Tuesday, March 31, 2009

raw knox : tomo

I share a block with downtown Nama, so when we want sushi, Nama is the fallback choice 99-percent of the time. In fact, when the fridge is empty and we're just too lazy to go to the grocery store or to another restaurant, Nama is the fallback choice 99-percent of the time. (The tasty new Cuban restaurant on the 100 block may give Nama a run for their money on that one, though). We usually get takeout, because Nama is small, and it's still wildly popular all these years and a second location later; but when family or friends are in town, we love to take them to Nama for fun dining experience.

Nama's great, but I eat it so frequently that it's become sort of like grilled cheese or a can of soup. I eat it because it's there, and because it's convenient; and hence it's lost some of its excitement.

When we really want a fun experience and good sushi in Knoxville, and when there's gas in the car and we're not too lazy to get in that car and drive it westbound, Tomo's the place we go.

Tomo has two locations: West Knoxville at 7315 Kingston Pike (865.584.0047) and North Knoxville at 4877 N. Broadway (865.689.1999). I have never been to the North location, but I hear it is near Fountain City. The West location shares a strip with Cat's Music.

What I love about Tomo is that it's kind of a hole in the wall. Now if you know me, you know that I mean this in the best, kindest and most complimentary way. I am a dive bar kind of girl. I don't like frills or overly designed plates of food. I don't care about seeing or being seen. I just want a quite, low key, delicious dining experience. Tomo is small and dark; there's a sushi bar that seats four and a few tables in the window that allow you to eat kneeling. Other than that, there are maybe 6 or 7 tables. Tomo may seem like a hole in the wall to me, but it's clean. Anthony Bourdain has made two suggestions that I live by: Never eat in a restaurant that doesn't have a clean bathroom (if they are too lazy to do a simple task like clean a bathroom, you can only imagine what the kitchen looks like), and never eat restaurant fish on Mondays or Tuesdays. Words to live by. Tomo's bathrooms are clean. They're bare, too, but at least they're clean.

Another thing I love about Tomo is that it's not just a sushi bar. It's a full service Japanese restaurant. I can't believe it, but there are actually people in the world who don't eat sushi, and Tomo provides a great compromise. I can go and eat sushi to my heart's content, and I can take someone like my mom with me when she's visiting this neck of the woods. She won't touch sushi beyond the basic California roll, but she'd love Tomo's Teriyaki Shrimp or a Udon noodle bowl. The menu includes sections for soups, appetizers, salads, noodles or noodle soups, rice bowls, entrees (usually some type of stir fry dish), sushi, and an extensive list of Tempura Lovers items. Do you love Tempura? Hell, get yourself some Tempura battered Mackerel, Acorn Squash, Tofu, Carrot, Diakon Radish, Heart of Palm, Okra, or one of the other dozen or so choices. I can't speak for the Tempura because I don't really eat it, but I know a lot of people really love what Tomo's got to offer.

When I go, I usually stick to the sushi. But I have a friend who swears by the Kara-age appetizer, which is Japanese-style fried chicken. I've had one or two of Tomo's noodle bowls, and both were great. I always get their Miso soup. I think it's the best in town. They also have a Shiitake soup for the same price as Miso. It's delicious. I'm not a fan of Tomo's seaweed salad (Nama has the best seaweed salad in town), but that's about the only thing on the menu that I wouldn't order again.

Alright. You have to get the Orange Crush. It is one of my three favorite rolls among all the sushi spots in this town. It is absolutely, mouth wateringly, incredible. The menu description includes two words that I avoid like the plague, but I make an exception for this roll. I don't get out to Tomo that often, so it's a treat for me; and when I go, those two words are worth it. It's fresh Salmon Nigiri (Nigiri is fish on rice), topped with...gasp...deep fried shrimp mixed in a DE-licious Unagi sauce (it's so addictive that I think they put some crack in there too), topped with freshly crushed garlic and scallions. What is it that Ferris Bueller says? It is so choice.

