The Dinner Conversation

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chris Horne - Manager of Digital Content 13WMAZ.com

Chris Horne really likes our Sweet Tea Ceme Brulee
There are few people in this town who are dearer to me than Chris Horne. Chris and I were roommates in downtown Macon for a number of years. We have argued and gotten mad with each other like none other can imagine. We notoriously get together on Monday nights to watch football and eat wings. We have shared success and disappointment in failure on several projects. We even got up very early sometimes to host early morning newstalk shows. We have seen each other grow into how we are known today.

A lot of people know Chris as, “Chris Horne, the underdog in the Ward I, Post III race for City Council on the East side of Macon”. However, I know Chris as a guy who is just passionate about his city. And about life. After all he grew up here. He started a lovely family here. He has a very talented wife, Heather Braun, who is a professor at Macon State College and a published author. Together they have a lovely toddler in young Miss Madeline Olivia. And since Chris and Heather share a passion for writing, they founded the “CrossroadsWriters Conference” that takes place each October, right here in Macon

Now-a-days we don't even talk about the city council race he ran. The hard fought fight is more than he ever wants to put his family through again, so he has no more interest in being directly involved in politics. Now he's the Manager of Digital Content for 13WMAZ.com.

We started out the evening with Lakefront Brewery's IPAs from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chris, right off the bat let me know he was offended (read jealous) by the fact that he was not my first guest for the new blog.

CH: You had Chris Floore here last night? Was Chris your first interview for the blog?

RR: Yes.

CH: So Chris was your first one. Why - I'm just curious - did you pick Chris Floore first?

RR: Because he answered first. Everyone that I tried to get turned me down. And Chris was like, “Dinner at Dovetail? Hell yes!”

CH: Wait, someone turned you down?

RR: People were busy, it's the holidays so some people said they couldn't make it. Ben Jones (13 WMAZ Chief Meteorologist) said he was busy. The holidays and a baby on the way has him tied up.

CH: Wait, you asked Ben Jones? Before you asked me?

RR: You are one of my closest friends!

CH: And that didn't warrant asking me first? Like, “FIRST”! So you just felt like you were too close to me? So somehow not only does Ben Jones out rank me – which I get - but Christ Floore? Really?

RR: I didn't want it to seem like I was just inviting all my buddies out to dinner. I had this list of people who I wanted to talk to and they were all busy. I thought, yeah I can get my friends in here but let me mix them in so it doesn't just look like I'm just buying dinner for my friends. And of course then I had to call my friends and say, “Hey, can you come do this because this idea is not working?”

CH: No, I'm just kidding. I love Chris Floore. He's a great guy.

**Just then, our server Jessica stopped to check in on us to see if we were ready to order. We, of course, had yet to actually look at the menu.**

CH: So how does this work? Are you ordering for me?...

RR: We aren't on a date. I'm not ordering for you.

CH: If we were on a date, I wouldn't ask I'd just get that Carpetbagger For Two (Our 32oz porterhouse).

RR: Yeah, don't order that.

CH: So nothing below the Shrimp and Grits is what you are saying?

RR: The Shrimp and Grits are killer. It's got wild, Georgia caught, head on, shrimp.

**Knowing Chris the way I do, I felt I needed to warn him about the heads being on the shrimp. He has some curious eating habits, where I will give just about anything a try, he tends to shy away from some things. He has, of lately, been courageous enough to step out of his comfort zone and try some new things, for which I applaud him.**

CH: I'm glad you said that because I would have gotten that dish and then been like, “WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS SHRIMP?!”

-Laughter-

RR: When you're finished you're supposed to suck the head, too.

CH: Uh-uh. Not getting it.

-More laughter-

Look, I worked my way up. I had those peppers. I actually ate the peppers (Our Braised Rabbit Rellenos are stuffed into poblano peppers.) when we were here. You were right, they were fantastic. Didn't even notice they were peppers but it's baby steps with me. I can try stuff but I don't want to ruin shrimp for me.

