Chasing Sargent in Nashville

Old Nov 24th, 2017, 02:41 PM
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Chasing Sargent in Nashville

In April 2017, I learned from k_marie, that I had just missed a work by John Singer Sargent whilst on a day trip to Philadelphia. Upon googling k_marie's link, I read the horrible news that I was in Philly on the last day of this exhibit. And, the Sargent was the mural "Gassed" I missed in London (thinking it was in Boston). Argghh!

Perhaps it was just a print? More google sleuthing led me to believe that it was the original mural (7′ 7″ x 20′ 1″), and that the exhibit might be on a road trip. Indeed, it was off to New York City but I couldn't confirm it at the Historical Society. Hmmm. The next venue is to be the Frist Center in Nashville TN. I called there and finally got the straight poop. It will be part of an exhibit entitled "World War I and American Art". Its opening days will coincide with my trip to Chicago and I have spent my travel budget on it already. Arggh!

What to do? I dilly-dallied through October thinking about it. And finally decided. Go to Nashville anyhow! And so begins my continuing bucket list of chasing Sargents.
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Old Nov 24th, 2017, 04:44 PM
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So, around the 15th of November, I started looking at flights. Because 6 months in advance is more my speed, I had doubts about prices and availability. However, Southwest ("SW") had one for $312.96 rt, Econopark ( https://econoparkexpress.com/ ) was almost full, and I found a hotel next door to the Frist Center ("FC") ( http://www.unionstationhotelnashville.com/ ).

Union Station Hotel will be a splurge so note, there is a Holiday Inn Express directly across the street from the Frist Center. It is on 10th and Broadway. It took me about 20 minutes to walk to this location from 3rd and Broadway. It was a hilly walk that gave me wheezing FYI people with problems.

Day 1 Thanksgiving 2017

Short
Breakfast: Big breakfast at BWI McDonalds, $6? B
Linner: Thanksgiving Meal at Union Station Hotel, $75 B+
Major venue: The hotel--Gorgeous old train station

Long
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Old Nov 24th, 2017, 08:13 PM
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The title of your post is great! I love it! Travel inspired by a particular passion can be even more personally rewarding than random places.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 05:20 AM
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Thanks, Sassafrass. The only drawback is staying flexible with other things to see.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 06:50 AM
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(I forgot to write that I am 71 and a widow of 7 years. I am “blessed” with enthusiasm that keeps me going, and asthma that slows down walking.}

Long

Left the cottage around 8:30, arrived at Econopark in Hanover Md. at 9:30. The lot was almost full. There were 3 groups in the van, but even so, I was lining up at McDonald’s at 10:05. It’s a 5-minute drive to BWI. I don't know if this parking method is the least expensive, but the jitney picks you up at your car.

The Southwest area was busy but not mobbed at around 9:45. The pre-check line had about 15 people in it and it moved quickly. I did think it might have been nice to get a pat down.

Bad news is that the flight is delayed about 45 minutes. Same gate though and it was B2 so not a bad walk. Worrying about my 2:30 lunch reservations, I changed into dressier clothes in the ladies’ room. I found a charging station and checked email and Fodor’s. We were soon advised that the flight would leave from gate C10 and would be about an hour late. I called the lunch venue and left a message accordingly. I also asked for a turkey sandwich if I missed it all.

Because the gatekeeper (a woman with turkey ears) kept us informed, the group was pretty mellow. When she announced that the new pilot was in view, we all applauded. By the way, when we left, we were the only gate with people in the area.

The flight was uneventful and not full. I took a window seat, no one sat in the middle, and a woman who promptly went to sleep had the aisle. Pretzels and red wine (no charge!) were dispersed along with many funny quips by the crew. Safety demo guy was hilarious. At take off, it was announced, “Now fasten up, the captain is about to try something new.”

