‘NPT Presents: Community Cinema’ Announces 2014-15 Season | Return to Nashville Public Library

Community Cinema, presented by Nashville Public Television, celebrates its seventh year in Nashville with a return to the main branch of the Nashville Public Library and six new documentaries culled from the upcoming Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS and NPT series Independent Lens.

The screenings and post-film discussions will take place from October to May and begin on October 18, 2014 at 2 p.m. with a special presentation of “Makers: Women in Hollywood,” producers Rory Kennedy and Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s showcase of the women of showbiz, from the earliest pioneers to present-day power players, as they influence the creation of one of the country’s biggest commodities: entertainment.

Sallie Mayne, former executive director of the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), will coordinate the screenings.

“I’ve been a supporter of the Community Cinema series from its early days in Nashville partnering with NaFF, and I’m thrilled to once again be working with NPT,” said Mayne. “Fans of the series will welcome the return to the beautiful confines of the downtown Library and its state-of-the-art theatre. And then there are the films. This year’s strong slate of films is sure to engage the Nashville audience.”

Presented in partnership with ITVS, local public television stations and leading community organizations, Community Cinema holds preview screenings and discussion in over 90 cities across the country, making a real contribution on a range of current social issues by connecting communities with organizations, information, and the opportunity to get involved. NPT Presents: Community Cinema began in Nashville in 2008, and except for the 2013-14 season at NPT’s Studio A, has been held at the Nashville Public Library. It is presented locally in partnership with ITVS, the Nashville Public Library and the Nashville Film Festival.

A complete list of this year’s films and dates follows (click here for a link to view the 2014-15 season trailer):

NPT Presents: Community Cinema 2014-15.

MAKERS: Women in Hollywood

MAKERS: Women in Hollywood

by Rory Kennedy with Producer/Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

MAKERS: Women in Hollywood showcases the women of showbiz, from the earliest pioneers to present-day power players, as they influence the creation of one of the country’s biggest commodities: entertainment. Audiences hear from actress-producer-activist Jane Fonda; television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who re-imagined the traditional Disney princess by making Belle (Beauty and the Beast) a self-possessed, strong-willed young woman; director Ava DuVernay, who was the first African-American to win best director at Sundance for her film, Middle of Nowhere; writer-director-actress Lena Dunham; and Academy Award-winner Geena Davis. Narrated by Julia Roberts.  Nashville Women in Film and Television is a partner with NPT for this screening and panel discussion.  http://wiftnashville.org.


by Darius Clark Monroe
Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

In this gripping blend of documentary, true-crime, and personal essay, a filmmaker confronts his past, dissecting the circumstances that led him to commit a bank robbery as a young man, and his journey since that act.  Project Return is a partner with NPT for this screening and panel discussion: http://www.projectreturninc.org.

PRI logo (white bkgnd)

A Path Appears

A Path Appears

by Maro Chermayeff
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

A Path Appears goes to Chicago, Nashville, Boston, Colombia, Haiti, and Kenya to reveal the incredible adversity faced every day by millions of women and girls, while also presenting glimpses of hope and change. From the team that brought you the groundbreaking Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

American Denial

American Denial

by Llewellyn Smith, Christine Herbes-Sommers, and Kelly Thomson
Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

Using the story of Gunnar Myrdal’s 1944 investigation of Jim Crow racism as a springboard, American Denial explores the power of unconscious biases and how ideals of liberty, equality, and justice still impact notions of race and class today.

by Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly
Saturday, April 18, 2015 (time TBA)
Nashville Film Festival at Regal Green Hills 16

Three homeless teens brave Chicago winters, high school pressures, and life on the streets to build a brighter future. Against all odds, they recover from a life of abandonment to create new, surprising definitions of home.

by Thomas Miller and Kirk Marcolina
Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Nashville Public Library, Main Branch

Decades before The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, one gay couple, a Filipino American and an Australian, fell in love and over the course of 40 years took on the U.S. government to fight for marriage and immigration equality.


Veterans Coming Home: Courage Beyond

Zachary Bell and his children

Zachary Bell and his children

As we announced in August, NPT is part of a new nationwide project called Veterans Coming Home.  The project includes a new digital series and broadcast spots, community discussions,  a dedicated website at Veterans.wnpt.org and a social media campaign at veterans.wnpt.org/welcomewall.

We released our first video on August 18, “What War Feels Like.” Today, we release our second. In “Courage Beyond,” veteran Zachary Bell shares his experience getting out of the military and adjusting to civilian life.

