Thursday, January 31, 2008

a beginnner's guide to first friday

Responding to some our esteemed commenters, I'll attempt to summarize the thing that is First Friday in Knoxville.

1. It's on the first friday of every month. Yup, very important to mark the ol' calender, this is a shifting date. If it's TGIF at work and you just got payed, it's time to go see some art.

2. It's "cultural." Mostly of the "artsy" type. FF has a plethora of different artistic endeavors on display at various galleries and businesses. Supposedly it can be anywhere in our city limits, but most of FF takes place in downtown where you can walk from exhibit to exhibit. There are many different types of art, but mostly it's paintings, sculpture, photography, and "installation" art. Occasionally there's video art.
Around all this cultural outpouring swirls a crowd of art museum high society types, old hippies, hipster art students, and the occasional shmuck who took a wrong turn trying to go see Rambo at the Riviera.

3. There's free food. Let me underscore this: there's free food. And usually beverages of the adult nature. The highlight of The Pol's night is the meatballs. It usually good food, but the fact that it's free makes it scrumtulescent.

4. The main stops:

(a) The Emporium. This the headquarters for the Arts & Culture Alliance of Knoxville. It usually has the largest exhibit, on two levels. On the Corner of Jackson and Gay, just up from the Old City.

(b) The UT Downtown Gallery. Supported by the University, it usually has a mixture of art students' work and visiting Artists-in-Residence. Right next door to the Emporium.

(c) Gallery 1010. All art students, all the time. This the more indie of the main galleries, with weirder installations. Across the street from the Emporium.

(d) The Art Gallery of Knoxville/COPYSHOP. If you want so see some really unusual stuff, go here. Part of last month's exhibit involved brewing beer on site. Over the Gay Street viaduct, across from Regas.

(e) The Downstairs Gallery. An underground (literally) gallery that specializes in ultra-indie stuff. Across the street from Manhattan's in the Old City.

(f) Lox Salon. Sometimes there's art, sometimes not. Usually they've got something cool going on. Last month they had a chili competition. On Central in the Old City, across from Big Don's Costumier.

(g) Bliss Home. They usually have local art for sale during business hours, but the main draw on FF is the Pasta Trio catering and the wine. Next to La Costa on Market Square.

(h) World Grotto. Usually I don't go here for First Friday. But check it out and tell if I'm missing anything. They've had belly dancers on occasion, I've heard. Market Square.

(i) Deka Bakari Gallery. This one just opened up last month, housed in what was Suttree's The Huddle. It's hike down Gay, around the corner on Cumberland across the street from the First Tennessee Tower. I really liked Deka Bakari- it's worth the walk.

(j) The Fluorescent Gallery. I never knew where this one was, but I had always heard it was cool (probably ultra-ultra indie). I finally spotted it on a bike ride a few weeks ago on Central Ave., up the street from the Broadway intersection, near Emory Place. I'll be checking it out tomorrow.

As you can tell, lots of things to see on First Friday in Knoxville. There are even more places open for it, but I tried to hit on the coolest stuff. FF starts after work around 6:00 and most places shut down at 9:00. A lot of the indie places party later, though. It's enough art to satiate the average person 'til next First Friday rolls around.

Good night and good luck.

Chandler's Deli

Oh my Southern fried goodness! After a year or so of wanting to do it, I finally went with some friends to Chandler's Deli on Magnolia (3101 Magnolia). I've been hearing good things about the place for quite some time, so today was a long time coming. Chandler's is delicious. Being a Northerner, I was new to Southern Cooking. My first Southern Thanksgiving was such a treat. So many foods I had never really even seen before: turnip greens, okra, cornbread (cornbread in the north tends to be sweet, like dessert-ish). My first taste of Southern food, and I was hooked.

So I knew I would like Chandler's. It's in an old taco bell. You walk in and are immediately faced with the buffet counter and lots and lots of options. Fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, ribs, greens, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. etc. And everything is remarkably cheap. I think vegetable sides are 1.50 each and, I can't remember the exact price, chicken pieces are only like a buck or a buck fifty.

The servings are huge. You get them in a styrofoam to go box, placed atop an orange tray. No matter what you get, there will be enough to take home.

How would I describe Chandler's food? Southern. Fried. Delicious. Certainly not healthy, but a good every-once-in-a-while sort of treat. And very reasonably priced. I got the turnip/mustard greens. They were good. I like mine a little spicier than they were, but each table has hot sauce. The mac and cheese was really, really good. I just kept thinking, it's a good thing boot camp starts on Monday. I had a bite of my friends' okra. Yum. Also, we got a side of fried green tomatoes. Made to order and only a buck fifty. They were yummy but extremely hot.

The Pizza Kitchen is across the street, and that's another place we wigshoppers (and our friends) enjoy.

Magnolia's got a lot of great food gems; Chandler's is definitely one of them.

Oh, and yeah, they've got Kool-Aid.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First Fridays Countdown

Its that time again, first fridays in downtown.

Put on your sunday best and head out for meatballs, cheap wine, good art (and lets be honest, bad art) but more importantly a time to enjoy the great stuff that our little downtown has to offer in the way of culture.

