Saturday, December 29, 2007

two homes

i just wrote a post and then it didn't show up!

basically, i said that i am leaving this one home ann arbor tomorrow, and, after a brief stopover in cincinnati, am heading back to the other home, oh knoxville. i've missed you!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

merry christmas...

... and a happy new year!
Just to keep things rolling in the ol' wigshop, I thought I'd post something here. I hope all our writers and fans had a great Christmas and are enjoying the holidays.
QUESTION: who's gonna be in Knox Vegas ringing in 2008?
ck & co. will be there... if you're in town on the 31st, lets all get together and make it a memorable New Year's.

Friday, December 21, 2007

marie's olde towne tavern

Last night several of us got together at our new favorite honky tonk place- Marie's Olde Towne Tavern. It definitely qualifies for a "Weird Knoxville" post, if only for the crazy patrons. The centerpiece of the place is what I like to call the "Wall 'O Elvis"- a shrine to the life of the the King, complete with his wedding photos. Johnny Cash plays on the jukebox and there's always a darts game going on. And look at the photo below: that's dedication!

I read in Metro Pulse that there used to be over 100 saloons and taverns in downtown Knoxville. I could only come up with 21 places in downtown that might qualify nowadays- and Marie's is certainly one of the most authentic.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

old city warlock, plus: christmas bonus!

as i prepared to make my first 'weird knoxville' post, one great figure of knoxville came to mind. no doubt many of you have seen him numerous times. his typical garb includes a ruby studded chalice and wizard's staff (or shepherd's cane?). i don't know his name, but i prefer to think of him as the old city's resident warlock. the attached picture of our wizard friend was captured in the urban bar a few weeks ago. i apologize for the quality of the image, i had to snap the picture on the fly and without a flash (its rude to take a picture of someone without their knowing, but apparently, its not rude to blog about them). i've never talked to the mage himself, but i do have an anecdote. a friend once saw him in the downtown vicinity and, quite naturally, asked to hold his chalice. he refused her this simple act of community and joy because my friend "did not really believe." now, that's what i'm talking about! i can think of no better candidate for 'weird knoxville.' my hat's off to you, warlock of the old city.

also, i'm reposting my favorite picture from the christmas parade. the only thing that might put me more in the spirit of the season is a few ghouls on christams eve!


okay so i have this great friend lewis who used to live here, in south knoxville. lew now lives in mississippi, and i miss him greatly.

anyway, lew devised a list of terms for knoxville regions. i use them frequently and unabashedly. so, here are brief "definitions" of the knoxville regions. though, really, the terms are quite obvious.

so-kno = south knoxville
no-kno = north knoxville
do-kno = downtown
we-kno = west knoxville

east knoxville, well you just get the shaft.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2 months

It's been two months today since stan thought this all up and got this blog rolling. I think we've got good thing going here. It certainly stimulates conversations when we get together. I figure that nobody is going to post this next week during the holidays, so we'll get started with the "Weird Knoxville" documenting when we all get back after New Year's.
Merry Christmas!

added 12/20: I think this sums up 2007 very well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

gentlemen (& em), start your documenting

Esteemed Writers and Readers: Our site tracking has started showing that we're popping up on people's searches for all kinds of things in Knoxville. Even someone who just typed in "weird knoxville" and we came up on the top of the list. Em's post the other day got me interested in posting a picture of the Pilot Light, and I found out that there is not a single image of it on the internet. The same goes for many of our haunts. Since this blog is supposed to show people who are far away (read: Will) life in Knoxville, we need to document these places (and people).
I, for one, will not rest until the Wall O' Elvis at Marie's is posted here for everyone in the world to see.
So, the new challenge this year is to find the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the outrageously funky stuff of Knoxville. We need to lift every rock and search for every dive and comb through the underbelly of this city. I think we should establish ourselves in 2008 as THE repository for Weird Knoxville.


anyone who's been here here in the past 24 hours probably noticed that the site was getting an overhaul. well, i started writing html and basically screwed everything up. but i'm finally happy with the look of the blog now and hopefully everyone likes it too. i promise i won't mess with it anymore (this year).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some Local Talent

I'm so proud.

This is a guy named Brad isbell. He's in our youth group and has a flair for the hazardous. The other night we played coal toss around a campfire... Ahhh takes me back.