Carpaccio
**Finally ready to order, we split a cheese plate. I ordered the Sea Scallop with pernod aioli, fennel leek slaw and UGA caviar, and a Braised Rabbit Relleno which is served in a charred tomato mole with queso fresco. Chris chose the Veal Tenderloin which comes with dill creamed corn, grapefruit and whole grain and micro mustard greens, and the Rocking Chair Ranch Carpaccio which is topped with pink Himalayan sea salt, cracked black pepper, olive oil, shaved cheddar, arugula, and apple cider vinegar. We also ordered a round of Lakefront Brewery's Fixed Gear amber ale. Chris surprised me by telling me he is now into darker more bitter beers when he once was an American pilsner drinker.**

Cheese Plate
RR: What have you run across (beerwise) that you keep going back to?

CH: The one that I keep going back to is Three Philosophers.

RR: By Ommegang. We have an Ommegang beer here called Rare Vos. It's a bit lighter and not as fruity as Three Philosophers but it is a really good sipping beer. It's an amber ale.


Veal Tenderloin
CH: If I have to go to Kroger and pick from their selection, I like Hopsecutioner.

RR: By Terrapin.

CH: Yes. I also like that it's a local, Georgia beer. I just found out that Winestyles in north Macon has a great beer selection.

RR: Yes. Winestyles and also Forest Hill Wine and Spirits, next door to Billy's Clubhouse, both have great beer selections. Forest Hill switches up their selection pretty regularly and it's all about mixing and matching. You grab an empty six pack and pick which ones you want to try.

CH: I love that practice. That's what I did at Winestyles and I got a couple of beers from Boulevard Brewing that I really dug. It was called the Smokestack Series.

**As we wrapped up our beer conversation, our cheese board arrived. The conversation turned to literature.**

RR: We have something that made me think of you the first time I saw it. We carry a Cabernet Franc called Writer's Block. It has Shakespeare on the label.

CH: Really? That's interesting. Have you heard of Jonah Lehrer? He's one of these guys I had a nerd crush on. He'd written some books, kind of like a Malcom Gladwell but more sciencey. He wrote a book called Imagine, How Creativity Works and I read that and I loved it. I thought it was great, but it turned out that he fudged on quotes that he used on Bob Dylan. Who's clearly one of the most well watch musicians in the world. Why would you fudge on quotes from Bob Dylan? It wasn't very smart. For a guy who everyone thought was very smart, he wasn't acting very smart. So, it kind of makes the whole book bunk. Which is sad because it was a really cool book about how not only creativity works in people but how it sort of evolves and these bursts of creativity in the world happens.

Like with Shakespeare, in England at that time they had this explosion in venues where you could perform theater. So everyone was a playwright. Like if we had an explosion in music venues, we'd have an explosion in musicians. People who want to make music now have a place to go.

So that was one of the factors. Another factor was that everyone was getting an education for the first time.They were able to read. Books were more prevalent. But it was just interesting the way he broke down how that all worked because the tendency is to think, 'Shakespeare was a genius,' and 'Shakespeare was unlike anyone else'. His argument was Shakespeare was unique. He was a little snowflake all his own but he had these environmental factors that played into why he was able to take that genius and do something with it.If he had been a genius playwright now, in 2012, in Macon, Georgia, or Milledgeville, or Nashville, Georgia, would he have been able to do what he did? Probably not.

So, if we had an explosion of venues for any kind of art form would that necessitate a revolution of art?

RR: Well, look at The 567. What it is. What it does. Their business incubator allows small businesses that aren't big enough to have a lease on a building of their own to have a small office in this complex that supports art and music. And look at Johnny Rohrbeck of Valor Candles. Here's a guy who has this little, small, tiny office and he's hustling hard all by himself. He's been traveling the United States showing off his product at the Emmy awards. So I guess you're right, if it's offered, someone will take advantage of it.

CH: Or if there's a platform or support. Because clearly if you just hand someone a bucket of money doesn't mean they'll do the right thing with it. Will they work as hard?

One of my arguments about how Macon produced this wave of great musicians was because it was hard. It could not have been easy for Little Richard who was cross dressing, from the wrong side of the tracks, and poor to settle in Macon and make a name in music. It wasn't like, 'The people of Macon loved music and he just made the best music and the people of Macon supported it.' It was, he wanted it so bad that it didn't matter that he was in Macon.

So at the same time that I'm saying that we should have more venues for businesses like Valor Candles, and for musicians and artists, maybe the fact that there never has been is good. Maybe the fact that it's really hard to get someone's attention is good.

**Stay tuned for the upcoming podcast with more from the conversation with Chris Horne, including a lesson in how to properly say the word “pecan”.**

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