Nashville Puppet Festival
Where: Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St.
When: May 27-29
When the Nashville Public Library opened its facilities to puppet troupes from across the U.S. and Europe in 2008, the three-day festival attracted more than 18,000 people. This year’s Nashville Puppet Festival won’t be quite as ambitious, but you wouldn’t know it from the world-class talent that will help the downtown library celebrate the 10th anniversary of its new home.
Phillip Huber, whose creations were featured prominently in Being John Malkovich, will conduct a workshop and bring his Huber Marionettes to perform his acclaimed show “Suspended Animation.” He joins nearly a dozen artists and musical acts, ranging in form from the Japanese Bunraku puppets of Centerville’s Wood and Strings Theatre to the Chinese rod puppets of Dragon Art Studio.
And if puppets don’t pull your kids’ strings, concerts by Coal Train Railroad (child-friendly jazz) and Davey Ukelele & the Gag Time Gang (riotous pre-teen pop anthems) will lift their spirits. Admission is free, but tickets can be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. For a full schedule and ticketing info, click here.
"It was important to acknowledge how special our crowd is," COO Sean Henry says. "We never liked hearing 'nontraditional market.' It's 'new traditional.' ... We were tired of people saying [Nashvillians] don't know hockey. We have informed and passionate fans."
Do we ever. Wear earplugs and tread lightly as you approach Section 303, which began its infamous history at the very first Preds game. That's when a group of longtime Nashville hockey fans took it upon themselves to turn their section — which happened to be 303 — into the arena's loudest. The rest of the section embraced their mirth-making: chanting, taunting, general mischief. Since then, the Cellblock has become one of the toughest tickets in the arena and has one of the highest percentages of season-ticket holders — not to mention the highest likelihood of megadecibel opposing-team catcall damage.
Since we acted all snarky when 1100 Broadway inflamed the tear ducts of Cleveland Cavs' fans last week, we should cop here to our own major goof in the story's print edition — where in haste we pasted Shea Weber's name on a picture of Mike Fisher. (It's the editor who deserves a puck in the teeth, not the author.) But check out J.R.'s story, which includes details ranging from the stalwart support of Tennessee's former First Lady Andrea Conte to the ritual "Thanks, Paul!"
Despite the hilariously ironic attempt at a stealth name — the Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act — the HB600 fiasco didn't slip under the radar of Leslie Fenton at Salon. Fenton notices the striking similarities between Tennessee's new anti-gay law and Colorado's notorious Amendment 2, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in Romer v. Evans — and she suggests that our law will likely get struck down too. Here's hoping.
Is the new Tennessee law similar enough to Colorado's Amendment 2 that it would simply be held unconstitutional under Romer? There are arguments either way. The Colorado law was so blatant that it specifically named gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, removing them from the legislative process that every other group of people remained free to participate in. But the Tennessee legislators clearly learned their lesson from Romer: They did not single out the LGBT community, rather, they applied the law to any group that does not currently receive state protections. On the other hand, they did forbid municipalities from enacting any new legislation designed to protect LGBT citizens, even if it isn't explicitly stated. Further, the origins of the law are less than subtle; it is clearly a reaction to the Nashville anti-discrimination ordnance that protected LGBT workers. This situation is similar to the anti-gay adoption prohibition in Arkansas that was stuck down earlier this year. While it did not specifically prohibit gays from adopting, the ban on "unmarried couple" adoptions was passed as a workaround to a law that actually banned gay adoptions and was struck down by the courts. It's also important to note that Romer and its protections have been strengthened in recent years by the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, also authored by Justice Kennedy, which struck down a Texas law that criminalized homosexual sodomy. The Tennessee anti-gay employment measure should receive similar scrutiny, and treatment, from the court system.
At least from my perspective, last night's storm wasn't as wild as the one that felled trees and generally whipped up a ruckus in East Nashville the other night, but it was no delicate spring shower, either. YouTube user n8foo captured this time-lapse video, partly from Fort Negley and partly from his/her own house, and it's a pretty impressive light show. (If you're into time-lapse videos, the same n8foo also has a video that could be titled Sony Presents: Spider Eats Cicada.)
From Craddock's statement, in which he blames poor fundraising for his decision:
"However, it is widely understood that it takes significant financial backing to run a legitimate campaign, especially against an incumbent. I was unable to raise those funds. That's the harsh reality of politics. While I believe the debate would have contributed significantly to the democratic process, this belief cannot compel me to put my family through a tough campaign. This is especially true in this media age where competition is defined in terms of dollars and cents."