Nice to know: Nashville at $25 flat rate for taxis to downtown. Despite the late departure, I was hailing a cab at 2. Not much traffic and cabbie loves Nashville after living in NYC. “No crime. You can walk down any street safely.” Hyperbole, but nice to hear.

The Frist is literally a stone’s throw from the hotel. And, the hotel is impressive. Here’s a link about its history:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Station_(Nashville)

I checked in, got to my room to drop off luggage, and was in the dinner line only 2 minutes late. I met an Atlanta couple to right; LA couple to left; and one artist across the table--too far to hear her husband.

Here’s what we had:

Field Green Salad with citrus pomegranate dressing (the only item served to us individually)

Turkey with gravy
Sourdough dressing
Mashed potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes
Green bean casserole (the companion to my right said the beans were too long)
Brussel sprouts
Collard greens with ham hocks

Cornbread and assorted rolls
Cranberry relish

Dessert buffet: Pecan and pumpkin pies, raspberry apple crisp (A+), apple/Snickers salad (I didn’t try), fruit compote.

Champagne poured and re-poured but other wines were $10 per glass. Except for the salad and dessert, we were served family style at long tables. It is easier to talk when sitting around a round table imo. Wait person said they were trying this “King’s Table” method. They kept up well with platters of food.

Despite the distance between us, there was lots of talk. I wasn’t back to room until 5:30! I am pooped. Turned on the dog show and unpacked. Think I'll take a post/turkey nap. I actually slept through. Nice comfy bed. Photos to come

Friday, 24 November, 2017
Weather in the 60s

Short
Breakfast: All-American, 2 eggs, 3 bacon, potatoes, $26 (gulp-compare that to McDs), B+ because of price
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on flatbread, hand made potato chips with lemon pepper, merlot, $26?, A
Dinner: Rest of lunch

Major venue: Frist Center

Long
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 06:54 AM
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Forgot to write OJ and coffee with breakfast--extra!
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 10:17 AM
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Love the short and long versions of the same events - very amusing [though I have read it in your reports before, I do like it].

what you haven't told us though is how the food tasted - so I'm assuming it was at least ok. ok?
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 11:40 AM
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You had me at "Go to Nashville anyhow!" and then again at "handmade potato chips with lemon pepper." Now I'm hungry.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 02:04 PM
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Sorry, I didn't make my ratings more clear, annhig. Please see the letter grade before the prices on the Short parts. Actually all the food at the hotel has been fine--just so expensive for regular foods.

Coquelicot, those chips were very good indeed.
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Old Nov 25th, 2017, 03:32 PM
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Day 2

Long

Slept through on a very comfy bed. Very well stocked room. Huge thick towels. Not crazy over rain shower head. Body wash, conditioner, and shampoo are encaged in large bottles in the shower. Very practical.

Cool chandelier in BR and will post a shot of it later. As mentioned, breakfast only earned a B+ because of price. I had to return almost raw bacon for some crisper but it was their pleasure. I ate at the bar and enjoyed listening to the staff talk about…..food and drink. One gal has mixed chai tea with cocoa. Another going to make choc. mousse for a holiday party.

OK, off to the Frist Center. Please google this venue when you get a chance. It is a 3-story building that was a post office. The post office still occupies the basement.

Senior entry was $9.00 plus $3 for earphones. On the main level, the facility has the large exhibit (with the Sargent), a café, big gift shop, a long hall with artwork from the community on the walls, meeting rooms and an auditorium. Also, there is an area for children to do art on the upper level along with a special, smaller exhibit.

OMG. “World War I and American Art” is an amazing exhibit. My goal was to view Sargent's "Gassed" but I am so glad I paid attention to all of it. First of all, as mentioned above, “Gassed” is 20 feet wide and 7 feet high. It occupies a room by itself. One sees the horribleness of war as men blinded by mustard gas walk in a line. Wounded soldiers lie on the ground in the foreground. In the background, you have to look closely to see uninjured men playing football. Sargent’s ability to capture nuance and mood is incomparable.