Culture on Knoxville, Culture on.

question for our reader(s)

hey readers, do me a prop...

what's your favorite knoxville restaurant and why? hefty research here, so your input would really really help.

comment below, please!


smart fix? knoxville's own "big dig"

After lunch today I stopped and took this picture of the massive TDOT project that's going on beside the new Hall of Fame Drive bridge. I, like many people, thought the new bridge was the solution. But apparently "Smart Fix" 40 is just getting started. It looks like that we're getting a three level "spaghetti junction" where James White Parkway and Hall of Fame Drive collide into I-40. True to form, TDOT has designed the most complex solution possible.
It is a difficult problem: how do you junction two highways into an interstate at the same spot? Maybe the question we should ask (the question I'm surprised no one is asking) is why are there two roads? Why do we need Hall of Fame and James White? Aren't they serving the same purpose?
Living in North Knoxville, I use Hall of Fame quite a lot to get downtown. I thought it was a good idea to build it. TDOT extended the existing N. 5th Ave.- south to the existing Hall of Fame Dr. and north to the existing Broadway interstate spur. Connect the dots. Integrate it into the city grid of streets. It works. Good job, TDOT.
But then, for some unfathomable reason, TDOT chose to rebuild James White, the highway that blasts down First Creek right past downtown, hangs a left, crosses the river and ends a 1/4 mile later. It goes nowhere.

My opinion is that we tear James White down, let Hall of Fame handle the traffic. The [simple] diamond interchange is already there at 40. No need for the "big dig" junction. Hall of Fame offers multiple ways to into downtown: 5th, Magnolia, Summit Hill, and Church. Reclaim the land that's been lost under the James White overpass for Old City development on Depot and Jackson. Gain back six city blocks on the eastern edge of downtown and resurrect First Creek into a real waterway and put green way park along it. That seems more useful than a half mile of relatively unused six-lane highway.

Is TDOT giving Knoxville a "Smart Fix?" I'll let the logo below do the talking.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i go walking [before] midnight (and sometimes after)

more about when momma was in town...

mom really likes to walk. i like to take days off from running, so it was a lot of fun (speed) walking with mom. the woman said it me, "em, i really like walking with you because you force me to walk faster," and i thought to myself, "woman, i spent my entire childhood basically running to keep up with you because you walk so damn fast."

(oh, before i forget. my mom said hi to the following people: stan and wife. pol and wife. will. will, mom says she hopes you are having fun in korea.)

anyway, we walked the boulevard on saturday. on sunday, we took a suttree tour. it started by walking up vine street (steep hill) to check out immaculate conception. usually when mom comes to town, i take her to church. but this time there was a priest on mom's flight into knoxville, so i told her that was good enough). suttree walked up and down vine a lot. i really like vine street. when i am feeling strong, i end my downtown runs going up it. it's hard. but i like the view of the interstates and north knoxville from the top.

then we ambled down to summit hill and onto gay. took gay all the way across the bridge. i really like the gay street bridge. it provides a nice view of the river both directions, of neyland, and of campus. i also pointed to mom where suttree probably kept his houseboat docked and where, in the distance, the city rat dwelled. we walked passed baptist hospital and then crossed the henley street bridge. henley isnt as fun to walk because it gets significantly more traffic and it can be a little scary because those cars go really fast. but the two bridges make a fun loop, so i think it's worth it. i pointed out the pol's house to mom (view from the river side). then, once back on the downtown side of the river, we walked random roads to the old city for a coffee at java. finally we walked depot and passed by regas (suttree spent some dollar bills there). then we went home.

the walk got me thinking that it's really fun to walk into south knoxville. i'd like to, one warm-ish day and perhaps with some friends (stan, pol, ck?) walk across gay and all the way to disc exchange. it's not far, really. then, on the way home we could stop at smoky mountain deli for a gyro. yum.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Readers Choice"

To our reader(s):

We at the wigshop love nothing more than to put up the things that interest us (we are very self involved). Our favorite haunts, the hipster things we buy, our self-indulgence in being knoxville-urban-chic, but there comes a time to listen to the masses.

We cannot always keep our heads in the clouds, thinking you always want to read what we like so we ask for your thoughts. What would you like to see on the wigshop? More store reviews, stories about wizards, stupid pet tricks, guy falls off house and hits groin on shovel?

Please give us your thoughts. We can't promise we'll deliver but we can sure promise that we'll at least mock the requests privately... in public.


Those of us who frequent the cigar shop on Central Ave. have noticed renovation efforts across the street for several months. The guys at the shop, Chris and Jared, have their ears to the ground for all things Old City and told me last fall that they had heard that "a British pub was going in there." Unfortunately, I missed my scoop and read all about it in this week's Metro Pulse.

Apparently it's going to be sweet. I won't rehash what you can read in MP but I will hit the highlights:

It's called the "Crown and Goose" named after a well-known pub in London. The "gastro" part of the pub means that it serves a full menu, like its namesake. The owner is actually English, and he owns the building it will be in. So chances are the pub will be done right and not go out of business in six months. The pub will have doors that will completely open up to the street in nice weather. Cool! And it will have a beer garden (not exactly English, I know) out back which will offer an alternative to Back Room BBQ's courtyard for those late summer nights discussing everything (we'll have to give it a try when you get back, Will).

