I am pretty psyched about folks coming to town next week for the Nashville version of the Emergent Convention. While I know there will be some good presenters and artists at the gathering, the part I’m looking most forward to is connecting with others who I either haven’t seen in a while, or who I have never actually met face to face. As Doug Pagitt says, it’s a time to drop several hundred dollars to hang out.
Interestingly enough, I am hearing that the Nashville Emergent Convention is actually more popular than the National Pastor’s Convention. It seems that NPC folks primarily attend that meeting as a way to get to San Diego in February and that they are less likely to travel to Nashville in May.
Here are a couple of thoughts for y’all as you head to town…
I haven’t checked the weather for next week, but it has been fairly warm during the days with scattered showers. I would plan on bringing an umbrella or rain gear as late afternoon thunderstorms are not unknown.
A disadvantage of Nashville is that the restaurants around the Convention Center are all a couple of blocks away. Plan on walking a bit if you want to get away from the hotel (and you do!). The best places are along 2nd Ave. If you are looking for a cheap lunch, Demos on Commerce Street (the same street as the Convention Center) has a $4 or $5 lunch special. Also fairly good cheap (albeit chain oriented) dinner can be found at the Spaghetti Factory on 2nd Ave. There is also a Melting Pot fondue place that’s good, but pretty expensive.
I want to make a last minute pitch for the luncheon I’m sponsoring on Wednesday at 11 called “Dreaming of the Multicultural Church.” As of right now, DJ Chuang, Jen Lemen, Brian McLaren, Efrem Smith, and Bill Chaney are scheduled to facilitate the conversation. We are limiting the event to 40 folks and will have tickets for distribution at the registration area. It will be at the McKendree UMC which is across the street from the Convention Center. Email me if you are thinking about coming.
If you get bored and are looking for a place to hang out, or need a place to check your e-mail, check out the Nashville Public Library, which is located across the street from the Convention Center and Hotel. The main entrance is actually on Church St. (one block up) but it is a new building that is perhaps one of the better things we’ve built in recent years. There are a ton of internet terminals, and a great Civil Rights room. It opens at 9, but be aware that our homeless community is often found there in the early mornings using the restrooms and checking their e-mail.
If you are looking for a good place to hear traditional bluegrass music, there is no better place that The Station Inn on 12th Ave. Tony Jones and I went last night and were blown away by a trio consisting of dobro, mandolin, and bass. The place is smoke-free and often has a pretty high cover charge but the beer prices are reasonable.
If you are looking for more contemporary stylings check out the clubs on Elliston Place, especially the Exit In, which has been a staple of Nashville for many years (in fact it was featured in Robert Altman’s film Nashville. If you want to people watch, the late night crowd at the Goldrush on Elliston Place can’t be beat (and the bean roll ain’t too bad either!).
Unfortunately the world famous Loveless Cafe is in the midst of remodeling, so you can’t experience the joys of country ham and homemade jellys. However for two good breakfast alternatives check out the Elliston Place Soda Shop (which also has the best milkshakes in town) or Noshville on Broadway (our version of a NY deli). Some folks swear by the Pancake Pantry but honestly I really don’t think the hype is justified and I’m not willing to wait in line for an hour to eat.
The best resource for finding out more about Nashville is our alternative paper, The Nashville Scene, which is published weekly on Thursdays.
I am looking forward to meeting y’all. If you want to ensure that we get together sometime, e-mail me and I will send you my cell phone number.
See you next week!