Cheekwood’s Celebration of El Día de los Muertos: A Nashville Tradition

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I was thrilled yesterday to be headed again to  El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  With all the changes that have happened in Nashville over the three years I lived abroad,  I was happy that Cheekwood still hosts one of my favorite fall events and one of the most important festivals in Latin American culture.   On El Dia de Los Muertos  families honor relatives who have passed into the next life by creating altars as memorials  and tapetes (carpets or murals usually made of sand to represent the brevity of life).  They also celebrate the gift of living with joy and thanksgiving.  The fall before I moved to Morocco, my International Club students  and I  really enjoyed the event.  This time I was with my friend Sara, a teacher at Centennial High School, who was excited that their school had done its own festival and students were also participating in Cheekwood’s Tapete competition.  I was excited, too, that her son, Trent, was at his first celebration.

As we headed to the food trucks, I saw another old friend, David, who had taught my students Latin dance years before.  “Welcome to Nashville!” he grinned.

He pointed to a booth where I’d see what he had been up to.  There I saw another Colombian friend, Marcela Gómez, who had founded a company called Mi Tribu (My Tribe) which gives back to her home country and shares its beauty with the world.   Mi Tribu sustains female indigenous and displaced artisans  who create the unique goods and reminds women everywhere we belong to the same tribe.   Check out the website for Christmas gifts that will continue giving.

As Sara, Trent, and I walked to the Frist Center to see the Aztec dancers, we passed a long line of school busses. In its fifth year, Cheekwood’s El Dia de Los Muertos fiesta had drawn students from many Tennessee and Kentucky middle and high schools–some sharing their native tradition, others wanting to learn more.  The tradition here was alive, well, and growing.   Authentic crafts, foods, art activities, face painting, and live music against a backdrop of gorgeous grounds beginning to burst into autumn color was energizing.  Seeing people of all ages from diverse backgrounds having fun together was beautiful.

El Día de los Muertos at Cheekwood
Nashville families gathered for fun.

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Day of the Dead at Cheekwood
El Día de los Muertos at Cheekwood

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Marcela Gómez and David Sandoval (third partner, Claudia Barajas, not pictured) selling Colombian goods which support indigenous female artisans and showcase the cultural beauty of their native country.
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Centennial High School’s Tapete Competition Entry

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Thanks to  the Hispanic Family Service, Catholic Charities of Tennessee for more history:

Dia De Los Muertos started 3,000 years ago by the indigenous people in what is now Mexico.  The practice was discovered 500 years ago by Spanish Conquistadors.

When the Spanish couldn’t eradicate the ritual, they merged it with Catholic theology and moved it to coincide with All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2).   Skulls are still used as they were by the Aztecs to symbolize death and rebirth. The Aztecs and other Mesoamerican civilizations believed the dead visited during the ritual. They didn’t fear death but embraced it: “To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.”

Today Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and in some parts of the US and Central America.  In rural Mexico, families visit the cemetery where loved ones are buried.  They decorate the graves with marigolds and candles, toys for children, and tequila for adults, then picnic beside the graves eating the favorite foods of loved ones.  In larger cities in Mexico and the US, families build altars in their homes memorializing the dead with flowers, food, and photos of the deceased.

Another Christmas gift idea…

I’ve been a fan of Cheekwood since moving to Nashville in 1987, and now that I’ve moved less than two miles away, I bought a membership to enjoy all the 55-acre botanical garden and historical estate has to offer.  (It’s also part of my Walden Woods season–more on that in the next post).   I’m looking forward to fall in full bloom, then holiday lights November 24-December 31.  Check out their plans and discounts for military, educators, students, and seniors (65+), benefits locally, and reciprocal admission to nearly 200 botanical gardens, arboreta, and conservatories nationwide  and over 60 museums in the Southeast.  Reciprocal admission is also offered in Canada, The Cayman Islands, and the Virgin Islands, and opportunities for Travel Study abroad with the American Horticulture Society are linked here.

 

Staycation in Nashville…Fond Farewell

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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.–Henry Miller

I’ve always enjoyed staycations in Nashville, my home for almost thirty years.  After two years of living in Morocco, I am in town for the summer, and, as friends said I would be, stunned by how much this It City has grown.   In a week I move to The Dominican Republic–this time with my daughter who  wants a new adventure, too. Thanks to Omni Nashville–the premier location for enjoying downtown  — we had a perfect celebration as Taylor bid her birthplace a fond farewell for now.

