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Volu m e 14


| Number 14 | Ju ly 22 - Aug ust 5, 2020





Beth Shinn Q&A

Local Activism

Activist Archives

La Noticia + The Contributor

We interview Nashville resident about her new book, In the Midst of Plenty: Homelessness and what to do about it

The People’s Plaza protest calls for racial justice, ending police brutality and the removal of a bust from inside the Capitol.

Occupying Legislative Plaza (now being called the Ida B. Wells Plaza), is a time-honored tradition in Tennessee.

La Noticia, one of the leading Spanish-language newspapers in the nation, brings Spanish content to The Contributor.

Contributor Board

Tom Wills, Chair Cathy Jennings, Bruce Doeg, Demetria Kalodimos, Ann Bourland, Kerry Graham, Peter Macdonald, Amber DuVentre, Jerome Moore, Erik Flynn

Contributors This Issue

Amanda Haggard • Linda Bailey • Hannah Herner • David Piñeros • Jane Husain • Alvine • Joe Nolan • Mr. Mysterio • Norma B. • Jen A. • Tyrone M. “Bright Star” • William B. • Yuri Cunza

Contributor Volunteers Joe First • Andy Shapiro • Michael Reilly • Ann Bourland • Patti George • John Jennings • Janet Kerwood • Logan Ebel • Christine Doeg • Laura Birdsall • Nancy Kirkland • Mary Smith • Andrew Smith • Ellen Fletcher • Richard Aberdeen • Shayna Harder Wiggins • Pete MacDonald • Robert Thompson

Cathy Jennings Executive Director Tom Wills Director of Vendor Operations


Hannah Herner Staff Writer Jesse Call Housing Navigator Raven Lintu Housing Navigator Barbara Womack Advertising Manager Amanda Haggard & Linda Bailey Co-Editors

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Andrew Krinks Editor Emeritus Will Connelly, Tasha F. Lemley, Steven Samra, and Tom WIlls Contributor Co-Founders

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July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 3

The New Christian Year Selected by Charles Williams

Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886–1945), the editor of the following selections, is today probably the third most famous of the famous Inklings literary group of Oxford, England, which existed in the middle of the 20th century, and which included among its ranks the better-known and longer-lived Oxford Dons J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis—but he was arguably the most precocious and well-read of this eminent and intellectually fertile group. He was also known to have influenced Dorothy Sayers, T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden. Lacking a proper degree unlike his fellow Inklings, this genius Cockney-speaking author, editor, critic, and playwright was eminently well-versed in both philosophical and theological writings of the remote past as of the present day (the mid-20th century) and used this familiarity to good effect in his poetry, supernatural fiction and his lesser-known devotional selections designed for the spiritual benefit of the faithful in the Church of England. This series of profound quotations, encompassing all walks of life, follows the sequence of the themes and Bible readings anciently appointed for contemplation throughout the church's year, beginning with Advent (i.e., December) and ending in November, and reaches far beyond the pale of the philosophical and theological discussions of his day. It was under his hand, for instance, that some of the first translations of Kierkegaard were made available to the wider public. It is hoped that the readings reproduced here will prove beneficial for any who read them, whatever their place in life's journey. — Matthew Carver

THE enthusiasm for goodness which shows that it is not the habit of the mind. Patmore: The Rod, the Root, and the Flower.

more triumphant to live its own life and find all its own blessings in an higher degree. Whether therefore you consider perfection or happiness, it is all included in the Spirit of Love and must be so, for this reason, because the infinitely perfect and happy God is mere love, an unchangeable will to all goodness; and therefore every creature must be corrupt and unhappy so far as it is led by any other will than the one will to all goodness. William Law: The Spirit of Love.

7th Thursday after Trinity

8th Monday after Trinity

7th Wednesday after Trinity IT is the sign of a reasoning soul when a man sinks his mind within himself and has dealings in his heart. St Seraphim of Sarov.

ABSOLUTE poverty is thine when thou canst not remember whether anybody has ever owed thee or been indebted to thee for anything; just as all things will be forgotten by thee in the last journey of death. Tauler: Sermons.

7th Friday after Trinity

I AM no companion for myself, I must not be alone with myself, for I am as apt to take as to give infection; I am a reciprocal plague; passively and actively contagious; I breathe corruption, and breathe it upon myself; and I am the Babylon that I must go out of, or I perish. Donne: Sermons.

The Feast of St. James HERE we may see the great virtue of true belief in that the faith and the belief of one man helpeth and saveth another: as the faith of the bearers of this paralysed man saved him. And also in the next chapter before the faith of the centurion gave healing to his servant. And also hereafter the faith of the woman saved her daughter. And so it falleth now that children baptised, and after dead before the years of discretion, be saved in the faith of their godfathers through the merit of Christ. The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, tr. by Nicholas Love.

7th Saturday after Trinity LORD, I perceive my soul deeply guilty of envy . . . I had rather thy work were undone than done better by another than by myself! . . . Dispossess me, Lord, of this bad spirit, and turn my envy into holy emulation; . . . yea, make other men's gifts to be mine, by making me thankful to thee for them. Thomas Fuller: Good Thoughts in Bad Times. TO thee, O God, we turn for peace . . . but grant us too the blessed assurance that nothing shall deprive us of that peace, neither ourselves, nor our foolish, earthly desires, nor my wild longings, nor the anxious cravings of my heart. Kierkegaard: Journals.

LOVE and the good life are needful to right belief. Wycliffe: Quicunque Vult. THOU hast not commanded us continency alone, that is, from what things we should refrain our love: but justice also, that is, which way we should bestow that love: and, that it is not thy will to have us love thee only, but our neighbor also. St Augustine: Confessions.

