Register to Vote in Presidential Primary by Monday

If you haven’t yet registered to vote, but want to participate in the February 5 Tennessee presidential primary (and trust Metro with your identifying info), this coming Monday, January 7, is the last day to register. Early voting starts on Wednesday, January 16, and runs through Thursday, January 31.

More information about voter registration is available from Metro Election Commission or Tenn. Dept. of State.


Some Newsworthy Tidbits for the New Year

First and foremost, Happy 2008 everyone! I didn’t get a chance to ring in the New Year Nashville style since I was at the beach with my girlfriend, but my buddies all reported a good time – except for the throngs of sullen Kentucky fans that were swamping some of the more touristy bars downtown.

So what’s the deal with Lonnie’s on West End? Driving back into town yesterday from my holiday vacation, I was cruising down West End Avenue when I spotted the familiar Lonnie’s logo newly posted above the former nail salon space next to Cumberland Transit. The windows were blocked out, so I couldn’t see what was going on inside, but if Lonnie’s is about to open a satellite karaoke bar that I can walk to, I’m all for it. Anyone know what’s going on with this?

More good news: Lime has finally opened on Broadway next door to Broadway Brewhouse. All the Rage reports that the much-anticipated hotspot had a soft opening last weekend. Since I just got back in town yesterday, I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, but hopefully I’ll give it a go over the weekend.

Finally, if you don’t have plans for Monday night (or don’t really care to watch the big game on TV), by all means check out Eli Young Band at Third and Lindsley. EYB is one of my favorite bands and a great group of musicians. The show starts at 6:00pm.

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Blogging Our Way to Number Nine

One of the things I enjoy about living in Nashville is finding our city in the top five or 10 of so many national rankings. Seems like every few weeks we’re at or near the top of some ranking I never even knew existed.

Kudos to Ryan Underwood, national editor for the Tennessean and curator of The Online Buzz, for discovering that Nielsen has ranked Nashville as ninth among the top US markets for adults who have read or contributed to a blog within the past month. Our 11 percent participation rate puts us ahead of the national average by a mere 3 percent and only 4 percent behind top-ranked Austin. Ryan speculates that Nashville’s strong showing might derive in part from the “MySpace.com blogs of aspiring singer-songwriter types.”

Nielsen also publishes some other interesting 2007 year-end trends, but I didn’t see Nashville listed on any of their other rankings. We’re not even in the top 10 US markets for adults who have downloaded music/listened to audio clips online within the past month. Must be all the live music and locally produced CD’s that keep us from downloading so much as the others.

What’s your take on Nashville in the rankings?


Comcast Adds More HD Delicious Goodness

Yesterday Comcast added five additional high-definition channels to the Nashville line-up. This increases their offering to 35 HD channels: 25 included in the base HD package, plus five premium channels and five On Demand channels (including two that offer free content). The new channels:

220 USA HD
222 History HD
224 Discovery HD
225 Sci Fi HD
226 Animal Planet HD

The complete HD line-up:
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Downtown: One gain, one loss

Pleased to report that the Homewood Suites has opened on Church Street in Downtown Nashville. Unfortunately, Judge Bean’s is leaving the Gulch area and moving to the site of the old Sluggers restaurant at Greer Stadium. Can’t win ’em all.


More Good News for Nashville

Tennessee has been ranked in the top 5 of the most economically competitive states in the U.S. The study by veteran economist Arthur Laffer, creator of the Laffer Curve, and Stephen Moore, a writer for the WSJ, confirms what many Tennesseans might already suspect: The lack of a state income tax and our strong right-to-work laws are helping the Tennessee economy grow. As the authors say:

The winners in this contest for the most valuable resource on the globe — human capital — are generally the states with the lowest tax, spending and regulatory burdens.

Part of the reason I’m posting this article is that I know a number of our readers may disagree with it. Let the discussion begin!


Things They Don’t Tell You About Nashville Before You Move Here

After four months in Nashville, it’s clear that my move here was a great idea.

Beyond the stuff I can say about my work, Nashville has surprised me in more ways than I can count. The only thing that I really wish I could have had before I moved here was a little more information about adjusting to life here in Music City, USA.

In an attempt to rectify that, I have tried my hand at listing out a few:

  • Before you get the inclination to go shopping, realize that only tourists wear cowboy hats on Broadway.
  • At most bars, if you order anything else other than a beer or a vodka/whiskey/rum cocktail you’ve probably already given away where you’re from.
  • The weather is completely ADD…one day its warm, the next you are chipping ice-sickles off your truck. Pack accordingly.
  • Parking downtown will cost you an arm and a leg so take cabs if you can.
  • Don’t worry about re-discovering your southern roots, in a town like this they’ll find you when they’re good and ready.

I could go on for some time but you get the idea. Anyone care to add anything?


Tequila!

Attention fans of tequila, margaritas, and southwestern tapas: Agave Tequila Lounge is open, and as of my most recent visit, things seem to be in full swing.

I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical when I first heard about Agave. Not because I didn’t like the concept – indeed, I’ve been eager for something other than Las Palmas-style, semi-crappy Mexican food in Nashville. But I was a little put off for that same reason, worried that however strong the idea was, there might be some issues with execution. And I’m happy to report that I was wrong.

First of all, the old Pie Wagon space has been magnificently transformed. Agave’s owners, which include a number of music industry execs and Gulch developers, basically stripped the Pie Wagon building to the core and rebuilt it from scratch. An expansive roof was added, making the place seem much bigger than it actually is, and several garage doors were put up front. In nice weather this is particularly pleasant – and in cold weather, their patio heaters still do the trick.

