Friday, February 29, 2008


Well it would seem that we're not all crazy. This whole downtown thing we've got going on might just stick around for a while. At least that's what one of the nay-sayers is saying.

See you at the Marble Slab.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

go VOLS [tobacco]

In this week's Metro Pulse I read about the University of Tennessee taking a grant from Philip Morris to establish the Center for Tobacco Grower Research (CTGR). As expected, there's been a an uproar from anti-tobacco interests condemning the university's supposed support for the death of tobacco-addicted Americans. Douglas Benton, of No Smoking in Restaurants in Tennessee (NoSIR) fame has been irate. "I don't understand why my university would try to help farmers to make more money selling something that has no possible benefit at all to a human."

C'mon, Mr. Benton, give it a break. You got what you wanted. Nobody can smoke in restaurants anymore. And you're still not happy?

[full disclosure: I'm writing this while smoking a cigar. an excellent, satisfying cigar]

It seems that anti-smoking activists will not stop until tobacco is an illegal substance. Their rhetoric sounds familiar to the temperance movements that pushed through the Prohibition. They see tobacco as an unredeemable evil thing, needing to be wiped out from our culture. And if the people don't voluntarily give it up they'll get the get the government to take that right away for their own good, just as they did with alcohol in the 1920s.

Concerning the CTGR: it's an agriculture program to help American farmers grow a legal crop. One that, by the way, is an important part of Tennessee's economy. Also, the Center is not funded by the University, no public money will help big bad Tobacco. And look at the University's seal: you'll see "Agriculture" and "Commerce" written in the middle. The Center fulfills one of the oldest charters of UT. It will help farming Tennesseans compete with overseas tobacco growers and be able to make a living off their land. How is this immoral?

The demand for tobacco remains: it is a legal substance. There is a demand worldwide for tobacco. With the CTGR, Tennessee can help its farmers compete if they so choose. I, for one, would love to smoke a Tennessee cigar.

Just because people don't like being around smoking doesn't give them the right to judge whether it should be researched or grown. Is it bad for us? Yes. Can we still make adult decisions and smoke in appropriate environments? Yes. NoSIR has driven smoking out of public places (which is not a bad thing). But Mr. Benton doesn't need to overextend his zeal into the economics of growing tobacco. Either get the government to Prohibit it, or get off of UT's back.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

white people LOVE gentrification...

...including this white person.

I found a funny blog today, Stuff White People Like, categorically documenting all the things we crazy white people love. Being a white person, it's almost painful to read and yet so true.
This post about gentrification (#73) rang very true, given the house endeavor Alice and I are starting:

In general, white people love situations where they can’t lose. While this does account for the majority of their situations, perhaps the safest bet a white person can make is to buy a house in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

White people like to live in these neighborhoods because they get credibility and respect from other white people for living in a more “authentic” neighborhood where they are exposed to “true culture” every day. So whenever their friends mention their home in the suburbs or richer urban area, these people can say “oh, it’s so boring out there, so fake. In our neighborhood, things are just more real.” This superiority is important as white people jockey for position in their circle of friends.

They are like a modern day Lewis and Clark, except instead of searching for the ocean, they are searching for old properties to renovate.

In a few years, if more white people start moving in, these initial trailblazers will sell their property for triple what they paid and move into an ultramodern home.

Credibility or money, they can’t lose!

As many of you know, Alice and I are finishing a house in the Mechanicsville this spring. Pretty soon I'll be posting progress pictures at my blog.

Every time someone says to me, "Isn't that neighborhood kinda rough? I don't know if I could live there" my ego inflates a little. I think about them, "Of course you couldn't. But that's how real we are. You know, the nitty gritty of real life." I need to punch myself in the face.

Monday, February 25, 2008

crown & goose

a brief follow-up to ck's earlier post. the crown and goose's website is up. the gastropub itself will be open to the public on march 6th. if the bar's atmosphere is a half as good as their website design, then i will dub this place 'stan's tavern of choice'--a position coveted by all local establishments. actually, both of those statements are lies. good atmosphere (and beer, and food) always trumps website design and no one cares to have me as a regular. trust me.

Update: To see the Wigshop's full review, click here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

an open letter to our commenter

I've been taking a break from the blog this week, but a few recent events brought me back to write this post. I'm hoping to sort things out and open up a rational conversation here at the Wigshop.

There have been some disconcerting comments made on several older posts, very hostile to the opinions I expressed in a past post and also demeaning towards two of our writers. Most of you who read here probably didn't notice. They appeared back in the archive and were removed by the editor because of their obscene nature. This commenter has continued to try to threaten and/or insult our writers.

This is a blog. It's not journalism. It's just six people who express their opinions and observations about life in Knoxville. This past week, thousands of people came to the Wigshop and brought with them many opinions- some in line with ours, some not. Even between the six of us, opinions often differ. We welcome intelligent discussion from anyone here. We encourage anyone to comment and challenge us. We hope that this place can be a forum for many different Knoxvillian viewpoints.