So cheers to the Old City for the start of its [third?] renaissance. The appeal of that part of downtown is widening beyond the college crowd. Another element of this new Old City appeal will be the Cigar Bar part of the Knoxville Cigar Co., which is tentatively scheduled to open at the end of this month. True to form, yours truly and the majority of the Wig Shop writers will be there for the opening. We plan to bring you an exclusive on this welcome addition to the Old City (and not let those guys at Metro Pulse beat us again).

more development

Another exciting development in our little downtown community. Plans were unveiled last week for a new development near my end of town. This is one of the plans for the old supreme court building site. I'm always excited about this stuff and really hope that it will come together to work out.

there is also a little map of the location and a good article about it also in the KNS. I like Haslam, especially because he gets behind this stuff so energetically.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

pommes frites

this weekend, my mother flew from detroit to come visit me. we had a really nice time, as we always do when either one or both of my parents (or brothers) come to visit. my brothers both live in chicago, so i feel sometimes that knoxville isn't quite as fun of a city for the parents to visit. but my parents love coming to visit here (probably because i am their best child...). they have fallen in love with knoxville, and i'm glad to see that they embrace my home as much as i do.

yesterday was a great day. we woke early and had some coffee at home before heading out to seqouyah hills to walk the boulevard. after an exhilerating walk, mom wanted to try something new for breakfast/lunch (bistro by the bijou has a GREAT saturday brunch, but we always go there), so i took her for a drive along lions view and northshore (such a pretty drive), and we went to northshore brasserie. yum!

northsore brasserie does a great lunch. and it's really, really reasonably priced. i had the fried egg and cheese sandwich, and mom had the quiche (a very large slice!). and northshore's pommes frites? i will be bold to say that they're the best in town.

i dont get to the brasserie as much as i'd like, but it's always a treat when i do.

oh, and today before taking mom to the airport, i convinced her to have a bloody mary with me. downtown grille and brewery makes a good one, and it's only 3.75!

Urban Development

Well everyone, as we all know Knoxville downtown is a constantly changing city and I'm living proof of that. My place, a 650 sq ft Palace of Love, has been undergoing renovations since the wife and I moved in in June. Yesterday was one of the great landmark days of our home. With the help of ck and stan this once empty wall now contains two custom French doors.

So my hat is off to my friends for their help (especially ck as he is the expert) and to their respective spouses that allowed them to help all day long. Lots of coffee and an excess of patience were needed in construction, and a few cigars from the Knoxville Cigar Company didn't hurt our cause either.

cheers y'all.

Friday, January 25, 2008

graffiti in knoxville film

Knoxville Graffiti

The word around Market Square today was that the police had caught a graffiti [artist?] suspect. I didn't find any news reports on it yet, but it did lead me to an article on two guys who got caught last year: Christopher "Bantr" Jones and Seth "Mind" Calehuff. On the same google search the above video came up on MySpace video (wth?) and it's interesting. It brings up some of the same points made by our commenters.

Is graffiti art? Is it a crime? Is it both at the same time? Is there "art graffiti" and just mere tagging? Is urban blight fair game for artistic expression? "Mind" and "Bantr" (the guys interviewed in the film) got the smack down from the powers that be for expressing themselves as they saw fit. They knew the risks. Mayor Haslam has basically declared war on graffiti.

It's good to see some other Knoxvillians examining these issues and producing a pretty decent documentary about it. Get out of MySpace world, though, where the rest of us are. 
My personal position is more ambiguous. For the time being I'm looking at it like a war photographer: I want to record and document something that i think is interesting and noteworthy, yet I don't condone nor condemn what I'm documenting.
Let's keep the dialog going. What do you think?

post #100!

This the hundredth post for the blog.

Yeah wig shop! 

Wig Shop's Endorsements for County Offices

The Wig Shop's resident political junkie is taking it upon itself to make endorsements for the upcoming election. These will be endorsements for county and city officials. I have my own thoughts on the federal offices but so does everyone else so I'll leave those be. The local stuff is important to and here is who we endorse... and maybe why.

For County commision seat 1A (yes, downtown is seat 1A) the wig shop endorses:

Albert O. Baah: "I believe I can bring some positive changes to the County Commission - honesty and integrity," he said. "I believe I can help in educating our children and help in law enforcement. I'd like to have a safe city to live in."

He is also has a great sense of style and is a used car salesman.

For Knox County Clerk the wig shop endorses:

Amy Henley-Vandergriff

"It's a law," she said. "It's not open for interpretation." Vandergriff has downtown connections (manager at Regas) and is young and energetic.

For Knox County Trustee:

Roger Kane Jr.

OK, this one is personal. This guy taught my insurance class recently and I think that he's one of the guys in this thing for the right reasons. He is a business owner and has no past county government experience. He's a nice guy and worthy of a vote.

For Register of Deeds:

Scott Emge

Emge ran last year for the same office, and one of his campaign issues was that former Register of Deeds Steve Hall, who was ousted by a state Supreme Court ruling upholding term limits, was illegally on the ballot.

I like his background, he's a business man who wants another shot at an office he was denied unfairly. This whole Term Limits boondoggle has provided for a "Throw the bums out" mentality.

The remaining offices are kind of hard to pick.

Bill lockett for law director because he hasn't been in county government.
I don't like either candidate for sheriff, so I won't put my two cents in.
And I'll pick Bob McGee for criminal court judge just because he's very happy looking.

These candidates reflect a wide swath of political affiliations and I think will do a good job at reforming (or at least improving) the current situation we have.

Early Voting Ends Jan. 31st.

Vote Early, Vote Often.

occupational diversion




"look on the bright side." isn't that the lame, cheer-up equivalent of "get over it?" stupid smiley face ball. see if i go to you for comfort or distraction again.

I love Canadians

In honor of mickey's recent post, I am posting my all-time favorite Kids In The Hall skit. Please tell me that Kids In The Hall made it down to the South! Up North, we watched it religiously on Comedy Central (mid 90s through early 2000s), but Stan told me he has never heard of the show (well he hadnt until I made him watch this skit about 4,000 times). Anyway, those Canadians were a staple of my childhood, college years, and bartending years; so I want to share.

