Rumours East

Phill Thompson, Rob Stewart, Emma Louise Berkey, Chuck Beard, Michael McRay, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 120th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 119, I repeat … 119, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is East Side Storytellin’ 120. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a young man who has lived, traveled, and written enough for about several lifetimes already. He is a scholar and a gentleman. He received his Master’s in Philosophy, Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College of Dublin at Belfast. He is a writer, advocate, adjunct professor, storyteller, and a fellow host. He was a volunteer prison chaplain before being banned for organizing. He is the cofounder of No Exceptions Prison Collective, and is the founder/cohost of TenX9 Nashville Storytelling. He has several books, but the one I sold the most of at East Side Story was Letters from Apartheid Street. You can purchase any and all of his works published to date here- michaelmcray.com. It was a true honor to finally get this friend on out stage, and it was an equal honor to relief him of his usual hosting duties to relax, focus, and enjoy the single act of sharing his stories in front of a crowd without worrying about anything else. As you can guess from reading the title of this recap and the website link in the previous sentence, I’m talking about the honor of introducing my friend and inspiration, Nashville’s patron old soul saint of peace himself, Michael McRay!

Michael had asked me several questions about content to share leading up to the show. When asked if he should share a funny story or a very dark story, I told him that we’ve had everything on the spectrum to this point in the series and that it was totally up to however he was feeling at the moment. He decided to go somewhere in the middle of said spectrum and reveal a very personal incident that has left him heartbroken for the sake of lost friendship yet also feeling good for being proactive and living his proof, letting his actions speak louder than his words could with people of power who have a hard time listening to said truth. I was not alone in the fact that I was excited to hear what Michael had to say.

Michael prefaced his short story, a story that he had originally written for and shared at one of his superb TenX9 Nashville Storytelling shows in the past, by drawing up a proper setting and backdrop to the personal history he invested at Riverbend Correctional Facility in Nashville. He had been serving as a volunteer chaplain, consistently providing peaceful and impactful practices for the prison mates to use to diffuse conflict and find more resolutions that would benefit everyone involved. At some point, like in every great story, there was adversity. The adversity that Michael faced was with the authorities of the prison, seemingly siding with the inmates because of gross misconducts of power and miscommunication and non-action or actions that were not exactly in the best benefits of those living at the facility. Sounds like the current state of our political adversity, right? Well, this story didn’t end in the best of terms. I won’t tell you that the Titanic sinks to ruin the story for you, but I will let you take a listen to the recording below so that you can hear the story straight from the heat and mouth of the man who lived it firsthand.

Michael is one of the most brave and intelligent and altruistic people I’ve ever come across so far in my life. I kid you not, when I say that he seems to have done more and lived more than a hundred lifetimes of service for the good already. I’m excited to follow his journey going forward, on and off the pages of his written word and important interviews, and I’m grateful that I get to be a small part of that journey at times whenever he needs my or other friends’ help. Point being, before I move on to the music of the night, Michael McRay is someone we should all sit and listen to and think about how we can take even a piece of the great things he is doing every day and add that into our lives to help ourselves and others at the same time. I wrote that he is a Nashville saint, but even he would say that he’s just doing what he’s meant to be doing and that every single one of us has the time, energy, and passion to do the same if we put our hearts and minds and calendars on the same page.

Our featured music of the night is a local songbird who brings enchanting electrified folk music wherever she goes that has been described as darkly cheerful and cheerfully dark. Her influences range from indie rock to country to Eastern European folk music, aka folk punk. I was introduced to this lady via one of our most enthusiastic and awesome musicians in the East Side Storytellin’ family by the name of Ally Brown. You may have already met her, Emma and not Ally, at The Patterson House, Rumours East, The Wild Cow, or even at High Garden while she was busy slinging tea and herbs. You may have seen perform in her other band Chicken Little! Originally from Ashville, North Carolina, she now calls Nashville home and she revealed on the spot that she is no longer on the market for a good roommate. She found one! On that great note, I was happy to welcome back our house band of the month with the talented Rob not Rod Stewart and Philly not Philly Thompson so they could rock the house beside and behind the one and only dynamite punk folker Emma of Emma Dilemma!

Emma is like dynamite. She quite and petite by nature, but once you light the mic fuse and give her the chance to plug in any number of instruments that she can play and play oh so  well, she will blow your mind. Her stories are deep and her melodies are all over the place, but everything is within your wheelhouse to take in, appreciate to another level, and leave with a new sense of the world you live in after they tickle your eardrums and soul. She started off a song about driving all night underneath the moonlight and it just feeling right. Talk about setting a cool mood for a set. Then, right when you were feeling at ease, that’s when the capo incident happened to add dilemma into the Emma Dilemma namesake. The capo was found exactly where Rob put it and all was back to normal, but it was almost like a reality show of home renovations of insert the made up drama of a deadline 2/3 of the way into the show so they crew can make everything better at just the right time to wrap things up like a bow. I don’t say this to say that the capo was not important or made up. I say this because Emma and the band really did knock out the rest of the set, even with instrument changes that rivaled Cher’s wardrobe changes (again, in the best of ways), with ease and delight.

Between the blur of instrument changes, Phill is steady as a rock that rocks.