Leaving “Gassed” reluctantly, I am thoroughly entranced with the history of art at this turn of the century and the machinations of politicians. Abstract art begins. Get this, many posters showing German atrocities were later thought to be faked (or exaggerated) by folks to lure America into the war. If I listened correctly to the audio, never-before-seen drawings were donated from the Smithsonian (please google Claggett Wilson). Wilson’s watercolors show the horror of war vividly.

Here are other artists you may “know”: Gertrude Whitney (she sculpted); Steichen (this “Vanity Fair” photographer shot pix from planes!); Georgia O’Keefe; Stieglitz (photographic icon and husband of O’Keefe for a while); AND 3 more Sargents I hadn’t seen. Was there a Cassatt? I forget. The pieces were aptly arranged to take the viewer through the years.

After an hour plus, I went to the upper level to see the Nick Cave exhibit. You must google him! https://art21.org/artist/nick-cave/ I took a few shots and laughed out loud. This guy is quirkily and utterly different. More photos to come.

At this point I am spent. Found the café and loved the turkey sandwich. It had Swiss cheese, bacon and blue cheese and the great chips. Also got a glass of merlot. You can get into the café without buying a museum ticket. Went to the gift shop and purchased the exhibit catalog. It is hefty so I had it sent home.

I couldn’t’ finish the sandwich so took half back to the room and put in the fridge. I emptied my purse of receipts then went back out and took a cab to Johnny cash museum. Cabbie drove down Broadway (“Honky Tonk Highway”) and it is very crowded on this day after Thanksgiving. Strolled around the area and people watched and took pix. Got an impression of bars, boot stores, and souvenir shops.

Bought a pricey hoho ticket...$38 for tomorrow then walked up Commerce Street to 8th to locate a bakery...Tin Cup...but it is closed. I'm thinking about surprising relatives on Sunday with goodies. Nashville has some hills so I was a bit breathless with the 10-block hike back to the hotel. I stopped at the bar for a merlot $15 to accompany my Frist sandwich dinner. Spent the evening typing and transferring photos. Can’t wait for you to see the Cave pieces!

Saturday, November 25, 2017
Weather in the 60s but cooler later

Short
Breakfast: All-American again, B+
Lunch: Acme Feed and Seed, http://theacmenashville.com/ , hamburger with fries, $11, merlot, $8, A
Dinner: Turkey Club and another Merlot at hotel, $26?, B

Major venue: HO HO Bus tour of the city, $38.18 B+
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 02:07 AM
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Sorry, I didn't make my ratings more clear, annhig. Please see the letter grade before the prices on the Short parts.>>

got it, thanks TD. My bad for not reading it properly! [DH did always say I read too fast!]

I had no idea Nashville could be such an interesting place. All you hear about in the UK is Elvis who leaves me cold. Nor did I know about Sargent's war paintings. sounds like a fantastic Thanksgiving trip.

Do you mind my asking how much the hotel was?
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 05:19 AM
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Hi annhig, the Sargent mural is (was?) in the Imperial War Museum in London. I don't know how long it will be on the road.

Around $250 a night was hotel rate. DH's ashes are quivering!
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

LONG
I spent some time calling the local bakery and learned I wasn’t going to be able to get fresh pastries tomorrow morning to take to relatives. Rats. Decided to take the full HOHO tour and look for inspiration.

Found out later that the bus stop #15 was in front of the hotel, not in front of the Frist, So the HOHO bus passed me by. I walked down Broadway from 10th to 1st (without breathing problems!) and was met by blaring music from one of the bars. My walking pace accompanied the beat. This might not be for everyone, but I was energized. Got to stop #1 and met driver Clay who set me straight about the pickup signs. If you are interested, here’s a link. You can find discount coupons online as well:
https://www.trolleytours.com/Nashville
There are all sorts of tours, including one where everyone peddles. One such passed by with 12 tipsy gals singing "Shake it Up"!

