tales from the little pink house
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
A little bit country, a lot more rock'n'roll
Nashville is kicking off its cowboy boots. Its bars, gig venues and restaurants are as hip as the city's band of the moment, Kings of Leon. Wyndham Wallace explores the Bible belt's shiny buckle
The Guardian, Saturday 28 February 2009
Nashville home boy, Caleb Folliwell of the Kings of Leon. Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty Images
Under a brutally bright sun, Nashville's alternative music community is sipping cocktails on the roof of the Icon Building in The Gulch, a former warehouse district increasingly populated by sleek high-rises and buzzing restaurants. Pant-suited Americana singers, drainpipe-jeaned punks and flannel-shirted indie rockers are gathered to celebrate the Next Big Nashville, an annual event designed to highlight the wealth and variety of bands in a place that, despite being labelled Music City USA, is renowned for country music and little else.
To outsiders their presence is probably unexpected. Nashville is best known for squeaky-clean residents like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Miley Cyrus (daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana) and honky-tonk bars and barbecue shacks. But the city, like its skyline, is changing. It is attracting celebrities from beyond its former cultural reach, with the White Stripes' Jack White moving here, cult director Harmony Korine returning to his former hometown, Nicole Kidman settling down with husband Keith Urban and Robert Plant recording the Grammy Award-winning album Raising Sand with bluegrass artist Alison Krauss. Formerly down-at-heel neighbourhoods are being revitalised, new restaurants and bars open weekly, and the city's country music heritage is finally competing for attention with the likes of pop rockers Paramore and 2009 Brit and NME award-winners Kings of Leon.
This burgeoning scene may be cool but the city's unpretentious lifestyle and warm southern welcome mean it is also very accessible, making Nashville one of America's most attractive destinations for those seeking an alternative to the homogenous mall culture of most of its big cities.
While honky-tonk bars remain popular down on Broadway, and Music Row continues to shelter an industry largely focused on country and Christian acts, elsewhere a vibrant alternative scene is emerging. Next Big Nashville's annual festivities (nextbignashville.net) provide an opportunity to catch many local favourites, from the pop-punk of the Privates to the Dynamites' retro-soul, while clubs such as The End (2219 Elliston Place) - a run-down, dark and beery space with a fondness for punk rock - and The Exit/In (2208 Elliston Place, exitin.com), the larger and smarter venue, showcase native and out-of-town talent year long. If it's established acts you're searching for, the Ryman Auditorium (116 Fifth Avenue North, ryman.com) is the place to go. To catch emerging talent, keep an eye out for MySpace bulletins and leaflets in local record stores. These leak information about the city's booming house party scene, centred around local label Infinity Cat's leading acts Jeff and MeeMaw, with the latter regularly hosting chaotic shows in the basement of their home.
Best music shop in town
Grimey's New & Preloved Music Store, with co-owner Mike Grimes second from left, Nashville
London has the Rough Trade Shop, New York has Other Music, but Nashville presents stiff competition with one of the world's best independent record shops, Grimey's (1604 8th Avenue South, grimeys.com). Co-owner Mike Grimes established his hipster credentials with the Slow Bar in the then no-go area of East Nashville in the 90s, but when the previous site of his record shop proved too small, and rising rents - arguably, initiated by the success of his enterprises - forced him out, he upped sticks and opened a shop just south of downtown, where he also started booking shows in The Basement below. His determination to offer alternatives to mainstream country ensures the store, staffed mainly by local musicians, offers an enviable selection of underground sounds alongside a sizeable assortment of "pre-loved" CDs and LPs. The staff will also recommend and provide tickets for the best shows downstairs. Such is the reputation of both the store and the club beneath that, after signing records upstairs, Metallica performed an intimate show in June last year for just 150 fans.
The Family Wash (2038 Greenwood Avenue, familywash.com), an intimate bar, restaurant and venue in East Nashville, was built using material from a launderette that formerly occupied the land. The speciality, shepherd's pie, is eaten at small tables clustered in front of a tiny stage that showcases local musical talent. The Red Door Saloon (1816 Division Street, thereddoorsaloon.com) is a more rowdy affair with a traditional roadhouse bar vibe, favoured during the week by studio workers from nearby Music Row checking out the sports results on TVs over the bar and at the weekend by younger city residents letting their hair down. But the Springwater Supper Club (115 27th Avenue North, springwatersupperclub.com), a former speakeasy frequented through the years by Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and these days by the many members of local musical heroes Lambchop, remains the most popular indie-rock hangout. Harmony Korine even chose its dive bar surroundings as the location for the recent Budweiser adverts featuring eccentric regular Dave Cloud.
