The Ornaments are (l-r) Martin Lynds, Jenn Gunderman, & James “Hags“ Haggerty. Photograph by Michael Weintrob

East Side Buzz, December 18

Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary With a Taste of East Nashville!
It’s our 10th anniversary, and we’re celebrating with a very special print edition and a unique “Taste of East Nashville Gift Set” — perfect for holiday giving. This special East-centric gift package includes the “10th Anniversary Issue” along with a selection of quality goods from East Side Vendors delivered to your door (and shipping is free!) Click here for complete details and to place your order.

And don’t forget to grab a copy of The East Nashvillian, now available in our street boxes and other regular distribution points!

A Friendly Reminder
Ad Deadline For Jan/Feb issue is January 8, 2021. This edition will feature the Historic East Nashville Merchant’s Association‘s East Nashvillians of the Year winners and has always been a reader favorite. Our advertisers are our lifeblood and allow us to keep doing what we do. For more information about advertising opportunities in The East Nashvillian, reach out to us: sales@theeastnashvillian.com

Blockheads Welcome as The Ornaments Celebrate A Charlie Brown Christmas
As in Whoville, not even the Grinch (or a global pandemic) can stop the spirit of a Charlie Brown Christmas! (How’s that for mixing your holiday animated special metaphors?) One of the East Side’s most beloved Christmas traditions marches on with three upcoming Livestreams by The Ornaments.

Formed in 2005, The Ornaments — pianist Jen Gunderman, drummer Martin Lynds, and bassist James “Hags” Haggerty (famed columnist for The East Nashvillian) have been performing Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack for Charles Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas each December for 15 years. While the current pandemic put a crimp on many holiday traditions, The Ornaments will be bringing the cheer via three livestream performances hosted by INSTRUMENTHEADLive.com.

The Ornaments 2020 shows will air on Wednesday, December 23, at 6 p.m. CST, and Thursday, December 24, at 6 p.m. CST. All shows will be family-friendly and free to watch via YouTube, Facebook, and at INSTRUMENTHEADLive.com. After initial times, the stream will also be available for 24 hours on the Instrumenthead Live Youtube page. Donations will be accepted for the artists and Instrumenthead Live by texting CHEERS to 844-931-4517 with a portion of all donations to benefit the Music Health Alliance.

And to put the icing on the Christmas tree, The East Nashvillian is hosting a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a CD from The Ornaments, an autographed copy of photographer Michael Weintrob’s book, INSTRUMENTHEAD, and copies of both our “10 Anniversary Issue” as well as the Jan/Feb 2015 issue featuring a story on The Ornaments. Enter to win here.

So get your favorite “Peanuts dance style” warmed up and visit theornamentsband.com for more info.

Tennessee: The State of COVID-19
The State of Tennessee received the dubious and notorious honor of becoming the number one hotspot for new COVID-19 infections per capita in the world this week. Meanwhile, the first shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine began arriving. Gov. Bill Lee hailed the arrival of the vaccine while standing firm on his “I ain’t doin’ nothing that might hurt me politically” method of combating the deadly pandemic.

At a press briefing on Thursday, Lee said, “One thing that this vaccine will not solve, one thing that it will not cure is selfishness or indifference to what’s happening to our neighbors around us.” A statement that is proven true as Lee continues to refuse to take actions to discourage behaviors that have led to the deaths of over 5,845 Tennesseans, such as imposing a statewide mask mandate or restrictions on gatherings.

In Nashville, the indicators for New Cases Per 100K Residents, 14-New Case Trend, and 7-Day Positive Test Rate all remain in the highest alert category, with only 6% of ICU bed capacity available and 10% of hospital floor bed capacity available. The Transmission Rate stands at 1.31 meaning the virus is spreading at an unacceptable and dangerous rate. As of this morning, Dec. 18, Metro is reporting 6,315 active cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County with a total of 426 deaths to date.

According to a new Vanderbilt University statewide poll, 32 percent of Tennesseans say they will not be altering their holiday plans despite the current surge’s direct relationship to people refusing to alter their plans for Thanksgiving. With the lack of leadership in regards to combating the pandemic in Tennessee, The East Nashvillian urges all of our readers to take the simplest and most effective course for slowing the transmission of the virus — wear a mask anytime you leave your home, socially distance yourself when out by staying at least six feet away from others and do not attend a gathering of people you do not already reside with  — including Christmas gatherings. For more information on how Nashville is combating the pandemic, visit asafenashville.org.

