Tag Archives: Nashville Tennessee

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

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.

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.


“Composition” by Aaron Stephan


“Euphony” by Ball-Nogues Studio


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.


“Ivy Green. Tuscumbia, Alabama” by Caroline Allison


“Intimacy and Peace” by Alicia Henry

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

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.


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

Surviving Steeplechase

Steeplechase Survival

It’s time for Steeplechase! One of Nashville’s most iconic spring events, it’s also one of the city’s fastest sporting events. But that doesn’t stop folks from celebrating all day and into the night. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite “Steeplechase Survival Moments” from our own staff and readers. Here are a few of the best:

“One of my first years attending Steeplechase as an ‘adult’ (seated in the prestigious box section instead of the infield), there was a well-known woman in the next box over with the most gorgeous hat she had carefully created using fresh flowers from her garden. It was covered with large, vibrant blossoms and  absolutely stunning. Turns out we weren’t the only ones ‘buzzing’ about it. Between the hat and all of the mint juleps in our box, we were completely swarmed by bees the entire day. I spent the afternoon dealing with a big, swollen sting on my leg.”
— Stacie Standifer

“We always take a party bus to ensure everyone has a safe ride home. One year our party bus had a DJ booth, complete with disco balls and everything. On the ride home, one of the young ladies dressed in her fancy Steeplechase dress and hat stole the microphone from the “official DJ” and busted out a full rap to Eminem! Proof that in Nashville everyone really does think they can sing, or in this case, rap.”
— Amanda Kinzer

“To start the day we had to go door-to-door to find our ‘crew’ before we could even depart for Steeplechase. Then Kaitlin had to sacrifice her underwear for the betterment of society (due to a friend forgetting hers and making the rookie mistake of wearing an extremely short dress). At the end of the day, we lost our crew again, but then found them as we were pulling out of the gates. Moments later the owner of our car and her friend hiked 3 miles back to center field from Highway 100 to find their phones…which they lost because they decided to jump over a fence. Four hours later a Metro Officer knocks on the car window to ask us if we’re missing something. Very concerned that we didn’t know the correct answer, we respond “2 girls”. His answer “are you sure not 3?” and he opens up the back if his squad car and out came our missing friends plus one more. I was told “don’t let me find them again”. In order to survive Steeplechase, one must leash their crew like toddlers in Disney World.”
— Kaitlin Grigsby & Elisabeth Oliphint

“My brother was a record producer back in the  80’s when someone talked him into attending the Iroquois. He was not amused with the hats and the khakis and the pink shirts on men, but he was talked into to placing a bet on a horse. He looked over the field and made his selection as his friends encouraged him on. “It will be fun”, they told my brother “if you place a large amount of money on a race!?

They went on and on about how much fun the race would be with a friendly wager riding on it… he bet,  the horse ran, then the horse got to the first hedge, stopped, looked over at the crowd—no kidding—walked around the hedge and continued the race. My brother was not amused and has not returned. He really should try again!”
— LaRawn Scaife Rhea

Behind the Scenes with American Picker, Mike Wolfe

MW-4Our good buddy Mike Wolfe catches up on past issues of Nashville Lifestyles (who knew this local celeb was an avid NL reader?)

MW-3 MW-2Mike’s motorcycles are spread throughout the house, including one in the dining room, one in the bedroom, and several in the basement.


Get the rest of our in-home tour with Mike on NashvilleLifestyles.com!

Spring Fashion tips from Stylist Tina Adams

Keeping up to date on fashion trends, especially those that can be translated into an office wardrobe, is a seemingly endless pursuit. And while the staff of Nashville Lifestyles is lucky enough to be in direct communication regularly with some of the city’s top style experts, we rarely take the time to get one-on-one consultation. But last week, we changed that and took the time to visit with Tina Adams, a wardrobe consultant who has her own Nashville-based firm.

You might be thinking: She probably works with stars—is she accessible? In fact, Adams works with everyday people. “Our clients are budget conscious, just like you,” she told our team. She stressed that wardrobe consulting should not be reserved as a luxury service but rather an investment that will help save time and money for everyday women.

