This week, we're looking at a bunch of old structures getting new life, some local musicians moving to the printed page and more.
On to the latest East Nashville News:
New life for former Riverside Drive Church of Christ
Question marks have hovered around the former Riverside Drive Church of Christ for a good while now. The circa-1937 structure at 1530 Riverside spent a good spell dormant, and then we heard it was maybe going to become a boutique event space called Haesel, and then it wasn’t.
Late last year, Nashville video production and web development/design firm SnapShot Interactive snatched up the property, and since, we’ve been waiting to see how the sledgehammers would fall.
Work’s now under way at Riverside and Porter, and good news for lovers of old East Nashville buildings: The SnapShot folks are focused on maintaining the church’s historic aesthetic.
The goal is “to just be really respectful,” general manager Bart Mackey told us, noting that the front facade is set to stay pretty much the same, with some small additions going on the back of the structure. “We’re really excited about the historic aspect of it,” he said, “so we want to do as little as possible.”
Along with that “little,” a lot’s going into the inside of the place.
When the renovations are complete, the former church will become SnapShot’s headquarters (their current HQ is in Cummins Station), with room for about 60 employees over 14,000 square feet. On the main floor, a fully outfitted video studio and editing bays will be in place, with a large, open work area housing the company’s developers and other staff members.
Additional space down on the garden level and up on a mezzanine may get set aside for coworking or shared with other tech-focused startups — that’s still in the planning.
Mackey said lots of other community-focused ideas are being tossed around too, from housing tech-angled continuing education events to spotlighting local artists’ work on the walls. That’ll all come into focus as we get closer to their planned move-in date, in mid-February.
Snagging this space, specifically, grew out of a strong desire to migrate over to this side of the river.
“This gives us an opportunity to be part of the East Nashville neighborhood,” Mackey (a Cleveland Park-er) said. “Probably two thirds of SnapShot employees live on the East Side, so we’re excited to be here.”
Mackey said that the new neighbors have been offering a warm welcome, too — particularly once they noted the dearth of bulldozers.
“We’ve got thumbs up from a lot of people,” he said. “One woman almost cried when she was like, ‘You’re not tearing it down!’”
Check out more at the SnapShot Interactive website.
New life for Roxy Theater?
According to local biz-news folks, we may finally be seeing the resurgence of the historic Roxy Theater that many of us have been hoping for going on years now.
The 1930s-era theater at 827 Meridian Street was once a community destination and the center of a busy Cleveland Park business district. It closed in 1959, and subsequent efforts to reignite the spark seemed to fizzle.
In late 2013, we wondered, “Revival of the Roxy: Here at Last?” But… not quite. Maybe now, though, at last-last.
The Nashville Post reports that a group of investors have picked up the Roxy property, and plans to develop a restaurant and/or live entertainment venue are in the works.
“It’s a rare opportunity to purchase a classic structure such as the Roxy and we’re enamored with the history associated with the building,” the publication quotes group spokesman Elliott Kyle as saying. “Geographically, we feel it is inevitable the McFerrin/Cleveland Park district goes through a revitalization and we hope to have a hand in that narrative over time.”
The Post also notes that the same group is working on an adaptive reuse plan for the former Jack Ward & Sons Plumbing Co. building at 809 Meridian, and this summer, also acquired the McGavock House and Ray of Hope Community Church property at 908 and 901 Meridian.
Beauty Queen and Rosemary bars coming to Five Points
In late spring, Eater Nashville tipped us all to news that the Five Points bar landscape was set to grow by two this year, with new bar concepts coming to 1102 Forrest Avenue.
This week, the Nashville Business Journal gave us a little update: Show This’ Andrew Mischke and partner Jim O'Shea are aiming to give the two spaces a “really nice house party” vibe, and hope to have the doors open in November.
The breakdown: a house bar called Rosemary, and a garage bar called Beauty Queen.
Local music-makers Rufus and Pujol drop new books
You may know East Nashville musician Rob Rufus (above) from punk band Blacklist Royals, whose indie/major LPs have earned nods to bands like The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me!
If you don’t know Rufus, there’s a lot to sink into — the drummer tackled a rare form of cancer at age 17, and came out of three years of intense treatment swinging, his band putting in years of heavy road work with the likes of Less Than Jake and NOFX.
Here’s an easy way to get the full story: Simon & Schuster just released Rufus’ memoir, Die Young with Me, and it’s already earning high praise — Ramones drummer and fellow musical memoirist Marky Ramone, for one, said “Rob Rufus is a punk after my own heart and his book is a raw, honest picture of the weirdness of growing up.”
Here’s the publisher’s breakdown of Die Young:
“In the tradition of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl comes the incredibly moving true story of a teenager diagnosed with cancer and how music was the one thing that helped him get through his darkest days.
