A Room & a Stage: Introducing Music City Pickers Live!

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A room and a stage. That’s all Brady Seals and Gordon Kennedy went looking for when trying to find a venue to host their live singer/songwriter series, Music City Pickers Live! They were eager to find a place where they could invite other local songwriters, of all genres, to share their art and song with the good folks of Franklin. Luckily, these two fantastic musicians found exactly that, and so much more, right here in the heart of Williamson County.

 

When Grammy nominee and No. 1 hit singer/songwriter, Brady Seals, opened Music City Pickers in 2010, he dreamed his guitar shop would one day host a live music event featuring local musicians of all kinds. Unfortunately for Seals, however great the space was for a shop it didn’t provide the right kind of space and acoustics for a live music venue. But Franklin is full of all sorts of wonderful, talented musicians and his good friend (and fellow songwriter, who co-wrote the Eric Clapton hit, Change the World), Gordon Kennedy, wandered into the shop and told him about the incredible experience he recently had playing a show at The Factory at Franklin’s Little Brick Theatre. Both of them knew immediately they had to explore more of what The Factory had to offer, and how their live version of Music City Pickers might come to fruition there.

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When the two visited the Little Brick Theatre again, they knew it was the real deal.  Not only would the venue provide the space they were searching for, they realized that guests who came to see the performances could also enjoy wares from local makers, artisans, and tasty treats from local restaurants The Factory also housed as well—right here in one spot holds the perfect night out for the folks of Williamson County.

 

So, what should you expect from these fantastic live performances?

 

“You just never know what may happen when songwriters get together.” Seals remarked, “We’re looking forward to featuring all genres of music, including pop, bluegrass and gospel. My wife, Lisa, is excited about putting together a “Girl’s Night Out” spotlighting an all female lineup.”

 

Be sure to come down to The Factory this season to eat, shop, and listen to some of the greatest musicians around every single Thursday at The Little Brick Theatre. Performances will consist of talented up and coming songwriters to mega-hit writers and artists. The Factory could not be happier to welcome this new music series to our venue, and we welcome you all to come and enjoy it right along with us!

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Eat Local. Drink Local. Laugh Local.

It comes as no surprise that Franklin is one of the most supportive artist communities in Middle Tennessee. From art, music and film, to dance and theatre, it’s the perfect place to have a good time and celebrate the arts. So… why not implement a little comedy into the mix? Let’s face it, Williamson County is a fun-loving community, it loves to laugh. That’s why, The Factory at Franklin is excited to announce its new resident super group improv troupe—The Franklin All-Stars!

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This comedic super group consists of a core of four main performers. At the heart of the All-Stars we have Barry McAlister and Cindy Carter from Sprocket Improv, and Lacie Madison and Michael Kearney from the Nashville Improv. Both Sprocket Improv and the Nashville Improv have hosted and performed several shows at The Factory’s Little Brick Theatre earlier this year. These two groups have performed successful shows all over Nashville, the Tennessee Region, and beyond, and the shows performed at the Little Brick Theatre were no different. In fact, the audience enjoyed these performances so much The Factory decided it needs a little more laughter in it’s life, a little more fun, and a lot more “yes, and…”

Each month this group will also invite other performers and comedians from other local improv teams to perform along with them in The Factory’s Little Brick Theatre.

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The Little Brick Theatre is truly the perfect host for these events. The gorgeous old brick building makes for a beautiful back-drop, and the theater is a perfect size for and intimate show—the more intimate in improv, the better the audience/performer dynamic. We can’t wait to see what magic the All-Stars come up with this season!

When asked what the All-Stars are looking forward to most about their Factory residency, Barry McAlister replied, “Franklin is an incredible town!  There’s a vibe there unlike anywhere else.  It’s historic, artsy, vibrant and they’ve been supporting local theater there for years and we are excited to add improv to the mix. There’s no other regular comedy opportunity in the area, either, and we’re looking forward to getting to know folks as they come out and give our shows a try.”

For more information and to purchase tickets ahead of time go to www.franklinimprov.com. The next show is November 25th, and then shows will be held regularly on the second Saturday of each month.