Warning: There are some scantily clad, weird ladies in this skit, so if you are easily offended at all, don't watch it. I, obviously, am not easily offended (by questions of vulgarity at least), as I swear like a trucker, have a stack of Playboys and sleep on 1000 count Egyptian sheets with pin-up girls on them. Okay, I digress; you have been warned.

Again! Again!

coffee & chocolate

Alice and I were lucky enough that we got to try out one of the newest shops in downtown, Coffee & Chocolate, before it was officially open. The owner, Sharif Harb, was just trying to get everything set up and people just kept coming in. Harb was very nice about it and let us buy some tiramisu (though he locked the door after we left). That kind of crazy business on the first day was a good indicator of things to come.

We've gone back several times since Christmas, and place is almost always full. There's only a few tables so it fills up quick. Fortunately it doesn't take long to eat a desert, so there's a good turnover rate that guarantees a table will free up if you wait a few minutes. I like the ambiance of the shop- cozy and chic with warm colors and red pendant lights. The fact that it's usually crowded adds to the "cafe experience."

But it's coffee and the chocolate, as indicated by it's simple name, that are what keep bringing me back. The coffee is very good (but not the best), though there aren't any espresso drinks offered. So it's drip brewed or nothing. The hot chocolate, the overlap of the shop's two specialties, is where things start humming. It's good. Made with steamed milk, it will make you dump all of your powdered crap down the sink at home.

The deserts are extraordinary in general, but let me steer you away from some missteps. As you go back again and again (and you will) you'll inevitably want to explore around. My advice: stick to the chocolate things. Our first wonderful impressions were soiled a bit last Saturday with a bad cheesecake and lemon tart. Both tasted like they had been in a refrigerator too long and had lost their creaminess.

That being said, everything else is the best deserts [desserts] you'll find in downtown. The attention to detail is exquisite, so much so that you feel bad eating it. I highly recommend the tiramisu and chocolate cake. A second case has a "best of" offering from the South's Finest Chocolate Company. Hard to go wrong there.

Right around the corner from the Riviera Cinema, the shop is in just the right place to pick up lots of foot traffic from Market Square and Gay Street. I give it a hearty thumbs up. No evening downtown is complete without a stop by Coffee & Chocolate.

8/10 wigs

hipster bingo

I'm pretty sure you could get bingo at lox salon.
The Wig Shop is definitely guilty of N1 (stan), G1 & O1 (everybody), I2 (everybody), N4 (pol), B5 (em, crooked heart version) and G5 (stan and ck, professional stalkers). Thanks to "Dave and Thomas Daily Time Killers and Salma Hayek Shrine" for this enlightening game. Now we just need someone with a circa-1968 Jagger haircut or an ironic mustache.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

wig shop at the movies : no country for old men

Well, time for some blog filler. Since no one else seems inspired to write, I thought I'd share a few first impressions on a movie I saw tonight:
No Country for Old Men.
Awesome. Violent. Creepy. Memorable. Tense. Bones sticking out of arms.
I haven't read the book, but I am a big fan of Cormac McCarthy. I'm making my way through his Appalachian novels, which he wrote before the "Border Trilogy" that No Country is a part of. And I also love many of the Coen brothers' movies. So I had high expectations...
The verdict? I'm happy to say that it lived up to the current hype. If you don't like "slice of life" character study type movies (like my wife) you may not be so taken with it. It doesn't resolve itself neatly, so don't go expecting a tidy story. No Country is not a plot driven movie. It does, however, give you characters that will stay in your mind for a long time to come. It has scenes that you will replay in your mind over and over. It has subtlety that will keep you thinking things out after you leave the theater. It has the best villain of any movie since Silence of the Lambs.
Go see it.
Rating: 9/10 wigs on the Wigometer

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Now for something hopefully less controversial...
This is a new tag to me, might be old. This is in the alley behind Marie's and Tennessee Valley Bicycles. There's some good graffiti on the concrete barrier by 40 east, right before the Broadway exit. Check it out. It's in the middle of all that traffic! Those dudes were committed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

concerning hipsters

as the subject of hipsters has been of interest lately, i'd like to discuss it briefly. maybe we can even clear up a few standing questions like who they are, what they do, and why the term is considered derogatory.

first of all, let's start with the types of people who we can safely say are not hipsters. note figure 1a at right. not a hipster. a few key pointers here: notice the balding head, weird apron, and the fact that he's been cooking. no hipsters are balding. that's just not how it works. most have long, tangled or otherwise purposely mismanaged hair. unless messy hair has become too popular, in which case the hipster will convert to neat hair to preserve his or her individuality. if you can't tell, that apron reads: "have you hugged a presbyterian lately?" of the four aprons like that in the world, all were purchased by persons over the age of 65. no one over 30 can safely be considered a hipster. over 30 hipsters are called 'hobos.' in regards to the cooking comment earlier, hipsters don't like to put much effort into anything, unless they are trying to show you that they don't put effort into anything. so cooking's pretty much out. but then so is fast food, which leaves them the narrow choice of pre-cooked, preservative-free, non-massed produced food. this is why many hipsters have a waistline of 26 or below.

on to our second example: the half-hipster. you should notice immediately (exhibit 4c, at left) the fuller head of hair, the slight sense of style, and the unwillingness to pander to the camera. caught mid-tirade, he is most likely going off on a tangent regarding the evils of corporate greed, the fragility of our environment,or the necessity for a government mandate ensuring that one member of every house rides a bicycle. while he doesn't posses the feigned carelessness of style of a true hipster, you'll notice the clear attention to dress. unlike most hipsters, he will probably not claim to hate your favorite band, but he mot likely listens to some music labeled as sonically dissonant or 'edgy.' however, we should remember he is the half hipster. this means he ostensibly cares about the world around him (like hipsters) but is also willing to change it (unlike hipsters).