8th Tuesday after Trinity BEG our Lord to grant you perfect love for your neighbour, and leave the rest to Him. He will give you more than you know how to desire if you constrain yourselves and strive with all your power to gain it, forcing your will as far as possible to comply in all things with your sisters' wishes, although you may sometimes forfeit your own rights by so doing. Forget your self-interests for theirs, however much nature may rebel; when opportunity occurs take some burden upon yourself to ease your neighbour of it. St Teresa of Avila: The Interior Castle.

8th Wednesday after Trinity TO love one another as oneself is only the halfway house to Heaven, though it seems as far as it was prudent to bid man go. The "greater love than this" of which our Lord speaks, though He does not command it, is to give oneself for one's friends. And when one does this, or is ready to do this, prayer even for "us" seems too selfish—and it is unnecessary, for we then possess all that God Himself can give us. The easy renunciation of self for the Beloved being the very breath of Heaven. Patmore: Life.

8th Thursday after Trinity AN old man said, "One man is thought to be silent, and yet his heart judgeth and condemneth others, and the man who acteth thus speaketh continually; another man speaketh from morning till evening; and yet keepeth silence, that is to say, he speaketh nothing which is not helpful." The Paradise of the Fathers.

WHAT did He, in loving us, love, but God in us? not who was in us, but so that He might be? Wherefore let each of us love the other, as that by this working of love, we make each other the habitations of God. St Augustine, quoted in Aquinas: Catena Aurea.

WE love ourselves, because we are members of Jesus Christ. We love Jesus Christ, because He is the body of which we are members. All is one, one is in the other, like Three Persons. Pascal: Pensées.

Seventh Sunday after Trinity

8th Friday after Trinity

IF you have no will but to all goodness, everything you meet, be it what it will, must be forced to be assistant to you. For the wrath of an enemy, the treachery of a friend, and every other evil, only helps the Spirit of Love to be

TO the Christian love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is really an unChristian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that

nature. But to the Christian love is the works of love. Christ's love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what not, it was the work of love which was his life. Kierkegaard: Journals.

8th Saturday after Trinity WHAT time we call to Jesus in our need bodily or ghostly, though we find it not anon but rather hardness and contrariety we shall not leave therefore to call upon him by good hope. Till through his mercy and grace the unsavoury water and cold of adversity and penance be turned into wine and comfort and ghostly liking. The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, tr. by Nicholas Love. SCARCELY any one is contented with that measure of the spirit which God gives; they are very disconsolate and querulous because they do not find the comfort they desire in spiritual things. St John of the Cross: Dark Night of the Soul. GOD will be all in all; that is, since God is love, love will bring it to pass that what each has will be common to all. That which one loves in another is one's own, though one have it not. There will be no envy at superior grace, because of the unity of love. St Augustine, quoted in Aquinas: Catena Aurea.

Eighth Sunday after Trinity STOP, therefore, all self-activity, listen not to the suggestions of thy own reason, run not on in thy own will, but be retired, silent, passive, and humbly attentive to this new risen light within thee. Open thy heart, thy eyes, and ears to all its impressions. Let it enlighten, teach, frighten, torment, judge, and condemn thee as it pleases, turn not away from it, hear all it says, seek for no relief out of it, consult not with flesh and blood, but with a heart full of faith and resignation to God pray only this prayer, that God's Kingdom may come and His will be done in thy soul. William Law: The Spirit of Prayer.

9th Monday after Trinity I CANNOT pray in the name of Jesus to have my own will; the name of Jesus is not a signature of no importance, but the decisive factor; the fact that the name of Jesus comes at the beginning is not prayer in the name of Jesus; but it means to pray in such a manner that I dare not name Jesus in it, that is to say think of him, think his holy will together with whatever I am praying for . . . So too with prayer in the name of Jesus, Jesus assumes the responsibility and all the consequences, he steps forward for us, steps into the place of the person praying. Kierkegaard: Journals.

9th Tuesday after Trinity IF thou desirest to have this intent lapped and folden in one word, so that thou mayest have better hold thereupon, take thee but a little word of one syllable, for so it is better than of two; for the shorter the word, the better it accordeth with the work of the spirit. And such a word is this word GOD or this word LOVE. Choose whichever thou wilt, or another: whatever word thou likest best of one syllable. And fasten this word to thine heart, so that it may never go thence for anything that befalleth. The Cloud of Unknowing.

PAGE 4 | July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Jim Cooper is Listening to Us and Fighting for Our Future

Vote Early until August 1

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Q&A with Beth Shinn: Local homelessness expert shares causes and solutions in new book BY HANNAH HERNER Beth Shinn could be considered a homelessness expert. She’s been studying homelessness for decades and spent the past 12 years in Nashville as a researcher at Vanderbilt University. She recently co-wrote a book, In the Midst of Plenty: Homelessness and What to Do About It, with Jill Khadduri, researcher and former Department of Housing and Urban Development staff. The book is divided into four sections that each seek to answer a big question about homelessness.

of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in 1996, Shinn says.) For reducing housing costs there are things like [Metro’s Barnes Housing Trust Fund], which are way too small. We could give a preference for public housing for people experiencing homelessness, too.

and trying to take responsibility for our neighbors that are unhoused. They vary in their approaches, but they aren’t always driven by evidence about what works best.

