Nashville - long, long overdue

It's been a bit crazy, for reasons you'll soon discover... (hint, hint - check the blog for a big announcement tomorrow!). So I've been incredibly remiss in writing a Nashville recap.

First of all, I'd like to thank the amazing folks at the Nashville Film Festival who were so kind to me - especially Nancy, who spent 5 whole days making sure I was having fun (I was!) and got everywhere I needed to be on time and in one piece.

Nashville is absolutely gorgeous... If you've never been there before - which I hadn't - you simply must go. Green trees everywhere, lovely people, an awesome music scene, and for the coffee lovers among you, a really cool coffeeshop near one of the universities. I don't remember it's name off the top of my head but if you're in the area, definitely ask for the place with the Nun Bun. A number of years ago, a cinnamon roll-ish type of pastry came out of the oven looking like Mother Theresa and a legendary story was born (especially after Mother Theresa asked them to stop using her name and likeness - but, in fairness, it wasn't their fault that the bun looked like her!). In any event, great little place... check it out.

But I didn't go all the way to Nashville to check out Nun Buns. I went there to make a few appearances and to do a panel discussion entitled "Actor Turned Filmmaker" (which as you might imagine was about actors who have turned into filmmakers).

One of my first "duties" was attending an event at a winery... yes, I lead a very, very difficult life. ;-) The winery is owned by the "Brooks" in Brooks & Dunn, and apparently I was talking to him and didn't even know it. Chalk one up for what happens when you go to the country music capitol of the world and don't do your homework on country music. Thankfully, they didn't put me on a plane and ship me home... instead, they still asked me to sign a guitar that they were going to auction off for charity. Here's a picture of me doing the signing:

And here's a picture of the signed guitar (my signature is near the top of the photo next to the guitar strings):

Yes, in the middle is AL GORE'S SIGNATURE!!!!!! And WILLIAM H. MACY'S SIGNATURE!!!! How cool is that? If they ever see that guitar again I'm sure they'll be saying to themselves: um, who's Michelle Paradise? Thankfully, I always carry DVDs of the show with me wherever I go... (kidding!) ;-)

Later, I also got to have dinner with the amazing Patricia Neal:

She was gorgeous and charming and it was a thrill for me to get to meet her.

But I promise I did more than just socialize... and I have pictures to prove it! The "Actor Turned Filmmaker" panel went really well... it was packed, the audience was engaged, and my fellow panelists had a lot of smart advice to offer. Here are photos of me and my fellow panelists, Vincent D'Onofrio, Joey Lauren Adams, and Robbie Benson:

And here we all are with casting director extraordinaire, Laray Mayfield:

Laray also arranged for an INCREDIBLE concert in a venue appropriately called The Basement (because it looks just like a basement). It's small... I think it holds 120 people max. Now, I may not know much about country music, but I sure as hell know who Lyle Lovett is - and how lucky I was to get to see him and the other musicians in such an intimate space. It was a once-in-a-lifetime evening, for sure. This was the night before I left and I'm so happy I was in town long enough to be able to see it...

(note: The photos are terrible because I took them with my camera phone...)

Jessica Mayfield opened the show. She had a really cute stuffed owl that she brought on stage with her, but sadly you can't see it in this photo:

Lori McKenna and Mark O'Reilly followed. He was playing backup for her, but then did one of his own songs called "The Volunteer," which was about American soldiers. It's one of the most beautifully written songs I've heard...

And, of course, the man, Lyle Lovett. He performed with John Haitt and Tony Joe White. They were all great together, taking turns with singing and then occasionally playing with one another. I wasn't familiar with John or Tony (or Lori, Mark, or Jessica) before this evening, but I'm going to check them out after seeing them...

Wow, have I put enough photos in this post??? ;-)

If anyone from the festival is reading this, thank you again... As you can see, I had a great time - and I really enjoyed getting to speak on the panel. I hope the people who attended got as much out of it as I did.

Another post coming tomorrow... and you won't want to miss it!!


Anonymous Janice said...


Hoo boy!! I was so busy jumping around like a crazy person after reading the post and good news above this one, that I totally missed your post here.
Sounds like you had a great time in Nashville. Do you think you'll ever get down here in the Atlanta area???? Pretty,pretty please???

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Janice said...


I had to come back and add that I think it is so fantastic that you had dinner with Patricia Neal. Being on the panel with those other guys was great, but Patricia Neal is a living legend, IMO.

3:34 AM  
Blogger Nancy VanReece said...

Bongo Java. The name of the coffe place is across from Belmont University ...

Come back soon MP.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Nancy VanReece said...


This link will take you to a Video Interview of MP at the Nashville Film Festival! (cut and paste if you need to ...

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Sue said...

So you didn't know who Brooks of Brooks and Dunn was eh? You're in good company. I read that when country star Brad Paisley met his wife-to-be Kimberley Williams on a plane, she didn't know who he was. And Shania Twain didn't know that the Mutt Lange she was talking to on the phone (who soon after skyrocketed her career into the stratosphere) was a big-time rock music producer.

I was talking to this woman once and had no idea (until she got up to sing) that she had written one of Jann Arden's most popular songs!

When you think about it, any of us could have talked (or will soon) to someone who is famous in their field and not have known it!

10:47 AM  

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