ISSUE 72 HAVILAND WHITING
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CONTENTS JUNE 2018 24
46 THE GOODS
13 Beer from Here 17 Cocktail of the Month 20 Master Platers 87 You Oughta Know 93 Itâ€™s Only Natural
FEATURES 24 The Foxies 34 Black by Maria Silver 46 Haviland Whiting 56 YUYO Botanics
68 Contributor Spotlight: Zachary Gray 76 The BE-Hive NATIVE NASHVILLE
NATIVE NASHVILLE â€ƒ
BEHIND THE COVER: HAVILAND WHITING
In his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, William Faulkner said, “Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.” Sadly, Faulkner’s words are all too relatable in this bizarre time we call now, where we’re constantly one rogue tweet away from utter annihilation. In this precarious, anxiety-inducing age, who
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: ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE: PRODUCTION MANAGER:
can we turn to for truth? Especially if, as Faulkner contended, today’s writers are so desensitized that the work they produce doesn’t even begin to address the ills of modern life? We here at NATIVE contend that the world should look to the youth—to the next generation of writers, artists, and musicians—to make sense of this crazy world. We hope that, because they’re not so hardened by, not so numb to, the problems of now, they’ll find a way to make tomorrow better. We think Nashville Youth Poet Laureate Haviland Whiting, who appears on this month’s cover, is doing just that. Whiting’s spoken word helps us make sense of today
SARAH MORRIS LEXIE ROLAND
CHRIS PARTON CHARLIE HICKERSON CAT ACREE KYLE COOKE JONAH ELLER-ISAACS COOPER BREEDEN
and shows us there’s a glimmer of hope for the future—that maybe the youth know something we’re still trying to figure out. As NATIVE contributor Cat Acree aptly put in her profile on Whiting: “If you’ve been paying attention, you know to be excited about the talent and empathy found within Generation Z.” We’re certainly excited. Check out the story on page 46, where you’ll also find a stupendous photo set from first-time (!) NATIVE contributor Hannah Burton. We’d like to thank you, London, for sending her to Nashville, and we’d also like to thank the Fairlane Hotel for hosting the Whiting shoot. Here’s to hoping we all don’t get blown up!
MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN
FOUNDER, BRAND DIRECTOR:
FOR ALL INQUIRIES:
KELSEY FERGUSON PHOTOGRAPHERS: SHELBY GRAHAM GUSTI ESCALANTE
NICK BUMGARDNER DANIELLE ATKINS DYLAN REYES BRETT WARREN HANNAH BURTON ANDREA BEHRENDS ZACHARY GRAY EMILY DORIO
LASHES WITH MASTER LASH ARTIST CAITLIN HART
1200 CLINTON STREET STE 10 • 615.679.0221 PURENASHVILLE.CO • HELLO@PURENASHVILLE.CO 10
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BEAUTY Photos: Joni Bonnie
WITH KELSEY FERGUSON NATIVE Senior Sales Representative Beer Name: Two Piece Brewery: Fat Bottom Brewing Company Style: Summer Wheat Ale ABV: 4.6% Food Pairing: Black & Bleu Salad, Beer Mac Appearance: Translucent, golden Aroma: Spicy ginger with a slightly floral backbone Where to Find It: Fat Bottom Brewing Company Overall Takeaways: A wise poet once said, “Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin’ world go round.” The poet being Farrokh Bulsara, or Freddie Mercury, as most know him (technically, Queen guitarist Brian May penned the words, but you get the point). Much like that classic Queen track, Fat Bottom’s Two Piece Summer Wheat Ale can be enjoyed by skinny lads, blue-eyed floozies, and everyone in between. I’ll be honest with you: I absolutely judged the book by its cover on this one. The hot pink bikini on top of the blue ocean and sun rays was enough to make my mouth water for summer. It didn’t matter what the beer tasted like, I was all in. I was warned ginger was the key player, and as someone who is trying her hardest to love ginger without making an obligatory weird face, I was a little apprehensive about it. Happy to report, though,
that I was so pleasantly pleased with the lightness and brightness of this beer. The earthy ginger actually acts as a highlight of the beer instead of taking the lead—more of a Brian than a Freddie, if you will. Unlike most summer wheat beers, the Two Piece doesn’t feel heavy at all. And with its fairly low alcohol content, it’s a delight to drink. Pair it with the brewery’s Black & Bleu Salad for a light and fresh meal, or their Beer Mac if you’re feeling extra saucy. The heat in both of these dishes is perfectly complemented by the spice and floral notes in the beer. If you’re out on the town or enjoying the ale at home, sushi or any other seafood would pair perfectly as well. This seasonal beer has just made its annual appearance, so be sure to try it before it’s gone.
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CHERRIES, ETC. BY NICK DOLAN HEAD BARTENDER OF THE FOX BAR & COCKTAIL CLUB
PHOTO BY NICK BUMGARDNER
THE GOODS 1 1/2 oz Lustau Brandy de Jerez Solera Reserva 1/2 oz Cappelletti red bitter 1/2 oz lemon stock 1/2 oz Maurin Quina 2 drops absinthe 3 dashes Scrappyâ€™s Chocolate Bitters 3 fresh cherries
DIRECTIONS Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and gently muddle the cherries. Add a small amount of crushed ice to the shaker and whip shake. Transfer to a frozen footed highball glass and pack with crushed ice. Garnish with skewered cherries and serve.
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MASTER PL ATERS
BY PHILIP KRAJECK OWNER AND CHEF OF FOLK
PHOTOS BY DANIELLE ATKINS
FENNEL, OLIVES, AND RICOTTA VECCHIO
THE GOODS 2 whole heads fennel 8 oz pitted Castelvetrano olives 8 oz olive oil 1 lemon 1 orange 4 oz ricotta vecchio cheese â€‚ (we like Caputo Brothers Creamery, â€‚ available at The Bloomy Rind) salt to taste chili flakes to taste
DIRECTIONS Begin by breaking down the fennel. Pick the fronds (these resemble dill) and store them in your refrigerator as you would a delicate herb. Remove the stalks from the bulb. Slice them across the grain into 1/4-inch rings. Divide the bulb in half and remove the core. Shave the bulb thin on a mandolin into ice water. Allow the fennel to sit in the water for 15 minutes, then remove and run through a salad spinner to completely dry. Store in the refrigerator. To make the fennel conserva: Place the sliced stalks in a small pot. Season with a pinch of salt and add 5 ounces of extra virgin olive oil. The oil should almost cover the stalks. Simmer on low heat until the fennel stalks become tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. This will produce more fennel conserva than the recipe requires. The extra can be refrigerated and used for salads, pastas, and braises.
In a small mixing bowl combine the olives and 2 tablespoons of the fennel conserva with its oil. Add the zest of half the lemon, the zest of half the orange, and the juice of half the lemon. Season with a good pinch of chili flakes and stir to combine. Spoon onto the bottom of your serving plates. Add the shaved fennel to a large mixing bowl and season with salt, the juice of the remaining half lemon, and the remaining ounce of olive oil. Toss to coat the fennel. The fennel should be very lightly dressed and slightly under seasoned as both the olives and the cheese are salty. Divide the dressed fennel over the olives on each plate. Add a layer of the fennel fronds over the shaved fennel. Finish by aggressively shaving the cheese over the salads with a wide blade microplane.
