The Gentle Barn welcomes you to hug a cow

The Gentle Barn welcomes you to hug a cow

If you’ve ever decided to take the back roads, you’re no stranger to the iconic scene of cows grazing in pastures along rolling hills. You might have even pulled over to get a closer look at these giant creatures.  If you did, you would see animals that are so huge you would imagine them to be nothing but clumsy and overpowering. However, they’re delicate and just calmly graze on the lush grass.  The Gentle Barn is the perfect tale of this enigma. There’s no better place to get up close to the animals you’ve always wanted to. It’s a family-owned farm only a quick drive outside of Nashville. From cows to goats to pigs, they’ve got it all.  Now, this isn’t a farm like you’ve seen before. The animals aren’t there for milking or food or just to be observed; they are there to be pet and hugged.  For an entrance fee of $20, you can actually cross the gate that always separates you from all the animals. Right when you walk in, you’ll find a pasture with a handful of cows who might be enjoying some back rubs or ear scratches or chomping on some grass.  The volunteers are more than willing to tell you the background stories for all the animals, but fair warning that some are pretty heart-breaking. One that stood out to me was the story of Lolli, a young goat that lives with her parents at the farm.  Lolli was rescued from a neglect situation that left her frostbitten and caused the loss of her back legs. Now, she lives happily at the Gentle...
Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’ sparks conversations about mental health

Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’ sparks conversations about mental health

Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of mental illness and self-harm. Comedian and internet personality Bo Burnham makes fun of his own mental stresses caused by COVID-19 in a new Netflix special. “Inside” was used to document Burnham’s own feelings of loss and yearning during the year-plus quarantine. Burnham best summarizes the entirety of 2020 in the opening number of Inside, “Content.” Burnham sings “If you had told me a year ago that I’d be locked inside of my home, I would have told you a year ago: ‘Interesting; now leave me alone’.” Since its release on June 30 Inside has received critical acclaim for its unconventional presentation as well as its off-kilter, yet somewhat sad, approach to mental health during the pandemic. Critics such as Jason Zinoman of The New York Times praised the special and defined it as “a tricky work that for all its boundary-crossing remains, in the end, a comedy in the spirit of neurotic, self-loathing stand-up.” Lipscomb mental health counselor Ashley Dumas, who hasn’t seen the special, emphasizes that it is important and helpful that entertainers like Burnham are using their platforms to discuss issues of mental health. “Sometimes, I think people laugh about serious things because it feels too hard or scary to have real conversations…,” said Dumas Dumas hopes this program and other popular entertainment will help encourage people to admit their vulnerabilities and reach out for help.  Dumas is also the assistant director of Lipscomb University’s Counseling Center (UCC) and has been working with college students on mental health issues. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, but the majority of...
350 thousand enjoy music, spectacle as Let Freedom Sing! welcomes celebrants and SWAT team back to downtown

350 thousand enjoy music, spectacle as Let Freedom Sing! welcomes celebrants and SWAT team back to downtown

Nashville’s COVID-19 silence ended in a roaring spectacle on Sunday when Let Freedom Sing! brought fireworks and live music back to Music City. Officials said about 350 thousand spectators attended the event, which began at 4 p.m. and ran until well past 10 p.m. The fireworks were scheduled to start at 9:20 p.m. but were delayed until 10 due to unauthorized people in the explosive danger zone. Police SWAT officers were called to the Bridge Building following reports from the Metro Fire Department of a person on the roof of the building, according to a press release issued from the Metro Police Monday afternoon. A flyover from a police helicopter confirmed the sighting. Officers removed four people from the scene, including one employee of the Bridge Building. Located on the east side of the pedestrian bridge, the Bridge Building was in the firework evacuation zone due to the proximity to the firework launch site and the potential for injury for anyone too close to the explosives. “While the officers were still in the building and the (police) helicopter remained close by, a security guard apparently relayed to an (Nashville Fire Department) employee that he was the last one in the building.  Without going through command and without checking with MNPD to ensure officers were out of the building, the message was relayed to start the fireworks show.  Command was not advised the show had commenced,” according to the press release. “Due to the close proximity of the professional firework mortar shells and the fallout from detonated fireworks, the eight SWAT members sheltered inside the Bridge Building until the conclusion...
The Northern Southern Belle: Summer style suggestions

