East Nashville Performing Artists Co-Op, a.k.a. “The Purple Theatre”

There’s a lot going on in East Nashville, my neck of the woods. Entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists run amok. Hipsters, too. Lots of voices to be heard, events to be experienced, and venues to support.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the bumping East Nashville scene, a newcomer may just feel a tad – overwhelmed. On Monday nights in Five Points for example, she can check out David Oakleaf’s and Anthony Billups’The Building,” an up-and-coming hotspot for new music and visual art, stroll down to the Purple Theatre, a.k.a. the Performing Artists Co-Op to hear spoken word poetry or prose by beatnik locals, and/or shimmy over to the Five Spot, home of the relentless “Motown Mondays,” where unstoppable R&B music is danced to by young, sexy Nashvillians in cool outfits. Enough to make one’s head spin.

If this imaginary newcomer to East Nashville were, or intended to be, an entrepreneur, she would also have to deal with HOW she would like to spend her energy on Monday nights. Perhaps she’s a musician, and she’d like to showcase her talent at the Building, hoping to carve out a niche in the East Nashville New Music Scene. Or maybe she’s a poet, and she’d like to rap with the silver-tongued wordsmiths of the Co-Op. Could be she’s both of these things, but she also likes a social life where she can just let her hair down and get down to some Earth, Wind, and Fire. Finally, she may simply wish to stay home and work on her business, her art, or herself.

This is one of the benefits, and dangers, of living in such a vibrant community. So much to do, to explore, and to be a part of; yet only so much one human being can do, explore, and be a part of. For us artists, we want to support the scene as much as we want the scene to support us, but how to do that so we don’t feel the need to throw ourselves off a bridge?

Here are some ideas from your local budding musician-entrepreneur:

1) PICK and choose where to spend your energy. This can be the hardest thing to do, especially when it could all serve you. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Going out is important, so find a venue or event you really connect with, and frequent that event with semi-regularity to give the impression that you are serious about being a part of it.

2) Alternate between venues or events. For me, showing up at the Building one Monday, then the Co-Op the following Monday, and the Building the Monday after that, and so on, has allowed me to be active at both venues.

3) Trust the process. Breaking into a new scene is never an overnight affair, as I can certainly attest. For an entrepreneur who is using a scene to fuel his or her business, baby steps are in order.

That’s just my two cents – take it with a grain of salt. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you, like me, are just starting out. A place like East Nashville has a lot to offer – but trying to dive into all of it can be detrimental to your health! That being said, enjoy whatever scene you find yourself in, and take as much of it in as possible.

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