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Teresa Mason and Mas Tacos

Posted: April 19th, 2011 | Filed under: chef, feature, food, restaurant | 5 Comments »

Mas Tacos. See also the Imogene+Willie version.

Photographs and content © 2011 Mark Tucker. All Rights Reserved.

Clara Sherman: My Kidding-Around-Make-Believe Daughter

Posted: April 17th, 2011 | Filed under: feature, friend, great face | 7 Comments »

This post is a bit more personal. Let me try to explain — Clara is the daughter of Lizette Tucker, my first wife. Clara’s dad is John Sherman, and he lives here in town. Lizette now lives, I think, in Seattle. Clara’s now 21, and she’s amazing. Three years ago, Lizette called me and asked me to shoot some pictures of Clara to document her 18th birthday. At that time, I’d never met Clara. So let’s just say, it was a bit interesting at my house — Lizette and Clara walked in, and even though, of course, she was not my daughter, it was a bit surreal to see a grown daughter of someone I’d been married to. Can we agree on that?

So fast forward to about two months ago, and I went to a dinner party at Michelle Myers’ home, and Lizette and Clara were there. Clara’s now 21. I guess it just hit me, “This is about as close to a child as I’ll ever have”. Weeks later, several of us were on the sidewalk in front of Fido, in Hillsboro Village, and Clara yelled my name, and came over and said hi. It was nice. All of us in the group commented on how radiant she looked, and there she was, with her entire life in front of her. Twenty-one years old, looking for a job, and getting her own apartment. It’s an exciting time for her.

So recently, I wrote to her and asked her if she’d be willing to be photographed for this project. I told her that the angle on the story was that she was my “almost daughter”. We laugh and kid around about it now.

Yeah, it’s still pretty surreal when I think about it, that I’d be old enough to have a grown child. I only recently feel mature enough to be given a license to have a child; only in the last few months.

(Image above): Clara in makeshift studio, with the flowers that Iris brought to my birthday party.

(Image above): In the back yard of my house, right at sunset.

(Image above): I’ve been looking at a lot of books on painters lately, and this was just an experiment to build contrast and see what happens. I’ll work more with this image later, and try to bust it up.

(Image above): Accidental flare into the lens, making a rainbow, but this picture expresses what I feel about her about as much as anything i shot that day. Love the colors across her face. Wish I could say that I planned it…

(Image above): I just liked how these two frames worked together. Feels like a book cover or something. Shot on B/W Polaroid in the old Graflex camera.

(Image above): Upstairs studio, at sundown, with the big Graflex camera and uncoated lens. Love the flare.

All photographs and content © 2011 Mark Tucker. All rights reserved.

Lisa Donovan: Pastry Chef, Artist, Mom

Posted: April 16th, 2011 | Filed under: artist, chef, feature, great face, restaurant | 5 Comments »

I think I first met Lisa Donovan and Maggie over at Allison Murasic’s house, last year, during one of Allison’s Red Barn Roundups. Maggie was playing with Jill Earl’s son, Ollie, and they made a striking young couple. Maybe it was combination of Ollie’s crazy-wild hair, and Maggie’s vivid blue eyes, but I had to stop to photograph them.

Lisa is married to John Donovan, who has a show up at Zeitgeist right now. They also have a son, Joseph, who attends the Waldorf School, on Hillsboro Road. Lisa went to art school, but soon followed another one of her passions, into food. She worked at City House, before coming over to Margot Cafe in East Nashville, to be Pastry Chef. See the photos below, for some of her creations.

Some people just have a radiance about them. Lisa just glows. Plus that trademark laugh. Stop in to Margot Cafe one night — have a light entree, and head right for the desserts and that famous french-press coffee.

(Above image): Lisa, with her daughter Maggie, at their school in East Nashville.

(Above image): Focaccia bread, at Margot’s.

(Above image): Lisa’s rhubarb pie.

(Above image): Chocolate praline pie, in the window, at Margot’s.

(Above image): From Margot Cafe, Lisa’s lemon cornmeal cake with strawberries and cream.

(Above image): Pralines, right out of the oven.