SUZANNE SANTO OF HONEYHONEY - THE HIGH WATT STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS w/ LITHICS - THE HIGH WATT BODEGA w/ TWEN - THE HIGH WATT THE ROOSEVELTS w/ FRANCES CONE - THE HIGH WATT HALEY HEYNDERICKX - THE HIGH WATT ALGIERS - THE HIGH WATT BLACK PUMAS w/ TENNESSEE MUSCLE CANDY CAN - THE HIGH WATT H.A.R.D. EP RELEASE SHOW - MERCY LOUNGE QUIET SLANG (BEACH SLANG ACOUSTIC) - THE HIGH WATT PURPLE MASQUERADE: PRINCE TRIBUTE - MERCY LOUNGE SNAIL MAIL w/ BONNY DOON - THE HIGH WATT CRAIG WEDREN (SHUDDER TO THINK) - THE HIGH WATT WESTERN MEDICATION RECORD RELEASE SHOW - THE HIGH WATT THE FELICE BROTHERS - MERCY LOUNGE BR THE HANDSOME FAMILY w/ CHRIS CROFTON - THE HIGH WATT SALES w/ NO VACATION - THE HIGH WATT BLACK MILK w/ RASHAD THA POET & THE STREET CLAN BAND - THE HIGH WATT BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW - MERCY LOUNGE 22
CRAZY LIKE A FOX
Road to Roo champs The Foxies on grunge-dance situations and empowered pop females
BY CHRIS PARTON PHOTOS DYLAN REYES
IT’S NOT TH AT K I N ETIC , BAC K- A LLE Y
pop foursome The Foxies want to put themselves in a box with novel descriptions for their sound. It’s just that they’re really good at coming up with them. Feeding off the shag-carpeted schmaltz of the new-wave era but fusing it with the irresistible energy of EDM, they’re creating something that is both nostalgic and fresh—and it’s a sound that demands an honorary title of its own. “We’ve been coining this term ‘future ’80s’ as a genre,” says guitarist Jake Ohlbaum, sharing laughs and drinks with the band in a suitably retro Eastside lounge. “The thing I like to say is it’s like if Billy Idol and Blondie had a baby,” front woman Julia Lauren Bullock adds, tossing back her flame-colored hair and a baby shot of bourbon in quick succession. She’s right, but the old-made-new undertones go even deeper. Bullock sings with a playful vocal edge that recalls Cyndi Lauper, she exudes the magnetic sexuality of Madonna, and she leads frantic live shows like a female Freddie Mercury. For their part, the band (comprised of Ohlbaum, drummer Rob Bodley, and bassist Kyle Talbots) lays down thick, deep-pocketed melodies as decadent as that gilded decade itself, but with an added dose of punk rock grit. “It’s a grunge-dance situation . . . and she looks like David Bowie,” Ohlbaum concludes, cuing another round of laughs and nods of approval all around. Whatever you call it, Nashville seems to dig it. The Foxies’ first gig in Music City was barely two years ago at the tiny hardcore haunt The End, but lately they’ve been fixtures at The Basement East and recently opened a show for ’80s hit makers Berlin (“Take My Breath Away”) at Top Golf’s new venue, The Cowan. They’ve won over independent radio with support from Lightning 100, and among other milestones were the champs of this year’s Road to Roo competition—
beating out more than two hundred other bands for a spot on Bonnaroo’s 2018 lineup. “It was like, ‘If nobody else is gonna put us on Bonnaroo, we might as well fucking do it ourselves,’” Bullock cheekily decrees. Originally inspired by bands like Joy Division, The Smiths, and The Cure, plus Bowie and mainstream Members-Only pop, The Foxies’ 2016 EP Oblivion felt at times like the soundtrack to a lost Brat Pack movie—which is to say, extremely satisfying for a child of the ’80s or ’90s. That project was recorded before the band’s current lineup coalesced, though, so their new music leans more into the “future” part of their genre. “We’re entering this awesome phase of popular and alternative music where there’s no such thing as genre,” Ohlbaum says. “So here’s this band that’s electronic themed, but it’s a punk rock band onstage, and you’re not really quite sure what it’s supposed to be.” With each member of the band contributing to writing, arranging, and recording, their April-released single “Be Afraid Boy” marks the start of a new chapter. Produced by Ohlbaum, it’s a sonic outlier compared to their previous work, featuring trance-like vocals, horns, blast beats, and a skittering, off-kilter club hook. But it’s not just the track’s sound that’s showing growth. “Be Afraid Boy” is also The Foxies’ first foray into socia l commenta r y—w r it ten yea rs ago in Brooklyn, it echoes the #metoo movement’s message. “A week prior to writing this tune, I was stalked on the subway by a man who basically looked like a reincarnation of Daniel Boone,” Bullock explains. “I got very uncomfortable and had to hop from train to train to lose this guy, and that was the first time that had ever happened to me. My alter ego wanted to stand up to him, but my actual self was very scared. So this song is basically by my alter ego saying, ‘You should be the one afraid of me, not the other way around.’”
"You should be the one afraid of me, not the other way around."
Filled with lyrics about the hunted turning the tables on the hunter—all sharp teeth and howling at the moon—Bullock’s bandmates say they’re proud of the track’s empowering message, and of her for refusing to let the experience go unnoticed. “Even though we’ve seen female band leaders like Debbie Harry and Gwen Stefani in different time periods, female voices are still being oppressed,” says Bodley. “But now we live in a world where Julia can stand out and be a bigger voice and say all the things other women haven’t had a chance to say out loud.” “I feel like the biggest thing for female artists back in Blondie or Fleetwood Mac’s time, they were so interesting to the mass public because they did not care and did not shut their mouths,” Bullock adds. The Foxies aim to carry on that tradition of not shutting their mouths. And by opting out of a traditional album release in favor of a series of singles, fans will soon get more examples of Bullock’s fiery femininity. Sounding like the perfect start to an epic ’80s dance off, “Get Right” addresses a time in Bullock’s early twenties when she was bullied by a group of girls in a new city. She made the mistake of moving there and joining a friend group that included the girls’ boyfriends. “It’s like, I totally ate shit, but that’s alright because I looked great doing it,” she says about the song’s take-me-as-I-come spirit. “It’s uplifting, but with very sarcastic tones.” Others like “Chewing Gum” center on a heartbreaker’s feeble designs at patching up his destructive handiwork, and the propulsive power pop of “Room for Space” imagines a pair of star-crossed lovers as “moonbeams, just looking for a way out.” “There’s heartbreak songs, there’s stand-
up-to-the-man songs, there’s I-don’t-givea-fuck songs,” Bullock says with a joker’s grin. But as cool as the recordings are—and they are convincingly cool—The Foxies are first and foremost a live band. Each track gets punched up a little, tightly arranged but often skewing more toward the organic, punk rock side of their sound as Bullock dances and writhes around the stage, losing herself in each moment completely. Fa ns who fou nd t hemselves at Bonnaroo’s Miller Lite stage earlier this month got a small taste of that action. Like some of her female rock heroes, the stage is Bullock’s safe place—the one spot where she’s in control. “They put it all out on the stage,” she says. “That’s when they felt most comfortable, and I know that’s when I feel most comfortable too. If I’m walking down the street I’m very self-conscious, but onstage I can be my complete self. I’m confident and happy.” The band’s ultimate goal is to one day sell out London’s Wembley stadium, but they’re not rushing. Their Bonnaroo experience was another big step in a journey that also included stops at this year’s Sundance and South by Southwest festivals, and no matter how many people are in attendance going forward—or what those people choose to call their music—they intend to keep doing their dirty pop, future ’80s thing. “That’s the way you should do it,” Bullock says. “If you’re playing for five people you’ve gotta act like you’re playing for five million . . .” “Or else you won’t play for five million,” Ohlbaum adds.
