Things kick things off this month with a new East Side Storytellin’ at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) on Tuesday, August 4 at 7 p.m. Brought to you by East Side the Story and the Post, East Side Storytellin‘ shows are free to attend and always feature a Nashville author and Nashville musician/band sharing their original material to all in attendance. This show, number 64, will feature the local poet Amanda Gayle Oliver and the songstress Caroline Spence.
That same night, August 4, author Paula McLain visits Salon@615 at the Nashville Public Library Auditorium at 6:15pm. to read and sign copies of her book Circling the Sun. It is also free to attend and open to the public, but registering online in advance for tickets, for a small fee of $2.50, is always recommended.
It wouldn’t be August in Nashville without the Tomato Art Fest going down right smack dab in the middle of 5 Points, East Nashville. This year’s event takes place August 7 and 8. On Saturday, August 8, there will be many food and drink contests, live music, arts & crafts as well as the annual Tomato Haiku contest. While the deadline for the contest has passed, you can still take part in the festivities. The winners of each category will be announced at 11:30 a.m.
After Tomato Fest has end on Saturday, August 8, there is still more to do no matter how much sun you get that day. First, the monthly series Poetry in the Brew will take place at Portland Brew East (1921 Eastland Avenue) from 5:30-8:30pm. They celebrated their 4th anniversary in July, and plan to stick around for many more years to come. This open mic poetry reading will feature the then East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Amanda Gayle Oliver and guest host Jason Tomlinson. Secondly, you won’t want to miss out on a very special event called Rhythm & Rhymes: A Night of Award-Winning/Nominated Lyricists and Instrumentalists at Foobar Too (2511 Gallatin Road) at 9pm. One of the featured artists will be the local legendary wordsmith and spoken word guru Rashad ThaPoet. Timing wise, it’s possible to do both of the above if you’d like, and I suggest you do just that.
Things heat up again the following Saturday, August 15, over at Parnassus Books (3900 Hillsboro Pike) with a special book signing with Dennis Byron. You Should Be Dancing: My life with the Bee Gees is the story is of how Byron became the Bee Gee’s drummer during the peak of the band’s popularity. It offers many never-before-told tales about such infectious hits as “Stayin Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “Night Fever.” This event will start at 2 p.m.
The second East Side Storytellin’ show of August — they happen twice a month — takes place at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) on Tuesday, August 18 at 7 p.m. sharp with Nashville author Nadia Bruce-Rawlings and the singer-songwriter Eryn McHugh. Once again, it’s free to attend. Bring all of your friends for a once in a lifetime (or twice a month if you come to all of them like I do) experience more Nashville than the hit show Nashville!
On Thursday, August 20, the host with the most, Ciona Rouse, will be at Atmalogy (2320 West End Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. to welcome you and all aspiring and professional poets in the house. The month of August will have poets interpret the theme “starting over.” If you want to read three poems at this event, please email Ciona at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 12. Otherwise, just show up and experience the wonder that Ciona throws together. It is quite magical.
Local favorite Tiana Clark shared news my way that Rita Bullwinkel (another graduate student at Vanderbilt University, this time for Fiction) has founded a reading series called Band of Poets that features poetry and prose at Bobby’s Idle Hour on Music Row. The next round of Band of Poets will be Tuesday August 25th at 9pm and the lineup is TBA. Be there!
I’m always willing to spread a little love for The Porch Writer’s Collective. They will be hosting a cool workshop on August 22 called Going to the Source: Family Poetry. Led by the writing instructor Alicia Mare Brandewie, an Ohio Native and graduate of Emory University who is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at Vanderbilt University, this workshop will explore how our families are inspirations and obstacles, sources of love and strife for creative writing in poetry and beyond. You can find more information about this workshop and more like it from The Porch at porchtn.org. Registration for this specific class ends on August 20.
On Tuesday, August 25, it’s time to head back the Nashville Public Library downtown for another excellent Salon@615. This time it’s Dav Pilkey, author of Captain Underpants and The Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot. It will start at 6:15pm and is free to attend for all.
The next round of fun hosted by local author/comedienne Melanie Vare and her That Time of the Month series will be on August 25 at Zanies Comedy Club (2025 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204) at 7 p.m. sharp. This will mark the 4th annual all-guys show. Fresh off of last month’s big release for That Time of the Month’s second book, this will be another great show to attend and get your belly laugh on.
Finally, to finish the month and this post off just right, we all have a very special August Lyrical Brew ahead. Performance poetry has a rich history, especially finding ground during the Civil Rights Movement and the beat era, inspired by the raw honesty of the blues and finding musicality in political musings. This month’s specially themed Lyrical Brew goes from page to stage featuring spoken word artists Constance Bynum, Liza Kawaller and Saran Thompson. As always, Lyrical Brew is the final Friday of the month (August 28th) at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt (2501 West End Ave). Validated parking is available in the parking garage.
There are plenty of literary events going on in Nashville every single day, and for that reason, I know I’m missing a few. But these are the ones that are destined to make the biggest ripples in my world.
See you soon and see you here again next month!
Thanks for taking time to read this and support local authors. It takes a village. Also, remember to be nice to one another out there.
For a more comprehensive list of Book and Poetry events in Middle Tennessee, please visit the NowPlayingNashville.com Books + Poetry section.