Nick Cave: Feat. at the Frist

Unfortunately the Nick Cave: Feat. exhibit at the Frist is now over (I completely flaked on DFK earlier this year), but I got some great pics of it while it was up.

Loved seeing the soundsuits on what amounted to a walkway in a room studded with buttons. And just the whole thing was really well put together.

From the synopsis:

…A deeper look reveals that they speak to issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, gun violence, and civic responsibility. His trademark human-shaped sculptures—called soundsuits because of the noise made when they move—began as a response to the beating of Rodney King by policemen in Los Angeles more than twenty-five years ago. As an African American man, Cave felt particularly vulnerable after the incident so he formed a type of armor that protected him from profiling by concealing race, gender, and class.

Along with broadcasting an increasingly urgent call for equity, Cave wants his art to spark viewers’ imaginations and aspirations. This exhibition’s title, Feat., refers to the exceedingly hard work that goes into attaining success (it takes, for example, roughly seven hours to hand-sew just one square foot of a button soundsuit). It also plays on how talent is often listed in promotional materials—an appropriate nod to Music City and its creative community. Through this immersive installation, Cave hopes to provide a transformative place where your narrative can be featured and your dreams can soar.

This was the 2011 ‘Architectural Forest’ made up of bamboo, wire, plastic beads, and acrylic paint. It seemed to change design as one walked around it.

Here, a multi-paneled wall relief

And my favorite piece, the ceramic dog on a chaise

Feat. opens September 14 at the Orlando Museum of Art.

Also: several Nick Cave beaded blankets are on exhibit through February 2019 in Concourse A of the Nashville airport.

Looking forward to the Do Ho Suh: Specimens exhibit at the Frist from October 12 – January 6, 2019 and the Diana Al-Hadid exhibit May 24, 2019 – September 2, 2019.

Chocolate Cake For Days

That wasn’t our first trip to the Gaylord Opryland this year. Back in May, we stayed there (an atrium balcony suite in the Garden Conservatory upgrade thanks to Marriott Platinum status) and visited the Nick Cave Feat. exhibit at the Frist.  First, though, here’s the room:

The living area was by the balcony, and the bedroom was just as one enter’s the hotel room.

Our view:

Supper one night was at the Old Hickory Steakhouse which, from reviews (people on OpenTable where I made my res like it better than people on Yelp), looks a little hit or miss, but we had a great experience.

Our table was outside under the atrium, so we got to view the rest of the area while we were dining

We started with the seafood platter, which had lobster, crab claws, shrimp, and oysters

I was boring and only wanted a Caesar salad for my entree. It was as expected suitably boring.

…though I did have a good amount of the creamed spinach and kale with gruyere and a poached egg atop which was delicious

…annnnnd a bite of this steak which was beyond:

…and and annnnnd ohmystars this crazy chocolate cake which completely rocked and no we didn’t even finish a third of it

Lunch that following day was at Arnold’s, which is always good — not mind-blowing, but solid yummy meat-and-three

Oh! And on the way home, we stopped at Stan’s in Columbia, Tennessee for anytime breakfast and cracklin cornbread:

Let’s get back to that exhibit though. Tomorrow. Pics of *amazing* Nick Cave works. Promise.

 

 

 

Tasting Menu at The Chef & I, Garth, And Pls Don’t Paint Buildings Like That

The tasting menu at The Chef & I in Nashville (close to Arnold’s) was incredible and just so much fun, owing to the chefs, staff, and owner Chris being super friendly and putting on such a great time.

There were cocktails — this was the Freddie Mercury, with Xicaru mezcal, Frida Kahlo tequila, jalapeno agave, and house sangria float…

I made reservations on OpenTable, and we were able to sit right at the counter — the chef/owner, Chris explained how much he was in love with this quartz and how it was one of the largest expenditures. He spent a while talking with one of my friends about the restaurant business and the operations there.

Being a tasting menu and changing so often, the servings weren’t listed on a menu. But I can say that every.single.thing was just crazy delicious, from the egg dish to the blackberry waffle to the shrimp with avocado, and our desserts — chocolate espresso creme brulee

and the heirloom carrot cake were so fab.

