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ISSUE 68 BRETT DOUGLAS HUNTER


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A BARBERSHOP FOR MEN & WOMEN OF ALL AGES WA L K I N A N Y D AY O F T H E W E E K F O R A Q U A L I T Y C U T O R S T Y L E

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CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2018 74

66

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58 THE GOODS

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17 Beer from Here 19 Cocktail of the Month 22 Master Platers 83 You Oughta Know 87 It’s Only Natural

FEATURES 26 Phangs 36 Atelier Savas 46 Brett Douglas Hunter 58 Artist Spotlight: Angelina Castillo

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66 Shugga Hi Bakery and Café 74 Darlin’ NATIVE NASHVILLE   ////////////////////


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NEW AND PRELOVED VINYL, NITRO COFFEE, LIVE SHOWS AND OPEN MIC NIGHTS THE FIRST THURSDAY OF EVERY MONTH. 2006 BELMONT BLVD - WWW.BOULEVARDRECORDSHOP.COM - @BOULEVARDRECORDSHOP NATIVE NASHVILLE   ////////////////////

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BEHIND THE COVER: BRETT DOUGLAS HUNTER Local folk artist Brett Douglas Hunter appears on the cover of Issue 68. For the shoot, photographer Sarah B. Gilliam captured Hunter with a self-portrait that will appear in his upcoming exhibit, Cheers. Like all the other pieces from the show, Hunter’s self-portrait is part sculpture, part functional chair (although the functionality is a little up for debate). Unlike all the pieces in the show, which are these weird humanoid-animal things, Hunter’s portrait is relatively true to form.   “My self-portraits lately depict me in my studio clothes—I’ve been wearing the same combo of stuff for a while now, it’s kind of my uniform,” Hunter explains. “I used my actual work shirt, jeans, shoes, and hat to make a dummy of myself for my Aminals show last year. We sold it for the price of replacing the clothes. It was funny to have me as the only human in a group of weird creatures—I like to think about all of these people and creatures hanging out together when there’s no one around. It’s my way of inviting myself to their party, I guess.” Read more about Hunter on page 46, and check out Cheers February 2 through March 31 at Julia Martin Gallery.

PRESIDENT, FOUNDER: PRESIDENT, FOUNDER: OPERATIONS MANAGER:

ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN JOE CLEMONS

EDITOR IN CHIEF: COPY EDITOR:

CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: ART DIRECTOR:

HANNAH LOVELL COURTNEY SPENCER

SENIOR ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE: ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE: PRODUCTION:

KELSEY FERGUSON SHELBY GRAHAM GUSTI ESCALANTE

DESIGN INTERNS:

SARAH MORRIS LEXIE ROLAND

EDITORIAL INTERN:

KYLE COOK

WRITERS:

NATHAN DILLER CHARLIE HICKERSON CAT ACREE CHRIS PARTON COOPER BREEDEN

PHOTOGRAPHERS:

FOUNDING TEAM:

MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN

FOUNDER, BRAND DIRECTOR:

DAVE PITTMAN

FOUNDER:

CAYLA MACKEY

FOR ALL INQUIRIES:

HELLO@NATIVE.IS

NICK BUMGARDNER DANIELLE ATKINS DANIEL CHANEY BRETT WARREN SARAH B. GILLIAM EMILY DORIO ANDREA BEHRENDS

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- WINNER OF THE NFA EMERGING TALENT AWARD -

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WITH ADAM SPEYER Former Cicerone and General Manager of Tennessee Brew Works Beer Name: 1927 Brewery: Tennessee Brew Works Style: American IPA ABV: 7.0% Food Pairing: Chef Jay Mitchell’s Five Beer Burger Appearance: Gold and hazy with white head Aroma: Pineapple, mango, passion fruit Where to find It: Tennessee Brew Works Overall Takeaways: During my time with the brewery, this was the best-selling pairing Tennessee Brew Works offered. So it seemed appropriate that I choose it for my last Beer from Here write-up with NATIVE. Chef Jay incorporates five beers into his burger: there’s the Country Roots caramelized onions, Southern Wit comeback sauce, Basil Ryeman ketchup, Cutaway IPA pickles, and, last but certainly not least, an Extra Easy brioche bun. While there is not necessarily a wrong beer to pair with this burger, the 1927 is definitely a staff favorite. Made with seven different hops (my favorites are Citra, Amarillo, and Hull Melon), it’s a big beer that matches the intensity of Mitchell’s bold burger. The 1927 also gives off citrusy flavors like pineapple, mango, and tangerine, which provide a nice contrast to the saltiness of the burger and fries. Finally, there’s a bitterness to the IPA that helps cut through that savory flavor from the burger’s Bear Creek Farms beef. Please enjoy this pairing between Chef Jay Mitchell’s Five Beer Burger and Tennessee Brew Works’ 1927 IPA, and for one last time, cheers!

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LONELY HEARTS CLUB BY BEN CLEMONS OF NO. 308 PHOTO BY NICK BUMGARDNER Boxes of chocolates. Victoria’s Secret. Trips to florists. Panicking over dinner reservations. Maybe you even went to Jared and plan on sharing her answer with the Insta world after you take a knee middessert. Or maybe, just maybe . . . you’re smarter than that. Maybe you’re the type of person that tells your person how you feel daily instead of stockpiling emotions for the consumer-adopted “holiday.” Heck, maybe you’re crushing life on your own and don’t need anyone to tell you you’re pretty or buy you a steak. Maybe this day is just a painful reminder of the love and loss you’ve had and you just want to have a drink and forget about it for a while. Whatever the case, we’ve got you covered. Drink this.

THE GOODS 3/4 oz gin (I like Fords Gin) 3/4 oz cognac (Camus works well) 1/2 oz Chambord 1/2 oz fresh pineapple juice 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS Shake all ingredients and fine strain into your favorite glass (I prefer a coupe glass and no ice in mine, but you do you!). Garnish with a skewered brandied cherry. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

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MASTER PL ATERS

WITH BECA LEWIS SKEELS OF LEEUW BAKE SHOP

PHOTOS BY DANIELLE ATKINS

VEGAN MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE SCONES

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THE GOODS

DIRECTIONS

FOR THE SCONES:

FOR THE GLAZE:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose  flour, plus some for dusting

1/4–1/3 cup almond milk

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tbsp dark chocolate powder

handful of vegan mini  marshmallows

dash of salt 1/4 cup unbleached cane sugar,   plus more for sprinkling dash of cayenne dash of cinnamon 8 tbsp vegan butter or coconut   oil, at room temperature 3/4 cup almond milk,   plus some for brushing 1 tsp vanilla bean extract

1 tsp dark chocolate powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and sprinkle with cane sugar. Set aside. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using your hands or a fork, cut in the vegan butter. Once combined and crumbly, make a well and pour in the almond milk and vanilla. Stir until a dough forms. Flip the dough onto a floured surface. Fold the dough by hand until combined and form a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick and 8 to 10 inches around. Cut the disk like you would a pizza: horizontal, vertical, then diagonal twice to create 8 equal pieces. Place the scones on the baking sheet, not touching. Brush the dough with almond milk and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until risen and baked through. Poke with a knife to check doneness. Transfer the scones to a rack and allow them to cool while you make the glaze. Combine the almond milk, chocolate powder, and confectioners sugar and whisk until smooth, adding milk as needed for the right consistency. Top the cooled scones with the glaze and sprinkle with mini marshmallows.