The Foxies will headline The High Watt July 25.
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HAIR AND MAKEUP: ALYSSA KRAUS OF AMAX TALENT USING MAC COSMETICS
MODELS: CRYSTAL WOOD OMOT ABELLA OF EYE MODEL MANAGEMENT GRACIE PENIX OF AMAX TALENT
WHO ARE YOU WEARING?
BY CHARLIE HICKERSON PHOTOS BRETT WARREN
Maria “Poni” Silver weaves stories and people into the pieces at Black by Maria Silver
“THIS GIRL HITS THE TOWN. SHE’S GOING TO
go to Sparkle City, she’s just going to twirl, and she’s going to do a split at the end of a Donna Summer song,” Maria “Poni” Silver tells me from her East Nashville basementturned-studio. “I have to have like a different persona per piece, actually,” Silver continues, motioning to the twenty-or-so pieces hanging in front of me. “I think, Where is this person going to wear it? and then I usually come up with a story about what she’s doing in it.” Unprompted, this is how Silver usually describes her designs. Not in terms of fabrics, or textures, or influences—though she can and will gladly talk to you about all of that—but in terms of people. Whether it’s someone doing their best Studio 54 at Sparkle City (in case you haven’t been, it’s Nashville’s go-to disco bacchanal) or a woman walking through downtown, “protected” by the brick pattern on her jacket, Silver’s separates are made with a diverse cast of real-life characters in mind. And that makes sense, considering she’s assumed many different roles throughout her life. Before she was one of Nashville’s most talked about designers, she was the drummer in The Ettes, a garage-y threepiece that toured internationally and released a string of acclaimed EPs in the late aughts. The band split, but Silver went on to co-found Fond Object Records with her fellow Ettes members, Lindsay “Coco” Hames and Jeremy “Jem” Cohen. Now, she plays in guitar-drum duo Gods of the F*cking Sea with Third Man Books’ Chet Weise. And before she was a member of Nashville’s alt-rock elite, the DominicanAmerican designer was a pseudo go-go dancer in Miami, a student at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, and a seamstress at a Broadway costume design house. While you can see traces of all this in her work—there’s a Debbie Harry-esque jumpsuit here, a beachy floral print there—her new stuff draws from a
different time period: her early childhood. To understand Silver’s latest collection (more on that later), you have to understand where she came from.
The daughter of Dominican immigrants, Silver was born and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York ( The Daily Times and New York Times contend it’s one of the most diverse in the country, and there’s even a three-hour documentary about the neighborhood). Silver’s block was home to Chinese, Colombian, Greek, Puerto Rican, and Dominican families, and she has fond memories of Halloween block parties and scheduling hangs with her best friend in a quaintly analog fashion. “If I wanted to get her attention, I would yell out the window for her to come outside and hang out,” Silver says, laughing. When Silver was ten, her family relocated to West Palm Beach for her dad’s job with AT&T. West Palm was . . . a change in pace. “I didn’t realize how different [Queens] was until we moved to South Florida,” Silver explains. “At that time when we moved there—it was like probably early ’90s or something—I just realized how white certain areas were . . . Compared to where we were living, I thought that we were living on a farm. We were just in the suburbs, but to me it felt like farm living.” Farm or not, Silver got into fashion while living in Florida. She made her own homecoming dress—worn with combat boots, naturally—and moved to Miami to attend “this random art school that doesn’t even exist anymore” after graduating high school. In Miami, an eighteen-year-old Silver turned to one of her other lifelong passions, dance, to make extra cash. With fifteen years of experience under her belt, she joined a local troupe that hit the Miami club circuit. “It was like the big feathered headdresses situation,” she remembers, laughing. “Very Copacabana, and we would
put on these shows right before the club opened. I didn’t even know these clubs existed, and they were massive places. There was one that Prince owned called the Glam Slam, so you’d come in and there’d just be this great, grand show and drag queen performers.” It wasn’t long before she started designing the feathered, sequined, and fringed attire for her troupe. The dancing and designing was great—school, on the other hand, not so much. “After two years at this weirdo school, I realized that I just hadn’t really learned anything,” Silver explains. “[With] fashion, I don’t necessarily believe that everyone’s path needs to be getting a degree. You can intern in fashion and work your way up and get to where you need to go.” Her path would involve a little bit of both. She enrolled at FIT and shortly after graduation began working in the millinery department of a Broadway design house. Because, as Silver explains, different houses bid on different scenes (instead of one house taking on all the costumes for one play), she’d often construct pieces for totally different worlds—sometimes all in one day. “You’re working on like ten different shows at the same time, which is really great,” she says. “At that time I was working on Mamma Mia!, Rent, and 42nd Street, all at the same time.” Even with her dream job and a rentcontrolled apartment in the East Village, Silver couldn’t resist the proverbial pied piper that tempts nearly all twentysomethings: the obligatory move to L.A. So inspired by a boyfriend and a healthy dose of naivety, she left New York. But the West Coast wasn’t exactly the Queens native’s vibe. “I remember the plane going down and then my heart sinking into my stomach, and just being like, What the fuck did I just do?” she says. “I still can’t explain why I hated L.A. so much. I go back and visit now, and it’s totally lovely and it’s fine. Living there, I really felt the East CoastWest Coast divide—and I really sided with Biggie. Even though Tupac was so hot
[ laughs]. I’m East Coast. It just didn’t feel right—the ocean was on the wrong side!” One silving lining did emerge from the move, though. Silver met fellow future Ette Hames while working retail on Melrose Ave. Naturally, they started an “air band” in the denim closet of the shop they both worked for. The air band soon became a real band, and The Ettes were formed. “It never even occurred to me to play,” Silver explains, still kind of surprised herself. “I used to go to local shows constantly, but I never looked at the band and said, ‘I want to be up there and play music.’ [But] when I was out in L.A., and I was like angry at myself and life, yeah, that’s when I met Coco and randomly started taking lessons.” From here, The Ettes’ story is probably similar to that of your favorite mid-aughts buzzband. The trio released the albums (in this case, smart, well-received garage rock), did the international tours (both on their own and opening for acts like The Black Keys and The Dead Weather), and made all the right appearances ( Fallon , KEXP, SXSW). Then, with little fanfare and no hard feelings, they just kind of stopped playing. Chalk it up to the realities of touring, the recession, or simply getting older, but it happens. However, unlike some of their contemporaries (ever wonder what The Von Blondies are up to?), The Ettes would go on to start something else that was equally awesome: Fond Object. The beloved Eastside record store/clothing boutique/venue opened in 2013 and added a second downtown location last year. But even before opening Fond Object, Silver—who’d moved to Nashville in 2008 after years of visiting the city on tour—was making entrepreneurial moves. She showed at her first NFW back in 2012, but The Ettes’ touring scheduling kept her from setting up something more permanent. By 2014, though—by which point touring was over and Fond Object was off the ground—Silver was ready to dive fully into fashion. “I just knew that it was always something that I would go back to,” she
"I just knew that [fashion] was always something that I would go back to."
