East Side Buzz: Carmina Burana at Symphony Center, Mary Ocher at Little Harpeth Brewing, Tiny House Festival, Americanafest Lineup, The Dolly Burger, Shotgun Willie’s Brisket, and more

Carmina Burana as Multimedia Performance at Symphony Center

Photo by Michael Weintrob

While the dramatic chord-climbing “O Fortuna!” may be familiar to our ears from movie soundtracks and television and often used in parody, the new Nashville Symphony production of Carl Orff’s famous “Carmina Burana” promises a much different and highly compelling experience of the scenic cantata. From May 31 to June 3 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Symphony, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, in collaboration with The Nashville Ballet under the artistic direction of Paul Vasterling, will present a multi-media performance that includes the Nashville Symphony Chorus, the Blair Children’s Chorus, and never-before-seen visual media from filmmaker Duncan Copp. A likely feast for the ears and eyes, the program will have four performances: Friday and Saturday beginning at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., and Monday at 7 p.m. For more on the Nashville debut, see Brittney McKenna’s article about the creative collaboration along with Micheal Weintrob’s terrific photos in our May/June print issue (the one with Jessy Wilson on the cover) or here online: Carmina Burana Renata. Visit The Nashville Symphony online for more information or to buy tickets.

Multimedia Artist Mary Ocher and Your Government at Little Harpeth

Mary Ocher Self Portrait

YEAH (Youth Empowerment Through Arts and Humanities) will hold a benefit show featuring multi-media artist Mary Ocher with drumming duo Your Government at Little Harpeth Brewing, Friday, May 30 beginning at 7 p.m. The prolific Ocher, a Berlin-based, Russian-born and Tel Aviv-raised musician, poet, essayist, video director and cultural critic, brings her avant-garde energy to Nashville’s East Bank, with a mix of mystic drone, krautrock-inflected guitar, otherworldly synthesizer and mesmerizing vocals. Her most recent album, 2017’s “The West Against the People” on the Klangbad label, is described in a press release as “a document on social indignation and the deconstruction of our identities as citizens,” and draws on Ocher’s experience as a two-time immigrant. Since the album’s release, Ocher has also put out accompanying videos, as well as new songs on the German SWR2 platform. Check out her work on her website at Mary Ocher.

In addition to Ocher’s performance, Ngawang Losel, a Tibetan folk musician now living in Nashville, will perform work blending Eastern and Western influences. Former Papa M and Silver Jews bassist, Cassie Berman will perform solo work, and Candice Forte, of the groups Red Lion and Slipshaft, will debut new songs. Hilary Bell has organized poetry and prose readings that will include Drenusha Kolshi, Carissa Stolting and Lauren Turner.

Each year YEAH! sponsors rock camps aimed at empowering youth through creativity, artistic education, collaboration and opportunities for artist expression. For more about the organization see the website YEAH!

Tiny Dream Homes for Tiny Living

Firehouse Tiny House created by Tiny Living Festival founders John and Fin Kernohan

You know you’ve fantasized about it — dumping all those possessions, quitting the grid (and the grind) and living a sparse but elegant life, free of material things, free at last to pursue your creative dreams in your tiny home, just you and your guitar and maybe a Yorkie. Or perhaps you, like so many Nashvillians, need a backyard studio, a room of your own. Quite possibly, you just want to marvel at the ingenious construction and imagine what you’d put in those neat drawers hidden in the staircase. Chances are you’ll find whatever it is about tiny homes that strikes your fancy at the Tennessee Tiny Living Festival, Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (ironically) one of Nashville’s larger structures, Nissan Stadium, where, ahem, the Titans play.

Tiny homes of all varieties will be on display, including professionally built model houses, gypsy wagons (known as vardos), skoolies (converted school buses), yurts, campers of every shape (teardrop, box, turtleback), and other tiny houses on and off wheels. The event will also feature talks by experienced tiny home lifestylists on necessary topics such as “Making a Tiny House Design Work for Two” and “Skoolie Conversion & Living Full-time with a BIG Family.” The event is family-friendly, with musical entertainment and activities for kids.  The United Tiny House Association, which sponsors the Tennessee festival and others like it around the country, donates proceeds from the events to various charities. For more information and to buy tickets see the website at The Tennessee Tiny House Festival.

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Lineup Announced for Americanafest 2019

(L-R) Top Row: The Dip, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Caroline Spence, J.S. Ondara (L-R) Bottom Row: Rainbow Girls, The Marcus King Band, Tanya Tucker, Kelsey Waldon Photo courtesy of Americanafest.

The initial music lineup for Americanafest 2019 announced this week offers an impressive list of nearly 100 performers, with a great mix of both established and emerging artists, many with new albums this year, and many of whom have previously been featured in The East Nashvillian. September 10–15 at venues across town, festival goers will have the chance to see Delbert McClinton and Self Made Men + Dana, Keb’ Mo’, Rising Appalachia, Robert Randolph, the Amy Ray Band, Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, The Travelin’ McCourys, Jade Bird, Thomas Csorba, Hawktail, Dylan LeBlanc, and Yola. Among other artists confirmed for showcases are Aaron Lee Tasjan, Aubrie Sellers,Bonnie Bishop, Chris Shiflett, Chuck Mead, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Lilly Hiatt, Lizzie No, The McCrary Sisters, The Dip, Caroline Spence, J.S.Ondara, Rainbow Girls, Kelsey Waldon, The Marcus King Band, and Whiskey Wolves of the West.