Nashville, voted #1 for Girlfriend Getaways by Travel and Leisure, draws women of all ages with its southern hospitality, great food, shopping, and entertainment.  Here females have fun and feel safe whether gathering for bachelorette parties or mother-daughter escapes. Opened in 2013,  Omni Nashville is within walking distance of Music City’s best–its 800 guest rooms and 54 luxury suites offering a gorgeous place to relax before or after a big night out.   It shares multiple levels with The Country Music Hall of Fame ,  is next door to the Music City Center, and a short walk to The Schermerhorn,  The Tennessee Performing Art CenterThe Ryman,  Johnny Cash Museum (Taylor and I are big Johnny and June fans),  Ascend Amphitheater and world-famous Broadway.

 

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Soon to be TWO Southern Girls Gone Global

 

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When the carriage driver assumed we were tourists and asked if we wanted a ride, Taylor said, “I wish.”  I said, “Let’s go.”

 

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Photo provided by Omni

We loved our room with its amazing view.  After checking in, we took a short walk and had a delicious and relaxing lunch at Country Music Hall of Fame’s  Bajo Sexto recommended by Nashville Lifestyles.com and others.

 

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Back on the Omni property we visited Hatch Show Prints, a Nashville institution.

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Rotated from Country Music Hall of Fame are costumes worn by icons–one that brought back memories from my childhood of the Harper Valley PTA.

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The Five and Tenn stocks local products from  Jack Daniels to Goo Goo Clusters, from Col. Littleton leather goods to Lucchese boots.

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Forgot something?  Like going to the general store, you can find what you need.

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Barlines is the Omni’s live music and sports venue.  With the hearTV app inside or on the patio patrons can stream live audio from any TV in the restaurant from their own iPhone or Android.

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Onsite is Bongo Java–Nashville’s oldest coffee company.  Taylor was impressed with the playlist here and throughout the hotel.

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The Omni brand prides itself in designing each hotel to reflect the character and culture of each host city.  Local artwork was chosen to represent the multi-genre world famous music scene that is Nashville.

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The Ryman

Though we had hoped to use the pool, the weather didn’t cooperate, so after exploring we decided to take a nap before our night on the town.

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Relaxed and rested, we headed toward the lights of Broadway for music, dinner, and a last look for awhile at an amazing city.

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The next morning I was given a tour by Tod Roadarmel, Area Director of Sales and Marketing, and his team to learn more of Omni Nashville’s story.

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We headed to Kitchen Notes, The Tennessean’s 2016 TOAST Reader’s Choice Awards as one of the contenders for the Best Sunday Brunch.  If you’re a local or tourist who has fallen in love with their biscuit bar or brunch, today is the last day to cast your vote here.

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The property has 80,000 square feet of meeting and event space.  Above is one of two ballrooms where wedding receptions are held.  Below, bridal parties and other guests can choose from many services at Mokara Spa.  Locals can also book spa days which includes use of the outdoor pool, named as one of the Top Ten Pools of 50 Omni international hotels.

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Photo provided by Omni

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Photo provided by Omni

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Within a year of its opening in 2013, Omni Nashville was ranked #4 of US Hotel Meeting Spaces.  Here  from the band stage to the boardroom creativity is ubiquitous.  When Tod asked Gibson to donate guitars to be used in the conference room, he didn’t expect to receive pieces played by B.B. King, John Lennon, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Billy Gibbons.

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At Bob’s Steak and Chop House patrons include Reba and Vince.

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On my tour I imagined a bubble bath with a view in the Johnny Cash Suite.

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I remember the night Keith Urban was hanging out on Demonbreun.  He set down his drank and took the stage.  One day I hope to run into his wife, Nicole, who shot the Queen of the Desert in Marrakesh.

Distance gives fresh perspective, bringing life into sharper focus.  With our eyes filled  with the wonder of tourists and our hearts with the love of locals, I said hello again to a town I’ve missed and will always be a part of me as Taylor said her goodbye.  Nashville was a great place to raise my children…a place that gave us all roots and wings.

Thank you, Omni Nashville, for a wonderful stay.  As always, the opinions here are my own.