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ANDREA GIBSON w/ CHASTITY BROWN - THE HIGH WATT A NIGHT OF YK RECORDS 2 - MERCY LOUNGE WHO’S BAD: THE ULTIMATE MICHAEL JACKSON EXPERIENCE - CANNERY BALLROOM SPAZZ CARDIGAN - THE HIGH WATT PROTOMARTYR w/ SHAME - THE HIGH WATT BETH DITTO - MERCY LOUNGE THE WIND & THE WAVE - MERCY LOUNGE LUCY DACUS w/ AND THE KIDS - THE HIGH WATT PROPAGANDHI - MERCY LOUNGE HOT SNAKES - MERCY LOUNGE BORN RUFFIANS - THE HIGH WATT COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS - THE HIGH WATT EARTHLESS - MERCY LOUNGE QDProm - CANNERY BALLROOM QDP CAROLINE ROSE - THE HIGH WATT CURTIS HARDING - MERCY LOUNGE ROGUE WAVE - MERCY LOUNGE WILD CHILD w/ THE WILD REEDS - MERCY LOUNGE 24

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S P O NSORE D BY

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ONCE BITTEN

BY NATHAN DILLER PHOTOS BY DANIEL CHANEY

Nashville up-and-comer Phangs is making a name for himself on and offline


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JAKE GERMANY SETS HIS phone on the table, screen down. “I keep my notifications on, which is probably a horrible idea,” he says, laughing. “But I just want to know what’s happening.” Just a couple of hours ago, Germany, who goes by the moniker Phangs, tweeted the cover art and release date of his new album, Happy Season, which sent his followers into a frenzy. And he’s got the push notifications to prove it. Over the past year, Germany has made a name for himself as part of Nashville’s pop scene. He released his debut LP, Get in My Arms, last summer, and the Scene named his song “Always Been U,” which features his good friend and local R&B crooner R.LUM.R, the Best Pop Single of 2017. I’m sit ting across f rom Germany at The Post East, and the twenty-nine-year-old looks every bit the pop wunderkind. His chin-length blonde hair peeks out from beneath a baseball cap, and he opens his faux-shearling-lined jean jacket—which is adorned with a Kanye West pin—to reveal a Michael Jackson T-shirt. “I just love Michael Jackson,” he says, smiling. “It’ll never get old to me.” Germany moved to Nashville from Texas five years ago with his band Cardboard Kids, a fourpiece rock outfit that’s more Black Keys than anything on pop radio. In his spare time, though, Germany made tracks for other artists that sounded more like what he listened to as a kid. Every weekend, his mom would sit him on the couch and crank up their boom box while she vacuumed the living room, and she’d sing

along to Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. When he decided to keep some of the tracks for himself and give his own project a shot, he had those days in mind. “I really was just kind of chasing, I don’t know, that feeling: the feeling of my mom vacuuming,” says Germany. “I wanted music to feel that way for me. It wasn’t about the sounds or the lyrics or the melodies as much as just that feeling.” Germany first started playing music in the middle school band, which he hated. He tried out at his parents’ insistence and was assigned to play saxophone. “I was like, ‘No, I’m a drummer,’ and they’re like, ‘No, you’re not,’” he says. By the time he got to high school, he quit the band but picked up guitar on his own. If he neglected his studies, his parents would ground him and forbid him to play. So he taught himself to play piano. After they disallowed that, he figured out how to program drums on his computer. “So me being a bad student made me a better musician, but it stressed my parents out,” he says, laughing. Germany’s passion at the time, however, was soccer. He started at four years old and played all the way through his first year of college, with ambitions of going pro. As his love of music grew, he switched gears, but he is as infatuated with sneakers as ever, which he attributes to his years spent on the field. “You use your feet the whole time and so you care about what shoes you put on your feet as a soccer player,” he says. “It’s like a joke in the soccer world that the only way that soccer players

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express themselves, especially when I was younger, was cool shoes and crazy hair.” As a kid, he mowed lawns so he could buy shoes, and he collected pro soccer jerseys to trade with friends the way some kids traded Pokémon cards. He’s even holding his record release show at ROOTED, a local sneaker and clothing store. “Like, these shoes are ridiculous right now,” he says, pointing down to a pair of rainbow Nikes. “But that’s what I am about.” G er m a ny h a s a w ay of incorporating his various passions into his work. When he chose the name Phangs, he was inspired by one of his favorite comic books, Saga, in which people inhabit a comet called Phang, and also in part by the name of Hagrid’s dog, Fang, in the Harry Potter series. He doesn’t have a manager or a booking agent. He designs his own graphics, books his own shows, and carefully curates his Instagram— designing his own distinct border for photos—all on his ow n. Everything he does with Phangs is focused and purposeful, which also comes across in the music. And by being himself he’s found many like-minded collaborators. Germany co-produced Happy Season with brother-sister duo Truitt (made up of Brett and Brigetta Truitt), whom he met during a writing session for another artist. In that session, they worked on album closer, “Dry Eyes,” a triumphant, betteroff-without-you breakup song that features guest vocals from Brigetta. Germany asked if he could keep the track for himself, and the three kept writing. Before they knew it, they were making an album. The record marks a sonic

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progression from Germany ’s previous release, boasting the same pop sheen but with deeper grooves and bigger beats. Germany, who is now engaged, also sounds happier. “I just went through this breakup before all of this, and I was dealing with all of that. I have this issue sometimes where I don’t allow myself to really feel or deal with the things I need to deal with,” he says. “I just kind of push it to the side and keep going and try to stay busy.” While talking to his friend and Atlantic Records A&R Consultant Chris Cline about his nex t move, Cline said he was ready for Germany’s happy season. Germany kept that phrase in mind while writing. “It’s almost like that other album had to exist for me to deal with all that stuff—for me to realize how awesome things are now. So I just kind of went into it wanting to bottle up that feeling,” he says. On standout track “Good Now,” Germany, over hand claps and a tropical house beat, sings: “I’m higher than I’ve ever been, afraid to come down / But you take my hand, you make me think that maybe things are good now.” Lead single “Eyes Off You” is an ode to Germany’s fiancée, with breezy vocals bolstered by a pulsating sy nthesized bassline. W hile recording, he was influenced by a number of contemporary artists like Calvin Harris and Carly Rae Jepsen, as well as music he listened to growing up, like Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. “Eye to Eye,” a song by fictional pop star Powerline from A Goofy Movie, also emerged as an unlikely influence from childhood (he tweeted about his fondness for the character once and has since been gifted


