Two stand-out quotes from Jeff Woods' must-read overview in the CP of Tennessee's recently concluded legislative session:
“Last year we had Race to the Top. This year we have dive to the bottom.”
— Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, lamenting the treatment of teachers by the GOP-led General Assembly
“Democrats are a lot like these cicadas. They make a lot of noise, but pretty soon they’re going to be gone.”
— GOP state chair Chris Devaney, celebrating the Republicans' day of the locust
Location: Across from the Children's Hospital
Size of Park: Large
Crowds: Light, but that's not surprising, considering the heat
Approximate Age of Patrons: Parents and children
Topics of Conversation: "Happy birthday!"
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: n/a, but lots of family vehicles on the street
Perceived Safety: High
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Fine. There was a dog at the birthday party.
Number of pitbulls sighted: None
Accessibility: Good, especially for kids with accessibility needs
Incorporation of Local History: Poor signage, great dragonage
Recommended Patrons: Everyone
Belmont is often unnoticed as an artist-producing institution, but the dual exhibit at the school’s Leu Art Gallery might change that oversight. Artists and Belmont professors Jennifer Stoneking-Stewart and Mary Pat Turner have a lot on display here, but the best of each is truly exceptional, and well worth a visit to Belmont’s campus.
The exhibition title — Where We’ve Been — refers to the show’s themes of psyche and memory, fascination and nostalgia. Stoneking-Stewart’s work is immediately striking. Hand-printed wallpaper with patterns and brilliant colors that seem to be inspired by Art Deco circuit boards paper the gallery walls. Her screen-printed works are at once sophisticated and quirky, featuring small houses with lines that quiver like as if drawn by Van Gogh or Munch. Her background in printmaking is evident.
Mary Pat Turner’s massive paintings are mostly breathtaking, and the artist seems poised to grow. Her large-scale canvases hit and miss, but the best seem to combine the influences of Marc Chagall’s mythology and Susan Rothenberg’s painterly textures.
Not to name any names, but some people get a little panicky if they inhale at the wrong moment in the shower and end up with a nose full of unexpected water. So imagine the utter terror we — er, they — will experience when immersed in prehistoric oceans infested with predators so awesome they make piranhas look like plankton.
Set 80 million years ago, National Geographic’s Sea Monsters does just that, following the life of two Dolichorhynchops (late-Cretaceous plesiosaurs, if that means anything to you) as they navigate the earth’s waters. Even if you wouldn’t know a Dunkleosteus from a Mososaur if it devoured you in a single bite as you bobbed helplessly atop a roiling sea, this new animated feature will probably give you a start. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
Last week the Scene examined the confidential deliberations of the Judicial Council for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and its investigation into Paine's membership at the club. They tackled a two-pronged question: Does Paine's membership violate the judicial code of conduct? And, more to the point, does the club discriminate based on race and gender?
One problem the council identified is that the club, in its century-long history, can boast but a single black non-resident member who lives in Atlanta and seldom visits. The other problem is that women are not eligible to become resident members, which would accord them the right to vote on club affairs, its bylaws say.
The council exonerated Paine and (to a small extent) the club, but by the barest majority, revealing a schism in the 6th Circuit that followed an unmistakably racial path. But if the nearly split council left troubling questions about the club largely unanswered, it clarified one inescapable reality: Membership in the Belle Meade Country Club is a non-starter for Norton and anyone else seeking public office.
"If I'm going to take a public-service role, I shouldn't be painted with that kind of controversy because it wouldn't reflect well on the court," said Norton, who literally helped write the book on bankruptcy law — his father, William L. Norton Jr., is the force behind the Norton Bankruptcy Law Library, to which the younger Norton has contributed as writer and editor — and has been a member of the club for roughly 20 years.
Asked if he would resign if appointed to the bench Paine will vacate when he retires at the end of this year, Norton replied succinctly: "No doubt."
"If they see fit to appoint me, I'll make that fairly clear," he continued. After the jump, a list of the current candidates.