 

 

 

My Nashville

My Nashville
My Nashville (from top left) Union Station by the Frist, Cheekwood’s Fall Festival, Chukkers for Charity, Boots on 2nd Avenue, Fido in Hillsboro Village, Conexion America’s Cooking Classes (row 1) Parthenon, Titans Stadium, Nashville Ballet, Bellcourt Theater, Radnor Lake, Batman Building (row 3) Hispanic Heritage Month, Percy Priest Lake, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Italian Lights, Stones River Greenway, CMA Fest, (row 4) Southern Festival of Books, Nashville Film Fest, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, McNamara’s, Jackson’s, Pangea in Hillsboro Village

Roots and wings. Nashville has and is (for me) both. This progressive place with a legendary past is the 7th fastest growing city in the US. Friends told me of new restaurants and music venues, of more traffic in the year I was away, but I was still surprised by all the change.

Growing up in Kentucky, I romanticized Nashville and its icons.  As a six-year-old in the ‘60s my “imaginary friend” was an imaginary husband—Elvis—and I still remember watching the Johnny Cash Show with my dad on Friday nights long before I’d go to concerts at The Ryman where it was taped. Walk the Line is one of my favorite movies—a love story of a Bad Boy reformed by a woman, her family, and faith. When asked for his definition of Paradise, Johnny said of June Carter Cash, “This morning, with her, having coffee.”

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If you are fans of Elvis and Johnny, too, local artist Cindy David’s guitar pick earrings are my pick for cool souvenirs/ gifts. She sells them at festivals and gift shops (Nashville Airport, Frist Center, Omni Hotel, Nashville Symphony, and Cheekwood), or you can contact her at CindyDavid.com.  I brought back a pair for Johnny.

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CindyDavidDesigns.com

When writing in Nashville for Examiner and Hispanic Nashville.com , I highlighted local events that defy Music City being put in a box—

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performances at the Nashville Symphony, TPAC, Nashville Ballet, Vanderbilt Presents, and Nashville Film Fest. I also appreciate all that once defined Nashville–putting the town on the map–like live music on stages at the Ryman, the Bluebird, Grand Ole Opry, Bridgestone, BB King’s…in bars on Broadway, Demonbreun, and Nolensville Road…and at outdoor events from Ascend Amphitheater to Chukkers for Charity.  Today Nashvegas, Buckle of the Bible Belt, a community as diverse as sweet tea and Jack Daniel whiskey, brims with tradition and progression; local, global, and local-gone-global happenings receiving Presidential recognition.  Nashville is a place offering something for everyone explaining its popularity as a tourist destination and place to live.

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Legend-upon-legend, Hatch Print, Nashville

Moviemaker Alberto Fuguet was also drawn to Music City. While Artist-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, he wrote and filmed Musica Campesina. The film explores the immigrant experience of Tazo, a Chilean who comes to Nashville seeking a career in country music. In a scene with the lead (played by Pablo Cerda) I’m a desperate housewife who offers him iced tea but serves Jack Daniel.  Fuguet described Tazo as a “fish out of water” which I better understand now living in a different culture.  Many days I feel like a mermaid in Marrakesh.

My month at home went too fast to see all the new places I wanted to explore and visit all my old haunts. Below Taylor, Cole, and I played tourist downtown on 2nd Avenue and Broadway.  Acme Feed and Seed has live music, reasonably priced food and a rooftop for taking photos.

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Johnny Cash and Billy Graham, most famous preacher of my time. I still remember my Mama Lou watching his Crusades.
Johnny Cash and Billy Graham, most famous preacher of my time. I still remember my Mama Lou watching his Crusades.

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Also on Broad is the Frist Center.   We celebrated a Big Birthday of my friend, Cheryl, there where The Long Players had people dancing in the grass under the light of a big, blue moon.

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Union Station

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Emily, far right, is our pro photographer and grabbed great shots and footage of that night. Today is HER birthday. Happy Birthday, Em!
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Loved the Birthday Dinner at Cheryl’s pick, Adele’s–fun new restaurant in the Gulch.

Below is the video Emily made celebrating Cheryl’s 60th Birthday and what a “Young American” looks and acts like.  Also check out travel videos from Emily’s adventures on her Vimeo station, My Open Road.

Nashville is a dancing place.  On my 40th birthday I was doing country line dance with my sister and friends at the Wildhorse Saloon. Since my 50th I salsa.  It was so good to get back to Suzy Wong’s House of Yum to fuel up for lemon drops and Asian Wonton Nachos, then do “Free Dance Wednesday” where Tonya Miller still faithfully hosts Salsa Night weekly at Play.

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Though there are so many places to go, things to do, food to eat, I have to wrap up because I’m getting homesick. For a fix of Italy I love Bella Napoli near Belmont or Coco’s Italian Market in West Nashville.  Urban Grub on 12th South has oysters and great grits. And in my neck-of-the-woods, there’s the Hip Donelson Farmers Market for home-cooking-for real like the spread my sister and brother-in-law made for my farewell dinner.