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numerous Powerline tour T-shirts). Later this week, Germany will embark on the second leg of Phangs’ latest tour: a string of house shows that’ll run from Arkansas all the way to California. A few fans requested via Twitter that he play at their houses, and one day he jokingly replied to one of them with his price. Before he knew it, he had hundreds of direct messages. “I tweeted and was like, ‘Wait, is this for real?’ Like, ‘Are we about to do a house tour?’” he says. “And all these people were just like, ‘Yes’ . . . And so I was driving back from Memphis, which is where my fiancée’s from, and I asked her to drive so I could just be on my phone for a second, and I routed out two legs of a tour through the cities these people were interested in.” Normally his live shows include a full band, but for this tour he’s going it alone with just an electric guitar and some pedals. It’s a lot of work, but Germany says the connections he’s forged with fans make it all worth it. “I remember I played one of the new songs called ‘I Forgot You,’” he says. “It was in Birmingham, and there was a girl there who came with a friend. She didn’t even know who I was, and I was playing the song and I had my eyes shut, and when I opened my eyes and finished it, I just for some reason saw her face first and she was bawling . . . You don’t get to have that experience anywhere else.” Germany glances at his phone, which, had it not been set on silent, likely would have rung countless times by now. He and his fans—who call themselves the Pham—are in this together. “I know that it sounds cliché and I know everybody says it, but more than anybody else that I know of, I cannot do this without these people,” he says. “I don’t have a team. My team is me and the Internet and the people who care about it on the Internet . . . We’re all just trying to make something cool.” If the excitement surrounding Happy Season and the house tour is any indication, Germany and the Pham are off to a pretty good start. Phangs’ latest record, Happy Season, is out February 16.

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SECOND SKIN

BY CHARLIE HICKERSON PHOTOS BY BRETT WARREN

Savannah Yarborough is realizing her leather-clad dreams with Atelier Savas

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MODELS ROGER MOUTENOT, STEPHANIE GONIS, AND MATTHEW MOSSHART; SYDNEY, DYLAN, AND JAX APPEAR COURTESY OF AMAX TALENT BEAUTY ALICIA MARIE CAMPBELL OF SEE MANAGEMENT


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“WITH LEATHER, THERE’S no forgiveness—you can’t take it back,” Savannah Yarborough says from a deep leather chair that looks like it’s threatening to swallow her whole. “I’ve had to remake entire fronts that take a whole day because I went over one stitch on the pocket. “You have to be in charge of the material. You can’t let it do what it wants to do, because it’s not going to do what you want it to do. You have to tell it,” she says, gritting her teeth. “I mean, there’s days where I’m sitting there and I’m like, ‘Come on! Just do it!’” As the founder of Atelier S av a s — a le at her a nd f u r company that specializes in bespoke jackets, bags, and about any other leather good you cou ld wa nt— Sava nna h Yarborough spends most of her time imposing her will on various animal skins. There’s enough of it here in her 8th Avenue studio and adjacent show room to make Teddy Roosevelt envious, and she straightens, sews, and generally grapples with every yard of it—from the black Italian calfskin sample I’m holding to the alligator pelt back in the studio. And while it’s true to say Yarborough is the founder of Savas, it’s more accurate to say she is Savas. She’s the sole designer, seamstress, tailor, embroiderer, and whatever else -er she needs to be to make the business operate. She takes breaks during the interview to take messages from her cutter, Nikki, and field one of Savas’ neverending Fedex orders (she greets the delivery man with a big “There he is!”—like he’s a longawaited party guest). At any given

time, Yarborough is working on roughly fifteen made-to-order pieces, pieces that range from the flowy, art-deco-style coat hanging behind us to a guitar strap that’s currently traveling the world on tour to a muted suede sport coat she sold a few months ago. Each piece is made from materials picked by clients during the first of what is often many consultations with Yarborough (the art-deco-y thing is for local fashion guru Libby Callaway; the guitar strap was for Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita; and the blazer was for an unnamed eighty-three-year-old man who wanted something nice to wear when he took his wife out to dinner). A few months later—after leather has been ordered from family businesses in Italy, France, or even Turkey; after fittings have been checked and rechecked; after a canvas mockup has been made; after Yarbrough has spent countless hours sewing her ass off while listening to The Stones—the piece is finished. The client walks out the door with a garment that started as a slab of leather and that no one but Yarborough has ever touched. Th is, of cou rse, is t he CliffsNotes version. I’m leaving out the painfully tedious, dayslong process behind ever y zipper, the existential crises that often come with making the perfect armhole, and the practically unlearnable skill of ma king something that accurately represents someone else’s personality. It’s a process that falls somewhere between t a i lo r i n g , m a nu f a c t u r i n g , designing, and styling, and it’s a niche that Yarborough solitarily

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occupies. That’s because—much like the jackets she conjures out of pieces of hide— she created it. “Not to get all f lighty on you, but I’m definitely a law of attraction kind of human and believer,” she says when asked about starting Savas. “And I believe in manifesting what you want . . . You just say what you need and then do it.” But Yarborough, like most of us, didn’t always know what she wanted. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where aspiring to be a fashion designer wasn’t really a thing: “I was really growing up in a very conservative area. It was like, ‘You want to do what?’ . . . Being a designer was never even a thought in my mind.” (Ironically enough, Birmingham now boasts a pretty established fashion scene and has hosted its own fashion week since 2011.) At the suggestion of a fr iend, Yarborough enrolled at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She planned on becoming a fashion writer, one of the only “real jobs” she thought she could land in the industry. When she arrived for her first semester, she realized that wasn’t happening. “The first day of school, or right before the semester started, they were like, ‘We’ve had to fire our journalism director, and we’re no longer offering the degree. Your journalism classes have been replaced with design classes,’” she says, still kind of anxiously laughing. “I was like, ‘I’ve never really drawn anything! I don’t know what that even means!’” Yarborough found a mentor in her womenswear design professor—a real TimGunn type with a penchant for pushing students to their limits. He gave her two pieces of advice that would be invaluable: 1. Try out menswear. 2. Transfer schools. “[He] was like, ‘You know what, you’re not really going to get the right education out of this school,’” Yarborough remembers. “He totally shouldn’t have said that to me, but he did. He said, ‘You need to try to go to Saint Martins or Parsons. And if you get into either one, pack your shit

