Thursday, April 30, 2009

LaLonde Wins District 18 Seat

I came out of a play presented by Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL, turned on my cell phone and found out that Kristine LaLonde is the newest member of Metro Council.

Kristine's margin of victory increased in the runoff win over Stephenie Dodson from her March 26 tally. It's a no-brainer looking at the numbers to say that both times she was the clear choice of voters in District 18 -- though I'll never understand why so few residents turn out for these races when we're electing the representative that may have more to do with our everyday lives (traffic, parking, zoning, etc.) than any other political office, no matter who wins.

I strongly supported Stephenie, and I'm proud to have voted for her and to call her my friend. But I'm no Rush Limbaugh. Kristine is our new district councilmember and I want her to succeed. I wish her all the best as she prepares to take office.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Six Days To Go!

From an email sent out today:

To the good folks of District 18,
Early voting ends tomorrow and our Run-Off Election Day is just 6 days away! There’s not much time left in our campaign but there’s plenty to do.

Before getting to that, though, I want to say what a great time I had at the Belmont-Hillsboro Spring Cleanup. A lot of campaign folks joined with their friends and neighbors to collect and dispose of trash and other items, and the cookout at Brett Sheriff’s house afterward was wonderful! Thanks to all who participated in that great annual event.

If you can “bank your vote” by tomorrow that means you’ll be able (a) to not worry about getting to the polls to vote next Thursday and (b) be able to focus on getting your friends and neighbors to the polls that day instead. I don’t have to tell you that actually getting out the vote is what matters most!

You can go to the Metro Election Commission office which is on the first floor of the Metro Office Building at 800 Second Ave. South next to the old Howard School site that’s being renovated from 9AM to Noon on Saturday. After that, it’s on to Thursday for final balloting.

You’re probably just as excited as I am about the annual Country Music Marathon. I’ll be on Belmont Blvd. as the runners go through our area after their 7 AM start at Centennial Park. For more details on the race visit

We’ve all been wearing out our shoes as we take our message of serving all of District 18 all the time to voters. Please join me for some final canvassing this weekend from 11 AM to 4 PM Saturday or 1 PM to 4 PM Sunday. We’ll meet at my house (3434 33rd Avenue South). Please let me know you’re coming by calling 582-8892 or emailing, or just show up!

We’ll be calling friends and neighbors from my house each night through Election Eve starting at 7 PM. If you could spare a few hours to help us reach out to others in the district that would be great. Just call or email me using the aforementioned contact info to let me know you’re coming and thanks in advance for helping us get the word out!

We need your vote, but we also need your help one last time on April 30! Hold a sign at one of the district’s three polling places anytime from 7 AM to 7 PM. Give friends and neighbors a ride to a poll if they need it (let us know if you need one and we’ll be glad to arrange it). Call or email me to sign up for one last time!

Brown’s Diner (2102 Blair Blvd.) has been where we’ve gathered throughout this campaign. Join us Thursday after the polls close at 7 PM.

We’ve all put in a lot of hard work, and it’s been great talking to people about what they need from their next District 18 Metro Councilmember. I want to thank all of you once again for your support and efforts.

In just 6 days we’ll see the end of this campaign and the beginning of our work to make our district, and Nashville, stronger and better than ever. How exciting!

Warmest regards,
Stephenie Dodson
Working Hard For You

Friday, April 17, 2009

SAG, AMPTP Reach Tentative Accord

I hope the long wait for a new Screen Actors Guild TV/Theatrical Contract is finally over. Of course, the guild's national board and then members nationwide like myself will have to vote on it, but reports out of Los Angeles today are encouraging about the tentative deal with AMPTP.

Come Early Vote On Saturday!


It's quick, it's easy and it does your community good. Come with us on this beautiful Spring Saturday as we vote for Stephenie!

Where: Davidson County Election Commission, Metro Office Building, First Floor, 800 Second Ave. South (next to old Howard School building)

When: 9 AM to Noon tomorrow!

