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No. 660: You're forgetting something, mayor

No. 660: You're forgetting something, mayor

📅 Today, Davis talks priorities, Jerod reviews American Fiction, Megan reviews a hospital visitation bill and recaps today's mayoral roundtable, and we furnish our weekly film rundown.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Megan discusses this further in the Nashville section, but one thing that stuck out to me about Mayor Freddie O’Connell’s comments at Thursday’s Nashville Business Breakfast was how he acknowledged that education is the thorniest problem confronting the city, but failed to mention crime.

As Vanderbilt’s Spring 2023 poll revealed, the top priorities for Nashville’s next mayor were improving public education and reducing crime. Improving public transportation ranked seventh—behind even boring, almost uncampaignable priorities such as “taking steps to ensure the city's long-term financial health.”

O’Connell has persistently emphasized quality of life concerns and continues to do so, neglecting the one factor that could undermine all of his efforts: violent crime. If left unattended, violent crime tends to increase. We saw this happen during Covid.

Like many of its peers, Metro Government believes crime “isn’t that bad” or “not as bad as you think,” and thus worthy of being deprioritized. Admittedly, prioritizing violent crime requires a multi-faceted approach that is more complex than the fairly direct goal of funding transit or improving public education.

But imagine if city leadership addressed violent crime with even a fraction of the energy they've put toward Vision Zero. If they continue to neglect this issue, we’ll head the way of Memphis.




The year’s most literary Oscar contender is unafraid to take aim at white liberal guilt.

From Jerod Hollyfield

Elvis Mitchell, the dreadlocked bon vivant of film criticism, was speaking to a conference audience in Washington, D.C. about prestige TV. For years, Mitchell’s outsized personality often concealed that, though he’s forged a writing style equally bombastic and erudite, he served the additional function of diversifying the legacy newsrooms that perpetually scrambled to secure his bylines. However, Mitchell has always held craft above dogma, one of the reasons he’s become a pioneering force in African-American film history both in the academy and Hollywood.

Though Mad Men had aired its season finale two months before, he didn’t have much to say about that landmark show. Instead, he wanted to talk about Power–Starz’s crime epic produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. According to Mitchell, the show dominated cable viewership, a feat it and its spinoffs continue to achieve on a regular basis. It was also wildly popular with African-American viewers.

Despite its status as a ratings powerhouse and many favorable reviews, Power never garnered similar hype with the critical class as other Peak TV titles–a sign of what Mitchell considered a larger problem in Hollywood and the outlets that cover it. To achieve any fruitful form of diversity, Mitchell argued, Hollywood had to go beyond its own insularity and attempt to understand why some movies and series connect with underserved demographics. Such would mean executives and critics treating Power as more than profitable “urban” content and actually parsing out how, against all odds, it tapped into a zeitgeist not on the radar of those who insist they matter. 

Continue reading...


From Megan Podsiedlik

On Wednesday, two weeks after its original placement on the committee calendar, Sen. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) brought his hospital visitation bill before the Senate’s Health and Welfare committee for the third time. “If you have the power of attorney, and your loved one’s in the hospital, you have the right to go see that [loved] one once a day for at least an hour,” he explained. The bill passed with eight ayes. 

During last week’s committee meeting, representatives from both the Tennessee Hospital Association and the governor’s office expressed their reservations about the bill; since then, THA reps met with both the bill sponsor and committee members to discuss the changes they wanted made. In the end, Pody brought forward a rewrite of the legislation with the word hospital omitted from sections outlining certain entities’ ability to declare a state of emergency.

That being said, the bill’s provision protecting visitors from intrusive safety protocols did dodge the chopping block. Two weeks ago, Pody joked that hospital staff could put visitors in a “hazmat suit, a mask, whatever,” as long as they weren’t forced to take a shot or any other medical procedure to obtain visitation rights. Now that the bill is moving forward on the Senate’s calendar, we’ll be tracking its movement in the House. 


“My updated guidance is [to] pay close attention next week,” Mayor O’Connell told those present at today’s media roundtable regarding a possible transit referendum. Though little was revealed this morning, O’Connell did hint that the proposal would significantly affect Nashville’s sidewalk network. 

During yesterday’s Nashville Business Breakfast, a few attendees asked O’Connell about the tab for the transit initiative, to which he responded: 

I think one of the things we're going to show is literally what your Kroger receipt would look like, before and after. The reality is, for most households, with the plan we're going to pursue, the Kroger receipt version of this plan is going to have a negligible impact on your costs, but provide a measurable benefit to thousands upon thousands of families in Nashville. We will try very hard to demonstrate that we are asking Nashvillians to make an investment that has an incredible return.

