Archive for August, 2007

Breaking: Thompson to Announce Candidacy at 4:00pm

Looks like the former Senator and his infamous red truck will be hitting the road again. Sources say Fred Thompson will formally announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination today.

Another Panera Bread!

Panera Bread is coming… to the former Ham and Goody’s space next to Bittner’s. Lovers of Panera needing relief from the crowds at the 21st Ave. location, rejoice! Word on the street is that the store will open in the next 30-45 days.

Katrina Second Line

Jackson forwarded this over and I thought it looked pretty interesting:

REMINDER
NEW ORLEANS SECOND LINE PARADE
to acknowledge the anniversary of
HURRICANE KATRINA
AUGUST 29th – 6:pm til…

To acknowledge the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and share it with others here in Nashville who have either re-located due to the storm or who love the City of New Orleans, there will be a New Orleans Second Line Parade on Wednesday, August 29th.

We will gather at 6:00pm at The Lipstick Lounge, located at the corner of 14th and Woodland in East Nashville. At 6:45pm we will begin to parade along a short route in East Nashville, stop for a few minutes at locations in the area and end at Pizzareal, located at the corner of 11th and Forrest. If you decide not to march, come on by to meet up at the end of the marching route. We’ll hang out, hug, cry, laugh, meet new friends, and remember how much New Orleans needs our love and support. And, let’s make new memories and friends here in Nashville.

Bring your instrument (whistle, bell, stick noisemaker!)… and if you are so inclined, costume for the occasion!
Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

The 2020 Olympics? Seriously?

I am all for dreaming big. I support a grandiose, imaginative vision for our city, and I certainly want Nashville’s leaders to do the same. But there’s a difference between dreaming big and just being ridiculous. I saw in this morning’s City Paper that Clement wants Nashville to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Clearly, this is one idea that goes over the line.

I grew up in Atlanta, a city of close to five million people at the time of the 1996 Olympic Games. A city with a mass-transit system far superior to Nashville’s. A city with one of the top five biggest convention centers in the country. A city with an 80,000 seat indoor stadium. And on, and on, and on… And with all that, and all the resources available to a city that is more than three times the size of Nashville, the 1996 games were still botched. The bottom line is that Nashville is simply not big enough or well-prepared enough to put together anything more than a laughable bid for the Summer Olympics. And the same will still be true in 10 years, no matter who’s elected or how hard everyone in the city works. It’s just not feasible.

Please understand I am not trying to single out Bob Clement. I do support Karl Dean but I recognize that his campaign has probably put some outlandish proposals out there, too. He may have even signed onto this crazy 2020 bid idea – I don’t know. But I hope that everyone that’s planning to vote in this election can recognize crazy and worthless campaign blather when they see it.

Side note to Mayoral and At-Large Candidates: Stop calling my cell phone! Please!

Sommet Center’s “Antenna” Tower To Actually Be Used for Something

Hello, Metblog readers, you may remember me as Andrew, the guy who used to write for this blog like 5,000 years ago before he went on an extended vacation. Sorry about that. I’m back.

It seems that XM Satellite Radio, which has been a tenant in the Country Music Hall of Fame for several years now, will be moving their Nashville studios to the arena tower at the Sommet Center. This is the tower at the corner of 5th Ave. and Broadway, which houses the visitor center at its base and the rarely-used Wolfy’s Den on the upper floors. I haven’t set foot in Wolfy’s Den since college, when it seems like every other sorority function I attended was held in this oddly-arranged space.

Though I am sure that there will be some college students upset that they’ve lost another place to get drunk and dance to “Shout,” I’d say that all in all it’s a pretty cool place for XM to put their studios. They’ll look out over both the Ryman and Broadway’s legendary honky tonks, and we’ll have another uniquely Nashville thing for visitors to point at and comment on when they visit downtown. Construction is scheduled to be completed later this year. Now, if only XM’s country stations could get up to par with Sirius’…

A Night Out At McFadden’s

Mcfaddens

Bridal parties and 20-something fans of Journey, rejoice! Your mother-ship has landed.

This past weekend, my friends and I decided to hit up McFadden’s Restaurant & Pub. Located at 134 2nd Ave North, McFadden’s is a mega-pub chain concept, operated in 10 other cities across the US. From my experiences with the versions in Boston and DC, I can tell you that Nashville’s is no different.

McFadden’s operates on a simple formula; Take a huge restaurant space, make it look like an irish pub, offer ridiculous happy hour specials and watch the lines get longer. The evening we were invited, my friend had gotten us a spot “on the list” along with a $10, all-you-can-drink happy hour from 9 pm until 11 pm. The happy hour specials lived up to everything we hoped for but I have to say that overall, I wasn’t impressed.

The Good

McFadden’s has a ton of corporate money backing it. This means for all of its lack of originality, McFadden’s has two big draws; 20 large flat-screen TV’s and happy hour specials. The staple is $10 all-you-can-drink beers and rail/well drink happy hours from 9 until 11 pm, every Thursday through Saturday.

The Bad

Though the Nashville-based GM has done an admirable job trying to make McFadden’s Nashville feel like a local bar (including hiring a crack bar staff), you can’t escape that feeling that the concept is a bit out of place. Most noticeable to me was that unlike other McFadden’s, Nashville’s only has one real bar. This means that people cram into about 1/6th of the entire space leaving a cavernous back room unfilled and erie.