(Video): Lisa, in the kitchen at Margot Cafe, and with her daughter at school.

All photographs and content © 2011 Mark Tucker. All rights reserved.

My Mother’s Right Hand

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 | Filed under: feature, random image | 13 Comments »

It’s funny, the things that stick with you when you’re a kid. I always knew my mother’s right hand was damaged. I knew there were at least two things that contributed to it — a polio infection when she was five years old, (around 1935), and some kind of freak lawn mower accident involving my grandfather, when she was about ten. Whatever the case, I was always fascinated to watch her write a letter. She just held the pencil funny. But oddly, her handwriting was always immaculate. It never added up.

Today, I drove up there to Kentucky, to check on her. She’s now almost 81. We walked around the yard, and did our customary “inspection of the grass, and the flowers”, then I asked her if I could photograph her hand. She laughed and said, “Sure, if it doesn’t take too long, because I’m hungry”. I set up the still camera and shot some frames — both the top and underside of her hand. I was looking through the viewfinder, and then I’d take her hand in mine, and I’d move it around on the tabletop, in order to compose the photograph. Was wonderful to just take her hand in my hand, like that. It was warm and soft. After the stills, I set up the other camera to shoot some video, (see below). I love just watching her talk, and watching her think, and pause to recollect the memories. I asked her to write something, to demonstrate her “penmanship”, as she calls it. And she wrote, “I love you, Mark”, unprompted by me. Promise.

Also, below is a scan of one of her letters to me. She’ll cut up anything to write on. I save the letters now that she’s getting older. Some of them I don’t even open, because I don’t want to mess up the envelope.


[Edit/Update: Last night, literally five minutes after I published this post, I received an email from my dear friend Lanie Gannon. With her permission, I’m posting this nice poem and her note].

Just one second before seeing your post about your Mother and her hand I was reading this poem and feeling the mother love… The unconditional and utterly devotional love of (my) mother…

My mother will never die.
As soon as one of her eyes grows old, I’ll rush to her
and turn her eyelids young again.
As soon as her face begins to wrinkle, I’ll immediately commission painters
to repaint her.
Without a moment’s delay, I’ll choose the greatest painters
and send them on an emergency mission
to restore her wondrous body,
fresco by fresco,
like antique friezes
in secret attics, naves, and balconies.

My mother will never die.
I’ll swallow her myself, piece by piece.
I’ll gulp her down and spit her up
more beautiful
and pure.
I’ll sprinkle her with hyssop.
And she’ll be as white as snow.

Mother won’t die because I’ll betake myself to her
and pray, and on the spot my prayer will become my mother.

Mother won’t have a chance to die
because I’ll turn into an air-bag
before the fatal accident. I’ll die in her place every time.
I’ll go and methodically rejuvenate her,
I’ll bring her the water of life
from where hills clash and rear,
the mountains battling tooth and nail.

Everyone who tells me my mother will die
I’ll butcher. I’ll put them up in the coarsest, most barbarous salt
and throw their heads to steep in a barrel,
in a sea of wine.
Of wine and Easter cake.

And Mother died. But just a little.


Liz Workman: Oasis Center, Nutrition, and Yoga

Posted: March 29th, 2011 | Filed under: dog, feature, food, Uncategorized, yoga | 8 Comments »

Liz Workman is an Old Soul. She’s lived three lives already, and she’s only thirty-two years old. She grew up in Nashville, went to Hillsboro, headed to college at Columbia, then hit the road to live some valuable life lessons. She now is the Education Director at Oasis Center, over on Charlotte, in that old Duckhead Jeans building. David Mead is her soon-to-be-husband, in May of this year. (That’s David and Stan The Dog, in the image below. Also don’t miss Stan in the video at the bottom of the page). Liz explained a great deal about food to me, in our time together. She knows the nutrients; she knows what the good stuff is. She also explains nutrition and healthy eating to her teenagers at Oasis, and how it affects their energy and mood.