Bring your driver's license or voting registration card with you and vote to keep our progressive neighborhoods on the move!

If you need a ride, we'll be glad to provide! Email

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Brenda Gilmore Will Moderate Forum

Michael Cass spreads the word that State Rep. Brenda Gilmore will be the moderator at Sunday's District 18 runoff candidate forum.

Logistics For Dave Matthews Band At Vandy

From the Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association email list:

Dear Neighbors,

As you may already know, we are promoting a Dave Matthews Band concert (with special guests Jason Mraz and Robert Earl Keen, Jr.) at Vanderbilt Football Stadium on Saturday, April 25th at 6:00 pm. Over the past decade, AEG Live has become the largest producer of festivals in North America. AEG Live boasts a catalogue of the most critically acclaimed music festivals in the U.S., ranging from the New Orleans staple, Jazzfest, to Southern California's cutting edge Coachella Music - Arts Festival. And closer to home, AEG produced the popular Nashville Riverstages.

In an effort to minimize the event’s impact on your residence and business, we are working with Vanderbilt regarding ingress/egress of traffic, crowd management, monitoring of sound levels in the neighborhood and police coverage throughout the area. In addition, we wanted to give you advance notice of the following street closures that will take place Saturday, April 25th in relation to the concert:

Natchez Trace will be closed from Children’s Way to the Marriott driveway.
Jess Neely will be closed from Natchez Trace to 25th Avenue South.
Kensington Avenue will be closed from Natchez Trace to the Marriott Parking Garage Entrance. Drivers will still be able to access the garage by taking 25th Avenue South to Kensington.

In addition to these closures, there is no parking allowed on Vanderbilt Place.
Please note that these closures are in addition to the normal closures related to the Country Music Marathon which takes place the morning of April 25th.

Traffic flow before and after the concert will be the same as the plan put in place for Vanderbilt Football games.

If you have specific concerns that are not addressed in this letter feel free to contact me at 445-5077 or via e-mail at If you wish to speak to someone from Vanderbilt, please call Mary Pat Teague at 322-8337 or via e-mail at


Dennis Freeman
Concert Logistics Coordinator
AEG Live

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Susan Boyle Dreamed A Dream...

...And it came true on a TV show called Britain's Got Talent (the sister show to America's Got Talent). I can't embed the video, but if you want to see - and hear - something wonderful click here.

Eakin Carnival This Friday!

The Eakin Elementary School Carnival is this Friday! The details are here for getting involved with this annual rite of spring. It's all in a good cause so come on down!

Stephenie Dodson: Yes on Permit Parking and Green Construction

From an email Stephenie Dodson sent out last night:

To the good folks of District 18,
There are about two weeks to go in our Metro Council District 18 Run-Off campaign. Our support continues to build and your efforts are the reason!

There are some important events coming up this week to remind you about. I need you out in force as we move forward to April 30. But first I want to briefly talk about two of the issues you’ve been talking to me about as I’ve gone through the district during this campaign.

I wholeheartedly support Residential Permit Parking. It’s quite simple – we should be able to park in front of our own homes. There is already a law that enables residents of any Metro district to enact permit parking. As your council member I will do all I can to make that law work for you. I’ll hold various district institutions’ feet to the fire on their use of employee & student parking so that residents don’t feel crowded out of their own streets.

We can be proud of the fact that Vanderbilt University has been Nashville’s leader in green construction. As your council member I will continue to encourage renovators and developers to use green construction within the context of our conservation overlays. Sustainable building matters in our neighborhoods. Let’s continue to set the trend for our progressive city.

The 18th District Special Election Run-Off Candidates’ Forum will be held on Sunday from 3 to 4 PM in the Eakin Elementary School Auditorium (2500 Fairfax Ave.). It’s sponsored by the Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association; Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors; Hillsboro Village Merchants; Belmont University; and Vanderbilt University.

