Friendship Commanders: Jerry Roe & Buick Audra. Photo by Anna Haas

East Side Buzz, November 5

Welcome to your weekly Buzz. Of note: Check out the story on Metro Council and school redistricting. This only happens once every 10 years and has direct implications for your community. Also, have you ever been stuck behind a party bus full of drunken revelers while crossing the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge? Read on. Plus, some killer new music from Friendship Commanders and Vera Bloom in this week’s “Love Buzz.”

Matters of Development

The Little Free Art Gallery — a dollhouse-like art gallery sitting on a roadside post — has been erected on Sharpe Avenue between Chapel Avenue and Manchester Avenue. Visitors are free to take or leave a miniature art piece from the gallery, and there’s a dropbox attached to the post where you can leave your artwork if there’s no room in the gallery to display it when you come by.

East Nashville Pediatrics, a pediatric primary care office specializing in the care of children and adolescents, plans to open its doors in December at 3926 Gallatin Pike, Suite 2. “We support families with positivity, personal connection, and evidence-based care,” the business’s website says.

Elder’s Ace Hardware is aiming to be open by Thanksgiving at the old Save-A-Lot building located at 2622 Gallatin Pike.

East Nail Bar has opened at 819 Main St., Suite 2. The salon is advertised as a BYOB, “Nash-Vegas-style salon,” also offering free wine and beer. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 615.922.2990. 

Iconic downtown diner Hermitage Cafe permanently closed its doors Halloween night, after more than 30 years of business. 

Beer joint and karaoke hangout Fran’s East Side, 2105 Greenwood Ave., was said to be closing Halloween weekend, but it was announced during Saturday’s “End of the Line” farewell party that the bar will stay open at its current location until the end of the year. 

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Metro Planning Department Releases Redistricting Feedback

On Thursday the Metro Planning Department shared community feedback on the initial redistricting drafts maps, which were released Oct. 15. 

The 98-page report is available on the Planning Department’s redistricting website.

Feedback on the initial draft maps, referred to as Proposal A, came from public meetings, Planning Department drop-in hours, virtual events, an online survey, and emails. It included multiple comments addressing Proposal A dividing the McFerrin Park neighborhood, currently in District 5, into Districts 5 and 6. 

“My wife and I are completely against your plans to divide McFerrin Park into two districts and the attempt to take huge business growth from District 5. We have lived here for eight years and McFerrin Park is a community. … Our current councilman, Sean Parker, and our residents have worked too hard to turn around McFerrin Park as a safe and vibrant neighborhood for you to divide us by gerrymandering our district,” Brad and Harmony Lopez wrote in an email to the Planning Department. 

Megan Howard commented online to the Planning Department on the proposed growth of District 7. “It seems that District 7 is significantly increasing in size, so we would have one council member covering Inglewood, Shelby Park, and neighborhoods closer to Madison,” she wrote. “I have concerns that one council person would have to intimately know several neighborhoods in order to best advocate for this area. With predatory developers buying more property daily, I’m worried about how quickly the neighborhood could change with a district this size.” 

The updated draft maps, Proposal B, are scheduled to be released on the Planning Department’s redistricting website sometime today, Friday. The drafts will incorporate suggestions where possible. 

Metro Planning will reopen the online survey for residents to provide feedback and compare Proposal A to Proposal B. Additionally, it will have staff available for drop-in visits at the Planning Department and continue to take feedback via email. 

The Planning Department’s goal is to present redistricting maps to the Planning Commission on November 18. 

“Ideally we’d really like to get it to the Planning Commission for the Nov. 18 meeting, but it depends on how much feedback we get for this proposal,” said Planning Department Public Information Officer Richel Albright. 

Metro Council could adopt new district lines in December or January. 

The redistricting — likely to affect East Nashville — is part of a regular redrawing of Metro Council and School Board district lines, which happens every 10 years. 

