The Travel Channel

Christopher Pilny, Abbey Moss, Chuck Beard, 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 recap and recording of the 122nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 121, I repeat … 121, 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 recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 122. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a man of many words, many stories, and many great things to come. He is a writer out of Hope Valley, Rhode Island who now calls Nashville home. He is a producer for Rated Red, a digital media network here in Nashville, where he writes a weekly series called Strange Heartland History. I first met him via another outstanding writer and performer and East Side Storytellin’ alumnus in Melanie Vare via their work together with the award-winning storytelling show titled That Time of the Month. His essays and interviews have been featured on publications such as Salon, AskMen, British GQ, Business Insider, The Travel Channel, and more. After I secured the booking for his participation in this show, he promised me that he would share something that is somewhere in between a PG and R rating. As always, this guy never disappoints on stage. It was truly an honor to finally work together with this phenom who usually spends most of his time spotlighting others’ work, I’m talking about the one and only Christopher Pilny!

Christopher approached the podium with his tablet in hand and his confidence filling the friend-filled room. He later mentioned that he uses the tablet out of tradition of when he was too cheap (and didn’t have the money while in school) to print out pages of his work to read for others. Either way, like his writing, it works. There are layers upon layers of work that has been revised and rehearsed within the prose and the voice of this artist, and his final product and performances are delivered with a brilliance similar to an A-listed comedian. He lets the material do the magic that it has been created meticulously to do, and the crowd takes it from there (usually with ample amounts of belly laughs that are perfectly spaced out so that you can catch your breath for dramatic pauses and moments to connect even more with the points of Christopher’s stories). Y’all, he is that good (and will only keep getting better, with his creative process, routines, and dedication to his craft, on and off the stage).

Christopher opted to spend his time reading from a selected original work that was based on journal entries that later developed into a piece that was published in Salon (To read the published form, click HERE). In his classic personal narrator tone, he seemed to enjoy looking down and around his personal odyssey for how he found his voice and a professional foundation of creative writing by methodically detailing the ups and downs of his notes via his journal entries (written by a soon-to-be college graduate but with an air of a school girl finding out what love is and means to her through the mishaps of puberty). You didn’t have to be a guy working in women’s fashion or stressing over life plans after graduating from college to relate. Christopher has a gift of not only taking the less travelled road and enjoying it, he also has a knack for making plans that are larger than life and odd on purpose because he knows it will always add to and become part of a more interesting story in hindsight after it is experienced, written, and shared for others to incorporate that lesson into their own lives. Seriously, I love the way he chooses his life decisions of jobs and everything because I’ve tried to do similar things on my own journey. I haven’t done as many blatantly random choices for the sake of my story in humorous ways, but Christopher’s work reminds me that I still have time.

So yeah, Christopher’s story involved shout outs to David Sedaris, Eminem, Artie Lange (and who the F is Artie Lange, LOL), Forrest Gump, Christopher’s mom, and many others). It detailed the hilarious moments of school kids making fun of Christopher’s shoe fashion, the dark comedy of retail robbery and the possibility of becoming a martyr for the sake of Ralph Lauren Polo shirts, and more … I’m not starting to sound like an infomercial that is selling Christopher Pilny’s work like I’m his agent. But I am not his agent. I am just a big fan, and I’m not alone. Go ahead and take the time to explore his published works on the links above and below, and enjoy the full reading that he shared with us at The Post East in the recording below. In this day and age, we need all of the humor and intelligence that we can get. Lucky for all of us, Christopher Pilny delivers all of that every chance he gets.

Our featured music of the night is a singer, songwriter, and a composer like you’ve never known. Her style is sort of like apocalyptic, but in the best of ways. She is also a dear friend of our friend RJ Bracchitta. She creates an eccentric musical identity desperate to make its way into the mainstream music. She draws from a theatrical past and a brooding alter ego while combining melodies and lyrics in ways that are quite bewitching. Her music usually falls within the ranges of Indie Rock and Cinematic Pop. She has self-proclaimed her music insightful, unapologetic, and downright spooky. We figured she would be the perfect start to put 2017 behind us and really hit the ground running for 2018. Thanks to RJ Bracchita for sharing the love for his fellow friend to be spotlighted and more known because from the first note of sound check, I was completely in awe and floored by the talents of Abbey Moss.