“Punk’s not dead in rural West Virginia. In fact, it blares constantly from the basement of Rob and Nat Rufus—identical twin brothers with spiked hair, black leather jackets, and the most kick-ass record collection in Appalachia. To them, school (and pretty much everything else) sucks. But what can you expect when you’re the only punks in town?
“When the brothers start their own band, their lives begin to change: they meet friends, they attract girls, and they finally get invited to join a national tour and get out of their rat box little town.
“But their plans are cut short when Rob is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has already progressed to Stage Four. Not only are his dreams of punk rock stardom completely shredded, there is a very real threat that this is one battle that can’t be won.
While Rob suffers through nightmarish treatments and debilitating surgery, Nat continues on their band’s road to success alone. But as Rob’s life diverges from his brother’s, he learns to find strength within himself and through his music. Die Young With Me is a raw, honest account of a brave teen’s fight with cancer and the many ways music helped him cope through his recovery.”
Die Young With Me is available through Simon & Schuster and various retailers — you can also snag it in the neighborhood at Her Bookshop, 1006 Fatherland St. #103A.
Rufus has good company in the musician-pushing-printed-pages camp, too: Pujol frontman/namesake Daniel Pujol has a new poetry chapbook, Mighty Stranger, coming out on October 15 via new Nashville poetry publisher Ursus Americanus Press.
Mighty Stranger will be the first chapbook release for the local “publishers of beautiful weirdos,” who plan to issue two or three works of original poetry and prose a year, at a small run of 100 copies per book.
Ursus Americanus’ description of Pujol’s debut poetry collection:
“Pujol’s anti-apocalyptic poems strive to answer impossible questions, to delineate impossible narratives, all while still being true to what it means to be alive and human in the 21st century.”
The singer/songwriter/poet will celebrate Mighty Stranger’s release with a show here in the neighborhood, Saturday, Oct. 15 at The East Room (2412 Gallatin). It kicks off at 8 p.m., and tickets are $8, available via Ticketfly.
The chapbook will be available via Ursus Americanus’ webstore. You can preview some of Pujol’s work now at the publisher’s site, too.
Learning with Walk Bike Nashville and Bike Fun
A few months back, “active transportation” advocacy organization Walk Bike Nashville moved over to our side of the river, into 943 Woodland, and since, they’ve been busy digging into advocating for life on two wheels.
One immediate example:
Want help getting more comfortable/confident with cycling our urban roads? Walk Bike’s hosting a free City Cycling 201 community course on Saturday, Sept. 24, at their place. You’ll learn maneuvering skills, signaling, crash avoidance and stuff like that. It’ll run from 9 to 11 a.m., and you can sign up through Eventbrite.
Can’t make that date, or really need more involved bike education? Neighbor KJ Garner recently launched Bike Fun, focused on “education and inspiration for people who ride bikes, or who want to get back on one.”
With Bike Fun, Garner’s offering one-on-one instruction and group classes, covering everything from bike sizing for comfort and safety to nutrition and maintenance.
“I hope to create a shared space for all levels of bicycle enthusiasts,” she says, “and will also help non-riders understand how to interact with bike riders on the roads.”
Longtime East Sider Garner is a licensed cycling instructor and, fittingly enough, a member of Walk Bike Nashville’s board of directors. Learn more at the Bike Fun website.
— New East Nashville specs shop/optometrist office Look East has set a “hopefully firm open date” of Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 1011 Gallatin. Here’s what we wrote about Look East back in March.
— The Bongo East folks have unveiled the names of the 5 Points mural bears. Unfortunately, our suggestions of Bearyond the Edge and Beartered & Fried and Pied Piebear Creamery and Nashville Running (from Bears) Company didn’t make the cut. Probably because we forgot to send them.
— This Saturday, Sept. 24 is the annual Nashville Neighborhoods Celebration at the Scarritt Bennett Center (1008 19th Ave. S.). You’ll see displays and presentations representing various neighborhoods (including ours), a battle of the bands, games and more. It’s free, and goes 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Margot chef Margot McCormack and Lockeland Table chef Hal Holden-Bache are among the revered local kitchen captains taking part in Wednesday, Sept. 28’s Farmhand Dinner, the fourth annual celebration of “the end of a bountiful summer” at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. Tickets for the four-course meal (with wine pairings and live music) are $75 per person, available online now.
— The Be Hive, which has regularly provided East Nashville with pop-up, veggie-only dining experiences benefiting worthy causes, has a Chili Bar Buffet planned for October 3 at The East Room.
— Angelhouse Family Dinner is popping up in the neighborhood again with their Chinese comfort food. They’ll serve a six-course meal at POP on Monday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50, including tax/tip.
That’s it for this week. Anything to share? Please email Nicole.