Producer Will Pedigo shared these thoughts:

Veterans Coming Home is showing us that there are many challenges veterans face as they transition to civilian life.  Some challenges are related to the isolation veterans experience as they lose touch with their fellow soldiers; others struggle to find a new purpose and career outside of the world where they thrived.  Zachary Bell talked honestly about both of these issues in his interview.  In this piece, he shares how a moment of loss motivated him to find a job working with veterans and families like his own.  It’s a good thing that we have folks like Zachary Bell out there making a difference for those that have served all of us.

Today, Bell is an Outreach Specialist for Courage Beyond, part of Centerstone of America. Courage Beyond provides confidential, no-cost or low-cost programs and services to warriors and their loved ones facing post-traumatic stress disorder and other invisible wounds of military service. Learn more at couragebeyond.org or if you need support now, call 866.781.8010.

Watch Now:

Visit Phillips Toy Mart to enter NPT’s Thomas the Train Coloring Contest and Giveaway


Thomas Basket - This Could Be Your Child's!

This Could Be Your Child’s!


NPT is excited to partner with Phillips Toy Mart in a Thomas the Train Coloring Contest.  Any child between the age of 2 and 6 can be entered to win a Thomas and Friends gift basket (Pictured above) valued at more than $50. All you need to do is to stop by Phillips Toy Mart and have your Thomas fan color in a Thomas & Friends coloring sheet.  While you are there, you can check out Phillips Toy Mart’s huge selection of toys for children of all ages. Arts and crafts, educational toys, electronics, puzzles, games, costumes and accessories and so much more. Contest ends Saturday, September 13, so full steam ahead to Phillips Toy Mart!


5207 Harding Pike

Nashville, TN 37205

(615) 352-5363

Hours:  Monday through Saturday

9:00AM til 5:30PM

Official rules available at Phillips Toy Mart or click here.


NPT to Continue Work as `American Graduate` Station | Titan Moise Fokou Joins as Spokesperson

NPT to is proud to announce our continuing work as an “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” Grantee and station, and to welcome Tennessee Titan Moise Fokou as our spokesperson this year. Here is the full release:



Nashville Public Television Awarded American Graduate Community Service Grant to Help Nashville Improve Youth Outcomes

NPT to Work with Community Partners to Reach Low Income Families and Vulnerable Young Men and Women; Will Share Stories of Middle Tennessee Leaders Who Are “American Graduate Champions”  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 27, 2014) — Nashville Public Television (NPT) has been awarded an American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen community service grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to continue its work in Middle Tennessee to improve youth outcomes for all students from preschool through college and onto careers. It will focus especially on those susceptible to the “graduation gap” – students of different races, ethnicities, family incomes and disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. In addition, NPT has also received a grant from Newman’s Own Foundation to increase philanthropic support to support the station’s local education service and sustain the American Graduate initiative.

As an American Graduate station, NPT has already produced a significant number of original public affairs documentaries and short videos, among them, “Translating the Dream,” and “Graduation by the Numbers,” and two in-studio town halls, “Teacher Town Hall” and “Community Town Hall on Education.” All are available for free streaming at http://wnpt.org/amgrad.

Moise Fokou

Moise Fokou

The grant will allow NPT to continue its work over the next two years to increase understanding about the challenges for at-risk youth, particularly immigrant and refugee students, and work with a network of community partners to help develop and illuminate long term solutions. It will emphasize the importance of a strong foundation in early education and the need for consistent caring adults by highlighting “American Graduate Champions,” everyday heroes in a child’s life who are committed to improving education outcomes, and local leaders who are helping communities increase graduation rates. Tennessee Titans linebacker Moise Fokou, who with his own Root 53 Foundation works to encourage students in under-served areas of Middle Tennessee to live healthy and active lifestyles and excel at school, will serve as a spokesman for NPT.

“We’re proud of the work we accomplished in the last two years working with teachers and community partners and looking forward to the next two,” said Beth Curley, NPT president and CEO. “Our Town Halls and documentaries and been successful in convening teachers, community leaders and stakeholders and bringing attention to drop out rates and the needs of the underserved in our Nashville community. We are excited to bring in new partners, including the Root 53 Foundation and Moise Fokou, who carries with him a fresh voice for change and the need to excel.”

NPT is part of the national American Graduate initiative in partnership with 33 other public media stations around the country. The initiative will feature new locally produced content alongside national productions and classroom resources – including PBS NewsHour’s new education desk, American Graduate Day, 180 Days: Hartsville, and the youth-driven spoken word contest RAISE UP!, along with PBS Learning Media and PBS Kids assets.

“Education is at the core of public media’s mission. Through American Graduate stations’ partnerships with over 1000 local organizations, we are proud of public media’s content and on the ground engagement that has raised awareness to achieve 80% graduation rates nationally and helped America see the potential in every student,”said Pat Harrison, CPB President and CEO. “By strengthening our focus on solutions, starting with our youngest learners, and highlighting local leaders who are creating sustainable change, together, we can set kids – and our country – on a path for long term success.”