Despite its retro leanings, Nashville is not afraid of the modern. In the once sleepy neighbourhoods of East Nashville, a burgeoning drinking and dining scene has sprung up, centred around the Five Points crossroads where Jack White's favourite restaurant, Marché Artisan Foods (1000 Main Street, marcheartisanfoods.com), stands across a car park from Gillian Welch's Woodland Recording Studios. Also offering specialist grocery and delicatessen items, Marché concentrates on freshly prepared Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served in a light and airy dining area. Welch has herself been lured out of recording sessions by nearby Rumours East's (1112 Woodland St, rumourswinebar.com/east) impressive wine list, beautifully presented food (including plenty of fish) and spacious patio. Those looking for something a little less pricey, however, can take advantage of the city's multicultural riches. A third of Nashville's citizens are non-white, including America's largest Kurdish population, which means there's a wide choice of international cuisine, with increasingly popular Ethiopian establishments alongside plenty of Japanese and Italian. Mexican food is hardest to beat - La Hacienda (2615 Nolensville Road, lahaciendainc.com) was first and remains justifiably packed - but City House's (1222 4th Avenue North, cityhousenashville.com) contemporary Italian also attracts high praise, with Robert Plant among its regulars.
A thriving independent cafe culture means you're never far from a good coffee. Especially favoured is Nashville's original coffeehouse Bongo Java (2007 Belmont Blvd, bongojava.com), winner of local paper Nashville Scene's Best Coffeehouse Award from 1994-2007 (it dropped to second place in 2008 behind its sister cafe Fido) and creator of the internationally famous Nunbun, a cinnamon bun that looks like Mother Theresa. They also roast their own coffee. Newly opened Crema (15 Hermitage Avenue, crema-coffee.com) is arguably the most adventurous establishment, offering concoctions such as Café Tom Kai (a blend of coconut milk, Kaffir lime syrup and espresso), but Portland Brew's (2605 12th Avenue South, portlandbrewcoffee.com) deliberately sparse and indie-rocker-friendly premises is the place to rub shoulders with the likes of Jack White's Raconteurs.
Mainstream Nashville fashion may have changed little since Dolly Parton worked 9 to 5, but a number of local boutiques have set out to combine retro themes with a contemporary twist. 12th Avenue South houses a variety, from the mildly hippy Serendipity (2301 12th Avenue South, serendipity12th.com) to Local Honey's (1207 Linden Avenue, localhoneynashville.blogspot.com) vintage threads. But Two Elle (2309 12th Avenue South, twoelle.com), a cosy store established in a grey clapboard house set back from the street, is the most cutting edge, stocking affordable designer clothes sourced from across the US alongside vintage sunglasses, jewellery and chocolate. It specialises in the informal but chic look favoured by those too hip for Urban Outfitters, and its liberal credentials were confirmed by a 10% discount for anyone registering to vote in last year's presidential election while at the store.
The community spirit isn't restricted to music: on the first Saturday evening of every month, galleries in the 105-year-old Arcade (224 5th Avenue North) - a short line dance from Broadway's honky-tonk and bluegrass bars - open their doors for the free Art Crawl. Around 1,000 people visit the Twist Art Gallery (twistartgallery.com) and The Showroom for a mix of contemporary installations, painting, sculpture and photography. Crowds spill across Fifth Avenue to visit The Arts Company (215 5th Avenue North, theartscompany.com), one of the downtown district's most enduring visual art spaces, along with newcomers like the Rymer Gallery (233 5th Avenue North, therymergallery.com) and Tinney Contemporary (237 5th Avenue North, tinneycontemporary.com). The Frist Center For The Visual Arts (919 Broadway, fristcenter.org) provides a more mainstream approach while presenting some of the city's most ambitious visual art programming. Recent exhibitions have featured everything from Rodin to the modern artists of the Société Anonyme and the stunning large-format photography of contemporary Australian artist Rosemary Laing.
• Flights to Nashville from Heathrow start at £373 inc taxes through Trailfinders (0845 050 5892, trailfinders.com). Doubles at Hotel Indigo (001 615 329 4200, ichotelsgroup.com) from around $99 per night plus tax. The Next Big Nashville (nextbignashville.net) is on 7-11 October.