Tina Adams

Adams’ services range from a starter package (a Style Session, closet evaluation and eventually a virtual lookbook tailored to your own closet) to a full wardrobe makeover for couples. To us, the virtual lookbook alone is worth the price (the consultation rates range from $850 to $2500), since it includes for up to 80 images of put together “outfits” from your own closet.

For our team, Adams offered up a number of essential items for spring 2013 as well as a few rules to live by. As for the rules: She is a big fan of neutrals as they give more mix-and-match options; she recommends not overspending on trends; and she suggests always being prepared with strappy heels and jewelry to transition from day to night.

And here are Tina Adams’ new business casual must-haves for spring…

1. White Jeans
2. Ankle Pant
3. Sheath
4. White T-Shirt
5. Chambray Top
6. Menswear-inspired Blazer
7. Wedge or Dress Flat
8. Statement Necklace
+ An oversized watch and a structured tote.

Her delivery was both helpful and firm, meaning we knew exactly which wardrobe items we should keep and which we should try to replace. Plus, she not only provided us with a solid sense of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to office attire… but also a cheat sheet on where to find the best deals (hint: UAL, TJ Maxx Home Goods in Brentwood, and the Savvy department at Nordstrom).

For more information or to book a consultation, go to tinaadamsconsulting.com.

And don’t miss our Style Spotlight on local leathergoods maker, Emil Erwin.

—Nashville Lifestyles

Nashville’s Dining Scene: Our Food Writers Weigh In

ErinHopefully by now, you’ve had some time to dig into the April issue and our list of Nashville’s 50 Best Restaurants. We’ve received a fair amount of feedback, both in agreement and opposition to our list—which was exactly what we were hoping for. I love talking food with people, whether it’s dissecting every dish of my last meal or scheming up ideas for the next one. But the conversation I sat in on for our Best Restaurants list was my favorite kind since it got some of the city’s most well-versed food lovers dishing on what they love (and don’t) about Nashville’s food scene.April 2013 Best Restaurants

Because I’m still a Nashville newbie, I was fascinated to hear what the locals think of all this national media we’ve received. As the Tennessean’s Jennifer Justus (JJ) admitted, “I think we have more restaurants, but I don’t think all this praise from outside means that we have anything going on that’s really super amazing and creative.” Beth Sachan (BS) of the blog Eat.Drink.Smile. agreed: “We have all these restaurants opening but I feel like there’s so much that’s the same. It’s like the whole farm-to-table thing: Can we get something that’s a little more interesting?”

So, there’s certainly space for other types of cuisine and more creative influence, it seems. Chris Chamberlain (CC) who writes regularly for Nashville Lifestyles laid it out for me, saying, “We still don’t have a good Chinese restaurant, we still don’t have a great Mexican restaurant. We still don’t have any place to get a paella, there’s no good Jewish food in town.” Long-time food writer Kay West (KW) chimed in, adding, “No good Cuban food, no Spanish food, I still don’t think there’s any good Italian. Where would the mob go? That’s what I want to know.”

Well, then what are we doing right? I wondered. Turns out, plenty. Here’s just a taste of our conversation:

CC: We are attracting folks like Phil Krajeck [of Rolf & Daughters] coming in from out of town, Sean [Brock] coming in and bringing his new chef. We are becoming a destination for chefs to go. We don’t have that advantage of a big cooking school here. We don’t have a Johnson & Wales, but we’ve got the Art Institute and Nashville State. That’s burgeoning. And that leads to developing younger talent.

KW: I also wonder, what incentive is there for someone to come along and be daring and exciting and innovative? I’m not saying that restaurants need to dumb down but I think if you’re a chef who’s investing your own money or trying to get investors and it’s such a hard business, you don’t have big bucks behind you, then you’re going to have to make something that’s going to have a return. Your investors want to see a return. So you’ve got to find that balance between what’s going to be successful and what’s going to be creatively exciting to that small group of diners.

Food Writers

Nashville food writers: Kay West, Chris Chamberlain, Beth Sachan and Jennifer Justus

JJ: I will say that when City House first opened, I would recommend it to people, but I would say, “don’t expect meatballs.” I don’t have to do that anymore. I can just be like, “go to City House.” I do think the level of sophistication is growing.