She and David converted a detached garage to a yoga studio, behind their home on Belmont Blvd, and she teaches there also. She’s full of zest for life when you’re with her — you get it immediately. She’s loud, she’s funny, and she knows her life purpose. Check above for her ingredients for what she calls her “Life Force Salad”. When you see her around town, ask her to tell you the story about her trademark “red yoga boots”; you’ll be glad you did.

Here’s her submitted Timeline, (and she’s only getting started):

1996: Graduated Hillsboro High School
1996: Went to Israel and lived on a kibbutz
1997: Went to Wheaton College (Not the religious one but the one for nice Jewish Girls)
1999: Lived in London for a year started doing Capoeira a Brazilian Martial Arts
2001: Lived in Brazil, and the moved to NYC two weeks before September 11th
2001: Attended Columbia graduate with two Masters in human rights education and history and teaching
2003: Started teaching in the inner city schools in NYC
2005: Certified in Yoga at Laughing Lotus
2006: Moved back to Nashville to work at Ensworth
2007: Fell in Love with David Mead for the second time
2008: “Resigned” Ensworth
2009: Went to Integrative Institute for Heath to become a health Counselor
2009: Started as the Educational Coordinator at Oasis Center
2010: Yoga Studio in the Back of my house finished by my father Building Bob and Sexy David Mead
2011: Got Engaged to David Mead married May 14th 2011

Kim Sherman and Cotten Music

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Filed under: collector, feature, good friend, home, musician, photographer, retail, singer | 41 Comments »

Kim Sherman and I go all the way back to about 1983 or so. I was a punk kid, with a studio down on Second Avenue North, (current home of Mulligan’s Irish Bar). I lived downstairs, and had a studio upstairs on the second floor. I shot about three album covers a week at that time; the music business was on fire at that time. Kim was doing a record with Phil Johnson for The Benson Company. Fifteen years go by, and we met again through a mutual friend — this time, through photography. (She’s another in this line of strong Renaissance women — she collects art; she cooks; she does photography; she writes songs; she collects bicycles; she co-owns a high-end guitar store. I think I’m going to rename this blog

It turns out, Kim and I both grew up in Kentucky, about two hours apart. Her father farms about 1900 acres in western Kentucky — mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. She has three sisters, and loves her very tightly-knit family. In 1996, Kim joined ranks with Darcy Cotten to run Cotten Music in Hillsboro Village. She’s now writing songs again, and collaborating with friends. A few years ago, she purchased a gorgeous Manuel Zeitlin-designed loft on Belmont, and helped design the interior, even down to importing some of the wood flooring for her sleeping loft, from her father’s barn in Kentucky.

She’s as fine and honest a person as you’ll ever come across. Pure as the day is long; kind-hearted and genuine. Wander into Cotten Music in the village, look down at that tile floor, and feel the history.

Manny Cuevas: Wear It Out

Posted: March 10th, 2011 | Filed under: clothing, designer, feature, great face | Comments Off

I had to double-check the address, when we were headed out to meet Manny, (the son), at his retail store, “Manuel: Wear It Out”. Dickerson Road, I wondered? For a retail music-biz storefront? Manny told me the story about how he acquired the building — he and his buddies used to work on their motorcycles in the back room, and time passed, and one day, the building became available. (I told him I thought he should still have motorcycles parked in the back room; he rolled his eyes). He’s now gutted the building, laid tile, and completely transformed it into a combination of workshop for sewing, and then a retail showroom in the back.

Of course, we all know Manuel, the father, and his shop on Broadway at 20th. But this is Manny’s project to create his own brand, and his own look and identity. He also told us the story about the guy on American Idol who’s now wearing one of his custom-made suits. The video link below shows how he constructs the suits by hand.

Mike Grimes: Grimeys New and Pre-loved Records

Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Filed under: collector, feature, mini-feature, retail, storefront | 1 Comment »

Everything comes full circle. Jon and I stood there in Grimeys Records the other day, on Eighth Avenue South, and he gently pulled out an LP from the liner, and said, “You know, there’s just something about holding a large record like this. Holding it in your hands, and reading the lyrics off the liner, and having a large 12″ piece of art to look at; it’s just so different from downloading a record off of iTunes”.

