In 2002, against overwhelming odds, the grass-roots group Radio Free Nashville secured one of a handful of low-power radio licenses being granted by the FCC. An 18-month delay and legal setbacks kept the station from getting on the air, but the group is starting to attract the kind of broad community support that could get it running by summer's end. To meet that goal, RFN is sponsoring a series of benefits this week, from yard sales to multi-band fundraisers.
The action starts 8 a.m. Saturday with a garage sale at the Trinity Presbyterian Church at Sharondale and Hillsboro near I-440. Promising everything from vintage radio components to the usual cardtable curios, the sale will also introduce the long-awaited Radio Free Nashville T-shirt, with all proceeds going toward station equipment and other necessities. Vampire types who don't venture out before dark can show up after nightfall at Hair of the Dog on 12th Avenue South, where the Dirt Farm and the Juan Prophet Organization uphold the spirit of the radio at 9.
Thursday's "Benefit Within a Benefit" at The Muse offers a discount to anyone who brings a toiletry item or art supplies for St. Luke's Community House. For one low, low cover, you can support two worthwhile non-profit organizations, including Nashville's best shot at a community radio station in a decade. Performers include Rich Creamy Paint, Bombing Adam, Vesta Rose, Fade, Casio Casanova and Mostly Robot.
If all goes well, 98.9 WRFN-LPFM will blaze forth from its Pasquo transmitter in a matter of months at 100 watts of pure power, reaching a 7-to-10-mile radius and possibly further. For more information about the station, see www.bryantalbot.net/rfn/index.html or call 331-4857.
♦ You can't spell "activism" without "diva." You can? Oh. Good thing the folks behind "Kerry-Oke" aren't so hot at spelling either. Every Monday night this month at Two Doors Down off Music Row, visiting stars play human jukebox to aid Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. This week's theme is "Diva Night," and we can't wait to hear Desmond Child, Maura O'Connell and Mandy Barnett sing "Whip It" and "Through Being Cool." Oh wait, that's "Devo Night." But it's worth going just to see if you can pay Child to sing his track from The Warriors soundtrack. Come out and play 6 p.m. Monday, and call 780-0200 for more info.
♦ Now here's a party we can get behind: Katy K's Girlesque IV Burlesque Revue, subtitled "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" for the innuendo-impaired. Miz Katy dresses gals during the day at her fabulous Ranch Dressing boutique in 12South, then convinces 'em at nights like this to come out of their confining clothes. Tonight's lovelies include those beauteous brides of Brooklyn, the Pontani Sisters, doing their world-renowned "Rat Pack" routine. Nashville's own Panty Raid returns in triumph from last month's New York Burlesque Festival, while Kicky LaRue does Carmen Miranda, Ming Dyntease does her "party piñata" specialty, and the aptly named Miss Dirty Martini does...anything. Gorgeous Greta, the woman whose silhouette provides enough wattage to flash-fry New Jersey, and the lovely Miss Bianca Paige share emcee duties. The straps come undone 10 p.m. Friday at the Mercy Lounge.
♦ Speaking of power outage, a panel discussion has been added to Saturday's screening of Kilowatt Ours, Nashville filmmaker Jeff Barrie's documentary about the side effects of the Southeast's gluttonous appetite for power. The panel will feature Judy Bonds, Larry Gibson, Maria Gunnoe, and other coal-field residents who have witnessed the destructive effects of mountain-top removal mining. A reception precedes the film 5:45 p.m. at the Belcourt; the panel follows the screening at 8 p.m. Call 438-5060 for more information.
♦ What if Steve Albini came to Nashville and nobody noticed? Not on our watch. The Chicago trio Shellac, which features Bob Weston from the Volcano Suns on bass, Todd Trainer on drums, and Albini on hair-raising guitar, makes a rare and little-publicized Nashville appearance Saturday at The End. We remember buying albums by Albini's mid-'80s band Big Black at the old Cat's Records on West End; he's received more attention in the past decade for his producing/engineering work with Nirvana, PJ Harvey, the Pixies, Cheap Trick and countless others. Pinebender opens.
♦ The coolest Nashville band ever named for an Ormond Family exploitation classicthe one in which hulking rockabilly cat Sleepy LaBeef stalks a swamp while outfitted with a fright wig and Bubba teethThe Exotic Ones bring their brand of psychotronic trashabilly to The Sutler for one eye-gouging performance. Featuring members of Trauma Team, The Secret Commonwealth and Chiller Cinema faves Igor & the Lunatics, the band goes on at 9 p.m. Friday. Miss it, and the band will club you to death with your own ripped-off arm.
♦ To see Nashville in a completely different light, check out one of the Belcourt's Sunday-afternoon screenings of Bollywood films, where it's not uncommon to find 200 people watching an unsubtitled Indian war-movie-slash-musical. This week's film is Dev, starring Om Puri, Amitabh Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor in a gritty cop thriller set against the backdrop of Hindi-Muslim tensions. And yes, it has the requisite production numbers fans know and love. In Hindu with English subtitles, the three-hour film will be shown once, 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-7425.
♦ Finally, those of us who have grown addicted to the comely Jen Cohen's ease with everything from pop to opera are about to go on withdrawal. After 11 years in Nashville, Cohen has been accepted to the prestigious Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. It's safe to say no other cantorial student will look half as hot in a cowboy hat and halter top. Her farewell Nashville performance will be at the American Artisan Festival Sunday in Centennial Park between the hours of 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. We wish her the best.