Friday, July 08, 2005

Ten things from Nashville

1. The Belcourt Theatre: it’s hard to believe that this small building, a stone’s throw from Vanderbilt University in the neighborhood of Hillsboro Village, once housed the Grand Ole Opry from 1934 to 1936; the theatre has two screens and a calendar that changes frequently.

While in town, Cindy and I saw

  • Greg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2005), a film about pedophilia that Todd Solondz wishes he could make, and one that departs from Araki’s ADD style of movie-making. The innovative emotional piece in MS is the victim’s love for the pedophile; plus

  • Lucretia Martel’s The Holy Girl (2004), an elliptical Argentinian film with a beautiful structure: it begins with a focus on location, on place—a Saltan hotel that is the setting for a medical convention and for a matrix of longing—and spirals out to the local environs and the building’s topology; at the same time, there is a wide funnel of chaotic activity surrounding preparations for the convention at the movie’s onset, narrowing towards a climax at the congress’ finale that is left perfectly unresolved. The coincident spirals—one opening, and one closing—makes for masterful cinema.

    Holy Girl still
    Still from The Holy Girl

Both are recommended.

2. Hatch Show Print: the acme of American vernacular, a working letterpress print shop with great ambience and inspirational design dripping off the walls. Wondrous font for gifts and home decor.

3. Back to Cuba Café: At 4683 Trousdale Drive off of I-65 south of town, this strip-mall find served up the best Cuban food (and the best pork, the delicious dry-roasted lechón) I’ve ever had. Mmmm.

4. The Parthenon in Centennial Park: a weird but cool building with an unusual history, in a beautiful and welcoming public space (discussed at length in an earlier post).


5. Sleater-Kinney at the Cannery Ballroom: the gals are impressively tight in concert, as sharp and well-rehearsed as I have seen since, well, the Talking Heads in their early days. The venue is top-notch, an old warehouse just outside of town along the Eighth Street hipster corridor, with a beautiful sunset view of the skyline through the razor wire. (Inside: an intimate, long room with polished wooden floors and high ceilings, great sound.) And, of course, impossibly sexy drummer Janet Weiss, with shoulder-length locks flaying as she attacks her cymbals.

6. Frist Center for the Visual Arts: The Fragile Species, an exhibition of new work from local artists, the building, originally a magnificent Deco post office and smartly updated by repurposing the original customer service windows, lobby, mailboxes, and so on. (Yes, the family is that of the Majority Leader.)

George Jones playing cards

Many of the artists were faculty from local colleges; I was impressed with Tom Thayer’s work [see #10, below] as well as Adrienne Outlaw’s shadow projections of warped bedsprings, Barbara Yontz’s garments made from hog intestines, and Victor Simmons’s S&H-green-stamp collages.

7. Grimey’s: kickass record store, pointing the way to Fern Jones.

8. The state capitol building: hey, no capitol dome!

9. George Jones playing cards.

10. Tom Thayer: an impressive and enigmatic presence in the Frist Center’s Fragile Species show, and easy to take him in via his semi-extensive website.


Anonymous ReggieH said...

Hatch published a wonderful coffee table book history of the company in 2001

The inside cover of the dust jacket is also a poster. Its a wonderful book, and I'd love to visit the store one day.

10:27 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Thanks, Reggie: duly added to wish list!

11:35 PM  

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