Holiday Events at The Factory

No other venue in Williamson County offers the historic charm and creative possibilities that The Factory does, and holiday season is clearly no different! The Factory is proud to kick off a season of holiday events to keep your days merry and bright, and your creative gift ideas flowing. Between pop-up fairs, holiday markets, and all the live music events—you’ll be sure to find an event (and gift) for everyone in the family to enjoy this year!

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To kick off the big season, we’ve got two major must-attend holiday events this year: Made South Holiday Market and City Farmhouse Holiday Pop-Up Fair.

November 18-19th, Made South will take over The Factory as more than 130 artisans, makers, and creators will celebrate the best in creativity and Southern hospitality. This event will feature everything from Southern distiller tastings to chef demonstrations, live music, and more. Friday night will host a VIP party before the big event on Saturday that you will definitely not want to miss… Did someone say complimentary drink tickets? Between the party, the tastings, and the wares, this event is one for the books. Be sure to come #ShopSouthern with Made South this year!

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As the holiday season continues, our very own resident antique experts, City Farmhouse, will host their annual Holiday Pop-Up Fair on December 3-4th! The #CityFarmhousePopup Fairs have been named one of the top five events to attend in October by Southern Living, the top October event to attend in Tennessee by Garden & Gun, and the #1 Flea Market/Antique Show by Romantic Country… Now just imagine what their holiday event might entail!

This year, they will have Flea Market Style Magazine at the event to celebrate its re-launch, as well as Whitney Miller (Master Chef Season One winner) who will host a cooking demonstration, as well as signing her newest cookbook for those who purchase it. It truly is a not-to-be-missed event for all things Southern, creative, and stylish this season.

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Last, but certainly not least, we can’t leave out The Factory’s favorite holiday tradition, The Trees of Christmas! We hope you and your family will join us this holiday season as we present one of our favorite annual events. The Factory will have all its halls decked out, and display more than 40 real Christmas trees, each beautifully and thoughtfully decorated for the season by our local artisans and merchants! Come down, grab some coffee from Honest Coffee Roasters and something sweet from Five Daughters and stroll around our grounds. We look forward to seeing you all there and are so excited to celebrate the season with you!

StudioTenn Brings Local, Historic Play to the Spotlight at The Factory

It’s no surprise that Williamson County’s theatre scene just gets better and better with each forthcoming season. Franklin teems with talent and creative purpose. The Factory at Franklin’s own, StudioTenn, is one of the many reasons Willaimson County sets itself apart in terms of creativity. In fact, they are set to kickoff their 2016/2017 season with the locally written, produced, and performed play, “The Battle of Franklin: Civil War Reflections Through Word and Song.”

This historical drama details the city’s famed 1864 Civil War battle through theatrical representation and song. The Factory at Franklin is so pleased this resident production company aims to represent the deeply-steeped history of Franklin, Tennessee, their home base for last five years. By working with leading local historians, the production aims to remain as historically accurate as possible, while melding actual historical accounts with creative license. The result is a moving piece that illuminates the lives of those in a war-torn South.

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“The Battle of Franklin: Civil War Reflections Through Word and Song” runs November 3rd-13th, at the Jamison Theater inside The Factory. Tickets start at $35, and believe us when we say that you do NOT want to miss out on this incredible event.

StudioTenn is well known for producing emotionally arousing, professional theatre that taps into your existence as a human and stirs your innate desires. Their vision to create locally-produced theatre that is both regionally engaged and nationally recognized is quickly becoming a reality.

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Artistic Director Matt Logan and Managing Director Jack Speck fulfill lifelong dreams through their StudioTenn repertoire by producing locally written pieces of theatrical magnificents performed by local actors.

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Recently, the production company received endless acclaim for their performance of Tennesse Williams, “The Glass Menagerie” and “Evita.” In fact, the latter even drew in nationally recognized Broadway actor and Tony Award winner, Anthony Crivello.

This on-the-rise production company gathers endless accolades from the local arts community including The Tennessean and the Nashville Arts Magazine, and is the only local production ever asked to be featured in Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) series.

The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization works to present creative, original, works while casting new light on well-known pieces in the theater canon. It also produces an original “Legacy” series that focuses on the classic works of well-honored musicians.