• Who becomes homeless? • Why do people become homeless (and why are people of color overrepresented)? • How do we end homelessness for different groups? • How do we prevent it? Shinn maintains that homelessness is absolutely solvable. She shared her expertise with The Contributor. Your book talks about how there are no people who are too “risky to serve.” Can you expand on that? That has to do with prevention ... People sometimes wonder whether prevention should involve triage — whether there are some people that are going to become homeless no matter what, some that don’t need services, and maybe there’s a sweet spot in the middle. That turns out not to be the case. It turns out that if you give whatever you’ve got … it’ll have the most impact given to the people at highest risk. If you give your services to people at low risk, it will look like [the organizations] do a great job because nobody becomes homeless, but nobody would have become homeless even without those services. So instead of doing triage and trying to find people who are worthy to give your prevention services to, you should try to give your prevention services to the people who are at highest risk. Why are people who are Black so overrepresented amongst people experiencing homelessness? There are four reasons that all have to do with the racism in our society. One is discrimination in employment and hence, income. A second is longstanding historical patterns of discrimination that lead to big disparities in wealth. And the major form of wealth for most people is their housing. If you can’t afford to own your own home and if your friends and relatives don’t have housing that they can help you out with, ongoing and longterm discrimination in wealth leads to more homelessness. A third form of discrimination is in housing itself. [The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development] measures

the extent to which landlords will give the same offers to a similarly situated white perspective renter and Black perspective renter and find ongoing discrimination. African Americans get less access to housing than white americans or they’re expected or pay more or put down a better security deposit. The fourth form of discrimination is racism in the criminal justice system. African Americans are much more likely — at every stage of criminal processing — to be dealt with more severely. They’re much more likely to end up in prison. You have more Black men in prison, and those men aren’t able to support their families and they’re not contributing to their communities while they’re locked up. There is continuing discrimination in the private sector by employers and others. Those four different forms of racism really compound each other to put African Americans at greater risk [of homelessness] than white Americans.

You wrote a paper about homelessness back in 1990. What have we learned about it since then? I think at this point we understand better some of the causes of homelessness — which is essentially the lack of affordable housing — and the solutions. We know, for example, from a recent study that I was involved with, that if you give families who experience homelessness housing vouchers that hold their rental expenses to 30 percent of their income, you’ll not only end homelessness, but you’ll have all these radiating benefits for families. You reduce psychological distress and substance abuse and domestic violence and kids’ behavior problems and kids have better school attendance. You reduce food insecurity, you reduce family separations and foster care placements. So if you give families a platform to security of housing, any other problems they have they can work out by themselves. If you don’t have that housing as a secure platform, nothing else that you’re going to provide in the way of services is going to have much impact. We know what it takes to end homelessness, and it’s really a question of political will to put in the resources to make it happen.

You started studying homelessness in New York City. How does the way they address homelessness there compare to Nashville? I’m not sure I would hold up New York City as a model but New York City has a right to shelter, so that anybody who is homeless is kind of guaranteed shelter. And shelter is seen as a public responsibility, so it’s supported by a tax system. In Tennessee .. our taxes are low and there’s not a lot of public investment in funding either affordable housing or services for people who succumb to homelessness. It’s largely fallen to churches and religious organizations to create shelters and other programs. They’re a little spotty. For example we have a winter sheltering program but not one in the summer. Religious organizations in general are wonderful for having stepped up to the plate

A lot of vendors of The Contributor are single adults. What are the solutions you see for them? You’ve got to make housing affordable. Housing is unaffordable because income can’t pay rent. You have to make housing cheaper, and you have to increase incomes. There are lots of ways to increase income and there are lots of ways to reduce housing costs and we have to do them all. For income, you can raise the minimum wage, you can add to the earned income tax credit, you can bring back general assistance to individuals. If folks are eligible for disability benefits you can increase the payment standards. (Editor’s note: General assistance refers to welfare that is not restricted to people with children or people with disabilities. This was more common in states before the introduction

PAGE 6 | July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

How did you become interested in studying homelessness to begin with? I was a young mom in New York City at the point when homelessness began to spill out of skid rows and into everyone’s consciousness. It happened in New York a little earlier than other places. You have to understand that in the 1950s everyone thought homelessness was coming to an end. Homelessness was a phenomenon of a few older men … The thought was when that generation passed, homelessness was over. Folks weren’t even homeless by HUD’s current standards. They were abysmally housed in cage motels and single room occupancy hotels, flop houses. They weren’t sleeping on the streets even, then. We thought homelessness was at an end. Then as cheap housing disappeared, those SROs got torn down to make way for luxury apartments. As income inequality increased, and incomes at the bottom didn’t keep pace with housing costs, homelessness began to re-emerge and it began to affect a larger group of people. It had been old white men, but it started to be young people and minorities and women and kids. At that point there was a sense of shock and disbelief that’s hard to recapture today. The young people today have never known a time where they haven’t had to pick their way around their fellow citizens on the streets. It was shocking. I wanted to try to do something about it. I know I had a lot of misconceptions about people experiencing homelessness in the past. Were there any standout learning moments for you? One common misconception is that homelessness is a personality trait. I think we understand now that people pass through homelessness. Many people experience homelessness at some point. Most people who are homeless are homeless fairly briefly. That’s important for a lot of reasons. It shows that it’s a bigger problem than you might think. It shows that there are many points of intervention. If homelessness is something that people pass through, then we can try to prevent them from getting there. A lot of people are holding on by their fingernails who are low income. A bad event or a series of events could push them over. Really understanding that homelessness is this dynamic process is important. I don’t think any of us really understood just how dynamic and how many people were affected.

JULY 2017

July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 7


On the afternoon of June 12, a group of young activists occupied the Legislative Plaza at Nashville and renamed it Ida B. Wells Plaza. They peacefully demonstrated over the evening and were ready to spend the night there in front of the Capitol to make their demands heard. Protestors were calling for a meeting with Gov. Bill Lee about demilitarizing and defunding the police and removing symbols of white supremacy.