You can submit questions in advance at through Thursday. You can also submit questions in writing at the forum until 2:55 p.m., which is five minutes before opening statements.

I need you to submit strong questions and attend this important event. It will be the last time the candidates come together to answer your questions before we decide who our next council member will be.

Belmont-Hillsboro Neighborhood Spring Cleanup Day is this Saturday from 8 AM to 12 PM. I’m going to pitch in and I hope you will too.

The event involves a bulk cleanup as well as e-waste and household waste collection areas. The location is behind Helios Artglassworks rear parking lot (3108 Belmont Blvd.) For more details visit the Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc. website at

Early Voting continues at the Davidson County Election Commission offices (Metro Office Building, First Floor, 800 Second Ave. South) Friday through April 25:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 16: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

FRIDAY, APRIL 17: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 18: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

MONDAY, APRIL 20: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

TUESDAY, APRIL 21: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

THURSDAY, APRIL 23: 8:00 AM – 4:30 P.M.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 25: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

We need your help as a volunteer and your contributions now more than ever. Getting our voter out to the polls is the key to victory on April 30. You can email me to volunteer at or visit my website ( and click the “Volunteer” link at the top of the page to enter your information.

To contribute, click the “Donate” link on my home page or enter the following into your web browser:

Thanks for all you’ve done and all you’re doing! Just two more weeks until we take our collective voice to Metro Council!

Warmest regards,
Stephenie Dodson
Working For You

Saturday, April 11, 2009

And The Votes Are Trickling In ...

My wife Ann and I went down to the Davidson County Election Commission around 11 AM to cast early voting ballots for Stephenie Dodson in the Metro Council District 18 Special Election Run-Off. We brought the number of voters casting early ballots since Friday morning to 22.

It appears the pace is about as sluggish as it was for the March 26 ballot when there were only 187 early voters. Early voting ends April 25 for the April 30 run-off.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stephenie Dodson's Latest Update

From an email sent out today by Stephenie Dodson:

To the good folks of District 18,

It’s been great hearing from and seeing so many of you during the first two weeks of the run-off campaign, and now it’s time to start voting! Your support means so much to me, and as we gear up for early voting I know our momentum is growing.

Early Voting starts at the Davidson County Election Commission offices (Metro Office Building, First Floor, 800 Second Ave. South) Friday and runs through April 25:

FRIDAY, APRIL 10: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 11: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

MONDAY, APRIL 13: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
TUESDAY, APRIL 14: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
THURSDAY, APRIL 16: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 17: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 18: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

MONDAY, APRIL 20: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
TUESDAY, APRIL 21: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
THURSDAY, APRIL 23: 8:00 AM – 4:30 P.M.
FRIDAY, APRIL 24: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 25: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

I hope you can join me at the home of Brett Sheriff (1504 Linden Ave.) tonight from 6 to 8 PM for an Early Voting Kickoff Event! And please invite your friends and neighbors to come and talk to me. Bring the children, as Brett will be grilling hot dogs. After all, I don’t need to “educate” you and your friends and neighbors on our district; I need to listen to all your needs and concerns and take them with me to Metro Council.

Former District 18 Councilmembers Betty Nixon and Ginger Hausser Pepper will be there in support of our campaign. They will be joined by other friends and neighbors including Burkley Allen, Bonnie & Bill Myers, Linda & Darrell Bengson, Melinda Newpher, Russanne Buchi-Forte’, Nancy & Mike Noland, Jan Bushing, Gary Bynum, Jon Norris, Ann & Evans Donnell, Ross Pepper, Mark & Diana Duren, Cameron & Nathan Phillips, Nancy Fullerton, Will Pinkston, Elizabeth Gilbreath, Abby Rubenfeld, Gill Geldreich & Glenn Swann, Lynne & John Shaw, Joe Kovalick & Sunday Camp, Sandra Shelton, Judy Locke, Sharan & Tony Martin, Laura & Eric Swanson, Wayne Morris and Bertha Walker.