Touring Professionals Relief Kitchen is Serving Up Holiday Meals
The non-profit Touring Professionals Relief Kitchen (TPRK) has announced plans to distribute free meals to touring professionals in the major music cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, and New York throughout the holiday season.

A partnership of the restaurant workers advocacy group, The Lee Initiative, and the Touring Professionals Alliance, a non-profit that provides aid to those crews and individuals working behind the scenes of live music, the TPRK will be distributing 200 locally prepared meal boxes that serve two people on designated nights.

In Nashville, any industry professional can pick up a meal box at the following locations:

Sean Brock’s Audrey Restaurant (809 Meridian St., 37207) — Noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Jan. 26
Maneet Chauhan’s Chaatable (345 40th Ave., 37209) — 4-6 p.m. on the following dates: Wednesday, Dec. 23; Wednesday, Dec. 30; as well as Thursdays in January through Jan. 28.

For more information on TPRK and specifics on dates and locations for meal pickups in other cities, visit leeinitiative.org.

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From the East Side to the North Pole — Letters for Santa
If you’ve been on Kenwood Drive in Inglewood the last couple of weeks you may have noticed a red mailbox with the words “LETTERS FOR SANTA.” Truth does still exist in advertising as that’s exactly what that mailbox is for, thanks to neighbor Kate Blocher.

“I knew many kids wouldn’t or couldn’t visit Santa this year, and I wanted to give them a way to maintain a normal sense of Christmas spirit during the holiday,” Blocher says. “And it was a way for me to give back and experience the magic of the season despite the pandemic.”

In the two weeks since Blocher set up the box for business, it’s collected 75 missives to Mr. Claus and Blocher is in the process of sending confirmation notes to every letter writer to let them know their letter was forwarded to Santa and to send good wishes for the holiday season. If you know someone with a letter for Santa they can be dropped off in the red mailbox at 1344 Kenwood Dr. until Tuesday, Dec. 22. Be sure to include a return address.

Neighborhood Planning News
Councilperson Brett A. Withers (District 6) was kind enough to send us an update on recent Metro Council actions affecting the East Side:

The Five Points rezoning plan to continue the work of the MDHA Five Points Redevelopment District which expires on Dec. 31, 2020, was approved on the third and final reading at the Tuesday, Dec. 15, meeting. For more details on what this entails, see our story in the October 30 East Side Buzz.

The expansion of the Urban Zoning Overlay District along both sides of Gallatin Avenue in Districts 5, 6, 7, and 8 was also approved. The change will impose additional restrictions and requirements on new construction aimed at preserving the character of neighborhoods along both sides of the Gallatin Pike corridor north to almost Briley Parkway. The most prominent feature of the expansion is sidewalk requirements for new infill developments inside the expanded boundaries to help make neighborhoods more walkable.

The Metro Planning Department is launching a new initiative to update the NashvilleNext community plan for the East Bank area between downtown and I-24. An announcement is expected this week naming a team to lead the effort, which will entail stakeholder and community input sessions after the first of the new year, working with District 5 and 6 Council Members Sean Parker and Brett Withers, respectively.

Project Redesign — Helping Homes of the Holidays and All Year Round
Nashville-based Project Redesign, a nonprofit providing room makeovers for low-income families and interior redesigns for nonprofit organizations, recently announced the receipt of a large donation of furniture and housewares from H.G. Hill Realty Co.

The items will allow Project Redesign to provide furnishings for up to 30 individuals or families coming out of homelessness or treatment, in addition to assisting with their redesign work on large communal spaces for nonprofit centers and schools.

Founded in 2008, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Project Redesign has worked with the Martha O’Bryan Community Center in East Nashville, the Salvation Army, YWCA, Domestic Violence Center, Magdalene House (Thistle Farms), Mending Hearts, Safe Haven, and many other community-focused nonprofits, along with assisting individuals and families in need. To learn more, and to find out how you can help, visit projectredesignnashville.com.

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United Way of Greater Nashville Receives $20 Million Grant
On Tuesday, United Way of Greater Nashville announced the receipt of a $20 million grant from MacKenzie Scott, author, philanthropist, and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The grant was one of 384 made to nonprofit agencies across the United States totaling more than $4 billion to support a variety of services, including food banks, emergency relief, education support, and civil rights advocacy.