NPT’s community partners for American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen for the last two years have included, One Nashville, Alignment Nashville, America’s Promise, Metro Nashville Public School District (MNPS), Nashville International Center for Empowerment, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Conexion Americas, SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education), Office of the Mayor Karl Dean, Glencliff HS/Cameron MS, YMCA of Middle TN, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, Nashville Public Library, TN Dept. of Education, Nashville Symphony, The Frist Center for Visual Arts, Book ‘em and the Pencil Foundation.

About Nashville Public Television:
Nashville Public Television, Nashville’s PBS station, is available free and over-the-air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, through its main NPT and secondary NPT2 channels, and to anyone in the world through its stable of NPT Digital services, including wnpt.org, YouTube and the PBS video app. The mission of NPT is to provide, through the power of traditional television and interactive digital communications, high quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions.  Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020.

With primetime and children’s programming that educates, informs, and inspires public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are important resources in helping to address critical issues facing today’s communities. According to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, American Graduate stations have told the story about the dropout crisis in a way that empowered citizens to get involved, and helped community organizations break down silos to work more effectively together.

In early 2014, CPB and PBS KIDS committed an additional $20 million for the “American Graduate PBS KIDS Fund” to also help communities connect the importance of early learning as part of a student’s long term success. In addition to station grants for local engagement, the Fund will support the creation of children’s content and tools to help parents, particularly those from low income communities,better prepare their young children for long term success. Fourteen American Graduate station grantees have also been awarded CPB early education grants to reach children ages 2-8 with programming and services developed through the Ready to Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.


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New PBS Kids and Daytime Schedule Starts September 1


Our PBS Kids schedule and Saturday and Sunday daytime schedules get a reworking on September 1. Among the changes are more back-to-back episodes of your favorite shows, and the introduction of Sesame Street Shorts, a new 1/2 hour version of the show. Here’s the complete lineup for weekdays and weekends.

Weekday Daytime Schedule

5:00 am Classical Stretch
5:30 Body Electric
6:00 Wild Kratts
6:30 Wild Kratts
7:00 Curious George
7:30 Curious George
8:00 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
8:30 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
9:00 Sesame Street
10:00 Dinosaur Train
10:30 Super Why!
11:00 Peg + Cat
11:30 Sid the Science Kid
12:00 Caillou
12:30 pm Thomas & Friends
1:00 Sesame Street Shorts
1:30 The Cat in the Hat
2:00 Clifford the Big Red Dog
2:30 Curious George
3:00 Arthur
3:30 Arthur
4:00 Wild Kratts
4:30 Wild Kratts
5:00 Martha Speaks
5:30 WordGirl
6:00 pm PBS NewsHour

Weekend Schedule
5:00am Martha Speaks
5:30 Angelina Ballerina
6:00 Curious George
6:30 Curious George
7:00 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
7:30 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
8:00 Sesame Street Shorts
8:30 Dinosaur Train
9:00 Sewing with Nancy
9:30 Sew It All
10:00 Garden Smart
10:30 P. Allen Smith
11:00 Simply Ming
11:30 Cook’s Country
12:00noon America’s Test Kitchen
12:30 Victory Garden’s Edible Feast
1:00 Sara’s Weeknight Meals
1:30 Martha’s Bakes
2:00 Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting
2:30 Best of Joy of Painting
3:00 Woodsmith Shop
3:30 The Woodwright’s Shop
4:00 Rough Cut with Tommy Mac
4:30 This Old House
5:00 Ask This Old House
5:30 Hometime
6:00 PBS NewsHour Weekend
6:30pm Tennessee’s Wild Side

5:00am Sid the Science Kid
5:30 Peg + Cat
6:00 Curious George
6:30 Curious George
7:00 Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
7:30 Word World
8:00 Sesame Street Shorts
8:30 Dinosaur Train
9:00 Tennessee’s Wild Side
9:30 Volunteer Gardener
10:00 Tennessee Crossroads
10:30 A Word on Words
11:00 Nature
12:00noon To the Contrary
12:30 The McLaughlin Group
1:00 Moyers & Company
1:30 Washington Week with Gwen Ifill
2:00 Globe Trekker
3:00 California’s Gold
3:30 Ecosense For Living
4:00 America’s Heartland
4:30 Rick Steves’ Europe
5:00 Antiques Roadshow
6:00 PBS NewsHour Weekend
6:30pm Charlie Rose: The Week

Sinatra and Crosby, Singers of Van Heusen Songs, on Picking and Singing Great Songs

Composer Jimmy Van Heusen, right, with frequent collaborator Frank Sinatra, in the 1950s.