Don’t miss this theatrical treat while it’s still a hidden gem at The Factory at Franklin.

MAFIAoZA’s Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub Comes to The Factory

So let’s say you’re looking to impress your date, or maybe a friend or family member with a great meal, unparalleled local shopping, and a class act of a show. Immediately, the Factory at Franklin pops into your mind, right? Right.

Knowing no better place to tackle all three, your heart is set…but which tastebud-enticing restaurant you’re going to eat at is still undecided. You want something flavorful, filling, and classic. Good news! MAFIAoZA’s Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub is opening a new location at the Factory! We know, we know, how exciting!

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Stepping into MAFIAoZA’s you’ll realize they’re about to make an offer you just can’t refuse. With a menu boasting everything from pizza and a traditional caprese salad – hello, tomato season! – to modern twists on classics like Saltimbocca, MAFIAoZA’s represents fine Italian cuisine to the fullest extent. (Check out their killer menu here and see for yourself).

Though MAFIAoZA’s specializes in all the old world Italian specialties, they will immediately win over your heart the minute you browse the pizza list. With options like these, you’re ready to join the Don and his family.

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Take The Last Request for example: Black olives, extra cheese, pepperoni, salami, italian sausage, portobello mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, green peppers, red onion and jalapeños…? Honestly, need we say more?

MAFIAoZA’s true Italian authenticity reveals itself. The Don and his Family know Italian…which is why their extensive old and new world Italian wine list is sure to be the best in Williamson County. It’s the type of wine list that knocks you dead…er, um, we mean swimming with the fishes.

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MAFIAoZA’s knows that great Italian food isn’t born great, it’s grown great. That’s why they focus on the best of ingredients in all of their dishes. So before you go out settling family business, why not tackle it at the dinner table over a nice plate of “Ol’ Blue Eyes” spaghetti and meatballs? Because no one gets the job done better than MAFIAoZA’s.

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The Factory at Franklin is so pleased to announce our new relationship with MAFIAoZA’s, and we guarantee you’re going to love it…or else.

Saturday at The Factory: A Love Story

It’s true what they say: the world is full of magic if you open the window wide enough and look for it. If you venture down the road and see what’s really there. It was a beautiful spring Saturday. I wanted to unearth something unexpected; to brush dust off a precious gem and hold it up to the light. I knew somewhere close this dream could be a reality, all warmth and sugar and creative action. Let’s just get going, I thought. Let’s just get gone. What I found when I entered The Factory at Franklin was nothing short of this—a place of comfort, of community, the triumphant heartbeat of local food, folk, and art that I’d been searching for, for a long, long time.

The day began early. What surprises would be in store? I made my way through the rolling hills and horses of Williamson County to The Factory at Franklin for the very first time. Parking was much easier than I expected, as there has been buzz about this spot for quite some time, and as soon as I found a spot the familiar smell of coffee brewing lured me right inside the doors of Honest Coffee Roasters.

Now, I am by all intensive purposes a coffee snob. I humbly admit it. After years and years of staying up late finishing grant proposals or writing the last myriad details of a manuscript, I take my coffee very, very seriously; and let me tell y’all, Honest Coffee Roasters has the good stuff, the real stuff. Real, real good in every way. It was a hot day, so I decided to grab a cold brew. That first sip? Heavenly. My sleepiness let out a long, withdrawing roar and the day had officially begun. I knew I wanted to get a good look at the entire Factory, so I waltzed out and down the hall towards Five Daughters Bakery. After all, as every true southern woman knows, the most sacred meal of the day has always been breakfast.

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There was a small line at Five Daughters, and in hindsight, I can see why. Crisp and sweet and flaky, this doughnut was one of the tastiest treats I’d eaten in years. I had about 30 minutes to kill before my friend and her son were meeting me to explore, so I decided on the blackberry lychee 100 layer doughnut (I’m an adventurous eater), and went to sit comfortably in the open-warehouse seating area. Lush leather couches, a tall glass ceiling, exposed beams, a chandelier… It was everything my little heart desired, and with my favorite breakfast treats to boot!

