the doc is in: 3 documentaries that are this summer’s must-see movies

rbgnashvilleart house documentaries never stir up a lot of mainstream buzz but this summer’s crop is water cooler talk all over the country. leading the pack of contenders is morgan neville’s won’t you be my neighbor? (june 8), which examines pbs’ mister rogers and the life lessons of compassion he hoped to leave behind. there’s a great scene at the beginning of the film where one of the longtime producers says “if you take all of the elements that make good television and do the exact opposite, you have ‘mister rogers’ neighborhood’: low production values, simple set, an unlikely star.”fredrogersnashville

but alas, his star continues to shine. already, the movie has grossed over $18 million at the box office and was in the top 10 movies in the country last week. quite a feat. a documentary hasn’t exceeded $20 million since 2013’s one direction: this is us. 

another one making noise this summer is rbg (may 4), which explores the incredible life, love and career of 85-year-old supreme court justice, ruth bader ginsburg. she may only stand at 5 foot 1 inch but this movie packed a punch as it touches on her early years of fighting for women’s rights, her tender love story with her husband, marty ginsburg and of late, her intergenerational popularity.

whitneyfinally, on a wider, more commercial scale, whitney (july 5)about pop icon whitney houston, released earlier this month. the documentary, the second one to focus on the singer in recent years, paints a melancholy image of her struggle with inner demons rather than celebrating her successes. movie goers will not have the same reaction to this one as the first two mentioned documentaries in this article but it’s an intriguing story nonetheless.

rbg is playing this week at the belcourtwon’t you be my neighbor? is playing at the belcourt and opry mills 20. whitney is playing at hollywood 27, regal green hills 16 and opry mills 20.


nashville zoo sets new attendance record

img_7930the nashville zoo set a new record for attendance in 2016, up 10.6% from 2015.  894,161 visited our furry friends last year, up from the last record set in 2014 by 7.2%.  2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the nashville zoo at grassmere.  to celebrate the 20th anniversary, the zoo is offering a special carload price for the first two weekends in january: for $20 per car, everyone in the car gets admission to the zoo and the price includes parking (limited to 10 per car…no clown cars).  the dates for the 20th anniversary carload price are january 7 & 8 and january, 14, 15 and martin luther king’s day on the 16th.img_7952

the zoo’s birthday year will also see four new additions: a white rhinoceros exhibit and a spider monkey exhibit both open in march,  a bear exhibit in may and a tiger exhibit in july.

the zoo will also host its annual “zoo run run 5k” this month on saturday, january 21. to sign up, click here.  all the proceeds go to zoo operations, including education programs for children, feeding over 2,300 animals and keeping our zoo safe and clean for visitors.

game of thrones to hold first-ever worldwide convention in nashville

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-00005-1200x798fresh off what some are calling their best episode to date, the show’s fan site watchers on the wall announced earlier this week  that a con of thrones plan has been firmed up.  nashville will host the first-ever worldwide convention of the popular hbo show.  Kit-Harington-Talks-Hardhomeit will be a 3-day event next summer, june 30-july 2 2017.  it will include panels, performances, workshops, a chance to meet & greet with people associated with the show.  more details in the coming months as it is firmed up.

nissan commits to make self driving cars by 2020

1980s tv show, knight rider starring david hasselhoff

nissan announced tuesday it pledges to be making self-driving cars by 2020.  CEO carlos ghosn has said repeatedly he wants to be the first one to sell them.

the company already sells some aspect of autonomous technology including  motion-detecting cameras but they want to raise the bar and have a commercially-viable independent driving system in multiple vehicles at a reasonable price by 2020.

nissan is also building the first dedicated autonomous car training site near its japan headquarters.

nissan’s smyrna plant is having a stellar year, announcing last month that it was adding more than 900 manufacturing jobs to support future production of its crossover SUV, the nissan rogue.  this brings the grand total to more than 7,000 employees there.  production in nissan’s smyrna & canton, mississippi plants increased by 14% in 2012.

meet nashville: 5 in 5 with otis james

otis james/photo by sean hagwell

after moving here in 2009 with a desire to jump into the clothing business somehow, otis james landed a job at a local tuxedo shop.  he soaked up as much as he could but a few months later, when he took on a simple commissioned job to create ties for a coworker’s father and brother for father’s day, his life has never been the same.

in spring 2010, james took the plunge and got a business license and a little over a year later, he quit his job and was able to create handcrafted ties & caps full time.  in 2011, he won first place in garden & gun‘s made in the south awards in the fashion category.  now, with a keen eye for just the right materials and his attention to detail, alongside mentions in publications most recently like gq and southern living, otis james is  carving a niche for himself outside our nashville community too.  but…onto the more important questions:

1) do you have a favorite knot?  i wouldn’t say I have a favorite knot, but my go-to is the half windsor. i tie my neckties a little sloppy, unlike bow ties, which i keep fairly neat.

2) what makes your ties & caps different than others?  everything. well, the big difference on the ties is the materials. i very rarely use pure silk. i like silk/wool blends and very fine wools. also, the details set them apart, from the fine hand stitching on the buttonholes and slip-stitches to the hand-printed hemp/cotton labels. we’ll even paint your name on the label if you ask.

the caps are all handcrafted to order for the wearer. the materials I use and the construction details make for a cap that will adapt to the wearer. to me, a cap should almost become one with the wearer, and like a good pair of jeans, feel good to wear every day. i use leather as the brim stiffener, which makes for a durable, flexible brim that won’t crease, has a natural curve, packs flat, and will adapt to the handling practices of the wearer.

3) at one point in history, touching a man’s tie was grounds for a duel…witnessed any since your business has taken off?  i haven’t yet, but next time someone touches my tie, i’ll be sure to give them a stern warning.

4) did you know a person who collects ties is called a grabatologist…maybe you need a grabatologist frequent buyer punch card?  never heard that term before. did you make that up? i’m down with a punch card system. buy 10, get one free, maybe? i really hope to implement my tie of the season club next year, where subscribers will sign up for a one year membership and receive a new tie each season. the tie will be the same for every member, but it will be a surprise each time and exclusive only to the club members. you don’t know what it will be until it arrives in the mail. so look for that soon…

 5) that’s a great ideawhat’s next for otis james?  hopefully catching up on sleep! that probably won’t come until january, though. for now, we’re launching several new cap options next month, including two new styles. we have some great fabrics for fall/winter that i’m really excited about. wools, cashmeres, camel hair. also, we will continue to release new ties on the website every week. if you want to stay up on our latest offerings, we have a weekly email newsletter called the cordial dispatch. there are some really great things coming through the end of the year. sign up on my website –