East Side Buzz, July 9

Howdy neighbors! Summer is upon us and you know what that means? Tomato Art Fest! This year’s event promises a return to form, with a fun-filled day sure to be had by one and all. We think 18 years running constitutes a tradition, and this tradition is like no other. Where else can one find a festival built around art with a tomato-centric focus? Nowhere, that’s where. This celebration of a uniter not a divider brings together the fruits and vegetables big and small, old and young. And to top it off, Aaron Lee Tasjan headlines the opening night of music. So, mark your calendars for Friday, Aug. 13, and Saturday, Aug.14, if you haven’t already — and we’ll see you there!

Speaking of Tomato Art Fest, our July/August edition hits the streets next Friday and includes the festival map as well as the event lineup. Make sure to grab one and get a jump on planning your festival experience. The cover feature is the amazing Lawrence Rothman interviewed by Amanda Shires and accompanied by gorgeous photography by our very own Travis Commeau. His forthcoming record, Good Morning, America, features Amanda, Lucinda Williams, Katie Pruitt, and Caroline Rose — and it’s stunning.

Share Your East Bank Ideas

This Wednesday and Thursday members of the Metro Planning Department and architecture firm Perkins Eastman will host Imagine East Bank workshops so the public can learn more about and share their ideas for the impending East Bank development.

“These public workshops are an early opportunity for residents to hear some context around the project and then provide some feedback on things they’d like to see, which will then inform our overall plan design,” says Anna Grider of Metro Planning. “For example, the East Bank is along the riverfront so what kinds of public amenities do people want to see? How do these things fit into an updated land-use plan?”

Each meeting will begin with a short presentation, Grider says, and then guests will be invited to visit interactive stations. 

“They’ll be prompted to think about things like open spaces and programming, authentic placemaking, ease of mobility, housing and development, and how we enhance our riverfront/ Facilitators will have prompts to generate ideas and a conversation but ultimately, we’re just here to listen, and occasionally make sure we’re not veering off into some ideas that wouldn’t be feasible.”

Participants looking to share their input aren’t required to stay for a full session — it’s open-house style, so come by as your schedule allows, and sessions will take place at the Cumberland River Compact on the third floor of the Bridge Building (fun fact: That’s where the SWAT team was stuck during the city’s firework show!) July 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m., and July 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

There’s free parking in Lot R Northwest at Nissan Stadium and each session will be practicing social distancing, too. (This week Nashville got its first recorded case of the Delta variant, after all.)

Grider also says these workshops won’t be the only opportunity to participate in community feedback. 

“We want to ensure we get this space right for our residents in a way that enhances the possibilities of the East Bank but also stays true to the area as well,” she says. “For those who cannot make it to one of the three public workshops, we’ll be making the presentation and a survey available online for people to provide feedback until July 22nd. Then we’ll work with the team at Perkins Eastman to build out concepts from these meetings and present ideas at the next round of public workshops in late August. In order to truly create a space for residents, we need their feedback.”

Visit eastbankstudy.nashville.gov for more information. You can also email your input to the Metro Planning Committee at eastbankinfo@nashville.gov.

With more than 330 acres of land to account for, there will be a lot of different things to consider, but I’m really hoping plans include a little ferry that crosses the Cumberland. Like the Clees Ferry! Bring back the Clees Ferry. Make it pedestrian traffic only, charge $15 a head, let kids ride free, have it run from East Nashville to Downtown via a scenic 15-minute ride past the skyline, and BOOM, we’re all rich. 

International Tea and Coffee Company Now Open in New Space

The International Tea and Coffee Company has officially moved into their new, larger space at Shoppes on Fatherland. Over the winter the Pavillion East event space was renovated and reworked to accommodate larger shop spaces. Rusty Rats Antiques moved into one of the other new storefronts earlier this year.

The new spaces are 800-square-feet, almost triple the 300-square-foot spaces both International Tea and Coffee Company and Rusty Rats occupied before. International Tea and Coffee Company’s owner Laura Thompson says having the extra space has allowed her to expand the shop’s menu — there are more espresso drink and tea latte options, she says — and she now offers seating, a pastry case with treats from In Good Company and Something Sweet, and more retail space for houseplants, art by local artists (she is currently carrying pieces by jazz musician Monica Shriver), and honey, coffee and, spices from other local vendors.

There is one hiccup in the grand opening excitement: Like so many other bubble tea shops in the area, Thompson says she, too, is finding it hard to keep boba necessities in stock.

“The boba supplies shortage is very real,” says Thompson. “I put in an order in April for this new shop opening and I still don’t have the items. I just placed another order through another supplier and paid a ridiculous shipping fee to hopefully not run out of supplies. We are running on bare-bones right now. A few of the drinks I added into the new menu we don’t currently have due to the shortage.”

International Tea & Coffee is open Wed—Thu, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri—Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Follow them on Instagram for drink specials and boba updates.

Fifth Avenue North to be Renamed Rep. John Lewis Way

Next week a portion of Fifth Avenue North will be renamed Rep. John Lewis Way to recognize the work Lewis did to desegregate local lunch counters. Rep. John Lewis Way will span from Jefferson Street in Germantown to Oak Street on Rutledge Hill. 

After high school, Rep. John Lewis moved to Nashville to attend the American Baptist Theological Seminary. He led the lunch counter sit-ins in downtown Nashville in 1960, resulting in his first arrest, and he went on to become one of the original “Freedom Riders,” a group of civil rights activists who were beaten and arrested while touring the South and challenging segregation laws.

On Friday, Fisk University and others will host a memorial service at First Baptist Church, with speakers remembering Rep. Lewis and his time in Nashville. Then on Saturday, the dedication ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at the corner of Jefferson Street and Rep. John Lewis Way. Mayor John Cooper and councilwoman Zulfat Suara will speak and then everyone is invited to participate in a march up Rep. John Lewis Way to the Ryman for a celebration at 11 a.m. More info here.

Quick Bits

Love Buzz

This week Alanna Royale debuts their new song “Fall in Love Again.” The rich R&B jam is exactly what the people need to bring them out of their COVID caves and out into a summer of love. The swelling strings and blasts of horns call back to R&B legends like Gladys Knight & the Pips while Royal’s velvet vocals make it impossible not to think of some of history’s more romantic, captivating voices like Donna Summers. 

Alanna Royale are marking the release of their new single with a limited-capacity show — their first post-pandemic performance — at Exit/In on Saturday, July 17. Catch ‘em while you can — the band will be touring this summer and into the fall, including September and October West Coast dates supporting Monophonics. Tickets to Saturday’s show are available here.