Allison Russell has been nominated for the Americana Awards Emerging Arts of the Year. Photo by Marc Baptiste

East Side Buzz, May 28

Happy Friday! It’s almost time for the May/June issue to hit the streets. Are you ready? Have you done some light stretching? Are you staying hydrated? It’s important to always be prepared!

If you’re staying in town this weekend and looking for a good time, head to the East Park on Sunday, May 30, for Nashville Helping Nashville, the all-star musical benefit to preserve the independence of the Exit/In.

Read more in our post about this weekend’s show, and where the Exit/In’s fundraising stands right now, here.

And for a great way to make an early start, don’t miss the Get Happier Fridays show at the OG Basement this evening. With a stellar lineup featuring, in no particular order, Langhorne Slim, Jillette Johnson, Alicia Blue, and Joe, Marc’s Brother. On top of all that yummy goodness, Is She Weird? — a very special set of Pixies tunes featuring Bobby Bare, Jr. and Aaron Lee Tasjan.

It’s on, weather permitting. Should they call it off today, it’ll happen tomorrow. Stay tuned to our socials for updates. Gates at 4:30, show at music starts at 5 pm.

The Good News: The Nashville Free Store Is Moving

Since July the Nashville Free Store, located on Dickerson inside Drkmttr, has been inviting their East Nashville neighbors to shop their shelves and grab whatever they may need, no questions asked. The Free Store first opened as a way to put to good use a concert-less music venue and the Nashville Free Store has since provided mutual aid — groceries, school and office supplies, and cleaning and hygiene products — for hundreds of individuals and families.

The plan was always to find a more permanent space when live music returned and the time has come: This week the Free Store will be closed to the public as volunteers move the shop just up the street to 1213 Dickerson Pike.

“The store will be on the basement level underneath the Employment Opportunities office,” says Lilly DeNunzio, a Nashville Free Store volunteer. “The new location offers us an opportunity to make the Free Store a space that provides a welcoming, well-organized experience and offers purposeful community space, both inside and out.”

What makes the Nashville Free Store different from other charity programs? Organizers say the focus is less on offering specific, temporary handouts and more on providing a variety of long-term mutual aid. Along with supply groceries, the Free Store has also helped shoppers with more specific and urgent needs, including pre-paid cell phones and money for Lyft rides and utility bills.

“We believe that mutual aid is the best way to come together as a community, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says DeNunzio. “Mutual aid is a form of community-based political action that focuses on caring for one another and challenging oppressive systems. It is distinct from charity or non-profit work in that it is collaborative rather than hierarchical. No one should be forced to pay for essential needs, and no one should be turned away or asked for identification. We aim to be a reliable, long-term resource that our community can depend on.”

The hours at the new space will remain the same — donation drop off is every Friday from 1-7 p.m. and shopping is every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and their biggest needs are “diapers, baby wipes, cleaning products, personal hygiene products, shelf-stable food staples, and fresh produce.”

The store will be closed for both physical donations and shopping this weekend as they get the new space ready, but supporters can contribute through Venmo (@nashville-freestore) or recurring monthly Donorbox donations. They regularly post updates — everything from specific community needs to volunteer opportunities — on Instagram, too. If you’d like to volunteer, email nashvillefreestore@gmail.com.

Find out more about the Nashville Free Store in our May/June print edition.

Stock the shelves, shop the shelves, and spread the word.

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The Bad News: The Nashville Community Fridge on Dickerson Pike Is Closing

Last week Drkmttr organizers announced the Nashville Community Fridge outside the venue had to be shut down. They wrote on Instagram, “Codes have been called on us too many times and we can no longer have this happen in order to preserve the space. … We hope to continually support our community through other methods, and we hope this compels others to create more fridges in Nashville.”

This is a big blow to mutual aid efforts in the neighborhood — the Nashville Free Store does great work, but for now, it’s only open once a week. The Community Fridge allowed for 24-hour access and, during the summer, it was able to provide cold bottled water. The community fridge in front of the Elephant Gallery on Buchanan Street is still open and always looking for volunteers to help keep it stocked and clean. If you want to help but don’t have the funds, organizers are able to reimburse folks for fridge-stocking shopping trips. Follow them on Instagram for updates.

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BE-Hive Deli is Open

Hope you vegans are hungry because this week the Be-Hive announced their deli at 2414 Gallatin Ave., is now open to the public for indoor dining for the first time in more than a year. Paired with last week’s Wild Cow reopening and the vegans and vegetarians in this city are set to eat well this summer.

During the pandemic, BE-Hive gave their space a bit of a makeover, too — there are a couple of new tables and booths as well as a small vegan market with their line of not-meat products and vegan grocery staples like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, Better Than Bouillon, and CoolHaus dairy-free ice cream.

You’ve heard of “Hot Girl Summer,” now it’s time for Nacho Tot Girl Summer!

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Selling and Sold

 

Quick Bits

  • There are 751 active cases of COVID-19 in Nashville as of Thursday. Metro Public Health Department still recommends everyone gets vaccinated and vaccines are currently available to everyone 12-years-old and up. Visit asafenashville.org to find a vaccination opportunity near you. Reminder: The Music City Center is only administering the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine through May 28. After that, it’s closed as a vaccination site.
  • Gov. Bill Lee says, “kids do not get sick from Covid.” That is false, false, false, false, false.
  • The pay-what-you-can Pizza Machine food truck might be popping up in East Nashville.
  • In other pizza news, St. Vito’s Focacciaria’s residency at Van Dyke ends next month. Grab their incredible Sicilian pizza while you can. Related: THEY HAVE STARTED SERVING CANNOLI.
  • By the Bottle, the new wine bar in Urban Cowboy, opened Thursday.
  • Did you miss the 5 Spot’s telethon last week? All six hours are archived here. They’re also still accepting donations to help fund their reopening here.
  • The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is looking for volunteers. The festival takes place July 4 at East Park.

Love Buzz

The Americana Music Award nominees were announced this week and holy cow did Music City represent. Four out of the five Album of the Year nominees are currently Tennessee-based — Sturgill Simpson, Valerie June, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and Sarah Jarosz — and three musicians up for Artist of the Year are ours, too. There’s Jason Isbell, Margo Price, and Billy Strings.

For me, though, the most intriguing category is the Emerging Act of the Year — it’s a hell of a selection boasting Charley Crockett, Amethyst Kiah, Joy Oladokun, Allison Russell, and Waxahatchee. I’m a big fan of Waxahatchee, but I’m rooting for the home team on this one, too, hoping the prize goes either to Oladokun or Russell. I refuse to choose between them. That’s a job for the Americana Music Association. 

I’ve already featured Oladokun a bit in Love Buzz over the past couple of months, so this week let’s give some love to Allison Russell who released her debut solo album Outside Child last week. On it, Russell writes about the abuse and trauma she endured as a child while finding and making space for her own experiences as a new mother.

The track that epitomizes Russell’s ability to find strength in her survival is “Nightflyer,” a song she performed this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live alongside Brittney Spencer (also from Nashville) and Brandi Carlile (an honorary Nashvillian).

AMERICANAFEST goes down September 22-25. More info here. And congrats to all the Americana Music Award nominees! Twenty bucks says Brittney Spencer will be on that list next year.