To our malcontent commenter: I personally invite you talk with me about our differing opinions. You've expressed the desire to do so, so here's your chance. I'll meet you in any public place, anytime. The post expressed my opinion, I alone am responsible for what I said. So lay off the other writers, they had nothing to do with it. I stand by my words and encourage you to come discuss them with me face to face.

To other 99% of our readers, thanks for your participation! And please forgive this weird post. We'll have more good stuff coming this week...

Saturday, February 23, 2008


The last video game I ever played was Contra on plain old Nintendo, like way back in 1991. I kicked that game's ass, but then the cartridge broke and no matter how much I blew into it, it just wouldn't play.

For a while my Dear got into the Vice City game on Playstation, and I would pretend to care if he busted a cap in that thug's ass or whatnot.

I just dont care about video games. But I know a lot of people do! And that's really cool. Which is why I am pleased to inform you that versus, a video game extravaganza, has opened on Gay Street. I am a huge supporter of small and local biznez, so I hope this place does well. If you like games, I think you should check it out. Just be quiet on the street outside if it's late at night. We got people sleeping on that block.

I dont think there's a website, but they have a myspace page:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Operation Boot Camp

Hello friends, acquaintances and enemies:

Looking to get your booty in gear? I have so thoroughly enjoyed my boot camp experience this month that I thought I would share the opportunity with you. It's one of the hardest things I have ever done, and it is one-million percent worth it. I am signing up for next month. If you would like to check it out, see below. You can always ask me questions about it here, too, if you want.

Boot Camp for YOU!...

March 3rd, a new month-long camp begins.
6 am or 9:45 am at Lakeshore Park
OR 6:30 am at World's Fair Park (NEW Time!)
for details, prices, etc.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Fleecing of our County

So the News Sentinel sang the praises of the RedFlex Red light Cameras yesterday. According to our distinguished editors, the fact that there were no deaths last year after the cameras were installed, versus the two deaths that occurred the year prior to their existence is overwhelming evidence that they are working and saving lives.

Wow, what incredible statistical analysis! I mean last year I got sick twice after I ate at Wendy’s, but this year, because they put up the sign that said employees must wash hands before returning to work, I haven’t gotten sick. According to the News Sentinels methods, this is a completely valid approach to analyzing cause and effect.

There is also the matter of money. I mean wow, the county collected $933,013 from these cameras. Well that makes it worth it, right? I mean that’s real proof, revenue that can go to help the children in schools, get seniors help with heating bills, and pay for lobster dinners at Regas for our county employees. But wait, what were those other things that the Sentinel said justified the Cameras?

The county gets 15% of the first $4500 from each camera each month. That means that at every camera, for the first $54,000 they generate each year the county gets a whopping $8,100. So lets see, with 17 cameras making the base of $54,000 each, RedFlex gets 780,300 a year for starters. But don’t worry the county gets its cut, $137,700.

HMMM, that’s looking a little one-sided.

But let’s continue, from there on out the county gets its fair share, a full 50% of the tickets thereafter. So we still have to account for the remaining $795,313. Lets just keep this part simple. In order to get that amount from a 50% cut we must assume that RedFlex made the same amount. So we got half of that total of $1,590,626 of revenue collected.

Time to work up a grand total now, so out of $2,508,626 the city of Knoxville got $933,013. Does anyone else feel that this isn’t a good deal? Why are we paying a company IN ARIZONA over $1.5 Million to ticket Knox County Citizens?

How about I sit at a intersection with a camera, issue tickets and only take 30% of my total? At least that way the money stays here.

My final objection is to a quote that they got from the Chief of Police, I don’t blame this guy for supporting these cameras, if I got paid the same amount to do less work I’d support the new toy too, but I digress. He said, “Anything we can do to make people more aware of traffic laws is going to be beneficial to the community.” Well if we started imprisoning J-Walkers and shooting people that didn’t use a turn signal that would bring attention to the laws as well. That is a ridiculous way to defend an infringement of liberties that they should be protecting.

Seriously, what are we doing? Outsourcing tech support and shoelace factories is one thing, but to send our law enforcement to a private company in another state and pay them through our noses to punish us is ridiculous.

The leaders who put these in place are the same ones who have given us the current mess we have in government. We need to send the cameras along with these people as parting gifts and save us our money and our freedoms.

3.17.08 UPDATE: Want to get rid of these cameras in Knoxville? Write in "John Spellings" (known here at the Wigshop as "The Pol") for County Commission for District 1-A. He's running despite the fact that the main parties won't let him compete. As you can see from above post and here, he's been an opponent of the red light cameras from the very beginning. As commisioner, I have no doubt he'll do everything in his power to cancel the Red Flex contracts in Knoxville. Vote Spellings and Get Rid of the Red Light Cameras.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

final jimmy kimmel update

the jimmy kimmel episode with our (late) coed naked bar hopping friend was filmed tonight and will air tomorrow night (wed 2/20) at midnight (i guess this is technically thursday morning). anyway, it's right after the opening monologue, so you won't have to stay up too late to see it. this may put knoxville on the map in a big way.

obituary update

the obituary for our coed naked bar-hopping friend will not air on tonight's jimmy kimmel show, but will hopefully air on wednesday or thursday. i should have confirmation of this at some point in the next few hours after they tape the episode, but i wanted to make sure none of you were glued to your tv tonight in anticipation of a 5 second clip that will never occur. i'll make sure and let everyone know if/when it is going to air.

