ISSUE 73 THE SUMMER ISSUE
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L I LY G U I L D E R D E S I G N . C O M
CONTENTS JULY 2018
44 THE GOODS
13 Beer from Here 17 Cocktail of the Month 20 Master Platers 79 You Oughta Know 83 Itâ€™s Only Natural 86 Shooting the Shit
FEATURES 24 Super Duper 34 Blue Moon Waterfront Grille 44 Summer 2018 Nashville Fashion
54 Teresa Mason 64 Beizar Aradini NATIVE NASHVILLE
BELMONT UNIVERSITYâ€™S STUDENT-RUN BUSINESSES Serving the Nashville community through a unique learning experience.
NATIVE NASHVILLE â€ƒ
BEHIND THE ISSUE:
On Wyatt: Neon Zinn Necklace, Keep Shop Diamond Star Halo Vintage Jean Jacket, Keep Shop Diamond Star Halo Vintage Embroidered Button Up, Keep Shop Roger Burnt Orange Swimsuit, Brownlee Boots, Calvin Klein On Aubrey: Varsity Jacket, Eileen Kelly Designs Paracord Dress, Ona Rex Shoes, Miu Miu
PRESIDENT, FOUNDER: PUBLISHER, 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:
We hate to break it to Florence Welch, but the dog days are not over. In fact, by the time this issue hits stands on July 15, the dog days of summer— that period from mid-July through August associated with blistering heat, lethargy, and general misery—will just be starting. So what are the dog days, and why are they such a bummer (aside from the fact that they’re really, really hot)? Well first of all, they are not called the dog days because it’s so hot that dogs lie around and do nothing. Like just about everything else, the term actually finds its meaning in Greek and Roman history. Everyone from Homer to Virgil wrote about a time during the late summer associated with war, catastrophe, and madness (Achilles traveled to Troy during the dog days), and they attributed this chaos to the position of Sirius, the dog star. See, around July 19, Sirius— the brightest and most visible star in the Canis Major constellation—began its heliacal rising (meaning it became visible from earth). Since the Greeks and Romans could see it clearly
DAVID MICHAEL MEADOWS
SHELBY GRAHAM ANDRÉS BUSTAMANTE
ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE/ ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR:
MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN
FOUNDER, BRAND DIRECTOR:
KYLE COOKE CHARLIE HICKERSON JONAH ELLER-ISAACS COOPER BREEDEN
FOR ALL INQUIRIES:
NICK BUMGARDNER DANIELLE ATKINS DANIEL CHANEY EMILY DORIO BRETT WARREN ANDREA BEHRENDS SARAH B. GILLIAM ZACHARY GRAY
In Issue 72, we stated that singer-songwriter Erin Rae was signed to Tony Joe White's record label. Rae is actually signed to John Paul White’s label, Single Lock. We regret the error.
KELSEY FERGUSON PHOTOGRAPHERS:
during this time, they thought it must be making the sun even hotter, which obviously makes everybody act wackier, right? While it’s true that in the Northern Hemisphere this period is often the hottest time of the year, it doesn’t have anything to do with Sirius (sorry, Homer). The real reason for the heat? The earth just so happens to tilt more directly toward the sun during these months. While it’s reassuring to know that Sirius isn’t making the sun even hotter, we’re still not convinced people don’t go a little crazy during these months. It’s too hot, the honeymoon phase of summer is over, and everyone misses their sweaters (maybe that last thing is just us). So, in an effort to get you through this home stretch of the season, we’ve put together a (loose) summer issue. Turn to page 44 to see photographer Brett Warren’s far-out take on summer camp (featuring some wonderful summer-centric local designers), and enjoy a collection of stories that we think will make the dog days a little more bearable.
hifibooth.com NATIVE NASHVILLE
WITH ANGELIQUE PITTMAN President and Founder of NATIVE Beer Name: Gerst Brewery: Yazoo Brewing Company Style: Amber Ale ABV: 5.1% Food Pairing: Summer Grilling Appearance: Warm golden maize hue with a crisp and well-structured head Aroma: Bready with a hint of malt and herbal notes Where to Find It: Yazoo Brewery, Nashville area grocery stores, bars, and restaurants Overall Takeaways: Lately I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic. Maybe it’s because NATIVE is turning six this month, or maybe it’s because I’ve had some family in town. Regardless of the reason, I knew I wanted to pick something classic for my “Beer from Here” write-up this month— something that hearkened back to Nashville’s history while nodding to its future. I couldn’t think of a better fit than Yazoo’s Gerst. A little history: from 1893 to 1954, The William Gerst Brewing Company operated out of a massive brewery off 6th Avenue South. In addition to being a master brewer (he descended from a long line of Bavarian brewers), Gerst was also a master marketer. This was a man who was passionate about making beautiful items that were not only unique to his brewery but unique to Nashville. Etched glassware, lithographs, wall calendars—you name it, Gerst made it. Fast forward to 2011, one year before NATIVE began. In a partnership with the Chandler family (ow ners of the now-
shuttered Gerst Haus restaurant), Yazoo founder Linus Hall brings Gerst back to Nashville. The amber-ale hybrid is reconstructed using descriptions from the period, and the label pays homage to the wonderful branding that became Mr. Gerst’s calling card. Everytime I think of William Gerst, I can’t help but get inspired. He poured his heart and soul into creating a timeless Nashville product, and he made sure that product was accompanied by beautiful, clever branding that was a little different—a little off-center. Even though we’re only six, I hope NATIVE can one day become as enduring and distinct as the Gerst. This beer pairs with just about any food—seriously it’s a shapeshifter that seems to complement everything —but I recommend enjoying it with some summer grilling fare. The clean, malty notes and light, balanced finish pair perfectly with grilled salmon and/or veggies. Plus, what’s better than celebrating Nashville history while barbecuing w ith your friends?
COFFEE BREAKFAST LUNCH OPEN DAILY 7AM-3PM 700 FATHERLAND ST. 615.770.7097 SKYBLUECOFFEE.COM E S TA B L I S H E D 2 0 1 0
BLACK DAQ ATTACK BY MIKE WOLF BAR DIRECTOR AND MANAGING PARTNER OF CHOPPER
PHOTO BY NICK BUMGARDNER
THE GOODS 2 oz Hamilton Black Rum 3/4 oz lime juice 1/2 oz Blackberry Ginger Honey* 1/4 oz simple syrup 1 dash Angostura bitters
DIRECTIONS Add ingredients to a shaker tin and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a slice of lime and a mint leaf.
*BLACKBERRY GINGER HONEY Add 5 ripened blackberries and 2 tablespoons julienned ginger to a scant quart of honey syrup (2 parts honey, 1 part water). Allow to steep for 2â€“3 days, then strain.