Another roll that is very popular is named for a friend of mine. Try the Night with Sydney: shrimp tempura and cucumber topped with spicy tuna, avocado, salmon, tuna and shiromi.

Tomo's probably one of the most truly traditional Japanese sushi spots in town. (I love it for this reason). They've got an extensive sashimi and nigiri menu, which is why I go. But they've got a lot of fun and inventive special maki rolls, so if Makerel's not you're bag, you've got plenty of flavorful options.

For dessert, they've got lots of ice creams, including green tea, tempura and red bean. I've never had the red bean ice cream, but maybe I'll try it next time and let you know.

We prefer to sit at the sushi bar because the chefs are always friendly and funny. They always invite us to come back for midnight sushi. They like what they do, and you can tell. That's important to me. And when we can't decide on what we want from the extensive menu, we ask them to make something up for us. And we're never disappointed.

Tomo has a great, diverse Sake menu, and they've also got a Sake sampler for those who'd like to, you know, sample. Otherwise, they've got a pretty good beer list.

Tomo is also open for lunch and offers sushi combo options or bento boxes, which are all moderately priced. They offer daily specials. I don't have a list off the top of my head, but I think they've got all-you-can-eat sushi one day and some good Sake or happy hour specials throughout the week. And, of course, it's very popular for its midnight sushi, which you just might hear a little about later this week...

Monday, March 30, 2009

raw knox : nama west

So I ate at Nama out west last Thursday, located on the corner of Mohican and Kingston Pike and had a marvelous dining experience. We sat down at 5:57, so I didn't even try to ask our server what specials they had for happy hour, which ends at 6.

photo credit: Glenn Reynolds

Instead, to my delight, she ran through all the happy hour specials on drinks and sushi to make sure we ordered in time (so nice) I got a $2 pint of blue moon a half price avocado maki roll. My dining companion ordered the eel maki. All te maki (hand rolls) and maki (basically seaweed paper, rice, and one filler) are half off before 6.

As we waited for our food, I noted the differences between this Nama and the one downtown. Of course the one downtown has it's small-restaurant-in-a-big-city-feel, and I do love it for its uniqueness, but Nama West is so nice and roomy, which omits feelings of claustrophobia one may feel at the downtown location. I've had bad experiences with Gay street Nama hostesses, so it was nice to be welcomed with a smile and some enthusiasm. Our server Sarah was very nice and informative. She knew her fish.

So we got our maki rolls and ordered the orange roll and some warm shrimp and crab dip (side note: that dip is delicious, but be careful of the red sauce. It'll bite ya. Also another good starter is the edamame. I prefer it hot, but you can get it cold. Divine!)

The orange roll was very good. Definitely the first time I've experienced sweet potatoes in my sushi. The funny thing that dawned on us was that the orange roll consists of salmon, tempura sweet potatoes, carrots, topped with orange fish eggs, wrapped in a white soy paper. We're in Knoxville, Big Orange Country- Nama has a Big Orange Roll! Which was funny... and slightly disappointing. (Just kidding) Go Vols!

So needless to say, I like Nama. I always have. It's about the only place I go to eat sushi, so I can't really compare it to other places. It's got a swanky feel, and I like that, because I like feeling swanky from time to time.

Also, maybe I'm not supposed to say this (I might get my head chopped off by a sushi chef, which would be beautiful work, I'm sure), but they have a secret menu, and I finally saw it for the first time. There's a lot on there, but we didn't order anything (the prices were also a secret, which tends to scare me) But yeah, ask for it the next time you go, if for nothing else, than just to feel special. (because you are special)

So that's it. It's only Monday, folks, so come back for more sushi talk all this week. And considering I'm a slacker, hopefully others will have taken pictures.

We're on a roll, Knoxville... (ba-dum-ching!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

week o' sushi

Welcome to the first ever themed week at the Wigshop! Just when you thought you had us figured out, we pull something like this off.

