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BAD

B y S U S A NN A H F E LT S | P h o t o s b y E R I C S TA P L E S

GOOD
HAIR

TAXIDERMY,

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ong before Cali DeVaney opened her one-of-a-kind hair salon and barber shop in Nashville, Parlour & Juke, there stood in her hometown of Florence, Alabama, an unassuming beauty parlor named A Cut Above. It occupied a house near the University of North Alabama, and Cali, then twenty, and a few years out of cosmetology school, sized the place uphardwood floors, big windows, lots of lightand saw what the older women who ran A Cut Above could not see. They wanted to make money off rich white women in Florence, she recalls. They didnt see that they were right by the college in a hip area, and those young people were a viable source [of income]. So Cali went to work, the youngest stylist on staff by a long shot, her vision clear: I wanted to cash in on the college demographic, she says. I knew all the young people would come to me, and they did. Cali, now thirty-three, still speaks with some wonder about that decision. Looking back, she says, Im like, how did I think like that then? Her early business sense can be seen now, happily, as an auspicious beginning. In 2011, after years of working in salons and on her own in Nashville, Cali opened Parlour & Juke. She set about adorning a warehouse space on Cannery Row with an astonishing range of conversation piecesvintage curios and furniture, posters, taxidermied creatures, and even a church altar that now holds old Tab containers filled with round brushes. The result is a visual

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PARLOUR AND JUKE

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feast, a three-dimensional collage that makes the setting truly unlike any other, salon or otherwise. And word about Parlour & Juke is spreading, so much that national media outlets are knocking at its door. Last summer, in a GQ feature on Nashville, Parlour & Juke barber Michael Martin picked up some major buzz for The Business, his classic straightrazor shave and cut, and a reporter for Lucky wrote that she couldn't stop looking around at all of the delights that the salon had to offerI can say with absolute certainty that they are setting the standard for trendy salons. Soon Cali will bring on a second barber to help whittle down the growing waitlist, which is made up of mostly men. Cross-legged on a brown vinyl couch, Cali looks around the space. With exposed, whitewashed brick and ceiling beams, garlands of white Christmas lightsthe room is bright and airy. Vintage palmistry and anatomy posters, Everly Brothers 45s, and antlers

"THIS IS CALI, AND SHES GONNA DO YOUR HAIR OR YOURE GONNA LEAVE.
draped with ponytails grace the walls, along with an abundance of artwork done by Bryce McCloud (of Isle of Printing), a friend and kindred spirit of Calis who designed the shops logo. Just outside a tall, southfacing window, a freight train rumbles by. Though the room isnt quite round, the ceiling architecture lends itself to that illusion. Cali thinks it feels a little like a circus tent, and shes right. Guests often tell Cali that this doesnt look like any salon theyve ever been to. And that is very important to me, she says. *** It all began in the 1990s at Rays University of Beauty in Florence, a cosmetology school where, at seventeen, Cali enrolled with a friend ten years her senior. It was the kind of place you could smoke while you worked, which seemed like a sweet benefit at the time. Her boss, Martha, was a decent kindwhen

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women came in for $5 cuts and roller sets, but balked at having their hair done by the girl with the pink hair, Martha stood firm: This is Cali, and shes gonna do your hair or youre gonna leave. After working in salons in Florence for several years, Cali left Alabama for Nashville in 2002, and she hasnt exactly looked back. But Parlour & Juke is layered with artifacts from her childhoodrusty implements from her parents farm, a distressed white shelf made by her great-

grandfather. Several cow tags, also unearthed from the farm, hang from the ceiling, as do three beautiful quilts made by her great-grandmother. On one wall, theres a snakeskin mounted on black velvet, that her grandfather made. Its such a strong childhood memory; it was in his house forever, she says of the snakeskin. Across the room, beneath flags representing the home states of the staff, stands an armadillo on his hind feet. I love bad taxidermy, Cali says. I love the idea of

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putting something that looks weird in a place thats supposed to be beautiful. Theres just something funny about it. When she first started planning Parlour & Juke, Cali kept thinking back to A Cut Abovean old house, high ceilings, lots of light. But after some unsuccessful searching in East Nashville, she had an agent show her the warehouse space on Cannery Row. When I saw the ceiling, I was like, done, she says. The space also met two of Calis key criteria: it lacked a storefront, and it was nearbywell, it couldnt really be any closer toa music venue. If I wasnt doing this, Id be in music, she saysand in a way, she is. She travels to do styling on video sets (her boyfriend is Joshua Black Wilkins, the singer-songwriter and photographer). She keeps a tight rein on the music played during work hours, obsessively develops playlists, and even used to make end-ofthe-year CDs for her clients. Many of the

Cannery, Mercy Lounge, and High Watt staffers have become clients, and in a stroke of synergy, Parlour & Juke hosts live music at the shop.

"I LOVE THE IDEA OF PUTTING SOMETHING THAT LOOKS WEIRD IN A PLACE THATS SUPPOSED TO BE BEAUTIFUL. "
When Cali was planning the space, along with style inspirations like southern gothic and flea market, she says she kept mentioning juke jointsso much that a friend suggested she use the

word in the name. But from the get-go, the juke concept also meant that Parlour & Juke would host occasional concerts. Again, the marketing wheels were turning. Its free promotiona great way to get people to come in and see the space, she says. Parlour & Jukes own concert series, Live Cuts, has featured artists like Justin Townes Earle, The Dirt Daubers and J.D. McPherson, and has been fully equipped with Yazoo beer on tap and limited-edition Isle of Printing posters for sale. At a Fat Tuesday extravaganza earlier this year, Halfbrass, a local New Orleans-style brass band, led a line parade down the stairs and around the block. *** If Parlour & Juke seems like a salon thats overtly positioning itself as something other than just a salon, its not by accident. Cali refers to it not as a salon, in fact, but as a shop, a nod to the

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NASHVILLE
Southern beauty shops she knew well as a teen. There are certain spot-on details: take the cans of soda offered to guests, like Cheerwine and Tab, the vintage hairdryers scattered about, and coffee served in Mason jars (though Cali tells me those may be making an exit soonthe whole Mason jar thing is getting a bit played out, she feels). But shop also speaks to the guys side of things. Ive always identified more with the barber shop setting, she says. I want that camaraderie. This, too, is where parlour comes inmore than just a play on the old-school beauty parlor. I think of this as a place for people to meet and share ideas, she says. Indeed, one of her longtime clients, Tennessean food and culture writer Jennifer Justus, tells me she never leaves the shop without recommendations for documentaries, restaurants, musica little cultural something extra. And the clients reciprocate, says Calis BFF-turned-manager, Jenny Davis, with everything from art prints to cow skulls. Cali tips her hat to Jenny, whose name is inked on her arm, alongside tattoos memorializing favorite artists Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen. Being an owner who works behind the chair forty plus hours a week, Cali says, I couldnt do it without her. Jennys just as quick to throw the credit back to her friend. Behind the whimsy and the marketing intuition, the rock n roll, and even behind the clear merits of the staff, Parlour & Jukes success can be boiled down to one simple factor: Cali doesnt accept failure."

TENNESSEE

KAY BO BS
GRILL & ALE

One year Anniversary Party


December 6th 6-9pm
Come Celebrate with us
$1 domestic Drafts Sample Our New Menu $2 premium Drafts Holiday Festivities
During the Hillsboro Village Christmas Party

Visit P&J at 521 8th Ave. South, Suite 302. Or visit SeeAmericaGetAHaircut.com for more info.

615.321.4567 h 1602 21st ave S.

www.kaybobs.us

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