County Commission Fiasco Part XLIII

My Fellow Wigshoppers,

I have once again decided to take up the mantle of local politics junkie and make a few short comments on the soon to be shenanigans that the commission will undertake.

OK, I’m sorry that starts the tone off rather one sided. But honestly, tomorrow when the commission meets to appoint fill-in commissioners: a sheriff, a trustee, a clerk, and a register of deeds; I don’t really think they’ll do right by everyone.

To begin chairman (or former, since he resigned) Scott Moore and fellow commissioner Paul Pinkston had been scheduled to begin a trial tomorrow to determine whether or not they should be kicked off commission for lying during the Open Meetings Fiasco that got 9 commissioners kicked off. Anyways, the long and short is that Moore put off the date until tomorrow, by avoiding the prosecuting attorney and his efforts to begin the trial.

Basically Moore and Pinkston get to pick new commissioners tomorrow instead of possibly getting thrown out of office. Yeah, that makes us real confident in their commitment to what’s best for Knox County.

Also, the criteria for the new appointments is basically nil. Each commissioner more or less gets to say yes or no based on “gut feelings” and any other personal criteria they might have. Ivan Harmon, a commissioner for the 3rd district, has said he will not support anyone who makes the current commission, “sound like crooks”. Well I’m sorry Mr. Harmon, no one trusts you guys and if that’s your criteria I don’t want people you support in there because they’ll probably be no different from what we’ve had.

Commissioner Lambert, who I’ve worked with and like, has a cute system of checks and x’s that he uses when people say something that he does or doesn’t like. Now does this sound like a great way of selecting people who will direct this county for the next few months?

Come hell or high water we will have 12 appointments tomorrow. In the eyes of this citizen things don’t look much brighter than they were.

And get ready, the next one of these rants is going to be on red-light cameras again. The News Sentinel had an editorial showing its complete disregard for people's concerns and justifying the auctioning off of law enforcement because it brings in revenue.

love it or hate it, it's yours

in regi's fiery furnaces post, he referenced an encounter i had with an indie girl at the pilot light. it sent me down a few avenues of thought. first, let me describe:

she asked me where i was from.
have you ever listened to this band on vinyl?
no (aren't their albums recorded digitally?--i'm not sure).
i followed them up to chicago.
i bet that was cool.
it was f***ing awesome. chicago! not like this city. knoxville sucks. i feel like i'm gonna get mugged.
well, i know it looks bad, but you're in a pretty safe area. there are mostly bums down here.
don't worry, i'm from atlanta, i know what it's like. but knoxville sucks, where do you go here?

i don't want to go on a rant against some girl who came to knoxville to have fun at a show and was disappointed (though my wife and i were wondering: why is it that single girls at concerts often seem to assume the 'i'm a bad a**' mantra?).

like i said above, the conversation got me thinking.

on one level i believe she's right. knoxville is certainly not the an easily accessible town (like, say atlanta or chicago) in regards to night life. obviously, i love knoxville, i wouldn't be writing on this blog otherwise. but she has a point. even in the old city, your choices are limited. you will have to do some walking to find what you want. in terms of a readily available night life--if you're looking to skip from bar to bar--or in an abundance of trendy restaurants, knoxville does suck.

but this led me to my next thought: if you give it a little effort, you will be rewarded by knoxville. this is what i love about this city and why i enjoy writing and reading about it's eccentricities. if you are willing to branch out, maybe learn more about your community, you will be amazed by what you find. maybe some will consider thought trite and even trendy, but i think it is absolutely true.

a few examples here: king tut's (egyptian diner off of chapman hwy.), steamboat subs (central), marie's tavern (often praised here). these are just a few eclectic and off the path establishments that came to mind. i think that these represent a sort of microcosm for greater knoxville. the culture may not be the most easily to get to--you may not be able to get off of i40 at broadway and plop down in some local haunt (in fact, getting off at broadway will prob. convince you to get right back on) without doing a bit of searching--but it certainly exists. the fact that you have to dig in to get to it actually makes this place a little more communal. i get the sense that the knoxvillians who have invested in their community (with time, money, etc.) are proud of what they are a part of.

don't write me off as an extreme community activist. more often than i would like to admit, i am simply content to consume, and in those places which are familiar to me. i don't want to have to exert any effort, and i want it now. because i live downtown, i have a plethora of options easily available to me that offer a wider variety. but, like i said above, i think any true member of a community seeks to go beyond what is familiar. it is not about simply taking what we want, but being actively involved. and being actively involved of course goes beyond how we consume (though i believe we should factor it in to consumption habits).