Emma went on to sing songs about “No Hard Days”, a protest song, a song about iPhones and having the whole world in our hands, and all of it seemed to perfectly reflect and expand on the sentiments introduced by Michael’s reading about life in prison. I guess we don’t need bars on our doors and windows to feel similar pain and life perspectives in our own daily lives and struggles.

Emma closed her set with a song called “Here We Go.” I told her after the fact that it and she reminded me a lot of Paul Simon mixed with the storytelling and Eastern European stories and sounds of Regina Spektor. Not to sound like I have a firm grasp of the music language and technical terminology, but the changes in the measures and tempo throughout the song was such a treat to listen to for the entire duration. The title of the song was spot on to the musical rollercoaster ride that the band took us on, and I think I could listen to this song over and over again for about a week and it never get old. You can test that theory out for yourself, as well as diving into the other songs on the set list, when you have a moment or two to check out the show link below.

And then I was yet again able to stand up on stage beside these comrades and converse with them about there creative journeys, inspirations, and little nuggets of knowledge that they hold dear to use as fuel for their motivations. Both Michael and Emma have lived in a lot of places, met a lot of interesting characters, and have used their time wisely to learn from others in order to make their lives and others’ around them more purposeful. I can’t say how refreshing it is to meet other people who don’t waste their days with inactivity, while at the same time constantly questioning others and life in general in an attempt to find more truthful answers during the short time we have here together. Emma and Michael both have smiles, personal & communicative skills, and genuinely positive attitudes that can light up any room they walk into. And that fact was on full display at The Post East on this great evening with friends.

Photo Credit to Steve Simpson

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Michael & Emma (and Rob & Phill) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

And here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 120, the night when Michael McRay and Emma Dilemma allowed us to spend a few minutes in the lives of other people to give us positive and good perspectives on our own lives going into the holiday season and New Year. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

You can read more of Michael’s writing here- michaelmcray.com

You can listen to more of Emma’s music here –www.emmadilemmasongs.com

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris (and Zach) for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large.

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 121
Tuesday, December 19th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Joseph Ingle
singing- India Ramey

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 120 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there. I repeat. Please remember to be nice to one another.

Much love,
mE

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Chuck Beard, Kate Parrish, Sarah Carter, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Kate Parrish, Sarah Carter, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 76th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 75, I repeat … 75, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 76. Let us begin, again.

Welcome to the 2nd ever, not so annual, Down from the Mountain show involving personal ties to Sewanee, the University of the South. People who attended the 1st in February of 2013 may remember us sharing a lovely night of literature by Kevin Wilson and music by the talented Amanda Shires (sharing the stage with then fiancé Jason Isbell. You can check out that show recap and recording to refresh your memory right here – http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-8-when-sewanee-left-the-mountain-for-the-city/). Coming back to February 2016, we’ve decided to celebrate the Sewanee School of Letters in a most appropriate blue valentine inspired show with current students, and the talent and heart of the show was just as inspiring. The pending tornado warning and constant rain outside of the show set the mood of the show just as much as the packed crowd filling every seat in the house.

The first featured guest of the night is a dear friend and MFA candidate at the Sewanee School of Letters. This scribe is specializing in nonfiction while also keeping herself busy as a freelancer for publications such as Teen Vogue and Nashville Lifestyles, to name a few. As if that wasn’t enough, she blogs at the very inspiring www.aimingforokay.com. A native Nashvillian, born and raised, you will see her promoting writing and local authors as much as anyone I know. She is a regular at The Porch Writers’ Collective and also helps right the ship that is the Rivendell Writers’ Colony as well. It was an honor to introduce the person was first thought of this special blue valentine idea, the wonderful Miss Kate Parrish.

photo credit - Katie McDougall

photo credit – Katie McDougall

Kate grabbed the microphone and the attention of the crowd by thanking all who braved the storms to attend the show. She thanked everyone from Sewanee and The Porch. Then she thanked all of her ex-boyfriends who have continued to give her material and fuel her fire to write nonfiction stories that help her creativity and story grow. When she started in on her first story, I immediately crowned her the Taylor Swift of creative memoirs.

Kate had a command of the language and a delightful poetic way of twisting memories and moments into relatable and yet transcendent scenes for any who has ever experienced love and heartache to relate with. Her first story, Lean Cuisine, was set in the middle of sad times for all involved amidst the backdrop of a grocery store check-out line. As the reading progressed, I could feel the deteriorating light above the cashier dim and flicker with the solid line and fact that in the end we eat our meals alone.

In her second essay, Gone Like That, she had me at the first line of Do you know how to a kill a man with your bare hands? She captivated a room full of people with talk about baby birds, canoes, combat training, and deaths that are slow and quick. You know, just like any relationship you’ve had in the past but written and read in a way you’ve never heard before. Kate has a gift for taking her experiences and relaying them to people in a way that they feel déjà vu at the same time they are learning something new about themselves and those around them. I was not the only one moved by her performance.