"If someone leaves with a piece on and is like, â€˜I feel good today,â€™ then I did my job."
explains. “It was just that fork in the road that kind of took me in a different direction in life. So it wasn’t until 2014 that I actually put things into production and started selling things in size ranges and stuff like that . . . I think the transition took a while, but I wasn’t in a rush. I’m not in a rush, and this is what I’m trying to do: a slow build.” If the past seven years are any indication, the slow build has worked. She’s shown in five Nashville Fashion Weeks, she won NFW’s Rising Star Award in 2016, and she’s the recipient of this year’s Fashion Forward Fund, which means she’ll attend the Decoded fashion summit in London later this year. She’s also made custom pieces for folks like Margo Price and Ruby Amanfu, and she opened her first brick-and-mortar on Woodland earlier this year. For the collection that won her the Fashion Forward Fund, Silver looked back to Queens. More specifically, she looked back to 1973, when her mom first immigrated to the US to be with her father. Suddenly Silver’s mother, who’d grown up in the mountains of the DR, found herself on 103rd Street, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan (the family wouldn’t move to Queens until Silver was born a few years later). While designing her latest pieces, Silver drew inspiration by asking her mom about that period. “My dad will be eighty this year, and my mom is seventy-four, and it just made me think about rough things that you don’t want to think,” she explains. “That they’re not going to be here forever, and did I ask them enough stuff?” Though the process has forced Silver to reckon with her parents’ mortality, it’s given the designer a new insight into her history. She heard stories she’d never known about: how her mom used to hang her feet outside her apartment window when she was hot, or how she’d play dominoes with her neighbor Francia. It’s these little slices of life—the everyday minutia we seem to never ask our families about until it’s too late—along with more concrete elements (like her mom’s love of birds, or her penchant for primary colors) that come out in the collection. There are oversized parkas with big, bold shocks of colors; island-y skirts that take you straight
to the DR; even a recurring bird print that pops up on everything from dresses to head wraps. While Silver admits that a large chunk of the collection is made up of these fun, tongue-in-cheek references to her mom, there are also darker themes at play throughout. The colors got darker as she came to terms with her parents’ deteriorating health, and there are even subtle references to dementia in some of the pieces. “There’s a couple pieces that are like patchwork, which was meant to look a little broken,” she explains. “[They’re] kind of more about when you get older and become senile—all those kind of issues that you have to deal with.” When you consider the narrative surrounding Silver’s family—that of an immigrant family finding success in the US—the collection is also a political statement. As Silver aptly puts it: “If [my mother] was trying to do this today, would she have been able to come over? Then what would that have meant? Would she have not married my dad? Would she have just stayed in the DR and married somebody else? Would I even exist?” They’re sadly legitimate questions, especially when you consider that Silver’s parents emigrated from a nation that shares an island with one of the “shithole countries.” But luckily for us—and for Nashville fashion—she exists, sharing big, important stories through an artistic medium that often doesn’t tell enough of those stories. And though Silver says she’d like her customers to consider and discuss the narrative behind her clothes, she’s ultimately happiest when people are happy in her clothes. “I want them to feel super confident when they put on one of my pieces. Walk out the door and be like, ‘I’m ready for whatever the day is going to have come at me,’” she says. “If someone leaves with a piece on and is like, ‘I feel good today,’ then I did my job.” Job well done.
Silver’s latest work—a series of caftans that incorporates pieces by local artist Kelly Williams—are on display now through June 30 at Noelle’s Keep Shop.
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SPEAK FOR YOURSELF
Nashville Youth Poet Laureate Haviland Whiting doesn’t shy away from the truth—and she wants other teens to follow her lead
2018: THE YEAR WHEN GENERATION Z GOT
loud. It’s the year of Emma González, the year American children marched for their lives. Rising Harpeth Hall junior Haviland Whiting is many things—the fourth Nashville Youth Poet Laureate, first-chair cellist, singer, model. She even has an endowment set up in her name through Purdue University that sends two low-income students to gifted camp every summer. But she is not loud. Her spoken word poems are delivered softly in a sweet, high voice. Her presence is slight—but her hands flutter as she speaks, and she builds a rhythm that picks up listeners like a riptide and carries them out to sea. Underestimate her at your own peril. Her poems speak to justice, racism, gentrification, being a woman in America, and being black in America, but they also address issues on a global scale—the worldwide refugee crisis and chemical warfare in Syria. While the work may be delivered in a soft-spoken manner, there’s no trace of flimsiness in Whiting’s “controversial” pieces. But of course she’s been underestimated. “My middle school teacher wrote on the bottom of one of our creative writing assignments, ‘Maybe poetry isn’t your thing,’” Whiting says from her parents’ screened-in back porch in the 12South neighborhood. Whiting might’ve taken that to heart were it not for her favorite summer camp, the Great Books Summer Program, and Southern Word, a literacy and performing arts program that brings spoken word to young people in Nashville through school residencies, workshops, and shows. The Great Books Summer Program first introduced Whiting to writing poetry, but it was the presence of Southern Word at her school that took it to this next level. Two years ago on a whim, she applied for Southern Word’s youth poet laureate competition. That first year, she didn’t make it through the semifinals; this year, she won. But despite how self-assured she is when being interviewed, and despite the maturity of her poetry, Whiting is tremendously nervous about getting up in front of a crowd. So why not just write poems—why perform?