this is an area where i have only marginal involvement, but seek to become more active. a group from my church serves breakfast to terminally ill men once a month. again, i'm not here to say i've figured it out--serving breakfast once a month requires only a small commitment from myself, but its a start.

an important addition to this idea came up in a recent discussion with friends. we (modern consumers, americans, knoxvillians) focus on the national and international news. the world is depressing--it is unfair and arbitrarily cruel. news organizations pay more attention to the worst of it--the nature of the beast, i suppose. it makes perfect sense that so many of us are cynical. any effort seems wasted. we believe pain and suffering will win in the end.

this is why i love community involvement (and wish i wasn't so damn lazy). of course, it can still be frustrating and seemingly meaningless, but with it we can see a real need and be part of the group that helps. of course, give money to charities that feed people around the globe, go work for them if you want. but we should also be active here, in our own neighborhoods.

don't ask how my mind went from nightlife to community service. but my mind has been mulling over these things recently.

knoxville. i hate it for being small and weird and love it for the same reasons.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Heads Up, Runners!

I know that a portion of the community is training for the Knoxville Marathon, so FYI, there's a great sticker sale going on at Runner's Market. I stopped in at the Western Plaza location for some insoles and was happy to find a Brooks jacket marked down 30-percent! Yay for random, great finds.

If you're gearing up for the marathon or half, how is the training going?

Cigar Bar OPEN!

Those of you who read here may have picked up on quite a few references to the Knoxville Cigar Company. Most of the writers here are known to frequent this Old City establishment, which recently moved a few doors down on Central St. The new shop is very cool (with more seating and a walk-in humidor) but what we've all been waiting for is a new component to the shop: the cigar bar.

Right next door to the cigar shop, the new bar opened up on Thursday and was in full swing this weekend. You can't miss it- a neon marquee-style sign that you can see from two blocks away marks the spot. You enter the bar through the rear of the cigar shop, giving it a certain speakeasy feel. The front half towards the street is basically a swanky lounge, with dark leather seats and tables. It's a nice change from the hard booths and bar stools most places have. In the back, a wrap-around granite bar with dark custom woodwork dominates. The overall effect is dim and smoky (in other words, just right).

They seem to be going for the high-end crowd emphasizing their fine liquor, not beer, selection. Most of the beer on tap is British (Boddington's is a nice touch) and a fairly large bottle selection in the coolers. But the main thing here is the cigar smoker's choice drink: scotch. The guys working there said there are 50 types of single-malt scotch offered. Its easy to believe, as the entire center section of shelves was dedicated to scotch bottles. The bartender said that they probably wouldn't have a happy hour (boo!) but would run specials on different scotches to encourage people to try them out.

I liked the place a lot. It was comfortable enough to hang out and read a book by the afternoon sunlight (as I did) or to gather a group around one of the big tables for a late night discussion. The Old City seems to be drifting away from being the college party spot to an adult (not that kind of adult) night scene in downtown. The Knoxville Cigar Co. bar is a harbinger of this [new?] Old City, which I think is confirmed by the imminent opening of the Crown and Goose pub across the street. Of course there will still be sports bars and dives in the Old City, but now a real mix is happening- a night life that reflects Knoxville's intriguing contrasts. The new cigar bar is sure to become the cornerstone of this scene.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Wigs on the Wig-o-meter

The Old College Try

I'm an English studies dork, so forgive me this post. Or dont forgive me it, actually. Get on board.

I cant give you a link to a copy of this article because it would violate copyright laws, but if you have access to UT's libraries you can find it.

"The Grammar and Rhetoric of Inclusion" by Alice Roy.

Abstract: Provides discussion and critical analysis of the critical terms "inclusivity" and "inclusion" as they are being used more and more often by colleges and administrative task forces. Analyzes the choice between inclusion and inclusivity by drawing upon the rhetorical theories of Kenneth Burke.

Language is wonderful, beautiful and powerful. It can also be damaging. Or ignorant.

Fiery Furnaces: Ladies Night at the Pilot Light Sells Out!

the pilot light drew me in yet again last weekend. stan, my girlfriend emily, (not to be confused with em) and myself went to go to see the fiery furnaces. stan got there earlier and called me to say that the pilot light actually sold out, it had reached maximum capacity. emily and i weren't ready to give up just yet, so with a little schmoosing and rubbing elbows, or rather elbowing, we got in after we had to pay the doorman a couple extra bucks.

it was packed. it wasn't full of the homeless indie hipster tight jeans crowd you would usually see there (which category i would probably fall into excluding the tight jeans, springsteens are not my style.), or the goth tight jeans crowd, or the young professional tight jeans crowd, oddly enough the majority of the crowd was a group of women who were "very physically affectionate to each other." (disclaimer: i'm not here to bash, just stating facts.) i had never been around so many women who were lesbians gathered in one place at one time or at the pilot light before. so, fiery furnaces apparently you have a little niche in knoxville.