The featured musician of the night is someone who is a very close friend of our featured author and is also fellow student at the prestigious Sewanee School of Letters program striving for an MFA degree, specializing in non-fiction. Keeping it real here, this lady is a high school English teacher who currently lives in Lebanon, TN. She is an autoharpist and aspiring folklorist. A self-described audiophile and lover of Appalachian ballads, she applies her Virginia roots to her performances of tradition song and her creative writing. She spends most of her free time writing inspirational phrases for found hair on her Instagram project called @braidisms of which we discussed during the interview portion of the show, but, again, it was an absolute privilege for me to welcome another SOL’er into the East Side Storytellin’ fold with the lovely Sarah Carter.

photo credit to Bonnie Bishop

photo credit – Bonnie Bishop

Sarah, if you’ve never met her before, is no stranger to anyone. She has the ability to break the ice and make you feel like you’ve been close friends with her since grade school. She has an immense love for research and everything Appalachian and the prepared set list she unraveled to the attentive crowd was one for the ages. Not only did she explain the stories and names and people behind every single track, but this was honestly the first time anyone had ever played traditional songs and mentioned what modern hip hop song that each track resembled. Like I said, Sarah broke the ice and made everyone feel right at home for the night.

There were tracks where she strummed her harp and others where she went full acapella on us, original Opry style. Both deliveries were breathtaking and took me beyond The Post and threw me in some sort of Appalachian back porch setting surrounded by family and friends on a sunny summer day, which was very fitting since I was spending the evening around dearly beloved summertime friends from Sewanee (not that we aren’t friends all the year round, but we have spent summers in classrooms together getting all educated and what not).

Now, before I forget, I must remind everyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to attend this event in person that all of these songs (save one where she admitted beforehand with a smile that nobody died in that one) Sarah performed were classics and absolute heartbreakers. She probably could have gotten a pretty good sponsorship from Kleenex if she wanted to try before hand. The songs were sad, but the singing and performing was anything but. Sarah, like Kate, has a real gift for conveying meanings behind stories, whether they are hers or her translation.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have the feature guests back on stage to share more stories behind their art and their creativity. Both Kate and Sarah were such a delight. I thought it was appropriate to throw some curveballs their way in terms of asking personal preferences and insights into their passion for hip hop artistry and how that matched with their dreams and craft. They aced with flying colors and if one person smiled and laughed and enjoyed themselves while listening to Kate and Sarah then over a 100 did as well.

Oh, and one more thing, Sarah surprised us all with an extra track at the end of the show that was totally all her, an original like few I’ve ever heard while combining the style of her favorites and then childhood terms like punk and Zelda and other things. It is called Bravery and it is, like Sarah, AWEsome! You can hear it in the link below.

Again, as always, I’m just going to let the recording of the show speak for itself because I tend to ramble and gush over these wonderful human beings once I get going on here.  Don’t be a judge. Just listen and enjoy.

So here is the edited recording of East Side Stoytellin’ 76 that featured the words of Kate Parrish and the music from Sarah Carter and the wit and humor and heart of both at The Post on Tuesday, February 2nd in the middle of a tornado watch while celebrating a Sewanee reunion and a blue Valentine all in one. Now if this doesn’t get your heart beating than I don’t know what will. Enjoy and feel free to like and share and listen over and over again!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Kate and Sarah for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Kate’s writing here- aimingforokay.com

You can listen to more of Sarah’s musings here – www.instagram.com/braidisms

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words



I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show.

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

One addition on the fly, I’d love to give a very special shout out to all of the Sewanee family mates who came out to the show to support our fellow Tigers, and also Carmen and Michael Thompson at the Rivendell Writers Colony, AND April Alvarez and John Grammer for accepting all of us and helping make us better writers and people in general.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large.

The next round of East Side Storytellin’ will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 77 

Tuesday, February 16th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading-  Bill Brown (www.stilljournal.net/bill-brown-poetry.php)

singing- Darrin Bradbury (www.darrinbradbury.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 76 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

mE

A great shot by Jessica Bates

A great shot by Jessica Bates

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Tom Eizonas, Rita Bullwinkel, Chuck Beard, and Dutch Whisky

Tom Eizonas, Rita Bullwinkel, Chuck Beard, and Dutch Whisky

Well, we did it! We successfully made it to lucky number 70 and counting. I’m not sure if anyone ever believed we would do it or doubted us, but I’m happy to say that we celebrated our 3rd anniversary of East Side Storytellin’ in the best of ways (together with talented Nashville artists, surrounded by a supportive crowd filled with loving friends and family). Here is my take on the monumental night.

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 70th epic edition and 3rd anniversary show of East Side Storytellin’! THREE years and counting, y’all. Like the 69 previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 70. Let us begin, again.

Before we got started with the featured guests, we had the privilege of getting our annual celebratory visit from the man behind the voice of every show’s intro, Dave Eastman. He recalled the backstory of how this thing got started and the players involved and gave a nice toast to everyone around.

The first featured guest of the night is a graduate fiction fellow at Vanderbilt University, the fiction editor of the Nashville Review, a Vanderbilt Commons Writer in Residence and the founder of Band of Poets, a monthly reading series at Bobby’s Idle Hour, the historic bar on Nashville’s music row. Her fiction has appeared in many places including SporkThe Atlas ReviewThe Fanzine,Deep South MagazineThe Brooklyn Rail and Joyland. She is a Sewanee Writer’s Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship Award winner and a Helen Wurlitzer Foundation grantee. This fall her story “Lunch” is being published in the book Gigantic Worlds: An Anthology of Science Flash Fiction alongside work by Phillip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Jonathan Lethem. She was also recently a finalist for The Conium Review’s Innovative Short Fiction Prize judged by Amelia Gray. To say that she is a talented writer on the rise might be the biggest understatement I’ve ever shared on this show. We were honored to have her join the East Side Storytellin’ family and listen to her words firsthand. Point being, several of the members from her Band of Poets and various other writing colleagues gave major props and applause for the introduction of Rita Bullwinkel.