Composer Jimmy Van Heusen, right, with frequent collaborator Frank Sinatra, in the 1950s.

NPT and public television fans found much to love in the special membership drive broadcast of Jimmy Van Heusen: Swingin’ with Frank & Bing. The show celebrates the four-time Oscar®-winning composer who created dozens of classics for the American Songbook. His career spanned five decades and his close association with two of the greatest entertainment icons of the last hundred years — Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby — resulted in numerous hit songs for both. Sinatra recorded over 80 songs by Van Heusen — more than any other composer — including “Come Fly With Me,” “Here’s That Rainy Day,” “The Second Time Around” and “The Tender Trap.”  The 1950s were particularly fruitful for the two, as Van Heusen teamed with lyricist Sammy Cahn to produce such all-time hits as “Love & Marriage,” “All The Way” and “High Hopes.”

Van Heusen’s collaborations with Crosby included the creation of songs for six of the seven Crosby-Bob Hope “Road Pictures,” as well as for the all-time Hollywood classics Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s.

Van Heusen was undoubtedly an outstanding composer. But great composers of great songs also need great singers, and Sinatra and Crosby were the best. But what made them the best? Tucked inside songwriter and radio columnist Nick Kenny’s 1946 advice book, How to Write, Sing and Sell Popular Songs (Hermitage Press), they offer some insight into their craft. A good portion of what they discuss is about selecting the right songs.

Taking a page from Brain Pickings, which does such an excellent job of excavating advice and wisdom from sometimes forgotten books, we thought singers of today might enjoy what Crosby and Sinatra had to say, some 68 years ago. Much of it is timeless, and emphasizes the integral relationship between singer and song.

From PART II of the book, “How to Sing.”


MY ADVICE to the newcomer who wants to sing for radio, records and television is : create a singing style that is different from any other that the pop singers may be using at the time. Too many vocalists are satisfied to be a carbon copy of the current singing favorite. Auditioning directors spot this before the wouldbe artist has gone through eight bars of a song.

Another natural mistake made by most new singers is their rush to sing new songs. Ask any control man. If the pop song of the moment is “I’m Looking Forward To Looking Backward On Tonight,” every second singer on the audition lists sings it—thereby hurting their chances for a real good analysis of their singability. Always pick a song with which you are familiar and one that shows off your voice—not some publishers latest creation. And sing clean songs.

Don’t overlook the importance of phrasing. Learn to throw away a musical line that you would ordinarily punch and vice-versa. Don’t let your singing audience be a few notes ahead of you regarding shading and timing. They like to be surprised. A song is like a bucking bronco. You’ve got to break it in—sing it a hundred times in different ways. Then, after you have memorized the story line of it—tell it in song as if you were enjoying it for the first time. Well there you arc kids . . . spread it among you! . . .


There is no question in my mind that the choice of songs certainly has a great deal to do with the success of a singer. As a matter of fact, very often just one song can give a singer a tremendous boost toward a successful career. “Night and Day,” I think served this purpose for me, and for that reason, it will always be one of my favorites. Back in the early days, it never failed to come through and inevitably got me the job whenever I auditioned with it.

The best advice I can give anyone intent upon a singing career is that they choose their songs carefully. Be sure it is the type of song that particularly suits your style and voice.

I have, personally, always considered the lyric of any song, especially the popular ballad, of number one importance, and I always read the lyric to a new song before I even attempt to hear the music. If it is a ballad, then the words must be believable. They must tell a story. The music is the backdrop or dressing that makes the story pleasant and listenable.

Of course, I don’t mean that every lyric must at all times make sense. It’s certainly not necessary in the case of comedy or novelty songs. Tunes like “Pistol Packin’ Mama” or “Mairzy Doats” have been smash hits, but that’s because they had humor and were farcical enough to catch the ear of the nation.

If you have chosen a song because you really like it and believe it, then you’ve won half the battle towards making others believe it when you sing it.”

How to Write, Sing and Sell Popular Songs is out of print and not available at the Nashville Public Library last we checked, but it’s quite wonderful if you can track it down at a used store.  In addition to advice from Sinatra and Crosby, there are contributions from Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Cab Calloway, Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters, among others, and sections such as “Ten Commandments for Auditions” and “Let’s Tackle Some Problems.”

And then there’s this from Songwriters Hall of Famer Irving Ceasar, composer of Swanee,” “Sometimes I’m Happy,” “Crazy Rhythm,” and “Tea for Two:

“Most important: Keep writing-writing-writing. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, one song doesn’t make a songwriter. Great writers like Irving Berlin write a hundred or more songs a year, out of which perhaps two or three may become successful. Don’t get the idea that you are better than best and expect sure-fire success from each little bit of writing effort you expend.  KEEP ON WRITING.”