· This article was amended on Monday March 2 2009. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Grammy Award-winning album was called Raising Sand, not Please Read the Letter. This has been corrected.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
a long ago birthday shout out
October 20th ...Happy Birthday to the Belmont Mansion Twin's Laura and Corinne Acklen...
according to the family bible.....born in the city of Nashville..Laura at 2:30 am and Corinne at 3 am . Corinne was born as the Scots say to see sights or with the second vision as she was born with a caul..this is part of the bag of waters membrane babies are born with that sometimes , if intact can look like a veil ...i'm told.. ...
folks use to be quite superstitious about them and sailors bought them from new mothers for luck at sea. there is a statue at Belmont Mansion called the sleeping children by William Reinhart in their memory . it was purchased in Rome Italy on the family's Grand Tour... also there are several paintings of them that were done during their short life time and at least one after.. the whereabouts of these paintings are unfortunatly unknown. we can hope someday they will be discovered and maybe even returned to the Mansion .
one we know somethings about is this..................
The Nashville Daily Gazette publishes a story about the painter Robert Gschwindt who has opened a studio on an upper floor of Mr. E. Morton music store at 33 or 35 Union Street. There are two paintings in the window and in the studio is the painting of ''The Twins Ascending into Heaven". on september 9th the Nashville Union and American describes the same painting still in his studio: " it is a family tableau, representing the four children and nurse of the gentleman above mentioned [Col. Acklen] preparing for the celebration of their mother's birthday. it was as a memorial of two of the children (twins) whose death occurred previously, that the picture was originated.
In the foreground the nurse is seated with one of the twins in her lap twinning a wreath for its head, while the other stands besides reaching a rose she has gathered for her sister's crown; an elder sister (Emma Franklin) brings a basket laden with floral treasures and a brother ( Joseph Hayes Acklen) on the opposite side is half hidden by the foliage, from which he is culling the choicest specimens, as incidents, a pet kitten is seen playing with a ball, at the feet of the nurse, while a dog, a jealous little favorite, watches its movements with suspicion.
the artist was forced to exercise his imagination in conveying the fact of the children's death, and he has done it, thus poetically and delicately; they are first portrayed in life as described, then, in the clouds above we see the same images repeated but spiritualized, and accompanied by their guardian angels, their coming with smiles welcome.
[this painting hung in the central parlor or maybe the library at Belmont Mansion. Gschwindt had a studio in New Orleans and was in Nashville for at least two summers (1855 & 57) painting. he was born in Hungary. he studied at the Academy of Arts in Vienna, The Academy of Rome and with Thomas Couture in Paris. he first is listed in New Orleans in December of 1854. he spends the civil war years in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Paris where he paints portraits of the Russian Court. he returns to New Orleans by November 1866 and leaves for the last time in 1867, he returns to Europe where he later exhibits genre paintings in the Paris salons]
The Twins lived two and a half years dying of Scarlett Fever in 1855....
they were also baptised at the downtown presbyterian church with waters brought to their family from the river jordan. the girls older brother was the first child baptised in the new building .. built in 1851
October 21, 2009
Nashville Arcade keeps post office
Decision cheers artists, vendors
By Lea Ann Overstreet Allen
When Beth Gilmore, curator of Twist Art Gallery in the Arcade, the historic covered mall stretching between Fourth and Fifth avenues, heard the U.S. Postal Service was considering closing its branch inside the Arcade, she feared the impact on the growing art scene in downtown Nashville.
"It's part of the fabric of downtown, and I think it will hurt us all if it's gone," she said.
She no longer has to worry. The U.S. Postal Service recently released an updated list of possible post office closures across the country, and the Arcade location was not among the 371 sites, trimmed from 416.
"If it is not on the list, that means it is no longer being considered for possible closure," said Sue Brennan with the U.S. Postal Service.
For Gilmore, who is among the many art gallery owners who call the Arcade home, the post office remaining open helps revitalize downtown Nashville, "which I think people in the arts are interested in," she said.
The U.S. Postal Service has been battling ever-growing decreases in mail volume, which has led to cost-cutting measures like closing offices across the country, 16 possibly in Tennessee.
"I suspect that we were very successful in our campaign," said Kathy Bloodworth, owner of the Peanut Shop, a 21-year member of the Arcade. Bloodworth had asked patrons to fill out cards to vote to save the post office.