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I went to McNamara’s, named “One of the Best Irish Pubs in America,” with my friend, Theresa, then Cole while home for the corned beef and cabbage and band, Nosey Flynn.  For lighter fare there’s Phat Bites‘ Chinese Chicken Salad, Broccoli Salad, and Greek Salad and Cinco de Mayo in Hermitage and Old Hickory for a reward after a long walk on the Greenway or just because.

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On a Cinco run

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Finally, events I miss most in Nashville are Fall Festivals. Hope you can make one or all!

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Italian Lights Grape Stomping

Italian Lights

Wine on the River

Oktoberfest

Southern Festival of Books

Celebrate Nashville

Cheekwood Fall Festival

A music mix that’s Nashville…

Past, Present, Future Dickens of a Christmas

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He went to the church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and for, and patted the children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of homes, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed of any walk, that anything, could give him so much happiness. 

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. —A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

A highlight of celebrating this Yuletide Season was Franklin’s “Dickens of a Christmas.”  Until last week, my sister, brother-in-law, and I had not done the annual event since first moving to Nashville.  Walking Main Street took me back to many-an-afternoon on Hoptown sidewalks spent window-shopping with Mama Lou–a time before Internet Wish Lists and a place when it was ok to spend a day “just looking.”  We’d stop in to see Mama Sargeant, Bookkeeper at J. C. Penney, have a banana split at the soda counter, and then head home to launch other adventures by way of Christmas classics.

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Both grandmothers loved books, so I met Mr. Dickens early in life. I loved Mama Lou’s Christmas Ideals (the book and her lifelong wonder found in simple things).  Brimming like a stuffed stocking, its pictures fed my imagination with conversations between Santa and Mrs. Claus; carolers in velvet, hooded capes; and children and dogs dallying in the snow.

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Ideals

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On December 15, as cold as the Decembers of our childhoods, Penny, Jeff, and I met Kim and Andy, Franklin residents and newlyweds, in the Franklin Square. On our Sunday stroll I felt fully alive, proven by our breath misting in the streets. Inside stores twinkled with lights and all-things-pretty–cozy bedding and tulle gowns worthy of wearing by the Sugar Plum Fairy and waiting for Santa himself. Though we bought only kettle corn and sugared pecans, we savored sweet Christmas past and present.  I don’t know what Christmas Future holds, but I am confident in the One who holds it.  All is calm, all is bright because as Dickens said:

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” —A Christmas Carol

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Kim and Andy
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Penny and Jeff
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Puckett’s Boat House

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Merry Christmas and
Merry Christmas and “God Bless Us, Everyone!”

Fall Weather Back Home

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This week in Nashville we had our first snow flurries.  It was even colder than a month ago when I stepped off the plane in The Netherlands to a twenty degree temperature drop. On my fall break trip to Europe I was forced for the first time since May to exchange flip flops for close-toed shoes. I also broke out the scarves, a fleece and my oversized Blarney Woolen Mills sweater.

I bought the classic, the color and comfort of oatmeal, in Dublin in 2000.  It was the first trip of several where I would learn to depend on the kindness of strangers.  I’d met eleven church members once at a meeting before we left; two years later my roomie, Amy, would ask me to be in her wedding. We stayed in an inn— four-to-a-room in bunk beds—where the showers were icy but the egg salad sandwiches with salt and vinegar chips divine.

In that Greystones fishing village I met each morning with God, prayer journal in hand, on a cliff over the Irish sea.  Each night I saw the sunset at 10 as we walked home to the inn from the pub.  During my stay I saw U2’s studio, sang in beautiful churches, and hiked by the lake in the greenest of parks. On our free day I left the group and hopped on a bus alone to explore the next town down the road. Traveling with locals, anonymous, felt strangely exciting –something I’d do on future trips every chance I’d get like in London in October when I went to the British Library and finally saw the oldest transcript of Beowulf. Looking out the bus window I believed for the first time I could by happy teaching in a foreign land because it didn’t seem foreign at all. I could see my kids playing in the rural, rolling hills of Ireland, much like I had in the small Kentucky town where I was raised. The Emerald Isle also reminded me of Lexington where I was a college bride on a horse farm.