“The idea is we have 35 Council districts. They’re each supposed to have a roughly equal population, within a certain plus or minus,” District 6 Councilmember Brett Withers said last month. 

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ShowerUp Nashville Collecting Candy For Those Experiencing Homelessness

ShowerUp Nashville, a local non-profit providing mobile showers and personal care items for those experiencing homelessness, is collecting unwanted Halloween candy for those in need. 

“It’s something we’ve done for every year, and really the point is a lot of our friends experiencing homelessness they don’t have a chance to go trick-or-treating,” said ShowerUp Executive Director Paul Schmitz. 

Nashvillians with unwanted Halloween candy can contact ShowerUp Nashville, either through its website or social media (@showerupnashville) and the organization will arrange a pickup or drop-off location. 

The candy will then be distributed to adults at ShowerUp Nashville’s seven weekly pop-up shower locations, including Old Tent City and War Memorial Plaza.

“When we take a bowl of candy out, it’s literally gone in five minutes,” Schmitz said. 

ShowerUp Nashville has been collecting candy for five years. 

“It was a matter of we had some extra candy, our friends had some extra candy — it happened organically, it wasn’t something we strategically set out to do,” Schmitz said. 

Founded in Nashville, the organization has expanded to Huntsville, Alabama, Wichita, Kansas, and Chicago. 

“We provide mobile showers and personal care for those who are experiencing homelessness and anyone in need,” Schmitz said. “Any toiletries, any hygiene items, anything of that nature. Towels. We provide a clean, hot, private shower.” 

ShowerUp Nashville also accepts donations and is always looking for volunteers.

“There’s no experience necessary, and the engagement part is very simple — and we take people of all ages,” Schmitz said. 

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Safe Fun Nashville Reacts to Party Vehicle “Stunt”

Safe Fun Nashville, a coalition of downtown residents, business owners, and community members calling for party vehicle regulation, isn’t having much fun. 

The group issued a press release on Oct. 29, in response to what it said was a “stunt” by party vehicle operators earlier the same day. “Party vehicle operators deliberately disrupted traffic, caused safety hazards, and held up Nashvillians in downtown and midtown from getting to work Friday morning,” the release said.

This came just over a week after Metro Council’s adoption of a bill regulating the party vehicle industry.

“Once again these selfish unregulated party bus operators are holding downtown Nashville hostage. Their arguments against regulation hold no water. The handful of jobs they represent pale in comparison to the thousands of jobs Nashville stands to lose as they unsafely migrate the loud bar activity of Lower Broadway to every corner of Nashville disturbing commerce, workers, students, and residents along the way,” said Jim Schmitz, Safe Fun Nashville co-organizer. “They’ve had years to regulate themselves and have done nothing. Now they are upset that those they’ve harmed over this time have said ‘enough is enough?’ The safety and rights of the many outweigh the inconvenience of common-sense regulation on the few.” 

The statement did not name specific party vehicle operators. 

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Quick Bits

  • Metro Codes put a moldy East Nashville apartment complex on notice, according to WZTVExperts look at the effect of single-family zoning on inequality in Tennessee, in a recent Tennessee Lookout piece.
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville marathon will take place on Nov. 20. Road closure information is available on the event website.
  • The American Legion Post 82, 3204 Gallatin Pike, will host a Veterans appreciation luncheon and open house on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11. The event will include a complimentary lunch and live music. It begins at 3 p.m.
  • Beginning on Monday, the Metro Public Health Department will make a modified version of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available to children aged 5-11. The drive-thru sites, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., are located at 2491 Murfreesboro Pike and 350 28th Ave. N. MPHD will also partner with Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide additional locations.
  • Davidson County COVID-19 testing and vaccination centers will open one hour later, at 8 a.m., due to cold weather on Friday. Beginning Nov. 8, new operating hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The centers will also be closed on holidays.
  • MusiCares and Melissa Cherry from The People’s Alliance for Transit Housing and Employment will offer the free webinar, “Eviction Moratorium: Nashville Renters Rights,” Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. Register here

Love Buzz

Friendship Commanders

“Altar” — the new single out today from Friendship Commanders — gives voice to the recent revelations about the psychological harm social media companies have been well aware of for years from the perspective of someone who’s recognized this for a long time. The music is heavy, as it should be for such a weighty subject, with Buick Audra (vocals/guitar) and Jerry Roe (drums/bass) delivering a crushing musical indictment of the “look at me” landscape created by the money-grubbers of Silicon Valley.