Let’s keep the momentum growing! You know I’ll represent all of us all of the time. And you know I’ll take your voice to Metro Council, whether it’s the opposition to LED signs I wrote about in my Feb. 18 email message or the continuing crusade to make our Hillsboro Cluster schools the best they can be. We’re going to do great things together!

Warmest regards,
Stephenie Dodson
Working For You

P.S. Remember to “save the date”
18th District Metro Council Candidate Run-Off Forum
3 to 4 PM on Sunday, April 19
Eakin Elementary School Auditorium

Please come and invite as many people as you can!

Dan Miller (1941-2009)

A classy gentleman and terrific journalist is gone. Now Dan Miller and John Chancellor are together again. I wish we had more like them still around.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Run-Off Forum in District 18!

From the Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association email list:

Please save the date
18th District Special Election Run-off
Candidates’ Forum
Sunday, April 19th at 3 p.m.
Eakin School Auditorium

Please attend the 18th District Council run-off election forum on
Sunday, April 19th at 3 p.m. at the Eakin School auditorium. This
event is sponsored by Hillsboro West End Neighborhood; Belmont
Hillsboro Neighbors; Hillsboro Village Merchants; Belmont University;
and Vanderbilt University.

Candidates Stephenie Dodson and Kristine LaLonde will discuss issues
of concern to the 18th district and Nashville. To submit a question,
please e-mail it to by Thursday,
April 16th or you may submit questions at the forum up until to 2:55

For additional information, please contact Mary Pat Teague at 322-8337

UPDATE: A press release put out by Vandy today (April 8) says my former boss Howard Gentry will moderate the forum. I'll take that as a good omen, though I know he'll be fair and impartial as a moderator should!

Early Voting Kickoff Event This Thursday!


Early voting starts April 10th & we're kicking it off with a
Dodson fund raising rally

Join us as we rally 'round Stephenie in a show of support

Stephenie will represent ALL of us ALL of the Time

 Thursday, April 9, 2009

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM 

 Home of Brett Sheriff

   1504 Linden Avenue

  Please invite your friends and neighbors to meet Stephenie and learn how she'll represent us in Metro Council 



Burkley Allen

Bonnie &

Bill Myers

Linda &

Darrell Bengson

Melinda Newpher

Russanne Buchi-Forte’

Nancy &

Mike Noland

Jan Bushing

Betty Nixon

Gary Bynum

Jon Norris

Ginger Hausser Pepper &

Ross Pepper

Ann &
Evans Donnell

Mark &

Diana Duren

Cameron &
Nathan Phillips

Nancy Fullerton

Will Pinkston

Elizabeth Gilbreath

Abby Rubenfeld

Gill Geldreich &

Glenn Swann

Lynne &
John Shaw

Joe Kovalick &

Sunday Camp

Sandra Shelton

Judy Locke

Brett Sheriff

Sharan &

Tony Martin

Laura &

Eric Swanson

Wayne Morris

Bertha Walker


Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Song of Extinction" Wins Steinberg/ATCA

From an American Theatre Critics Association press release:


Playwright receives $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award;
$7,500 Citations for Lee Blessing and Tracy Letts

The American Theatre Critics Association has selected E.M. (Ellen) Lewis’ "Song of Extinction" to receive the 2009 Harold and Mimi Steinberg /ATCA New Play Award. The announcement was made April 4 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. The award includes a plaque and a cash prize of $25,000 -the largest national award for a new play.

Lee Blessing’s "Great Falls" and Tracy Letts’ "Superior Donuts" received Steinberg/ATCA citations and $7,500 each. Both Lewis and Letts are first-time winners, but Blessing previously won the 2006 Steinberg/ATCA Award for "A Body of Water," and in 1987 he won the predecessor ATCA New Play Award for "A Walk in the Woods."