There are some pretty cool flips around minute 1:30.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

fun fun fun

last night, i went with my very good friend jz to see woman at the pilot light. it was such a great time! i hadnt been to the pilot light since it became a non-smoking place, and i was curious to see how the culture handled the knox-induced ban on smoking. i have to say that i didnt notice a difference (then again, i dont smoke), and i was so happy not to smell like ass after i left. dont get me wrong, i loved the pilot light with smoke, but smelling good is a bonus, as is the alleviated fear of a someone's cigarette ramming into my eye or flesh (it's a crowded place). anyway, i dont go to the pilot light as often as i'd like, mostly because i can never get anyone other than jz to go with me and apparently he has other friends and a life and shit. who knew? isn't everyone a loser like me? i guess not. anyway, i digress. the pilot light is such a good place to see a show. tons of GREAT bands, local and not, nice people who are happy to be there dancing, drinking, talking and maybe even beating the shit out of each other. and woman is not only a great knoxville band, but a great band in general. so yeah, happy me bouncing up and down at the pilot light. good times.

Friday, December 14, 2007


As Illustrious Blog Administrator CK, I, along with my esteemed colleague Imperator Administrator-for-life STAN and our Most Honorable Writers, accept the Blog of the Day Award. December 13 will be a day we will remember for the rest of our lives: a day when we proved that we weren't just wasting time at the office but enriching the experience of mankind.
UPDATE: if you Google "weird knoxville" our blog is the first on the list.

Also, we're shooting for the stars here, ladies and gentlemen. I nominated us for the 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards
To all our readers- please take a minute and go vote for us.

Addition (from Stan) in honor our special day:

"It's a major award!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

lights, camera, knoxville?

The other morning on my way into work I saw a professional film crew set up on Market Square. I didn't get to take a picture because someone has my camera (ahem). They had all the light reflectors and even one of those railroad tracks with a cart for the cameraman. I don't know what they were filming for but I got the feeling it was for a cable channel show.
What a lot of people don't realize is that Knoxville has a growing television industry. Why? I don't know. But a lot of cable channels and their shows are coming out of East Tennessee. I've been meeting more and more people associated with it around town- producers, crew, editors, ect. This leads me to two cool aspects of the strange convergence of TV and our city:
1. Lots of the creative class are being drawn to Knoxville for the jobs offered here. They're the kind of people that will buy lofts and shop downtown, and so on. In essence the fuel for our urban revival.
2. Knoxville will be getting a higher profile on TV. Many of these shows need footage and don't have huge budgets- so they'll shoot locally when they can. Case in point: the film crew on Market Square. Knoxville will probably pop up in these shows more often. Even if it's just generic footage.
Something to think about when you consider the positives of Knoxville. As the new cable TV market grows, the traditional centers (LA and NY) of industry are shifting, new places will emerge as the new cool places to be. Why not here?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Burger Time Downtown?!?!

WooHoo it looks like we could get a beer and burger joint. Its called gridiron burgers and it may go in the space next to the theatre. look at this, Proprty scope is the DT knoxville business and property update by the news sentinel. Anyways we could get a cool restaurant. ROck on K-town, Rock on.

Stan now aren't you getting mad that you kept pressuring me to post, now I can't stop.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Stan

OK so I know I've Already posted one video but hey, this one is for the big guy.

Besides I'm the Pol and should live up to my name.
This is really happening, actually its launching wednesday.

Now I really want to watch some George Lucas.


Monday, December 10, 2007

pictures, video, etc.

on our way to the emporium. 1st stop on first friday.

look! christmas flags.

please notice the two dancers on the first float. i realize they kind of look like little white squares on this video, but they kept doing the same two second routine over and over again--and gay street is long!

as promised, here are some more good images of the parade:

actually, just one, the best one--a pontoon boat with christmas lights. if there's anything that says it's that time of year better than two aluminum floats and a platform adorned with christmas lights, i don't know what it is.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Well here it is. The much talked about Eddie Murphy social Commentary, "White Like Me". It caused much internal reflection for me. Please share your feeling as well.

I also agree, this past weekend was quite wonderful. What was not mentioned was the wonderful cigars enjoyed by myself ems and ck at the Knoxville Cigar co. (Which incidentally has a new shop now) And good eats a DaVincis also on friday.