SENIOR STYLIST RAY TAAFFE @RAYTAAFFE
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COFFEE BREAKFAST TACOS EVENTS
temponashville.com 2179 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
MASTER PL ATERS
BY CHEF JASON WILLIAMS OF SLIM & HUSKY'S
PHOTOS BY DANIELLE ATKINS
PEACH COBBLER CINNAMON ROLL
YIELDS 24–30 SERVINGS FOR THE DOUGH
FOR THE PEACH GLAZE
METHOD FOR DOUGH
2 1/4 cups warm buttermilk (microwave for 75 seconds) 2 packages active dry yeast 6 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups high-gluten flour 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 tsp salt 1/2 cup melted butter 1/4 cup sour cream 2 large eggs 1 cup cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cinnamon)
1 tbsp butter 2 cups frozen sliced or diced peaches 1 tbsp cornstarch 2 tsp vanilla 1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine the buttermilk and yeast in a medium bowl. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to activate the yeast. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the all-purpose flour, high-gluten flour, sugar, and salt. Attach the dough hook to the mixer. Once the yeast has activated, add the butter, sour cream, and eggs to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Start the mixer on the lowest speed and gradually add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Increase the speed and continue to mix until a dough ball forms. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic. Let the dough rise until it doubles. Punch down the dough, cover, and let rest for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease two cookie sheets. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar and roll. Cut the roll into 1 1/2 inch thick slices and place the slices on the cookie sheets about 1 inch apart (you may need to work in batches). Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
FOR THE VANILLA CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
2 cups powdered sugar 1/2 cup milk 1 tbsp vanilla 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
METHOD FOR PEACH GLAZE
Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the peaches, cornstarch, and vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the heat to high. Add the brown sugar and cook until carmelization starts. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then blend in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth. METHOD FOR VANILLA CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
In a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth and creamy. While the rolls are still warm, cover them with the peach glaze, then the vanilla glaze.
LAUREN SANDERSON - MERCY LOUNGE RIVER WHYLESS W/ ADAM TORRES - THE HIGH WATT THE GET UP KIDS - MERCY LOUNGE THE HANDSOME FAMILY w/ CHRIS CROFTON - THE HIGH WATT GGOOLLDD w/ NIKKI'S WIVES, ARROW KIDS - THE HIGH WATT MO LOWDA & THE HUMBLE AND THE HIGH DIVERS - MERCY LOUNGE
SALES w/ NO VACATION - THE HIGH WATT
J E T B L A C K A L L E Y C AT w / D B M K , S L E E P TA L K , T H E N E W S C H E M AT I C S - M E R C Y L O U N G E B L A C K M I L K w / R A S H A D T H A P O E T A N D T H E S T R E E T C L A N BA N D - T H E H I G H WAT T
JOAN OF ARC - THE HIGH WATT KINA GRANNIS w/ IMAGINARY FUTURE - THE HIGH WATT FRANZ FERDINAND - CANNERY BALLROOM LEAH BLEVINS w/ KATIE PRUITT, NIGHTINGAIL - THE HIGH WATT BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW - MERCY LOUNGE M KIRSTEN ARIAN, LO, IVORY LAYNE, KELLIE BESCH - MERCY LOUNGE THE JAYHAWKS w/ AARON LEE TASJAN - MERCY LOUNGE SLOAN - THE HIGH WATT FIDLAR w/ DILLY DALLY, NOBRO - CANNERY BALLROOM 22
DEEP BY KYLE COOKE PHOTOS DANIEL CHANEY
HOW POP PRODUCER SUPER DUPER WENT FROM WRITING JINGLES FOR LEXUS TO PRODUCING R.LUM.R’S HIT “FRUSTRATED”
JOSH HAWKINS JUST WANTS SOME RAMEN.
Other than that, he lives a content life on the West side of Nashville, wishing only for a Two Ten Jack location that doesn’t require a trip across town. When we meet, Hawkins is barefoot, wearing a loose, gray T-shirt and a slim pair of black joggers. He has a buzz cut and a stubble beard of similar length. We are sitting in his studio in the basement of his home in White Bridge, with Richland Creek to our back. There’s a gaggle of computer monitors, keyboards, and instruments strewn across his large wooden desk. I’m sitting on the couch petting Hudson, his tranquil King Charles Spaniel. Hawkins, an electronic and pop music producer, is perhaps better known by his stage name, Super Duper. He was born and raised in Knoxville and graduated from MTSU with a degree in audio production. After a three-year stint in New York post-graduation producing music for ads, he moved back to Tennessee— this time to Nashville—in 2012 with his wife. The couple, now married almost seven years, initially settled in Bellevue, but opted to move because, as Hawkins puts it, you never go on a date night in Bellevue. Hawkins knew he wanted to stay west of downtown Nashville, though. “That way, I can be a hermit more,” he says. “Just stay in my own little zone.” That is a familiar space for Hawkins, who had to self-motivate and catch up to his peers in the early chapters of his musical career. He was not raised in a rich musical scene like the one he currently lives in. “I tried to collaborate with people, but it was Knoxville,” he says with a shrug. “There’s not any culture. There’s like seven Chick-fil-A’s there.” Hawkins did not grow up playing any instruments. He was more interested in graphic design and drawing. Then he came across a beat-making program called Fruity Loops, which many hip-hop producers use to this day. Hawkins started producing tracks— terrible ones, he admits—and slowly found his sound. “I didn’t even know what a key was, or
even what a snare drum was,” he says. “But I started taking piano lessons and got a little bit of theory and understanding of what the heck I was doing.” Still, he says he was far behind a lot of his classmates once he got to college. “I remember my first week at MTSU, all the people that were there were really skilled musicians or producers. I didn’t even have a keyboard,” Hawkins says. “I was drawing in notes with the mouse. The back door is where I was going into the music production world.” His motto? “Fake it till you make it, man.” But even if he feels that he bamboozled his way into becoming a producer, Hawkins more than made up for it when he was with Robot Repair, the New York music, sound design, and licensing company where he made music for commercials. “It was a very small company, so they needed all hands on deck. I got thrown into the deep end again, every single day having to create tracks,” Hawkins says. To make matters more challenging, there was hardly any continuity in the music he was making. One day it’s a classical song in the vein of Danny Elfman. The next it’s a rock song for a sports car commercial. The constant shifting was an exercise in discipline as well as experimentation for Hawkins, who says he didn’t have a lot of time to explore music beyond the confines of the classroom at MTSU. Pinballing from genre to genre to meet the demands of clients eventually proved tiring, especially since Hawkins was often proud of the work that was being altered, or worse, scrapped. “If you have any connection to the music you’re creating,” Hawkins says of working in commercial music, “then it’s going to be tough.” The Mad Men fan in me is reminded of the quintessential Don Draper philosophy of giving clients what they need disguised as what they asked for. I guess it’s not as easy as Jon Hamm makes it look. “I remember one specific conversation. I was working on a Christmas commercial for Lexus, and a guy was like, ‘What would it sound like if Radiohead did Jingle Bells?’”