The post office hit the spotlight when Historic Nashville, Inc., a local nonprofit that works to promote public awareness of historic sites, included the office in its "Nashville Nine" list, a group of endangered historic properties in Davidson County.
David Price, board president and Nashville Nine committee chairman, called it "fantastic news" that the site would not close.
Janice Thompson, president and CEO of The Arcade Inc., was confident the Arcade would have survived without the post office, but is thrilled to know it is sticking around.
"The post office is an institution, just as the Arcade is an institution. It brings a lot of traffic to the Arcade. People come here who really don't have access to another post office, all kinds of people," Thompson said.
Still facing possible closure are three Nashville area sites: Donelson, Glenview, Northeast.
No timeline has been set for a final decision on the closings.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Found Art Class with Artist Julie Lee@ Twist Art Gallery
Found Art Class with Artist Julie Lee@ Twist
Found Art Class with Julie Lee on Mondays: Nov. 9, Nov. 16, Nov. 30 and Dec. 7
Create your own works of Found Art just in time for the holidays. Found
Art brings together overlooked, forgotten or broken things – usually bits
of wood, metal, fabric or paper - to create something of beauty and
Monday Nights: November 9th, 16th, 30th and December 7th
6 to 8 p.m. at Twist Art Gallery in the Downtown Arcade
$95 for all four classes
Basic materials included. Participants encouraged to bring personal
photos, fabrics or other found objects to add to their artwork. Each
participant can expect to complete at least one, and up to four, original
works of art, plus acquire the knowledge to make more found art in the
Registration and prepayment required by October 31st.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Handmade in the Arcade:
Handmade in the Arcade takes place on Saturday, November 7th from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday,
December 5 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Guidelines for Applying to Handmade in the Arcade
Please note: we are looking for craft artists who create and sell handmade items not fine art (i.e. paintings, etc.)
Applicants must submit a completed application with links to either a Web site or etsy site. Incomplete
applications will not be considered. We are reviewing all artists via their website and/or etsy site. Please do not
send jpeg photos or any other proposal materials.
Applications must be received before midnight, October, 16, 2009 for the November 7th event and November 2
for the December 5th event. Late applications will not be accepted. If you are interested in exhibiting on both
dates, please indicate this on your application form.
Applications will be juried and all applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications by
October 20, 2009 for the November event and November 13th for the December event.
Fees must be made online through PayPal.
If you are accepted, we must receive your $75 registration payment by midnight October 23, 2009 in order for
you to participate. If we do not receive your payment, you will forfeit your spot. Registration payments must be
made by November 20th in order to participate in the December event.
If you are accepted as a vendor, but cannot participate, please let us know by Oct. 30 for the Nov. event and
November 25, 2009 for the Dec. event. No refunds will be given after this date.
If you're applying with a friend or as group, please submit only ONE application. Only one person should be
listed in the contact section. Include the names of people in your group in the description section. All group
applications will be judged as a single unit; we will not admit one person and reject the others.
We are looking for the highest quality crafts that fit the Twist aesthetic. We are also trying to ensure a diversity
of categories of crafts. We reserve the right to refuse any application. The jury’s decision is final.
What you Get:
Handmade in the Arcade is to be held in the downstairs level of the Arcade of the first Saturday of November
and December. Each vendor receives a 6' x 12' space. We will not provide any tables, chairs, etc. Please bring
anything that you will need for set-up. Please stay to your assigned areas and do not encroach on other crafter’s
If you need electricity, please indicate this by checking the appropriate box on the application form.
Thank you for applying to Handmade in the Arcade!
Friday, October 09, 2009
Mt. Olivet Illuminat Walking Tour
Mt. Olivet Confederate Illuminat Walking Tour
The dead come alive for a historic graveyard tour of Mount Olivet Cemetery - the site of over 1,500 Confederate graves. Re-enactors, in period dress, will portray spies, soldiers and southern belles of Nashville's past. Stationed at their own burial site they will tell the story of the person who is buried there, reliving the battles and other historical events that took place during their time.
i'll be there this saturday night playing Mrs. Overton of Traveller's Rest.
nope not Adelicia Acklen this time... for that you will have to come to Belmont Mansion for christmas ....
see you there
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Artist Influx: Crafting Creative Spaces in Existing Buildings
I'm very excited to be welcoming several groups to the Downtown Presbyterian Church , Belmont Mansion and Arcade's Twist Art Gallery for the National Trust Conference next week. hope to see you all there .