Jimmy Van Heusen: Swingin’ with Frank and Bing is no longer airing this membership drive, and unfortunately, not available as a thank you gift, but we have several DVDs and CDs of his collaborations to choose from when you donate to NPT. A preview is below:

NPT Part of New Nationwide Veterans Coming Home Project


Nashville Public Television (NPT) will contribute this fall to a new nationwide project titled Veterans Coming Home. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and led by Wisconsin Public Television, Veterans Coming Home harnesses public media’s strengths and reach to address the needs of veterans in local communities. Building on compelling national content, NPT and other local public television and radio stations will conduct their own local efforts that will communicate veterans’ stories through video journalism and online contentNPT will be collaborating with local organizations and community partners to better coordinate and publicize local services, facilitate dialogue, and acknowledge the service and sacrifice made by veterans and their families.

“In the next 18 months, as the US begins to withdraw from Afghanistan, Middle Tennessee’s population of veterans is expected to explode,” said NPT president and CEO Beth Curley. “This will create a pressing need to raise awareness about the issues that veterans face reentering civilian life. We hope to build a bridge between veterans and the civilians they served.”

Middle Tennessee is home to one of the nation’s largest army bases, Ft. Campbell, a massive military installation that housing the fifth largest active duty population in the army and the seventh largest in the Department of Defense.  The 101st Airborne Division, one of the most deployed divisions in the U.S. Army and currently serving in Afghanistan today, is based at Ft. Campbell. As a result, Tennessee today is home to over 525,000 veterans, the largest percentage of which are veterans of the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.


In partnership with a coalition of veterans service organizations, NPT will produce a series of broadcast spots, and a more extensive online series, all available at Veterans.wnpt.org and our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/TnVeteransComingHome, that will drive veterans to existing community resources while educating the general population about issues facing veterans. The goal of the spots will be to normalize the idea of seeking help, while letting veterans know where to find resources in the community.  They will also raise awareness in the community about difficulties many veterans experience when transitioning to civilian life, while acknowledging their service to the country.  Community awareness engendered as an outcome of these spots will prepare citizens of Middle Tennessee to better welcome veterans home from Iraq and Afghanistan and connect them with vital resources.

The first one, available now at http://youtu.be/hSjliRkpxaw and pasted above, is “What War Feels Like.” Using a screening at the Belcourt Theatre of Sebastian Junger’s film, Korengal, as its framework, the segment focuses on the role that film plays in helping civilians understand the experiences of veterans, and in turn, how that attempt at understanding helps veterans.

Shorter segments will also be broadcast on-air on NPT.


Veterans.wnpt.org, in addition to the videos and connections to local resources, will also include the Tennessee Veterans Coming Home Welcome Wall. We’ll be asking Middle Tennesseans  to use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to leave messages or photos of welcome, share stories, exchange resources and needs and more.  By using the hashtags  #TNVeteransComingHome or #TNVCH, on any of the three social media platforms, we’ll be able to aggregate them at veterans.wnpt.org/welcomewall.


Veterans ComingHome is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About Nashville Public Television:
Nashville Public Television, Nashville’s PBS station, is available free and over-the-air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, through its main NPT and secondary NPT2 channels, and to anyone in the world through its stable of NPT Digital services, including wnpt.org, YouTube and the PBS video app. The mission of NPT is to provide, through the power of traditional television and interactive digital communications, high quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations  nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services

Veterans Coming Home is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations  nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services

Veterans ComingHome is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


This Book Needs a Helmet: Abby White on the 100 Things to Do in Nashville Before You Die

100 Things to Do in Nashville Before You Die

Whether it’s Middle Tennessee trips onTennessee Crossroads, visits to local gardens on Volunteer Gardener or visual studies of emerging and established businesses on our web series You Ought to Know Nashville, it’s clear that we love our city and all it has to offer. We also love its history, as our Memories of Nashville and 20th Century in Photographs series illustrate, and its beauty, as our trio of Beautiful Tennessee films so lushly document. So when a trade paperback-sized book titled 100 Things to Do in Nashville (Reedy Press) showed up in our mailbox, written by the Nashville Scene staff editor and AAN Award Winner Abby White, our curiosity was piqued. Had we as a station visited many of these places? Had I, a 16-year resident of the city, fully partaken of its charms? It turns out that we did, but there were still quite a few things we learned. And still more things we’ve been meaning to do.