finally, the hipster (figure 12c). the first thing you notice is that wry smirk. it brings something out doesn't, what is it? --the desire to punch him in the face. beyond the smile there are the ridiculous aviator glasses, the half-shaven disgruntled look, and of course the missing shirt. this one apparently care so little for the superficial that clothes have become meaningless. it sets him apart as an 'individual.' normally, you'll find him wearing jeans too tight and sailor striped shirts. he is usually loafing around, back hunched, talking loudly about an obscure band (probably also discussing the lack of originality in your music taste), a political situation that he barely understands, or generally complaining about the shallowness of popular culture. though he will often bring up others mistakes, he rarely puts his own neck on the line. the eternal critic.

typical conversation:
you: hi. how are you?
hipster: miserable. i ate my cat this morning.
you (noticeably startled, which was his intention): what? are you serious?
hipster: i just woke up this morning and felt depressed. you know war in iraq, the economy, people are just idiots. so i put him out of his misery.
you: ummmm. ok. yeah, that sucks.
hipster: i just read "johnny got his gun." written after WWI. pacifist literature. it changed my life.
you(understandably confused by the topic change): oh. ok. who wrote it?
[but the hipster can't hear you. he has his ipod earbuds in and is listening to something that sounds like cardboard being shredded]

and that's all i know concerning hipsters.

an open letter to "Anonymous"

Speaking in the editorial "we":

As our unbridled popularity increases, I'm sure we'll see more West Knox readers here at the blog. The infamous "anonymous" posts on Friday ignited a firestorm in the comments on an otherwise whimsical post. So let's talk.

Dear "Anonymous,"

We at the Wig Shop bear nothing but goodwill to our suburban brethren. It's not that we dislike you, we just dislike your unsustainable lifestyle. We don't hold it against you- most people over 40 were raised to believe that natural resources were unlimited, that Americans deserve to live however they want despite the consequences, and that personal happiness (read: convenience) is the best measure of a life well lived. We have our shopping malls and big box retail and cheap flat screen TVs. Everyone can be "middle class" with enough credit cards! That kind of Cold War era mentality gave us Knoxville's urban sprawl and our bad pollution. Again, we don't blame you. And we're not asking you to change if you don't want to.

We're just trying to do our part and get things heading in what we think is the right direction. Living downtown, buying locally, using cars as little as possible: all this has positive impacts on our area. We're not just a bunch of "faux hipsters" creating a subculture. We are the future of mainstream culture. We're trying to prove that normal people can live with less and still live good, fulfilled lives. As the price of suburban lifestyles continues to skyrocket, more and more people may start considering how an urban lifestyle could work for them. And we'll be here to help when gasoline hits $5.00/gallon.

So indulge us our few pretensions of elitism, and don't misinterpret it as hatred. It's not that Downtown is "sad." It's just that we want our city to be a great place, unique and weird, not "the place where America stops for gas." Which, when you get down to it, is what most sensible Knoxvillians want. "I just feel sorry for [downtown], because honestly it's kind of a sad place." We're here to say it's NOT. We feel that way about a place where you have to commute half an hour to see an pseudo-IMAX. So let's agree to mutually feel sorry for each other.

As a side note, I'd like say that I like to imagine "Anonymous" being Bill Haslam. I don't know why- something about "If I left my name, it'd only make you angrier" rang in my mind. Haslam!

Let's keep the dialog going. And let's keep it classy here at the Wig Shop: no name calling!


Faux Hipsters

Ice 1, The Pol 0

so I head out to work this morning early because of the bad weather. Well my parking lot is iced over so I'm not going anywhere fast. So I call in and get a tardy slip and head back inside. There's about twenty feet of sidewalk and then the door, but I bust harder than the new American Gladiators.

Humbling to say the least. Now my knee hurts. It looked kind of like this.

Monday, January 21, 2008

3 months!

...and two days.
Let's all take a breath after last week's intense posting and commenting drama and take a look at the State of the Blog:

The Wig Shop has gone through three months and we're doing better than ever. For a while, the only people looking at this thing were the writers and Will Cote (who has the distinction of being our first commenter and original muse). After a few graphic face lifts and a little networking, this blog is starting to get noticed. An esteemed award was given to us (which is only given out to a half dozen or so blogs everyday!) and we've made it on some pretty classy blog rolls. We've made some new friends along the way and we've even garnered a few enemies. Now the Wig Shop is attracting more and more traffic, getting more hits in one weekend than we did in our first month.

What's it all about?

The writers here all live and work and play in this little city, and want to share it with you. We hope that someone who has never been here could read our blog and get a good feel for what Knoxville is like. Do we represent Knoxville holistically? Probably not. Most of the writers live around downtown and represent that scene. A little cliquish, I know, but it's what we know best. Perhaps we can provide the template for people to write about life out in West Knoxville or any of the other suburbs. Meanwhile we'll just keep writing about what's happening down here in the nitty gritty center. We invite comments and criticism.

Another thing that we like is the weird stuff we see around Knoxville. Undoubtably, downtown gets its fair share of the strangest things you're likely to see in Knox County. If you're looking for a guy dressed like Crocodile Dundee arguing with a newspaper stand, we can point you in the right direction. We are here to document all of the crazy people and places we see on a daily basis and bring it to you. Whether you choose to avoid or seek out those things is up to you.

