Issue #12 October 2005

Red Hat Summit 2006:
Nashville's not just country

Nashville is the home of country music, that's true. But what if twangy guitar isn't your thing? Never fear: the city's got much, much more to offer. Nashville is a destination for everyone, including a little something...

...for those about to rock

Printer's Alley
More about Printer's Alley

If you're like us, you might still be pining for a taste of Bourbon Street. Nashville lays claim to a similar sort of turf. Printer's Alley—three blocks of cobblestone between 4th and 5th Avenue—is Nashville's own late-night destination. Nightclubs and bars occupy spaces formerly filled with print shops and presses, then speakeasies, casinos, and men's clubs. Even during Prohibition—perhaps especially during Prohibition—Printer's Alley was host to gin joints and live music venues. Today you'll find some renamed and restored establishments, like the Pink Poodle (formerly the Black Poodle). If you must have jazz and some creole cooking, you'll find it at the Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar.

...for those who really rock

Nashville's famous Music Row isn't just about country music. All of the big labels have offices here, including RCA, Sony, United Artists, MCA, EMI, and Mercury. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) is a huge presence in town; songwriters adorn every local coffeeshop. Elvis' first RCA recordings took place in Nashville, and many modern artists from all genres still come to Tennessee to make music. Festivals like Nashville River Stages reflect the diverse stylings and include artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Jakob Dylan (Bob's son and the frontman for pop group The Wallflowers) to the Black Crowes. If you have some spare cash, maybe you can be the next big Nashville music star; bring your own home-studio recording and have it produced while you're in town.

...for the business exec

It's a little-known secret that Nashville is home to a hotbed of commodities trading and advisement. Avondale Partners LLC, a local firm, did what none of the NYC biggies could manage, placing five of their six analysts in the "Best on the Street" survey rankings. As music industry bigwigs have settled in the area, so have satellite offices of major NYC stock firms.

...for the history buff

The Hermitage

President Andrew Jackson's restored farm and mansion is also in the area. The Hermitage is a full-featured historical site, with period-dress reenactments and several tours. The house itself is open year-round, as is the visitor center, museum store, and cafe. Seasonal tours include a horticulture-focused exploration of the gardens and tombs, a historical examination of farming practices and 1800s slave life, and a chance to study the active archeological work ongoing at the site. Horse-drawn carriage tours are also available.

...for the artist

The Parthenon

"Wait a second," you say. "The Parthenon is in Greece."

Of course it is. But there's also a full-scale replica in Nashville. The city, alternately known as the "Athens of the South," had it built in 1897 as part of a large Centennial celebration. It was one of a collection of temporary buildings honoring Athens, Greece. The locals liked it so much it was saved from destruction and continued to be used for nearly a quarter-century, although it was only designed to last for the Centennial year. Eventually, the building was rebuilt and reinforced with long-term materials and today houses Nashville's art museum.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts

A multi-functional art museum that hosts travelling exhibits, has its own collections, and runs an educational center with hands-on artistic events. The Frist Center is part of the local modern art scene, acting as a gallery for area shows.

Nashville Chamber Orchestra

A group of award-winning musicians playing classic pieces as well as commissioned works by modern composers.

...for the strange

The Bell Witch

The Bell Witch is a popular occult tale that began with paranormal disturbances in and around the Bell farm in the early 1800s. The Bell family had recently settled in the area, and after their house was built, strange things began happening. Unusual figures and creatures were spotted on the property. They heard the sounds of people beating on their doors or scratching at the bedposts, but no one would be there. Eventually, the family was being buffetted about by slaps, pinches, shoves, and other welt-raising abuses. The youngest child, Betsy, was a particular target, but other people--including Andrew Jackson (who would later become President)--were also said to have experienced her wrath.

...for those of a sociable nature

Miss Marple's Dinner Theatre

What could be more fun than a murder mystery over dinner? Miss Marple's is right across the street from the Wild Horse Saloon, one of the sites for our evening events. Convenient!

...for the magician

Nashville Magic Club

Though it's not a physical club with nightly revue, they do have a monthly meeting, occasional performances, and a magic shop that's open to the public. If prestidigitation is your thing (and you don't do it with funny-looking dice), this might be a place to spend your off-hours.

If, incidentally, your prestidigitation feats do involve dice and character sheets, try local wacky multi-media shop The Great Escape instead.

...for Tom Cruise, in case he's into Linux

Nashville Celebrity Scientology Centre

Then again, if you do like country music, you're pretty much set. Between the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, The Wild Horse Saloon, and every little honky-tonk bar downtown, you'll find plenty to do. In fact, you might never leave.