Archive for July, 2007

It’s That Time Again…

Election time, that is! The Metro election is less than two days away, so by now you should know who you’re voting for – and if you don’t, you should start thinking right away! So who’s it going to be, Metbloggers? Who are you voting for and why?

I’ll start: David Briley for Mayor, because I think he has the most forward thinking ideas for our city and I think he is the most passionate, expressive and cogent candidate out there. Peter Westerholm for At-Large Council, because he’s the only one that came by to meet me and my neighbors. No opinions on the other candidates, except that I don’t want Bob Clement to win.

So who’s it gonna be, y’all? Tell us in the comments.

Let’s Have a Little Tea Party!

Courtesy of your tax-averse legislature, it’s time for another Tennessee tax free weekend, everybody. You know the drill; you can save that onerous 9.25% on school supplies, clothing and computers costing up to $1500.00.

Thanks to the efforts of a certain feline member of our household that has managed to pry off several keys from my ancient Dell laptop, leaving me forced to write like e.e. cummings, I am in desperate need of a new laptop. Unfortunately, having just returned from vacation, I don’t have a grand and a half to spend.

But let’s pretend I did. Where would you send me and what should I buy? This is not intended to spark a Mac vs. PC debate. I’m already bi that way, so I am open to any and all suggestions.

Music City Brewers’ Festival

So, I attended the Music City Brewers’ Festival yesterday. I had a great time, of course, since, well, there was beer. But, let me tell you, folks. This event has a long way to go. Not to be all “in CALIFORNIA…”, but .. this event pales in comparison Booneville Beer Festival I went to in California. There wasn’t a single brewer there that wasn’t top-notch, and there wasn’t a single beer I tasted that wasn’t phenomenal. Here, not so much. But first, the good: There were the token local brewers — Yazoo, Big River, Blackstone, etc. — who were good as always. They didn’t have much new debuting, though, that I saw. Just their regular stuff on tap. I tried a dutch lager from All Seasons that was pretty good. The standout beer for me was the Appalachian Pale Ale from the Smoky Mountain Brewery. It was delicious, and also ice cold, which may be influencing my opinion of it.

Here’s what needs to happen for the Music City Brewers’ Festival to become awesome:

First, the logistics need to improve. The online ticket purchasing system they are using seems as if it was designed with technology dating roughly to 1995. When I went to print my ticket, it said it had “already been printed” (how would they know?) or transferred away, so I had to spend 20 minutes on hold before contacting someone who could reset it. Then there are the lines. I had to stand in line for 45 minutes in the hot sun just to get in. Not cool. I’m not sure what would improve that — maybe a better (larger) location. There were a lot of people packed into a relatively small park. A new location might also help with the last logistical problem: no shade. This is Nashville, y’all. It gets hot here. You have that many people out drinking beer, you need more shade. When I was in Booneville, I was drinking my beer in the shade of a small grove of redwoods while a stiff, dry breeze blew. Well, we don’t have that. At least put up more tents or something. Lastly, the emergency/first-aid staff didn’t seem to have a very visible presence. At a beerfest — particular one in the middle of July in the hot sun — someone is inevitably going to overdo it. Some poor guy was sitting on the steps puking his guts out and then just sat there with his head in his hands for over two hours, and no one helped him. I even tried to find a first-aid station or something, and couldn’t find anyone. I told some security guard who pretended he was getting up to tell someone long enough to placate me and then when I looked back he had sat down.

Second, ditch the lame vendors. Smirnoff Ice had a tent. Jack Daniels had a tent with their wine cooler things. I mean, come on. Seriously. I’m sorry, I thought this was a brewers’ festival. Malt liquor doesn’t count. Eliminate the lame commercial vendors and work on recruiting more local or regional microbreweries to fill the gap. If I wanted to drink Smirnoff Ice, I’d .. uh.. I’m sorry, my brain is incapable of completing this thought exercise.

So yeah, it was a good time. It was worth the money. It could use some improvements.

“Laguna Beach” Nashville

Has anyone else heard about the new semi-reality TV show coming to Fox this fall? It’s called Nashville and they basically follow around a number of Nashvillians trying to make it big in the music industry. Obviously, some of the show is scripted, but there is a good amount of true reality involved, too. I always thought that Nashville would be a perfect place for The Real World to film a season (they could have a big house right in Hillsboro Village or maybe redo the upstairs of one of downtown’s honky tonks), so this is a good start.

I’ve run into them filming a couple times, once at Corner Pub in midtown. Any other sightings, Metbloggers? Let us know in the comments.

Ghost Ballet

Aycock & Purcell

I stopped by the dedication for the Ghost Ballet yesterday up on the Shelby St. Bridge. There was a quartet of symphony players making sweet music for everyone, free water and popsicles. Various accolades and thanks were given, to a remarkable extent (I’ve never clapped so much in my life).

Mayor Purcell spoke, and I thought it was actually a pretty good speech considering it was a one-off little dedication that he could have blown off with some banal rhetoric and went on his way. Then we heard from the woman of the hour herself: Alice Aycock, the artist behind the Ghost Ballet. She spoke about her motivations behind making the piece and how she tried to connect it to Nashville’s past and future. She spoke for quite a while, actually. A pretty long time. A good long while. I couldn’t resist posting the picture (above) of Purcell checking his watch towards the end of her speech. She even addressed the sentiment that it looks like a roller coaster. “Of course it does,” she said. She grew up near Hershey Park in PA. Alrighty then. But then where does the name “Ghost Ballet” come from? Shouldn’t it be called the Ghost Coaster or something? Screaming Demon? No?

