Buick Audra releases “Maybe I'll Fly Instead” Photograph by Anna Haas

East Side Buzz, June 25

This is it! This is the last weekend of Pride Month and this weekend the city will celebrate the legacy of Bianca Page by declaring Carney Street in South Nashville Bianca Paige Way. 

Page was the drag persona of Mark Middleton, an HIV and AIDS activist and founder of the Bianca Paige Awareness Network. When Middleton learned he was HIV positive, he used his popular 1980s drag persona to became a passionate activist — he founded the Bianca Paige Awareness Network to encourage testing and fight stigmas affiliated with HIV and AIDS and friends say Middleton raised more than $1 million dollars for AIDS organizations before he died in 2010 from lymphoma.

The dedication party will be a two-day celebration. On Saturday Mayor John Cooper and Rep. Jim Cooper will cut the ribbon for Bianca Paige Way at 3 p.m., and there will be performances from Chris Houseman, Brody Ray, Shelly Fairchild, Ty Herndon, and many more following. On Saturday, the celebration continues with a pool party at Fleetwood Bar inside the Doubletree’s airport location at 6 p.m. More information and tickets available here

The one, the only, Tomato Art Fest returns in its fully-fledged form on August 13 and 14. That’s right, kids young and old, the heat-soaked celebration of the mighty tomato — a Uniter not a Divider, which makes no distinction between the fruits and the vegetables — is due for a landing in Five Points and we couldn’t be more excited! What’s more, we’ll once again join in the festivities with a July/August special edition where you’ll find the festival map, event guide, and maybe even some tomato erudition.

For the business-executive tomatoes out there, you won’t find a better way to let folks know you’re still here. There’s a direct line between helping us keep the lights on and helping the community we serve. Let us hook you up to our audience in a way that’s best suited to your needs, be it through print and/or digital ads, sponsorships, socials — or all of the above! But wait, there’s more! Voting for the Best of East begins right about the time the July/August edition hits the streets, so don’t miss this opportunity! The deadline for ads is Wednesday, June 30. Our sales team (who call themselves the Wolf Peaches) is standing by to assist with your marketing needs, so act now! sales@theeastnashvillian.com

Edley’s on Main Street Is Moving To Woodland Street

This week Edley’s Bar-B-Que announced they’ll be moving their East Nashville location from 908 Main St. to 1000 Woodland St. at the corner of South 10th St., which was once home to a Family Dollar store. The move will happen next year once the construction of the development is completed. 

Magnolia Investment Partners is overseeing the new development and in March the Nashville Post reported the completed property will feature two eateries joined by an outdoor eating area. Magnolia Investment Partners did not respond to an email asking if the second space has been filled yet.

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St. Vito Focacciaria Is Moving West

Sorry, East Nashville, but St. Vito Focacciaria has left the neighborhood. The popular pizza peddler’s stint at Van Dyke Bed & Beverage has ended and this week owner Michael Hanna announced the pop-up restaurant’s next residency will be at Hathorne on Charlotte Pike starting July 18. Reservations open July 7. 

Van Dyke Bed & Beverage hasn’t yet announced who their next guest will be, but they tell me they will continue to work with local pop-up eateries including Kapu Haole, and they’ll announce their next residency dates soon.

For now, Van Dyke is hosting Soy Cubano from 4-9 p.m. on Friday and Fox Den Izakaya on Saturday. Saturday is also the Sweet Tea Dance, Van Dyke’s Pride Month celebration. DJ Tore will bring the music and Deep Eddy will be stirring up special drinks.

If you just need that focaccia fix, though, Southwest is running an airfare sale so you can probably find flights to West Nashville for pretty cheap. (LOL get it? Because people are always like, “Ugh, East Nashville is so far!” Or “Boo, West Nashville is like a million hours away!” Oh, people.)

All Aboard the Beer Trolley

As mentioned in last week’s Quick Bits section, East Nashville is about to get a new form of transportainment. Starting July 8, the Music City Brew Hop will take guests on an eight-brewery tour with stops at Smith & Lentz Brewing (903 Main St.), Crazy Gnome Brewery (948 Main St.), TailGate Brewery East (811 Gallatin Ave.), Southern Grist Brewing Co (1201 Porter Road), Living Waters Brewing (1056 E Trinity Ln #101), and East Nashville Beer Works (320 E Trinity Lane), and Barrique Brewing & Blending (30 Oldham St.) on the East Side, as well as Bearded Iris Brewing (101 Van Buren St.) in Germantown. 

