Toilet mouthed tart, singer, and performance artist Tammy Faye Starlite was most definitely not an official artist at the Country Radio Seminar, the recent four-night industry confab.
No radio personalitiesan oxymoron if ever there was onewere asking Tammy Faye to repeat for broadcast some of the naughty implications she makes about Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs, Holly Dunn, Faith Hill, and even Jesus Christ himself.
While nearly 2,000 members of the country radio industry headquartered downtown at the Renaissance Hotel gathered for a final night of record-label-sponsored revelry and turned very bloodshot eyes to yet another ennui-inducing New Faces Show, anti-CRSers were otherwise engaged. They jammed The Sutler for a scintillating preview of the bodacious babe Starlite’s upcoming LP Used Country Female, the natural follow-up to her provocative debut On My Knees.
In fact, the room was packed so tightly that about 50 of the insatiably curiousthe Crier among themwere forced to huddle outside in a cold mist, barred from entry by strict fire codes.
But after a breathless account of her private tutoring sessions with little Billy Gilman, and her less-than-Christian, X-rated analysis of the close relationshippre- and post-maritalbetween Nashville’s most public lovebirds, Amy Grant and Vince Gill, about two dozen made a speedy beeline for the door. Notably absent from the huffy exodus was Amy’s ex, Gary Chapman, who, unbeknownst to Tammy Faye, was in the audience. To everyone’s admiration, he took it like a man and stood his ground at the bar. He and new wife Jennifer stuck around long enough to hear Miz Starlite confess a very intimate relationship with Dolly Parton before generously tipping the bartender and hitting I-65 South.
Hail to the chef
The Crier has long believed that there is no better (or less fiscally burdensome) way to kick off a Saturday night on the town than at the unveiling of a new show at a local art gallery. They’re so prolific these days that nary a weekend passes without one or two or five.
A chic-to-chic mosh pit of schmooze posing as cultural occasion, opening receptions are the perfect place to meet up with your stylish friends for a couple of plastic cups of (free) wine before heading on to a stylish dinner at Mirror or Trace or Sunset or Bound’ry or, if you are stylish enough, 6º.
Saturday night’s double-header was performed by Cumberland Gallery in Green Hills, opening the photo show “The Alchemy of Light.” Simultaneously, over on the other side of the tracks, Finer Things debuted “New Blood,” curator Kim Brooks’ octet of new artists to watch.
New blood on the walls perhaps, but it was all the usual faces in both places, with one notable exception. Anita Hartell, who has spent more than a decade of Saturday nights stationed at a stove in some of Nashville’s most adventurous kitchens, was out and about, though nearly incognito without her signature interpretation of the chef’s toque.
The Crier happened upon the recently de-toqued Sasso chef and partner with artist/hubby/bon vivant Mark Smith, hanging outside Cumberland enjoying the night air and swatting away probing inquiries from her army of fans about the juicy details of her departure and about her possible next move.
“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies” was the gist of her response to all queries. But she did reveal part of the deal that saw the dissolution of the professional ménage à trois of Hartell, her co-chef and good friend Corey Griffith, and businesswoman Nina Neal. That detail: The Sasso menuwhich won dishy accolades from near and farwent with the creative team of Hartell and Griffith. Sasso these days has a new, less complicated menu, though it’s a far cry from the meat-and-three that has been rumored.
Bistro goes busto
Coincidentally, that very night, right across the street from where Hartell stood, Clayton-Blackmon, A Bistro had a “For Lease” sign posted on its front door, ending a nearly two-year labor of love for caterers Anne Clayton and Mary Blackmon.
Saturday night, the fat lady sang at the tony restaurant, decorated by Anne’s designing man Teddy, and frequentedbut perhaps not quite often enoughby the army of friends and clients the duo amassed in 15 years of catering to the party posse.
There have been industry suspicions that the locationhome to three different restaurants in the past five yearsmight be voodooed. That’s a fear that lease-holder Griswold Enterprises would like to see put to rest. For its part, Clayton-Blackmon is attributing the departure to a decision to devote more time to catering. Let them eat veggie rollers.
The Crier came by to pay propers and managed to squeeze into a sliver of space at the four-deep bar for a quick cocktail, reluctantly dispensed by a surly bartendress who seemed to think it necessary to loudly remind her customers to tip for her services. As if. Here’s your tip, honey: Get over your rude self. As for Anne and Mary: LY, MI, TTFN, XX, CC.
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