Thanks for reading, and keep coming back the ol' Wig Shop (which is not the Sunsphere). As long as semi-interesting stuff keeps happening to us, we'll keep posting it here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

race against racism

yesterday afternoon some friends and i ran in the the race against racism 5k sponsored by the phyllis wheatley ywca in east knoxville. for some reason i cant make links on my ibook when i am at home, but the ywca site is the race turnout was much larger than i expected, and i feel like the community really came together to talk about and promote a great cause. at most races you get a goody bag with coupons and samples of running and sponsor related items. this race's goody bag included a one-sheet detailing "10 simple ideas to eliminate racism." a lot of these may seem obvious, but i actually think this is a list of simply ideas that we sometime forget about. it's nice to be reminded:
1. Dont laugh at racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic, or other stereotypical jokes or assumptions
2. Make an effort to get to know people different than you
3. Learn about other people and their cultures
4. Think before you speak
5. Be a role model
6. Don't make assumptions
7. Explore the unfamiliar
8. Work on projects with members of groups different than your own
9. Be a proactive parent (expose children to diversity early on)
10. Support anti-prejudice and anti-racist organizations

so yeah, a little 5k cant change the world, but i felt like the community got together to support a good, common vision. and the race course was really pretty. with one beeotch of a hill.

update: i added a pic so you can see how awesome the race teeshirt is. it's the best 5k tee i've ever seen. my time got me 4th in my grouping, and the best part was that i was running under a pseudonym bc i was filling the place of a team member who had to cancel. the race gave me a good base time. the sort of time that says, "wow, you are really out of shape and you still did okay, so now you need to improve from here."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

the pol or the pig?

i believe this might be a better representation of who pol is, rather than his lame profile.
some appropriate questions at this point might be: is the pig costume merely snide commentary on our political system, or a true representation of the pol? why bush and greenspan? and surely that horrible beard wasn't necessary?

also, i can't take credit for this image. a much more clever friend of mine sent it to me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Clifford Clark and his Cause

Well, it's time for some commentary. The Clark case is our most visited topic on the blog and it deserves some more attention. And being the most opinionated (at least vocally) on this blog, I will begin my defense of Mr. Clark.

Guilty or not, he has brought to the public eye a smoldering issue waiting for its chance to burn big. As many people agree, I'm sure, there is just something slightly unsettling about the idea of cameras issuing tickets and acting like police. I'm sorry- the police should act like police, not get some private company out in arizona to look over the video feed and write citations in their name.

Point #1: A private company is making money off of our lawbreaking. Should we allow for the privatization of the police force? I'm sure there are a number of companies that could provide security in this county for a lower price than we pay our police officers. If we promise 20% of all fines to independent contractors, we will no-doubt have many takers and all the labor we need. Problem is that police work is not like every other industry- it enforces laws and wields certain constitutional powers that are limited and defined.

Point #2: those powers exist to protect citizens from each other, but are also limited to protect citizens from the police. Where do we go from here? There are already speeding cameras in TN cities. What's next- J-walking cameras, spitting cameras?

Listen: I'm a Republican and a conservative- I love small government and freedom. WTF is going on and why can't we do anything about it.

I have a plan though. I recommend a non-destructive form of protest to these cameras that can also raise awareness. I propose that signs be placed near these cameras, on public land, or on private land if the owners agree- all pointing out the lunacy of these cameras. We can post pictures of it here. Why do we need these cameras? Is there a city leader that will fight them? If not, who can we elect that will?

Cliff Clark for county commission.

[edited by ck]

wizard no. 2!

This just in: I saw another wizard 15 minutes ago on Gay Street. Stan brought to our attention the "Chalice Warlock" of the Old City last month, but I guess one wizard was not enough for Knoxville!
I saw him coming up the street, but he ducked into the All Day Cafe by the cinema before I got close enough to document him. So I stood outside the door for five minutes pretending I was reading the Metro Pulse. At last he strode forth in all his glory. He actually nodded and looked in my eyes when he passed me. That made me feel a little guilty about stealing a picture of him while I "dialed a number" on my cell phone.
This begs the question: does he know the Chalice guy? are they enemies, or in a cool wizard club together? how do I get in that club?

regal cinema riveria

i can't tell you how happy i am that we now have a cinema downtown. i was traveling for work when the cinema opened, and i truly was bummed to miss the festivities. but since then, i have enjoyed the convenience of a quick walk up gay street to see a film. i know, too, that many so-kno residents have enjoyed the convenience of a quick drive up chapman highway and across the bridge. free popcorn on tuesdays to regal crown club members?! bring it on.

but why doesn't the downtown cinema have a more diverse range of films? we got juno, and that is a step in the right direction, but we're sorely missing out on many, many good independent films. i thought when planners outlined the plan there was mention of the cinema showing hollywood films in half of its theatres and indie flicks in the other half? what happened to that (really, really) great idea? i'd like to see there will be blood this weekend, but now i am spoiled, and i dont want to drive out west.

but then again, soccer taco sounds pretty delish at the moment...

share the road in knoxville

I biked into work today, hitting my goal of riding more than driving. I thought I bring up this issue: we all need to get along out there. The Pol brought it to my attention last night that he thought bicycles on the road are ridiculous and unsafe. This kind of ignorance is pervasive in our fair city. So I want to lay some things out:

1) it's the LAW. Bicyclists are not out there just to annoy drivers. We have the right to be in the road in every state and on any road (except interstates). In addition, Tennessee has gone beyond this and passed a law that requires a motorist to give a three foot "safe zone" when passing a bicycle. Failing to do so is a Class C Misdemeanor (you'll get a ticket).

