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.

Go to College – Free (or Inexpensive) Entertainment in Nashville

Many local students actually will have successful musical careers – so it’s especially appealing (and cost-effective) to catch their performances now!

When I landed a small part as the housekeeper in my college’s production of “Night Must Fall,” I fantasized that audience members would recall that performance after I’d launched a successful career in Hollywood. Students in the Music program at Belmont University probably have similar fantasies as they perform for audiences on campus. The difference is that many Belmont students actually will have successful musical careers – so it’s especially appealing (and cost-effective) to catch their performances now! The same can be said of students at other local universities, of course – here’s a sampling of upcoming college events that sound like fun.

The Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt recently completed construction and installation of a Dobson pipe organ. This Sunday, February 8 (3pm), organist Carl Smith will present “An Introduction to the Blair School’s New Pipe Organ” in the Turner Recital Hall. The first part of the event will be an informal discussion of the organ’s design and musical characteristics, with numerous musical illustrations. This will be followed by a formal 45-minute recital on the organ, which will include music by Couperin, Bach, Brahms and others. A reception will follow the recital, with an opportunity to meet the organ builder. The event is free and open to the public.

Tennessee State University’s Department of Music has scheduled a Faculty Jazz Concert for Thursday, February 12 (7pm) in the Goins Recital Hall at the Strange Performing Arts Building. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Lipscomb University Department of Theatre is presenting “Seussical – A Fantastical, Magical, Musical Extravaganza” on selected dates between February 13-22 in the Collins Alumni Auditorium. Ticket prices range from $17 (public) to $5 (student), and are currently on sale.

The Belmont University Bluegrass Ensemble is giving a concert on Thursday, March 5 (7:30pm) at the Massey Concert Hall. The Bluegrass Ensemble performs traditional and contemporary material, and has performed at a variety of locations including the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

Belmont Musical Theatre is presenting “All Shook Up” – an American Jukebox Musical featuring Elvis Presley music and a 1950’s era story based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – March 20-29 at the Troutt Theater. Ticket prices range from $10 (regular adult) to $5 (senior and student), and are currently on sale.

Enjoy!