we got some pbr's and found an opening on the back bench where we stood to watch the show. the fiery furnaces played alot of tunes from their new album "widow city" and a few off their previous albums "bitter tea", "blueberry boat" and "gallowsbird's bark". i'd like to say that i enjoyed seeing the fiery furnaces that night, but neither stan nor emily and i could hear them really well. during most of the concert, there was a group of women next to us who talked loudly to one another as if they were at a party or nightclub scene and spoiled the show a little. next time if you are at a concert, show some courtesy to the artists who you paid to see and the people around you.

as the show went on, emily got some pics of the fiery furnaces, an elderly drunk woman sat on my foot for about 15 seconds, and stan later got hit on by the one of the few heterosexual women there. i think that was my favorite part of the evening. stan kept flashing his wedding ring to the girl next to him, but she knew what she wanted.
upcoming concerts: giant tiger is coming around again march 1st, and myself and other little knoxvillians are excited for black mountain and bon iver march 9th.

Metallica lives at the Pilot Light

the pilot light is a great little "hole in the wall" venue on jackson ave. to sometimes catch good bands and some really weird acts. it's usually a hit or miss.

two weekends ago i went there to catch a band from chattanooga that one of my friends used to be in. they were called gold, but now they're the giant tigers. they were a fun band to see live and i had a great time, so my thanks to the giant tigers.

however, the opening act had to be the weirdest i had ever seen. there was one guy on stage playing his heart and soul into these two metallica cords he probably learned that week out of guitar player magazine, and he was completely buzzed out of his mind. he just kept on playing the same chords over and over again, no bridge, solo, or even change in dynamics, just the same two power chords for about thirty minutes straight. he never let up, even after he completely cleared the room of the pilot light. i didn't get it. maybe he thought he was reinventing the wheel when it came to music, or something or maybe he just had some good shrooms. all i know is that he was the only guy in the room besides the bartender for the last two minutes of his "postmodern playing."

do shows like this happen often at the pilot light? what's been your experience? and what metallica songs can you play on the guitar?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More "Interesting Graffiti" in Knoxville

Well, Stan and The Pol (while on their Sunsphere excursion) stumbled upon some more gems of that truly public art form/ misdemeanor. This graffiti was found on the side of a house being renovated near Henley St. It's the cool-looking Victorian behind the Hampton Inn hotel. Anyways, enjoy.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

knoxville on jimmy kimmel live!

yesterday, a friend of mine that is a production assistant on the jimmy kimmel live show called me and told me i was the only knoxville connection that anyone on the crew had and they needed a copy of thursday's knoxville news-sentinel. the reason they want it is so that they can feature an obituary for this man, david lee anderson, on tuesday night's show. i guess the fact that he's wearing a 'coed naked bar hopping' hat in his obituary picture is comical enough for late-night tv. anyways, i spent $30 fed-exing thursday's paper to california and hopefully it will be featured on this tuesday night's episode of jimmy kimmel. that's right my friends. on tuesday night, america will find out what knoxville is all about.

The Sunsphere is NOT a Wigshop...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Wigshop,

Stan and The Pol undertook a necessary and important mission today. It had come to our attention that our blog explained what the sunsphere wasn't but never said what it was. Well my friends, we are here to tell you that the sunsphere is ... an observation deck. Now be still, it's true. There is actually a place in knoxville where you can go and stand and look at stuff. Plus, there are a few offices up there as well.

It was probably a shame that the city of Knoxville let the Sunsphere lay decrepit for so long. Now, you and your friends, can, for the cost of nothing, see the view from the top of Knoxville. (Actually there are taller structures like the top of Sterchi or the First Tennessee Building, but this is the Sunsphere, the proverbial heart of Knoxville.)

I will admit that the city has done a beautiful job of redoing the Worlds Fair park and the newly renovated Amphitheatre is a lovely addition. But this story is about the Sunsphere and its amazingnessicity. There is a plethora of historical things, pictures from the 1982 Worlds Fair including this poster, which if anyone can interpret will recieve a case of Worlds Fair Beer.

Finally the Sunsphere, which is still not a wigshop provides a great view of a terrible mistake made by this city years ago. From this view you can see where a community has been cut off from a greater part of the whole and only through serious surgery and effort could it be restored.

All in all it was an amazing and eyeopening trip that was made possible by our cities use of on million dollars that reopened the Sunsphere so that we might post this blog. Thank you Knoxville.

Friday, February 15, 2008

rouXbarb restaurant knoxville


If anyone is having as hard a time as I did tracking down info about the new Bruce Bogartz restaurant, Rouxbarb, I am trying to make this post about rouxbarb restaurant knoxville (not rhubarb restaurant knoxville) google friendly for your convenience. I am surprised Metropulse or the Sentinel hasn't reviewed it yet, at least not that I could find.

It's next to Union Jack's on Northshore, and I stopped by in person on my drive to dinner with girlfriends last night. Again, their number is 212.0024.

I was only inside for about 2 minutes, but the atmosphere looks cozy. I glanced at the menu, which is small and looks really good. The plan was to maybe go there tonight, but we're going to skip it for now because the menu doesn't seem to accommodate my bootcamp diet. Which isnt to say it doesnt look really good. Because it does. Trout, pork tenderloin and a filet were the items that caught my hurried eye. You know, 20-25 dollar range.