“I was so enthralled with it, the way that people could just get up there and perform and be themselves and say things that were really relevant and important,” Whiting says. “I’ve always been an introvert with terrible stage fright, believe it or not. Being able to do that seemed so insanely amazing to me. When it comes to performing poetry, to me I can become like a, not a different person, but [I can] take on a different aspect of my personality on stage, [of] a person who has something important to say and is going to make sure that people listen.” To have a mic is to have power, and Whiting isn’t wasting her time up there, even if all she gets is three minutes. “What I usually write about are the kinds of things going on in the world that you’re normally told to avoid during dinnertime conversations,” she says. “Don’t talk about politics, don’t talk about religion, race, all those kinds of things. Don’t talk about them! [But those are] all the things I adore talking about.” When she describes writing her poems, Whiting mimes typing with her thumbs on her phone, as her Notes app bears the evidence of what she calls “rants.” “Generally a lot of what I rant about tends to be what we think about . . . as strictly political,” she says. “We ignore that there are people attached to [humanitarian crises]. We ignore the fact that statistics and numbers are human bodies or families that are dead. I get really caught up in that . . . I get angry, but mostly things just make me really sad . . . If I didn’t have poetry, I wouldn’t know what to do with all this sadness that I feel.” She talks about reading the death numbers in Syria, and how if forty people are killed, she mourns not only for those deaths but for the ten or more people closest to each victim. Grief spreads, and it’s something she cannot ignore. For the poem that won her the poet laureate, Whiting drew from one of her favorite poetic inf luences: Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire, a Kenyan-born Somali poet whose poetry explores displacement, grief, and selfrenewal through her own coming of age in a war-torn society (and who was extensively
"We ignore the fact that statistics and numbers are human bodies or families that are dead."
quoted throughout Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade). Whiting opened her winning poem with Shire’s words: “When the men come, set yourself on fire.” She then launched into a new biblical mythology that tore through the injustices against black girls and women: “On the first day of war, or maybe it was religion, God said to carry bullets under our tongues.” The beginning and end of this poem included Whiting singing part of Nina Simone’s “Blackbird.” Music is inextricably bound to the rhythms she builds in her poems: “Science shows that people connect to music . . . If you sing a certain scale before you speak, people’s brains are already hardwired to hear certain things in your words. That’s why most spirituals are written in the exact same key. It’s not because the slaves didn’t know that they could mix up keys, it’s because it sets the tone.” The poet laureate win has been followed by frequent performances throughout Nashville, as coordinated by Southern Word. Whiting will also compile her first book of poetry with the help of a mentoring adult poet. Immediately after her win, Whiting said that she wanted to use her position as a platform for calling attention to injustice. “That still definitely is my intention,” she says, “and I’m doing that by writing one controversial poem at a time.” Her voice goes up at the end of that sentence, like it’s a little joke. “I think maybe my idea of using my platform has evolved as I’ve become more comfortable with what I write . . . Before winning poet laureate, I was focused on writing ‘good’ things, ‘good’ poems. Poems that people would be like, ‘Wow, that was a good poem.’ Now, of course, I still want to write good poems, but I also want to write poems that mean something.” Is she uncomfortable with being controversial? “Yes, definitely. There are some things I was totally okay with talking about, such as gender, but there are some things, such as race, that I kind of backed away from, even though I’m black and
most of my family is black . . . That’s part of what I’m using my platform for: [to show] that it’s okay to just come out and say it, and it’s okay to identify with yourself. You don’t have to beat around the bush with all these crazy metaphors, because sometimes it’s just as powerful to say, in my case, I’m black, or in someone else’s case, I’m trans, rather than all these elusive metaphors so as not to offend people.” Whiting is owning it—her controversy, her blackness, her womanhood—and while she is unusually self-assured for a sixteen-year-old, part of Southern Word’s philosophy is to encourage this power, this thoughtfulness, in all young people. Southern Word’s Benjamin Smith explains: “There are eighty-five-thousand-plus young people in Nashville in our schools who have the potential to speak for themselves and develop their voice and be able to write. For me, this program is only powerful if it drives growth beyond Haviland . . . There’s an enormous potential that we under-invest in.” If you’ve been paying attention, you know to be excited about the talent and empathy found within Generation Z. Whiting agrees: “We have fire,” she says. “We tend to be ignored, I think. I don’t think any of us are old enough to vote, or maybe we’re on the cusp of being able to vote. I definitely can’t vote. If you can’t do something active in government, then people kind of ignore you, which is silly, because if you look at history, a lot of the revolutions have not been started by government officials or people who can vote. It’s the plebians. We’re the plebes. I don’t want to say arguing with adults, but having respectful discourse is a duty of Gen Z. We need to challenge what’s going on around us.” Snaps to that.
Southern Word is hosting a youth open mic night Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. at the Centennial Black Box Theater. For more information, visit southernword.org.
YOUR HOME IN THE NATIONS PRE-LEASING SUMMER 2018
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How Christie and Will Tarleton are changing Tennesseeâ€™s opinion on hemp through YUYO Botanics
BY KYLE COOKE PHOTOS ANDREA BEHRENDS
“I’M LIKE STUPID ALLERGIC TO THEM,”
Christie Tarleton says. “I shouldn’t be in farming.” I pluck a bluish-black wasp from Christie’s hair and f lick it to our left, hoping it finds something more interesting to bother. That shouldn’t be too hard. Christie and I are standing in a greenhouse in the backyard of her brick, ranch-style home in Bells Bend with four acres of farm behind us. The Tarletons’ farm, where Christie lives with her husband, Will, is home to hemp plants, vegetables, flowers, and a flock of sheep. Christie ushers me over to a small army of potted hemp “babies.” The tiny leaves are just beginning to break through the soil. Christie pets them like you would a cat. The Tarletons grow their hemp in one of two ways: seeding—the seeds “did rea lly freaking good this year”—or by using the “moms,” which are located in an adjacent growroom, the next stop on the tour. Will is pacing around the backyard talking with someone on the phone. Before we enter the growroom, Christie f lags him down and gets the okay to show me inside. There’s a handful of oscillating fans keeping the room cool. The “moms” shuffle in the synthetic breeze as Christie shows me the different varieties of the hemp plants, which at their current size come up to my waist. Before talking with the Tarletons, I possessed only a cursory knowledge of what hemp was and what distinguishes it from marijuana. I knew even less about the byzantine laws surrounding t he pla nt a nd its cu ltivation. Thankfully, I’m meeting with the experts. Hemp, like marijuana, is a variety of cannabis sativa . The distinguishing factor between the two, both legally and physiologically, is the level of THC (the stuff that gets you high). Hemp has a negligible amount of
