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The Potential of Nashville's Mad Max Future

The Potential of Nashville's Mad Max Future

馃弫 Nashville, The Bikeriders and the new Mad Max 路聽Clash over peace resolution 路聽Students beating teachers 路聽Non-stop Pride 路 Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Last year when it got hot we were lectured about 鈥渨et-bulb temperatures.鈥 This year, it looks like we鈥檒l be hearing about 鈥渉eat domes鈥 as we settle into summer Just this morning, there were stories in just about every publication you can think of鈥攖he NYT, Newsweek, WaPo, Daily Beast, and even the Nashville Banner鈥攅xplaining heat domes and dourly contextualizing them within the climate change narrative.

I don鈥檛 care to know what a heat dome is, to be honest. Curiosity killed the cat. I鈥檓 honing the art of cultivated ignorance. Leaning into my Southern roots. It鈥檚 hot outside. You鈥檙e going to sweat. Summer is hot. More news at 5.


Mayor Freddie O鈥機onnell鈥檚 decisive electoral victory proved Nashville has no compunction with the progressive ideas that have irrevocably altered metro areas like Chicago and San Francisco. However, its residents have proven remarkably skeptical about far-reaching transit reforms as the embarrassing landslide defeat of the Barry Era 鈥淟et鈥檚 Move鈥 campaign indicates.

As Nashville media personality and former candidate for Metro Council Dan Fitzpatrick alluded to in a recent tweet, the one point all but the fringe of Nashville voters can agree on is antipathy for the city鈥檚 transit fetishists鈥攖he type of people who yawp in exultation when WeGo deep cleans bus seats but shrug off the rote violence plaguing the service鈥檚 terminals. 

It wasn鈥檛 so long ago that the thrill of travel by car and motorcycle was the territory of lefty exuberance. Jack Kerouac wrote the seminal Beat novel about it a decade before Two-Lane Blacktop, Five Easy Pieces, and Easy Rider kicked off the counterculture and brought Hollywood into its most free-wheeling and fruitful artistic period. 

Amid such hallowed works of American culture, no place exists for the equivalent of contemporary transit stans. They are an outgrowth of the Left who revere spreadsheets over holistic ideals, the type of people who would rather remark on the consistency of the asphalt than the unbridled potential of the open road. When Jack Nicholson says, 鈥淭hey鈥檒l talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it鈥檚 gonna scare 鈥榚m,鈥 in Easy Rider, he was prophesying these hordes of budding bureaucrats that were the organic product of the Woodstock resistance.  

So it seems fitting that director Jeff Nichols sets the most important scene of The Bikeriders, his new film about the origins of the Chicago Vandals motorcycle gang, in front of a theater showing the movie that made Nicholson and Dennis Hopper household names. A lifelong biker (Norman Reedus) works as a hype man decked out like Peter Fonda in the film鈥揳n authentic cross-country easy rider slowly succumbing to the erosion of his culture just as it becomes a pillar of Hollywood product. It鈥檚 a thematic moment similar to one in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga鈥攖he first road movie of this summer movie season鈥攖hat finds the titular heroine (Anya Taylor-Joy) facing off with the dictator Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) as he says, 鈥淲here are you going, so full of hope? There is no hope!鈥

Of course, the film proves Dementus wrong. There鈥檚 always hope in movement鈥攊n the freedom of going place to place. As road movies have long told us, the death of the human spirit comes with the stillness. In our own less-glamorous lives, it鈥檚 the wait for the surge-priced Uber or the WeGo bus that never arrives, the rigid transit dogma that offers a future more akin to Mad Max than its adherents would ever acknowledge.

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馃挜 Clash Over 鈥淧eace鈥 Resolution The morning after Tuesday鈥檚 council meeting, a disappointed Councilmember Zulfat Suara took to X. 鈥淥ur Peace bill was withdrawn last night,鈥 she announced, before thanking her colleague and co-sponsor, Councilmember Jacob Kupin: 鈥淪orry you had to endure attacks from your own community.鈥 Drawn up last week, the resolution called for an 鈥渆nd to the violence between Israel and Palestine,鈥 citing death tolls from the Gaza Ministry of Health and noting that almost two million Palestinians 鈥淸are] at risk of death from starvation, unsanitary conditions, and lack of healthcare,鈥 due to the Israeli Government鈥檚 retaliation after October 7th. Though the legislation condemned 鈥渁ll forms of Islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, and bigotry,鈥 some members of Nashville鈥檚 Jewish community weren鈥檛 pleased. 

鈥淭he deranged gaslighting from [Zulfat Suara] is next level,鈥 wrote architectural photographer Alyssa Rosenheck. 鈥淒on鈥檛 be fooled by her talk of 鈥榩eace鈥 or her attempt to blame the Jewish community.鈥 According to Rosenheck, the resolution was a template from the USCPR, a group she claims [funnels] 鈥渢ax-exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition including Hamas.鈥

Suara clarified that the legislation was drafted by the council office and written by a Jewish author, but the onslaught in the comment section had already begun. While council members Sandra Sepulveda, Jordan Huffman, and Brenda Gadd came to both Suara and Kupin鈥檚 defense on X, Rosenheck鈥檚 posts also continued to gain traction on multiple social media platforms. Though Suara indicated that she will be bringing forward a revised resolution in the future during Tuesday鈥檚 council meeting, a new document is yet to be filed. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃帗 Students Beating Up Teachers The Tennessean published a pretty damning story by Vivian Jones this morning about students in MNPS assaulting teachers, highlighting a few of the more brutal incidents. For example, when  Mark Hayes, a teacher with MNPS for 24 years, was assaulted by a student, his school鈥檚 disciplinary actions were so paltry that just a few days later, he was back in the classroom teaching the same student. As a result of the incident and the school鈥檚 limp response, Hayes packed up his desk and quit. During the 2023-2024 school year, there were 325 incidences of assault on a teacher or staff member. Across the state, there were 1,918 such incidents, the most over the past five years.