Lets do again next weekend Knoxville. Much Love.

a very knoxy weekend

the little knoxvillians had a very knoxy weekend indeed. we're like a little band or something. or a bunch of nerds. i'm not quite sure.

we started the weekend by gathering at stan's place on the 100 block and drinking some jinro (will corrected my ignorance. what we were drinking was soju. jinro is the brand) that our favorite little korean sent us. soju is a korean beverage, apparently a cross between vodka and gin, perhaps like my favorite beverage of all time, vodkagin. i find it to be thoroughly disgusting (sorry will), but stan, the pol, ck and lucas seemed to enjoy it mixed with gingerale.

next it was off to first friday. oh, how i love first friday! for all those non-knoxvillians, first friday is a downtown event that occurs on the first friday of every month (smartly named, huh?). it's like a little mobile art and culture event, and it's a true testament to the strength of the community here. lots of people walking about, lots and lots of smiles. usually the emporium (112 s. gay) has meatballs.

so we checked out some galleries, and then it was time for the santa parade to begin. the parade had a great turn out. i must say that it brings its own element of knoxville weirdness. it's not really like any (good) parade i've ever seen. kind of a half-assed silly little thing, which, really, is probably a very accurate description of our town in general. dont get me wrong; i love everything about this half-assed silly little thing. but i'm just saying. i think stan has some parade pics that he can post later.

next stan and lucas and their lovely wife and girlfriend were off to a dinner at the bistro by the tracks (not jealous at all...); and the pol, ck and i headed to the cigar shop (118 s. central) for some cigars and conversation. first we stopped in at lox (my salon) where ck talked to a new pal about on the road and the pol and i checked out the art. later, the pol was hungry so he stopped in a davinci's (113 s. central) for a delicious slice. we went to manhattan's for a bit, and i had some french fries. i think manhattan's fries must be laced with crack. they are soooo delicious.

now for the good part...stan and megan returned from dinner; and, at ck's prompting, we ventured to a new-to-us locale: marie's olde towne tavern on magnolia (having a hard time finding the address; it's basically at the corner of magnolia and central). sweet, sweet marie's. this place is a gem. we love the framed pictures of elvis in the various stages of his career. the jukebox has a lot of country music but also has my favorite lady patsy cline and some other greats. and for the ladies...1.50 high lifes. hooray! we talked with marie and her son, had a couple beers and then headed back down central to urban bar (109 n. central). urban bar is my favorite knoxville bar. i love this place. the atmosphere is, um, perhaps non-existent but the patrons are eclectic and friendly and the staff is also very friendly. urban remained a smoking bar when the october switch went down, so it's true that you smell particularly like ass when you leave, but i think it's worth it. man i love pbr-s and tequila shots at urban.

whew, that was friday! well, i think ck and the pol weren't quite finished with their evening, and i hear some krystals and chicks were enjoyed...

saturday evening, the gang minus me went to davinci's for calzones (3 for 15 bucks!). then i joined up and we took a nice little stroll through downtown and stopped in at the new store on union, a cute little cafe called coffee and chocolate (327 union). i hope this place does well; it's a welcome addition to downtown. then we walked through the square, laughed at the ice skaters and stopped in at downtown wine and spirits (407 s. gay) before heading back to my place on the 100 block. we all agreed that it was nice to stay in, have some great (funny) conversations and save money. plus my christmas tree is awesome.

today i am running late, as usual. by running late, i guess i mean "being lazy." i watched my sunday morning usual, degrassi high and am now debating a shower (aka, washing off last night's eyeliner and making myself appropriate to be in public) and heading to pat sullivan's for brunch (i probably wont make it in time, though) or to old city java for some coffee and reading.

thanks for the good weekend, knoxville!

Friday, December 07, 2007

the church as a drive-thru coffee shop?

last night megan and i made the mistake of shopping for christmas presents at west town mall. for me, shopping at any mall usually follows this routine:

  1. 0-5minutes: eagerly look around, searching for something of interest in (fact: guys like to purchase stuff, maybe even more than girls--example: star wars poker chips and atomic clocks)
  2. 5-10: realize that there is nothing here, beside a hand-crank weatherband radio that is even remotely interesting
  3. 10-11.5: feign interest in what megan is shopping for
  4. 11.5-eternity: complain about how much i hate the mall, exhale and glance around impatiently, force megan to rush from store to store
yesterday was no different except that at end of the evening, we found ourselves at the bargain christian bookstore. you've probably been to this store before. every three months or so, it changes locations inside the mall for unknown reasons. the shop itself isn't bad. there were a few decent book for extremely good prices. unfortunately, there was also the gospel according to starbucks.
here's a few line from the jacket:
"You don’t stand in line at Starbucks® just to buy a cup of coffee. You stop for the experience...[With this book] You can learn to pay attention like never before, to identify where God is already in business right in your neighborhood. The doors are open and the coffee is brewing. God is serving the refreshing antidote to the unsatisfying, arms-length spiritual life–and he won’t even make you stand in line. "
at what point do you say to yourself, "hm. i need to write a christian self-help book based on my experience at the global coffee chain that i frequent. why can't religion be like having good coffee in a place that looks exactly like 5 million other artificially unique coffee shops?"
no doubt this author has good intentions, and understanding that i haven't read the book, this seems like a pretty poor illustration for the gospel.
starbucks is good at having good coffee and at adamantly managing the perception of their brand (we go to "starbucks for the experience"). in the context of religion, this will only bring a sense of the manufactured rather than true.
without reading a word its probably safe to say the book is full of cheesy, trite comparisons between the success of starbucks and success in your own life. of course i'm judging the book by its cover, but then again, its a pretty horrible title.