THC. Marijuana, um, doesn’t. Hemp is harvested for a variety of reasons. The plant’s fibers are often used in construction projects, packa g ing a nd stationer y, a nd especially clothes. Christie calls using the fiber “an art form.” Where the Tarletons have profited most, however, is in the extraction of CBD—short for cannabidiol—a compound found in both hemp and marijuana that has medicinal and therapeutic effects when processed. It can’t get you high. Because the government doesn’t want people growing weed, CBD is only legal if extracted from hemp plants, although it’s impossible to detect if it came from marijuana. CBD’s popularity led to Christie’s launch of YUYO Botanics, a line of organic hemp oils and salves. “People are just looking for natural relief,” she says. “All the basic shit we all deal with—anxiety, migraines, stress, inflammation.” For such a politically conservative state, hemp farmers are set up pretty well in Tennessee. It’s the stigma attached to their industry, Christie says, that is a bigger roadblock. In the Tarletons’ mind, fighting hemp because of a personal qualm with marijuana is a perfect example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It’s this conflation of hemp and marijuana that keeps the stigma against industrial hemp farming alive. “We grow organic vegetables because we care about the soil and the earth and how we decide to live our lives in our community,” Christie says. “It’s the same way about hemp. If CBD is a medicine that can help people and it’s financially cost effective, why wouldn’t you want to do good in your community with that?” It’s a question that’s difficult for detractors to answer, which is why Will and Christie have become effective citizen lobbyists with the Tennessee
He mp I ndu s t r ie s A s s o c i a t ion (TNHIA). “ I ’m re a d y to ch a n g e t he frequency,” Christie says. “That’s another reason we were like, ‘Let’s do YUYO.’ Because we have the ability to actually educate people about it and just be cool. If people want to come out to the farm and see plants grow, they can see plants grow—normalize it, have a conversation about it.” The couple started growing hemp in Tennessee when it first became legal four years ago. Before that, Christie was traveling all over the country—she initially moved to Nashville to pursue music. “I dated a cook for a long time, so I was pretty deep into the food world, but I just loved working with my hands and working outside,” Christie says. “That was one thing I really wanted to do.” Her penchant for hands-on labor landed her a job at Bear Creek Farm in Franklin. “That segued into me getting an apprenticeship back in New York at a place called Stone Barns, which cultivated young farmers to kind of figure out alternative, interesting ways to become sustaining small farmers. My focus there was in livestock, which is why we have a flock of sheep. I’ve always liked farming, but I only knew about raising animals.” Now she does a little bit of ever y thing. In addition to the hemp farming with Will and YUYO Botanics, Christie is perhaps best known around Nashville—and to her thousands of Instagram followers—as The Farmer’s Florist. She creates perennia lly Instag rammable bouquets and arrangements for weddings, photoshoots, and other special occasions. She had a booth at Bonnaroo this year. On a certain disreputable “holiday” in late April, Christie posted a picture of one of their hemp plants on the
Farmer’s Florist Instagram feed, something she had never done before and was a little apprehensive about. She didn’t want too many people to clutch their pearls. With more than one thousand likes, it is her top performing post to date. Still, she likes the idea of keeping a low profile with their CBD product. “You give it to your friends, and your friends give it to their friends, and so on,” Christie says. “We loved this concept of it being some underground thing where you just have your YUYO guy.” But that’s, like, drug-dealersounding, right? Local government seemed to t h in k so. In ea rly February, multiple state and local law enforcement agencies shut down twenty-three different stores in Rutherford County (YUYO, in Davidson County, was spared) in a sting operation dubbed “Operation Candy Crush.” The reasoning was that the stores were selling CBD products, like gummies, that were derived from marijuana. The shops lost out on thousands of dollars in revenue and legal fees for the five days their doors were padlocked, and the whole operation eventually turned into a blame game between the TBI, the district attorney’s office, and other law enforcement agencies. In the end, nobody could tell if the CBD in the products was derived from marijuana or industrial hemp. A spokesperson for the TBI told local media that “such a determination is beyond the capability of contemporary drug identification,” something any one of the shop owners knew from the beginning. A circuit court judge ruled that the shops’ keys and cash registers be returned to the owners. “A f ter t hat,” C h r ist ie says, “politicians basically said, ‘It’s been decided. [Hemp] is a legal crop. We’re not concerned about it.’”
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As the attitude toward their crop has swung to the positive side, it’s not difficult for the Tarletons to envisage a prosperous future in the hemp industry. But they know they’re not completely out of the woods. Now they’re soldiers in a battle between the little guys and the draconian pharma companies, specifically the British-owned company GW Pharmaceuticals. “ They ’ve patented a bu nch of processing techniques—basically all of them,” Will says. “And they don’t even use them. Once they get these patents through, they can start sending all the processors cease and desist orders. So they’ve gone into other states that don’t have a strong hemp lobby and pushed these bills through that basically say CBD needs to be prescribed.” Will tells me that GW Pharmaceuticals’ CBD isolate is $2,500 a month for one thousand milligrams. Nine hundred milligrams of YUYO costs just $110. This is why, for the Tarletons and the growing number of hemp farmers in Tennessee, their lobbying efforts with TNHIA are so important. “There’s young people out there that want to create small farms and create sustainable agriculture,” Christie explains. “Why wouldn’t you actually put money into those who want to responsibly take care of the earth and their community instead of making a bunch of fucking money for people already sitting pretty in the pharmaceutical world? It’s crazy to me.” Christie doesn’t stay frustrated for long. She’s much too sunny a person to let the potentially Sisyphean war against big pharma keep her down, and she takes solace in the fact that this community of fellow farmers, followers, growers, and artists will continue to simply back the best crop. “There will always be the consumer, regardless if there is a GW Pharmaceutical product,” Tarleton says. “Somebody will alternatively want to go to the Whole Foods and pick up something that’s smallfarm based. Like, you’ll always want to buy from a CSA instead of going to Kroger. There’s always going to be that consumer, so I’m hoping that’s going to continue to prevail in this world.”
