Coming Up: The Nashville Wine Auction’s L’Ete du Vin

Now in its 34th year, the Nashville Wine Auction‘s major fundraiser, l’Ete du Vin takes place this month. But leading up to that is a series of wine-focused events, which NWA is calling Pour de France, that gives wine lovers a number of opportunities (and price points) to help raise much-needed funds for seven local organizations dedicated to cancer treatment.

Sylvia Roberts
To kick off the series, NWA hosted Grand Cru, a preview event that took place in mid-June at the home of Sylvia Roberts—aside from boasting a gorgeously appointed wine cellar, the home also happens to play the part of Rayna James‘ house on the ABC television show, Nashville. The night featured various tributes to the show including a showcase of photos of the set that is modeled after the home (so carefully, in fact, that it features working appliances in the kitchen) and hand-held paper masks of the stars.

Rayna James
But, of course, the emphasis of the night was on the wine and driving up excitement for the auction items that will be up for bid at l’Ete du Vin. A note to the wine lovers out there: You do not want to miss this auction. Why? Because you might be walking home with a trip for two to California’s Central Coast, including lunch and a barrel tasting with Au Bon Climat winemaker Jim Clendenen. Or a wine tour for six to the best chateaux of Bordeaux, that includes stops at Chateau Marguax, Chateau Lynch-Bages, and a private tour and tasting at Taittinger. Or an elegant diamond pendant from Luca Carati (for that one, all you have to do is purchase a glass of Tiattigner Comtes du Champagne Blanc de Blanc for a chance to win). Tickets to the Saturday, July 20 event are still available and you can preview the whole auction catalog here.

Wine Cellar
But if your tastes run closer to the $30-and-under range, there’s still an opportunity to join in the fun, including an evening at The Franklin Theatre. On Wednesday, July 17, NWA will host a screening of A Year In Burgundy, which guides viewers through a year in the winemaking process alongside French importer Martine Saunier who will be on hand for a pre-event reception—and yes, there will be wine! ($30 per person, $100 for VIP.) The Vintner’s Tasting takes place on Thursday, July 18 and includes a tasting of a selection of French wines ($135).

Regardless of your level of taste or ability to bid high, the events are sure to bring your appreciation and love of wine to a whole new level—and support a host of important cancer initiatives, too.

Wine Tasting

Pour de France Schedule:

Wednesday, July 17
A Year In Burgundy at The Franklin Theater

Thursday, July 18
Vintner’s Tasting at Hillwood Country Club

Friday, July 19
Patron’s Dinner at The Hermitage Hotel

Saturday, July 20
l’Ete du Vin at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

For tickets and more information, go to nashvillewineauction.com.

Also check out our Wine + Spirits page for recipes, events and more!

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Q&A with Cirque Du Soleil Quidam performer Adrienn Banhegyi

The Cirque Du Soleil performance Quidam comes to Bridgestone Arena this weekend, bringing with it a host of high-flying experts. We caught up with performer and professional jump roper Adrienn Banhegyi to learn more about her experience and what goes into the show.Q3

NL: What brought you to Cirque du Soleil?
Adrienn Banhegyi: (AB)
After 20 or 15 years of competitive jumping rope at one point I was ready to make a transition in my career and that’s when I received an e-mail from the Hungarian Jump Rope Federation that Cirque Du Soleil was looking for a professional jump rope artist. I sent them a video to Montreal, to their headquarters. They invited me for an audition. That was about 8 years ago. [My sister and I] auditioned together. She actually was elected to be part of the show a couple of months after we did the audition while I had to wait for almost 4 years to receive a contract which was for a different show than Quidam.

NL: Jumping rope takes a lot of concentration. Especially when competing, I imagine. Is it difficult to hold that concentration while also focusing on performing?
AB:
Actually that’s something we start our training program with in Montreal once we are selected to be part of a show. They train us to be good actors and artists as well. Because I come from a competitive background most of the time I was focusing on the difficulty and the endurance so it’s a big change to learn how to project the joy I feel inside. When you’re performing and you see how other people react, it helps a lot.

