Let’s Get Ready to Roller!

There is nothing like an evening at the roller derby. Trust me!

I’ve been planning to tell y’all about the Nashville Rollergirls. This morning’s email featured a LivingSocial deal on roller derby tickets that is hard to pass up. If you already subscribe to LivingSocial, you got the email – if not, you should be able to access the deal for the next few days by following this link. LivingSocial Promo  If you miss the deal, don’t worry – even at full price, this is an entertainment bargain, and the 2015 season is just starting.

There is nothing like an evening at the roller derby. Trust me! The sport is not quite as glamorous as it looks in Raquel Welch’s 1972 movie Kansas City Bomber or Drew Barrymore’s 2009 classic Whip It (also starring Ellen Page and Kristen Wiig) but it’s also not quite as violent. And the rules are pretty easy for a casual spectator to understand. But I’m getting ahead of myself – here are some ways to maximize your fun while supporting the Nashville Rollergirls at one of their upcoming matches at Municipal Auditorium.

1.  Pick a roller derby name. There are several online name generators you can use to get started (here’s a link to one) – when I first used one of these I got the classic Peach Clobber which is just perfect for a Southern girl. My girlfriend initially chose White Thrash – but then she got creative and came up with her own – Bitter Honey! Well, that just got the ball rolling – I since have developed my own roller derby spin on a trade name – Lumbar Liquidator. Sounds dangerous, right?

2. Learn the rules. Or don’t. As mentioned above, it’s pretty easy to catch on to what’s supposed to happen, and pretty soon you’ll be able to tell when to cheer. But if you want to read up, you can find the rules here. You should know that the Nashville Rollergirls are part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), which means that the action happens on a flat, not banked surface. There currently are 301 full member leagues (teams) in the WFTDA, and the Nashville Rollergirls are ranked 31st, which means they are good!

3. Catch the half-time show. Frankly, it’s been a few years since I last attended a Nashville Rollergirls derby (I’m about to remedy that, thanks to LivingSocial), but one of the best parts of the whole evening was the half-time entertainment. A newly-married couple took a spin around the track together (proving that wedding gown trains and roller skates don’t mix well), and a fun-loving group of mostly middle-aged women performed a dance routine to Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It.” Love!

4. Appreciate your team. These women are athletes, and the souvenirs at the roller derby are great – get a team t-shirt, or a button with a funny slogan and display it proudly! And learn the skaters’ names – you never know when you might end up on a Southwest flight to Chicago and realize you’re sitting across the aisle from Union Jack-U-Up! You shouldn’t miss your opportunity to get a signed barf bag, even if you have to follow her into the ladies room at the Chicago airport! (It was a special moment – not stalker-y at all!)

For those who miss the LivingSocial promotion, tickets are available at the door, and at several retail locations in town. I look forward to seeing you at the roller derby!

Now, doesn’t that Sound Like Fun?

Icepocalypse in Nashville – 5 things to do when the Mayor says “stay put!”

This week, Nashville got a good layer of ice, followed by an inch or two of snow, followed by bitterly cold temperatures and biting winds. Our mayor cautioned everyone to stay home if possible. Here are five fresh suggestions for sheltering-in-place during Nashville’s 2015 Icepocalypse!

It’s no joke that Nashville doesn’t excel at Winter. Each year around November, when the night time temperatures dip slightly below freezing, the local news airs warnings on how to keep pipes from freezing and protect your pets in cold weather. With the slightest hint of oncoming winter weather, schools close and grocery stores supplies of milk and bread are depleted. But Nashville hasn’t really had any measurable snowfall for four years. Until this week. This week, Nashville got a good layer of ice, followed by an inch or two of snow, followed by bitterly cold temperatures and biting winds. Our mayor cautioned everyone to stay home if possible…and, since many events are canceled and schools are closed, a lot of people are heeding that advice! Here are five fresh suggestions for sheltering-in-place during Nashville’s 2015 Icepocalypse!

