East Side Buzz: Tomato Art Fest Features Installation Art, Hokus Pokus Pinball Room, Highland Heights Helps a Neighbor, Nashville Rep and Tailgate Brewery to Create Signature Brew, and more

The March/April issue is in the works and time is limited to reserve your ad space! We’re increasing our distribution 20 percent, which translates to 50,000+ hard copy readers per issue.

Not only that, with the launch of our new website our advertisers have the opportunity to reach an even larger audience by taking advantage of several new options for digital/print ad packages.

All new advertisers (or those that haven’t advertised in the last 90 days) that take advantage of an ad opportunity for the March/April issue will automatically be placed in a drawing for an online East Side Buzz package valued at $800.

For more info and to lock in your ad, please email Lisa McCauley: lisa@theeastnashvillian.com

To check out our January/February issue click here.

And here’s the latest round of East Nashville news:

HENMA’s East Nashvillian of the Year Awards at Lyra

The Historic East Nashville Merchants Association (HENMA) hosted the East Nashvillian of the Year awards at Lyra on Feb. 11.

The 2018 East Nashvillian of the Year: Business is Lockeland Table, and the 2018 East Nashvillian of the Year: Citizen is Anthony Davis.

Several members of the community attended the ceremony to celebrate these outstanding individuals and stuck around to enjoy Lyra’s modern Middle Eastern cuisine.

HENMA is looking for new board members. If you’d like more information, please contact Lisa McCauley at lisa@theeastnashvillian.com.

Tomato Art Fest Features Installation Art for the First Time

Celebrating its 15th year, the Tomato Art Fest is looking forward to featuring installation art for the first time.

This year the festival is committed to showcasing more community art and interactive pieces. The installations will be present as you first step into the event, and will continue along your journey throughout the festival grounds.

The festival is inviting artists to submit their applications to participate. Multiple installations may be chosen to receive funding to bring their art to life in the heart of East Nashville the weekend of Aug. 9-10 for the 2019 Tomato Art Fest. Projects of all shapes, sizes, and costs will be considered and awarded accordingly.

Applications are still open and the deadline to submit is Feb. 22. Click here if you’d like to apply and contribute to the beautiful Tomato Art Fest community!

Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour Wins Big at the Grammy’s

The East Nashvillian congratulates Kacey Musgraves, who took home four Grammys — including the Album of the Year award for Golden Hour, on Sunday evening.

Kelly Christine Sutton/BT PR
Photo: Kelly Christine Sutton/BT PR

“Oh my God. Oh my God! I don’t even know what to say,” Musgraves said in her acceptance speech. “It was unbelievable to be even in a category with such gigantic albums, really brilliant works of art. It’s really crazy, but I’m very thankful. And I know that winning this doesn’t make my album any better than anybody else’s in that category. They’re all so good. Life is pretty tumultuous right now for all of us, it can feel that way, and I feel like because of that, art is really thriving, and it’s been really beautiful to see that. Thank you for championing mine.”

A huge congratulation also goes out to the Golden Hour co-producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian.

Additionally, Musgraves took home awards for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance, and Best Country Song.

Another outstanding female artist that wowed the audience with her powerful performance is Americana artist Brandi Carlile, who took home three Grammy’s including Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Song, and Best American Roots Performance.

To see the complete list of winners and nominees click here.

Hokus Pokus Pinball Room in the Works

Hokus Pokus, the premier vape shop located in Inglewood, is adding another unique establishment to the community.

Wade Kemp, the owner of Hokus Pokus, is converting the corner space next to the vape shop into a pinball room. As an extension of the vape shop, the additional area is an intimate-sized room that will focus solely on pinball machines.

“We’ll have five or six [pinball machines] and a change machine,” says Kemp.

All of the pinball machines will be new, and there’s the possibility that Kemp might add a cocktail table and chairs in the back of the space.

“The space isn’t big enough for high volume,” says Kemp. “This is a place for those that want to play pinball and don’t want to be bothered. You may want to come into the shop, pick up a bottle of juice, and then go next door to play a few dollars in pinball.”

“When people come in from out of state they look on a pin locator to see what places have pinball machines, so we’re also catering to pinball enthusiasts,” says Kemp.

The vape shop will celebrate its fifth anniversary this June. Beyond featuring fresh, high-quality e-juices for vaping needs, the shop also carries CBD and hemp oil products. Hokus Pokus also possesses a thorough knowledge of any items they sell.

“I have people call me up all the time with questions,” says Kemp. “Sometimes I have customers call me that just want to talk. They’ll say, ‘Wade, I just want to hear your voice. You cheer me up and get me going every time I talk to you,’ and that’s the way I like my community to feel. We’re very personable here.”

The pinball arcade is set to open sometime between mid-March and the beginning of April.

As a fourth generation East Nashvillian who greets everyone with a handshake and a friendly smile, Kemp will most likely be there to welcome you.

“We’ve always let the customers grow the business according to their needs,” says Kemp. “We’re customer oriented, if you’re happy when you leave this shop, that’s all the matters to me. I want you happy, satisfied, and feeling better,” says Kemp.

For updates follow Hokus Pokus on Facebook.

Band of Coders Opens Office in Center 615

Atlanta-based software development company Band of Coders has opened an office in Center 615.

According to their website, Band of Coders classifies themselves as, “an elite team of product managers, software architects, and developers who partner with business executives to build their next successful product.”

The new operation is in the hands of Nashville native, Joseph Banta, who has more than 22 years of experience in software engineering and has served the Middle Tennessee community for his entire professional career, reports the Nashville Post. Banta is also an organizer for Nashville Mobile Developers User Group, a networking organization for the local tech scene.