Rita, no stranger to a room of avid literature fans, grabbed her story with both hands and took us for a wild ride. With the one, genius, and epitome of cool like that of the great Margot Tenenbaum, Rita shared her story titled “In the South the Sand Winds are Our Greatest Enemy.” Recently showcased and published with Joyland Magazine, you can read the story in its entirety here- www.joylandmagazine.com/regions/south/south-sand-winds-are-our-greatest-enemy.

A tale of two brothers, Gleb and Oleg, Rita introduced us to several unforgettable characters in an unforgettable world that instantly drew everyone to the edge of their seats to follow along such a delightfully strange trip. It reminded me of several things, from the finger count of one character flashing memories of the extra-fingered villain in The Princess Bride to the visuals of what I can only imagine would make for the next great Tim Burton off-holiday stop-animation film gone awry (with an extra hint of the throwback style and characters of the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer classic narrated by Burl Ives. Rita’s story was fantastical, enchanting, other-worldly, original, refreshing, and all that and a bag of crispy chips to say the least about how much I absolutely loved it and the reading performance. Again, like my recap for most of the shows so far, I feel as though I would diminish the energy and quality of the sublime shared inside East Side Storytellin’ if I was to ramble on an on here about my show memories if I tried to recount every personal detail that made me happy so I shall leave you with descriptions above and let you digest the full story in the link mentioned and the recording below for yourself. It is a treat and you are welcome. Thanks be to Rita.

The featured musician of the night is, like East Side Storytellin’ in general, unforgettable. I said during the previous show that this guy is someone who needs no introduction. I am a man of my word if nothing else. So, jumping right into a stage of AWEsome, get ready for the sounds and stylings of another true original in the recording below and if you’re not ready … too late. It was honestly one of the great honors of my life to this point to introduce  the one and only, the man, the myth, the legend … my Nashville hero, Dutch Whisky!

But Dutch did not come alone. Flanked on boths sides by Ferd, Xatticus (the X is silent y’all), his lovely bride Brandy Alexandria, and first name Del last name Camino, Dutch grabbed his guitar and tackled the stage like only Dutch does. He wasted no time with introducing the first song as an ode to his first true love, his Monte Carlo. An innocent song about a spaceship of sorts that shook his world and changed him forever, his Monte Carlo put a smile on everyone’s faces. Then, showcasing a tender, romantic side of his ego, Dutch belted out a song about dating and stating he’d walk a 100 miles to find the love that came into his life. Not stopping there, Dutch shared a song about the life and death and love for his mother with a song about how she cooked and killed it on a skillet.

photo credit - Connie Chornuk

photo credit – Connie Chornuk

Needless to say, the first act of Dutch Whisky, tempered down to perfectly fit into the intimate, acoustic set at The Post, was something made of magic. He continued his instant classic set with a special ode to his teenage daughter and how a real woman should act with Prom Promise Me. The gem I took from that one was that MeMaw is always watching us from above so we need to mind our P’s and Q’s.

At this point in the anniversary show, my face was starting to hurt. I was not meant to live like The Joker and the permagrin I was holding in the front row was about to burst. It didn’t help that the next song, I think called One Hot Mess, gave more beautiful and zany and touching desciptives than a classic novel while relating Dutch’s dream girl to a bunch of exotic foods. I still can’t get the circus peanut toes out of my head. In one word … BRILLIANT!

How do you follow up brilliance? Dutch tops himself with a run of three songs for his finale that I dare you to find can be outdone in this city and life in general. He made us all believer in miracles with his hit Miracle Baby, singing and asking how someone can’t believe in miracles if two ugly people can make a beautiful baby tonight. This was followed by a cover that’s not really a cover (like yoga pants … I can’t make this stuff up), titled All my exes send me texts. Again, instant classics. But, Dutch saved one of his best and trademark love songs for last and dropped the mic with the ultimate love and car and car and love song called Truck You.

You really do need to just listen for yourself. Here’s a game to try on for size. See how long you can listen to the show and musical performance before you simaltaneously bust a gut laughing and blow your mind from the musical talent from this man and his loyal and ever-changing band. I thought Emily was going to go into labor 2 months before her due date at one point.

In the end, Rita and Dutch joined me on stage together to take pictures and talk about storytelling and stories past, present, and future. The crowd was in stitches and, without a doubt in my mind, changed forever … happier than when they were before the show and these were all pretty darn happy people before the show, let me tell you what.

Before I give you the link to enjoy the edited show recording of East Side Storytellin’ 70 that featured the genius of Rita Bullwinkel and the brilliance of Dutch Whisky, I must add my final gem of the night. See if you can hear the wordplay and puns that Dutch dropped about playing in the spin-off sitcom of the hit show Nashville by playing East Side Storytellin’ at The Post. Major points for anyone who emails me the link between ABC’s Nashville and East Nashville’s new version of A Different World. Seriously, mind blown, y’all!