The book is broken down into four sections — food & drink, music & entertainment, sports & recreation, culture & history, and shopping & fashion. White’s recommendations are accompanied by her colorful and personable anecdotes and synopses that will make outsiders feel like that have an inside connection, and locals feel like they better get cracking.  The “Things to do” vary from the iconic and obvious, like “see a show, any show, at the Ryman Auditorium” and “catch a movie at the Belcourt Theatre” to the lesser known and off-the-beaten path, like “drink tea, do good at Thistle Stop Cafe” and “travel the world without leaving the city limits at the Global Education Center.” There are even events for the kids, such as “have breakfast with Santa at the Aquarium Restaurant,” and the kid in you, such as “be a kid again, but with adult beverages, at the Nashville Zoo.”

We caught up with White for a quick chat about the book, some of her recommendations, why it should come with a helmet, and why 80’s pop star Tiffany matters.  Among other things.

Abby White

Abby White

Joe Pagetta, NPT: First off, are you someplace right now doing one of the 100 Things to Do in Nashville Before You Die?

Abby White:  I wish! I would not recommend that anyone else, tourist or native, has to sit at my desk and pretend to be me for the day, but I WILL say that I started my day off doing one of the 100 Things. I did a lovely long hike at Percy Warner, which is one of our many amazing parks. I bet you thought I was going to say I came from a bar.

Joe:  Haha! I thought maybe you were eating pink radio cake at Fido.

Abby:  I’ll be doing that later. It’s technically a vegetable.

Joe:  I started the day with a bike ride on the Stones River Greenway. Also beautiful.

Abby:  That sounds divine! I bet we each do one of these 100 things every day – that’s the beauty of this book. It’s for natives as much as visitors. A reminder to celebrate all of the incredible things we have here, from parks to restaurants.

Joe:  Before we get into the book, there is one glaring omission. I know everyone has an opinion on these things, but how is “volunteering on the phone bank during an NPT membership drive” NOT on this list? Or becoming a member of NPT. Or at the very least, WATCHING NPT? We here all think these are things one should do before they die.

Abby: HAHA. Well. You got me there. That’s family friendly, too! I was struggling with that category. I’ll put that in version 2.0

Joe:  Thanks. 100 Ways to Volunteer in Nashville.

Abby: Ooh, that’s a good idea!

Joe: How did you get involved in writing the book?

Abby: The publishing company, which is based in St. Louis and publishes these city guides throughout the U.S., contacted me on the recommendation of a colleague.

Joe:  With your work at the Nashville Scene and NFocus, you’re in tune with much of what’s going on here, but did you discover some things in the process you didn’t know about?

Abby:  Yes, absolutely. I discovered that, as a Nashville resident, I hadn’t taken full advantage of many of the things that make this city unique. For example, while I’ve been inside the Country Music Hall of Fame a million times, I’ve never done anything more than an abbreviated media tour. And while I’ve been to Opryland, I’ve never taken a ride on the General Jackson. I mean, these things are fun, and they’re unique to Nashville! Sure, other cities have museums, boats, rivers, etc. But anyone who lives or visits here recognizes that there’s a different flavor …  a spice to Nashville. NASHVILLE SPICE (the lost Spice Girl.) It tastes like hot chicken, I think.  Sorry, back on track.

Honestly, while researching it and trying to find what I considered a good representation of local treasures in various categories — food, nightlife, historic, scenic, etc. — it made me want to go do everything again. I mean, the history alone.

Joe:  So much history.

Abby:  After traveling in Italy this summer, I had a little bit of that American envy, how there are so many beautiful historic structures over there, with stories that span centuries. It’s incredible. And overwhelming, a bit. But then I got back home, as you do after a vacation, and I had a new appreciation for what this city has grown into in the relatively short time it’s been in existence. And the evolution we see today. Though I’ll like this evolution a lot more when EVERY SINGLE STREET I need to use to get to work isn’t blocked off for construction, but hey, that’s progress!

Joe: The evolution is amazing. You couldn’t have known when you added Fleet Street, that just six or seven months later, Printer’s Alley’s future, at least as we know it, would be in question.

Abby:  Right? But that will keep happening, as the city continues to grow and change. I just hope that we have the sense to protect the history of the city as we plan for its future. Because it they tear down Fleet Street, I will chain myself to it. I would chain myself to a lot of buildings here, actually.

Joe: There’s a nice mix of the tourist and the insider stuff. I was impressed with the inclusion of the burgers at Twin Kegs and the Pupusas at Las Americas. Good calls.

Abby:  You know, including things that are more off the beaten path, like Twin Kegs or Las Americas Taqueira, that could appeal to a seasoned visitor who wants to explore beyond the usual touristy stuff (and no disrespect to the usual touristy stuff, honestly – I’ve been known to kick up my heels on Lower Broad!). Nashville has such a rich, diverse community that brings so many distinct cultural influences, which our culinary scene is certainly starting to reflect.