I usually like to give a new restaurant about 2 months to settle into itself before trying it, so I would love for someone to check it out and tell me that the wait isnt necessary. Oh, and it's BYOB.


Watching the Detectives! (aka ELVIS IS COMING!)

Elvis is coming! Elvis is coming!

Holy moly, he's on my list of performers to see before I (they) die. It's not such a morbid list, really, just a way to keep tally of those epic performers I really want to check out before they check out. Ha ha. So witty am I. (I Missed Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, among a few others).

Anyway, Knoxville is about to be graced with the presence of the one and only Elvis Costello! A little bird tells me that he is coming May 6 to the Tennessee Theatre. Tickets are 44 bucks plus fees. I think that's a really decent rate for someone as prolific as Mr. Costello. You can go to the theatre's site for tickets or check in with the great folks at AC Entertainment .

I'm really excited for this one. What's your favorite Elvis Costello song?

theatre knoxville downtown

I had spotted this place before, but for some reason I stopped to look at their fliers this morning on my way to work.
It's up on North Gay Street, across from Regas and next to the Knoxville Art Gallery/COPYSHOP. Theatre Knoxville Downtown looks funky. It can't be that large inside. I expect that the performances are very intimate.
The fliers advertised a whole season running this year, going on until June. Right now a play called Same Time, Next Year is playing. Has anyone been here? Sometimes this kind of place can be very cool, too often it's not.
The play I'm interested in is last one of the season, Forbidden Knoxville. The description said it would comment on and make fun of various things about Knoxville. I think that would be worth going to see- it sounds original you know it won't be running anywhere else! Forbidden Knoxville will be starting June 6.
Good or bad, it's cool to see funky little cultural efforts appearing around downtown. It feels like a critical mass is forming- get enough creative people together in one place and who knows what they'll come up with. I'm looking forward to seeing how the creative side of Knoxville will manifest itself.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another great band!

Hey! I just found out that another really great band is playing at the Pilot Light tomorrow night. Nashville's De Novo Dahl. They're on Theory 8 Records, which is a really great label.

I dont know if I'll make it because I have previously made dinner plans. We're hoping to hit up the new Bogartz restaurant in Bearden called Roux Barb (not sure if it's one word or two), but I cant track down even a phone number for the place to see about a res. Anyone have any leads?

Anyway, De Novo Dahl. Tons of fun. You can check out their music on the web page I linked up there. 5 bucks at the P-Light. Friday 2/15.

i heart you

Happy Valentine's Day, Knoxville! Who's got a good Valentine story? I dont. But I can tell you a depressing story about how I spent four Valentine's Days in a row at a Ponderosa Steakhouse eating warmed over buffet food.

I swam in college, and our championship meet was always, always over Valentine's day. We were given a per diem of 50 dollars to last us for the week (or, as Jemaine from Flight of The Conchords instructs, this should actually be called a "per weekum"). Being the good college athletes that we were, we all decided it best to spend as little as possible on food, save all the money we could and then pool all our bucks to by alcohol for a post meet bash back home. Dedicated athletes we were. Come to think of it, our team was a little like the Bad News Bears. Our motto was "No Swimming on the Drinking Team." I kid you not. Reason number 6,701 I do not want to be a parent.

Anyway, because we were trying to cheap it as much as possible, we always, always went to the shittiest restaurants available. Enter Ponderosa. Which, if you dont know, is the Northern Version of Old Country Buffet, Golden Corral, or the like. Nothing says romance like 30 sweaty, chlorine smelling kids lined up to get their fill of lukewarm macaroni and cheese, "steak," and potatoes. This always depressed me a little more than most of my teammates, and I secretly wished someone had tracked down my hotel and sent me a dozen roses. Never happened. Sad life I lead.

So, who's got a story?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tap Into Good Times

For my first review I am taking on a place that is near and dear to my heart. A place that has taken much of my money and in return given me a safe haven and place of rest. I am of course speaking of Downtown Grill and Brewery, or DTGB’s in my own shorthand.

Its Knoxville’s premier (only) downtown micro-brewery. The food is great (they fry really well) and the beer is always cold. I spend typically two- to three evenings a week in this hardwood, brass, and copper haven that seats hundreds and yet can be as intimate as a romantic walk across the Gay St. bridge (that is until you realize you’re in south Knox by a crappy hospital but I digress).

Happy hour provides $3.95 chicken baskets, $4.25 Nacho’s, Half pizza’s, Beer Cheese & Pretzels, Chips and salsa, and most importantly $2.00 PINTS UNTIL 8:00.

The servers are great, Andres, Shaggy, Butch, LT, Mahini just to name a few, and the Manager Dan Goss (no relation to Buzz) has everything well under-handle.

The best part, at least in my opinion is, the Weekly Poker Tourney. Mondays at 6 and 9 you can find me with a green visor and plaid vest hustlin’ up a buck. Well it’s a free roll and they took my visor but I’m still there. I’m on my way to 50,000 points and then I can play the big boy game on Sundays. It’s $2 pints while you play as well.