The People’s Plaza protest, which is ongoing as of press time, also calls for racial justice, ending police brutality and removal of the bust of KKK founder Nathan B. Forrest from inside the Capitol. “When you create a culture of racism and white supremacy, a culture in which people are viewed as different they can then be viewed as inferior, if they are viewed as inferior, they can be viewed as disposable as if their lives don’t matter,” says activist Jay Terry, who has been involved in the protest at the Capitol. “If you live in a state where your government has statues of people who fought and died for the right to own slaves, it makes you think about the worth and value of black people in your own lives.” Protestors also seek to expose the state violence, shake the Capitol and shape public opinion by performing direct actions that often make them engage in acts of civil disobedience as a way of nonviolent but disruptive protest. “We will obey the law, but not their arbitrary rules,” Terry says. Some organizers have been arrested by the Tennessee HIghway Patrol — some members getting arrested up to six times. More than 150 arrests have been made total and protesters complain of false charges, assaults, raids and inhumane treatment in jailing facilities. “When you contribute to a culture that devalues human lives, it’s only a matter of time before they start dying,” says Terry. This movement is led primarily by power ful women and has ex tended now for over a month — a revival of the historic sitins from the ’60s, “this occupation shows that Nashville is still at the center of the civil rights movement,” says activist Jonelle Christopher.

ABOVE: Jonelle Christopher stands in a corner of the plaza. “As a black woman I have no choice but to have the energy to come to continue this fight,” she says. ABOVE RIGHT: On July 4, a man named Charles dances to the rhythm of jazz being played in the street. BELOW RIGHT: Seventeen days into protesting, the governor had not acknowledged the protest. Activists decide to push the boundaries the Troopers have set for them at the Capitol Hill and refuse to leave despite being threatened with arrest. They sit on a sidewalk in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience to bring attention to racial issues and need for police reform. PAGE 8 | July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE


THE TRADITION OF OCCUPYING THE TENNESSEE STATE CAPITOL AND ITS PLAZA AND THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF UNHOUSED CITIZENS Occupying our Statehouse and/or the Legislative Plaza (now being called the Ida B. Wells Plaza), is a time-honored tradition in Tennessee. It is now being carried on by protesters calling for the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust, a meeting with Gov. Bill Lee and the cessation of excessive intimidation and suppression by state law enforcement agencies.


Two major occupations in the past focused on very different issues, but had two aspects in common with the present day occupation: 1. Unhoused people were important and integral participants; 2. The occupations morphed more and more into demands for freedom of assembly and peaceful protest and the right (enshrined in the Tennessee State Constitution) to appeal to for the “redress of grievances.” In 2004 Gov. Phil Bredesen announced his intention of slashing in half the state’s Medicaid program (Tenn Care; once one of the best programs in the country), while forgoing substantial federal funding for it. For months the Tennessee Justice Center, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign and the Nashville Peace and Justice Center held peaceful demonstrations before resorting to a sit-in in the ante-room of the governor’s office. They were pushed out to the hallway outside his office, but began what has been described as the longest indoor occupation of a government office in US history — about 73 days. These organizations were joined by African American religious leaders, disability activists and others from all across the state. After the last occupiers left the StateHouse due to health problems, a 24 hour a day bell ringing was held on Legislative Plaza to mourn the 300,000 casualties expected to result from the cuts. Unhoused people were active participants in the preceding demonstrations, the actual occupation and the bell-ringing. They were hosts and guardians on the Plaza. The campaign in defense of Tenn Care continued in Nashville and across the state, but was eventually defeated in the legislature. Health care advocates went on to promote the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Expansion and Medicare for All. In October 2011 “Occupy Wall Street,” protesting the ongoing suffering of 99% of Americans while the Recession further enriched the financiers of Wall Street, was garnering attention from the national news media because of the brutality of the New York police. Young people returning from encampments in both Washington DC and New York helped launch “Occupy Nashville,” but as time went on, unhoused people formed a larger and larger proportion of occupants and leaders on the Plaza. The last residents of Occupy Nashville, two unhoused men, were evicted from the Plaza on March 12, 2012, but gatherings continued for months. Many of the activists continued to work on housing and other economic justice issues. Nationwide, the Occupy movement is credited with breaking the taboo on criticizing Wall Street Capitalism, and enabling politicians like Bernie Sanders to call for Democratic Socialism. In Nashville, unhoused people and people of color bore the brunt of the government’s wrath with arrests and harassment during and after the occupation and with the law passed (but now sunsetted) making camping anywhere on state property a crime punishable by a $2,500 fine or a year in jail. Given their sacrifices during that time, it is inspiring to see some of the unhoused veterans of Occupy Nashville being once again active participants in the current occupation of “Ida B. Wells Plaza.”

