Après-Halloween: Mellow Fun in the Midstate

I’m looking for some less-hysterical, more mellow forms of entertainment in this lull between Halloween and Thanksgiving…

International visitors recently asked me why there weren’t more Halloween decorations in places like the Opryland Hotel, or in shopping centers. My response was that, unlike Christmas, Halloween is not a season. Now I think I was wrong. I started seeing photos from costume parties on Facebook in mid-October, and this past weekend was a whirlwind of Halloween activities – I’m ready to put away all the nonsense, even though Halloween is tomorrow!

I’m looking for some less-hysterical, more mellow forms of entertainment in this lull between Halloween and Thanksgiving, because I know that the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/New Year season is fast approaching.

Here are some activities I’ve found for the beginning of November:

Wednesday, November 1 – Music City Roots at The Factory in Franklin 7pm – 9:30pm

Music City Roots is Nashville’s acclaimed Roots and Americana radio show. For the past few years, they’ve broadcast live from The Factory at Franklin, a multi-use shopping, dining and entertainment destination on Franklin Road at Liberty Pike. Tickets range from $10 – $25, and are available at the door. Seating is first-come, so plan to arrive a bit early. This week’s artists include Guthrie Brown, Hannah Fairlight, Donna Ulisse and Amy Black.

I recommend heading to The Factory early to window shop and perhaps get a bite to eat at Mafioza’s or at Saffire Restaurant.

Thursday, November 2 – Blair Jazz Choir at Turner Recital Hall 8pm

The Blair Jazz Choir explores vocal jazz standards as well as vocal jazz arrangements of traditional tunes. A mix of straight-ahead swing, Latin and ballad grooves will be represented in the repertoire of the newest jazz ensemble at Blair. This event is free and open to the public. Parking for the event is also free in the West Garage on the Children’s Hospital campus (2500 Children’s Way).

Friday, November 3 – Belmont School of Music performance of “Die Fledermaus” at Troutt Theatre 7:30 pm

Belmont is consistently ranked as one of the top ten music programs in the U.S.; catching their student performance of this Johan Strauss opera is a great way to catch a performance by an up-and-coming musical talent. Die Fledermaus (“The Bat”) tells a story of marital infidelity, revenge and the effects of champagne consumption. Tickets are just $10 ($5 for seniors). It just so happens that the Troutt Theatre is across Belmont Blvd. from some of Arnold Myint’s good restaurants – make an evening of it!

Saturday, November 4 – First Saturday Art Crawl in Downtown Nashville

The  First Saturday Art Crawl Downtown is a monthly visual arts event in the historic arts and entertainment center of downtown Nashville. On the First Saturday of each month, an alliance of art galleries and museums collectively invite the public to explore Nashville’s vibrant downtown art scene. Prior participants have recommended parking at the Public Library Garage and then starting at the North end of the map. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring an umbrella in case of rain.

Sunday, November 5 – “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” at the Belcourt Theatre (Time TBD)

This film, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman,, is described as “a sensational thriller brimming with unsettling humor and creeping dread, steeped in Greek tragedy, existential horror, Hitchcockian psychodrama, and riveting suspense.”  If you go to a matinee screening, take the edge off afterward with a trip to one of chef Maneet Chauhan’s restaurants in the Gulch.

A February Art Immersion Weekend (+) in Nashville

Aside from periodic trips to The Frist, I don’t often take advantage of Nashville’s art offerings. But the beginning of February is as good a time as any to remedy that!

This itinerary is developed in honor of my new friend Angela, who recently moved to Nashville from Austin. (In the spirit of the friendly rivalry between these two cities – chalk one up for Music City!) Angela recently asked about the Art Scene in our city. I have to admit that, aside from periodic trips to The Frist, I don’t often take advantage of Nashville’s art offerings. But the beginning of February 2015 is as good a time as any to remedy that!

First stop is the Franklin Art Scene Downtown Art Crawl on Friday, February 6 (6pm – 9pm), in historic downtown Franklin. This free monthly event provides both the novice and the art connoisseur an opportunity to see a variety of magnificent work, from blown glass, to turned wood, to mixed media and more. A free trolley runs between the locations, many of which provide complimentary wine and snacks. (Bonus: While in downtown Franklin, make time to enjoy dinner and/or drinks at one of the restaurants downtown. Red Pony is always outstanding; Grays on Main is also fun!)

On Saturday, you might take in a day at the annual Art Event at Lipscomb Academy on White Bridge Rd. (near Harding Place). This year, the event will feature works by 54 talented artists, with a wide range of media and prices, from traditional to contemporary. The show promises something for everyone – including pottery, rugs, jewelry, and much more. If you can’t make it to the show, but are interested in purchasing art to support Lipscomb Academy, you can register to bid online for a painting created and donated by one of Lipscomb Academy’s student artists. The show runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

While fortifying yourself for the next activity, why not stop for lunch (11am – 3pm) or dinner (5pm – 10pm) at The Yellow Porch restaurant on Thompson Lane in Berry Hill? The food is the creative star at this moderately-priced restaurant (dinner entrees range from around $14 to $30), but the decor has a cool vibe featuring artwork by local artists.

Saturday night, February 7 (6pm – 9pm) is the night of Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl, sponsored by the Nashville Downtown Partnership. This popular free event presents local and world-renowned artists and artwork, in a variety of participating galleries along Nashville’s Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Most galleries serve free wine and other refreshments. The gallery crawl is a great free night on the town, featuring shuttle service between the galleries.

If you haven’t yet caught the current Young Tennessee Artists: 2014 Statewide exhibition at The Frist, Sunday afternoon, February 8 would be a perfect time to do so. The exhibition showcases a selection of the finest artwork created in Tennessee’s high school Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) art programs in 2014. The 39 pieces represent student artists from 16 schools, and were selected from over 600 submissions. Admission to The Frist Center for Visual Arts is $10 for adults; $7 for students or seniors. Young people (age 18 and under) are admitted without charge, as are Frist Center members.

Chaser: Although there don’t appear to be public events listed at OZ arts center during the weekend in this column, it’s worth noting that they have an exciting upcoming exhibition of contemporary interactive visual art by Alex Lockwood. The exhibition will open with an OZ Thursday Night Things (“TNT”) reception on Thursday, February 19. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. OZ is a little tricky to find the first time, but worth the effort!