The Northern Southern Belle: Summer style suggestions

Hey friends! It’s been a while, but I hope you’re all having a great summer! Things are finally getting back to normal, and it is wonderful to celebrate the summer with friends! We all have a great reason to celebrate this week, as the 4th is Sunday! With things opening back up and gatherings beginning to occur again, the 4th is a great way to show off your style and your American pride. When I think of patriotic clothing, I think of red, white, and blue, of course! When I was little, my go to Independence day outfit was a Faded Glory flag tee and a pair of jean shorts. While still patriotic, I’ve realized that there are plenty of other ways to express yourself and your love for the US through what you wear on America’s birthday. Red white and blue are still my go-to colors for the day, but a way to modernize it is to mix and match the colors with prints. Try a solid navy top with red and white shorts for a flag look, or blue and white stripes or gingham with a red hair accessory or lipstick.  Plenty of stores offer 4th of July themed attire. Target currently has a whole section in the women’s/juniors department of America-themed tees. If you’re going for a cute and casual look, pair one of these with a pair of shorts or a colored athletic skirt. If you’re looking for something to wear more than just on the 4th, Loft is a great option! Their new arrivals feature plenty of red, white, and blue that can fit...
Concerts, festivals, artists tuning up for post-COVID return

Concerts, festivals, artists tuning up for post-COVID return

COVID  left most Tennessee residents and tourists and performers saying goodbye to the 2020 entertainment scene in Nashville. Now, it’s 2021. Forty-five percent of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated and 53% of the population has received one dose of the vaccine. As the world continues to slowly go back to normal, so does Music City. With venues being reopened, artists getting out of the studios and their homes and fans ready to cheer, big name concerts and festivals are making a grand comeback to Tennessee. Here’s a sampling: Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th @ Downtown Nashville – July 4 The free concert is the city’s first major post-pandemic event and will be headlined by country music star Brad Paisley. Lily Hiatt, Regi Wooten and Friends, Priscilla Block, and more will also take the stage. The event will also feature the Nashville Symphony in a synchronized performance with what officials are heralding as the largest fireworks display in Nashville’s history. Lifest Music City @ Hideaway Farm – July 29-31 Originating in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Lifest extends Music City for the very first time with Lifest Music City. The Christian music festivals are presented by nonprofit organization Life Promotions, focused on supporting mental health and wellness in today’s youth. With three days filled with music and fun, Lifest gives the option to its concert goers to camp on the festival grounds. The festival will include performances from Newsboys, Skillet, Lecrae, Sidewalk Prophets, Mandisa, Matthew West, Michael W. Smith, and more. Luke Bryan @ Bridgestone Arena – July 30 Fresh off his third ACM Entertainer of the...
Movies are back, film-lovers at the Belcourt are ready

Movies are back, film-lovers at the Belcourt are ready

To adapt to the pandemic, many industries have had to change their business models in a COVID-friendly manner. For theatres, this included offering home rentals for movies and, for some, hosting drive-ins.  Nashville’s own Belcourt movie theatre used these innovative methods to stay afloat when health guidelines prevented movie screenings as usual. Now, as these restrictions are being lifted, the Belcourt has opened their doors to the public once again.  Since their reopening, the Belcourt has seen many Nashvillians return to see movies in person. In March, the Belcourt started showing Academy Award recognized films.  It didn’t seem to matter if they had already seen the films, people were ready to come back to the movies regardless.  Stephanie Silverman, the executive director of the Belcourt, said “We started slow. Both theaters [were] at 20% capacity,”  “Once the CDC came out with the new guidance, we now increased our capacity to 50%.”  As of now, there is still a mask policy in place, but Silverman said that the staff is monitoring data to find what makes people feel the safest about returning to the theater.  “It’s pretty clear that people feel most comfortable with a mask policy in place and some amount of distancing.”  However, since some may have gotten used to streaming at home, what is going to bring them back to the actual theater?  Silverman says, “The difference between the experience in a theatre and the experience in your house is just fundamentally different, from the sound to the image to the communal piece of it,”  She adds while laughing, “Your popcorn is probably not as good as...