Mercy inspired not only “You Are My Home,” but also “Nursery Rhyme,” easily the most joyful track on the album. Full of whimsy and the teetering rhythm of a baby taking her first steps, it’s a heart-

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warming conversation between mother and unborn daughter, completing the 360-degree revolution of emotions. “It was a wild ride,” Shires says. Incredibly, Mercy also shows up in a much more tangible way on My Piece of Land—she’s actually on the record, if you know where to look. “If you were to isolate the ukulele I was playing on ‘Mineral Wells,’ you can hear her kicking,” Shires beams with pride. “Dave Cobb did isolate it once for me so I could hear it. When we first started recording they were like, ‘What’s that noise?’ We stopped and we were checking the gear and stuff, and it was her, so we just recorded through it.” Cobb played a huge role in the project, she says, by letting each song go where it would and helping her to strike while the iron was still hot. From writing to recording, the whole process only took a few short months, and Shires gave birth just days after work was finished. Cobb’s preferred method focuses on spontaneity and fearless experimentation, so he encourages artists not to finalize their songs until recording begins. It tends to highlight the connection between head and heart, a feeling Cobb is famous for capturing on records like Chris Stapleton’s Traveller. “I really, really love the thing where you don’t play your songs, you don’t do demos, you don’t even learn them, really,” she says. “You just write the songs and then revisit them [in the studio], and it turns into a real creative project. Everybody has suggestions. If I would have written the songs and practiced them, they would have come out like a lot of my other stuff, and I have a tendency to put more stuff on a recording than there needs to be.” Indeed, parts of My Piece of Land are downright spartan, focusing on Shires’ voice and writing in a way she has never done before. There’s also less fiddle on this album than her previous four, and she thinks Cobb led her that way on purpose—nudging her toward the true singer-songwriter she wanted to


be after first arriving in Nashville almost a decade ago. “Being a side person for so long and being perceived only as a fiddle player, I sort of told myself I had to do that on every song no matter what—and it’s not true,” she says. “I think he intentionally made it less fiddle heavy so I could stand on my own as a songwriter.” These days, Shires has reached the other side of her pregnancy jitters. Mercy is now a year old, and Shires says being a mom is “the best in the whole wide world.” The fears about her marriage and Isbell’s sobriety turned out to be unfounded—“He’s a great dad,” she says, looking off somewhere into the clouds—and the only worries now are the separate tours that will soon pull the family in opposite directions. Mercy will ride with Isbell on his bus, while Shires will be roughing it in the band van for three agonizing weeks. Her headlining trek then continues with coast-to-coast club dates scheduled through December 10. “FaceTime is so awful,” she says. “[Mercy] gets kinda upset because she doesn’t understand you can’t hold the computer screen. It’s cute.” She may have come to terms with Mercy growing up a child of the road, but it actually seems that Shires is busy creating a more traditional kind of “home,” too, just in case. The young family recently moved into a house just outside Nashville, one nestled into a few peaceful acres with a barn they hope to turn into a performance space. It’s their own literal piece of land, the kind of place that will come with its own set of challenges. A place where longlasting memories will be made. This time, though, she’s not worried about doing things the “right” way—they’ll just do it their way. “I’m so excited, and Jason is like, ‘I get to mow grass!’” she says, reverting back to smiling sarcasm. “But he’s also the kind of grass mower that when he got his mower, he put the key in it and broke it off. So we’re awesome at living in the country . . . but we’re gonna get better at it.”

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FOOD 1. Sing Tea, High Garden Tea, $12.50 | 2. Root Cellar Growler, High Garden Tea, $20 | 3. Traditional Japanese Kyusu Tea Pot and Handcrafted Teacups, High Garden Tea, $70 | 4. Mason Jar, Kernels Gourmet Popcorn, $9.99 | 5. Fluent Sarcasm Mug, Olan Rogers Supply, $6.99 | 6. Banana, Stylist’s Own | 7. Stay Hungry Beanie, Olan Rogers Supply, $19.99 | 8. All Purpose Heat Seasoning and Rub, East Nashville Spice Company, $13 | 9. Jolly Java, Bongo Java, $12

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BATH AND BODY 1. Mirror, Holler Design, $199 | 2. Apothecary Tobacco and Patchouli Room Spray, Jack Randall, $20 | 3. Ranger Station Scent 006 Candle, ABEDNEGO, $36 | 4. Ambre Oil Fragrance, Posh Boutique, $46 | 5. 4 oz. Bronzing Foam, ANASTACIA Skin Studio, $20 | 6. Sans Oil Moisturizer, ANASTACIA Skin Studio, $26 | 7. Sage and Lemongrass Liquid Hand Soap, Humphreys Street Coffee and Soap, $12 | 8. Soft+Sweet Beard Oil, Beardition, $16 | 9. The Evening Hybrid, Salemtown Board Co, $227 | 10. Elasticity Serum, Little Seed Farms, $18 | 11. Bourbon Essential Beard Oil, Little Seed Farms, $18 | 12. Sugar Scrub, Humphreys Street Coffee and Soap, $12 | 13. Detox Set, Little Seed Farm, $25 | 14. Lavender Soap, Humphreys Street Coffee and Soap, $6 | 15. Bourbon Bar, Little Seed Farm, $7 | 16. Grapefruit Lemon Bar, Little Seed Farm, $7 | 17. Banana, Stylist’s Own