2) we have to follow the same rules. Going the correct direction in the correct lane. Stopping at red lights. Signaling (with our arms) a lane change. That's because we're vehicles too. If you see a bicyclist not obeying the traffic laws, then you can get pissed.

3) Knoxville is trying to be more bicycle friendly. The city has put in place policies and programs to increase the "bikability" of Knox Vegas (KPD seems to be a little behind on this, though. I guess they're too busy setting up cameras everywhere).

4) Bicycles are GOOD for the city. They decrease the number of people driving, which decreases traffic, air polution, oil dependency on foreign countries, obesity, you name it.

So, drivers, give us a break. If you have to slow down for a few seconds before you can pass us, deal with it (Pol). Bicycles on the road are part of the reality of living in a city- hopefully something we'll see more of in our scruffy city.

[update: I produced a batch of the stickers similar to what's at the top of the post. They're sized to fit on the average bike tube. If you want one for your bike contact me: I'll even mail it to you]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

being a big deal requires effort

turns out, being me is a big deal. i just got this new blackberry because i'm so busy and important. it never stops ringing. that's how many emails and phone calls i get all the time. sometimes i'm like 'screw you blackberry.' but it doesn't turn off. ever.

oh well. with these state of the art contraptions, you never can tell. plus, i'm already on to the next big thing anyway. we're only 8 years into this millennium and i'm so ahead, its like 'bring on 3000!', ya' know?

well, that's all i have to report. i've got to get to like 400 meetings before 9:30 tonight. don't stop 'till you're dead!

you know what i really like...?

pub dogs at union jacks!

and now that distributors in this town have fully embraced sweetwater 420 (a delicious extra pale ale, one of my favorite beers), there's a tasty combo right there. i hope that the sweetwater influx doesnt cause me to get sick of it (kind of like what a hip, silly soundtrack like juno can do to some old faves). i liked that the 420 was a rare fruit and you could only get it during trips to ATL or north carolina. this steady availability is a little daunting. hope it's not ruined for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

who is lucas?

born on the sunny beaches of rio de janeiro, brazil (literally, a sand-birth), lucas spent the better part of his toddler years in greece and portugal before heading to a suburb of new york in the glorious land of new jersey, where he developed an affinity for music, art, and fine wine.

educated at wake forest (read: at a country club), lucas's life has now shifted gears and led him to the bustling metropolis that is knoxville. while one might think that such a cosmopolitan man might settle in the downtown area, lucas prefers the quiet serenity of sequoyah hills, where he enjoys beautiful views, riverside strolls, and the regular chiming of church bells.

around knoxville, you will most likely find lucas in the vicinity of the university, eating at sawyer's chicken fingers, stopping in at knoxville cigar shop for a quick smoke, or driving around town with guys that are 5 years younger than him.

why we fight?: the reginold story

what is there to say about the mysterious reginold that has not already been said before by reginold himself before? to answer this query, we turn to the man himself, reginold.

what is it about reginold that makes him so mysterious?

i think it is because he likes to live life vicariously through other peoples' lives and their online lives. everyone says, "hey where is reginold, who is reginold, why hasn't reginold put up a post on the blog yet? has anyone ever seen reginold? when am i going to meet reginold?"
could it be that reginold isn't real? could it be that he is camera shy? could it be that reginold isn't at work all day next to a computer? could it be that he is saving the world, one child at a time at a local YMCA instead? man, that would be great wouldn't? no child left behind, just like that educational program. well you get the idea, you know for the kids and the non-profits.

so what is reginold really like? what are his passions?

well, once you hang out with reginold, you'll never want to hang out with anyone else again. you can quote me on that too. hmm..where do i begin? he loves good music. in fact he has better music taste than anyone else he knows, just ask ck.

he can read slowly or sometimes faster than slowly. he has impeccable fashion sense. he makes ryan seacrest look gay, and that's saying something bold. just ask his roommate lucas. he''ll tell you. but don't let reginold's schoolboy face fool you. he's pretty grizzled, and likes to pretend that he's real outdoorsy when he goes camping in the smoky mountains three times a year. the proof is on his car, and what a chariot it is. his 92 honda accord is adorned with outdoor corporate bumper stickers and rust.

is reginold single, i mean, is he seeing anyone?

i know he frequents the sassy ann's and picks up churchgoing femme fatal socialites. he practically has their brother introduce them to him. i've seen him around town at the local bars with the same lady, and once they enter a room, it's not the same room. whatever that means. i don't know, i heard ben folds sing it about reginold, and i remember him saying it once about himself. he's got all these phrases that are just brilliant like that. it's like he read them off a cereal box or heard them in a movie. in fact, reginold's life is like a movie.
maybe someday, we can live our lives vicariously through reginold's. i can see it now. "he can blend in, disappear... reginold, no one knew he who he was, or what he was up to...that's the greatest trick he ever pulled, and like that he's gone."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weird Knoxville Post

So apparently Knoxville is a culturally relevant city. If anyone else is a Lost junkie then you have noticed that there was a billboard that went up near the Gallagher View road exit about two weeks ago. And then someone graffitied it. So actually this plays on two of our recent posts. Anyways heres a picture:

Ok so upon a little bit of research I discovered that, if that wasn't weird enough, that the graffiti is a website with a lost subplot. OK crass commercial marketing right, wrong.