The entire East Side Storytellin' posse plus 1 in the belly photo credit - Connie Corchuk

The entire East Side Storytellin’ posse plus 1 in the belly
photo credit – Connie Chornuk

So here it is, the recording of East Side Storytellin’ 70, the 3 year anniversary show that featured Rita Bullwinkel and Dutch Whisky at The Post on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. We started on an election night in 2012 and we managed to top the ratings again and win more life-long fans and supporters than most who won at the polls this particular night at your nearest voting precinct. Here’s to many more years and success for East Side Storytellin’ and our friends Rita Bullwinkel and Dutch Whisky!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Rita Bullwinkel and Dutch Whisky for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Rita Bullwinkel’s writing here- www.ritabullwinkel.com

You can listen to more of Dutch Whisky’s music here- facebook.com/DutchWhiskyMusic

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’ll keep the gratitude going for recording and sound maestros of Tom Eizonas and Dave Eastman. Without their help and teamwork, this show would never have made it beyond the first one at Rumours East years ago.

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show and the great art he makes for every show. Clay makes our world look better and we are grateful to call him friend.

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

To everyone that came out live to support the show and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards, I say thank you from the top, bottom, and sides of my heart. Your support and love means more than you’ll ever know.

I’d also like to give one special shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large. It is by far the most fun and welcoming place I’ve ever experienced good art and the future is brighter than ever.

Last, but certainly not least, big love goes to my lovely wife and the most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper). She is everything to me, and everything I do good in this world is because of her inspiration.

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 70 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

mE

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 71

Tuesday, November 17th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Joseph Powell (jobychronicle.blogspot.com)

singing- Nick Flora (nickflora.com)

 

PS –

Tom Eizonas & Dave Eastman, as another surprise gift to mE (Chuck Beard), put together this very special compilation of one song from each show from the 3rd year of East Side Storytellin’. Now I give it to you to enjoy and share and spread the word about every show in the past and future.

East Side Storytellin’ is a bi-monthly live event that we record and edit into an hour long podcast/radio show. Recorded live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month since November 2012, Chuck Beard brings together and hosts local writers and musicians in a spectacular show that lets the talent do all of the shining. The writers read their original works, beginning promptly at 7pm, and then are followed by original storyteller sets of music by the featured musicians. After the last note is played, Chuck gathers up all of the featured artists of the night and moderates a casual conversation about the guests’ creative processes, artistic journeys, and special ties to the Nashville area. It is generally over by 8:30pm, FREE to attend, and a great time had by all present (there is also artist merch, food, and spirits to purchase each round while you enjoy the show). Beginning in November of 2012, East Side Storytellin’ has consistently showcased the best of what Nashville is about to everyone taking a break from their busy lives to join in the fun.

This special compilation tracks shows we hosted during the 2014-2015 season at Mad Donna’s, Riverwood Mansion, and The Post.

See www.eastsidestorytn.com for more information or email chuck@eastsidestorytn.com

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John Paul Roney (Boom Forest), Chuck Beard, Oni Woods, and Tom Eizonas

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest), Chuck Beard, Oni Woods, and Tom Eizonas

Hello, hello, hello. First of all, before writing anything about the big show, I want to just write a sincere THANKS to everyone who showed up in person to help us celebrate a most deserving and all-around amazing night together with family, friends new and old, and … yeah, THANK YOU!

I’ll also begin by saying thank you to Dave Eastman and Tom Eizonas for the wonderful words and introduction to such a monumental occasion we celebrated together. They got together and recorded a brand new, soulful funk, introduction before Dave took the stage and rang in the new year of shows like only his majestic voice and personality could. I was grateful to meet them via WAMB back in the day, and I’m still a better person today because of working side by side with them through the past 2 years and counting (side note- Beth Lane, the heart of WAMB while it was going, was in the crowd showing continued love and support for this project).

Dave Eastman, the man and legend ... the voice.

Dave Eastman, the man and legend … the voice.

Now, welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 47 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’ve all arrived at this spot, here and now, to get y’all cultured up just right in the form of a local Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, this is East Side Storytellin’ 48, the 2nd anniversary show.  Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night described herself as a multi-potentialite. An artist without just one single passion, she has many. She has studied and worked in disciplines ranging from finance to theatre, psychology to biology, education to philosophy and everything in between. She is the founder of Living Art, NFP an arts and education organization that has started the journey to opening its first art-infused wholistic education un-school. But her first voice and love was and is still her wordsmithing … her poetry. An outdoor enthusiast that loves camping, kayaking, canoeing, rappelling, and hiking, her poetry always seems to follow her wherever she is and whatever she is doing. Recently returning to Nashville from a 16 year long residency in Chicago, she was ready to read from her first book of free-verse poetry called Speed Limit 55 (which you can purchase at East Side Story) and some other fresh stuff too. I was very excited to give a very warm welcome to the stage for the homecoming of Oni Woods.

I had arrived to Mad Donna’s super early, to meet with Tom and be ready for any changes of the weather and location of the show on the premises, so I was able to see Oni practice some of her performance before the crowds arrived. It made my heart smile, not only to see someone so talented practicing as if it was her first public speaking engagement, but also because it was just nice to see someone want to get everything just right. Anyways, I have to ramble on for a second to set the scene beyond just the artists of the night. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the show at the beginning of November. It was honestly about 15 degrees warmer than the previous show in October and one of the most comfortable set ups we’ve had outdoors in quite some time.