I know what you’re thinking! Or, at least, I know what I thought when I first read the news: Is this just another obnoxious, traffic-polluting form of transportainment that caters to the growing tourism industry while overlooking the negative impact it has on neighborhoods and Nashville residents? 

Music City Brew Hop’s founder Adam Smith, an East Nashville native, hopes that’s not the case. 

“I like to think it is a healthy medium between what you are currently seeing on Broadway and the national bus chains giving Nashville tours,” Smith tells The East Nashvillian. “There are no bells and whistles on the trolley, just vintage wood, a local tour guide, and some good tunes. I did invest in a nice sound system for the trolley that is exactly what it is, nice. We are not blasting guest’s eardrums, but using the system as a way to enhance the community aspect of our mission.”

All the music, Smith says, will be from local artists, including Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, and Billy Strings as well as folks that “often play places like The 5 Spot or Dee’s” like LadyCouch, Alanna Royale, Molly Tuttle, and more. Another difference, the trolley is also family-friendly.

“I’ve learned over the years that breweries are all-welcoming to not only beer lovers but also families, and we certainly follow that culture,” he says.

Smith says he has nearly 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He worked in operations at Lowes Vanderbilt in the early 2000s and in sales and events at The Sheraton Grand Downtown after that. He met his wife while working on the sales team at the Music City Center, and most recently he was the general manager and director of sales for the Mint Julep Experiences Nashville.

Though he now lives in Madison, Smith says he chose East Nashville as the tour’s first neighborhood because that’s where he used to live — his parents lived on Golf Street when he was born in 1981 — and it’s where he developed his own appreciation for well-crafted beer.

“I was often in the taprooms of these places for years prior to the pandemic and developed many friendships with the people who worked there, which was normally also the people who had the vision to start the brewery,” he says.

“I feel like there is a perfectly well-rounded beer palate as you navigate through the Eastside neighborhoods. Kettle sours at Southern Grist, Lagers at East Nashville Beer Works, IPA’s at Bearded Iris, even the coffee at Living Waters is amazing! Barrique Brewing reminds me of when the Wicked Weed Funkatorium started in Asheville — really cool stuff.”

One participating brewery, Living Waters Brewing, is optimistic, too. Owner Ryan McCay says he believes the Music City Brew Hop will be more of a designated driver experience less focused on the Broadway crowd, and the bump in business could help the brewery recover from the hits it took in 2020.

“Business has been better since everything has reopened but it hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic level,” says McCay. “Hopefully [the Music City Brew Hop] brings in folks that haven’t had our products before and offers them a chance to see the Nashville brewing scene in a responsible way.”

OK, I’ll admit it, I’m intrigued. But if even one bachelorette party screams at me from that trolley, so help me God I will burn every bridesmaid sash and dick straw in the state.

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Quick Bits

Love Buzz

I know, I know, I gush about Joy Oladokun a LOT in Love Buzz. But she lives in East Nashville, she has an amazing dog and, oh yeah, she’s a goddamn stellar talent, a songwriter who’s unafraid to put her entire self out there when writing songs about being a Black woman in America and growing up queer in a conservative, religious family.  

This week she performed her song “Sunday” from her new album “In Defense of My Own Happiness” for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — the performance was filmed at The National Museum of African American Music.

 

We’re also inclined to unabashedly gush about the amazing Buick Audra, whose second solo single, “Maybe I’ll Fly Instead,” drops today. Sonically speaking, it’s a mellow departure from the full-throttle onslaught of her band Friendship Commanders — the duo with her husband Jerry Roe. Lyrically, Audra describes it as “a song about choosing different behaviors than the ones that have gotten you the same (painful) results in the past.” Makes perfect sense, though as you might relate, easier said than done. But Audra doesn’t shy away from putting herself out there, and she does so from a place of hope — that sharing her experiences will allow others to realize they aren’t alone. So, without further adieu, here’s ”Maybe I’ll Fly Instead“ Written & produced by Buick Audra. Video directed, shot, and edited by Jerry Roe.