At the altar of outside opinion, no one is safe
At the altar of outside opinion, you’re just a name on the wall, name to be called

In summing up the conceptual idea behind “Altar,” Audra said, “It takes a toll on my mental health, the amount of comparison and competitiveness that now exists because of social media and streaming platform numbers, and that’s all on top of what has always existed: the idea that none of us are enough, that we constantly have to be in a state of impressing someone. And who is that someone? Some dude in an office who rates you on size, shape, and age, and calls it a day? Hard pass. That life almost stripped me of myself years ago; I’m deeply protective of who I am and what I make now, and I think we all should be. Let’s stop offering ourselves up to be rated.” Indeed. Anyone seeking respite from the barrage of not-good-enough/better-than bullshit swirling around between the ears can find it in a 2:43 minute listen.

Also out today from the band is “Land of Men,” which continues FC’s mission to smash the sacred cows of societal assumptions on the rocks of reality — in this case, with a song that asks white cis men if they’ve ever considered their own privilege as a basis for their success.

No one ever asks why they
All look just like you

“I was at a virtual conference this summer and an older white man was congratulating himself on his success in his career, and I just hit a wall with it,” said Audra. “I considered the idea that the men who are always so impressed with themselves likely spend little-to-no time considering that it’s not as easy for everyone else. They don’t have to! They accept their privilege as fact and expect the rest of us to do the same. No. As a woman making work in Nashville, a town with an industry that is completely overrun by this make and model of person: NO. Enough. The idea that all these dudes earned what they have is laughable. And frankly, I’m over trying to work with them. When someone like me does advocate for change, they put it back in my lap as an attitude problem. It’s tiresome.”

Friendship Commanders continue to move forward, fearlessly. —Chuck Allen

Vera Bloom

It was earlier this year, during a livestream recorded in March at The 5 Spot, when I first heard Vera Bloom’s song “Say Goodbye.” Though it didn’t appear on any of her recordings at the time, the chorus played on loop in my head for weeks after, with Bloom delivering the memorable opening line, “You seem to forget I’m a fucking queen!” with every ounce of go-fuck-yourself energy she can summon from her gut. 

In October, Bloom released “Say Goodbye” as a single and it’s every bit the fun and thrashy break-up anthem I remember it to be. In it Bloom recalls the good parts of a relationship – “You made me laugh / you made me smile / I hadn’t felt that in a while” – before admonishing her ex for being a lying gaslighter. 

And yes, the chorus is a hell of a hook: 

“You seem to forget I’m a fucking queen / You stole my crown, you really let me down / My heart is stone when I think of you / You’re just a sound that I can’t make out / And I don’t care, say goodbye / Yeah, I don’t care about you tonight.” 

Brilliantly, it all ends with a feedback-laden, early Weezer-sounding guitar solo, aka air-guitar perfection for at-home listeners.

The song is about more than Bloom just screaming out her frustrations, though. On Instagram, she wrote

“I needed to write this song to heal, and it worked, it helped. I got anger out, I still get anger out through it. But, I’ve moved on. I’ve transformed sadness and anger into peace and wisdom. That line we all love, ‘You seem to forget I’m a fucking queen,’ was once a reminder to someone else but now it’s a reminder to myself to not forget it and give myself the self-love and respect that I deserve and expect from others.” —Megan Seling