Oni Woods

Oni Woods

Back to Oni, she totally rocked it. Every single one of the seats was jam-packed in the patio, and everyone one, sitting and standing and crammed together because they wanted to be present, was ever-so present and mesmerized to every powerful word that Oni delivered. She was better than awesome. Each poem had its own backstory and left everyone amazed and thinking about life below the surface. She was introspective of her own personal journey, but yet she took us to another place altogether. As usual, I can’t give her quite the justice that her or the musician’s work deserves (see the recording below to listen for yourself).

Oni did a few long poems and a few short poems but all of them were spot on.

Before I knew it, more than 50 plus people were surrounding us and cheering for Oni’s performance and the musician’s performance to come.

The featured music of the night was from a man that helms a band that I first saw at the Lockeland Springsteen’s Holiday Party last December at The 5 Spot. Marissa and Emily invited me to sell local books that had musical ties to them, and I was able to sit back and take all of the festivities in with new friends galore. All of the bands were great, but this guy’s was transcendent. Missing each other with schedules other events ongoing for close to a year now, this particular night I was both excited and honored to finally have him join the East Side Storytellin’ family. He was recently featured as local artist of the week by Lightning 100, on top of being part of the epic Blocktober Fest 2014 at Marathon Music Works line-up. Originally hailing from Wisconsin, this young man takes everything that he’s found to be mostly true about himself and how he’s been raised and transforms that into something beautiful that rings softly for others to catch onto and discover more truth about themselves. Like Oni, he is an artist without boundaries, always searching for truth and beauty and sharing every aspect of his journey creatively along the way. It has been said that Boom Forest is the spiritual wailings of John Paul Roney from the automated woods of Tomorrow. Again, 50 plus people joined me in giving a big round of applause for the one and only John Paul Roney of Boom Forest!

John Paul grabbed his guitar and the microphone and was immediately in his zone. He made everyone laugh with his storytellings in between songs and he swept us all away down the river of his melodies and vocals time after time. I had the same sense of wonder from his music as I had at The 5 Spot the year before, but I was even happier this round to have some family and friends in the crowd to witness and experience the music that makes up Boom Forest at the same time (mostly for them to experience first hand instead of hearing me rant about it over and over again later).

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest)

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest)

John Paul put his heart and soul and foot stomping into the performance and everyone appreciated all that he gave. I was able to share the stage with him and Oni after the music stopped so that I could ask them some questions about their creative worlds. They were just as awesome talking as they were performing. I loved how the themes from their art, whether it was Oni talking about the “gentrification” poem or how segregation affected her art and life in general in Chicago and the kids she worked with in Louder than a Bomb OR if it was John Paul talking about going into a self-imposed reclusion from technology back to the life of what the world was like in 1968 (a golden age for his musical hero Paul McCartney) and seeing how that affected his current year and art-making world around him (side note, LOVED the new hashtag of #Wisconsin:GettingWeirdInTheBasement). These two, like the fact that we were celebrating 2 years of shows, were simply fascinating.

After I mentioned that I’d like to see what John Paul would come up with if he went back to 1980 for his next concept creative retreat (the year I was born and Sir Paul was rockin’ the mullet with Wings), and after I asked about his creative process behind the “Baby Teeth” music video (one of my favorites) and he said he would have played it if he had known that it was one of my favorites, I managed to get the crowd to clap loud enough to help request that John Paul play the aforementioned “Baby Teeth”= a memorable change from the normal script/template of the show. He agreed to the special encore of sorts on the spot. This was no normal show.

words on words on smiles

words on words on smiles

When the music finally stopped for the night, everyone stuck around to show thanks for the artists and let the show sink into their souls. I don’t think I saw anyone leave without a smile. For me, that more than made my night. This show was yet another sign that what we are doing with this idea is very important and more than just about East Side Story’s mission to help others tell their best story here and now.

I promise not to ramble too long here. I’ll just let you experience the show in its edited form here. So, listen to this link, over and over and as many times as your heart and soul can take it, and then listen to it again. Share it with others and they will thank you for it. You will be better for it. Without further ado, here is East Side Storytellin’ 48 with Oni Woods and Boom Forest’s John Paul Roney.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-48-oni

art by Alex Smith and Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging

art by Alex Smith and Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Oni Woods and Boom Forest’s John Paul Roney for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more from Oni Woods here – http://www.ounstoppablepoetry.com

You can listen to more from Boom Forest here – http://www.boomforest.com.

I’d also like to show much love to Alex Smith and Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork for the prints made by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging (http://5pdi.com) to celebrate tonight’s show.

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, Otis James for my wicked cool hat, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here –http://eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words/

 

But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ 49 event will be …

EAST SIDE STORYTELLIN’ 49

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)-http://maddonnas.com

Need information or details about Mad Donna’s, call  615-226-1617. Otherwise, it is first come, first available seats.

Who will be featured- author Alecia Whitaker (www.aleciawhitaker.com) and music by Alissa Moreno (www.alissamoreno.com).

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 48 show, two years of epic shows in the bag.  Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word.  Remember to be nice to one another out there.  Thanks and good day your way.

Much love,

mE

PS- Tom Eizonas & Dave Eastman, as another surprise gift to mE (Chuck Beard), put together this very special compilation of one song from each show from the 2nd year of East Side Storytellin’. Now I give it to you to enjoy and share and spread the word about every show in the past and future.