Hawkins recounts in his best Liverpool accent. “And I was like, ‘First of all, they wouldn’t do it, so where we’re going is going to be disaster.’ But little things like that were killing me.” And so he and his wife, both homesick, came back to Tennessee. He says he called every musician he knew that wasn’t a country artist in hopes of collaborating. In 2012, that wasn’t as many as it is now. “The pop scene is definitely growing,” Hawkins says. “I feel like I’ve seen it almost from the beginning to where it’s at now. People think Nashville will never be a pop town. Maybe it will take a long time to prove them wrong, but for me, I want to stay put and see it through, because I’d rather be on the edge of something than go to L.A. and bust my butt and hustle.” My conversation w it h Hawk ins is reminiscent of my interview with writerdirector Motke Dapp (in Issue 70 of NATIVE). Dapp, who also spent his formative years in Knoxville, spoke passionately about his desire to build something in Nashville as opposed to joining the already flourishing film industry in Los Angeles. Hawkins is the same way with the pop and electronic music scene. He’s certainly on the right track, both as a producer and artist. Hawkins’ latest EP, VHS, was released in February of this year, and the streaming numbers are through the roof. His most popular single from the EP has more than two million plays on Spotify. W hile the strea ming nu mbers a re encouraging, Hawkins wants to connect with listeners on a more personal level. He needs reassurance that he didn’t hoodwink his way to securing millions of plays because of some lucky Spotify or SoundCloud algorithm. And while the music community is far more communal in Nashville than in a place like New York, Hawkins wants to expect more than just friends in the crowds of his shows—he believes the average consumer is not as curious about local music as local musicians are. Thankfully, artists like friend and collaborator R.LUM.R (Super Duper produced R.LUM.R’s smash “Frustrated”) are changing that. “He has actual fans at his shows,” Hawkins says. “It’s not just, like, the homies of the pop scene.” When he produces for other artists,
Hawkins says he can be a bit of a pusher, which is hard to believe considering how casual our conversation is. He likes to leave a thumbprint, a musical calling card. When I ask him to describe that signature sound, he immediately says emotional. “But that sounds downtempo and moody,” Hawkins counters. “And a lot of my songs are energetic. I would say fun, emotional music. And I know that sounds like an oxymoron. I’m trying to ride that line between something big and emotional that also has that groove to it.” VHS ’s success was a relief for Hawkins, who views the project as a risk in many ways. He describes the EP as somewhat of a concept album, and it’s easy to understand why. VHS is about fifteen minutes start to finish. There are no features or crazy drops. Instead, the tracks drip with nostalgia, the late ’80s and early ’90s synths and drum loops that are increasingly de rigueur, from M83 to Blood Orange to Stranger Things. Even the title VHS conjures up memories of video stores, rewinding tapes, and home movies. Hawkins knows his music takes listeners back to a specific time and space. But it can sometimes be challenging for artists to look forward when their style honors the past— there’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation. Hawkins walks it gracefully. “I didn’t hear ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ on the radio, so I’m trying to find some sounds more unique to me,” he says. Despite nailing that sound, challenges remain for Hawkins. Finding local fans for a specifically curated, niche sound is sometimes a thankless part of the job, especially as the electronic scene becomes more saturated every day. But Hawkins doesn’t believe the outlook is too grim. He’s comforted by the fact that ODESZA sold out Marathon Music Works in 2015; he knows the fans are in Nashville. Now the mission is getting them to his shows. “The important thing is just to find the right people and develop a story,” he says. “No matter what kind of music you do, there’s a fan for it. I just need to make sure I find those fans.”
Super Duper will tour with Petit Biscuit in the fall. His latest EP, VHS, is out now.
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Photo by Blu Sanders NATIVE NASHVILLE 33
DOWN BY CHARLIE HICKERSON PHOTOS EMILY DORIO
A LOOK INTO BLUE MOON WATERFRONT GRILLE, THE BEST LITTLE MARINA RESTAURANT YOUâ€™VE (MAYBE) NEVER HEARD OF
BY THE RIVER NATIVE NASHVILLE
“YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW WHAT’S IN THAT RIVER.”
This—or something close to this—is a warning I heard a lot growing up. I heard it from my parents. I heard it from my teachers. Hell, I even heard it from Neil and Heather Orne, the greatest married news team in Middle Tennessee (a moment of silence for Neather, who divorced in 2008). “That river,” of course, is the Cumberland, the waterway that runs through the heart of our city. Once the lifeblood of Kentucky and Middle and North Tennessee commerce, the river has, in more recent decades, developed a not-so-good reputation. As Chip Cathey, the owner of now-defunct Stand Up Paddleboard Music City, told me in a 2013 interview: “When I tell people I paddle in the Cumberland River, they act like I have a third eye or something.” Though organizations like the Cumberland River Compact have made great strides to clean up the Cumberland, and though you’re likely to see folks like Cathey paddling around downtown these days, the fact remains: anything could be floating down the Cumberland. That’s certainly the case today, as Dougie Ray Smith and I watch a police boat dock at Rock Harbor, a marina hidden in plain sight on the west side of the Cumberland, just past The Nations. “Ah man, look at that,” Smith, the general manager of Blue Moon Waterfront Grille sighs, shaking his head. Does that mean what I think it means? I get an affirmative nod and knowing raised eyebrow. Then a microsecond of reflection before Smith buzzes back to the kitchen—something he does at least ten times over the course of our afternoon together. It’s not that Smith is insensitive. He’s just really busy. “I was away for two days,” he tells me. “And when you do that, the whole world misaligns.” But it’s not just the busyness. There’s also the fact that Smith has seen plenty of weird stuff float down this river—including the marina restaurant we’re currently sitting in. During the 2010 flood, the Blue Moon Lagoon, which had been a westside gem for more than a decade, literally washed away. “They found [it] on a bank down by the river,” Smith explains. Shortly after, Rock Harbor owner Fred Nance and his son, Craig, rebuilt the marina and adjacent restaurant space. Along with Noshville owner Tom Loventhal, and—as Smith puts it—a “baker’s
dozen” of other partners, the Nances made plans for a new iteration of Blue Moon. One of those partners was Glenn Smith, Dougie Ray’s “big brother in the industry” (but not his actual big brother) and former owner of beloved White Bridge Road tropical bar Rainbow Key. Glenn tapped Dougie Ray to build out the interior and run the place. After some remodeling and a few false starts, the Blue Moon Grille was born. For all intents and purposes, this is why I’m sitting here, eating jerk chicken (it’s Rainbow Key’s lauded original recipe, by the way, falls right off the bone) and talking to Dougie Ray Smith. But like most Nashville haunts—the ones that are owned and operated by people who’ve lived and worked here their whole lives—what makes Blue Moon is personality. Sure, the Blue Moon itself, with its rock wall fountain, views of the Cumberland (punctuated by beautifully tacky houseboats), and blackened mahi sandwich, is charming. I can imagine an Instagram post in which it’s described as “vibey.” As Smith says: “It’s a jewel—a little diamond in the rough, you know? It doesn’t seem like Nashville around here. More like San Diego to me.” But the personality I’m talking about doesn’t come from coconut shrimp or neon-green umbrella drinks (though those don’t hurt). It comes from people. There’s no Santa’s without Santa; no Rotier’s without Charlie Rotier; and there’s no Blue Moon without Dougie Ray Smith.