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and go.’” She didn’t want to live in New York, so she passed on Parsons. She did, however, apply to Central Saint Martins in London, got accepted, and promptly packed her shit. In addition to bolstering her nowinhuman sewing skills, Saint Martins taught Yarborough the mechanics of the process—that is, the reality that multiple people will usually help a designer bring her idea to life. “[My professors said], ‘You need to know how it works and what to do, but we also want you to finish your products beautifully. And if that means having the technician put your collar in, do that. You can have an hour with them every week to get them to do the hard stuff that you’re going to mess up.’” That didn’t really fly for Yarborough, a designer who now does everything— especially the hard stuff—herself. “I did most all of my stuff. I could use [the technicians] maybe to show me something, but I always wanted to know how it actually worked . . . I’m really fascinated at the logistics of putting things together.” Saint Martins requires a placement year, which is essentially the fashion school equivalent of a residency. When the time came to pick a placement, life brought Yarborough back to an unexpected, albeit familiar, place: Alabama. Her mom saw Billy Reid in a magazine and suggested her daughter come meet the Florence, A labama–based desig ner. Though Yarborough was a little hesitant (“Alabama? There’s no way I’m leaving London and going back to Alabama. That’s like the worst thing you could ever tell me to do!”), she soon began a six-month internship with Reid. Three months in, he offered her a job. “Billy and I had gotten along so well. He was like, ‘Can you just work for us? We’ll give you the title of senior men’s designer. You’re the one that I want to work with to design everything.’” She accepted the offer, but there was one minor problem: she had to go back to


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London to finish her last year of school. So, one week out of every month she’d fly to either Florence or New York, while at the same time finishing what is arguably the toughest year of design school. “I was doing 3 a.m. conversations about coats because it would be in the afternoon here, and it’d be the middle of the night where I was. And so I managed to sort of do both of those things for that year. Then I came to Nashville when I graduated.” Liv i n g i n Na shv i l le put Yarborough a two-hour drive away from Florence and a two-hour flight away from New York (plus, it saved her from moving back to Alabama). During her three years with Reid, she helped design “like five hundred pieces a season,” and she says she still knows and recognizes every product they ever made. “I think it’s really important to be able to work for someone and with someone and design within the confines of that brand,” she explains. “It’s something that you can’t learn on your own. But it’s something where what you do learn helps when you do it on your own.” She worked on a leather jacket for Reid, and as she learned t he process a nd de veloped rel a t ion s h ip s w it h le a t he r manufacturers, the idea of doing it on her own seemed less and less crazy. “I was obsessed,” she says. “It was one of those things, and I started putting the pieces together. I had actually thought, I’ll move somewhere and I’ll get another job before I do this. And I went out to L.A. and did all these job interviews and I was like, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to go

out and be a sweater designer for some other company. I’m ready to be in control of what it is that I’m contributing to the world.” As soon as she touched back down in Nashville, she found someone to help her write a business plan. The numbers actually added up (“You kind of have to have some assurance that things could work if all goes accordingly”), and Savas was born. During her first year of business, she still stayed on at Reid, overseeing their shoes and bags, but Savas was never a side hustle or hobby for Yarborough. It is, and always has been, the end goal. “When I started this business, I was like, ‘This is already a brand. This is already a thing. People love it,’” she explains. “It was never ‘Oh, this is my small little business, and I’m going to figure it out.’ It was like, ‘No, we’re going to make this thing big. And whatever it takes to get there, I’m going to do it and figure it out . . . Because for me it was always real.” She pauses before adding once more for emphasis: “It was always real.” Yarborough was in this go-bigor-go-home mindset when Savas expanded into the showroom we’re sitting in now. Until last April, the shop was housed entirely in what’s now the workshop, but when the space next door opened up, she knew what she had to do—even if she didn’t know how to afford it. “[My landlord] said, ‘That’s going to double your rent,’” she remembers. “I’m like, ‘I know.’ Field of Dreams: build it, and they will come. So we didn’t have the staff that we needed to fill that space up yet, which some people would say is jumping the gun. But at the same time, getting that space allowed us to create this.”

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MEN. WOMEN. HOME. GIFT.

WITH RYAN CONNORS

FEBRUARY 22 AT 7PM 44

BETHANY MERRITT MARCH 29TH AT 7PM

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W W W. N A S H V I L L E J A Z Z . O R G

She’ll need the extra space. For the first time in Savas’ three-year history, Yarborough is hiring a sewer from New York to help with the workload. She’s been running Craigslist ads in New York, L.A., Nashville, and even Ohio (there’s a leather factory there) since Savas opened, so it’s a relief. It doesn’t, however, mean Yarborough will be any less involved. “I think once we have our sewer here, we’ll hire an apprentice,” she says. “But it’s going to be a minimum of a year of that person just experimenting and messing around—then we’ll have to pay them to go through the education— before we’ll ever trust them on a client’s jacket.” With their help, Yarborough plans on releasing Savas’ new “collection” in March—her first in two and a half years. It’s a “collection” because, unlike virtually every other designer out there, Yarborough won’t show it on a runway then put it up for sale. Instead, the pieces will live in the Savas showroom, where they’ll serve as a brand mission statement and offer inspiration to clients. “I really want to be able to show more of a range of what we’re really capable of,” Yarborough explains. “There is no proper word [for the collection], which is what I figured out is kind of the standard statement for my business . . . I know that if I show [clients] more things, they’re going to be like, ‘Whoa! I want a fur coat.’ And I’ll say, ‘Cool, we can do it. And here’s one so you can see that we can do it.’” It’s a ton of work for a collection that may never be sold, but selling them isn’t necessarily the point. If they can inspire a client—if they can help make someone else feel comfortable in their own skin—it was all worth it. “It’s such an empowering thing in some ways. It’s a sense of protection,” Yarborough says. “[Leather jackets] are such a badass piece of clothing, and you should feel that way when you put it on. That’s my goal: that when you put it on, you want to wear it out and you never want to take it off—because it makes you feel that good.” Atelier Savas is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. 5 p.m. by appointment only, and weekends by special request. Savas also hosts open studio hours the first Saturday of every month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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WHERE THERE'S WEIRD, THERE'S A WAY

BY CAT ACREE PHOTOS BY SARAH B. GILLIAM

Inside the bizarro folk art world of Brett Douglas Hunter

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THERE’S NOTHING ABOUT Brett Douglas Hunter’s chairs— or “cheers,” as his grandma pronounces it—that suggests you should sit on them. First, there’s the fact that sitting on art is a good way to get booted from a gallery. Then there’s the fact that Hunter’s chairs aren’t merely objects to look at; they look back. And when your chair is a green Gumby-looking monster with tiny (kind of cute) horns, horrified yellow eyes, and a red-lipped, gasping mouth, you might feel bad about sitting on her. Even if she is unexpectedly comfor table— or sit table, as Hunter would say. “I would love it if someone would sit on one every day, but I don’t expect them to,” Hunter says. “I guess you could sit on one and put your shoes on.” Just be careful if you’re lowering yourself onto the blue one, because there’s a goofy, grinning, Muppety penis you’ll need to navigate around. (It’s kind of like sitting on a saddle.) We first got a taste of Hunter’s bizarro exuberance and mythical, br i g ht ly colore d s c u lpt u re creations a year ago, when he made his solo exhibition debut at Alex Lockwood’s singular Elephant Gallery in North Nashville. Titled Aminals, the exhibition offered viewers a trippy dreamscape filled with cheerful, wacky creatures that seem pulled straight from a child’s imagination. His influences of Pee-wee’s Playhouse and cartoons are apparent and yet distilled, while adding to a conversation populated by other whimsical artists like Misaki Kawai. It was after this exhibition that Hunter made the move from Carbondale, Illinois, to Nashville. For his next exhibition, Cheers, which will open at Julia