JUNE 16 - SARAH PARTRIDGE JUNE 21 & 22 - CABARET w/ NAN GURLEY JULY 13 - ROLAND BARBER MORE INFORMATION AT
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CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT ZACHARY GRAY Whenever I tell stylist Aria Cavaliere I want to set up a shoot, she always has a great idea. For this editorial, Aria was inspired by the look created for Jerry Hall in the movie Urban Cowboy. Hall had a very small but memorable cameo in the film, and it left us wanting to see more of her. So Aria developed a look based on how she’d like to see Hall’s character if she had a bigger role in the film. This was the first time I’d worked with this team all together, and it was really fun. My goal was to showcase everyone’s individual contributions. —Zachary
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Ben Stix and his seitan business and deli The BE-Hive are making vegetarianism fun
BY JONAH ELLER-ISAACS PHOTOS BY EMILY DORIO
BEN STIX IS A DRUMMER. AND THAT’S HIS REAL
name. It’s not easy being Stix. He laments, tongue only somewhat in cheek: “One of the worst things ever is to have to tell another drummer that I respect that my name is Ben Stix. If someone told me that, I’d be like, ‘Ummm . . . Cooool.’” Stix, though, is so much more than a drummer. He’s also the founder of The BE-Hive, purveyor of plant-based products, producer of parties, and a force for good in the world. Stix and I are sitting at a picnic table behind The East Room on Gallatin Avenue, in a sort of no-place space between buildings. Ash from piles of tossed cigarettes is swirling in eddies around us. A graffiti frog suggests I should JOIN THE ARMY! There’s a few stickers that say BE, white letters on fire engine red. “What brought us here?” I ask. “To this shitty backyard?” Stix laughs. We’re here because I want to know more about The BE-Hive, the overarching name for his many projects. Stix is Nashville’s biggest producer of seitan (more on that later), doing wholesale business to restaurants all over the city. He’s also recently opened a Saturday deli counter operating out of The East Room’s kitchen, working with Chef Diana Lee Zadlo. And then there’s his monthly parties that benefit local nonprofits. Drumsticks aren’t the only things in his very full hands. Stix lays it out. “The goal of The BE-Hive is to make plant-based eating more accessible. We’ve always had a problem with that, and because there weren’t a lot of options in Nashville, we had to cook for ourselves.” “We?” I jump in. “Who is we?” It all began— like any good story should—with a band. “It started off with Born Empty,” Stix tells me. “We all lived together, and we lived in the BE-Hive. B-E: Born Empty.” The B was for Ben and the E was for singer Eric Esters. “A.k.a. E-Rock,” Stix adds. “We were both vegetarian-vegan. On the road we’d be like, ‘Hey, let us sleep on your couch and we’ll cook you breakfast.’” Even carnivores have trouble finding good food on the road, but for Stix, “We would just go spend twenty bucks in a grocery store and we would make dope-ass burritos!” The bartered tour meals turned into a
kitchen crash course. “We kinda cut our teeth cooking there, ‘cause sometimes we would wake up in a mansion with a stacked pantry shelf. And sometimes we would—literally there were some places where we were lucky if we found salt.” Stix and his bandmates brought their burgeoning skills back home to the Hive. “We basically got good at using the tools we had to make a wholesome vegan meal,” he explains. “We would also throw these potlucks at the house, at the BE-Hive . . . I counted eighty people at one of our parties once. And the table full of vegan food. And our food always shined through. It was the hit.” Stix clicks fast-forward. It’s 2011, and he’s working at The Wild Cow, probably Nashville’s best-known source for vegetarian-vegan cuisine (and with their tenth anniversary coming in 2019, one of the oldest as well). But chopping is an awful lot like pounding on the skins. “I would hold a knife like a drumstick,” Stix recalls. “It started to bother me.” The pain grew disruptive. He loved Wild Cow and working in the kitchen, but “it was hurting my wrist, so I picked music over that.” There were no hard feelings. Stix remained close to the Wild Cow staff, and less than a month later, he had an idea: Wild Cow is closed on Tuesdays—which means their kitchen is empty. What if we did a BE-Hive vegan buffet? Just take it over! Stix remembers thinking. The Tuesday meals quickly grew popular. “We did a different menu every single time. So we basically built up our ability to do different menus and recipes. And then in the process, we started making our own seitan.” Let’s talk about seitan. Firstly, it’s pronounced say-tan, equal syllabic emphasis, rhymes with Ray-Ban. I’ll let Stix run it down: “Seitan is basically an ancient Asian recipe. It’s a plant-based protein made from vital wheat gluten . . . You can take all-purpose flour and wash some of the bullshit away and you have this protein, this clump, a ball. Then you dry that out and you get this really high-density flour that’s high in protein, and then when you cook it, it’s low-carb and low-fat.” In case you’re wondering, it’s not gluten-free. “It is entirely gluten!” Stix says with a big laugh. “[It’s] ironic and hilarious that I basically started the
company in the height of the gluten-free craze. Whatever. It’s fine.” Seitan on its own is neutrally flavored, so it’s super effective at absorbing sauces and marinades. You can make it taste like anything, and it’s thick, dense, and meaty (some call it “wheat meat”). Stix tells me that’s much of the appeal. “What’s cool about the seitan thing is you can get a desired texture that really resonates with people who aren’t used to eating plant-based,” Stix posits. “Most people don’t like tofu or tempeh. Those are easy to mess up. I give you something that’s hard to mess up, that you can throw on a sandwich, that tastes good out of the bag.” The Wild Cow and Graze were the earliest adopters of Stix’s wholesale business, but his product has moved beyond just the vegetarian-vegan spots. Baja Burrito cooks with a chorizo-style seitan. 12 South Taproom adds Stix’s seitan to their meat-heavy menu so they can offer their herbivorous customers something more than just pita and hummus or chips and salsa. Stix blends each batch with the sauces and spices that supply the flavor profile and vacuum seals it. His chefs then have a protein that’s already marinated, simple to cook, and lasts essentially forever in the freezer. “[I’m] working with restaurants,” Stix explains, “to be able to provide them an easy vegan option that they don’t really have to think about, that the customers will really like . . . And since we’re building a brand in town, customers know it’s from us.” I’m chatting with Stix a few days after his third Saturday deli. The menu, developed with Chef Zadlo, features so, so many forms of seitan: wings, ribs, pastrami, meatballs, and more. I’m chewing over the names. There’s no meat in the meatballs. There’s no bones in the ribs or wings; they’re just different shapes and sauces. But what else could Stix call them? “First off, I don’t like the fake meat term,” he sighs. “But!” he continues emphatically, “At the same time, it’s a relatability issue . .
. You love steak and cheese, right? But you wanna eat healthier. If I had a completely different name for this thing, you might be a little bit hesitant. But if I said, ‘Here, try this steak and cheese’ . . . It obviously looks like a steak and cheese, they’re gonna be like ‘Daaaaamn!’ And they’re gonna eat it, and then you tell ‘em it’s vegan, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh.’” Though Stix is enjoying the deli so far, he’s clear that a full-size restaurant is not in his future. “I feel like it would take over my life for the next three or four years,” he surmises (accurately, based on the restaurateurs I’ve observed). “Whereas I kinda have bigger ideas to where this will grow. Where I can grow.” It’s a question of scale for Stix, and how broadly he can spread his plant-based gospel. “If I can really work the wholesale thing, then I’ll be feeding more people in general, you know? The restaurant has a capacity . . . If I have a hundred restaurants serving my food in the region, then I have thousands of people eating my food every single day. And at that point, I can make more of a difference.” Even as a regular eater of meat, I recognize the br utalit y and the environmental costs of the industrialized meat industry. Stix founded The BE-Hive to help move us all toward a more humane, healthier future. Eating a plant-based diet in Nashville would’ve been nearly impossible a decade ago, before Wild Cow and multiple Turnip Trucks, but the city has changed, and not all change is for the worse. Stix recalls carnivorous friends who would show up at his vegan buffets as skeptics but depart surprisingly satisfied—and not uncomfortably full, like what might occur after a hearty meal at a meat and three. “That’s the product!” Stix exclaims. “That’s the end goal. That’s when I get people to be like, ‘Wait, this is possible.’ There is hope. And at that point, it [gives] people a way to be like, ‘Maybe I don’t have to eat meat every single meal. Maybe I don’t have to support this. Maybe there is hope.’” Later Stix tells me, “The BE-Hive is
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more than just a business. It’s a mentality. It’s a way of life.” Nowhere is the way to BE more clear than at the Hive’s monthly dinner. It’s a warm night when I return to The East Room, this time heading into the dim interior for a superjam. With the help of Joshua Blaylock (of local funk-souljazz powerhouse Dynamo), Stix has put together an evening of food, music, and community. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Mid-Tennessee chapter of SORBA, the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, an advocacy group for building, preserving, and maintaining off-road bike trails in the region. The kitchen offerings are listed on the Summer Vibes Menu: there’s a bacon cheeseburger without bacon, cheese, or hamburger; hickory smoked seitan ribs; and sides like sweet corn salad with red peppers and potato salad made with a homemade soy mayo. They’ve already run out of dessert, chocolate dirt cups made with coconut milk, but Stix finds a hidden stash and passes a cup to me on the sly. Everything is delicious, and I eat everything. Afterward, I don’t need to pass out; there’s no food coma. It feels slightly miraculous. The room is packed with a crowd that’s diverse in every sense of the word. There are long-haired metalheads, skinny old hippies, tattooed mohawked punks, afro’ed jazz cats. The beard game is strong in here. Stix seems to know them all and greets each person with an extended, warm, and meaningful embrace. This is The BE-Hive at its best: a parade for the senses in a room full of love and respect. Blaylock informs me they’re expecting somewhere between fifty and eighty musicians to get on stage throughout the night, but sadly I have to take off before the music starts. On the stroll back to my car, folks with gig bags and keyboard stands are coming from all directions toward The East Room. I count three. Five. Nine. Fourteen. Twenty. It’s gonna be a busy night at The BE-Hive.