Smith was born in 1970 in Nashville, where his father started Smith Brothers Car Wash (a chain that’s still active today). Though he worked in the family business as a kid—Smith guesses they’ve washed “tens of millions” of cars since opening—he always wanted something more. “Just had that feeling,” he says. “Like you should be doing something. I started selling candy at school, ‘til I think my tenth grade year. Then the principal told me I better quit or I’d get expelled . . . I’ve always been that way—whatever it takes.” Case in point: At fifteen, Smith doctored his birth certificate so he could get a job as a fryer at Burger King (“White-out, magic marker, Sharpie, and photocopy—it was that easy!”). At seventeen, that same forged government document got him gigs waiting tables around town. He landed at
Rainbow Key, where his future mentor and “big brother” Glenn Smith promptly hired and fired him. “I was spraying my girlfriend down in the service well for arguing during the rush,” he sighs. Dougie Ray wouldn’t see Smith for another twenty-four years, when Smith asked him to open Blue Moon. So what did Dougie Ray do in that twenty-four-year interim? Well, a little bit of everything. He fell in love, moved to California, fell out of love (“she said step up or step out”), and came back to Nashville. He sold pool table accounts to bars, worked at Flying Saucer, and eventually opened Dougie Ray’s, a Rivergate billiards bar that served Tex-Mex and showed sports. The name was appropriate, as it was not only Smith’s bar but also his makeshift home. “I had just bitten off more than I could chew, and I had to chew it,” Smith remembers. “I went 212 days without a day off. They were all sixteen- to eighteen-hour days, working seven months without a break—and that’s literally without a break. I had a shower, I slept on the couch, and I locked the door.” In the back office or something, right? “Right on the stage! I built the place to where you push the wall, and this little door opened up. You could go under the steps, and I hammer-drilled a platform and [put in] a bed, so I could sleep out of the eye of the customer. So if I could sleep for twenty minutes during the day, I’d go get it, and the customers couldn’t see me.” After three years of living like a Rivergate vampire, Smith saved up enough money to buy the property. Then he sold his own bar. Then, when the folks that bought it went out of business, he bought it back again. Then he sold it again. Actually, Smith
ended up selling Dougie Ray’s a total of four times. “I’m a custodian of it, okay?” he explains. “It’s like a garden: I rip out all the weeds, then the flowers and plants take care of themselves, basically. It flourishes, and then I hand it over so I have better time management in life . . . And then they let the weeds grow over.” During this period, Smith also pursued other entrepreneurial ventures—or as he calls it, “squirrelin’ around and hustlin’.” He renovated a chain of Motel 6s, dabbled in real estate (he’s still a licensed agent), and helped a few local bars and restaurants get off the ground. At one of those bars, Hermitage’s JB’s Pour House, he had an unexpected guest. “Two servers didn’t show, and I was waiting tables that morning,” Smith remembers. “And when I laid down a napkin in front of Glenn Smith, I didn’t recognize him. I said, ‘How are you doing today, sir?’ He said, ‘I’m good—I’m good, Doug.’” Glenn had come specifically to offer Dougie Ray the gig at Blue Moon, but the future GM dismissed him. “I remember saying, ‘Never say that to me again. What can I get you to drink?’” Glenn was persistent, though, and Dougie’s initial reservations (he thought he was too busy for the job—too much squirrelin’ and hustlin’) were squashed within a couple of months. Along with Chef David Billings, the duo built the Blue Moon into the place we’re dining in this afternoon. Today, Dougie Ray says his work in the restaurant industry is “about 25 percent of my income, but it’s 90 percent of my stress. And 100 percent of my social life.” When he’s not down at Blue Moon or working
in real estate, he’s out in Charlotte, Tennessee, without a phone or computer, building his dream house in the middle of the woods: “I drew a house on a napkin, and I’ve been building one to two days a week for three years.” But no matter how many side projects Smith takes on, he says there’s one hustle that trumps them all. “My favorite job is being a dad,” he tells me. “I’m a single father to three little girls: Bella, Pearl, and Rose. PBR—tell me I’m not a bar guy!” Herein lies the duality of Dougie Ray Smith. Yes, the dude is a self-proclaimed hustler, and yes, he gets a Saul Goodman-y gleam in his eye while recounting past schemes. But all the hustles are— at least as far as I can tell—above board, and more importantly, they’re all for his girls. Past the tall tales (we spend a long time talking about the four times he’s escaped death), the offkilter humor (“I stopped drinking water once I learned fish have sex in it”), and no-bullshit work persona (when I ask how many people work at Blue Moon, he says, “about 30 percent”) there’s a man who makes an honest living doing work he takes pride in. “I just care. It’s pride of craft, right?” Smith begins. “[If] you’re going to turn your hard-earned
money over to me, I better care. I better try . . . It could be the biggest restaurant or a hot dog stand—it kind of takes on the vibe or character of the guy who’s running it, right?” So what’s the character of Blue Moon? Well, you’re not going to hear phrases like “deconstructed” or “our play on” at this restaurant. You also won’t have to google what’s on the menu, or pretend like you “get” the appetizer that looks more like a terrarium than a mixed greens salad. What you will get is hot food, cold beer, and strong drinks—served with a smile and enjoyed in an environment that feels a little removed from day-to-day life in this city. Things move a little slower, feel a little older on this side of the Cumberland. It’s a place to relax and forget about what’s going on downstream, where all that hustle and bustle is happening. It’s a place with personality. Believe me, you do want to know what’s in that river when it comes to Blue Moon.
Blue Moon Waterfront Grille is open Monday to Thursday 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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3431 Murphy Rd - dosenashville.com
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SUMMER 2018 NASHVILLE FASHION From Moonrise Kingdom to Friday the 13th to Heavyweights , summer camp is one of those collective coming- of-age ex per iences that Hollywood loves to romanticize and reimagine. We’re not sure what it is about camp—the freedom from parents, the contraband snacks, the macaroni art—but whatever it is, we apparently can’t get enough of it. So, since everyone else has taken a stab at it, and since it’s prime campin’ time, we decided to have longtime NATIVE contributor Brett Warren make a Nashville fashion summer camp. We can’t guarantee it’ll bring back fond memories of wheelbarrow racing (actually, we can probably guarantee that it won’t do that), but it will let you see work by some of our city’s best summertime designers. What’s camp without a good outfit, anyway?