Additionally, remember me saying something about being “on a list?” Yeah, apparently everyone’s on the list. It’s gimmicks like that and the Coyote Ugly-esqiue bar dancing that has undermined McFadden’s legitimacy in other cities, rendering them more like Disney World than real, local bars.

The Bottom Line

If all you are looking for is a place to take a huge party, McFadden’s Nashville is a great place to do it. If not, trust me when I say I have been here for 4 weeks and can already tell you there are better places to go.

The Debate

Mayoral Debate

The debate was on Saturday, and I attended. See Mary’s commentary for the only possible substantive commentary on the debate. Why? Here’s the thing. I like Karl Dean. Bob Clement drives me nuts. I feel that the direction Nashville will take under one differs greatly from the other. But you wouldn’t have known that from the debate. They started the debate talking about how much they differ, and then proceeded to spend most of the debate agreeing with one another. They both want to improve education (whoa nelly, slow down there, really??), they’re both in favor of the convention center, they both don’t want taxes to be raised (whatever that means). Folks, they both dove for the center so hard they’re gonna come away with a concussion.

Dean, though, at least manages to separate himself by offering actual ideas. This is what I always found so appealing about Briley — Clement (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the candidates) seem to talk about the possibility of new ideas, the theoretical possibility of future changes. Briley would get up there and rattle off ideas as fast as he could speak. Dean has picked up on this a little, and is apparently willing to, you know, actually talk about what he’s going to do. Clement, on the other hand, seems content to just give the Bob Dole thumbs up and repeat “Good to great” like a Chatty Cathy. Come on, Bob, seriously.

The questions were better than I expected, despite being vetted, typed, proofread and orchestrated for the readers (which is always a real tribute to democracy at work, right?). I got a unique birds’ eye view from the media area of this orchestration at work — it was pretty impressive, I tell you what. The funniest part of the night was probably the newschannel5 question that won, which was about the Ghost Ballet. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I think it was something like “Do you like the Ghost Ballet, or do you think it’s ugly and weird, and was it a good use of the money?” (paraphrased). Both candidates did a good job (good in the machiavellian sense, not the objective sense) of laughing off the question without really answering it. They poked fun at it a little, but then said they like it, and they support the arts. A brusque answer to a seemingly shallow question with a deeper subtext. Should the government be spending $330K on public art? Is there anything else they could have spent it on? Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.

So, all in all, it was a boring debate. I think Dean came away looking a lot better, but I’m obviously fairly biased. Angry Bob Clement was out in full force.. I am not sure if that plays well with a lot of people, but to me he just strikes me as trying a little too hard. It’s like there’s a little switch between “sugary southern Bob” and “angry little man” Bob.

Side note: They had an awesome media room for live-blogging the debate, with closed-circuit TV and wireless access. And no one was there. No one. Come to think of it, the Ingram hall auditorium was only half full. What gives? No one cares about the mayoral election, I think. Sad but true.

Cost of the Predators

Richard Lawson has a great analysis of the complicated cost burden of housing the Predators at the arena.

It’s a good read. It’s also very complicated. I am going to have to read it again tonight … and maybe again after that.

It’s Maddening!

At 6:15 on the WSMV News at 6:00, Dan and Demtria throw it to Jennifer Johnson and Tom Randles with a “So tell us what’s coming up on the News at 6:30.”

Oh yes, please give us a glimpse into the distant future 15 minutes from now.

Then at 6:30 Jennifer and Tom proceed to rehash the top headlines from the days of yore thirty freakin’ minutes ago! Worst of all, they make us wait until five minutes before the hour and two separate sets of headlines and weather forecasts before us sports fans can get our short Titans fix.

Here’s a hint, it was hot yesterday. It’ll be hot tomorrow. You can take up a half hour for the weather when it changes. Or the quarterly tornado threatens Rivergate Mall.

I’ll admit Tom and Jennifer are attractive and competent, but their talents (and my time) are being wasted.

I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat. Can I have a “K?”

And the undergrads are back

It’s that season once again. That magical time of year when college students flock back to their campuses in search of enlightenment, knowledge and, in Nashville’s case, the perfect Prada backback to complete their ensemble.

Ok, perhaps before I go any further I should introduce myself. My name is Jared and along with being the newest Nashville MetroBlogger, I am also a first year graduate business student over at Vanderbilt University.

I just moved here a couple of months ago from Washington, D.C., expecting to see a lot of what I grew up with in Atlanta; southern hospitality, sweet tea and pickup trucks blasting the latest country hits. Apparently, I didn’t get the Vandy memo.

Don’t get me wrong; I have been blown away by Nashville’s vibrance and personality. The last four weeks I been from The Stage to Cheeckwood and from downtown to Murfreesboro. Everywhere I go, I have seen some of the friendliest faces and fun-loving characters I have ever seen.

This morning however, I was jolted back into reality when a throng of well-meaning, yet clumsy co-eds decided to inundate Pannera for lunch. This reminded me all to well that though you can change cities, the undergrads will seemingly stay the same.

Stay tuned for more from the Vandy front as well as my search to find the best Jazz lounge and martini bar in town!

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