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NL: Cirque du Soleil is known for its eccentric artistic flare and creativity. What’s the most surprising or strange thing you’ve happened upon back stage or in rehearsal?
AB:
The funniest thing that happened was on stage the first time I did the show. We have different roles so, more or less everybody’s main act is almost always perfect, or close to perfect but the side roles add other disciplines. I had to be a momma character and we are rolling in on skateboards laying on our belly and kind of imitating freestyle moves, rolling all the way to the front of the stage. Then we stop for a second and we have to turn. I couldn’t turn my skateboard because my dress got stuck and I was trying to move and I kicked all the lines. For the audience it was probably not that visible because it was not the main thing but everybody back stage was laughing and when I came off, they said, “Ah, momma didn’t make it too well.” There are some funny things happening on stage. It brings a little bit of color to the performance. For the audience it’s something that probably only a person who saw the show, I don’t know, a hundred times would recognize but otherwise it’s something for us to laugh at.

NL: What was the toughest trick for you to master?
AB:
I think one of the most difficult ones is called a release. When you let one handle go, spin the rope around twice and then you grab the handle again and that’s something that you have to be really good with the timing and focus on catching the handle.

NL: Are there any other forms of exercise you use to keep in shape for jumping rope like yoga or pilates?
AB:
I do a lot of different things. I studied physical education and I’m also a pilates instructor and I was teaching [as a physical education teacher for children] before I joined Cirque. It was nice to experience that as well. And I am also a fitness instructor and personal trainer. The nice thing is that when traveling around we have a gym back stage always that is set up in the arena so we have the chance to use very different equipment. And also within the group we have artists who are qualified to give lessons to each other. So we have martial arts classes, pilates; we have dancing, we have personal training. What I try actually is all the aerial things like climbing rope and it’s really a great workout and you have fun spinning around.

NL: As a little girl, did you ever think jumping rope for a living was possible?
AB:
I always wanted to do something that I really liked and my dad is a physical education teacher so he always wanted us to be in sports. I played professional handball but I always stayed with jump rope. I really liked it. The original idea was that if it doesn’t work out, it’s still going to be a really good sport to keep my fitness level. But after a while I said, “No. No. Actually it’s the main thing for me.” I don’t want to do anything else anymore, I just want to do this.

Quidam will perform seven shows June 26-30 at Bridgestone Arena. For a full schedule and tickets, go to cirquedusoleil.com/quidam.

For more of what to do in Nashville, visit our Things to Do page!

— Emily Grace Markanich, editorial intern

Staff Salvation: Soulshine Pizza

We’ve heard plenty of reports about the new Midtown hotspot, Soulshine Pizza Factory, which is why we decided to send the team over to investigate. Longtime readers of Nashville Lifestyles know that we like to treat ourselves to a little post-production outing. Last month, Soulshine truly hit the spot.

Pizza
Music and pizza are at the heart of this massive space. Dozens of original live show posters line the walls and there are a few areas set up for live music including outside on the spacious, covered, second-story roof deck. Inside, pops of color warm up the otherwise industrial room, including the stained glass window panes that take up much of the front wall of the restaurant.

Stained Glass Windows
We were in search of a few lighter, mid-day snacks, so we started with the hummus plate and a heaping Greek salad, layered with iceberg lettuce, artichoke hearts, peppers, onions, olives, and feta. To go along with it, a few of us ordered that day’s cocktail special, called the Tart-y Pants: sweet-tart vodka mixed with sugar-free Red Bull. They also boast a pretty lengthy beer list, with a dozen beers on tap and an even longer bottle list, including a strong showing of Nashville-brewed beers. They also have a signature Soulshine Beer brewed locally by Blackstone Brewery.

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Of course, what we really wanted to try were the pizzas. Fair warning: These are huge pies with a soft, doughy crust but a well-balanced ratio of toppings. The CCR was a hit with our group—it’s grilled chicken, bacon, mozzarella, cheddar tomatoes, and ham—as was the Mediterranean, which we ordered with a whole-wheat crust, and came loaded with shrimp, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. Johnny’s Garden satiated our veggie needs since it was layered with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, broccoli, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives.

