We've had a run of good years in East Nashville -- growth, attention, good food, strong businesses, valued charities doing great work. But 2013 felt like a particularly eventful one, particularly if we're accentuating the positives. As we're digging into this fresh-faced 2014, we figured we'd give some thought to the stuff that stuck out about 2013. Here's what was bouncing around in our heads, in no particular order.
Old Made Good aims to Glitter Done, local media takes a shine
The unbridled DIY spirit over at East Side fashion and home-stuff shop Old Made Good is inspiring and ever-impressive. But, as about every Nashvillian knows at this point, it got OMGers Kate Mills and Ashley Sheehan into a bit of a shiny mess in early 2013, as their hand-splashed gold glitter floor went wrong. Tagalong-glitter-everywhere wrong.
The two turned to crowdfunding outlet IndieGoGo to raise cash for a professionally finished glitter floor, and their success in that endeavor got local tongues a-flappin'.
Style Blueprint shared the dangers of "glitter lung," Nashville Business Journal chronicled the "glitter disaster," WKRN got really earnest and serious about Mills and Sheehan's "sparkly dream" and the Nashville Scene oh-snapped, "You may have heard about a little glitter happening over on the East Side." Mhmm, we did.
All told, it was a creative response to an interesting challenge, which feels, ultimately, very OMG.
Yum! East lives up to its name
Music City Eats, with its Kings of Leon leadership, might've gotten more widespread attention as a new Nashville food fest. But arena-sized love is due to the organizers of the first Yum! East, a thoroughly awesome gathering that had a happy crew of attendees snagging snacks from an impressive collection of East Side eateries in June. Fat Bottom Brewery, Pomodoro East, Margot, Lockeland Table, Yeast Nashville, Edley's and many, many other neighbors brought out tastes of their menu offerings, and we ate, drank, listened to music and were merry. Very merry. Congrats, Yum folks, on an impressive introduction.
Family Wash goes through the wringer, comes out clean
Despite being one of the most lovable institutions this side of the river, weird stuff seems to befall the Family Wash time to time. None much weirder than the "routine check" from a Metro Environmental Task Force rolling a dozen deep in June. Owner Jamie Rubin described the experience -- which he likened to an aggressive raid -- to many a local media type (including the fact that no wrongdoing was found, and the Wash's 93 health score), and boy did the city get to talking. A lot. Which was a good thing, ultimately, since follow-up reports said Metro responded by vowing to take a closer look at these sorts of "routine checks." The Wash, meanwhile, closed out 2013 as lovable as it's ever been.
The Tomato Art Fest turns 10
A 10th Anniversary, supposedly, warrants tin, but we had a different T-word on the mind this past August, as the beloved Tomato Art Fest celebrated a decade of uniting fruits, vegetables and the colorful characters that populate our streets. As in other years, Five Points was positively packed with Tomato-loving attendees. Folks sold stuff, bought stuff, ate stuff, sang and danced, perhaps got a buzz and a sunburn. Ahead of the fest, founder Meg MacFadyen told us about her hopes of a Tomato Art Fest wedding. We didn't hear tell of any fest-bound nuptials, but hey, lovebirds: There's always this year.
Our stock goes up -- way up
East Nashville's gentrification is a much-debated topic, and it should be -- there are goods and bads in all kinds of change, including the kind we're experiencing. But many East Side homeowners were probably pretty stoked this year as news of our skyrocketing property values made the rounds. The Nashville Post noted a "staggering" 186 percent jump since 1998; and reappraisals showed home values climbing 14-plus percent in our corner -- "the largest increase in any neighborhood," the Nashville Ledger noted. Our growing popularity, it seems, has its pluses; the ability to swiftly procure a Jeni's cone: not one of them.
About that stock going up…
You couldn't toss a tomato in 2013 without hitting a fawning East Nashville-related mention from a national or international outlet. USA Today said we're one of the best neighborhoods that tourists haven't found yet. Esquire praised our dive bars. Huffington Post damned us with faint praise, calling East Nashville a "hot spot for the trendy -- dare we say 'hipster' -- set." Forbes said we're a healthy reason to visit Nashville now (not because of the dive bars); Elle went gaga over Old Made Good; Diners, Drive-ins and Dives popped into Mas Tacos. And that's barely a drop of the drool spilled. Which is pretty cool, and not exactly undeserved (/Kanye). Ready to prep for the inevitable backlash?
We're in the movies!