in slightly related news, i went to food city today and saw a strangely bearded man with a rosary. i think he might be from the greek orthodox church. you don't see a lot of religious people willing to don their full regalia anymore (all out purchasing their barista aprons no doubt). i snuck a few shots of him on my way out of the parking lot.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Round One Fight

ok so here I am.

The Pol makes his debut. I'd like to start by saying I have pansies on my balcony and they do make me happy.

As my name suggests i will be the guy who posts uninteresting rants and raves. So get ready.

the pansies, cont.

compelled by curiosity, at 6pm last night i went to see the 'blessing of the pansies'. obliterating the built up mystery, the gathering turned out to be exactly what it purported.

as i was looking in from the street, i saw a group of 15 or so middle-aged men and women (but mostly women) in the lobby of 120 s. gay. one of them, wearing a pink cowboy hat waved me inside.

when i asked what they were doing, she told me that they were about to go outside and bless the pansies. apparently a friend of hers was going to come to the second story balcony (holding pansies?--this part was kind of hazy) and the rest of them would go to the street and literally bless them. while we waited, she offered me white or red wine from either of two boxes perched on top of the mail drop in the lobby.

sadly, i did not have the true adventuring spirit last night. so i left them to their pansy blessing. but the group was very nice and i wish i had taken their picture. as far as i can tell, pansies generally make people happy, so i guess its a pretty good idea to bless them every once in a while.

also, megan and i went to sunspot last night to enjoy half priced wine. the wine was pretty good, but it has been a few months since i've been there, i nearly forgot that i really like drinking at the sunspot.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

blessing of the pansies?

we saw this vague and mysterious sign on the way home yesterday. the 'blessing of the pansies'? what is it? why is it happening on gay st? and at 6pm?

my expectations range from a pansy-clad goddess throwing pedals onto the sidewalk below to a strange gathering of earthen people dancing in circles on the street.

we'll find out...soon.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

this is a stick up

At 11:00 on Saturday, the First Tennessee Bank on Broadway in North Knoxville was robbed. That's MY BANK. It's right down the street from our apartment. That lady in the surveillance photo is one of MY TELLERS. I make small talk with them every week.

I often go in there on a Saturday morning to deposit my paycheck. I could have been in a bank heist. Did he make everyone get on the ground?Did he rob everybody, or just the tellers? Did he have a getaway car with an accomplice? What kind of gun did he have?
Ahh, life in the city... it could have been me. I could've been questioned by the police about his height and weight, asked what his voice sounded like. Later in court I might've pointed at him from the witness stand, "That's the man that robbed the bank, your honor!"
So close... you never know what crazy things might happen around you in this city.


this has nothing to do with knoxville, but everything to do with awesome.

the only thing better than life-size pacman is life-size pacman with sticks.

Monday, December 03, 2007

i like christmas too!

emulating em's christmas post, here are some pictures from the our household. enjoy.

and because this is ostensibly a blog about knoxville, here are some overly dark shots of downtown...from our window, of course. would you expect me to venture out into the world?

i hope you enjoy the faux panorama.

happy holidays, 100 block

it's a christmas tree, but i chose hanukkah colors. as always, the lawn jockey reigns over all.

friends of mine live across the street. apparently last night they looked from their window into mine and caught me snapping pics of my tree (gotta send home to mom...). slightly embarrassing. i need to remember things like these: don't take lame pictures for mom while the blinds are open; don't watch embarrassing tv shows while the blinds are open; wear clothes at all times...

you're so indie!

Sadly, I think I fall into the red circle with most of our WIGSHOP crew. They drop obscure music references left and right, always keeping ahead of the bourgeois tastes of our third-tier city. This diagram is dedicated to Reginold, who always knows how to make my musical knowledge look pitiful and out of date.