It didn’t occur to me until yesterday also that the resemblance to a roller coaster may serve as the seed for mass disappointment from our tourist visitors:

Tourist #1: Wow, music city!
Tourist #2: I know! Check it out! The country music hall of fame!
Tourist #1: Hey there’s where the Predators used to play! (just joking, don’t kill me — chris)
Tourist #2: Sweet, lower broad! There’s tootsie’s!!
Tourist #1: Holy crap, they even have a roller coaster!! Best city ever!!

You can imagine where it goes from here. Disappointment, dejection. I dunno. Could be dangerous.

New Italian in Germantown

Via the Nashville Post, I read that Germantown is getting a new Italian place:

DWC Construction is renovating 1,695 square feet of space at 1222 Fourth Ave. N. in Germantown for a restaurant named City House, a new Italian restaurant scheduled to open this fall with Tandy Wilson III, sous chef at Margot CafĂ© in East Nashville and his wife An Kostroski, pastry chef at Margot’s.

A Taste of Thailand

As most of our regular readers already know, I’m an avid fan of little-known, hole in the wall restaurants – particularly when they’re of the ethnic variety. Nothing excites me more than discovering a tasty, locally-owned eatery that’s isn’t packed at lunch and isn’t overwhelmingly expensive. None of you should be surprised, then, by how much I love my latest find: Thai Taste.

Thai Taste is located essentially at the corner of Nolensville Road and Haywood Lane, just south of the epicenter of Nashville’s ethnic dining scene. One of my college buddies who now works in Nashville turned me on to the place last week, taking me out for a quick bite of lunch there. Knowing the usual quality of restaurants in the area, I had high hopes. I was not disappointed.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Thai Taste is the decor: it’s surprisingly upscale for such a modest establishment. White tablecloths, fabric wrapped on the seatbacks, and bold, freshly painted walls lend the interior a bit of a luxurious feel. I immediately feared that the prices would be adjusted upward accordingly, but thankfully I was wrong. My lunch entree included a salad and spring roll for $5.95. Much cheaper than the ubiquitous Royal Thai, and much better.

As for details on the food, I enjoyed a Panang Curry dish with a spice level of medium. My salad was great and so was the curry, not too spicy but with plenty of punch, and with just the right amount of coconut milk so as not to be overwhelming. The best part of the meal, however, was the spring roll: certainly the best I’ve had in Nashville. Needless to say, I’ll be back to Thai Taste just as soon as I can.

The Great Hockey Crisis

Predators Rally

Time for a real Debbie Downer moment, here. I went by the predators rally yesterday, mostly just to document it for posterity’s sake. I went in for a few minutes, took some pictures, and left. I’m sorry, but honestly? I just can’t really get that motivated or excited about the future of the Predators. I like hockey, I really do. I like sports. I like going to Hockey games — they’re loads of fun. But for a variety of reasons, I don’t really find it to be that big of a deal. I think it would be bad for the city economically if they left, so to that extent I think it’s important that they stay. But I find it difficult to get too worked up about it.

I guess as I sat there in there watching the arena filled with people patting themselves on the back for buying over 700 season tickets, I couldn’t help wondering if our priorities are a little out of whack, as my thoughts turn to the various URA meetings and forums on affordable housing and homelessness I’ve attended over the last couple of weeks. We can get ourselves worked up into a fervor over the prospect of losing the Predators or gaining a baseball stadium, but the extent of our interest regarding the homeless amounts to “why don’t we just arrest them all”. There was a lot of talk about “community” and “coming together” at the rally. I dunno, the contrast of this mass hysteria to the yawning apathy at the other events was striking.

I think a lot of it has to do with Nashville’s chronic inferiority complex. A predominant theme of this latest crisis and the rally was “we’re going to show everyone that we are a hockey town.” But if our private ticket purchases and attendance are so low, you know … maybe we’re not, actually. Maybe we’re not a hockey town. Who cares? I like hockey, but not enough to make it some sort of grand civic crisis to convince the town that it’s really important that we have hockey. If we can get a private consortium to buy the team, take the reigns and pay the bills, then hey, go for it.

Do I want a hockey team in Nashville? Sure, but call me when we’ve got affordable housing for those who need it, homeless shelters that are worth a shit, public bathrooms, parks that aren’t flooded with people that have nowhere else to go. Let’s start there and work our way up. Then we can worry about hockey teams and baseball stadiums.

You may begin flaming me below:

SoBro Strikes Again

Word on the street is that Sullivan’s Steakhouse will replace the old Seanachie pub at the corner of 4th Ave and Broadway downtown. Their “Steaks, Martinis and Jazz” theme sounds a little bit like that of F. Scott’s, but considering their Texas roots I am sure the atmosphere will be a little different than that of the Green Hills institution. Anyone ever eaten at a Sullivan’s? Excited or disinterested with this new addition to downtown? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Mayoral Affordable Housing Forum

So, if you haven’t been following Nashville’s election for Mayor, let me be the first to tell you: we have a surprisingly good bunch of candidates. I don’t always agree with most of them, and I definitely like some more than others, but they are a surprisingly well-educated group of people, and so far everyone has been capable of surprising me.I suppose to some extent, being a smaller local mayoral election, they aren’t groomed to the extent that they are in larger elections. Utterances of actual substance still have a chance of slipping out now and then. But I digress.

Tonight was the Affordable Housing Forum, at the downtown library. I won’t recap it question for question, because, essentially, every question was exactly the same. (“How do you feel about affordable housing?” “Do you think we need affordable housing?” As mayor, how would you facilitate affordable housing?” “Who would win in a fight? Jesse Ventura or Affordable Housing?” “Do u like affordable housing: check [ ] Y [ ] N?”) I’ll just try to summarize each candidates larger points. But first, some background they provided in the form of numbers, which were presented as a prelude to the forum:
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