You may have noticed, sushi has become a very popular over the last few years. Where as most people were once, "Raw fish? Weird." increasing numbers of Knoxvillians can't get enough of those little seaweed rolls. Nowadays there are many options in town to get your raw fix. Where does one start? Don't worry- the Wigshop has your back! Whether you're new to sushi, or a pro looking to branch out, we'll show you the breadth of what's available in Knoxville. This week will feature wall-to-wall highlights of what we feel is the best of the sushi scene in Knoxville. Ladies and gents, I give you Raw Knox!

Friday, March 27, 2009

follow us... even more!

Heads up to all you dear readers: The Wigshop is twittering (tweeting?)... uhh, we're on Twitter!

If you also like putting 140 character or less thoughts out on the interweb, maybe you like to see our thoughts too. Click here to start following us! This is hyperblogging, ladies and gents. Just think of it as hooking jumper cables to the Sunsphere. That's how awesome it is. Trust us.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

bars and churches

Following up B's post about her secret building crush... Apparently the Flynn Paint building is being renovated into a bar and restaurant called "The Hill". They haven't opened their doors yet, but controversy is brewing.

The Muslim Community of Knoxville (a local mosque) is 191 feet away. Why is this a problem? Certain local laws, a legacy of our prohibitionist past, states that no alcohol serving place can be within 300 feet of a place of worship. Bureaucracy has kicked in- the city regulates beer permits, the state issues liquor licenses. The city has chosen to wait and see what the state does, however it would seem silly to not let beer be sold where liquor and wine were permitted. The restaurantueur, Trevor Hill, seems unconcerned. However, the mosque is against having alcohol so near to them. Potentially, a precedent might be set if the state issues a liquor license that would overturn our local law.

From an urban standpoint, a new business at 11th Street and Western Ave. would be welcome. With the Valarium nearby, the no man's land between downtown and the inner neighborhoods seems to be filling in with activity. I understand religious places not wanting what they consider immoral activity close to them, but this is a city. Living in an urban context often means living near a lot of people who are not like you and dealing with it. To that point, is legally segregating certain lifestyles within the city moral? Hopefully as we live beside each other and learn from one another, maybe we'll see that such laws are no longer needed.

Is keeping alcohol away from churches important? What are the pros and cons of separation? What do you think?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sundown in the City '09

I love Sundown in the City because it's always feels like the unofficial start to summer in Knoxville (ok, I know April is a little early for summer, but as a UT student it always felt close). Plus, who can complain about free concerts on Market Square?

AC Entertainment has revealed the lineup for 2009. It's as random as usual, with a little something for everyone. Arrested Development kicks it off on April 9th. Cowboy Mouth is coming, as is Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Gavin Rossdale, Dave Barnes and Shooter Jennings.

Who are you most excited about?

More Classic Knoxville Graffiti

I've collected a few shots of interesting graffiti over the last few weeks/ months. Enjoy. [Ed. note: many eons ago we had a series of posts about graffiti in Knoxville, including what may be the what may be the best love note on an alley wall ever.]

OK someone has to know the back story on this. Who uses a walrus as a tag? Must be a Beatles fan.

Now I think this may be a little harsh

"Ichabod," well at least our teens are versed in the classics.

still a little unclear on this one.

unicorns, weed, and cobras, the jungle wall of Knoxville.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gay Street Update

So it seems like progress in being made on our beloved Gay Street. Construction has begun on the 100 block, and now the street is not completely closed to traffic. 

Even more important is that the businesses there seem to be doing very well. The Pol and I were at Little Havana last night, and it was buzzing with life and amazing food (full review to come, right Pol?). 