Abbey embodies everything of how she presents herself on  her website bio and, like Christopher, much more, in the best of ways. She approached the stage with just a ukulele in tow and a world of stories and melodies to share, bright and loud. And with all of the doom and gloom surrounding our world in the news these days, it was nice for Abbey to kick things off in her set with the happier side of her song collection to date. She smiled and said that she would go from happy to sad throughout her time at The Post, and we were sitting, thankful and ready to listen.

Abbey sang songs about Mr. Right Guy (where love is everywhere if we look because it’s as simple as just being an animal instinct), taking chances on me (a sweet but not so sweet song because it was about an ex-boyfriend), and then she dove into the dark. I don’t necessarily mean total blackness though. When I say dark, I just mean that she dove into her songs involving death. Actually, it was more light and illuminating, as she broke out with concepts of what it may be like on the other side of life and relating it specifically to a bar on the river Styx that you can’t leave once you get in (but the drinks are forever flowing and your pretty bones will be just fine). Entrancing stuff, to say the least.

She then dove into a beautiful song about laying a lover down and layering the lyrics with the story of the metaphor of putting things to rest. She explained it better than I will now, before she sang her songs, but the meaning and wonder of life lesson cycles totally reminded me of the beautiful documentary I saw recently by the name of Samsara (you can check the trailer HERE). Abbey pushes the boundaries of thoughts and volume within the words she sings in ways that allow you to appreciate the singular moment we live in but at the same time reflect and feel the deeper meaning beyond the surface of the present. Marinate on that for a moment.

Before Abbey closed her set with an unfinished song about love letters in the works, she belted out a vision of a song titled Phoenix. Inspired by the story of her good friend battling Cancer, she did what only a best friend could do to help a trying situation and inspire the friend being tested by reminding them of their purpose and strength. Again, like most of these songs, I cannot give them the justice they deserve as much as just you taking the time to listen to Abbey sing them so great for yourself. You can check them out in the recording link below of the show. Side note, if you or anyone you know is battling Cancer at the moment or did before or just got diagnosed, please refer everyone to Gilda’s Club Nashville. It is FREE support, and it is a magical place for those who need magic. And who doesn’t need magic in their lives? Check out Gilda’s Club Nashville HERE.

But before I get to the recording, I would like to say that once again I felt blessed to take a few candid moments of the artists’ and crowd’s time to talk a little more about the passion and practices behind the show curtain and what has made these guys inspired enough to make the decision to live their lives as artists. It’s not an easy road, even for the most well-known artists out there, so we all need a reminder that we are not alone in this deal. Like those who came before, Abbey and Christopher shared their hopes, fears, lessons learned, happy times, battles with adversity, all the while being completely honest by saying that they are still just literally making things up as they go. Lucky for us, they are doing exactly what they need and want to be doing, and they see the signs and realize that the learning and the process is all happening when it is supposed to be happening. Nothing was more evident of this than when Abbey made a comment post-show that she was at one of Christopher’s first public readings of his work across town years before this particular paring came into fruition. It’s stuff like that that reminds me everything we are doing here is worthwhile and makes a positive change in the world beyond our immediate comprehension. So, here’s to more positive signs and changes in the New Year together!

So here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 122, the night when Christopher Pilny and Abbey Moss brought light, life, death, humor, and a good heart to a New Year. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, January  2, 2018. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

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

You can read more of Christopher’s writing here- christopherpilny.com

You can listen to more of Abbey’s music here – www.abbeymoss.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 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’ 123
Tuesday, January 16th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- John Winston Heacock
singing- Madison Pepper (Peppersaid)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 122 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

{ 0 comments }

Chuck Beard, Fecto Johnson, Brandon Alexander Holt, Aspene Taylor, Nancy Vienneau, Chloe Katerndahl, Nate Foley, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Fecto Johnson, Brandon Alexander Holt, Aspene Taylor, Nancy Vienneau, Chloe Katerndahl, Nate Foley, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Before we get started on one of the wildest, loudest, and most amazing shows to date, I first want to let you know what happened pre-show this round.