Since returning to my life I’ve been self-soothing with comfort food– Irish beef stew.  I’ve missed that balmy June of 2000…felt restless with the change of seasons… simply wanted more …and savored the simple pleasures of enough. I’ve made three visits to McNamara’s– one with friends, one with my son, one alone. I might not be a Galway Girl, but in cold weather it feels like Ireland…and like home.

Irish Beef Stew recipe–I roast in the oven potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic and herbs, then add to the stock.  I also use 1/2 can of fire-roasted tomatoes rather than tomato paste and red pepper for heat.

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Beach House

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Girls line dancing

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Mountain Lake

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Kim and Mayuresh

Last Saturday was as good as it gets. A year ago my friend, April, invited me to Italian Lights, calling me back to my first love affair with a culture. Check it out here: http://southerngirlgoneglobal.com/2010/09/18/finding-an-old-love-in-new-venue-italian-lights/. This year, I invited a gang and I was back in Italy again. I spent hours at table exchanging stories, laughs and food with friends I’d met through my salsa world, Kim K, Dorothy, Jose, April, Jason, Emila, Tricia, and Mayuresh; my sister, Penny, and brother-in-law, Jeff (It was his birthday!); and Kim R.

I’m often asked how I became part of the salsa world in Nashville, a global community who loves Latin dance. My response in short: Italy where I first learned to just BE.

I’ve written other posts on why I love Italy…how it all began one summer when I taught English there. I’d gone with students-in-tow in 2000, 2004, and 2009, each time loving sharing with them places both ancient and beautiful—Venice, Rome, Florence, Capri, Naples, Sorrento, and Pisa. But it was 2005-2007 when I met, then stayed in homes of Italian friends, Antonio, Anna, Fabio, Antonio, Vilma, and Georgio, that I learned firsthand how to live La Dolce Vita. Still framed on my daughter’s wall is a picture of her dancing with Antonio at my surprise birthday party in Torino. She says in just one visit Antonio and Vilma were like grandparents to her.

Meanwhile, Kim Roberts was spending summers with friends in Spain, sometimes doing weekend trips to Italy. We met in an Italian class, sharing a love for travel, the romance languages, and the passionate people who speak them. I liked her instantly as she burst into the first lesson, swishing a bohemian skirt with stories of dancing till dawn with some girlfriends the night before.

Kim admitted that she’s a closet expatriate, that she ached the first time she left Spain. I understood and confessed I felt the same way the first time I flew out over the Italian alps. In Spain and Italy we love the way meals last hours over good wine and interesting conversation. We’d both said, “When I’m there, I finally feel more alive. In a strange way, I feel I’m home.”

Though we’ve never been to Italy together, our simultaneous travels bonded us. In the early fall of 2007 I was on the shores of Lake Como while she was on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, we found through travel joy, serenity, adventure, and relationship. But in 2008 when our slim bank accounts prevented our escaping by the usual flight plan, we were forced to embrace what Gilbert says is the main point of her book—that to change our lives, we don’t have to go far. We just have to shift. So our gypsy souls resolved to refocus. Like Dorothy, we would stop chasing rainbows and find contentment and happiness in our own backyard. We had to find what Kim calls, our people…those who seek joy and find it in a celebratory culture right here in Music City.

And we did…first in folks like Patti Nelson of Italian for Fun and later in the Latin dance community. More on that later… Off to make potato salad for today’s Chilean Independence Day Celebration and a trifle for the Hicks’ Copacubana party. For some serendipity, check out my tribute to Latin culture and the Hicks’ house parties, just published on Italian chef, Paulette Licitra’s award-winning food journal, Alimentum. Ciao!

http://www.alimentumjournal.com/pot-luck/

Summer Art and Play Dates

Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon… the two most beautiful words in the English language.
–Henry James

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
–Twyla Tharp

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
–Pablo Picasso

All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.
–J.R.R. Tolkien

I love getting lost. In summer I can do what Julia Cameron calls “artist dates,” wanton wanderings to inspire creativity and cultivate sanity. I can stop racing down a linear path like the March Hare late for the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and thus, avoid going mad myself. And when folks say I’m “slow-walking,” KentuckySpeak for wasting my time, I can tell them to take a hike, preferably down a rabbit hole.

Yesterday I had lunch with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare at The Italian Market. Growing up four months and one street apart, my daughter, Taylor, and niece, Emily, were in Alice together their freshman year of high school. Many-an-audience-member said they stole the show, and I felt again like we were in Wonderland. Like childhood Sunday lunch that lasted all afternoon at Mama Sargeant’s or Torino dinner that went til near midnight at Anna and Antonio’s, we took our sweet time…Limoncello Torte and all.