As I finished my breakfast, I people watched. Young parents with children learning to walk, grandparents with little leaguers, fathers, mothers, and even solo, young professionals like me—everyone was here, people of all walks of life… Had I found it? Was it real? Community and commerce, all types of people coming together to spend a day enjoying their Saturday off, it was real! This is the gem, I thought, as I finished my coffee. Here it is. Here it is, after all this time.

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Once my friend and her son arrived, we made our way outside to the Franklin Farmer’s Market that had set up shop in the expansive parking lot. How refreshing! Fresh produce, tasty food trucks, handmade soaps and lotions and stunning jewelry—this was the hotbed of local commerce I had been searching for. Everything here was locally sourced, locally produced, and locally owned. Children were eating ice cream and laughing on the patio, my friend bought a beautiful Tennessee sign for her living room, I bought oatmeal soap; I could have easily walked up and down the magical outdoor aisles all day, however, I knew there was more here to see.

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We slipped back into The Factory and before we knew it, found ourselves inside the beauty that is CR-71. Between the reclaimed wooden dining room tables and steeple-like windows for hanging, if I had a larger car with me, I would have redone my entire house right then and there. Their goods were that beautiful. From there we ventured over to the glory of City Farmhouse, where I bought my mother a floppy sun hat for Mother’s Day (though I could have bought that whole store as well everything was so stunning). Honestly, there isn’t a single shop in The Factory that didn’t impress me. The attention to detail, the hard work and dedication that these makers’ put into their wares is so very apparent. I can’t imagine shopping for those I love any other place but here now.

By this time, we had done lots of adventuring and were starting to grow hungry again, so we decided to stop by Franklin Juice Company for a light lunch. Between my açaí bowl (which I’m still dreaming about), and my friend’s yummy smoothie, it was the perfect lunch. Sweet, healthy, and delicious. It gave us the energy our bodies so badly craved. We even had some of their raw, cold pressed orange juice to wash it all down. The entire meal was a true delight.

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My favorite poet, Jack Gilbert, once wrote, “We can do without pleasure, but not delight.” And I agree. Thanks to The Factory, I had found my Saturday’s delight. I had found a place that represented home. All of Williamson county’s warmth, love, and community all wrapped up in one gorgeous building. Like the gem it is, it shines. Sparkles. It sings of something greater than just retail transactions. Make your way into its stunning interior and see for yourself just exactly how special this place truly is.

-Guest Blogger, Meg Wade

Ten Top Events For 2016 At The Factory

Aren’t “Top Ten” lists just so played out? Here at The Factory at Franklin, every event is always at the very top of the list, and this year’s lineup is definitely one to write home about! Instead of a “Top Ten” list (like all those other event spaces put out every year), here is The Factory’s “TEN TOP” list of not to miss events for the 2016 calendar year! In no particular order:

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-Showmance (March 11)—Studio Tenn and The Theater Bug collaborate to present, “Showmance!” Following Studio Tenn’s presentation of, “The Glass Menagerie,” the two production houses will come together to perform this original play. This particular performance will be the first showing in Williamson County for The Theater Bug, one of Tennessee’s best children’s theatrical companies.

-Music on the Lawn (Coming This Spring, Stay Tuned For Dates!)—This ongoing, multi-genre music series which solely showcases original songwriting and songwriters.

-Made South Marketplace (November 18th-19th)—Looking for a two-day event featuring over 100 makers from all over the south? Yeah…we thought so.

-City Farmhouse Barn Sales (June 17th-18th & October 14th-15th)—The Factory will host two, three-day events featuring over 120 antique dealers from all over the country. There’s no telling what treasures wait to be unearthed here!

-Bramble (June 4th)—The perfect summertime show focusing solely on men’s health, fashion, and lifestyle.

-Beer, Bacon, and Bourbon Festival (March 5th)—This one speaks for itself, folks… Definitely not one to miss!

-Franklin Wine Festival (October 21st)—This event will feature over 400 wines from 40 different local restaurants…. Come thirsty, y’all!

-Kinekt Conference (September 9th-10th)—This two-day event will focus on digital media and the latest technologies. Come get all the latest information!

Remember, there are always things happening down at The Factory, so be sure to check out our lineup regularly for more information on all of these (and many more) events!