Two shows ago, when we featured the very talented Nadia Bruce Rawlings, I was introduced to the talented poet and Kentucky Colonel Jonathan Finn Formica (better known everywhere as simply Finn). He mentioned after that show that he was going to be filmed alongside the world-renowned food writer, TV personality, chef, and teacher Andrew Zimmern as he films his next great television show. Talk about a wonderful, BIZZARE way to spend a lovely September Tuesday night in Nashville, right? And talk about perfect timing too since I had already scheduled one of the best food journalists in area to be the featured author for this particular date before knowing about Andrew coming to town. Sometimes everything works out like Baby Bear soup. Oh, to preface the TV deal, the premise of the show that we were told would be that Finn would take Andrew all around Nashville in his cab and show him the real people, entertainment, and food beyond the typical stereotypes of Lower Broadway and other places every other television show and their mom always films. I agreed to let Finn crash our previously planned East Side Storytellin’ show below so he could get some film of him reading his original poetry in front of a great crowd. That is where we left it.

Finn reading to a packed house with Andrew Zimmern in the middle of it all

Finn reading to a packed house with Andrew Zimmern in the middle of it all

Not really planning as much as usual because I was only in charge of one production team (ours), besides giving the featured guests and the owners of The Post a heads up that this TV spot was a good possibility, we went with the flow of the day. The flow of Tuesday, September 15th ended up meaning that an entire productive, excited, and extremely nice film crew crashed our site at 7pm, just in time for the regular audience attending the show to gladly sign waivers and sit with Andrew to witness Finn do his thing for us. We didn’t record the reading, but it was something fierce, stylish, and special (basically everything Finn is all of the time). It was an all-around perfect addition to a crazy night, and the schedule worked out perfectly because some of the band was caught in traffic so sound check was serendipitously delayed for us to get everything in just right. All that said, you can see from the picture below that Andrew enjoyed the readings, the music, The Post, and East Side Storytellin’ to the fullest. I’m already looking forward to seeing how the TV show turns out later this year (we’ll keep you posted when we know it will air … it will be the premiere episode!) and also what Andrew thinks about the Based On: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville that I was lucky enough to give him a copy of  before he left.

The East Side Storytellin' 67 entourage

The East Side Storytellin’ 67 entourage

Now, back to the normal programming that you expected before I dropped that delightful bomb above…

Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap of the 67th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 66 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’ 67. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was a self-trained chef and retired and recovering caterer with 25 years experience. With a background in the fine arts, she ran her own full-service catering company called A Matter of Taste for over 16years, working for and alongside individuals, corporations, universities, non-profits, and the entertainment industry. She cooks and teaches others at Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Arts Center and at Magdalene House through Green Fork Academy. She also serves on the board of Walk Bike Nashville (not to be confused with another favorite Walk Eat Nashville – who happened to be in the crowd for the show = thanks for coming out Karen!). A member of the Community Food Advocates and Les Dames D’Escoffier International (say that 3 times fast), she is here tonight because she is an excellent food writer. She has contributed articles for several magazines, consistently reviewed Nashville restaurants in a weekly column for The Tennessean, and also has dabbled in poetry and prose to Alimentum (the Literature of Food). This particular night, she was ready to share with everyone excerpts from her first cookbook titled Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, which you can purchase at East Side Story. It was truly an honor to showcase the Third Tuesday community celebratory leader in that of Nancy Vienneau (pronounced V-N-O just so you know)!

Nancy took to the stage with a beautiful outfit and a plate full of home-made cookies for all to take in during her reading. She began with a very cool excerpt related to a special tomato inspired dish since we were still in East Nashville and that is our patron vegetable/fruit. She then went on to talk about figs and another dish that reminded me totally of Christmas (soon approaching and will be here before we know it as usual). Actually, speaking of Christmas, Nancy personally reminded me (not sure if it was her voice or appearance or manners or all of the above) of the mom in the movie The Christmas Story. Everything about Nancy’s reading made me and others present extremely hungry and happy about the great food and sense of community she was talking about that she practices daily with her family and friends. I honestly can’t wait to try the community potluck and the recipes in her book as soon as I have some free time to do so. You should plan on the same.