During today’s Q&A, the mayor also announced a new initiative that will curb parking prices for musicians. Nashville’s crooners can gain access to a special QR code for a 60 percent discount on parking downtown. The plan is to be instituted by Metropolis, a parking company that’s racked up a number of complaints and accusations.

“It's been a years-long conversation where various parking companies have been able and willing to engage,” said O’Connell, who cited Councilmember Kupin and the “night mayor’s” involvement in discussions. “I know Benton McDonough, our director of nightlife, has been very serious about looking for solutions for musicians.”


Jill Biden to Visit Nashville Friday to Secure Country Music Endorsements (Star) First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Tennessee for a purported “political event” reportedly occurring at the home of country music star Brad Paisley. According to press reports citing a White House media advisory, the First Lady is expected to land in Nashville on Friday afternoon for an unspecified “political event” that will take place in Franklin.

Murfreesboro to pay $500,000 in settlement over its anti-LGBTQ ordinance (WPLN) The ACLU, Ballard Spahr, and Burr & Forman sued the city on behalf of organizers of the BoroPride Festival, who were denied permits for its annual event. As part of the settlement, the city will be required to pay $500,000 and repeal an ordinance which had included “homosexuality” in its ban on “public indecency.”

Tennessee airports proposed to get $95M in state funding in upcoming budget (Center Square) Tennessee’s airports are proposed to get $82.5 million in direct state funding with a projected additional $13 million from the state’s Transportation Equity Fund in Gov. Bill Lee’s budget proposal. That includes $59.5 million in recurring budget along with a proposed $23 million in one-time funding.


  • New Middle Tennessee project secures multiple national tenants (NBJ)
  • Bar, live music venue planned for Ex-Tubb Records building on Broadway (Post)
  • Hilton in talks to acquire Nashville-based Graduate Hotels brand (Post)
  • Sperry’s owners eye March debut of café in Bellevue (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


🪕 Dirty Grass Players @ Station Inn, 9p, $25, Info

🎙️ Patti LaBelle @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $37+, Info

✨ Mutual Benefit @ The Basement, 6:30p, $12.85, Info
+ chamber folk

🎸 Star Funeral @ The Underdog, 9p, $10, Info
+ emo shoegaze

🪕 The Cowpokes @ Acme Feed & Seed, 12p, Free, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

✸ WEEKLY FILM RUNDOWN: February 9-13

The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. 

The Promised Land Mads Mikkelsen trades in his Bond/Indiana Jones/Harry Potter/Marvel villain schtick for the true story of a scrappy 18th-century Danish military captain whose hopes to join the nobility by cultivating the treacherous land in the country's outer region. Part western, part moral fable, it’s a masterfully crafted interrogation of the limits of freedom and the perils of compromise. Now playing at the Belcourt. 

Lisa Frankenstein Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody teams up with Robin Williams’s daughter for an 80s-steeped retelling of Frankenstein about a teenage punk (Kathryn Newton) who would have created the perfect boy (Dylan Sprouse) if not for his murderous tendencies. It’s getting the same polarizing reviews Jennifer’s Body did fifteen years ago, and look how that turned out. Now playing in theaters

Out of Darkness A mystical being hunts down a group of Stone Age settlers just hoping to find a home in a gritty indie horror entry that all reviews suggest more than lives up to the hype. Now playing in theaters

The Teachers’ Lounge An idealistic teacher finds herself on the precipice of falling from grace when a string of thefts at school leads to widespread community outrage in this quiet German character study up for a Best International Feature Film Oscar. Now playing at the Belcourt

See the full list
In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 659: Fighting the Law
📅 Today, Davis debunks a talking point about gun laws, and Megan wonders if Justin Jones is good or bad at his job.
No. 658: What is a housing crisis?
📅 Today, we download last night’s council meeting. Davis talks about the zoning bills, and Megan, the rest.
No. 657: Pouring One Out for Toby Keith
📅 Today, Davis eulogizes Toby Keith and Megan reports on the governor’s State of the State address last night.
No. 656: Nashville Punches Above Its Weight
📅 Today, Davis talks about Nashville’s cultural clout, Miles previews NSC’s 2024 season, and Megan gets us ready for tonight’s State of the State address.
No. 655: Jones Fails to Walk the Line
📅 Today, Davis gives Justin Jones free PR, we visited the Forging Freedom event in Putnam County, and Megan reports on the mayor’s transit initiative.


  • 🇸🇻 President Nayib Bukele’s historic transformation of El Salvador (Read)
  • 🤼 The Iron Claw is a Heartland epic. Of course it isn’t an Oscar contender. (Read)
  • ☢️ A small Tennessee town's forgotten history as a nuclear leader (Read)
  • 🤡 Metro Arts launches initiative to 'return land, money, and resources' to 'Indigenous, African, and Asian peoples' (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.