Martin Gallery in February, he’s participating in a great folk art tradition: remaking the chair. Fol k a r t—rooted i n t he mundane, the stuff that’s easy to ignore—is about skills passed down through communities, as artists expertly craft home necessities and then add that personal, human element of design. And while chairs frequently have functioned as canvases for folk artists, they have just as often made the transition to high art. “They are objects that seem to most embody everybody’s conscious experience of design,” wrote MOMA curator Paola Antonelli. “In chairs, more than in any other designed object, human beings are clearly the unit of measure.” I dare you to have a more conscious experience with an object—and a greater awareness of a human as a unit—than when sitting on a “cheer.” Hunter’s studio, also located at Elephant Gallery, is full of humanoid chairs in the days leading up to the Cheers exhibition. Made from f ibrous concrete plastered around an armature, each chair has a face positioned directly behind a potential sitter’s head, and it seems necessary to tell my chair (Gumby monster) that I’ll be on my best behavior. Across the room, a monochromatic red chair with a grimacing face reads “ASS HOLE,” but is the chair the asshole, or am I? Hunter says that an orange woman chair with Pepto-colored hair gives a lot of people the heebie-jeebies, but she just seems like a nice lady to me, albeit a little confused. Perhaps the creepiest one is a child’s chair—a yellow, gargoyle-like gravestone that will definitely come to life and eat your toes.

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“I like when people get that goofy chuckle,” Hunter says. “I love that. I like to see people squirm a little bit, I guess.” As uproarious as Hunter’s chairs may be, they are, in the tradition of folk art, utilitarian. And some of Hunter’s other pieces can be used as well: On his wall hangs a yellow guitar, remade to look like a creature with a soundhole mouth. It’s technically playable though it’s out of tune. Two grotesque alien children hold up a planter, as if waiting for someone to love them for their creepiness and plant some hydrangeas in their big blue box. “I feel more connected to [folk people] than more academic, art-world kind of things,” Hunter says. “I’m not trained or anything, so naturally, things come out kind of crude. I also love that aesthetic anyway. It’s just a big part of anything I make.” This mix of weird and usable is the Hunter magic. It stems from a lifelong connection to traditional folk art that began with his grandfather, artist Don Shull, who exhibited a retrospective of twenty-five years of his work at Elephant Gallery last fall. “In the late ’80s and early ’90s, folk art [had] this big explosion of popularity,” Hunter explains. “Howard Finster was suddenly a rock star. My uncle [Randy Shull] lives in Asheville, and he would go buy stuff from folk artists around down there. [My grandfather] would visit him, and on the way back through Tennessee, he would stop and find the ‘Gourd and Snake Man’ [a.k.a. artist Dow Pugh] and collect things.” Pugh is one of many artists that Hunter’s family collected from, as well as Minnie Adkins and Howard Finster, and it’s clear these objects had just as much an influence on Hunter’s imagination as his grandfather’s. “I think that’s what kick-started my grandfather’s artwork . . . He saw people who were like him, you know, workers and builders and regular old men, that were using their imagination and sense of humor and color, and I think that inspired him to get weird.”

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Shull initially began working with stained glass (one of his lamps hangs above our heads), then moved to wooden, windpowered whirligigs and whimsical piggy banks. He even built a human-size praying mantis on a bicycle, with legs that pedal (visit Hunter’s Instagram to see a video of Shull pulling the mantis behind his lawn mower). “He started making that stuff when I was like ten, so it’s definitely a big part of my artistic brain,” Hunter says. “He would let me putter around in the shop with him and use power tools when I was really young. He always would encourage me but not micromanage what I was doing, teach me how to do something but not too much, which was really great. I think if I were to teach something, that’s what I would try to do.” But the artistry in Hunter’s family doesn’t stop there: his uncle, Randy, is an acclaimed painter and furniture designer, and Hunter’s mom, Deb Shull-Andrews, makes mixed-media art and collagestyle bags. In the 1990s, Hunter says, she transformed junk chairs, “painting them all bright and crazy.” In this family, art has always been weird, always pure imagination, always silly. “Something to laugh at,” Hunter says. To be creative is his family’s legacy—which is a lot of pressure. “All the men in my family are builders,” he says. “They built houses by themselves. I feel like I have no skill. I could build a wall, but it would be crooked as hell.” Perhaps this is where Hunter breaks with folk art: he’s building functional art, but in some ways, form matters more. “I’m not really doing it in a traditional way,” he says of his fibrous concrete material. “It turns out pretty lightweight. Maybe I’m sacrificing some strength there, but I’m not supporting a building or something.” Hunter dropped out of art school after his first year, so everything he’s doing here is self-taught. “The regular school part, the core curriculum—I was a good student in high school, and it bummed me out to be


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[studying] the same things,” he says. “So I failed English, you know, stuff I knew how to do and just didn’t [do]. Also, being out in the world on my own, and I didn’t have parents to like make me go, I would just not go out of anxious reasons. If I was one minute late, I would just walk right by the class and not go. If I had late homework, I would bail . . . If I did follow through with that, I would have a lot more to talk about with art. I don’t feel like I have a lot to say when I’m talking about it.” But Hunter (who, by the way, is a full-time artist, so no love lost over that art school) doesn’t need to talk about it. Avoiding explanation is actually an important part of Hunter’s process. He calls it “wei wu wei weird,” a play on wu wei, or non-doing. “Don’t think about it, just keep going, just keep working,” he explains. “Action without action. Just keep working without working too hard.” In this way he works naturally, impulsively—and quickly enough that his brain doesn’t have a chance to trip his own booby trap. “My biggest hurdle is definitely my own brain, my own selfdoubt,” he says. “It’s probably one of the reasons I don’t stop and think about why and what I’m doing, because if I do, I get so blocked up in a weird feedback loop that I can’t push forward.” Fortunately, with this method, art comes as easily for Hunter as play comes to children. Not that he’s wholesome, of course—more like adolescent. “I always kind of lean on the childish joke,” he warns. “I put a dick on that chair or a swear word, so I guess it is kind of an adolescent place to be. Between serious and funny, between childlike and pornographic and gross.” Though inspired by the folk artists before him, and by the brilliant, creative members of his own family, Hunter has a style all his own. And for the record, his grandma disapproved of the penis chair—but she laughed at it too.