July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 9

MOVING PICTURES away, to Vegas.” The strains of Buck Owens’ “Big in Vegas” opens the film, accompanying an image of a homeless man named Michael crossing the street to the Roaring 20s. He rests his head on the bar while the bartender pours his breakfast. “The best part of waking up is bourbon in your cup,” chimes the barkeep who asks Michael “Did you sleep last night?” before the scene cuts to Michael shaving in the bar’s bathroom. He stashes a bag of belongings and a small stack of library books in a quiet corner of the bar. The Ross brothers use chapter titles to organize vignettes of characters interacting: “We hold these truths to be self evident,” “It was fun while it lasted,” “As the sun went down and the music did” play” etc. The directors mix their closeups with the bar’s CCTV footage as well as impressionistic exterior drive-by sequences which transform Vegas’ nocturnal cityscape into a colorful wash of storefronts, streetlights, and illuminated signage. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is about a bar, and alcohol culture, but it’s mostly about people at the margins of society who escape the realities of the outside world in the air conditioned darkness of a lounge, in a jukebox song, in a lively conversation, and at the bottom of a glass. The denizens of the Roaring 20s include senior citizens, single mothers, singing bartenders, a black drag queen, military veterans, laborers and artists, loving lushes and mean drunks. “When nobody else don’t want your ass you can come here,” remarks one customer who also confides to losing many friends in an unspecified war, and tears up at the indifference veterans face at home. But when the plinkety-plink strains of a music box version of “America the Beautiful” wind down at the end of the film the Ross Brothers leave their audience and their cast of castaways with the question, “Where to now?”


The Ross Brothers’ Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets pictures the patrons of a Las Vegas cocktail lounge on the last night before the dive closes for good. Co-directors Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross acted as camera operators from the bar’s 11 a.m. opening to its last last call in the wee hours, capturing all the laughter, dancing, arguing, falling, slurring, crying, hope and sadness in-between. But that’s not the whole story. The Roaring 20s bar is actually located in the Terrytown suburban neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. A quick online search for the spot turns-up four star Yelp ratings, a working phone number and a bright green “Open” status in its Google business listing. The Ross Brothers invited a number of barflies they’d met around New Orleans to appear in their film the day after Donald Trump was elected in 2016. The cast of non-actors was simply told to come to the Roaring 20s to celebrate the very last night at their favorite watering hole. The directors and their cast spend nearly the entire film in the bar with exteriors exteriors in Las Vegas to round-out the fiction. The filmmakers actually hadn’t thought of their movie as a documentary until they were approached about screening in the non-fiction category by programmers at this year’s Sun-

dance Festival. And even though the bar-closing narrative is a filmic fib, the Ross Brothers capture real people, portraying themselves in real time, and the real-life humanity they put on screen eclipses the pieced-together particulars of their premise. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets recalls experimental documentaries like Casting

JonBenet, Framing John Delorean, and even The Beaver Trilogy in its blending of fact and fiction. Purists attack films like these, but these projects’ irreverent and inventive takes on truelife filmmaking are some of the most fascinating cinema being put on screens right now. “When I was young I left my home and went

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Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets opens for streaming at Belcourt Virtual Cinema on Friday, July 24. Purchase your 48 hour rental at https://www.

Joe Nolan is a critic, columnist and performing singer/ songwriter based in East Nashville. Find out more about his projects at



I should really mow the lawn, but the mower is still out of gas. And really, it’s too hot to walk to the gas station, but then it’s also too close to drive. I could wait til the sun goes down, but nobody likes a night-mower. Plus, if I go out, they’ll want me to wear pants and it’s way too hot for all that. Maybe you need an excuse to take it easy today, Leo. I’ve got plenty to share. But if you feel like you need to take some time and sit and breathe, just go for it.


Close your eyes and pretend 100 years have passed. Nobody then will be listening to your favorite band. Nobody will have seen your favorite TV show. And, most likely, nobody will be thinking about you (or me, for that matter). In just 100 brief years, all the things that seem the most important today, will be replaced by something of new importance which will then be replaced again. So what is it today, Virgo, that’s got you so worried? And what can you do to change it?


Cats get hairballs. I’m letting you know, Libra, because I feel like that’s not something they talk about when they give you a cat. They talk about purring and food and claws and litter boxes but they don’t mention that you’re likely to step on a wet hairball as you’re trying to get ready to head out the door in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% pro-cat. I just think a fully-informed Libra is likely to make better decisions this week. So this is me doing my part.


Let’s see, I think that helpful little rhyme goes “30 days hath September, April, June, and November. July has at least 39, and then August has something like four dozen. All the rest are unknown quantities at this point. Who’s asking?” It’s not just you, Scorpio. Time definitely feels a little off lately. It’s a great chance for you to practice being in the moment. Whether it’s Aug. 3rd or Sept. 62nd, you’ll at least know who you are and what you’re doing.


On Oct. 22, 1844 the followers of William Miller sold their possessions and sat on their roofs to wait for the end of the world. Miller had decoded the ancient prophecies and had determined that their saviour would descend from the sky on that very day. It later became known as “The Great Disappointment.” You might relate, Sagittarius. The world still hasn’t ended and, as it turns out, you have to keep going. Disappointing, to be sure, but see if you can’t find something to be grateful for in all that.


There are two rabbits in my backyard. They’re just out there stretching and scratching and sniffing around. You know, just rabbity stuff. But I need to let the dog out and I don’t want any trouble, so I have to pound on the door as loud as I can before I open it. Sure, they’ll be terrified. They’ll jump up and hop away, hearts pounding. But it’s the only way to keep them safe, Capricorn. Sometimes fear keeps you safe. Take the warning, Capricorn. But get back to rabbiting as soon as you can.


There’s a lot of reasons not to like the heat, Aquarius. First, there’s the sweating. I get tired of the sweating. I mean I can do it for a little while, I just don’t like it when my clothes become noticeably wet. I mean, I guess it is kind of a miracle that our bodies have ways of keeping us cool, even if they are kind of gross. Sometimes things are working for our good even though we don’t like them.


It’s lonely times out there, Aries. Remember when we used to get together every afternoon and have long, meaningful, face-to-face conversations that would end with crying and laughing and then having dinner and then staying up late talking about our fears and dreams? Yeah, I guess I never really did that very much either. But why didn’t we? Next chance we get, Aries. We’ll for sure do it the next chance we get.