PHOTOS BRETT WARREN PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIST KELSEY CHERRY MODELS WYATT DAY OF NEW YORK MODELS AUBREY HILL OF AMAX TALENT HAIR & MAKEUP AÑA MONIQUE OF AMAX TALENT
Safety Rope Shirt (created for shoot) Green Monochrome Swimsuit, Brownlee
Post-Game Sweater, Brownlee Lava Lake Swimsuit, Brownlee
Hat, Friedman’s Army Navy Store Hood, Friedman’s Army Navy Store Jacket, Calvin Klein
Stetson Hat, Keep Shop Eloi Studio Scarf, Keep Shop Poncho, Friedman’s Army Navy Store REIFhaus Bodysuit, Goodwin NATIVE NASHVILLE
Hat, Friedman’s Army Navy Store T Sweater, Jamie + the Jones
Stetson Hat, Keep Shop Annie Costello Brown Earrings, Keep Shop Neon Zinn Necklace, Keep Shop Marbles Accessories Ring, Goodwin Paracord Dress, Ona Rex
Poncho, Friedman’s Army Navy Store Bowling Shirt, Eileen Kelly Designs Post-Game Pants, Brownlee
Good Night, Day Sweater, Goodwin Double Reflector Bauble, Ona Rex The Noces Alexa Raffia Bag, Goodwin Embroidered Shorts, Eileen Kelly Designs Tights, Kimâ€™s Hair Plus Shoes, Miu Miu
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NATIVE NASHVILLE â€ƒ
SOMETIMES MAS TACOSâ€™ TERESA MASON TAKES THE REINS AT VENERABLE EASTSIDE BAR WILBURN STREET TAVERN
BY JONAH ELLER-ISSACS PHOTOS ANDREA BEHRENDS
IS JUST NATIVE NASHVILLE
WHAT M AKES THE PERFECT BAR? THE WELL-
considered jukebox with your favorite song? An expertly crafted cocktail? It could be that bartender, the one who knows what you need—a supportive ear or a shot of the strong stuff—before you even know yourself. Or maybe it’s intangible. It’s got this vibe that’s hard to describe, but it feels so good walking through that door. The perfect bar feels like home. It’s the hottest day of the year. A short walk down Wilburn Street and already I’m gross and sweaty. The faded sign above the door to the Wilburn Street Tavern features a snow-capped mountain, and when I escape the bright hotness and get into the air-conditioning, it’s like arriving at the summit. It feels so good walking through the door. I sidle up to the bar and introduce myself to Teresa Mason, owner of Wilburn as well as the massively popular Eastside staple Mas Tacos Por Favor. Mason invites me in with a wide smile and a lingering handshake, right hand embracing mine as the left hand comes in for a gentle shoulder squeeze. I’ve never had someone hug me using only their hands until now. Mason guides me to a quiet corner and a maroon vinyl booth. “People ask, ‘Is it a dive?’” Mason says. “I wouldn’t call it a dive. I mean, that’s what people call it. They’re like, ‘Oh, is it a cocktail bar?’ I mean, it’s a bar. It’s. A. Bar.” I’ve only just arrived and already I don’t want to leave. I can’t quite put my finger on why. The chilled air doesn’t hurt, but I’m pretty sure I’d feel the same regardless of the heat index. It must be the company. Though she’s a gregarious and lively storyteller, Mason says interviews aren’t her favorite, which explains why my research (a.k.a. googling her name) didn’t yield much in the way of a backstory. I’m curious, and thankfully she’s willing to share. Mason’s a Nashville native, born a bit east of town in Carthage. As a youngster, she spent time in McFerrin Park, the neighborhood surrounding her bar. “I went to grade school right down the street,” she recalls, gesturing toward Glenn Elementary directly across Wilburn. “I went to high school on Dickerson. I went to college in Murfreesboro.” She was raised by her grandmother, Ms.
Gladys Dimple Williams, who had “a strict style of cooking,” Mason tells me. “[We] ate very Southern sorts of things, like what you’d get at a meat and three. Those are the things we had every day— some sort of fried, cooked-to-death vegetable.” The greens might’ve been stewed for days, but grandma’s home cooking taught Mason critical lessons about food, about love, about life. Gladys showed her granddaughter the joys of “loving the experience of food, the experience of hospitality, and what it means to sit down with each other and have these things.” After getting her degree in journalism from MTSU, Mason was ready to see the world beyond the Cumberland Basin. Despite having never been there, she made her way to New York City—Brooklyn specifically—and moved in with a friend of a friend. As you might imagine, or may have experienced yourself, life in the city gave Mason a taste of the world. All of the sudden new flavors were everywhere, whole new categories of cuisines, new takes on familiar foods. “It was like, ‘Oh I’ve never had a green bean like this.’ Or, ‘I’ve never had kale or collards done this way.’ Or, ‘There’s texture to this! Weird!’” New York is a city of broken dreams. You see it in Nashville too: people come from all over the world, certain that it’s their time, but the reality is that not everyone can get the big part or the record contract, and countless dreams end up shattered or just out of reach. Teresa Mason, photojournalist. It has a nice ring to it, right? And she was making it happen, working as a photo assistant, color correcting, running negatives. But all the people Mason worked for were older than her, and she was lonely. “After a couple years, I was stagnant . . . I kept thinking to myself, man, if I could just bring one person with me, this would be the dream of my life. But you can’t bring one person with you. That’s part of it. You just have to do it.” When Mason left Nashville, she was clear on her goals. “I thought I would never work in a restaurant again,” she chuckles with a knowing smile. “In my mind, I was very proud of myself, ‘cause I always worked in restaurants [during] school. Now I’m done . . . I’ve got a degree. Of course I don’t have to work at a restaurant!” And the fact is, she didn’t do it for the money, like so
many of us do (this writer included). “I got a job back in the service industry almost to meet friends, really.” Zeppelin bleeds off the concrete walls. There’s nothing better than getting the Led out and having an ice-cold drink on a hot day. Mason relays the lessons from her days (and nights) running front-of-house jobs in the New York food scene. “I worked for the people that ran those kitchens, for incredible chefs. And I saw the struggle and the heartache they would put into making sure everything was right.” Grandma Gladys taught Mason the joys of hospitality, but New York chefs showed her the pursuit of perfection. “I do think that time period was good for me,” Mason says of her years in New York. “Because my skin got a little thicker. I got more independent . . . That’s where I became an adult, a whole person.” She also had the opportunity to travel and ended up spending many months in Mexico. It was during one of these trips that she had the epiphany that would lead to Mas Tacos. “It was watching families run fondas, or little taco stands. I’d see them sort