One doesn't simply walk into Mordor, and one doesn't simply make a documentary about Todd Snider. For entirely different reasons. Early last year, directors and producers Brad and Todd Barnes tried to chronicle Todd, Elizabeth Cook and other East Side talents, doc-style, and the unsurprising twists that resulted took them to East Nashville Tonight, a "stoner musical" that puts a spotlight on our talented neighbors and our corner of the world in a fittingly weird way. We took a deep look into the film in our May-June issue; you can buy/watch East Nashville Tonight whenever you like at the official movie site. Below, a little peek.
East Nashville Underground wraps up its current incarnation
Beloved seasonal music festival East Nashville Underground hung up the gloves, in a sense, after this past summer's installment -- though it isn't quite the bummer that implies. Organizers Jared and Kristyn Corder had an impressive run with ENU, taking it from a basement gathering to a much-talked about and very packed multi-date hang, and they certainly put the punctuation mark on at a high point. Plus, from what Jared tells us, we haven't seen the last of the Corders and their event wrangling. "It's still in the early stages and we are still figuring out where we want to take it," he said of ENU's next moves. "I guess you'll just have to stay tuned."
East Nashville Events Creates Seasonal Soirees
The fun/varied collection of Shoppes is, by and large, enough of an excuse to head to the Shoppes on Fatherland. But East Nashville Events -- led by Todd Reynolds and Travis Brown -- made the Shoppes that much more of a destination around the various fall and winter holidays by crafting day-long events full of family fun. They curated BooFest around Halloween, the East Nashville Harvest Heyday around Thanksgiving and Winter Wonder Fatherland ahead of Christmas, and these fun fetes included special marketplace offerings, food trucks, charity components and seasonal touches that made heading to Fatherland doubly worthwhile. Looking forward to seeing what kinds of Events Todd and Travis wrangle for year two.
The Roxy Revival movement... makes moves
The saga of the 75-year old Roxy Theater has been long and winding. It was purchased, then left to languish, then there were back taxes and an auction and lots and lots of justified hand-wringing. (We looked closely at the past, present and future of the Roxy in our March-April issue.) Nashvillians saw lots of warm, welcome steps toward the future in 2013 via the folks behind the Save the Roxy Theater movement, with cleanup efforts and the Roxy Revival event, which included vendors, neighbors, music, a film screening and the first performances that historic stage has seen in a long, long time. Here's hoping for more of that movement in 2014.
Comedian Tig Notaro takes an East Side stage
It's a bit of a long story, but point is: Masterful comedian Tig Notaro ended up talking nighttime horse-tongue attacks and making clown horn noises for a small crew of sweaty fans, for free, inside Gallatin Pike's East Room in August. And it was awesome. Notaro was crossing the country this summer, performing in the homes and yards of chosen fan applicants as she filmed a Showtime documentary. The Nashville stop was initially planned for an East Side home, but weather made a move to the East Room necessary. Free beer, big laughs, copious audience participation -- it was a night to remember, for sure, and we can't wait to see it hit the airwaves.
One word: Thirth
Many communities have forgotten the beauty of the block party. Not East Nashville. A shut down North 12th Street between Ordway and Calvin plus food plus beer plus friends equals The Thirth of July, a top-notch East Side tradition that gives 'Merica, and us, just a little extra love.
Openings and closings and movings and yoooowsers
Let's all agree that our own Eric Jans has a herculean task, keeping up with all the happenings around here. Feels like every day a new business opens or moves or expands or decides it's time for short bangs or whatever. And he does an incredible job of keeping track. Summing up everything Eric's noted in 2013 would make our heads spin. So here's just a tiny selection, in no particular order.
Openings: Treehouse, Hot Yoga of East Nashville, Mickey's Tavern, Yeast Nashville, Spot's Pet Supply, Antica, Tenn Sixteen, Nashville Sweets, Center 615, Rustique, Kernels Gourmet Popcorn, Hey Rooster, Specs Optical, Edley's East, Kaleidoscope, Karen Craven Acupuncture, Prema, Welcome Home, The Main Attraction, Smokers Abbey, Music City Healing Arts, Storage Treasures, The Crying Wolf, Climb Nashville
Moves: Mitchell Delicatessen down the street to 1306 McGavock; DancEast to 805 Woodland St., Suite 314; Old Made Good to 3701B Gallatin; East Nashville Community Acupuncture to 805 Woodland.
We're busy right now putting the first issue of 2014 to bed, and we'll be plenty busy updating our neighbors on East Nashville comings and goings and happenings and people throughout the year. But man, 2013 wasn't boring.
How about you? What sticks out in your mind from 2013? (But, y'know, keep it clean.)