“We are so incredibly grateful to MacKenzie for this generous gift, which will allow us to continue funding so many of our partner agencies in East Nashville—agencies like the Martha O’Bryan Center and Fannie Battle—agencies on the frontlines,” Brian Hassett, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Nashville says. “With so many people out of work and struggling to make ends meet, our Financial Empowerment Center, which is located in East Nashville, has never been more important. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, free, financial counseling is available to any Davidson County resident who needs help sorting through their finances, tackling debt, or saving for their future. We are just so humbled by the trust MacKenzie has shown in us to be good stewards of her generosity.”

Hassett also noted that the grant is especially valuable at a time when the multiple challenges of a devastating tornado and the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a shortfall of fundraising. The grant will prevent cuts to the more than 100 nonprofit agencies that rely on United Way to continue their work with underserved communities.

For more information on the United Way of Greater Nashville and its mission to serve the community, visit unitedwaygreaternashville.org.

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Great Ways to Give This Holiday Season!
A reminder that the 104th Annual Fannie Battle Caroling for Kids is running through December 24. This major fundraiser for Fannie Battle’s mission of combating poverty and building better futures for children has been an annual tradition since 1916, and this year’s event is going virtual. For more info, visit the Caroling for Kids webpage.

The Turnip Truck is giving customers the opportunity to add to their totals and donate to Nashville Tree Conservation Corps and their mission to replace trees downed by tornadoes. The fundraising campaign runs through December 31. For more information on the NTCC and its efforts visit nashvilletreeconservationcorps.org.

United Way of Greater Nashville and the Tennessee Titans are offering an exclusive, post-season interactive online Q&A with Titans safety Kevin Byard to all donors who contribute $100 or more through December 31, 2020. “Voice of the Titans,” Mike Keith and Amie Wells of Titans All Access will host the special event. For more information and to make a donation, visit unitedwaygreaternashville.org/year-end-giving.

Manju Now Serving Hot Dumplings and More
For several months Peninsula owner and general manager, Yuriko Say, has been selling her frozen pork and shrimp dumplings from her Manju pop-up shop at Peninsula’s take-out window. Now those same dumplings are also available from Manju in Peninsula at 1035 W. Eastland Ave. as a hot to-go item along with char siu bao (steamed Cantonese BBQ pork buns), and more.

Frozen items may now be pre-ordered anytime online and picked up every Tuesday and Thursday between 3 and 8 p.m., with call-in and walk-up ordering available during the same hours. Hot food orders may also be placed by phone or in-person, and will only available on Thursdays, 3-8 p.m. Online ordering will be added soon.

For more info and to check out Manju’s complete menu, visit Peninsula Goods.

Quick Bits

  • The Treehouse recently announced their new Executive Chef Richard Jones. Formally with Nashville’s Green Door Gourmet, Jones’ full menu roll out for The Treehouse is coming January 2021. To stay up to date, follow The Treehouse on Facebook.
  • Atlanta-based Wood Partners is planning a mixed-use project for 900 and 914 E. Trinity Lane, next to the Metro Police Department East Precinct. The proposed development would offer a residential, retail, restaurant, and creative maker/office space. The Metro Planning Commission approved rezoning last week for the 5.9-acre combined properties with a possible 2024 completion date.
  • The former gas station at 1100 Riverside Drive was recently listed for sale with an asking price of $1.4 million. The 0.37-acre lot, on the corner of Riverside Drive and Rosebank Avenue, is currently home to Autry Automotive.
  • Plans for a seven-building apartment development have been announced for Madison at 600 Creative Way.
  • Brooklyn Bowl Nashville will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Celebration with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit on Thursday, December 31 at 8 p.m. CST, streaming on FANS Livestream. More info, tickets, and exclusive poster bundles are on sale now at FANS.
  • It was announced several months ago that The Pharmacy would be expanding their burger operations to the soon to open Assembly Food Hall in The Fifth + Broadway district. This week, they announced they will also be opening Pharmacy Wurst in the same location, focusing on German-style sausages that will be ground and smoked in-house, just as they are at The Pharmacy Burger’s original East Nashville location.
  • Finally, check out this great cover of the J.J. Cale classic, “Crazy Mama,” by Todd Snider and his pal JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic. Snider recorded a clip for the Dec. 6 edition of his First Agnostic Church of Hope & Wonder livestream series. J.J. Cale’s original version of “Crazy Mama” was cut in Nashville in the summer of 1970 with the great Mac Gayden playing slide guitar. New installments of Snider’s livestream can be viewed on Snider’s YouTube channel every Sunday at 11 CT.