 

Mom, Dad, Alan, Emily, mE, and the one and only Judge Matthew J. Baker, Esquire

Mom, Dad, Alan Minyard, Emily, mE, and the one and only Judge Matthew J. Baker, Esquire

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Sara Beck, Keel Hunt, Park Chisolm, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas

Sara Beck, Keel Hunt, Park Chisolm, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas

It was one year ago, on Tuesday, November 6th, on a cold, rainy election night when we started making this cool idea into a reality.  It seemed like and continues to seem like an obvious, perfect combination of inviting local authors to read from and describe their printed work, showcasing local musicians that perform and tell the stories behind their original songs, and then having them talk together about their adventures via Nashville.  On that first fateful night last year, the author, Ann Shayne, was caught in traffic and running late.  The music, The Smoking Flowers, did a take or two extra on one of their songs.   Tom and I worked together on the fly for the first time, setting up the make-shift stage the best way we knew how.  And I sat in a shorter chair than the guests while looking up to everyone, talking about their creative journeys up to that point.  Everyone that was present loved the format, the energy, and the night.  In the beginning, it was a beautiful mess.

Starting over at Rumours East, then moving to Fat Bottom Brewing Co a few months later, and now calling our home Mad Donna’s for the time being, the core format for the show has pretty much stayed the same.  That said: we have had the extreme honor and pleasure to spend time with and promote some of the finest writers and musicians that call Nashville home.  It has truly been an extraordinary ride and I know everyone says it, but I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a year in the making.  I’d like for anyone reading this here to give a collective round of applause at your computer for the artists that have made 24 previous shows possible.  With your continued support and passion for keeping this idea alive, I foresee a lot more East Side Storytellin’ shows in the future.

Keeping in our beautiful mess, learning as we go and grow approach, and featuring the best of what’s around, it was an extra special something in the air at Mad Donna’s on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013, when we helped East Side Storytellin’ turn 25.  Our show that evening was definitely going to be one for the history books from the get go.  That night, again emphasizing the pinnacle of local origins, I decided to go with another unique theme.  In my opinion, whether it’s from the inside out or the outside looking in, nothing says Nashville over the long haul quite like Vanderbilt University.  Vanderbilt was in full effect because the author was published via Vanderbilt University Press and the music was provided by two alumni.  But, as always, I let the talent of the evening and their art reveal their authentic connections beyond labels.

WE made the HEADLINES!!!! art by Clay Brunton

WE made the HEADLINES!!!! art by Clay Brunton

The 1st anniversary featured author brought a powerful and poignant work to the show that was serendipitous with its election night topic.  A most-talented scribe who campaigned for Lamar Alexander in 1978, later worked as Alexander’s speechwriter, and who was a political operative and a former reporter for The Tennessean, he is well versed in the topic he chose to write about.  He is also president and founder of The Strategy Group- a public affairs consulting business established in Nashville in 1993.  He has consulted with the likes of The Ingram Group, BellSouth, Vanderbilt University, and The Frist Foundation.  Basically, he knows and has worked with some pretty influential people in this city to say the least.  The bio credentials could go on for days, but I’ll let the recording below of our featured author speak for himself.  Ladies and gentlemen, I was not the only one in the room super excited to listen to the author of Coup and much, much more … Mr. Keel Hunt!

Keel took to the stage like the pro he is when speaking in front of people.  I couldn’t help but reminisce about one of our alumnus authors in that of Bill Friskics-Warren and his reading from his book I’ll Take You There back in East Side Storytellin’ 3 when I first heard Keel begin his lecture.  It’s fairly obvious to me that when both Bill and Keel are speaking about their books, they are instantly smarter than I’ll ever be.  In fact, they aren’t just smarter, I feel like I’m getting smarter by simply listening to them speak so passionately and eloquently.  Suddenly, I feel like I’m back in college, sitting in a classroom, with a professor that I was very lucky to get into their classroom at all because everyone wants to take their class.  It’s true.  What ended up being about a twenty minute talk by Keel could have easily have turned into an hour or two more and I don’t think anyone in the room (besides Tom recording and thinking about editing afterwards and possibly the drag queen bingo peeps waiting in the wings after the show) would have minded at all.  It was a beautiful lesson of local politics and history, and I for one can’t wait to read the book he mentions below.

Keel Hunt

Keel Hunt

Then, after Keel was finished with a few personal anecdotes, it was time for the music.  This night’s featured music was a very special returning guest with a guest.  As a complimentary musician with really cool shoes and even cooler sounds, he played guitar alongside James Haggarty (Haggs) to support his friend and the amazingly talented musician Tommy Keenum over at Fat Bottom Brewing Co. for the highly successful East Side Storytellin’ #19 on August 6th, this past year.  And speaking of lending his creative craft to help showcase other names you may already know, this guy has played with the likes of Emerson Hart of Tonic, Bo Bice of American Idol fame, Jo Dee Mesina, and also another East Side Storytellin’ alum that is better than all the names I just listed by a mile in that of David Mead (ironically, the featured musician alongside aforementioned Bill Friskics-Warren, full circle right on).  From time to time, this guy also plays with a band called Modern West- a band led by the famous actor Kevin Costner.  Back at home, he is one-half of the extraordinary musically-inclined married couple beside his better half of Sara Beck (who was present on stage with him this evening), and he was more than ready to share what was currently on his heart and mind for everyone present.  I was over the moon excited to have the opportunity to introduce and sit front row and listen to the talented Sir Park Chisolm!!