New name, same great people and services!

We are thrilled to announce that we are merging with our sister skincare experts at Ona Belle Meade and changing our name to Ona Skincare East Nashville. We look forward to the year ahead and continuing to serve your skincare needs!

Brett Douglas Hunter’s latest exhibit, Cheers, will run from February 2 through March 31 at Julia Martin Gallery.

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Artist Spotlight: Angelina Castillo I TRY TO THINK OF A LOT OF NOBLE AND elevated things to say about my photos. In reality, I struggle even to call myself a photographer sometimes. When people ask what my passion is, what I enjoy, and what I use to fill my creative time, I always answer that I “take pictures.” I take pictures, and it brings me such profound joy to freeze a beautiful moment in time so that I can remember it forever and pass it along to people I care for—so that they find beauty in the moment too. I take pictures, and when someone sees one of my shots of them and comments, “Wow, I look cool, usually I hate photos of myself!” it makes my week to see their bolstered confidence. I take pictures, and when all of the angles and colors add up, and the perfect thing happens at the perfect moment with the perfect settings and the perfect film stock, I feel like some cosmic force decided to be my friend and, like maybe, the world is a little less hostile than I thought. Speaking about my photos has always made me feel uncomfortable in the same way that being in front of the camera makes me uncomfortable. Speaking about the way it makes me feel does not. Taking a photo creates a little home in my heart where the subject will always live. When I look at a photo and see the way light falls on a person’s face, I also recall what we talked about that day, how I feel about the person, and the presence they have in my life. Being able to select from all the disparate elements in the world just a few to live in a little rectangle together feels like a pure mission to achieve beauty, balance, and confidence. Maybe my whole “career” in “photography” is just a selfish search for beauty, balance, and good vibes. —Angelina Angelina Castillo’s latest exhibit, Selected Memory, will run from February 3 to February 23 at 2020 Lindell Avenue.

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THE SWEET SPOT

BY CHRIS PARTON PHOTOS BY EMILY DORIO

With Shugga Hi Bakery and Café, sisters Kathy Leslie and Sandra Austin are betting on a Dickerson Pike revival

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IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE day on East Nashville’s Dickerson Pike, and a break in the bitter cold has brought this infamous corridor buzzing back to life. Cars zip by on four lanes, and pedestrians amble along the historic thoroughfare. Among the smoke shops, liquor stores, used tire garages, and seedy motels, something stands out: a cute little electricblue bakery and brunch shop, newly opened by two local sisters who believe it will help spark a revival in their neighborhood. Seated inside at a window table are Kathy Leslie and Sandra Austin, owners and operators of Shugga Hi Bakery and Café. They’re quick to smile and generous with their laughter, radiating a kind of motherly warmth as they chat about cakes, customers, and more—but they’re far from naive about the mission they’ve embarked on. The sisters grew up a few miles away on Hart Avenue, they love the neighborhood, and they know exactly what a clean, safe place like this could mean for the community. “I didn’t really know what prostitution was at that time, but I remember seeing the women walking up and down the street looking a little unsavory,” Austin says, thinking back to her earliest memories of the area. She gets up and walks behind the café’s bar, then returns clutching a small, drug store thank-you card. Smiling as she opens it, she reads aloud: “‘Thank you all so much for opening a nice environment in our neighborhood. I’ve lived here for thirty-four years. A lot has come and a lot has gone . . . This

is just to say you all have brought beauty to us.’” “We could have opened up anywhere,” Leslie adds. “But we wanted to be here.” Opened late last summer, Shugga Hi sits on a tiny triangle of land where Dickerson and Whites Creek Pike converge. The sisters have been passing by here their whole lives, even as far back as when the building housed a segregated burger joint. “It was ‘No coloreds allowed,’” says Austin. But now w ith sleek, mu lt i m i l l ion - dol la r home s on nearby Fern and Ligon Avenues taking advantage of the neighborhood’s breathtaking panoramic views of downtown, plus plans for a Cumberland River marina to be built just blocks away, Leslie figures this area could soon become the next Five Points. “I think it will, because there’s nowhere else to go,” she says. “If you come over the hill and you see the skyline, this is a diamond in the rough . . . and we wanted to put something here that will reflect how Dickerson Pike will become in the future, not how it is right now.” The sisters’ original plan was for a simple cake shop. They were hoping to repurpose an old shipping container and place it in the vacant lot next door, but when they contacted the landowner, he offered to lease the whole building. “My sister is a master baker, and I’m a master eater,” Leslie says with a laugh—and with no objection from Austin. “When we came in here, this place was totally a mess, but we just stepped out in faith. Really it

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was supposed to just be a bakery, but since we had all this space it turned into a café, and then once you have a café you’ve gotta have a bar. It just kept going.” Austin might be the sister with the kitchen skills, but both are experienced entrepreneurs. Leslie is an attorney and real-estate developer, while Austin worked as a financial adviser and once owned her own mortgage company. Growing up, their father ran his own body shop—despite only having a thirdgrade education—and that gave both women a sense that anything was possible. But the sisters say the idea behind Shugga Hi comes straight from their mother, Catherine. She worked full-time as a nurse but valued family and togetherness over all else, sharing her love through food and fixing the kids three healthy, home-cooked meals every day. “And we didn’t sit at the TV,” Leslie says. “She used to say that if we were going to eat with the president, we would know how.” “I was always up under mom,” Austin explains. “I would stand there and watch her doing this and that, and at Thanksgiving and Christmas, oh Lord, we’d have twenty cakes . . . She just loved to bake, and she taught me how to do it . . . I kept on baking, and as I got older everything evolved and it got more intense. Then people started asking me to bake for them, and it just got more and more and here we are. That’s my peace and my passion. I get home, turn on some music and get a little glass of wine, and I’m thinking, Okay, so what am I gonna make?” Like her mom, Austin is now a pro at both cooking and baking, so Shugga Hi serves quality breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day, with a big emphasis on sweet treats and a welcoming atmosphere. Inside, the decor is modern and colorful but also cozy and unpretentious, with affordable prices geared toward neighborhood accessibility. “We want you to walk in and feel like you’re at home, feel like you’re appreciated, and get great food with great customer service,” she explains. “No worries, no judgment. You come in and you be you.” Her menu includes comfort food favorites like the Shugga Hi cake-waffle burger (made sweet and savory by using cake batter), chicken-n-waffles, fish sandwich, and a breakfast concoction rightfully named “Da Bomb”: two homemade biscuits stuffed with eggs, bacon, sausage, and cheese, with a delicious honey butter drizzled on top.