There were 15 stops and Clay had a nice voice and provided much info. Maybe a few too many jokes but that’s OK. I won’t bore you any further with play by plays but will list some items you might not know about Nashville. There is a symphony, and opera house, a row of art galleries that celebrate on the first Saturday of the month. And....

Music City Center: http://www.nashvillemusiccitycenter.com/
It occupies 16 acres. There are 800 solar panels, grass roof with spice garden for the resto, and rainwater capture system that flushes the toilets.

Bicentennial Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/bicentennial-mall
This area has some incredible features you might not be aware of without lots of reading…or taking a tour. There are 95 time capsules representing TN’s 95 counties. I note the Farmer’s market for a possible return for shopping.

Centennial Park: https://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-...nial-Park.aspx
A life-sized Parthenon was erected for the 1897 centennial. It was meant to be destroyed but became a favorite (Nashville’s own Eiffel Tower?) so was rebuilt. Read about the singing trees online.

Bobby’s Idle Hour: http://bobbysidlehour.com/
This was the official stop on the interesting tour of Music Row. In an effort to curb the incredibly big buildings, the city fathers allowed studios to do anything to the interiors of the homes in this area but to leave the exteriors alone. So, despite a couple of huge eyesores, one got the impression of a nice neighborhood rather than the center of recording studios that provide billions of dollars in revenue to Music City.

OH, Fisk University was founded in 1866 for free slaves (?). According to Clay, the chorus sang songs of slaves for Queen Victoria. She said she didn’t know where Nashville was but it certainly was a music city.

If you’ve seen shows about Nashville hot fried chicken, take this tour. You won’t believe the line for the original restaurant.

It took about 1.5 hours to stay on the bus for the full tour. Back at stop 1, Clay recommended Acme so I ate there on the rooftop. One orders food at one station, and drinks at another. You have to carry your food to the roof but there is a bar on the roof also. Live music proliferates and Acme has an amazing blues singer. He sings something from the 1940s (sorry can’t remember title) that has quite a few singing along.

Back to the tour after lunch:
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 08:12 AM
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Hi annhig, the Sargent mural is (was?) in the Imperial War Museum in London. I don't know how long it will be on the road.>>

to my shame, TD, I have to admit that I've never been there. I've got a trip to London lined up for next month when me and my hostess and another friend are going to the Impressionist exhibition at the Tate - not sure we'll have time for the Sargent as well. also, as you say it may not be there!

>

not boring at all; as i said upthread my knowledge of Nashville could not be more limited. Seems like a very interesting place - great for a weekend.
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 03:49 PM
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Thanks, annhig. I do believe that "natives" can't usually take advantage of local spots of interest. What with pesky jobs! One has to be a tourist/visitor! Is the War Museum being rehabbed? The Tate re-do's made much of the Sargent retrospective I saw some years ago possible.

I surprised the heck out of relatives today and took them to lunch. It was wonderful.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 03:00 AM
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Wonderful report and thanks for visiting parts of Nashville I never saw since I was there for conventions. On my first visit, Opryland amusement park still existed. Now it's a shopping mall. It is interesting to read about your Sargents. I think my favorite artist might be Andrew Wyeth. Great idea to take the trolley tour and what good luck to get a great driver.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 03:46 AM
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Not sure about the Imperial War Musem's "status" - as I say I've never been there. either I was working and so uninterested in such things, or I've been visiting friends and we've prioritised other sights. I did get to the Sargent exhibition at Somerset House ? a couple of years ago, but I have never seen his work anywhere else. Shame.

Did your relies not know you were coming? Lovely surprise for them I'm sure.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 06:22 AM
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Thanks, frosty. DH and I used to take the HOHO bus first and then choose places to which we wanted to return. Terrible long waits in Paris made us quit using it after a while. This Nashville tour sent extra trolleys if there wasn't room.

It was a great surprise, annhig!
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 10:26 AM
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It is supposed to return to the IWM in late 2018.