Then there’s the food. I was pleased with our homemade chips and salsa, and my chorizo chicken was a refreshing change from the sloppy enchiladas I usually get at Cinco de Mayo. (The crowd’s beautiful people certainly distinguish this joint from other Mexican outposts, as well). And though I didn’t have any tequilas straight up since it was a work night, my two different margaritas, both on the rocks with salt, were quite tasty. Though they don’t beat the Margarita Fresca at Rumba, they were as close as any other restaurant in Nashville has come.

I should note that the place is really more bar than restaurant. Though they clearly do focus on the food, with excellent results, the atmosphere is more geared toward facilitating interaction between Nashville’s attractive, young elites. They’re succeeding. Welcome to the Gulch, Agave.


A Don’t Miss Opportunity…

…if you’re at all interested in drama.

Edward Albee is speaking tonight at 6:00 at Ingram Hall at the Blair School of Music on the Vanderbilt University campus on the topic of “The State of Theater and the Arts in America.”

It’s free and I guarantee they’ll be turning folks away at the door. I don’t know how many chances there will be in my lifetime to see someone who has won a Pulitzer Prize, much less THREE of them.

For more details, head on over to here and get the skinny straight from the Commodore’s mouth.

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Blue Light Special for Holiday Decorations

Like a lot of people, I start putting up the winter/holiday decorations after Thanksgiving (unlike most retailers, but that’s a different story altogether). So as I’m thinking about whether or not to make any changes from last year, I came across an article in the Tennessean about Project Blue Light which encourages people to include blue lights in their holiday decorations to show support for law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty as well as current officers.

The project is sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), a national nonprofit group that supports over 15,000 surviving families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Locally, the effort is endorsed by the Tennessee Highway Patrol which, according to the Tennessean, encourages people to participate as a way to thank officers for keeping neighborhoods and roadways safe.

So, I’m thinking, “This is an interesting idea.” I certainly would like to express my appreciation to local law enforcement officers who have assisted me on several occasions this past year. But how can I integrate some blue lights into my decorations without it looking hokey? And I’m also wondering whether or not this will turn into another “yellow ribbon” campaign where it becomes so commonplace that it loses it’s meaning.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this? Is this something you would do?


What Happened at 2nd Ave. N and Commerce St. Last Night?

Okay, so who was at 2nd Ave. N and Commerce St. last night around 2:30am? I was. And I heard 2 loud noises that sounded exactly like gunshots. And then people were running, huge crowds running, up the street away from the intersection as fast as possible. Then about 20 police cars, along with a good number of horseback cops, arrived. People got arrested.

What the hell happened? Was anyone there? Did anyone see it go down? I can’t find anything about it on the usual local news sources…


Why Nashville Is A Little Greener This Weekend

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This weekend, Vanderbilt University is hosting what is possibly the most important event in social and environmentally sustainable business practices; Net Impact.

Ok, so I can see you give whoop but it’s a pretty big deal in the business community. Either way, right now Nashville is the epicenter of the green movement with speakers from Patagonia, to Conservation International to Dupont.

If you are out and about on Saturday and feel like dropping in on some interesting speakers, check out Net Impact 2007. Registration is minimal or you can just check out the live blogging at OwenBloggers.com.

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Charlotte Riverfront

Those of you that have been lamenting the closing of the driving range on Charlotte — well, too bad. You’ll have to continue wandering the city, zombie-like, as I am, searching for another outlet for golf. The driving range won’t be back. What will take its place, though, is apparently a new $250M development taking advantage of the riverfront property:

Plans are in the works for a $250 million development on the Cumberland River that would include live/work units, condos, restaurants, retail and boat homes.

Dubbed The H20 Urban Waterfront District, the project would be on a 35-acre wedge of land tucked away from the strip retail stores of the Charlotte Pike corridor at the site of an abandoned golf driving range.

Sounds like it could be kinda cool.


All Your Happy Hour Answers

Corey at Webbspun Ideas, your “ambassador for Nashville,” has compiled a fairly comprehensive list of where to grab that drink special. I know we’ve tossed around the subject a time or two here, but Corey puts us to shame with his comprehensive lists of where to grad a cheap drink in the vicinity of downtown:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday


Hotel Indigo Makes Blue and Green Splash on West End

If you’ve driven on West End Avenue between I-40 and Vanderbilt at all in the last few months, you’ve seen it. Big and blue and neon green and, well, kind of ugly… it’s the new Hotel Indigo at the corner of West End and 18th Ave. The former office building (and, as some of you may remember, home to a gentlemans club on the top floor) has been completely repurposed by Atlanta’s Wesley Hotels Group and is home to the boutique concept Hotel Indigo as of last Friday. The girlfriend and I had lunch at Atlanta Bread Company across the street on Saturday and therefore had the chance to look around the place.

First of all, kidding about the blue and green stucco aside, the exterior of the hotel isn’t particularly inviting. There’s no focal point at the building’s front, so it’s hard to tell where the main entrance is. The front doors look like the front doors of any average retail shopping center – certainly not the impressive entryway a hotel charging $250 per night should posess. Also, with all the money they spent on the renovation, they didn’t spend money to fix the roof of the solarium next to the front entrance. Seeing broken roof flashing before you walk in the front door of a hotel is never a good sign.

Upon entering the building, however, things improve dramatically. I’ve been in this building before when it was mainly office, and the transformation of the space is nothing short of dramatic. They’ve added an impressive staircase to the second floor directly in front of the entrance, and filled the walls with colorful, music-oriented murals – a nice touch. The softly colored wood floors were another plus, though you could tell they were a little cheap. Overall the lobby felt very hip, exuding a bright, casual but crisp ambiance that definitely impressed me.
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