And, seriously, you cannot get a better meal under $3 than Las Americas!

Joe:  Do you own three pairs of boots from boot country?

Abby:  OK, here’s a confession. I have no cowboy boots. Zero. The closest thing I have is a pair of stilettos that resemble cowboy boots, and they really hurt my feet, so I rarely wear them.

Joe: I believe that. I don’t either. Although I did for a time have a pair of Luccheses that I found for $20 in Brooklyn. I think I wore them once. I was more attracted to the idea of them I think. And that was when I was moving here and thought I should have them. I also thought the stars stayed at the Drake Motel, too, so shows you how much I knew.

Abby: Um, $20 Luccheses? I would have bought those, too. You know, I wonder how many people would think that, moving here today? That they would get a lot of wear out of some cowboy boots in Nashville? I think the public perception of our city has shifted so much now, that the presumption might not even be made nowadays. And the Drake Motel, haha! That’s another one I should have included.

Joe:  I’m not so certain. The perception has shifted, but at the same time it seems to have become more entrenched.

Abby:  Maybe for people who visit … but I think, for people who come here on business or who are seriously considering moving here, it’s different.

Joe:  I would agree with that.  Should the book have a warning? I have a friend who really hurt himself at Sky High Sports.

Abby:  I really hurt myself at Sky High Sports! But it was worth it. Yes, many of these activities should probably come with waivers. Or helmets. Definitely a designated driver, too.

 Joe:  Some of these things, like catching a show at the Ryman or seeing the Jubilee Singers perform are things people anywhere in the world should do before they die, but some of these other things might be questionable, even in Nashville. Should we really visit 80s pop star Tiffany’s boutique in White House? Please defend yourself.

Abby: Maybe this is a generational thing, but YES. Why not take a day trip to White House? And if you don’t want to do that, she has a second location on Fatherland. But, really, it’s TIFFANY. I challenge you to find a female child of the 80s who didn’t buy a jean jacket because of Tiffany. She’s a pop icon! Plus, the fact that she has a couple of stores in Middle Tennessee? That’s just weird and cool. I live for that intersection of weird and cool stuff in Nashville. Also, she’s really nice. And a small business owner. We love those! The defense rests.

Joe:  OK, you may have sold me. Even though I fall on the Debbie Gibson side of that 80s pop icon debate.

Abby:  Well, I’m kind of with you on that. Debbie wrote her own songs. And her perfume was RAD. But I digress.

Joe: I know we have to wrap. You’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all crazy busy, but I do think this is a nice little travel guide. And sometimes when you get crazy busy, being a tourist in your own home town can provide just the right respite. Flipping through it made me smile. One of my first dates with my wife involved her singing karaoke at Twin Kegs. Any last advice on how locals and visitors should use it?

Abby: Aw, see, I love hearing things like that! Everyone who lives here has a story like that, a connection to a place that’s special in its own right, but then when you add your own experience to it, well, that’s just a particular kind of magic that this city offers. I hope that locals will pick it up and have a similar reaction to yours – maybe revisit an old favorite, check out a new place. Maybe it will help people reignite an old interest or hobby, or at least to see Nashville through a new lens. For visitors, I hope they use it to hit the Nashville essentials that we’re known for — Bluebird, Prince’s, honky tonks, etc. — but that they’ll also explore other areas of the city that they’re not going to find in a typical guidebook.

Joe: Finally, what one thing didn’t make it that you would add (other than the Stones River Greenway).

Abby: That’s a hard question. There were several things that I wanted to include that were personal favorites, but in trying to find the ideal blend of older/newer businesses that spanned all of the different topics, I had to delete a few of the “nightlife” options as I was heavy on those and a little light on the “family friendly” category (as a single girl with no kids, this shouldn’t be surprising!). Also, several great restaurants opened since I wrote this, so I’d want to include all of them! But I guess I would answer that by saying that the one thing I’d include is the thing I haven’t tried yet – I’m just waiting to be blown away.

Joe: Great answer! By the way, I loved “Have a Conversation on the Walking Bridge.” That was a frequent joke of Mayor Dean’s in a lot of his appearances last year.

Abby: I totally stole that joke from the mayor. The real one, not the one on the TV show.

Joe: I would add biking over the Natchez Trace Bridge!

Abby: I’m definitely going to consult you for the next version of the book!

Joe: You don’t need my help. You’ve got this town covered!

You can follow Abby White on Twitter (@fabigailwhite) and Instagram (@fabigail).