  1. READ BOOKS – On days like these, I’m especially grateful for my Kindle. As long as my WiFi is working, I can get new books without ever leaving the house! Here are three books about (or set in) Nashville that you can find on Amazon.com. Hidden History of Nashville by George R. Zepp  (2007) In this unique collection of columns, longtime journalist and Tennessee native George Zepp illuminates a less familiar side of the city. Learn the secrets of Timothy Demonbreun, one of the city’s first residents, who lived with his family in a cliff-top cave; Cortelia Clark, the blind bluesman who continued to perform on street corners after winning a Grammy award; and Nashville’s own Cinderella story, which involved legendary radio personality Edgar Bergen and his ventriloquist protegee. Cleverly rendered, using questions from readers across the nation, these little-known tales abound with Music City mystery and charm. All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison (2012)  When a local girl falls prey to a sadistic serial killer, Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson and her lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, find themselves in a joint investigation pursuing a vicious murderer. The Southern Strangler is slaughtering his way through the Southeast, leaving a gruesome memento at each crime scene–the prior victim’s severed hand. Ambitious TV reporter Whitney Connolly is certain the Southern Strangler is her ticket out of Nashville; she’s got a scoop that could break the case. She has no idea how close to this story she really is–or what it will cost her. Bowling Avenue by Ann Shayne (2012) Welcome to 603 Bowling Avenue, a lush, empty Colonial Revival house tucked away in a leafy Nashville neighborhood. Who’s that in the ratty attic bedroom, holed up like a squirrel, writing real estate ads as fast as she can? Delia Ballenger, former Nashvillian. She’s back in town to sell the house that her tender-hearted big sister inexplicably left her after dying in a car crash. Delia needs to get back to Chicago as fast as possible. But uninvited people keep showing up at the front door. Delia finds herself up to her eyeballs in a flood of mysteries, secrets, and the sort of love that sneaks up on you. For everyone who has muttered “You can’t go home again,” here’s what happens when you go anyway.
  2. WATCH MOVIES – Whether you have a Netflix account or some other way to download, here are a couple of Nashville-centric movies you might enjoy. Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE (R rated – 1975) is a seriously-good movie with a star-studded cast and a story that remains relevant 40 years after its release date. If you’re in the mood for something more contemporary, and you enjoy the Nashville TV show, you might like Country Strong (PG-13 rated – 2010), starring Garrett Hedlund, Gwynneth Paltrow and Tim McGuire. This drama is centered on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow). Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer.
  3. LISTEN TO OLD MUSIC – My appreciation of Nashville music doesn’t date back to my collection of vinyl records, but I do have some pretty old CDs that date back to the Columbia Record Club days, and I’ll bet you do, too! As I write this, I’m listening to Randy Travis‘s “old 8 x 10” CD, and I’ve got K.T. Oslin‘s “80’s Ladies” and Clint Black‘s “Killin’ Time” up next. It’s surprising how much I enjoy these old albums that I haven’t listened to in at least 20 years!
  4. COOK HOT CHICKEN – Sooner or later, I will write a critique of the Nashville Hot Chicken Joints. I have tried most, but don’t feel qualified to give my opinion until I have tried the hot chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack…which is just far enough out of my way that I still haven’t been there. (Speaking of old country music and hot chicken – anyone else remember when Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw had that restaurant hotchickens.com on Old Hickory Blvd. off of I-24 West? It was my first exquisitely painful taste of a now-favorite treat!) I always have chicken in the freezer, and I found the Hattie B’s recipe this morning on epicurious.com. So, I’m thinking that I’ll just work on my own Nashville Hot Chicken recipe.
  5. TRY SOME THE THINGS YOU’VE PINNED ON PINTEREST – This doesn’t necessarily relate to Nashville, but it certainly could. You know all those neat ideas on Pinterest that you’ve wanted to try? Mine include recipes, ways to get stains out of (whatever) and craft projects. I think that, in honor of the Icepocalypse, I am going to rid my white shirts of underarm yellowing, and create a unique hairpin out of playing cards. (Neither of these projects requires a trip to the store!)

Sooner or later, you’re going to have to escape the house and risk a trip to the store. It’s supposed to get above freezing and rain on Saturday – a combination which will make leaving the house safe again. Until then – enjoy!

Nashville in Winter – Budget-friendly ways to beat cabin fever in Music City

It’s mid-January in Nashville. I’m cold, bored, and trying to think of something to do…

It’s mid-January in Nashville. I’m cold, bored, and trying to think of something to do that won’t break too many of my New Year’s resolutions! Here are some ideas…

Last night, the 2015 Bonnaroo lineup was announced. Even though the odds are against my attending the 4-day festival again (as I did in 2013), I don’t rule out buying a one-day pass. But the thing is – I’m not familiar with all of the artists on the well-curated line-up, so I’m not sure which acts I’ll want to catch. Fortunately, the Bonnaroo website allows me to spend countless hours clicking on artist/band names, accessing some liner notes and video clips. And, if I’m eager for more, I can always resort to YouTube. I’m still not sure whether I’ll spend a day on the Farm in Manchester, but if I do, I’ll know whether to head to Which Stage or That Tent in Centeroo!

Speaking of announcements, the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15. Because of other award shows (like last weekend’s Golden Globes), it’s pretty easy to predict at least some of the nominations. I try to see as many of the nominated films and performances as possible before the February 22 awards telecast. Going to movies isn’t free, but weekend matinees aren’t too bad if you skip the concession stand. Regal Cinemas is currently screening several of the movies I want to see: Foxcatcher, Big Eyes, The Imitation Game, Selma, and Into the Woods. The Belcourt Theatre is offering a limited number of screenings for Boyhood and Birdman. That’s a pretty ambitious schedule!

Even though I have committed to healthier eating in 2015, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Nashville Restaurant Week, which runs January 19-25. Some of our favorite places participate in Restaurant Week, with special menu offerings and value prices. It doesn’t appear that Nashville’s newest restaurants will be participating, so now’s a good time to visit those restaurants we came to love before Nashville became a foodie town. (Sunset Grill has now closed – let’s make sure Tin Angel and Boundr’y get some business!)

Hopefully, these tips will help you discover a way to stay warm and entertained during the weeks ahead! Thanks for reading my blog – if you have suggestions about events in the Middle Tennessee area, or would like a sample itinerary for a specific weekend, please let me know!

Have fun, y’all!