(*random special note = I want to give a particularly huge shout out to Nancy for being so flexible with all of the unexpected scheduling of the night. Not every artist would have been so patient and smiling through the entire night. The same can be said for Kat Milk Blu too, by the way)

The featured music of the night came from a band of talented folks that have joined forces and are making a big name for themselves (as evident from Andrew’s tweet and the way the entire TV production crew when gaga about them – we all went gaga over them). When LA woman Chloe Kat came to town a few years back, she never imagined playing a fateful show at The End where she shared the bill with Bam Bam, Isaiah, Aspene and Nate Foley and their band called Studio Blu and then being moved to tears by their performance of Funkadelic’s trance-inducing song called Maggot Brain. Wiping away the tears, Kat and the boys vibed so well backstage, sharing similar musical tastes, dedication, dreams, and opinions of humanity that they decided to jam together and have been blending sounds every since. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not sure if you’re ever really ready for your mind, body, and soul to be blown away, but all of that will most certainly happen when you are introduced to the musical stylings of Kat Milk Blu!

Without any words or thoughts about introducing themselves after I introduced them, Kat Milk Blu dove right into their music and literally changed everyone’s worlds forever in an instant. Downtown could have the Americana Music Festival and a million other shows going down around Nashville all week long. I’ll go ahead and say that I instantly knew from the first measure of the first song that I was witnessing the absolute finest live music show in the land and that I’ve experienced in a very long time and I wasn’t alone in thinking that way either.
67 kat milk close

Chloe Kat is a bonafide star and director of grandiose poems that fit the accompanying music like rain exploding from a stormy cloud onto land that has been in a drought for some time (possibly a reference to Nashville’s overblown pop country scene and how the actual residents here deserve more attention that just that for the masses). The rest of the band, man, I really can’t say enough about them. They reminded me of The Funk Brothers, the band who made all of the hits for Motown and more … but they were even more fresh and relevant. I mentioned it after the show to them, but they sounded so tight, moving in and out and over and under grooves seamlessly and perfectly without even looking at one another as if they have been playing together for 20 plus years. These guys mix rock, gospel, soul, funk, and pretty much every other genre of music together into a beautiful blend of something magical to hear. You can tell from my words above that I am now one of their biggest fans, but, again, I’m not alone.

Then, because Kat Milk Blu had another gig across town after our show (because they are that in demand and deservingly so), I had the band and Nancy up on stage to share one microphone and discuss a little bit of how they each arrived in Nashville, how we all arrived together, and also how we all continue to do what we love to do. It was a comfortable, extraordinary thing to be a part of with such amazingly talented artists and good-hearted people all in one. I can’t say thank you enough to these people.

Aspene sported the all-blue lit shoes on the song Tru Blu!

Aspene sported the all-blue lit shoes on the song Tru Blu!

So with that said, I’ll just let you listen to a show that will most likely change your life for the better (not that it was bad before reading and listening to this though). Here is the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 67 that featured Nancy Vienneau and Kat Milk Blu (with a side of Finn and Andrew Zimmern too). Enjoy and share with your friends and family and yourself, over and over until we break the internet.

I want these for Christmas!

I want these for Christmas!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Nancy Vienneau and Kat Milk Blu for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Nancy’s writing here-  nancyvienneau.com

You can listen to more of Kat Milk Blu’s music here-  facebook.com/katmilkblu

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

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a big thanks to Finn and Andrew Zimmern and all of his wonderful production team who took time out of their busy taping and travels around town to drop by and witness something we do on the regular that we know everyone who participates and attends appreciates more than words. Continued success to you both!

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 East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 68

Tuesday, October 6th

At The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Christine Hall (facebook.com/ChristineHallisapoet)

singing- Aaron Lee Tasjan (aaronleetasjan.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 67 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

One for the road, a bit blurry but with my better half by my side

One for the road, a bit blurry but with my better half by my side

{ 0 comments }