A few shiny objects later (what my son calls distractions but I call decisions when I get off the clock)… buying lavender and cilantro, book-hunting at McKay’s, snapping pictures of a church in Sylvan Park… we parked in the shade of the Parthenon. At The American Artisan Festival, our original destination, we talked to artists, patted dogs, sipped strawberry lemonade in the shade. I bought an “original” sketch from a boy with his grandmother working the crowd for camp money. He’d traced a crow, either Heckle or Jeckle. The perfect souvenir.

We’d blown off the direct route, “the way a crow flies,” to the park. Like freebirds we picked up bright and shining things along the way…good conversation, laughs, leisure. We met artists who reminded us we are all made in the image of the Great Creator. By honoring their inner children with their work, they invited ours to join and play.

 


My friend, Cindy David, of Cindy David Designs.


Monica Chantada, another friend modeling one of Cindy’s latest designs.


Vintage bags from Lisa Toland (California)


Beverly Hayden Art


Not much of a games girl, but always loved Monopoly and Operation…The Junk Bunk is cool.


Artwork above by Lisa Norris, the one girl.


Love these by Ynon Mabat (Florida)


http://www.jerilanders.com/

Also liked the work of Nicario Jimenez, Brent Sanders and Big World Photo (cause it is).

All that Glows: Summer 2011

The 2010-11 school year is over, and I’ve moved back into my summer home. Vacating the classroom means taking up residency here, on this blog, where I can exhale. Having done my penance of papers, I can stop grading others and maybe even myself. Though it will take a miracle not to measure the next seven weeks by how much I cross off my bloated to-do list– writing projects, preparing Classic Coup for POOL, finishing sessions I’m teaching at a conference–it’s all good. Especially more time with family and friends. So far despite my extreme sports in 90 degree weather– banging on a tube behind the boat (the Ladd Sisters–Penny and me–ride the waves again), playing volleyball at night with friends in a pool, batting cicadas with a fan as they kamikaze into me, stirred up by Kaziques at an outdoor concert– I breathe easier in summer. It’s a time to collect my thoughts…like lightening bugs in a jar…and see all that glows.

Christmas Catch-up

Apologies for disappearing since September…too busy living the “Rich Life” to record it. Since returning from Magic, I was more motivated than ever to grow Classic Coup…and meanwhile the mom/teacher/writer/salsera world kept spinning…

Now there’s the holidays when I really run behind…family coming to my house for dinner tonight and still grocery, cooking, gift wrapping to go. No complaints. At Christmas I catch-up on what’s most important… friends and family.

Tuesday Angela was in town and rather than talk Classic Coup, we met at Marche just for fun. Check out her pics of her first East Nashville experience–a part of town I adore. Also see her pictures of her European tour this fall, grab design ideas, pick up some recipes.

Staycation #12: The Beauty of Belcourt

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It’s cool to be one of the Village People…sans YMCA hand motions. Whether you’re high art, low brow, or slapstick… Steve Martin, Prince or Igor Stravinsky, Belcourt Theatre, Nashville’s most majestic and eclectic art house, has patrons still huddling round the hub of its culture and history. Dating back to silent films in the 20s and Opry performances in the 30s Belcourt has provided the Nashville community entertainment value.

Whether you’re left Breathless by Bombay Bellywood, Coco Chanel, or Mrs. Robinson, a variety of memberships reduce admission on the live theater, music, and films offered. Belcourt has survived and thrived as one of the last operational neighborhood theaters in the US. Distinguished by its non-profit agenda, it is still the cool place to go—literally—on a hot summer afternoon (where a patron can pick up a cool one with popcorn at the Belcourt Bar).

Tonight, as part of the Second Saturday Outdoor Cinema you can catch The Jerk on the parking lot out back. But if humidity or rain drives you inside, there’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail next month. Meanwhile…
for those tonight who prefer seeing the landscape of Nice and Milano to feeling the Tennessee heat outdoors, I Am Love is playing tonight in one of the auditoriums. I saw it yesterday and given I was both places last summer and rarely miss an Italian film I’ll be blogging about it next…Stay tuned.

For movie listings, showtimes, and more information, visit http://www.belcourt.org.

The theater below is in my hometown, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Belcourt reminds me of The Princess, and though I was surprised this summer to see a sign of the times below, I’ll always remember it as the place I first saw Rhett kiss Scarlett.
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