Craddock is, of course, notoriously bad with money. There's been a persistent rumor that he joined the mayor's race to raise enough money to pay himself back for a still-outstanding loan of $20,000 to his failed campaign for Criminal Court Clerk. According to his April financial disclosure, Craddock had pulled in about $14,000, the vast majority of which came from those interested in preserving the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. As of that reporting, his campaign had about $8,700 on hand.
In his statement, Craddock assured contributors their money was well-spent:
"I especially thank all the donors to my campaign. You're contributions were used to the best of my ability, but it is simply not enough. I look forward to concluding my term on the Metro Council in August, which end 8 years of service to this great city. I will be honored to conclude my service as Councilman for the 4th District." [sic]
In place of economic revitalization, legislators have clung like ticks to a severe and regressive social agenda and palmed it off as pro-business fervor. Why, we can't let cities set their own protections for GLBT workers, they say — Smyrna will no longer be able to trade with Murfreesboro! The bill's sponsor, Rep. Glen Casada, went so far as to advance the insane notion that if cities had their own laws, mom-and-pop businesses would be forced to hire staff lawyers. The Metro law exempts small businesses, a fact seemingly lost on the bill's supporters.
Ridley calls foul on the allegedly small-government Republicans:
But portraying the bill as pro-business was only a distraction from the truth: HB600 is a thorough betrayal of the small-government platitudes its proponents advanced on the campaign trail. The same legislators who blasted the intrusion of the federal government into state affairs have ruthlessly declared their sovereignty over Tennessee's municipal governments. And they have done so not to expand the basic rights of Tennessee citizens, but to prevent a segment of the populace from knowing full protection.
But it's the closing paragraphs that capture the magnitude of Haslam & Co.'s thinly veiled "fuck you" to the LGBT community:
So, since some other Republican played Stacey Campfield for a fool and amended the budget to spare the state the inevitable lawsuits his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood would have caused, and the budget has been passed and sent to the governor, Campfield and the Tennessee Right to Life folks have been trying to come up with some way to undo what has been done.
In a story in the Commercial Appeal, Campfield outlines his strategy:
Campfield said that he and Tennessee Right to Life are trying to find out if the state Constitutional provision giving the governor line-item veto authority on appropriations can be used to excise a policy provision in the appropriations act. He said he hasn’t asked Haslam to veto the provision but believes he should.
“He said he would defund Planned Parenthood and I think this is a golden opportunity for him to prove it. We’re looking into whether it’s possible for him to do a line-item veto or is it possible for him to have to do the whole Health Department budget.”
Yes, you read that right. Campfield, who claims to be pro-life, would ask Gov. Haslam to torpedo the whole Health Department budget in order to defund Planned Parenthood. Keep that in mind, folks, the next time you hear him or the Tennessee Right to Life folks prattling on. They're happy to play chicken with your health and your life to score political points in the name of a "right to life." I guess they decide who has such a right and it ain't you.
But why do Campfield and Tennessee Right to Life have to try to find out anything about the state constitution? Can they not read it for themselves?
Poet’s Corner is one of Nashville’s few regular literary happenings, and with the recent death of the poetry event A Night for Fugitive Poets at Springwater, it’s becoming the only game in town for poetry lovers. Award-winning poet Bob Bradley has published his verse in Ploughshares, Plainsong and Antioch Review, and he’s a guiding force behind the TEDx Nashville creative forum that has grown so dramatically.
But he may be better known to Nashvillians for his musical musings. Bradley has written articles about and interviews with Lucinda Williams, Vic Chesnutt and others, and he’s also put out three independent albums of his own, including his latest release, Tobacco Sunburst. Bradley’s diaphanous imagery and descriptions of the natural world should make for a compelling reading at this mid-May installment, and we’re hoping he can summon his muse to coax a return of the warm weather
“We are not in favor of discrimination. I want to be real clear about that.”
— Gov. Bill Haslam, dumbstruck that no one saw his signing the noxious HB600 into law as anything other than a blow struck for civil rights
"Tennessee Republicans have talked a lot about what we would do when we took power. Now we are showing what we can do. This year was just an appetizer. Next year, and in the years to come, you will see the main course."
— Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, giving a major boost in business recruitment to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Nashville is at its best when it's being true to its roots, not trying to be the next Brooklyn or L.A. (Ironically, if you step foot in any hipster Brooklyn bar or boutique — looking at you, Lady Jay's/Commodore/Bird — and you'll see and hear people trying to ape Nashville, instead.) The new style blog Handsome Roy gets that staying down-to-earth can be fashionable, and also understands that fashion — all the different ways we dress ourselves up or down to convey a visible sense of who we are — is not only a relevant form of cultural expression, it's downright traditional.
More after the jump ...
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