Photo: Courtesy of Center 615

Banta will lead the Band of Coders new Nashville office as managing director. He currently serves as its sole employee, but as the company settles into the new area and begins to attract local clients, plans call for it to employ up to 20 people.

Band of Coders holds an impressive client roster which includes Fortune 500 companies such as Virgin, AT&T, Verizon, as well as many others including venture-funded startups.

“Band of Coders presents the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. I’m excited to bring world-class software development to my community in Nashville,” Banta says in an official Band of Coders’ press release.

Highland Heights Community Helps a Neighbor in Need

The Highland Heights neighborhood is coming together to help one of their neighbors in need.

Jerry Judkins, known as JJ to his friends, has been a part of the East Nashville community for 65 years.

“We’ve all seen JJ walking in the neighborhood for years with his dog,” says Jessica Burrell Wilkens, JJ’s neighbor.

Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Burrell Wilkens

“We’d say hello and wave like you would to any neighbor. He always had the friendliest smile. In January he was found sitting in the rain, temperatures dropping and clearly needing medical attention. At this point we found out his backstory and that he was homeless. We had a neighborhood meeting that night to figure out how to help JJ.”

JJ has been homeless for about five years now. For 23 years he transported bodies for funeral homes and was happily married. When his wife passed away from cancer, he lost connections to his family. He also had to quit his job due to numerous health issues, including untreated diabetes.

Six neighbors have pulled together to help JJ get the medical care and housing he needs.

“After we got him to the hospital, we took turns keeping him company and making sure he felt safe,” says Wilkens. “During that week we really got to know JJ. His positive attitude and upbeat personality — despite all he was going through — were inspirational. It opened our hearts and our minds.”

Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Burrell Wilkens

JJ’s neighbors have helped him move into Bristol Terrace, an assisted living facility in Donelson where he will receive the care he needs. He is assigned through his insurance to move from short term physical rehab to assisted living, but it will be at least another 38 days for insurance to approve his transfer.

In the meantime, JJ is pre-paying for his care at the assisted living facility. The community needs to raise a total of $6,600 so that he can swiftly move from his current location to his permanent assisted living home until insurance can take over.

“We appreciate all the support from the community and everyone helping us get JJ’s story out,” says Wilkens. “JJ is incredibly thankful and has been blown away by the kindness he has been shown.”

If you’d like to help JJ, please visit his GoFundMe page.

Nashville Rep and Tailgate Brewery Partner to Create Signature Ingram New Works Brew

The Nashville Repertory Theatre and Ingram New Works Project are brewing a custom beer to promote the Ingram New Works Festival in partnership with Tailgate Brewery.

The Ingram New Works Project was created in 2009 with a generous gift by Nashville Repertory Theatre co-founder Martha R. Ingram.

“Since its inception, the Project has helped change the landscape of American theatre through the creation of 48 new plays, 28 of which have gone on to full productions across the country, including productions on Broadway, off-Broadway and at the NYC Fringe Festival,” says Laura Amond, Director of Grants and Corporate Development at Nashville Rep.

Lab Playwrights – Left to right: Riti Sachdeva, Lindsay Joelle, Dean Poynor, R. Eric Thomas

“The Ingram New Works Project has become nationally recognized and has put Nashville on the map as one of the top locales for theatre arts alongside NYC, Chicago, and LA.”

Now in its 10th year, the program develops emerging voices for the American stage by hosting four playwrights in residence annually to create new plays. The year-long project culminates with the 10-day Ingram New Works Festival in May, where the plays written in Nashville are premiered in staged readings for Nashville audiences.

“While the main stage productions’ typical patrons are in the 35 and up age range, the festival attracts a younger demographic in part because of the contemporary themes being presented through the works,” says Amond. “Last season’s plays offered stories from protagonists who were African American, LGBTQIA, South-Asian American, and Jewish American. Themes included religion, war, race, gentrification, and the impact of social media on human connection.”

In addition to the more contemporary themes, the project’s playwrights and actors are as diverse as the subjects presented. Without giving too much away, Amond says, “This year’s plays explore motherhood, fathers and sons, immigration, reality television, and unexpected connections across time and space.”

The Ingram New Works Festival allows Nashvillians to see works for the first time, give feedback to the playwrights, and to engage diverse artists and audiences given the contemporary themes presented.

2018/19 Ingram Fellow, Sarah Ruhl.

“The community makes our playwrights feel supported immensely,” says Amond. “The audiences are loyal, engaged, and growing in numbers every year. How cool is it to think that Nashvillians may be witnessing and participating in the creative process of a play’s development for a work that may become the next great American classic?”

The Nashville Repertory Theatre’s partnership with Tailgate Brewery was born of the desire to enhance festival offerings while raising awareness with target audiences prior to the festival.

The Ingram New Works Brew will be tapped in all three Nashville-area Tailgate Brewery locations this spring, and Tailgate will be the exclusive beer sponsor for the New Works Festival. A launch party for the new brew is slated for some time in April and will take place at one of the Tailgate Brewery locations.

Click here for more information on the Nashville Repertory Theatre, Ingram New Works Project, and all events.

Quick Bits

― On Mar. 21 Chef Jake Howell of Peninsula will be competing for the crown of Iron Fork champion at Musicians Hall of Fame. Read more at the Nashville Scene.

Only in Your State curated a list of the six best vintage stores in Nashville, and five of them are in East Nashville. Read more at Only in Your State.

― Deadly pedestrian crashes are on the rise in Nashville and Walk Bike Nashville is behind a new petition to make the streets safer for pedestrians. For a list of the 14 most dangerous intersections needing safety improvements read more at WSMV.

― Edley’s East is partnering with East Nashville Beer Works to host a beer pong tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. The entry fee is $10 per team to enter and that includes your first East Nashville Beer Works beer for each player. There will also be prizes for the winners. Sign up here.