Three Pizzas
After filling up on pizza, we took a peek downstairs inside Soulshine’s brand new sister restaurant, the Slider House. More of a burger-and-beer joint, this first-floor neighbor has a number of fun, retro touches like communal bar tables made from old bowling alley floors from the beloved Melrose Lanes. The beer list at Slider House is still getting beefed up but look for an all-can selection of about 50 or more plus a few boxed wines (the good ones). Also on hand? A frozen drinks machine that will pump out Painkillers, a heady concoction of spiced rum, coconut, pineapple, and orange juice.

Between the patios, the tasty offerings, and the constant supply of good music, these two new additions are becoming a one-stop-shop for fun. If you haven’t checked out them out yet, now’s the time.

Soulshine PizzaPhotos by Katie Jacobs

Celebrating our Cover Dog

Nashville Lifestyles May 2013
This isn’t the first time our May 2013 Cover Dog, Bella, has seen the spotlight.
Every week, she is the star of a different show when she visits the community of seniors at the Homewood Residence at Brookmont Terrace in Belle Meade. Showering them with puppy love and with free slobbers, Bella’s a regular.

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The folks at Brookmont hosted a celebration party in her honor and we had the pleasure of being party guests. It was such a sweet afternoon out on the patio enjoying the cutest dog bone cake (made of cupcakes), the dog of honor, and singing along to fun pup-themed songs.

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It was a perfect way to wrap up our People & their Pets issue! For our online pet guide check out NashvilleLifestyles.com — everything from How to Pick a Perfect Pet Sitter to the Top Pet Friendly Hotels in Nashville.

Light: Bruce Munro exhibit at Cheekwood

Katie Jacobs Last night we got the opportunity to step onto the Cheekwood property for the lighting of their new exhibit, Light: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood.

This is the British artist’s second-ever North American exhibition of Light and he was on hand to give us a personal guided tour through his stunning outdoor and indoor art installations.

Bruce Munro
We were floored by just how down-to-earth Munro is—incredibly humble, chit chatting with everyone in attendance, cracking jokes about himself, and encouraging everyone not to over-complicate his work but instead just enjoy its beauty.

Bell Chandelier This was one of my favorites! It is a stunning chandelier of cascading optical fibers in the center of the mansion's rotunda staircase which makes it accessible from all angles.

Bell Chandelier
One of my favorites! It is a stunning chandelier of cascading optical fibers in the center of the mansion’s rotunda staircase which makes it accessible from all angles.

Light installation

Light Shower
A site specific installation of 1,400 teardrop-shaped diffusers in the Mansion Loggia.

Reflecting Pond

Fagin’s Urchins
Created especially for Cheekwood’s reflecting pool, this one is beautiful at twilight.

Cheekwood Lawn

Field of Light
The star of the show—comprised of 20,000 lighted glass spheres and gracing the grounds in front of Cheekwood’s mansion—this installation must be seen in person.

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Water-Towers
Comprised of 40 structures built out of one-liter recyclable plastic bottles filled with water and optical fibers connected to an LED projector and audio system.

While the images here are beautiful, you really MUST go and see it for yourself. It is indescribable in person and something I can guarantee you’ve never seen.

— Katie Jacobs, Creative Director

Find out what else is happening in our What to Do This Weekend review — and enter our contest for a 2014 commemorate Light calendar with some of the featured light sculptures.

Light: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood
May 24 – November 10
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s until 11 p.m.
Adults: $15

A sneak peek at the awe-inspiring new Music City Center

MCC
There are plenty of reasons to get excited about Nashville’s new Music City Center (MCC), which opens to the public this Sunday, May 19. There is the intricate architecture and design (spearheaded by Nashville-based firms Tuck Hinton Architects, Moody-Nolan Architects and Atlanta-based TVS Design), the four-acre green roof, the massive eight-acre exhibition hall floor, and 57,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom which mimics the interior of a guitar. The chef is sourcing from a number of Tennessee farms and can produce up to 20,000 meals per day; the building’s entire energy consumption is offset by 845 solar panels; and there are 32 loading docks hidden away off Korean Veterans Boulevard.