Park and Sara took to the stage like the pros they are because that’s what they do too.  They write original songs and play them like it’s nobody’s business.  Gosh, we were lucky to hear them play.  Park, normally letting other people sing his songs, took a personal trip right in front of us to revisit some old songs and finally play out some that he hadn’t done in public in quite some time.  Although Park was a little hesitant at first about telling stories before the show because he never really had done that, he opened up in between songs telling the most fascinating background details of personal stories, collaborations with other major artists, and explaining his processes for each song he performed.  It was truly something special.  And with a song or two being a contribution to the tv series about the Hatfields and the McCoys that aired not too long ago, it was great for me and a few others in the crowd who had watched the series to witness the personal twist and talent that Park and Sara had put forth to make a great project even better because it had them in it.  Bottom line, hearing and seeing both of these two perform together was a wonderful treat for all fortunate to be there in person.  I highly suggest you get out and catch them when they perform again.

Sara Beck & Park Chisolm

Sara Beck & Park Chisolm

After the crowd applauded the music and Sara left the stage, it gave me the opportunity to ask Park about how he met his bride back in the day and decided to call Nashville home.  I served he and Keel questions on the spot about their personal ties to Nashville and why they continue to make amazing art in and for their creative community, and they both knocked out their answers out of the ball park with ease.  In fact, one of the questions, and I’ll let you listen below, even impressed Keel (yep, I had a moment and felt smart for a second too).  That said, it was an absolute honor to share the stage with these artists that helped make the 1 year anniversary celebration for this ongoing idea called East Side Storytellin’ so spectacularly special and near and dear to my heart (and I think others too).

You can listen to the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 25 right here (and share it with others all over too if you so choose):

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-25-keel

Also, before I say many thanks to a few people, I’d like to give you another amazing gift for visiting this page.  Tom Eizonas & Dave Eastman, as a surprise gift to mE (Chuck Beard), put together this very special compilation of one song from pretty much each show from the first year of East Side Storytellin’. Now I give this compilation (cd’s 1 & 2 combined) to you to enjoy and share and spread the word about every show in the past and future.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/1st-anniversary-of-east-side

Now, for my special 1 year anniversary THANKS!!!

I can’t say enough words of thanks for all the people and guests that have made East Side Storytellin’ possible for a year and going, but here are a few names that come to mind.  Adam Binder, Ali Foley & the Rumours East family, Chris Haston and the Fat Bottom Brewing Co., Everyone that worked at and made WAMB Radio so special.  Dave Eastman for introducing me to WAMB and Tom Eizonas.  My good friends Alex Smith and Clay Brunton for making artwork for pretty much every show we’ve had so far.  Tom Eizonas, for rolling with the punches, always being solid and dependable, and for making me and the show sound professional.  You’re the best sound man/recording-editing guy around, and a killer guitar player too!  To my wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard (efharper.com) for always supporting me with the good ideas and telling me when the others are bad.  I loves you more than words.  And thanks to everyone who came to any of the shows, once or more than 20 times.  Last but not least, thanks so much for all of the musicians and authors that have taken time out of their busy schedules to donate their art to this idea.  There would be no show with y’all.  And with that I’d like to have you give (at your computer, mind you) another round of applause for anniversary guests in Keel Hunt and Park Chisolm (and Sara Beck).

With one birthday under our belt, I’d like to invite you to the next East Side Storytellin’, #26, at Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street) on Tuesday, November 19th, at 7pm, with the Black Bird Can Write poet Nicole Branigan- www.blackbirdcanwrite.com– and musician Kim Logan- www.kimlogan.net.  Until then, have a great life and be nice to one another.  Thanks again for helping make this and every show we do possible.  Good night and be nice to one another in YOUR beautiful mess.

The end is the beginning!

The end is the beginning!

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East Side Storytellin’ 9: Attack of the Red-Headed Music City Muses

March 12, 2013

On March 5th, 2013, I felt very fortunate and blessed.  The good people of Fat Bottom Brewing Co., after talking it over and listening to me a time or two explain what I intended to bring to their party with that of East Side Storytellin’, gave me the invitation to celebrate a new chapter in […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 8: When Sewanee left the mountain for the city

February 27, 2013

On February 19th, 2013, a very special gathering that had been in the making for a few months, possibly since last Summer before East Side Story was a reality, occurred at Rumours East and it was an absolute blast.  With the help of April Alvarez, Coordinator for the Sewanee School of Letters program, she managed […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 7 – Alice Randall and Jonathan Sexton … enough said.

February 11, 2013

WOW!  That’s about the only word I could come up with after leaving Rumours East on the night of Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, and experiencing the first-time meeting between Alice Randall and Jonathan Sexton.  If you weren’t lucky enough to be in the crowd sharing that wonderful evening with me, you are lucky to be […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 6 – Where fine wine and amazing women met

January 30, 2013

Yeah, I said it.  East Side Storytellin’ 6, aka the night of January 22, 2013 where Barbara Nowak and Julie Lee first met, was just that … where fine wine and amazing women met.  I knew from the first reply from Julie about a month and a half before the night happened when she excitedly […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 5 with Cary Graham and Jenny & Tyler … OH, what a night!

January 16, 2013

On Tuesday, January 8th, I truly experienced a night like no other.  At 6pm, I left East Side Story with new art prints made by Alex in tow in order to make my way over to Rumours East to get fully prepared. I knew that Tom would be there with equipment in hand, but I […]

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