I’m 52 years old. Of course I knew what he was talking about. I can remember vividly one of the first records I ever bought — it was a Carly Simon record, from Taylor Drug Store, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Not sure the year — probably about 1972. I loved Carly Simon at that time, but the main reason I bought that particular record was because of the nipples sticking thru her blue T-shirt. Let’s not forget — I was probably 14 years old at the time, and in 1972-repressed-Southern-Baptist-Kentucky, that album cover was pretty scandalous. (I can imagine that panicked scene today, in some record company conference room, when the film was delivered — that look of panic on the publicist’s eyes, saying “We can never send out these pictures; we’ll have to Photoshop them out!”) I guess I justified buying it to my mother because it had “You’re So Vain” on it, which was a huge hit at the time.

Fast forward to about 1976 or so. I was a redneck goofball, about to graduate high school. I made this deal with the local record store (and Head Shop), to drive to Nashville and pick up a stack of concert tickets for every show at Municipal Auditorium. I think the name of the shop was Headquarters. Hint, hint. And yes, those bongs under the counter were meant for tobacco. Right. I’d ride my father’s Harley from Bowling Green to Nashville, pick up a stack of concert tickets, turn around and ride right back to Bowling Green. For this service, I was paid two concert tickets. I loved it. I felt important.

So Mike Grimes is preserving this period of time. I can’t imagine that vinyl has a chance to compete with iTunes on any large scale, but maybe there is enough market share there to at least stay profitable. I completely understand the tactile quality of a 12″ record, that Jon mentioned. There’s nothing like it — even the pops and cracks and skips. I can still remember when Physical Graffiti came out, and the record was die-cut, and the title of the record showed through the window frames of that building.

I heard the other day that there’s now a guy trying to bring back the eight-track tape as well. Vintage is nice, but some things just ought to die, for good.

Edit/Update: I received this note from Mike after posting. He wanted to add this to the message of the video:

If you don’t mind, perhaps place this at the end of your piece:

‘Grimey sometimes gets nervous being interviewed on camera, when viewing please
replace the term Contemporary Country Music for Traditional Country music, he loves
Hank, Ernest and Buck, not as crazy about Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, you get it.’

Would really appreciate it.

Ruby Guidara: Dogs, Goats, Horses in Watertown

Posted: March 7th, 2011 | Filed under: dog, feature, good friend, great face, home | 23 Comments »

Ruby Guidara moved to Tennessee from Los Angeles. She wanted land. She wanted children. She wanted lots of animals. She found a farm in Watertown, and began filling it with all of the above. She builds sets, and supplies props for the music and film business in Nashville. Travel from her farm, to downtown Watertown, and you’ll find a large commercial building, packed to the gills, with any kind of crazy prop you’d ever need.

Little Thurman roams the farm and helps with all the goats, horses, dogs, and cats. Watch the video to hear him describe his accident with a horse, when he was two years old. He’s doing just fine now, thank you very much. Big Thurman also owns a farm near Gallatin. Big Thurman was 59 with Little Thurman came along. (Gives me hope). Little Thurman has The Great American Farm Face — what a striking and handsome young man. Big Thurman has The Great American Mustache.

Also, these Great Pyrenees dogs are just amazing. Somehow, they come out of the womb ready to protect goats. It’s buried in their DNA. They’ll follow them around, and then, oddly, just lie down in the field and go to sleep. (See bottom photo, and photo above). As we were leaving that day, this one cat was perched on the stone post that leads up the house. It was regal — almost like those cheesy lion or dog statues that flank driveway entrances on Franklin Road.

Hal Humphreys: Private Investigator

Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Filed under: feature, private eye | 4 Comments »

At every party I attend, Hal is always the first to leave. He likes a finely-mixed drink, but he also reports for duty very early in the morning, (to be there when the villain leaves the house). Hal Humphreys is a private investigator. His branch office is Seat 7b at The Holland House; client meetings are always held there. Of course, the bulk of his work is research, but he also does the classic stake-outs that we’ve all seen on television, (minus the doughnuts). I met Hal (and Kim Green) at Tony’s and Iris’ home one night. Hal and Kim are also reporters for National Public Radio. Kim speaks Russian.