Where: The Belcourt
When: May 28-29
When Martin Scorsese tells you a movie is “one of the greatest visual experiences in cinema,” listen up. Luchino Visconti’s ravishing 1963 filming of the Giuseppe di Lampedusa novel has been called “the Gone with the Wind of Italy,” and though it might be — albeit directed by a gay Marxist of aristocratic lineage whose sensibility encompassed both neo-realism and opera — that’s as reductive as calling Crime and Punishment “the CSI: Miami of Russia.”
The backdrop is the 19th century tumult of the Risorgimento, as Garibaldi’s forces leave the mainland for Sicily and the onset of Italian unification. As the patriarch Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, considers the options for his waning line — which narrow to marrying his cruelly handsome but conviction-free nephew (Alain Delon) to a mayor’s daughter (Claudia Cardinale) socially beneath him — the aging lion contemplates not just the end of a way of life, but the end of living.
As Don Fabrizio, Burt Lancaster embodies masculine grace and mortal regret with a sensualist’s poise. The movie builds to a justly famous setpiece, a 45-minute ball sequence in which the refined prince ruefully bids farewell to class, in every sense of the word. The 187-minute movie (with a 10-minute intermission) will be shown in the version overseen by Scorsese’s Film Foundation, in a new 35mm print. If the print’s as spectacular as the one of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that The Belcourt showed a few weeks back, it’ll be like seeing a Caravaggio canvas with the paint still wet.
P.S. The trailer above is for the cut American version; the version The Belcourt is showing is in subtitled Italian. I'm planning on going Sunday night, and the print is said to be magnificent. In the meantime, check out this excellent piece by Matthew Wilder from the last time the movie played in Nashville.
When Open Lot closed earlier this year, the future looked uncertain, but director Jonathan Lisenby is determined that the artist community comes out strong — we're picturing a small group of phoenixes smoldering into a pile of ashes. He began Open Lot as a sort of communal art society, where everyone who wanted to be involved was, and everyone was equal. Lisenby's vision was strong, but — as is the case with many idealistic social models — he was burned by a few bad members. (To make a long story short, bills fell behind and they lost their space in a former bookbindery in East Nashville.)
The bright side and full details after the jump ...
“It hurts business. It’s embarrassing for me to talk to people in other parts of the country. It hurts our image down here. We had an image of everybody being barefoot and bucktoothed with cow licks on the sides of their head. [In the past], we came a long way to try to diminish some of that. We might have stepped back in the pack in the South.”
— Rep. Mike Turner, House Democratic Caucus chairman, on the economy-boosting power of the Republicans' social agenda bills
(Bonus Turner quote: "A lot of people around the country might think Sen. Campfield is a typical legislator here in Tennessee, which is unfortunate.")
But evidently that wasn't crazily ambitious enough for the new company. So here comes news to make Middle Tennessee theater mavens gasp: For its just-announced 2011-12 season, on Feb. 9-19, 2012, Blackbird will tackle Stephen Sondheim's 1976 musical Pacific Overtures — one of the master's most acclaimed works, seldom performed regionally because of its scale and difficulty. A sort of nesting doll of cultural context, it's something like a Japanese take on an American musical about Commodore Perry's 19th century mission to the East and America's subsequent influence on Japan, for better or worse.
"We're really excited about this show — it's a story and score we're passionate about," Blackbird co-founder Greg Greene said via email. He's just as enthusiastic about the other show in the season: a rare production of Magic (Aug. 12-27), a 1913 comedy about spiritualism by the early 20th century intellectual G.K. Chesterton. That gives Blackbird reason to boast its upcoming season will consist of "two shows you won’t find within 500 miles or fifty years of here."
Will the mayor "fully fund" Metro schools, as he has announced? Joey Garrison raises the question of what that means in a CP article about the more than 300 teaching positions eliminated before the start of the next school year, and the evidently chaotic job fairs held last week for displaced teachers:
The reality of eliminated teaching positions has gone largely underreported in Nashville, perhaps in part because Mayor Karl Dean has announced intentions to fully fund Metro schools.
Dean’s budget proposal for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which awaits Metro Council approval, supports schools financially to the level requested by the Metro Nashville Board of Education. However, the mayor and school board’s plan does not cover more than $30 million in depleted federal stimulus monies and approximately $10 million in vanishing federal-jobs program dollars. Officials have known this day was coming, and it’s resulting in more than 300 terminated positions.
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