of shopping in the morning, working in the afternoon, and then hanging out at night.” Mason acknowledges her perspective could be a bit romanticized, but “it felt to me like they had control of their day. It felt like they had this ultimate freedom. It felt like they were very much in charge of themselves.” Mason returned to Nashville in 2008. “It was hard to leave. It was hard to come back here,” she shares. But she had a plan. “I chose to come back to Nashville because I knew I wanted to do something very small. I wanted to be able to handle it.” Knowing she wanted to work for herself, Mason felt Nashville offered a better chance of succeeding with a small-scale venture. “Less of an incline,” as she succinctly puts it. When she started the Mas Tacos food truck, she took to heart her life lessons: the model of a strong, independent woman from her grandmother Gladys, the chefs of New York and their passion for ne plus ultra cooking, and the freedom of the families who ran the Mexican fondas. “I don’t want to get too big for myself. If I can do something very small, make one thing really good, then it won’t matter where I do it, and maybe people will come for it.” This is the philosophy that led Mason from sought-after food truck to destination taco shack, and finally, to the
Wilburn Street Tavern. She’s now a forty-oneyear-old restaurateur (“Ah fuck, forty-one. Here we go,” she laughs) ready for a new challenge. Plus, she explains with great satisfaction, “The crew at Mas Tacos is stupendous. I mean they are just fucking killing it and doing such a wonderful job. Last year was the first time I really felt like, ‘Oh fuck! They don’t need me!’” When she quotes herself, Mason ups her register to this squeak of a voice. We’re talking Alvin and the Chipmunks falsetto highness. It’s hilarious and endearing. Rather than starting from scratch, Mason is stepping into a bar that’s already existed for decades. There was Lady T’s Tavern and some years as a biker bar, but mostly it’s been Wilburn Street Tavern. Mason knew the bar and the owner, Miss Paulette, who is a beloved neighborhood fixture. There are plenty of places in Nashville with history like this, but usually when ownership turns over, they get stripped down and rebuilt to the point of being unrecognizable. Mason has decided against radical changes: “It had already been a wonderful neighborhood bar. [I want] to keep it that way ideally. Of course it’s changed some. Hopefully not so much that it hurts anybody. “We left the bones, opened it up a little bit,” Mason says, gesturing around the space. “Tried to make it a little more comfortable . . . People come in and are like, ‘Oh you didn’t change a thing.’ And other people are like, ‘Holy shit! You changed everything!’ It’s somewhere in between that.” Miss Paulette only served beer; Mason has added a liquor license, and she speaks in a conspiratorial sotto voce , “I just. Enjoy. Liquor. More than beer.” I turn around, wondering if Miss Paulette might’ve entered and Mason is trying not to hurt her feelings. The biggest upgrade Mason didn’t make: there’s no kitchen. Not a real one anyhow. And that’s just fine. “[It’s] a blessing for me. Because what was I thinking when I started? I didn’t wanna start another restaurant. I wanna come and hang and be here. In the long run, I think it all worked out really well.” Without an oven or range, Mason still manages to deliver some solid bar food. Though it might be simple, she takes it very seriously, and she tells me sternly, “They’re just fucking nachos, but I want to be consistent. You know what I mean? I want them to be what they are.” Hot dogs also feature on the five-item menu—actually, three of the five
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items are hot dogs. Mason’s particularly fond of the Sonoran, a bacon-wrapped beef dog with beans, lime mayo, and pico de gallo. She got so excited about the Sonoran that at one point it was going to be the only available item. With glee, Mason nearly shouts, “I was like, ‘We’ll just do that! We’ll have one thing!’” The Wilburn Street Tavern is small. “I know they used to do shows here,” Mason recollects. There’s no stage, no lights, no PA. There’s barely room to play around the pool table. “Maybe if you’re an unpopular band, you can come and play here?” she says with a laugh. If your perfect bar has live music, you’re out of luck at the Wilburn. Mason has no qualms about the limited scope of her new place. It’s just, as she says, a bar. There’s an appealing modesty to it, and remarkably, given her success, to Mason as well. “That’s another reason why I sort of avoid interviews,” she explains. “In my heart, it’s not such a big story.” What makes the Wilburn Street Tavern so effortlessly relaxed? Some of it is the space itself, sparsely decorated, mostly with art featuring alligators. But the guiding force is Mason’s vision. This is her idea of the perfect bar. “This is what I think it should look like. This is what I think it should feel like. This is the music I wanna hear. This is how I think a chill place should be run.” There’s one critical element to the perfect bar, more important than food or music or drinks. “It’s great energy. No matter what, it’s gotta bring great energy.” But that goes beyond the walls of the bar. “I feel like we need to get as much of that in Nashville as we can. I’m from here. I love it here. I wanna stay here. There’s all those stories about the things we don’t like about what’s happening— let’s focus on what we can do, and focus on keeping our neighbors here, keeping places to eat, places to hang. Keeping good handshakes.”
SHOWS & EVENTS
JULY 13 - 8PM - ROLAND BARBER JULY 27 - 8PM - CONNYE FLORANCE AUGUST 3 - 8PM - MARLENE TACHOIR MORE INFORMATION AT
W W W. N A S H V I L L E J A Z Z . O R G
Wilburn Street Tavern is open Tuesday to Thursday from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. NATIVE NASHVILLE
YOUR HOME IN THE NATIONS PRE-LEASING SUMMER 2018
615.349.4678 | THEFLATSATSILOBEND.COM
THAT BIND BY CHARLIE HICKERSON PHOTOS SARAH B. GILLIAM
A CONVERSATION WITH ARTIST BEIZAR ARADINI
Beizar Aradini is a local artist specializing in fiber, textile, and sculpture work. Her pieces explore her family’s status as Kurdish immigrants while challenging the place and meaning of “domestic” objects and crafts. Since graduating from MTSU in 2017, Aradini has shown as a solo artist at Swine Gallery in Chattanooga, and as part of group exhibits at Mason Fine Art in Atlanta, Casa Azafran, and Cummins Station. She is currently one of the featured artists at Julia Martin Gallery’s Bevy 2018, and she recently—in collaboration with youths from The Oasis Center—made a quilt that was unveiled at The Frist on World Refugee Day. We talked to Aradini about her work, her culture, and how to survive in today’s America.