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HOME 1. Vintage Pendleton Aztec Woven Blanket #729, High Class Hillbilly, $200 | 2. Painting, Stylist’s Own (Available via Kate Mills Design) | 3. Grey Wolf, Groh Artifact, $90 | 4. Star Vintage Posters, Fanny’s House of Music, $16.99 (each) | 5. Red Fox, Groh Artifact, $90 | 6. Four Roses Woodland Wine Merchant Barrel Selection, Woodland Wine Merchant, $55 | 7. Low Ball Whiskey Glasses (1 of 4), Brooklyn South Market, $35 (set) | 8. Creepy Baby Doll Head and Enclosure, Stylist’s Own (Available via Kate Mills Design) | 9. Lunar Stool, Holler Designs, $265 | 10. Kala Waterman Ukulele, Fanny’s House of Music, $48.99 | 11. Neon Basket, Emil Erwin, $250 | 12. TOTAL CHAOS: The Story of The Stooges as Told by Iggy Pop by Jeff Gold, Third Man Books, $50 | 13. Ireland Book, Stylist’s Own (Available via Kate Mills Design) | 14. Ranger Station Candle, Posh Boutique, $36 | 15. Frazada Rug/Throw/Blanket, Apple & Oak, $280

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RACHEL BRIGGS Rachel Briggs is an illustrator and designer based in Nashville. She was formerly the art STOCKING STUFFERS director and Valentine, editorial designer 1. Project Love Letter Cards, The Trunk, $27 | 2. Socks, Jackalope, $12 | 3. Primary Ribbon Choker, Amanda $38 at $50 American Songwriter | 4. Valfre Cold Brew Bitch iPhone 6/6s Case, Cadeau, $38 | 5. Treat Yo Self Money Clip, Emil Erwin, | 6. Fuck Off Skull and Time Out magazines, Panties, High Class Hillbilly, $20 | 7. Carry-On Cocktail Kit (Gin and Tonic), Woodland Wine Merchant, $24Chicago | 8. Holy Pop and | she’s behind Press Lonesome Culture Candles, Old Made Good, $18 (each) | 9. Nashville Guitar Strap, Fanny’s House of Music, $24.99 10. Explorer’s slowly People to Kill Sketchbook, The Trunk, $20 | 11. My Dinner with Ron Jeremy by Kendra Decolo, Mountain, Third Man aBooks, $14unveiled | 12. graphic novel$3.99 published Explorer’s Press Another Shitty Lapel Pin Pin, The Trunk, $7 | 13. Assorted Pins, Friedman’s Surplus & Outdoors, (each) online| (with a print release | 14. Explorer’s Press Explorer Pin, The Trunk, $7 | 15. Pin, Dino’s, $8 | 16. Pin, Exit/In, Free with Ticket 17. Pin, Santa’s Pub, set $1 for next year). rachelbriggs.com # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS CHENEY 80 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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LIFESTYLE 1. Jim Morrison Wide Beaded Cuff Bracelet, Lock & Key Design, $120 | 2. 25 oz. Sangria S’well Bottle, Castilleja, $45 | 3. Waller Clutch in Mountain Mist, Ceri Hoover, $145 | 4. Red Cruiser Beer Bar Towel, Gift Horse, $16 | 5. Handspun Mittens, Han Starnes, $85 | 6. Black Handwoven Cotton/Linen Blanket, TN Textile Mill, $255 | 7. Handmade Scarf, Knitwear by Jacq, $148 | 8. Apron, Denim & Spirits, $80 | 9. Banana, Stylist’s Own | 10. The Lil’ Buddy, Niche Handbag, $35 | 11. Silk Neckerchief, Garner Blue, $36 | 12. Bahti Necklace, Simon & Ruby, $63 | 13. Unisex Leather Belt in Natural, Peter Nappi, $150 | 14. Aspire Zero in Black, Swiftwick Socks, $12.99 | 15. Daniel Boone Infinity Scarf, NY to Nashville, $40 | 16. Heirloom Quilt, Will & Ivey, $175

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BOOZE 1. Rompo Red Six Pack, Jackalope Brewery, $9.75 | 2. J. Stark Wine Tote, Woodland Wine Merchant, $70 | 3. J. Lassalle Brut Cru Preference Champagne, Woodland Wine Merchant, $45 | 4. Darroze 12 Year Les Grands Assemblages Bas-Armagnac, Woodland Wine Merchant, $102 | 5. Bloody Mary Rooster Juice, ACME Feed & Seed Farm Store, $13 | 6. Brass Apple, Brooklyn South Market, $22 | 7. Spiced Simple Syrup, Eli Mason Cocktail Mixers, $9.99 | 8. Low Ball Whiskey Glasses (1 of 4), Brooklyn South Market, $35 (set) | 9. Gomme Syrup, Eli Mason Cocktail Mixers, $9.99 4 2

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A Harvard study has now shown that certain meditation practices are powerful tools to shift and change our physical health as well as our mental and emotional states. Learn to meditate and experience expanded awareness and deeper levels of inner peace.