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Austin also whips up fresh cookies, pies, and pastries, plus alcohol-infused cakes, which are getting quite the reputation. “What I’m most famous for is my Sip of Cake,” she says with a laugh. “It’s supposed to be like you’re sipping on a drink, but you’re actually eating cake. We’ve got Gin and Tonic, Jack and Coke, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Rum Cake, Pina Colada—you name it and I just about make it all.” The place is open six days a week with low-key live music on weekend nights, “Kool Karaoke” on Thursday, and a jazz brunch buffet every Sunday. And this month the sisters are planning a special prix fixe menu for Valentine’s Day—with Austin working up a deliciously boozy pink-moscato cake to top off the meal. More condos and tall skinnies are being planted on the streets just off Dickerson, and with business slowly picking up as word gets out, the sisters hope Shugga Hi could soon encourage other investors to follow their lead. But to them, the café is more than a savvy investment or an outlet for Austin’s passion. “The concept really is for our mother,” Leslie explains. As a tribute to her, “The Catherine” is now an item on the breakfast menu—two pieces of bacon or sausage, one egg, toast, and potatoes, just the way she liked it. And every time someone orders the dish, both Leslie and Austin think of how proud she would be. Back at the table with traffic streaming by as the city’s daily exodus begins, the sisters have her in mind as they look over what Shugga Hi has become. They almost feel like pioneers, they say, happy to live out her values of compassion, good food, and community in a neighborhood that deserves a second chance. “Food means love to me,” Leslie says. “Coming up as a child, I just remember that Dickerson Pike was a rough place,” Austin adds. “But it’s also always been a neighborhood of togetherness.” If Dickerson Pike really does turn around, it will be because of people like these two. Shugga Hi Bakery and Café is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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r i v e r s i d e v i l l ag e

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chadwohlers


UNDERNEATH IT ALL

BY

NATIVE STAFF PHOTOS BY ANDREA BEHRENDS

An interview with Kathryn McGinnis, founder of new femme-forward intimates shop Darlin’

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DESPITE THE FACT THAT NATIONAL conversations surrounding sex and body positivity are prevalent in our cultural consciousness— and despite the fact that we’re inundated with more sexual advertising than any other time in history—there can still be something a little . . . well, weird about buying underwear. Chain stores are impersonal and lack options, online shopping is often a crapshoot, and traditional lingerie shops are—to say the least—a little much for some people. Kathryn McGinnis wants to change that. Darlin’, her newly opened Wedgewood-Houston store, provides thoughtfully curated intimates and skincare in an environment that you’ll actually want to hang out in. The shop offers custom fittings, individualized skincare regimens, and genderneutral garments, so there should be something— to quote Darlin’s tagline—“for all bodies.” We talked to McGinnis about opening the shop, buying lingerie in the South, and how underwear— much like breakfast—can be the foundation of a great day.

Tell us a little about how and why you founded Darlin’. I wanted a space to celebrate women in Nashville that was both feminine and accepting. Nashville has so many places for music and art, but I missed my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, and its eclectic DIY spaces. Being able to incorporate fashion, art, music, feminism, and the community was the main focus of the space. It took me about two years of cross-country research to peg down the finished business—which is still evolving. I’ve never thought of this as my store, but as a community outreach [project] that helps shape the space and mission.

Community is a word that Nashville establishments—including this magazine— throw around a lot, but it seems like there’s a lack of exclusively female spaces and activities in town. How can we do better as a city? Nashville does really offer a great selection of female friendly spaces! A lot of it is found through word of mouth though. I think the thing we could do better as a city is bring all groups and styles of women together. People forget we have more in common with others than we realize. There’s an aspect of breaking out of your comfort zone to get there—I know I haven’t felt like I belong somewhere fairly often. Being able to walk into a space that welcomes you with open arms and wants to know what you’re looking for or what you’re passionate about isn’t just something Nashville is lacking—it’s something the whole country is lacking. Collaborating with others and asking questions and learning from each other is what makes a community space. Maybe it’s because we live in the South, but we feel like there’s still a certain degree of taboo that comes with buying and selling women’s intimates. Do you agree? And if so, how can we break the stigma and show people that sex positivity and buying intimates isn’t anything to be embarrassed or nervous about? When I first started this venture, I was shut down by landlords, brokers, and banks. There is absolutely a stigma attached to lingerie in the South, which was surprising at first. Most of us wear underwear! There’s nothing shameful about being able to incorporate your personal style into what you’re wearing underneath your clothes. Undergarments are the first thing you put on each day, so they should feel good and make you feel good.

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I don’t want anyone to come into Darlin’ and be intimidated. I understand it can be scary when you’re entering new territory. Intimates are tied to sexuality because they aren’t shown to the rest of the world and it’s a private part of us. Being comfortable in your own skin and loving how you feel is the message you should walk away with after visiting the store. Lingerie is also something I personally hate purchasing online. Sizing varies hugely and so does quality. Seventy-five percent of women in the United States are wearing the incorrect bra size, and chain stores often do not offer specialty sizes. And if they do, they aren’t exactly fashionable. Having a brick-and-mortar store will help customers find the perfect fit. How do you see a shop like Darlin’ fitting into today’s cultural landscape—where society at large seems to be discussing women’s rights, sexual abuse, and equality more than ever before? I’m so thrilled to see women’s rights and equality being discussed without it being shut down or viewed as taboo. For so much of my life I’ve felt like I’ve been a walking TMI, or like I should come with a content warning. The first step to changing our cultural landscape is discussing it and confronting issues head-on. Darlin’ might be a lingerie shop, but it’s also a community space to discuss ways to improve our city. Being accepting of everyone’s sexuality, comfort, and past experiences can help make the shop a safe space, which is the ultimate goal. So Darlin’ is more of a space for creative, femme-identifying people to congregate in Nashville rather than just an intimates shop? Absolutely! I’m working with local artists each month to help give them a platform to display their art. The soft opening in January featured Samantha Zaruba, and this month we have Abby Coppage’s work displayed throughout the shop. We’re also collecting feminine hygiene products to donate to a local women’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Each donation will provide ten percent off of your purchase as a thank-you. Feminine hygiene products are often the most forgotten and needed donations we can give, and having access to clean toiletries can prevent infection, preserve clothing, and allow a woman to live her life.