BS: I think people are more open minded. Another positive thing is [that restaurants are] sourcing locally. Because in the last couple years, a lot more restaurants are naming all the different farms they’re sourcing from and I love that.

JJ: When I interviewed Jeremy [Barlow of Sloco] recently, he was like, ‘I remember it used to be five farmers I could call, and now it’s over 60.’

KW: And a lot of restaurants are doing their own farms, too. That was a pipe dream ten years ago.

Nashville Food Writers

CC: And we’ve got purveyors like Porter Road that we didn’t use to have. There wasn’t access to a butcher that could provide you with locally sourced meat that could be processed the way you wanted it processed. If you didn’t have a local butcher, which we really didn’t, there was no option even if you wanted it. I mean chefs don’t have time to drive to a farm in Millington to bring back a cow.

JJ: That’s another thing, I don’t think they make me describe CSA anymore in a story. It used to be like, what is that?

CC: And we do have a great community of chefs. It may not be one big community, but there are small groups, and they work in each others’ kitchens. I remember when Kahlil [Arnold] told me—he used to work at the Loveless for Tom Morales—and when he left the Loveless to go back and work at his family business, Tom wasn’t mad, he said, ‘how many of my guys do you need to take with you to help run that place because you need to take care of your family business.’”

Nashville Food Writers

KW: I think there’s a huge amount of support among the chefs.

JJ: You know years ago I remember, I think it was in this magazine that I read it, one of the Goldbergs [of Strategic Hospitality] said that if you start something here, people don’t instantly want to drag you down, they want you to succeed. And I think that spirit is definitely going on here.

So, reader: What say you? What is Nashville doing right? And what would you like to see more of? Give us your two cents—and while you’re at it, make sure you have a copy of the April issue. (Comment here or email us at wehearyou@nashvillelifestyles.com)


— Erin B. Murray, Managing Editor

Notes from Nashville Fashion Week

NFW4The third annual Nashville Fashion Week kicked off Tuesday night with its first runway show on the 21st floor of the Pinnacle building downtown. To start the show, designer Tracy Reese showed off the line Plenty, filled with dreamy watercolors, in front of an industrial landscape and city-scene backdrop. Red Doll, from designer Tatyana Merenyuk, was a stand out with red-carpet worthy gowns of tulle and lace; Kal Rieman’s structured yet soft and feminine, menswear-inspired collection came next. The last show of the evening opened to visions of Moscow with a runway lined with Russian dolls wearing traditional Ushanka hats and red and black dresses layered under fur stoles and military peacoats by designer Misha Nonoo from her Fall 2013 Nonoo collection.

Wednesday night, the festivities continued at the The Trolley Barns at Rolling Mill Hill where some locals commented on how brilliant the space was as a runway venue. Italian street lights illuminated the long narrow space between the old brick buildings as attendees huddled around space heaters in anticipation for the chilly, outdoor show. Designer and Nashville resident, Amanda Valentine gave an introduction to the evening fresh off her appearance in Season 11 of Project Runway. Kansas City native and former O’More student Kat Seaton opened with her Fall collection showing fun prints of brocade and paisley, followed by another O’more graduate, Jessica Jones, who showed airy dresses with the unexpected and girly-fun appliques of feathers, flowers, and bows from her line TUFT.NFW

Black by Maria Silver ran third with rich, velvet fabrics in bold colors, patchwork knits, striped separates and a flowing, black-sheer gown with a plunging neckline and belted waist as the finale. Another locally-based designer, Truly Alvarenga, didn’t disappoint with her Pink Elephant designs, which displayed an interesting balance between edgy and elegant. The evening concluded with the always entertaining show of art and fashion by T Rains, whose showmanship and flare for putting on a show is as eccentric as his designs. His collection ranges from silk, screen-printed tees to custom made gowns.Nashville Fashion Week

Check out the Q&A with local Fashion Designers on NashvilleLifestyles.com
— Kendall Mitchell Gemmill, contributor