When the ancient Greeks talked about “The Seven Seas,” they meant the Aegean, Adriatic, Mediterranean, Black, Red, and Caspian seas, plus the Persian Gulf. On a globe, it’s just a little circle around the edges of Europe and Asia. But that was a way to talk about the whole world. The world keeps getting bigger, Taurus. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, somebody adds another sea. All I can tell you is, keep on sailing. We’re not any where near the end.


12 is not super old for a cat. Sure, he might need a little extra attention and a specialized diet, but you wouldn’t say the cat is “old.” However, Gemini, I do think 12 years is getting kind of old for a perspective. There are some things that you’ve been looking at the same way for a little too long. Your perspective is just not keeping up any more. It hasn’t been working well lately. That perspective has served you well, but I think it’s time for something with a little more bite.


Doesn’t that cloud kind of look like a bear? Or maybe more like a ferret? Wait, Pisces, it shifted a little. Now it just looks like a duck wearing a fedora. I’m sure this time. I’ve really got a grip on it now. No...wait. It’s a cloud that looks exactly like my father coming home from work holding a briefcase and an umbrella. You see it, right? Sometimes the way we see things shifts, Pisces. Be willing to admit it if you just can’t see the ferret anymore.


They say that if you love somebody, set them free. I’m a little unclear on what the arrangement was at the beginning. I mean, Cancer, you really should make sure that the people you are in relationship with feel “free” already. And if you love somebody, and they already feel free, I’d say you’re doing pretty good.

Mr. Mysterio is not a licensed astrologer, an authorized resale agent, or a verified account. Mr. Mysterio is, however, a budding intermediate podcaster! Check out The Mr. Mysterio Podcast. Season 2 is now playing at Got a question, just give Mr. M a call at 707-VHS-TAN1

NOVEMBER 2013 July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 11



Why Johnny  STILL  can't read? 3 out of 4 children in Tennessee cannot read at grade level. Find out why at  N2Reading. com 

I spent a lot of time in June thinking about my dad — not just because Father’s Day was approaching, but also because my dad would have been 74 this year. ***

You lived a short, meaningful life of 37 years, and now you’ve been gone for just as many. It’s funny how the simplest things are what stand out the most in my mind. Like how you used Brylcreem to slick your hair back, or how you’d do exercises in the mornings especially all kinds of push-ups with me on your back or watching nearby. You even taught me how to do a “real push-up” not one of those “girly” ones. I remember how I used to play office with your fancy IBM electric typewriter. That is until I accidentally left it on all night and playtime was over. Thankfully, you didn’t hold it against me. Instead, you bought me one of my very own! It was a manual Royal typewriter with a hard shell case. It wasn’t as nice as yours, but it did the trick. I pounded those keys for years until I got my own electric typewriter. I also remember how you’d hold my hand when I was little to make sure I didn’t fall. Steps have always been SO tricky for me. You were always up for a good game of pool — a skill I never mastered — even though Pop ran the local pool room. But it was fun watching you play with your twopiece pool cue. You always enjoyed fishing. My first fishing pole was a homemade cane pole with a reel attached for a left-handed person.I

or check out  N2Reading  on Facebook.

remember how we dug up our own bait — weather permitting — and you seemed pleased that I could handle the worms (the bigger the better) without squealing like a girl! In an effort to impress you, I remember learning to call an NFL game like a pro. One problem: You were more into college ball than pro, which is, well, different. This led to a compromise and you tolerated the UT Vols and I learned to appreciate Alabama: Roll Tide! (I figured I could get away with it because I had relatives in both states.) As for pro ball, you were never a fan of my Pittsburgh Steelers but we could always agree on the Chicago Bears and Walter Peyton. (My dad lived in Illinois.) Sadly, you weren’t here to see them win Super Bowl XX. Don’t worry, I cheered enough for both of us. They even had a song and dance routine called, “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” It was one-of-a-kind like them. I remember you attempting to teach me how to drive your shiny red truck, that is until I nearly drove the truck into the pond at Pop and Grandma’s house. Driving lessons were abruptly canceled! (To this day, the only driving I do is driving people crazy, and I hear I’m really good at that!) Whenever you came for a visit you’d always take me shopping! I remember one time I wanted this stuffed animal, a dog, and you didn’t want to get it, but I pouted until I got my way. I named it after you: Georgette. (My dad’s name was George.) You were not amused. There was also the pottery wheel you gave me that made such a mess, but boy, was it fun!

And the Lite-Brite you bought me that served as my night light until it stopped working. I also loved the Easy-Bake Oven you bought me, that is until I baked you a cake and you didn’t show up to eat it. The fascination ended as quickly as it began after that. I guess that was your way of making up for not being there (and maybe a way to push mom’s buttons), but all that “stuff” was a poor substitute for a dad. If you only knew I would’ve preferred your actual presence more than all those presents. I’m grateful for ALL my memories of you, they’re all that I have left, but it makes me sad when I think of all the things you’ve missed over the years like getting to know my kids and grandkids. Sometimes I see glimpses of you in them and it makes me smile. The son you wanted so badly, you finally had him, but you didn’t live long enough to enjoy him or have an impact on his life and see what he became. He has absolutely no memory of you — how sad. I guess that makes me the “lucky one” by comparison. What I wouldn’t give to have you here. Sometimes I close my eyes and I can see your face as plain as day. Especially your blue eyes. Other times I struggle to remember what your voice sounded like. Sometimes I try to imagine what you would’ve been like as you got older, what pearls of wisdom you’d have shared with me as I got older. I guess I’ll never know. One thing is certain, you’re always in my heart, and you’re often on my mind even after all this time I love you and miss you and I suppose I always will.