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What we were most inspired by, though, was the generous display of local art used throughout the entire building. Senior Art Consultant Rich Boyd, who previously worked with the Tennessee Arts Commission, helped secure the 101 pieces that now hang in the MCC and explained that 50 of the 59 artists on display are from Tennessee. The Center’s $2 million budget paid for 8 site-specific art installations, including “Composition” (below) by Aaron Stephan, which takes inspiration from small model-making kits and “Euphony,” an arrangement of 25 miles of stainless steel chain cascading down from a 1,400-pound ring, which was created by L.A.-based Ball-Nogues Studio.

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“Composition” by Aaron Stephan

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“Euphony” by Ball-Nogues Studio

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Photographs by local designer Bob Delevante

The Center’s Public Art Committee also sifted through 2,500 submissions, eventually acquiring artwork for 62 different spaces throughout the building. Local artists represented include Fisk University professor Alicia Henry,  photographer and Watkins faculty Caroline Allison (below), Brentwood-native Jamaal Sheats, and mixed media artist Carrie McGee. Next to each piece of art, you’ll find plaques describing the art, along with a QR code that will eventually lead you to more information about the artist (those details are still being put into place, says Boyd.)

Art tours will be available starting June 1, allowing the public to access this massive collection, as well as the interior of the stunning structure itself.

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“Ivy Green. Tuscumbia, Alabama” by Caroline Allison

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“Intimacy and Peace” by Alicia Henry

Find out what else is happening this weekend (May 17-19) in Nashville!

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The Grand Opening of Music City Center kicks off this Sunday, May 19 at 1:30 p.m. with a Community Open House and live entertainment lasting through Monday night. For details, go to nashvillemusiccitycenter.com.

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MCC By The Numbers:

7,300+ people worked on the construction of the building
1.2 million square feet of public space
11,000 tons of steel; 12,000 tons of rebar
150 feet high at its tallest point
18,000 stackable chairs
20,000 meals-per-day kitchen capability
35,000 pieces of china
$130 million spent with minority, small, and women-owned businesses

Announcing Music City Eats, coming this September

Music City Eats

Yesterday afternoon, we dropped by City House to hear about the forthcoming Music City Eats festival scheduled for September 21 & 22, 2013. Clearly, this event has the full support of the city behind it as the announcement was hosted by the NCVB president and CEO Butch Spyridon, Mayor Karl Dean, and the Kings of Leon drummer and lead singer Nathan and Caleb Followill, the latter of which is the brainchild of this exciting new food and music event. The two-day fest will feature a who’s who of  powerhouse culinary talent, including Tom Colicchio, Giada De Laurentiis, Michael Symon, Trisha Yearwood, and Jonathan Waxman, as well as about 20 local luminaries, including Tandy Wilson (City House), Deb Paquette (Etch), and Otaku South’s Sarah Gavigan.

“When I first dreamed up this event, I thought, how do we get more chefs to come to town and understand the beauty of Nashville’s food scene,” said Caleb. “Food is becoming as big a part of this city as music,” he added.

“We’re all in. Financially, as a marketing partner. We’ve committed this date to the future,” said Spyridon. Mayor Karl Dean echoed the sentiment, saying he was on board in supporting the event, adding that  “Nashville is going through a renaissance.”

The event, which is produced by C3 Presents (the Austin Food & Wine Festival; Austin City Limits) will be anchored at Public Square Park and feature a Harvest Night event, showcasing national chef talent, Petty Fest, an all-star musical review, and the two-day Flavors of Nashville featuring food from local chefs plus wine, beer, and spirits. We’ll keep you posted as more details emerge.

Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m. with packages starting at $275.

— Erin B. Murray