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In today’s post–Stranger Things society, it’s tough to find folks with a genuine appreciation and understanding of the finer (read: nerdier) things in life. Many claim to love D&D, Lord of the Rings, and Zelda, but when it’s time to quote passages from The Silmarillion or explain why Machete Order is the only way to enjoy the Star Wars saga, some of these supposed “fans” clam up. The guys of Creature Comfort are not some of these “fans.” As evidenced by the hauntingly gorgeous video for “Am I Dreaming,” which could be an outtake from the new season of Black Mirror, CC’s love

for sci-fi and fantasy runs deep. But it’s obvious their love of tightly crafted melodies, lyrics that reward with each listen, and weary, lovesick vocals runs even deeper— and that’s just frontman Jessey Clark. Add in Cole Bearden’s roaming, Andy Rourkeesque basslines, Nick Rose’s pedalboard wizardry (Gandalf would be proud), and Taylor Cole’s bouncing drums, and you’ve got one of Nashville’s strongest indie outfits. Check out their new single, “Teeth for Days,” on Spotify, and if you catch them at Mercy Lounge on November 11, ask Clark for Dungeon Master tips.

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ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

If you’re like me, you were intrigued with flying squirrels as a kid but have probably gone your whole life without seeing one up close. On top of that, maybe you’ve also gone most of your life believing they dwell in the more exotic corners of the world—those jungles and misty mountains you know exist somewhere on your atlas. And that’s perfectly reasonable, because let’s face it, when was the last time you heard about anyone seeing a flying squirrel out in the woods? In North America, we actually have two species of flying squirrel, and both of them live in Tennessee. The northern flying squirrel lives in coniferous spruce, fir, and hemlock forests at higher elevations. Because of this, they are mostly found in the northern regions of the country and Canada. However, since these forests extend south via the Appalachians, there is a small area in the mountains of East Tennessee where we can find these little creatures. More common is the southern flying squirrel, which is found in deciduous forests statewide. The flying squirrel is a rodent just like all of its cousins in the squirrel family (gray squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, and prairie dogs). Just a quick taxonomic review: one of the main characteristics of a rodent is the pair of long front teeth that it uses to gnaw through things, like cereal boxes and car electric cables. Some of the characteristics that separate the squirrels (or, as scientists call them, sciurids) from other less desirable rodents like mice and rats are different aspects of their skull structure. Since that would probably be just slightly more interesting to read than a description of a doorknob, let’s just leave the distinguishing sciurid characteristic at this: most of them have fluffy tails. The more common southern flying squirrel is roughly

Written by Cooper Breeden*

ten inches long, but that includes its bushy tail, which makes up nearly half its length. The northern flying squirrel is slightly larger. The flying squirrel’s signature feature, the flying membrane, extends from a cartilaginous spur on its wrist to another one on its ankle and is fully stretched when the squirrel sprawls out all of its limbs. Flying squirrels may more accurately be called gliding squirrels since they do not actually fly. They use their flying membrane to soar through the forest like one of those crazy dudes who flies through canyons with a wingsuit. Fortunately, evolution seems to have given its blessing to the flying squirrel—the jury is still out on the wingsuited human. Though a flying squirrel’s “flight” may be lengthy and involve some tree-dodging acrobatics, a pretty short, usually the distance most of their flights are from one tree or branch to another one nearby. So why don’t we ever see flying squirrels in action? Aside from being pretty small, they also spend much of their time above eye level in the canopy of the forest. Further, unlike the gray squirrel that has no qualms conspicuously collecting nuts from our backyards in broad daylight, the flying squirrel is nocturnal. Luckily, these little guys have not felt the heat of human impact. Though they are rarely seen, they may actually be found in forests in or around urban and suburban areas. They’ve also been known to make their nests in homes. If you’re interested in seeing one for yourself, you’ll want to start your search in an area where there are plenty of trees, such as oaks and hickories, that a flying squirrel might call home and where they might find food. And since they’re nocturnal, you’ll want to set out at night armed with a flashlight. Just don’t try and join in on the gliding—at least not without a wingsuit.

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"BEFORE CHRIS STAPLETON THERE WERE THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS"

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Profile for Native

NATIVE| NOVEMBER 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Featuring Amanda Shires, The 2016 NATIVE Gift Guide, FALL Dance, Nomzilla, Timbre Cierpke, Kelly Corcoran, and Claire Boling.

NATIVE| NOVEMBER 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Featuring Amanda Shires, The 2016 NATIVE Gift Guide, FALL Dance, Nomzilla, Timbre Cierpke, Kelly Corcoran, and Claire Boling.

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