#IRingtheBell JEN A., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR It is said that when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, granting women the right to vote, bells rang out in celebration across the land — except in Nashville. At the time, it was necessary that 36 states approve ratification to codify the amendment. Tennessee was that 36th state. The legislature narrowly voted to approve ratification on Aug. 19, 1920. However, when the legislators sobered up and realized, with horror, what they had done, the House reassembled on Aug. 31st and voted against ratification 47-24. Fortunately for the women of the United States, that vote came too late. The 19th Amendment was proclaimed in effect by the federal government on Aug. 26, 1920.

Since that day in August 100 years ago, the perennially male-dominated Tennessee legislature has done all it can to make Tennessee women pay for that perceived insult to their legislative manhood. The Nashville Public Library has assembled ephemera and other documentation from that time and designed an online exhibition, Votes for Women - Legacy of the 19th Amendment, to commemorate Tennessee’s historic role in the march toward social equality for women. To reclaim the sound of celebratory bells that the women of Nashville missed out on in 1920, NPL is asking that we all join them to ring a bell and highlight a women’s cause you feel needs attention in 2020. Take a cellphone video ringing a bell,

PAGE 12 | July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

say who you are, and tell us about your cause. Post it on social media and make sure to tag NPL #IRingTheBell . I will ring a bell every day in August for the women in Tennessee jails and prisons who are forced to give birth, to give life, in handcuffs and with their ankles shackled and hobbled with chains. It is one of the most cruel, inhumane practices Tennessee perpetrates against women. The male-dominated 111th Tennessee legislature TWICE voted to continue the barbaric practice. There need to be more women in the Tennessee legislature. After you ring your bell, don’t forget to use the power of the 19th Amendment and VOTE! We have the power. It’s time the women of Tennessee used it!


You can’t (silence) the truth B Y T Y R O N E M . “ B R I G H T S TA R ”, C O N T R I B U T O R V E N D O R Just let me start off by saying Donald (fake ass president) Trump wants to be like Adolf Hitler. Worship, division, hatred, bigotry and domination. He wants absolute power over everyone that don’t agree with him. His devout racism is quickly spreading throughout this racist land. Speaking of police brutality, there has been a huge infiltration of racist groups in our law enforcement all over this nation. To name a few: the KKK, the neo-nazis, skinheads and other groups. Too many to mention. Their infiltration has caused these institutions of law enforcement to be rotten from the ground up. Don’t be deceived, there’s good police personnel, too, but the rotten ass ones make the other ones look bad. These rotten ones know it’s hard to get a conviction in racist America, because prosecutors and police unions are always on their sides. This white supremacy thang is preached to the weak ass minded folks. Donald (fake ass president) Trump wants to be like Adolf Hitler. He reminds me of Jones and what he did in Jonestown. He got everyone to follow him and then destruction came! He now is trying to get rid of the insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. Racism has been woven into the racist fabric of this nation for hundreds of years, way before Donald got in

power. This nation needs a spiritual cleansing from all the evil in it. This (occupant) of the White House has led this nation to a racist pivot point which will have years before a full recovery. Now let me call out the brainless followers. The main one of the occupant first, (fixer) William Barr, who does everything Trump tells him — brainless. Secondly, VP Mike Pence who can’t say Black Lives Matter. The reporter asked him to say it three times and he couldn’t say it. Maybe Mikey because you don’t believe Black Lives Matter. It’s not a slogan, Mikey, it’s a movement! And come November, Mikey, it’s going to get you and Donald (fake ass president) out of the White House. Please don’t get lost in Trump’s racism. He don’t believe nothing his intelligence agents tells him. And last but not least, haven’t forgot you Mitch. Ole Mitch McConnell a racist as conservative for years. Every time Trump utters some racist trash you weigh in on it! You, VP Mikey and Fixer Barr need to get your racist head out of Donald Trump’s ass. He’s out of touch He’s out of his mind He’s out of time Let’s all get rid of the occupant of the White House!

Abuse set me on the wrong road WILLIAM B., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR My name is William and I have a little bit of a story to tell you. Things started going bad for me as far as I can remember when I was three years old. That’s when I was sexually abused. I’m not going to say who it was, they’re dead now anyway. It was a couple of them and that went on for quite a few years and with other people, but these two were the ones that started it. I was just three years old. As the years went by I was running around with what they call the Yellow Haired Gang here in Nashville. They used me as a sidekick, going to get coffee, going to get cold drinks, whatever. Back then a kid could go wherever they wanted to. Mother and daddy just really didn’t care. I was uptown all hours of the night, and I was what you call a night owl. I would sleep during the day and stay out all night long. When I wasn’t out doing something I was a couch potato, watching TV. I was very much into a lot of TV shows. It Takes a Thief, Bill McCoy, stuff like that. Shows some of you have probably never even heard of. My crime life started at a very young age and I’m not proud of it. But there’s nothing I can do but tell you the things that happened, and why I done them I don’t know. All I know is my crime life started at the age of five years old. Why? I think it had a lot to do with the people I was associated with, the Yellow Haired Gang, my cousins, my brothers and their friends. I was like one of the gang members even though I wasn’t initiated, I didn’t want to be. At that time I didn’t even know what a gang was. I’ve had a lot of post-traumatic stress in my life. I got hit by three automobiles in one year. I got shot once in the leg. I got stabbed accidentally. A friend was horseplaying and he stuck me in the leg. One of the post-traumatic stress things that happened is when my older brother got murdered in 1955. That laid a heavy hurt on my heart. It took a year before it actually hit me that my brother was gone and dead. And when it did, it caused me a lot of problems. I had to be locked up because I tried to kill myself when I was seven years old. I went to two different places. First they sent me to a place called Central State Hospital for observation for three and a half months. Then I was sent to Cloverbottom for three and a half months. But three and a half months didn’t exist. I was there for TEN YEARS. That