Working with fibers, textiles, and even hair is a difficult, tedious, and timeconsuming process. Do you think there’s a metaphor to be drawn between you working in a difficult medium and the difficulties you and your family faced when coming to the US? These processes seem most familiar and natural to me. Growing up, my mother was always tinkering around with her sewing machine while watching me and my six siblings. I’ve always had an appreciation for things that take time to make—there’s a sense of preciousness or quality to handmade things. I don’t think I could ever grasp the challenges my parents endured, but perhaps this is a way for me to understand that difficult things and challenging times require a lot of attention. Patience and caution were daily necessities for my parents as they fled Iraq on foot. Your parents fled from northern Iraq to escape the Hussein regime. Four years after they fled, you were born in what you describe as “a refugee tent draped with layers of torn and worn out fabrics amidst the jagged and uncertain brown peaks of southern Turkey.” Do you create domestic objects in an attempt to find a sense of home or identity after your family’s displacement? Totally. I’ve learned that the idea of home isn’t confined to one place. Nashville has always felt like “home” to me, but my biological identity has never felt completely connected. I grew up in a household where everything was completely decorated in a Kurdish aesthetic. Everything was curated to the Kurdish lifestyle, from a television with an international satellite broadcasting Middle Eastern news to having a garden flourishing with all the right herbs and vegetables available to make any Kurdish cuisine. When you’re growing up in these circumstances—even when you’re fully emerged into something so beautifully cultured—there’s still a desperation of wanting to be accepted while being in-
between these lifestyles. Maybe to sum up, displacement means having many homes while simultaneously having no home. Your work recontex tualizes and distorts our ideas about traditionally “feminine” work—in this case knitting, sewing, and embroidery. How does your heritage and your family’s backstory affect this recontextualization? Do you think it makes the work that much more subversive? In my culture, artwork is mainly seen and depicted through craftwork such as tapestries and woven rugs. A lot of these objects are made out of necessity or as a leisure activity but rarely exhibited as “fine art.” Many of these rugs and tapestries represent the maker’s story through the use of symbolism. There’s a common language in crafts; these skills have been used for centuries across so many different cultures to tell stories, whether it’s making quilts or embroidering. I want to challenge these traditional ideas of craft and also of fine art within my Kurdish culture. It’s a way I could share my story but through similar processes my ancestors would have. Though they’re “domestic” items, there’s a certain warped quality to your work—you could maybe even say it’s haunting. It ref lects the true nature of the “immigrant’s experience.” You’re forced to leave your country because of a war your people never asked for, or to escape a regime chemically gassing and oppressing your people from speaking their own language. Then, you’re accepted into a new country—practically a whole new world—where you are constantly being ridiculed for your appearance, culture, or subtle differences. My parents didn’t have a choice. As grateful as they are for their lives here in America, I’m sure they wouldn’t have left their own homeland and families to deal with such isolation. It’s like a paradox. As immigrant children being raised in such diaspora, it’s not easy
to abide by two entirely different sets of cultural and social expectations. Does your work aim to humanize people—and remind Westerners that refugees are, in fact, people —in an age where our president describes immigrants as “animals” and whole nations as “shitholes”? It’s hard to digest the reality of our political climate, but I try to stay hopeful and think that Trump is not a complete representation of our nation. Through stories I’ve been told by my parents to the stories of these individuals seeking asylum, [I’ve learned that] they have struggled through such harsh situations some of us couldn’t bear to live through for just one day. Coming into this or any country to seek refuge should not be a degrading experience. Through a lot of embroidered work, I try to depict my family’s journey coming to America. The embroidered portraits I make are mostly from photos my parents discovered just recently from a family friend that was also placed in the same refugee campsite in Mardin, Turkey. When my parents left Kurdistan, they left with the bare minimum to be able to escape safely. These are some of the only photos I’ve ever seen of my parents at a younger age. These photos are also of my parents trying to survive at such a difficult time. When looking at these images, there’s a sense of displacement, but also an optimism to feel human again. You’ve said you live in a “bicultural reality.” As you get older, how do you reconcile your Kurdish heritage with your American identity? Do you grapple with feeling alienated or like The Other? As a Kurdish female I “rebelled” and moved out at the age of eighteen to be in a relationship that was not accepted by my community or family. Although this is becoming more normalized and accepted within the community, at that time I felt so lost. Who the hell was I? Without
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my Kurdish lifestyle and my mother’s incredible naan u mast? I was too Kurdish to be American and too American to be Kurdish. I mean seriously, my Kurdish kind of has a Southern accent. That being said, feeling alienated comes from both sides. I constantly felt in-between two places I didn’t really know. I’ve grown a lot from this experience and learned to hold onto my Kurdish heritage by creating my own community of Kurdish people all around the world through social media. It doesn’t feel so isolating and I’ve reached out to others that have experienced similar situations. When I tell people about this experience, though, their initial reaction is “What did your parents think was going to happen when they moved to America?” This does not help in any way. I completely understand and accept my parents’ resilience to hold on to every bit of their heritage that has constantly been oppressed. As the American political climate gets more turbulent, surreal, and divisive by the hour, I think a lot of people—even people who want to do good—feel helpless or like their efforts are futile. How can the average Nashvillian be a better advocate for local immigrant communities? And in your lifetime, do you think Nashville has become better or worse for immigrants? Everyone could be a little more u ndersta nd ing a nd accepting to differences that aren’t ingrained to Western culture. Adjusting to the Western lifestyle is not easy—be patient and give these communities time to adjust to our rapidly changing culture. Even growing up in Nashville, a lot has changed. But I do think our city has become more welcoming to immigrants, and I feel like our city is continuing to make improvements to include these marginalized communities.
Aradini’s work is showing now through July 28 at Julia Martin Gallery.
1013 Fatherland St. 6592 Highway 100 Suite 1
EAST NASHVILLE 72
Musicians Corner returns to Centennial Park each Thursday in September with free music, food trucks, the MC Pub, local artisans, and more.
LEARN MORE AT MUSICIANSCORNERNASHVILLE.COM
YOU OUGHTA KNOW: JUAN SOLORZANO PHOT O BY D ANI EL C H ANEY
In one of Margo Price’s most scathing songs, “This Town Gets Around,” the past NATIVE cover feature sings, “In this town everybody’s trying / To get a piece of everybody else / It gets hard to tell a real friend from a fake one.” Though the song was inspired by Price’s personal experiences with sleazy Music Row suits, the general message may resonate with Nashvillians in The Industry. There’s a lot of folks in the music business, and lots of them—regardless of their resume or acumen—aren’t always in it for, you know, the music. But then there are the good ones. The ones who have played with, written for, and produced just about everyone in town simply because they’re insanely talented souls who expand our city’s sound. Juan Solorzano is one of the good ones. Since departing from indie country-ish outfit Night Beds in 2014, Solorzano has played with Becca Mancari, Caleb Groh, Brooke Waggoner, Charlie Whitten, and too many more to list. He’s also produced Cale Tyson’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2016’s Careless Soul, and he shares production credit with COIN’s Zachary Dyke on Molly Parden’s upcoming 2018 record.
But it’s Time Machine, Solorzano’s solo debut, that we’re most excited about. Trying to describe this record is truly daunting. Yes, there’s some Sufjan here, maybe some Nick Drake there, even a little Brian Wilson at moments, but it’s really Solorzano—totally untethered sonically, immersing us in the lonesome, warped sound that, up until this point, we’ve only heard in flourishes via his production. This is an epic, widescreen LP, folks, which is surprising considering Solorzano produced, engineered, and played most of the instruments on it in his bedroom. Simply put, we can see why this guy gets around. So what does Solorzano do when he’s not creating genre-bending, mind-blowing, coming-of-age albums? He eats tacos, of course. “Don Juan makes the best tacos in town,” he says. “When I lived nearby, I ate here so much that he even invited me to his son’s wedding.” For the whole wedding party’s sake, we hope Don Juan invited Solorzano to play a little music too.
Juan Solorzano’s Time Machine is available August 3.
THIS SUMMER, MEET EXPERTS WHO CAN HELP YOU BUILD, SCALE AND EXECUTE YOUR VISION. Fortune 500 leaders, tech experts and investors from across the country will join Nashville's most pioneering CEOs in tech, healthcare, fashion, food and music to discuss the future of the innovation economy and share insights to fast-track your companyâ€™s growth.