One of the most amazing things for me was that the kitchen staff seemed unhurried. They did everything efficiently and quickly, and everyone got their food in a reasonable amount of time, but they weren’t crazy stressed or running around like I imagine (and I guess I get that from too much reality-ish tv). In fact, when there wasn’t a server available and a dish was ready, the chefs would just bring it around themselves. Nobody stood on ceremony. It was just super chill.

After lunch, we didn’t even think about supper. It was off to the Grand Ole Opry to see Garth Brooks! He was last of course but played four or five songs and the crowd was SO into it. Of all the concerts I’ve been to, this short set with Garth was maybe my favorite. He is that much fun.

Afterward, we joined the rest of Nashville on Broadway at Tootsie’s and Robert’s Western Wear (there were two other big concerts going on that night) and got price-gouged by Uber going back to the hotel. Still, who cares!? It was crazy fun.

BTW, quick mention about lunch the next day: it’s been a forever since we went to Monell’s downtown, that we had to do it again — but this time at their location by the airport — Monell’s at the Manor. Y’all. I’m not sure their air conditioner was working and everyone was just burning up. And while usually one’s table mates are friendly, only one couple was really interested in chatting (the other was busy with their baby, and a group at the end of the table was busy talking about a supposedly worthless member of their family so whatevvvvs). The food wasn’t especially hot or flavorful, and the waiter took the fried chicken platter and never came back with it as he had promised another member at the table. Just meh. Soooo I don’t have to do Monell’s again for a while. And hoo. Why is the building they’re in painted like this?

And of course, our next adventure, going to Cheekwood for the Cracking Art exhibit, was divine. Crazy great weekend.

Cracking Art at Cheekwood

We got to see the Cracking Art exhibit at Cheekwood in Nashville and it was really fun! The show is closing September 2, so now’s definitely the time to go.

If you’re familiar with Cracking from the penguins at the 21C hotels, or you’ve just seen news about their other exhibits, Cheekwood made for a terrific setting because the sculptures were on view on the grounds of the garden setting, as well as in the mansion.

From Cheekwood’s site:
Cracking Art is a Milan, Italy-based artist collective born out of the intention to radically change the history of art by investigating the relationship between natural and artificial reality. By using 100% recyclable plastic materials, Cracking Art creates site-specific installations using large-scale, natural animal forms made of synthetic materials, playfully arranging meerkats, bears, crocodiles, birds, and other animals in surprising invasions of familiar landscapes.

We interacted with the giant bird and her eggs, and even rode the croc!

September 22 – October 21 is Cheekwood Harvest where, among other sights, is their famous 400+ gourd pumpkin house.

Little Break, Back Soon


Hi friends! I took a little break from DFK, but will be back mid-April. I’ve missed you, and your notes wondering when I’ll be back have been just super sweet! Everything is great and I can’t wait to share with you again soon, soon, soon. See you again around the 18th of April. xoxo!

Merry Christmas!

Lots of love and sweet wishes and yummy dishes to those of you who celebrate Christmas. Hope you have a really terrific holiday. xoxo!

Rewind to a few holiday-ish pics:

Christmas tree at Winder Binder Gallery in Chattanooga


Christmas car in Greenwood, MS


River Road bonfires on the levee for Papa Noel to find his way


Gingerbread at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans


Window display at the Mallory and Leech General Store in Charlotte TN


Oak tree with lights in Monroe, LA

Built for Instagram: The Graduate in Oxford

Imagining I could link to a couple dozen articles here about places being designed specifically around what’s particularly Insta-hot right now, but you’ve probably read them too. When we walked into The Graduate hotel in Oxford, Mississippi earlier this month, that’s exactly what I was thinking: built for IG.

The location is perfect — just a block off the Square, so in the morning after breakfast at the hotel, we got to walk around before setting off to Memphis. Here’s what’s going on inside:

…globe lamps above a small library at check-in, only to behold that the books are sawed (?) in half and adhered to the cabinetry. Seriously, I found ‘You: The Owner’s Manual’ smashed between ‘The Heat of Ramadan’ and Garrison Keillor’s ‘Wobegon Boy’ which was either crackpot genius or just, you know, somebody grabbing yardsale books and finishing a shelf.

