Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

Theatergoers who walked out of the Broadway hit Mamma Mia! singing Abba songs may be in for another good time. In the same way that show cleverly used familiar old songs to tell an original story, a new musical does the same, using well known songs of the late Dan Fogelberg.

Wayne Brezinka

In a portrait of a young Elvis Presley, painted by Nashville-area artist Wayne Brezinka, there’s something odd going on in that trademark pompadour — 40 years after the superstar's death. The three-dimensional hair is striped with green, yellow, blue, red and white wires.

Those wires were ripped from a 1950s-era phone system in the home and office of Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker. In fact, it’s likely they're the very wires that carried the voice of Ed Sullivan, when he called Colonel Parker to discuss Presley’s now-famous appearances on Sullivan’s TV show.

Emily Siner / WPLN

In this episode of Movers & Thinkers, we interview Tiana Clark, a poet from Nashville.

Tiana has been tackling uncomfortable truths for years, ever since she wrote in her diary as a child that she hated her mom (who then discovered the writing). Now, she is a nationally lauded poet from Nashville who is the author of Equilibrium, a book of poetry published in 2016. She has a forthcoming poem in The New Yorker.

Emily Siner / WPLN

The Grand Ole Opry is country music's Holy Land.

It's home to the weekly radio show that put country on the national map in 1925. And it's where this summer, 30 people with a rare genetic disorder called Williams syndrome eagerly arrive backstage.

Parents pass on their genes, their values — and sometimes, their careers. When children grow up and take over the family business, how does their relationship with parents change? Do familial ties make them see the work differently? And what responsibility do they feel to pass it on to the next generation?

Thomas Maupin buck dance
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A Tennessee master of a waning dance style has earned national recognition.

Thomas Maupin is a scrawny 78-year-old buck dancer from Eagleville. His elbows, hips and knees jangle like a country puppet while his black shoes clack out intricate rhythms across wooden dance floors. After years of local notoriety, he's been named as a National Heritage Fellow.

Teri Nine / Alive Hospice

Camp Evergreen has all the trappings of a typical day camp. The counselors greet the kids with the requisite amount of cheer at the beginning of each day. They go swimming every day after lunch. They do arts and crafts.

But all of the campers also have something in common that they’d rather not: They’ve all recently lost a close family member. In other words, it’s grief camp — and although, understandably, that does not sound like fun, kids and counselors alike end up finding some comfort in grieving together.

Laura Partain/Courtesy of the artist

Each year, the CMA Music Festival annexes seemingly every square foot of downtown Nashville, but only one of the eleven official festival stages is positioned on Lower Broadway, an area packed with kitschy honky-tonks and discount boot stores that caters to country-music tourists year round. Though Lillie Mae, the fiddle-playing singer and songwriter born Lillie Mae Rische, is still in her 20s, she's been plying her trade on this strip for a decade and a half.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

It’s hard enough to deal with the financial burden of losing a job. But there’s also a loss of identity: How will you see yourself outside of that career? Chris Echegaray experienced this when his job as a reporter was cut during the recession. He talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner in our live series Movers & Thinkers about weathering an identity crisis after a layoff. 


Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

The dilemma of choosing between commercial success and artistic independence is a familiar one for many musicians in Nashville, including Vanessa Carlton. After releasing hits like “A Thousand Miles,” she says she felt stifled by her major labels and decided to go independent, a shift that also changed the way she saw herself.

Carlton talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner in the live taping of our podcast Movers & Thinkers about starting over on her own.


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