According to the report, multiple teachers contacted by The Tennessean declined to comment on their experiences with student assaults out of fear of retaliation from MNPS leadership. Spokesperson Sean Braisted, who has made an appearance in our reporting before, responded to inquiries from The Tennessean, emphasizing the social-emotional learning supports the district uses to help students 鈥渆xperiencing emotional dysregulation."

Currently, MNPS requires up to a five-day suspension for assault and a number of other, more serious crimes. Fortunately, at the state level, Governor Lee recently signed a law requiring a one-year suspension for students who assault teachers. The law took effect last month. DAVIS HUNT

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馃 Pride, Year-Round Nashville鈥檚 Pride festival continues tomorrow, and the day kicks off with a parade down Broadway at 10 a.m. A month ago, Mayor O鈥機onnell announced that he will be in attendance, along with numerous other notable figures and community fixtures, including Edgehill鈥檚 GracePointe Church. The 鈥淧rogressive Christian community鈥 announced they will be marching in the event, and church volunteers will be tending a booth to spread their 鈥渂eloved, included, affirmed鈥 message.

To round out this year鈥檚 month of pride, Nashville will get its first rainbow crosswalk next Saturday. The project secured approval from multiple Metro government entities and was greenlit by the Nashville Department of Transportation. According to the Tennessee Star, the mayor鈥檚 office has distanced itself from the mural: reportedly, his administration says they 鈥渄id not sign off on the project.鈥

The mural will be on Woodland Street in front of The Lipstick Lounge, East Nashville鈥檚 lesbian-owned bar. Though multiple cities have commissioned similar displays, not everyone is excited about the project. 鈥淧rovocative. Divisive,鈥 one citizen commented on X. 鈥淲ould council support painting the 鈥楢ppeal to Heaven鈥 flag? If not, let's keep our streets flag free.鈥 Another argued The Lipstick Lounge was receiving preferential treatment from Metro. Though controversy seems inevitable, the bar is encouraging attendance to the event and searching for 100 volunteers to help complete the task. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


  • Christie Cookie to relocate production out of Nashville (NBJ)
  • Top-level men's golf returns after 78 years with LIV Golf Nashville (Post)
  • Images released for downtown church project (Post)
  • Centennial Park-area building listed for $4.2M (Post)
  • River North-area warehouse sells for $5.7M (Post)


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

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

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

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.


馃幐 Quasi @ The Blue Room, 7p, $32.36, Info
+ Pacific Northwest rock legends Quasi play their 1998 classic album Featuring "Birds"

馃幓 Smokey Robinson with the Nashville Symphony @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $78+, Info

馃獣 Greenwood Rye @ Jane's Hideaway, 8p, Info

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

馃崁 Live Irish Music @ McNamara鈥檚 Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

馃幐 Kelley鈥檚 Heroes @ Robert鈥檚 Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info


The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. For a complete list of upcoming releases, check out our 2024 Film Guide.

The Bike Riders Jeff Nichols (Mud, Loving) returns from an eight-year hiatus with this examination of the development and descent of a 60s biker gang featuring Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, Norman Reedus, Jodie Comer, and Elvis鈥檚 Austin Butler. As we talk about in today鈥檚 feature article, it鈥檚 a low-key triumph from one of America鈥檚 most unassuming talents. Now playing in theaters

Thelma When a great-grandmother (June Squibb) falls victim to a con artist, she goes on a vigilante trek through the L.A. underworld to reclaim what鈥檚 here in a mashup of Point Break and Mission: Impossible that鈥檚 earned some of the year鈥檚 best reviews. Now playing in theaters

1999 @ The Belcourt Throughout June, The Belcourt offers twenty-five titles in celebration of the best movie year ever鈥檚 25th anniversary. This week鈥檚 must-sees are Spike Jonze鈥檚 trippy Being John Malkovich, Jim Carrey鈥檚 career-best turn as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, teen movie Shakespeare adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You, horror phenomenon The Blair Witch Project, and Cuban music doc Buena Vista Social Club. The series also offers encores of Guy Ritchie鈥檚 Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and German import Run Lola Run. Hands down the can鈥檛-miss cinematic event of the summer. 

A Celebration of Nicole Kidman @ The Belcourt As if 1999 weren鈥檛 enough, Nashville鈥檚 nonprofit cinema has assembled a career retrospective of the city鈥檚 most famous resident in honor of her recent American Film Institute Life Achievement Award. Kidman hand-selected eight of her best films, which will all screen twice, beginning with Gus Van Sant鈥檚 neo-noir To Die For and Kubrick鈥檚 farewell to 1999, Eyes Wide Shut. The series also includes Dogville, Cold Mountain, Birth, Rabbit Hole, Moulin Rouge!, and The Others鈥搕he latter of which Kidman will introduce on June 29th.