Part music industry conference and part music festival, Americanafest will also include seminars and panel discussions led by industry professionals and artists. The event seeks to bring together “fans and music industry professionals alike, offering six days of celebration through seminars, panels and networking opportunities by day and raw, intimate showcases each night,” according to the website.

Festival wristbands are on sale now, and the call is still open for panel sessions. To find out more, visit the website: Americanafest.

Quick Bits

–The burger world is abuzz with news of Dino’s new menu item, the Dolly Burger. Named in honor of Tennessee cultural icon Dolly Parton, it’s made with a “Porter Road Butcher grass-fed beef patty blended with 25% cremini mushrooms, served with a honey marinated squash & carrot slaw, lettuce, tomato, all topped with our homemade garlic Szechuan aioli,” according to a Dino’s Instagram post. The creation is Dino’s entry into The James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project “which encourages chefs to create a healthier, more sustainable, and tastier burger that can be enjoyed by consumers across the country, while also educating diners about the many benefits of The Blend and the future of food” according to the foundation’s website. When asked via Instagram “what makes the dolly burger a dolly burger,” Dino’s replied “all the sweet love we put into making it.” See the burger here Dino’s Instagram, or better yet, head down to Dino’s and get one. You can also vote for it as a favorite here: James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project.

–Shotgun Willie’s Brisket, which began as a food truck operated in 2016 and 2017 by Bill Laviolette, will take up more permanent digs in the former location of Barnes Produce at 4000 Gallatin Ave. in Inglewood this fall.  Known for a slow-smoked Central Texas-style brisket, the new Shotgun Willie’s will offer a somewhat expanded menu, with pulled pork, chicken, and some side dishes. Laviolette, who with now ex-wife Sara brought kolaches to East Nashville with Yeast (she still runs the place), says his new venture will open at 11 a.m. for lunch Wednesday through Sunday only, and will serve until the barbecue runs out. For more on Laviolette and Shotgun Willie’s see this piece in The Nashville Scene.

–In a recent blog post, Council-at-large member Bob Mendes has proposed a 52-cent property tax rate adjustment he says will help to alleviate Nashville’s current budget woes. Mendes’ proposal has the support of East Nashville’s District 7 Council member Anthony Davis. Mendes says the revenue from the proposed tax adjustment could generate increased funding of public schools, prevent the city from relying on a one-time payment from outsourcing parking, and allow for Metro employee raises. For more on the proposal, see Mendes’ blog post and The Tennessean.

–Metro Nashville Council is attempting once again to implement restrictions on Airbnbs in residential neighborhoods. Last year the Tennessee General Assembly voted to ban local restrictions that required short-term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods to be owner-occupied, citing property rights at issue. The new regulations proposed by Metro would allow non-owner-occupied vacation rentals in areas zoned for commercial use, while requiring all new vacation rentals in residential areas to be owner-occupied if they are established after October 1 of this year. Some city leaders and residents are concerned that the influx of vacation rental homes in residential neighborhoods is driving up the cost of available housing stock for year-round residents. Additionally, some vacation properties cater to late-night party crowds, creating noise, nuisance, and excessive trash in otherwise quiet neighborhoods. For more on the proposed regulations, which will go before the Planning Commission for a vote in June before returning to Metro Council for final approval in July, see The Tennessean.

–On Saturday, June 2, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Madison Branch Library, District 8 Council member Nancy VanReece will hold a meeting to discuss a re-zoning proposal for 3699 Dickerson Pike. Four commercial lots facing Dickerson Pike are set to be developed. The discussion on Saturday will focus on Core Development’s proposal to add at least two housing types while protecting green space to the rear of the property. The proposal is set for review on June 13 by the Planning Commission.

–According to a recent report from NewsChannel4, Tennessee ranks near the top among states for child deaths in hot cars. Nationally in 2018, 52 children died from car-related heatstroke, the highest number in the past 20 years. One of those 2018 child deaths happened in East Nashville. As summer heats up, please be mindful that cars become dangerously hot quite fast, and that leaving a child in a car can be deadly. For more on avoiding car-related heatstroke, see this story on the WSMV website.

–Margaret Renkl, founding editor of the Humanities Tennessee literary website Chapter 16, is leaving her post as of May 31 after 10 years. Renkl is also a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and her essays appear there each Monday. Her first book, a collection of essays entitled Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, will be published in July by the literary press Milkweed Editions. Maria Browning, current managing editor of Chapter 16, will take over editorship of the site. For more, see this announcement on the Humanities Tennessee website.

–René Copeland will be stepping down as artistic director of Nashville Repertory Theater after 15 years. According to a release, Copeland’s move comes at the close of the company’s 34th season and at a time in which the mission of Nashville Rep is expanding, with a greater focus on arts education and youth programming. Managing Director Drew Ogle will oversee operations as a national search is launched to fill Copeland’s former position. For more on Copeland, see this story in The Nashville Scene.

–Nashville is now the nation’s 24th most populous city, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Metropolitan Nashville recorded a population of about 669,053, a gain of about 3,500 since 2017, exceeding Memphis, which actually saw a slight decline in population. For more on this data and how Nashville measures up nationally and regionally, see this story in The Tennessean.