took a big bite out of my life. But in a way, some of it was good because that’s when I learned to play spoons, when I was eight years old. The very first night I got there, I wet the bed. This lady stripped all my clothes off, laid me on the bed, tied the sheet around my waist, tied my hands and feet to the railings of the bed, and beat me with a big wide leather belt. I will never ever ever forget that. My mother came that weekend to see me and she seen all them welts on me and she went to the superintendent and told him about it and I don’t know what happened but she ended up breaking a pocketbook over his head. She got suspended from coming to see me for a while until she got the police to come out there with her. I would have never gotten out of that place if I hadn’t escaped. I got what you’d call a medical dishonorable discharge, against medical advice. I had stayed gone two weeks and they felt like if I could stay out of trouble for that two weeks I’d be alright. I could not stay out of trouble. I don’t know what was wrong in my life, but I just went down the wrong road when I was real young and it took a long time to find the road to straighten me out. It took four trips to the penitentiary for me to finally find my lesson that crime don’t pay and life is not a bowl of cherries. If you want something you gotta work for it in some way form or fashion. You can’t go out and take it from other people. What it boils down to is my life is pretty good since this last time I got out of prison. I was brought here by the prison to Room In The Inn. I’ve been here going on eight years. There’s a lot of people here I really love. Father Strobel, Rachel, Paul, a lot of others. But there’s some that I don’t care for at all because they don’t care for me and they’ve made that plain to me. That’s their problem, not mine. I don’t have to worry about people hating me. I hate myself sometimes, so them hating me don’t bother me one bit. I’d like to thank you for listening and hope you don’t feel mad at me for some of the things that I’ve done in life. I’ve had a very hard time learning how to cope with life because I’d been sexually abused, physically abused and mentally abused. I don’t want nobody feeling sorry for me. Just please watch your kids. Have a blessed life.

THEME: DR . SEUSS ACROSS 1. On a cruise, 2 words 6. Horse poker 9. Deadly slitherers 13. Way to curl hair 14. *Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another ____.” 15. Islam’s Supreme Being 16. Subway coin 17. Salve for Tin Woodman 18. Grim Reaper 19. *”A ____’s s Fine-Something-That-All-PeopleNeed.” 21. *”Christmas Day will always be, Just as long as we ____ ____.” 23. Structure named for 31st President 24. Indoor allergy trigger 25. Ship pronoun 28. H. H. Munro’s pen name 30. Something or anything 35. Madam, to a cowboy 37. Dr. Jones, to his friends 39. Best not mentioned 40. Not in favor of 41. Myths and legends, e.g. 43. Maître d’s list 44. France’s longest river

July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 13

46. *”I Can Read ____ My Eyes Shut!” 47. Use a beeper 48. In direct line of descent 50. Italian car maker 52. Equinox mo. 53. Coral barrier 55. Not a friend 57. *”From there to here, From here to there, Funny ____ are everywhere.” 60. *”Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. ____ ____.” 63. Canine foe 64. However, poetically 66. Full 68. Up and about 69. Porridge grain 70. Say something 71. Start of a conclusion 72. Parental involvement org. 73. Popular garden flower

3. Punjabi believer 4. Correct 5. Pause in breathing, pl. 6. *”If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is ____.” 7. “Wheel of Fortune” request, 2 words 8. Indian metropolis 9. Sheltered, nautically 10. BBQ side 11. Toupee spot 12. “Zip it!” 15. Countdown to Christmas 20. Inbox item 22. Chowed down 24. Middle of a torso 25. *”A person’s a person, no matter how ____.” 26. Capital of Vietnam 27. Dine at home 29. *”You’re on your own. And you know what you ____.” 31. Pipe smoker’s tool DOWN 32. Letter-shaped girder 1. *”Step with care and 33. Polynesian kingdom great tact. And remember 34. *”Today you are you, that life’s A Great Balancing that is truer than true. ____.” There is no one alive who is 2. Turkey dance ____ than you.” 36. Bog down 38. Sasquatch’s Himalayan cousin 42. Elevator passage 45. Breadwinner 49. Race part 51. 50-50 54. Bar by estoppel 56. Related on mother’s side 57. Baloney 58. Rwanda’s majority 59. a.k.a. The Islamic State 60. Itty-bitty bit 61. ___ von Bismarck 62. Not quite an adult 63. Latissimus dorsi, for short 65. *”It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a ____.” 67. Wine quality

LA NOTICIA “The Contributor” está trabajando con uno de los principales periódicos en español La Noticia para llevar contenido a más lectores en Middle Tennessee. Nuestros vendedores de periódicos han pedido durante mucho tiempo que nuestra publicación incluya contenido que apele al interés de residentes de habla hispana en nuestra comunidad.

“The Contributor” is working with one of the leading Spanish-language newspapers La Noticia to bring content to more readers in Middle Tennessee. Our newspaper vendors have long requested that our publication include content that appeals to the interest of Spanish-speaking residents in our community.

PAGE 14 | July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Covid Cascading Crisis Covid - Heat - A Hurting City - Time - Despair

The Salvation Army invites you to join our Army as we fight for, and alongside, our neighbors living outside during these difficult days. There are meals to serve, cold water to pass out, and connections to be made. Be a missionary in Nashville. Sign up at

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine... For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...

July 22 - August 5, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 15

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