Be sure to check out the websites for Tennessee CrossroadsVolunteer Gardener and You Ought to Know Nashville for videos of many of the things White recommends. Here’s one to get you started. Especially you locals.

A Word on Words Tribute to John Seigenthaler on July 27 from 2-6 pm

John Seigenthaler

Earlier this month, we laid to rest a true Nashville giant. John Seigenthaler was many things, among them a journalist and First Amendment advocate, but as we wrote in a statement posted on Friday, July 11, to us he was a friend, a member of the NPT family and the longtime volunteer host — for 42 years — of A Word on Words. We will pay tribute to that legacy, and celebrate what would have been Seigenthaler’s 87th birthday, on Sunday, July 27 from 2-6 p.m. on NPT. We’ll be airing back-to-back classic episodes of the show, interspersed with reflections and stories from local authors and friends. Among the authors and episodes featured will be John Lewis (“Walking with the Wind”); Ann Patchett (“Patron Saint of Liars”); Alice Randall (“The Wind Done Gone”); J.T. Ellison (“All the Pretty Girls”); John M. Seigenthaler (“James K. Polk”); David Halberstam (“Firehouse”); Rodney Crowell (“Chinaberry Sidewalks”); and Fred Thompson (“Teaching the Pig to Dance”).

Among those offering reflections are Stephen Mansfield, Ellison, Jon Meacham, Charles McNair, Crowell, Marty Stuart, Adam Ross and Randall.

That morning’s regularly scheduled episode at 10:30 a.m. features Patchett in a new episode talking about her most recent collection of essays, “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.” All new episodes, taped in the months before Seigenthaler’s death, will air on subsequent Sunday mornings until September 28, after which older episodes will be rebroadcast, until further notice.

Thanks to everyone who has written or called the station to offer their condolences. We appreciate the kind words for John and his work, and will be compiling all of the notes to forward on to his family.

Thank you.

Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart

Fred Thompso

Fred Thompson

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett

Rodney Crowell, Ann Carell, Beth Curley and John Seigenthaler

Rodney Crowell, Ann Carell, Beth Curley and John Seigenthaler

In Memoriam: Our Friend John Seigenthaler (1927-2014)

John Seigenthaler

John Seigenthaler (1927-2014) was the host of A Word on Words for 42 years.

As much as John Seigenthaler was a part of our family here, it’s easy to forget that, essentially, he was a volunteer.  For 42 years, he hosted A Word on Words with John Seigenthaler. Not as a paid employee, but as a volunteer, dedicated to serving this community and honoring the integrity of the written word. “Keep reading,” he told us at the end of every episode, whether he was sitting across from a New York Times bestselling author, a politician who’d written a manifesto on public policy, a local historian, or a first time author with a collection of short stories. He took his own advice seriously, reading everything before the cameras rolled. Kevin Crane, vice president of content and technology and executive producer of A Word on Words tells us that “in all my years of working with John on A Word on Words, it never failed to amaze me, especially during the Southern Festival of Books when we’d do more than a dozen interviews in a weekend, how engaged he was with each author. He read every book, much to the surprise of the authors, who were not used to that much attention and respect.”

He was prepared, too, as any staffer lucky to snag a copy of a book he used on the show knows. The back pages were full of notes.

Beth Curley, NPT’s president and CEO recalls that John’s love of literature “inspired and informed my own reading, as it did for all of us at the station, all who watched the show, and all who sat across from him on the set.”

But he did more, she added:

“John was extremely supportive of me when I arrived at NPT 15 years ago, where he was already an established presence and host of A Word on Words for 25 years and counting. He had an invaluable influence on the way we conducted ourselves as journalists at NPT, and was always there to provide us guidance. He was also a gifted Nashville historian; always willing to be a resource for us on our Nashville history documentaries.”

When the Anniversary of the Freedom Rides came in 2011, an event pivotal in John’s career, he was understandably much in demand. But he always had time for us. He hosted our own reunion of Nashville Freedom Riders just days after appearing on Oprah, made time for multiple screenings of the Freedom Riders documentary and even spoke to a roomful of public television employees when our national conference was in Nashville. He was tireless when it came to telling the story of the Freedom Riders, because he knew it was an important story. That was why every time he told it, whether recalling his own harrowing brush with death or how Diane Nash and the other riders signed their own last will and testaments, audiences were moved and inspired.

We were always moved and inspired by John, especially every time he came in the door to tape a new batch of shows. These last few years gave us plenty of opportunities, too, as he showed no sign of slowing down. He taped 48 shows in 2012-2013, and enough this year to last us until September. He was, you could say, the most dedicated volunteer in the history of public television. He was also a friend, and a part of our family. We’ll miss him deeply, and keep reading.