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Speaking of donations, you sell pieces by MADI Apparel, an intimates maker that donates a pair of underwear to a local shelter for every intimate sold. Will there always be a significant social entrepreneurship element to Darlin’? And if so, how can NATIVE readers help? The goal is to find an organization or cause to partner with each month and start the drive the week of the Houston Station Art Crawl, so installations and donations will be rotating monthly. MADI is a fantastic company that we have enjoyed working with tremendously, so they’ll be a permanent line. Each MADI purchase helps us donate a clean, madein-the-US pair of underwear to the women’s shelter we have chosen to work with . . . It’s been a great feeling being able to bring it here to Nashville. What would you tell someone who has never bought intimates or lingerie? Or someone who doesn’t think “that stuff” is for them? If it’s not for you, it’s totally okay! But the shop isn’t all lace and boning—I’m working with some smaller brands to create gender-neutral garments, socks and hosiery, and a wide selection of robes. What you wear under your clothes should make you feel like your very best self. We start each day putting our skincare and underwear on first thing, and a great foundation is key to confidence. Getting dressed should be an enjoyable experience; starting off feeling wonderful should just be a springboard for the rest of your day. Whether you want something to create great lines, something that doesn’t feel like anything, or even something to help create or diminish curves, feeling good in your own skin is a personal preference . . . If you don’t love something, let us know! We can work with you, explore options, and find what makes you love you. Darlin’ is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 438 Houston Street, Suite 270.

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photo: @jonibonney

1200 Clinton Street Ste 10 • 615.679.0221 • hello@purenashville.co NATIVE NASHVILLE   ////////////////////


YOU OUGHTA KNOW: LIZA ANNE PHOTO B Y EMILY D ORIO There’s a good chance you already know Liza Anne, the emotionally charged, whispy-voiced singer-songwriter that appeared on the October 2015 cover of NATIVE. What you may not know, however, is that her new record, Fine But Dying (fun fact: that was the title of our profile on her) is out on March 9, and she’s throwing a release party April 19 at Third Man’s Blue Room. You also may not know that this is the best music Anne’s ever released. Fine But Dying finds her exploring some of the same dualities she addressed on 2015’s Two—like keeping up an outward facade of normalcy while feeling inner turmoil, for instance—but this time, these conflicts are examined in an even more direct, fearless manner. Plus, Anne dissects them over an expansive sonic landscape that’s unrecognizable from much of Two’s indie-pop. Take “Paranoia,” for example: it hooks you in with this chugging, Cars-y groove

only to—seemingly out of nowhere— explode into a series of sporadic fuzz breakdowns. Anne mimics the steady yet unhinged nature of the sound by confronting mental illness like an old (and unliked) family member: “Let me at it, I’m tired of it pestering me / I can’t get rid of it ’cause killing it’s like pulling my own teeth.” It’s the catchiest, most complex work Liza Anne’s ever done, and we can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. Something that’s not quite as complex: Liza Anne’s choice in booze and food. She picked Bastion as her favorite local haunt. “If I were going to die tomorrow, my last meal would be the Bastion nachos and a Toy Soldier,” she says. “I don’t know if I will ever love a bar or a drink—or another human, for that matter—as much as I love Bastion and Toy Soldiers. I’m kidding. I love my partner, and we are very happy together—especially when we are at Bastion drinking Toy Soldiers.”

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Knowing how to identify an invasive species can seem like a curse. When you can recognize it, you start to see it everywhere. Then, once you know the harm it can do, it’s difficult to keep your environmental chin up. But of course, with this knowledge comes the power to make decisions toward a healthier world. Sure, it would seem more pleasant to sweep our (or our forefathers’) ecological misdeeds under the rug, but such inaction is irresponsible; the issue of invasive species is commonly cited as one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity. And that’s not just biodiversity in rainforests and coral reefs, but biodiversity everywhere. Considering that we have such a stunning diversity of plant and animal life here in the Southeast, this is especially pertinent to us. The amount we have to accomplish can seem overwhelming, but we can all play a part, even if just a small one. You likely see invasive species in hoards everyday, whether in your yard or in that patch of woods down the street. But what exactly is it to be invasive, and how did they get here? An invasive species is one that is not native and causes ecological or economic harm. A plant can be non-native and still not considered invasive. For instance, the classic garden rose is not native, yet not invasive (however, we do have species of both native and invasive roses). The story of an exotic plant’s arrival varies from species to species. In some cases, they were brought here for their ornamental or horticultural value. In others, they were brought here for a specific function, like erosion control. Yet in other instances they arrived here by accident, as hitchhikers on the globalization machine. Invasive plants come in many different forms—trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, flowers. A couple of factors play into a plant being labeled as invasive. First, it does a better job of finding resources than the native plants. For example, privet and honeysuckle will leaf out before most other plants, and by the time the native plants typically wake up, the invasive plants will have effectively stolen the sunlight and outshaded the native. Second, a non-native species bypasses the slow process of ecological evolution. In other words, native plants spent millennia adapting alongside all the critters in

the landscape as well as to the physical factors of the landscape itself. So many plants “learned” to get by despite the factors that nature threw at them: soil acidity, hydrology, predation, parasitism, pathogens, etc. Similarly, nature “learned” to rely on the plant to survive—caterpillars ate its leaves and birds ate its seeds. But invasive species cheat this system and arrive as outsiders in a somewhat balanced world. They don’t have as many checks on their survival, which gives them the means to thrive. Invasive plants, given millennia upon millennia, will find their place in our landscape and become part of the native system, but that balance will not be struck without its costs. By then they will have strong-armed much of our current biodiversity out of existence. Personally, I think it is a better idea to take action now rather than placing hope in something that will likely take millions of years to come to fruition. The task may appear staggering at first, but manually removing acres of privet doesn’t have to be your first step. If you’re into that, however, now is the perfect time to jump in. The Garden Club of Nashville and Invasive Plant Control started a citywide event called the Weed Wrangle. Different nonprofits and other groups from across Nashville will be hosting invasive plant removal sites across the city on March 3.1 But there are other ways to play your part. In your own yard and gardens, stick to native plants and try to remove the invasives. Johnson grass, Chinese privet, bush and Japanese honeysuckle, wintercreeper, and English ivy are a few that grow rampantly in my yard. If you are going to plant a non-native, definitely avoid known invasive plants.2 Talk to your local garden supply center about this issue and tell them you’re interested in native plants, and even discourage them from selling invasive plants (surprisingly, they are widely available for purchase). If you don’t have a garden, try spreading awareness. In most cases, it doesn’t hurt to simply have conversations about it. If we want to see any change, there’s going to need to be a shift in mindset, and that can start with a simple conversation.

1 See www.weedwrangle.org for more info. 2 See tnipc.org/invasive-plants/ for a full list of invasives. Check out this list of native alternatives: www.se-eppc.org/pubs/middle.pdf About the Author Cooper Breeden is a graduate student in biology at Austin Peay focusing on plant ecology. Recently, he led the river restoration program at the Harpeth Conservancy, where he still acts as an ecological consultant. He has also worked in fisheries management, watershed and wetland restoration, and philanthropy.

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Profile for Native

NATIVE | ISSUE 68 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Featuring Brett Douglas Hunter, Phangs, Atlier Savas, Angelina Castillo, Shugga Hi Bakery and Cafe, Darlin', and many more.

NATIVE | ISSUE 68 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Featuring Brett Douglas Hunter, Phangs, Atlier Savas, Angelina Castillo, Shugga Hi Bakery and Cafe, Darlin', and many more.

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