The IWM underwent a £40 million transformation and was reopened in 2014. We were there earlier this year (seems like a long time ago now)

Great report TD!

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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Thanks, maitaitom! Was the Sargent there when you were? I was so bummed about missing it when I was in London.

The Nick Caves were so cool. Even if you don't care for abstract or installation art, these works were fun
***********

Back to the tour after lunch on Saturday:

Back to the Trolley and Clay was the driver again. I went to Bicentennial Park this time. The Farmers’ Market (in one building) was closing down but a huge produce stand was still inviting. Opened were some crafts, honey, and rug stands. The Food Court (in the other building) was going strong. Lines for fried green tomatoes and ice cream stalls were busy.

Please see cute photo of tomatoes—they are bicycle stands. Next driver was Betty and I thought she sounded drunk. She wasn’t—just had a funny voice. Fortunately, the Marathon stop was coming up so I didn’t have to listen to her very long.

Marathon Village: https://www.marathonvillage.net/

The Marathon was a car that pre-dated the Ford. Jay Leno owns one and I think Clay said there are only 3 more in existence. The huge building that was the original factory is now filled with remnants of the plant, a wine tasting company, food places, and shops. If you like cute gifts and scads of souvenirs, stop here. Someone can add info about the cars as I didn’t stay long enough to explore completely.

Waited for the next trolley to head on home. Ed was the driver this time and he had the best voice. Smooth and just deep enough. No new info in addition to Clay’s though. Both drivers extolled the Vanderbilt hospital and suggested that Vanderbilt U. would put you back $67,000 a year. Yes, a year.

Back to the hotel and got a glass of wine at the bar plus the turkey club sandwich for the room. By the time I was actually hungry again, the fridge had made the sandwich a bit soggy. Downloaded photos and typed up notes before crashing.

Sunday, November 26, 2017
Weather in the 50s by afternoon

Short
Breakfast: More soggy sandwich
Lunch: 55 South: https://www.eat55.com/brentwood/
Huevas Rancheros + 5 other meals, B+ $87 (not too bad for 6 folks)
Dinner: 3 Glasses of wine with cousin

Long
Up and feeling guilty that I couldn’t arrange a platter of pastries for the relatives but figured I take them to lunch or order pizza. The rels are J and R who are the parents of C and E. Also M who is R’s sister. R and M are the grandchildren of Aunt Polly! Too much info? Sorry.

I called J and R but the call went to voicemail. I left a message that a delivery was coming. Called M and we coordinated times. Hotel got me a taxi that looked like a Cadillac limo. Owner/operator Kwame was very nice. It was a flat $35 rate to go the 11 miles from down town Nashville to Brentwood. R was home and little C was playing in the back yard. J had taken the car to the carwash and she had E the 2-month old with her.

R was vacuuming and making beds. Other relatives had been visiting from Tuesday to Saturday. The visitors also had 2 children the same ages. That the living room floor was covered with toys is not an exaggeration or something to judge. C (3 years old) and I played with her toys while R finished his vacuuming. She has a nifty plastic dog with 3 puppies that you put into a cavity. When you push the hinged legs, the puppies fall out. C was very matter of fact about it. We then went outside on the swing set and then came back in to see a very surprised J! They pretended to be happy to see me. I got to hold E (2 months old) until she started to scream. Handing her back was one of the joys of non-motherhood….

We decided to go to lunch and Cousin M met us there. Brentwood is a nice area just from looks of the houses and shops. J gave me a bite of her hot chicken and it was good. Hattie B’s is the original source for this chick and it has several layers of heat. Baby E slept through the meal.

After lunch, we split up and Cousin M and I went shopping for an hour and then she kindly drove me back to the hotel. We sat at the bar and talked for 2 drinks and then she took off. I got a 3rd merlot and went to my room. I believe I did some posting UI, packed and crashed.

Monday, November 27, 2017
Weather in 50s in TN and in MD

Will finish off next.



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