Oh and Tuesday nights are $1.50 pint night from 9:30 on it’s a great deal. Anyways, I love this place, I have one of the mugs (meaning I get more beer) that Stan got for me a couple of years ago and I have really gotten my moneys worth.

Ok I’m done but seriously, go. It’s on Gay St. next to Sapphire.

8 out of 10 Wigs on the Wig-o-meter

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

question for the readers!

Yo, does anyone know if there is either a Russian or Ukranian restaurant in this town or nearby?

That is all.

Monday, February 11, 2008

regas square?

i pass by regas restaurant pretty frequently throughout the course of my typical week. lately this sign has really been bothering me. someone decided that the area surrounding the restaurant need to demarcated. i guess i first noticed the sign about a month ago and its been a thorn in my side ever since.

what makes this place a square? seriously, it is just a parking lot, and not a very nice looking one at that. in fact, every time i walk by it previously, i usually thought to myself, "what an ugly parking lot. there should be a really pretty building there." instead, whomever makes these decisions decided to anchor my pain firmly in place with a placard. we knew we could park there, why did we need it labeled as well? as if the parking lot is being added to the historical register. and why call it a square? a simple "parking for regas customers only" would've done the job, if the restaurant was getting fidgety over proprietary stake in some prized downtown parking.

pubic places like squares seem generally like a good idea to me. pretty much everybody loves market square and the strange triangle on summit and gay at least has a treble clef. squares that are parking lots just labeled squares, however, are a sham. they diminish the value of true squares (or triangles and roundabouts) everywhere!

and that's all i have to say about that.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

vote early, vote...

knox county cast more early votes than any other county in tennessee history in our recent primary. the total comes out at 36,717 early votes. apparently, those that know things are claiming the turnout was due to knox county commission election. all i know is that i'm proud of knox county. not only do we care, but we care about getting our votes in early.

lines are for suckers!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

review : trio cafe

Alice and I went to Trio Cafe on Market Square for lunch today, so I thought I'd give it a review here.

Trio is OK. The food is pretty good- we built a custom salad out of a list of ingredients. This may be the most unique thing they offer. A random (but large) menu is also available with full breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings. I saw alot of folks with panini sandwiches. The cornbread waffle and the eggs benedict looked tempting. All in all, the selection was great. The salad we had was good, but the broccoli was not cut small enough and the dressing was lackluster.

At Trio Cafe, the food is not the problem. It's the serving style, ambiance, and prices that really miss the mark. You're probably going to pony up $8 to $12 dollars here, maybe more. There are no lunch specials. That's fine with me, but at that price point I want to sit down and have a waitress take my order. At Trio you wait in line and order at a counter, then the food is brought out to you. Not a problem in my book, as long as I'm in a $4-$8 range restaurant.

Then there's Trio's ambiance. The decor obviously tried for a sophisticated coffee house look, a la Panera. The result is anything but, with an interior of bright yellow and light pink set off by purple and pea green. The menu is displayed on posters on the wall, which look like a first year graphic art student with bad taste put it together. The whole place gave me the impression that Trio is what would happen if Panera Bread had a wild fling with Chuck E. Cheez and had a baby. It would be fine in a strip mall out west, but in downtown it seems tacky. Maybe as a designer I'm hypersensitive to these things, but ambiance matters- especially in the downtown market.

I seem destined to try Trio every few months, hoping maybe my previous impression was too harsh. But every time I always walk away with the same thoughts. If I have to go somewhere tacky, I want good prices. If I'm going to pay more, I want sit down service and a sophisticated atmosphere. Trio falls in the netherworld between these two, leaving me with a vague sense of dissatisfaction.

There are better places to eat downtown that meet either of the two criteria above. If you get bored of those places, maybe give Trio a try. It's not bad, it's just not that great.

Rating: 6 out of 10 wigs on the Wig-o-meter

Friday, February 08, 2008


i can't say that any of us consider ourselves particularly "in the know" over others when it comes to knoxville. however, we obviously care about this place and like to know whats up. the word on the street is a section where can all share whatever small, juicy morsels have been gleaned, be they local government and politics or general noteworthy developments in the area.

if you're not a regular contributor and have tales to tell, please let us know. we love to hear the latest.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

teddy bears? please stop the insanity

Clifford Clark III appeared at a hearing today for his alleged shooting of the Broadway red light camera. Before going in to court, however, he handed out teddy bears with "Save The Cliff" on them. Weird. This guy has been hailed as a hero as well as a nut. Now I'm starting to lean towards the nut argument.

His website,, features The Cliff's rambling manifesto, ranging from his experience with a prostitute in the police paddy wagon to the danger of his hips while dancing. He does make a few good points about red light cameras increasing accidents and UT overreaching its jurisdiction by trying to prosecute him as a student for something that didn't even happen on university property. As an added bonus, Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" plays in the background.