AUGUST 29 - 30 | DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE 80
OPENING AUGUST 2018
IN HOUSTON STATION NEXT DOOR TO BASTION 4 3 4 H O U S T O N S T. | A M E R I C A N O C O F F E E L O U N G E . C O M
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Sound or no sound, there’s a story bound up in the fibers of the fallen tree. At some point in your life you probably learned that you could count tree rings to figure out the age of a tree. Your teacher probably neglected to tell you that there is much more to glean from a tree’s rings than its age. Some scientists make tree rings their life’s work. These dendrochronologists scrutinize the small clues ingrained in the heartwood to reconstruct the history of the tree and its environment. Before delving into the tales that tree rings tell, a quick biology primer is in order. Imagine a cross section of a trunk. The outer layer is the bark. Beneath it is the phloem, a kind of vascular tissue that transports food down from the leaves and will turn into bark when it dies. One layer deeper than the phloem is the cambium, which produces the phloem above it and the xylem below it. Xylem is the other kind of vascular tissue that carries water and nutrients up from the roots. As the tree ages, this xylem tissue dies, but instead of getting pushed to the outer layers like the phloem, it remains where it is and gives the tree its structure. When you’re looking at tree rings, you’re looking at old, dead xylem tissue. Lastly, a close look at the xylem reveals a lighter and darker portion of each ring. These are the earlywood and latewood, respectively. Dend roch ronolog ists u se t ree
rings to better understand forest structure through time. For instance, i n t he S out he r n A pp a l a c h i a n s , dendrochronologists found oak and pine species that were several hundred years old, but few younger than one hundred. In the same place, they found a large number of maples and beech younger than one hundred, but few that were older. It appears that a forest that was once dominated by oak and pine in certain areas is on its way to becoming a forest dominated by maple and beech trees. The question then becomes: What caused this? This timing aligns with the history of fire in the US. Some trees, like certain oaks and pines, are well adapted to survive fire, but others, like maple and beech, are not. Fire leaves scars on the xylem of trees, and researchers can deduce how frequently blazes swept through a given area by studying these scars. Further, by examining the position of the fire scar in relation to the earlywood and latewood, it is possible to determine the season of the fire. This is important for land managers who conduct controlled burns as a conservation practice, as it shows that one season may be better than another for conducting a burn. In addition to examining fire scarring, dendrochronologists also look to the width of tree rings for environmental analysis. In dendroclimatology, a subfield of dendrochronolog y, resea rchers
correlate tree ring widths with climate variables of the region (e.g. temperature or precipitation). If there is a strong correlation between the ring width and the climate variables, then the past climate can be reconstructed as far back as the tree ring age data extends. A similar method can be used to better understand streamflow over time. There are a number of other ways we can call upon tree rings to help elucidate the past, from erosion patterns in a stream channel to timing insect outbreaks—it can even help determine when historical dwellings were built. Here’s a Music City–friendly application of dendrochronolog y: The Messiah Stradivarius violin, completed in 1716, is thought to be one of Antonio Stradivari’s finest works and is now worth millions of dollars. However, there were questions about its authenticity at one point. Henri Grissino-Mayer, a dendrochronologist at the University of Tennessee, and a team of researchers were able to analyze the rings in the Messiah and compare it with other tree ring data sets in Europe to determine that the last rings in the instrument dated to 1687. While this doesn’t prove that the violin is a Stradivari original, it at least demonstrated that the instrument was not made with wood that post-dated his death. The spruce from which the Messiah was crafted may not have made a sound when it fell, but it certainly sang many a song after its death.
*ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cooper Breeden is a graduate student in biology at Austin Peay focusing on ecology and botany. Most recently, he led the river restoration program at the Harpeth River Watershed Association, and prior to that, he worked in fisheries management, watersheds and wetlands restoration, and philanthropy. NATIVE NASHVILLE
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SHOOTING THE SHIT WITH VIOLET GUIDE
BY NATIVE STAFF PHOTOS ZACHARY GRAY 86
In Shooting the Shit, NATIVE talks to Nashvillians who are doing things a little differently—think of it as grabbing a quick cup of coffee with that screenprinter or tattoo artist you keep seeing on your Explore Page. This month, we talked to selfdescribed “Tarot Priestess and Reiki Healer” Violet Guide about her spiritual journey, which took her from being an ordained minister to leading tarot readings during Pride Weekend.
Violet Guide offers everything from tarot readings to energy clearings to Reiki chakra alignment. How do you know which service to recommend for a specific client? Most of my clients write with an idea of the direction of energy healing or self-enlightenment that they want to receive. But as we unpack their bags mentally, and I sit across from them, I see in their aura fields and recommend or clarify from that point with them. How can the average person—maybe someone who isn’t spiritual in any sense of the word— benefit from your services? What feeling would you like your clients to walk away with after a session? The greatest part about being a human is that you don’t have to be spiritual to be connected to your body, mind, and spirit. We are all walking energy fields regardless of your personal belief system. My personal goal with each person is for them to walk away feeling connected to their own bodies again.
For them to feel the movement of the mental fog lifting and to give them a game plan to start making life adjustments to maintain the healing received or self-awareness illuminated. Before starting Violet Guide, you were an ordained minister that worked with abused women and victims of sex trafficking. How did you get into such a harrowing form of ministry? I personally come from some rough abusive experiences and statistically should have ended up in the same situation, but I didn’t because of a privileged community. I felt it was important to work in environments where I had emotional and physical relation with the person in trauma, and I saw my reflection in the eyes of these girls. These women didn’t have a choice, and I wanted to be a person to hold their hands and help them to cross over the bridge of victim to a person of rebirth. We will not be defined by our levels of abuse but defined by our pursuit of phoenix energy. If I could do it, so could they.
You left organized religion and then, after four years of “spiritual detox,” started Violet Guide. What made you leave the church? What do you mean by “spiritual detox”? I could write a book on the reasons why I left the American church, and it has nothing to do with Jesus. It’s a loaded question of sound personal reasoning mixed with my body and spirit telling me this was emotional abuse and they were calling it love. When you leave a community built around codependency and fear of eternity, you are faced with having to unlearn the language, the energy, and the physical people who had become “your family,” and that is enough to shatter any person or keep them in their own personal body of imprisonment. I chose to pull the rug out from under myself in the name of searching for true self-completion. In my spiritual detox, which is a deconditioning process, that is what I did. I had to unlearn everything that was taught to me, and I started exploring forms of healing that were all-inclusive to humanity with the foundation of the Golden Rule. As a spiritual healer—especially a spiritual healer in the Bible Belt—are people confused or even skeptical about what you do?
Of course! The ironic part is most of my clients are in crisis with the church and seek me as a safe place to unload their true confessions. The confusion rests in miseducation of the “Hollywood image” versus what tarot really is, and most people do not even know what Reiki does either. The majority of my responsibility is education and creating a space for others to explore, question, and ultimately be empowered to grow and change without fear of the cultured Bible Belt. What would you tell someone who wants to get into mysticism but maybe isn’t sure where to start? My first question would be what is your definition of mysticism? I truly believe in the power of self-searching and research. I was born seeing spirits and aura colors and slowly learned that others are as gifted as me and finally found where I “fit in” in that way. If you are interested in something, go down that wormhole. Learn. Experience. Use all of the senses that you have in research. Ask questions. Go listen to experts. Give yourself permission to explore because no one else will. It is on you to reconnect to your entire self again.
If you’d like to learn more about Violet Guide or book a session, visit violetguidehealing.com.
The Summer Issue, featuring: Nashville Summer Fashion, Teresa Mason, Super Duper, Beizar Aradini, Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, and more.
Published on Jul 16, 2018
The Summer Issue, featuring: Nashville Summer Fashion, Teresa Mason, Super Duper, Beizar Aradini, Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, and more.