Only 9 cities in the world got this billboard. 2 in cali, 1 in seoul, south korea (may our alittlekorean saw it) on in ames iowa (wtf) and a couple others in major cities.

OK so for some reason we got a random billboard for LOST and no one knows why or really who put them up.

But I think I figured it out. The answer is simply

(LOST sounds effects for the dramatic blackout here)

The Pol

The pol is a middle of the road kind of guy. Meaning that if you're in the middle of the road he is going to run over you (read: stan)

The pol Loves Uber Capitalism (doesn't know how to do those cool dots over the u)
The pol hates socialism
The pol also hates speaking in the third person so he is going to stop... now.

But on a more personal note I love knoxville. I have had a swath of jobs in this town over the past few years, starbucks, the republican party, a short stint in pr, and now insurance.

I am the only downtown homeowner on this blog which gives me an inflated feeling of self-worth but I work out west so feel kind of dirty.

My wife also boycotts this blog but its ok, she'll come around.

(Back to third person now)

The Pol, as seen by his name, is a political junkie. He loves a good discussion of issues and reads every story about the presidential race and Britney Spears that he can find.

The Pol has no opinion of hairstyles or anything like that as he has no hair.

The Pol loves Milton Friedman, Barry Goldwater, Wm. H Taft, John Adams (no not the beer guy, but he's good too) and Real Clear Politics.

The Pol is always up for a pint at DTGB's and can be found there every monday night playing texas holdem.


good music, especially tom waits and nick cave
boot camp
running through downtown, along neyland and on the greenways
island home
working out at the downtown ymca
cormac mccarthy
un cafe americano
rain boots
other kinds of boots
high heeled shoes
knee socks, especially argyle ones
blue jeans
walking around downtown with nothing to do
dining and drinking downtown with friends
mcghee tyson airport
my lobster

loud chewing (including public gum chewing)


a bearish upstart hailing from the brutal, often pugnacious oak hill (a suburb of nashville). his checkered past informs his personality, but never dictates. against all odds, he managed to bribe his way through school and now, a self-proclaimed genius, resides somewhere between depot and jackson ave.

stan was compelled to start this blog with a little encouragement, but mostly the derision of his friends. it was solely begun as a failed joke at the expense his friend and famed blogger at

now, unable to control the monster, stan is content merely to comment and learn about the great, strange city of knoxville. his wife, who refuses to have anything to do with a wigshop, humors his efforts--if only for her own sanity.


ck is a writer and the graphic guru of the Wigshop. He messes with this blog when the boss isn't looking, and pretends to design mind-blowing architecture when the boss is looking.

An avid urbanist, ck likes to live near downtown and you can often find him in a cafe or in a certain cigar shop. He also works downtown, so you'll rarely find him in the suburbs. That gives him a false sense of superiority. He rides a bright red bike to work to tell himself he's actually "exercising." Truthfully, he needs to get out more often and avoid cable television.

He built a house with his bare hands in the Victorian neighborhood Mechanicsville. This was mainly to cope with his wife's growing collection of stray animals. Anyone can tell you that a visit to his place usually involves a dog licking you or a cat on your lap.

If you were interested in him enough to look at this bio, you might enjoy looking at his other endeavors.

contributors, i want you...

to each write one post in which you detail your own profile, biography, life story, etc. it will be a as long or short as you want. if you desire, it can contain pictures or videos. you must post it here, on the blog. put your pseudonym or call-sign in the title.

its your duty.

Monday, January 14, 2008

lox salon

my blog colleagues (blogleagues?) are all men, but i think most of us can agree that good hair is a very, very important thing. good hair makes you feel better about yourself. i find that in my saddest of times, great hair can really brighten me up.

salons in knoxville are like britney spears' hit singles. meaning there are a lot of them, and not very many of them are any good. or, moreover, salons in knoxville are like restaurants in knoxville. same idea. why the hell are there so many of them?! when i first moved to knoxville, among my list of priorities was to find a good salon (i had been an 8 year patron of my michigan joint). this task wasnt easy, and i went through more salons than you can count on one hand before i found one that i could tolerate. and by tolerate, i only mean tolerate. it wasnt what a salon should be: a place you love, a place you cant wait to visit, a place that makes you want to skip away from as you leave.

and then...

lox salon (127 S Central St 37902, 523-5569) opened. and the clouds parted and the heavens sang.

lox owner brynn is everything a salon owner should be: hip, fun, diligent, socially conscious and GOOD at what she does. she has an aesthetic, and she cares about her clients' hair and, thus, the way they feel about their hair. and her staff is awesome to boot. it's obvious that they like working together and that they love their jobs. and, in a town where haircare prices are out of control, lox boasts of book of reasonably priced services. brynn hosts first friday events and offers monthly specials. she serves mimosas on saturdays. she plays good music. in short, she--and lox--rocks.

my monthly appointment is coming up this week, and i can hardly wait. it will, not sadly at all, be the highlight of my week. as good hair-getting should be.

thanks, lox. you are one of the shining stars of downtown and the old city. keep it up.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

a public service announcement

not in knoxville, but one of my favorites of all time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

graffiti in knoxville

Some call it vandalism, some call it art...
I thought it would be interesting to start a new series that documents our own local "artists." On a short walk around Market Square I found that "GAME" "STUCCO" and "KRIME" had been hard at work tagging our town, among many others. So here is the first installment of "KNOXVILLE graffiti" (like the fonts, stan?):

Mike gets some thoughtful advice on the alley wall (this one is worth zooming in on).

Graffiti artists are very concerned with originality, apparently.

This masterpiece was found near the back of Preservation Pub.