Some of the brand’s philosophy on why they choose university settings, from the founder via Skift:

We morphed into really focusing on university anchored secondary and tertiary markets and what we found was that most of those markets had a very limited — or very lackluster is probably a better word — hotel product in what were some very dynamic and unique markets. We saw there was opportunity there because there was very little competition for doing any kind of lifestyle, boutique or independent hotel in those markets. Then, we also saw after doing some research that there was very low volatility in these markets safety well; they didn’t suffer nearly as badly in terms of the last two recessions and they bounced back much quicker.

art by William Goodman in the lobby

I always associate him first with that big mural at the Mississippi Museum of Art

More lobby fab:

The televisions here are in big frames so they look less like big dopey televisions.

Lest we forget college town, there’s a few reminders strewn about

The Graduate Hotel, Oxford MS

Back to the yearbooks for a sec, the ones on display were late ’60s and ’70s and w o w y e s s s s s

El Burrito! Yassss.

Burger Chef

and the, um, Benzo Burger

Students are welcome to sit in the lobby at the hotel to study, etc and who exactly gets to study in Eames chairs at school?

I do remember, though, luxuriating in the ball chairs in the Oberlin College library a couple of summers, though, so there’s that. Beyond fab.

There’s a restaurant upstairs at the hotel as well as this quick-serve little cafe:

and just outside:

Then there was this one moment when it got just waaaay too Pinterest-y:But but hey, we all overdo it at college I guess.

at the elevator alcove:

and down the hall (though you’d think they’d want to reconsider houndstooth in Oxford, but ‘kay…):

The room was fine — it’s wasn’t super plush or too minimalist. It was comfortable and alright. They’re making a killing on football weekends but overall it’s not luxurious or particularly service oriented. It seemed as though students were running the hotel, and even when we went to breakfast, instead of someone welcoming guests, they were just sitting around chatting and we mistook them for fellow visitors. There was a whole back-and-forth-how-do-we-even-do-this between the front desk and restaurant when we explained we had purchased a package with breakfast included (so it was as though it was a completely new concept to everyone, and they still wanted to charge us tax). Would we stay here again? Nah. But it was okay.

There was a bluetooth speaker you could take into the bathroom for musical accompaniment, Faulkner illustrations framed on the wall, and Malin + Goetz goodness:


For nicer, there’s Chancellor’s House in Oxford (and that’s a lot of greige).

Our stay at the sister Graduate Hotel in Athens, Georgia here.

My husband the UVA grad is prob going to want to stay at the Graduate in Charlottesville to give that one a go, and if you like card catalogs in your hotel, well there’s this.

 

Vogue Loves Savannah Like We All Do

Yesterday, Vogue posted Is This Old Southern Town the Next Brooklyn? and they’re talking about Savannah. In reality, it’s more of a travel guide on where/what to eat, stay, and see, but they definitely tried to make a connection between north and south due to the number of makers they found in the city. And there’s a romance.

Noted humor writer Harrison Key adds, “It’s like the mind of Flannery O’Connor made a baby with San Francisco.” Whatever the outlook, the general consensus is one of sheer and utter love.

As to where to stay, they call the Kimpton Brice the ‘best choice among the higher-end boutique hotels’. We stayed there — actually, because I’m such a hotel lover, we stayed at two different hotels in the city, the Kimpton Brice and the Mansion on Forsyth Park (I’ll post them both this week).

The article also notes that West Elm (West Elm?!) will soon open a hotel there, and two SPG hotels including the ‘Perry Lane Hotel’ in the brand’s Luxury Collection will open.

Among those the article also gave attention to: Savannah Cordwainers (custom cordovan Budapesters: $1850), Christian Dunbar furniture, J. Pearson Designs, Katy Skelton, ShopSCAD, Alex Raskin Antiques, and Mimi Cay Antiques

Art-wise, mentions included the Jepson Center (Savannah’s art museum), and Laney Contemporary plus the Gutstein Gallery at SCAD and SCAD art sales, Pamely Wiley‘s quilting (looook).

For dining and drinking, the list mentions that Sean Brock is opening Savannah’s Husk later this year, and to also consider The Wyld, Atlantic (thank you to whoever designed their beautiful script logo!), The Grey, Back in the Day Bakery, Sandfly Bar-B-Q, The Collins Quarter, and the gorg Artillery Bar.


above, a pretty door I found in Savannah. They, Charleston, and New Orleans need to go on some war-of-the-beautiful-front-doors or something.

This is going to be Savannah Week at DFK so two fab hotels, a few amaze restaurants, and lots of pretty-pretty is coming this way. xoxo!