But Cliff reaches too far. He reminds me of the ignored kid in high school who suddenly gets the spotlight shone upon him and ends up trying too hard to stay "cool."

He compares our society to the Soviet Union and says that he, the martyr for the cause, is being defamed by allegations of mental illness. He even goes so far as to post a note from a UT Psychiatrist stating "he doesn't pose a threat to himself or others." I'm sure that's true, but there seems to be a lot of weird things going on in "The Cliff's" mind. Delusions of grandeur for one.

Cliff, to play the martyr you need humility and a willingness to sacrifice for a cause you believe in. I know you feel strongly about the immorality of red-light cameras- something I'm inclined to agree with you about. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront of the public discussion and getting the dialog going. But your current hijinks are discrediting any argument for removing the cameras. Stop hamming it up for the media. Stop asking for donations. And for goodness sake, stop handing out teddy bears.

[update] Apparently The Cliff has been uploading videos to YouTube:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

coming this march

Head's up! Last Weekend, I found out that Bon Iver is coming to Knoxville in March! March 9 he plays the Pilot Light with Black Mountain. Stan and I will be there. We like him.

***Here's a bio/review from ambledown records:

It wasn't planned. The goal was to hibernate.

Justin Vernon moved to a remote cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin at the onset of winter. Tailing from the swirling breakup of his long time band, he escaped to the property and surrounded himself with simple work, quiet, and space. He lived there alone for three months, filling his days with wood splitting and other chores around the land. This special time slowly began feeding a bold, uninhibited new musical focus.

This slowly evolved into days filled with twelve-hour recording blocks, breaking only for trips on the tractor into the pines to saw and haul firewood, or for frozen sunrises high up a deer stand. All of his personal trouble, lack of perspective, heartache, longing, love, loss and guilt that had been stock piled over the course of the past six years, was suddenly purged into the form of song. The end result is, For Emma, Forever Ago, a nine-song album comprised of what's been dubbed a striking debut by critics and fans alike.

Bon Iver (pronounced: bohn eevair; French for "good winter" and spelled wrong on purpose) is a greeting, a celebration and a sentiment. It is a new statement of an artist moving on and establishing the groundwork for a lasting career. For Emma, Forever Ago is the debut of this lineage of songs. As a whole, the record is entirely cohesive throughout and remains centered around a particular aesthetic, prompted by the time and place for which it was recorded. Vernon seems to have tested his boundaries to the utmost, and in doing so has managed to break free form any pre-cursing or finished forms.

For Emma's tracks consist of thick layers draped in lush choral walls, with rarely more than an ancient acoustic guitar or the occasional bass drum providing structure. Vernon sings the majority of the record in falsetto, which painfully expresses the meanings behind its overt, yet strangely entangled words. This newfound vocal path acts as each song's main character and source of melody.

Despite its complexity, the record was created entirely by Vernon with nothing more than a few microphones and some aged recording equipment. This homemade aspect shows itself in sections as creaks and accidentals are exposed in the folds of the songs, but is hidden well by the highly impressive and almost orchestral sound that Vernon managed to produce by his lonesome, within the creaky skeleton of his father's cabin.***

I rarely talk about my music tastes very publicly (other than maybe to express my love for my one and only), because I don't want to risk sounding like a douche bag. You know, kind of like how whoever wrote the above review sounds. But what it says, actually, is true.

So yeah, Bon Iver is good; and I am excited to see him up close and nitty gritty in the tiny little pilot light. 10 bucks at the door, Ive read.

Oh, and in other music related news, AC Entertainment and Superfly Productions announced this year's Bonnaroo lineup here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

G? i mean, really?

I found a site that scans blogs and gives them a rating. Apparently the Wig Shop is OK for all ages. Just to check to make sure it was working, I put in Joe's Used Toy Emporium. This is what it said:
I guess it does work!

graffiti archive

This site has a cool collection of the random stuff people have written on walls (among other public surfaces). I don't know what makes us have the urge to put our thoughts in writing where others will read it. It seems to be a very common urge (I'll admit to writing on the occasional bathroom stall), based on the sheer amount of graffiti documented at this site.


this weekend i got a dose of what knoxville has to offer in terms of the great outdoors. first of all, there was a massive hawk in a tree outside my window:

i also went to Ijams Nature Center, in Island Home on Saturday morning, which was a pleasant surprise. Stan had been talking it up for a while and i was a little bit skeptical, but there were some cool trails, scenic views, and even a cool little museum. i'll definitely go back sometime in the spring when there are some leaves on the trees.

down and dirty

If you happened by World's Fair Park this morning between 7 and 8, maybe you saw a small group of soaking wet, mud covered people doing sprints and lunges, etc. I was one of those people. Boot Camp is awesome. I mean, I can't lift my arms today; but Boot Camp is really awesome.

Monday, February 04, 2008

blast from the past

This is a map of circa 1950s downtown Knoxville. The way it was intended to be before 1960s "Urban Renewal." Notice that First Creek is in the center of the map- not the eastern edge of town, covered by a monstrous highway to nowhere.