Steve Buchanan Production Commentary #201

By MusicLounge Sep 25, 2013
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Nashville EP# 201 - "I Fall to Pieces"

Before ABC’s Nashville, there was the movie Nashville, the 1975 semi-farcical saga about country music and politics. Though critically lauded, it was locally despised by both Belle Meade and Music Row, one of the rare instances back then that the two factions shared an opinion. Nashville is a far more blended city today with blue bloods, bankers, politicians and musicians sitting side by side in board rooms and banquet tables, networking and schmoozing backstage and in corporate suites.  And there is no doubt the residents of Nashville are crazy about the ABC Nashville; every episode, character and story line is the topic of morning-after speculation all over town.

What the two Nashvilles do have in common is a concert filmed in front of one of our most unique treasures, The Parthenon.  Built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exhibition, the only full-scale replica of the original in Greece was intended only to be on site for the six-month celebration. It proved to be so popular though that the temporary structure was rebuilt 20 years later of concrete on the same foundation. The ‘new’ Parthenon became the centerpiece of Centennial Park and the symbol of Nashville’s boast as “The Athens of the South.”

But what is an exact replica of the Athens’ Parthenon without its most famous resident? In 1982, Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire was commissioned to reproduce Athena Parthenos. While that huge project was underway, the interior of the building was renovated and in December 1990, the almost 42 foot tall gold-gilded amazon was unveiled to the public. To appropriately complement the stunning goddess within, the building’s exterior underwent a full restoration. Lighting was also upgraded to allow the columns to be illuminated in different shades than the façade to properly showcase their symmetrical design at night. And with some enhancement, it provides a dramatic backdrop to Juliette’s concert in the premiere episode.

By day, Centennial Park’s 132 lush landscaped acres are filled with walkers, runners, bikers, picnickers and children on playgrounds, and feeding the fat ducks of Lake Watauga. Numerous festivals take place on the massive shaded lawn through the year, and every summer Shakespeare in the Park is staged in front of the classic structure.

While this episode did not reveal Athena, Nashville viewers have seen Alan LeQuire’s work before. He is also the sculptor behind the somewhat controversial Musica at the Music Row Roundabout, where nine twice-life-size and anatomically explicit bronze nudes dance in a circular composition, and on which Juliette cavorted in Episode II last season while shooting a video.   Though many conservative church members in this Buckle of the Bible Belt disapproved of the nudity, Musica has become a beloved local landmark. On St. Patrick’s Day the naked youth are clothed in kilts and blouses, and during hockey and football season the same naked youth don huge Predator and Titan jerseys.

While Juliette was strutting her stuff on stage in Centennial Park, Rayna spent most of “I Fall to Pieces” as Sleeping Beauty, supine in her suite just blocks away at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, hovering between life and death in an induced coma.  Juliette’s reaction to the tragedy---“It’s hard enough to break out of this ‘tween demo, now I have to compete with a saint in a coma!” ---reassures us that despite the sensitive core she revealed at the close of last season, the driven young superstar can still spit out a spectacularly self-centered response to any situation.

- Steve Buchanan