BE-Hive’s deli is open every Saturday. Their next monthly dinner will be July 2.
1013 Fatherland St. 6592 Highway 100 Suite 1
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YOU OUGHTA KNOW: ERIN RAE PHOT O BY EM I LY D OR IO
There’s an idiom people use when describing excellent singers: “I could listen to [insert name] sing the phonebook.” It’s a little hyperbolic, maybe even trite, but we get the point. Some people have such a divine, otherworldly presence behind the mic that it doesn’t really matter what they’re singing—they tap into something that hits us at a base level using nothing more than their vocal cords (see: Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser, who famously made ’90s goths stand at attention with her pseudo-intelligible vocalizations). But what happens when someone with a phonebook voice can also write subtly heartbreaking, nuanced meditations on love, addiction, and identity? That’s the case with local singer-songwriter Erin Rae. We featured Rae back in September 2015, but since then, some notable folks have joined us as believers in her jaw-dropping voice: Tony Joe White signed Rae to his label, saying, “When I first heard Erin’s compelling voice, I knew nothing about her . . . I was instantly transfixed”; NPR’s Ann Powers is a fan; and fellow
Americana darlings Margo Price, Andrew Combs, and Anderson East have tapped Rae for backing vocals. But on her latest record, Putting on Airs , Rae’s lyrics shine just as much as the voice that’s delivering them. Standout single “Can’t Cut Loose” tactfully examines addiction—whether it be to lovers, friends, or substances—and forces us to wonder why we’re always asking for more; while “Wild Blue Wind” heartbreakingly follows a man that’s fallen between the cracks of life. It only makes sense that a singer with a heavenly voice chose a heavenly restaurant like Cafe Roze as her favorite local eatery. “Ever since they opened, it’s been one of my favorite spots to come for breakfast, lunch, or dinner,” Rae says. “It’s the perfect place to hang after hours or after shows, and I love their fancy sodas like the Turmeric Cooler—yum!” Putting on Airs is available now, and Rae will celebrate its release June 29 and 30 at The Basement East.
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Edible Native Plants The fruits and vegetables we eat represent only a small portion of the plant kingdom. There is an edible world of opportunity in our backyards and the untamed land around us; we just have to know what to look for. The concept of edible is somewhat open to interpretation—technically most things are edible, just with varying degrees of pleasantness and nutrition—and because of that the list of edibles is quite long. Of course some, like poison hemlock, are definitely not edible. But even some poisonous plants are edible when prepared correctly. For the purposes of this article, I’ve paired down the list to some fairly common native species. Also, I’ve only included fruits and flowers, no roots or tubers, so as to leave the plant intact. Lastly, because I must: don’t eat anything without confirming its identity with a professional. A few tasty-looking berries aren’t worth a trip to the ER. As I write this in mid-May, many of the fruits we can harvest in the summer are budding or already in flower. Most obvious are blackberries, but there are many others that tend to grow alongside blackberries in sunny, weedy edges of fields and other open areas. For instance, the Tennessee state wildf lower, purple passionf lower (Passiflora incarnata), is a vine with strange and beautiful flowers that become a sweet, somewhat tart fruit ready for harvest in late summer and even early fall. The fruit is a couple inches in diameter and can be picked
when it’s still dark green. Inside you’ll find a cluster of seeds covered in a sweet gelatinous goo. The seeds are harmless, but not that tasty—the goo is where it’s at. Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) also like the weedy, sunny margins. The flowers can be harvested in late spring or early summer and used for a variety of purposes (cocktails, pastries, salads). The fruit is typically cooked rather than eaten raw, because the seeds are poisonous in large quantities. Many people tend to confuse pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) with elderberry because they both have dark purple fruits. It’s important, and relatively simple, to learn the difference because pokeweed may grow in the same area and is poisonous. Some people do boil and eat pokeweed leaves, but it’s risky. A few other summer fruits are worth picking, though they aren’t as prevalent as the three above. Staghorn sumac, or Rhus typhina , not to be confused with poison sumac, is a shrub that grows large, red, cone-like flowers in the late summer, which are often used in teas or lemonades to impart a citrusy flavor. Red mulberries (Morus rubra) produce a sweet blackberrylike fruit; you’ll know it’s ripe when it’s soft and dark red or purple. Other honorable mentions are berry-producing trees known as serviceberries (Amelanchier arborea), American plum ( Prunus americana), and the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa). When fall rolls around, there aren’t as many options, but that makes it all the
sweeter. In my opinion, the best fruit one can harvest the whole year is the pawpaw (Asimina triloba), a small mango-like fruit that tastes similar to a papaya. Pawpaws are understory trees that grow near streams. I rarely find fruit on them, but that may be because the forest critters beat me to them. I’ve also heard they aren’t very effective at pollinating; some pawpaw growers hang raw chicken on the branches during the flowering season to encourage insects to visit the flowers. Persimmons are another tasty fruit, but you have to get the timing just right—eating an unripe persimmon is like the cinnamon challenge, but with chalk powder. Basically, they’re best once they’re so ripe that they fall to the ground, and then you have to get them before they rot or get trampled on. Just try a nibble before diving in. Other tasty forest delights are muscadine grapes ( Vitis rotundifolia) and hazelnuts (Corylus americana), though these will take a little more scouting. One of the great things about foraging for edible plants is it’s free. For a head start, check out the iNaturalist app to see where others have found edibles. There are also a number of online resources that can help with identification, but if you end up getting really interested, I recommend getting an identification manual (email me if you need help picking one out). If you enjoy the outdoors, scavenger hunts, and/ or eating, then foraging for native edible plants just might be your thing.
*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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