The award was started in 1977 to honor plays that debut at regional theaters outside New York City, where there are many new play awards. No play is eligible if it has gone on to a New York production within the award year (in this case, 2008).

“The long-standing partnership between the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the American Theatre Critics Association has recognized some of today’s greatest writers, and helped identify the great playwrights of tomorrow,” said trustee Jim Steinberg. “We’re delighted to help support the unique telling of tales on the American stage.”

Lewis’ "Song of Extinction" debuted in November at Moving Arts in Hollywood after having been featured in NYU’s hotINK International Festival of New Plays and receiving a reading in the Atlantic Theater’s Next Page series. It has already won several awards, including the EcoDrama Playwriting Competition, the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Ted Schmitt Award for a world premiere and the LA Weekly award for production of the year.

Blessing’s "Great Falls" is a wry drama about a stepfather and his disaffected stepdaughter trying to make connections on a road trip across the American West. It was produced in February 2008 at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Letts’ "Superior Donuts" is a comic drama portraying the resurrection of a former ‘60s radical who is hiding from disappointments and tragedies byrunning a tiny Chicago doughnut shop. His isolation is challenged by a young black man seeking a job and running from some secrets of his own. It premiered in June at Steppenwolf Theater.

In Lewis’ "Song of Extinction," Max, a musically gifted high school student, is falling off the edge of the world, and his biology teacher is the only one who’s noticed. According to the ATCA New Play committee, it starts as a realistic examination of ecology, genocide, isolation, music, family relationships and more, but it morphs into a dreamscape which weaves the disparate strands into a pattern of inter-connectedness.

“I’d like to thank the Steinberg family and ATCA,” said a visibly excited Lewis. “I feel so honored to receive this award for my play. It is an amazing gift.”

Lewis has accomplished a lot in a short playwriting career. Last year, she won ATCA’s $10,000 Francesca Primus Award for "Heads," a hostage drama set against the war in Iraq that Edward Albee called “provocative and wonderfully threatening.” Her "Infinite Black Suitcase," a large ensemble play about grief and survival in rural Oregon, received its world premiere in 2007. On her web site ( Lewis quotes James Baldwin: “The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” She comes from Oregon but now lives in Santa Monica, California.

Some two dozen scripts were nominated by ATCA members, and the winners were chosen by a committee led by Wm. F. Hirschman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Other committee members are Misha Berson, Seattle Times; Bruce Burgun, Bloomington Herald Times and Back Stage; Michael Elkin, Jewish Exponent (Pa.); Jay Handelman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Pam Harbaugh, Florida Today (Melbourne); Leonard Jacobs, New York Press, Back Stage and The Clyde Fitch Report; Chad Jones, Oakland (Cal.) Tribune; Elizabeth Keill, Independent Press (Morristown, NJ); Elizabeth Maupin, Orlando Sentinel; Wendy Parker, The Village Mill (Midlothian, Va.); Michael Sander, Back Stage (Minn.); and Herb Simpson, (Rochester, NY).

Honorees since 1977 have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Jane Martin, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Horton Foote and Craig Lucas. Last year’s winner was Moises Kaufman for "33 Variations," now being staged on Broadway. Each year’s honorees are chronicled in The Best Plays Theater Yearbook, edited by Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, alongside the 10 best plays produced that year in New York City. For a complete list of the 80 plays cited from 1977 through 2008, go to, under Awards.

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg on behalf of himself and his late wife. Pursuing its primary mission to support the American theater, it has provided millions of dollars to support new productions of American plays and educational programs for those who may not ordinarily experience live theater.

ATCA was founded in 1974 and works to raise critical standards and public awareness of critics’ functions and responsibilities and to recognize excellence in the American theater. The only national association of professional theater critics, with several hundred members working for newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and websites, ATCA is the U.S. national section of the International Association of Theatre Critics, a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.