In light of all the construction, the city has set up a blog to keep all of us informed as to the progress of the project. Check it out here - http://100blockconstructionknox.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 23, 2009

more thoughts on music and knoxville

Last week's post, suggesting that Knoxville could position itself to become the Capital of Bluegrass, got a lot of attention. Many reader's comments offered good information. Some were not so nice. But for the most part a good dialogue got started. Then, a few days later, I found out that Jack Neely was on the same wavelength. Other Knoxvillians have been thinking the same thing. Maybe it was a mistake for me to couch my original question with the term "Bluegrass". Neely seems to gravitate towards "Americana". Maybe just "Folk" would work best? Or do we need a new word?

The main thing that became clear to me is that Bluegrass / Americana / Folk / Old Time / Appalachian Folk scene is spread out. There is a Bluegrass Museum- in Owensboro, KY. There is a Bluegrass Institute- but at ETSU, not UTK. There is a large Folk Music Festival near here, but it's up in Norris at the Museum of Appalachia. It was even suggested that the true "Capital of Bluegrass" was already Hiltons, VA. On one hand, all this means we've been beaten to the punch. On the other hand, I think this is an even stronger argument that Knoxville could easily become the main center of Traditional Music. The spread out nature of the genre is begging for a true capital.

I want to keep writing on this, hopefully adding something meaningful to discussion on Knoxville's future. Full disclosure: I am a sometime mandolin player and casual Bluegrass fan. I'm not hardcore into Knoxville's music scene. I don't know nearly enough about everything that's going on here. But I love Knoxville and I love music. Maybe that's enough.

Here are what I thought were some of the best points made:

I'd love to see something in the same style of Big Ears -- spread shows out among our many great venues and then have a couple of huge headliners.

We're not suggesting making Knoxville the exclusive end-all, be-all of the bluegrass scene. We're just talking about finding ways to harness this great bluegrass scene here in East Tennessee and market it to the outside world.

Knoxville is a city with multiple identities and many of those identities are quite marketable. A city of Knoxville's size and reputation (or lack thereof) should try to capitalize on as many of these identities as possible.

I think what will give this idea a real long-term draw for everyone (along with providing some unique-ness from the other festivals) is providing multiple opportunities for bluegrass musicians to play TOGETHER! The tradition of Appalachian music is to pick up an instrument, learn from each other and start making some music. I think Market Square would be a great venue to invite ALL players, professional and amateur to get together to play, learn from each other, and give us all one hell-of-a show!

...there is currently a lack of organization in communicating all of this in a unified way that is useful to locals and visitors alike. Yes, there are individual concert calendars, newspaper listings, etc., but this is about more than a simple listing or directory. There is a great need for a unified marketing plan that would let each of the stakeholders in this idea have opportunities to expand their audiences and finances.

I think Knoxville needs an identity. And Traditional Music, to me, seems like the best choice. If this was intelligently pursued, what would it look like? What other facets of Appalachian culture could be useful? What are things (like Tennessee Shines) that are here now and can be built upon? What are the best kept secrets in Knoxville's music scene?

Thanks for a all the comments so far, keep 'em coming. Let's see what we can dream up.

an old flame

I get crushes on buildings like I do on boys. There is (was) one building in particular that was love at first sight. I'd drive out of my way just to see it. I dreamed that one day it could be mine.

It was perfect, it only needed some love. It's big windows, it's red and blue stripes, the way it's third floor was smaller than the floors below. I pictured myself looking out of that top story window, out over Knoxville.

But not all dreams come true. The owner finally decided to fix up the building and he changed it all.

So here's to you Flynn Paint on 11th street. I'll always remember you how you were.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring fitness

I can't believe that the Knoxville Marathon is already coming up next Sunday, 3/28. I'd love to hear from people who are running the full, half, 5k or participating in a relay. Are you excited for your race? If you want to participate in the events this year, there's still time to register. The marathon is one of those events that truly brings out the best of Knoxville and Knoxvillians. People come from all over the country (and world) to participate, and we put on a good event for them. True Knoxville spirit is on display. It's one of my favorite events of the year.

Also fitness related, my all time favorite fitness program, Operation Boot Camp, starts new camps on Monday 3/23. Operation Boot Camp is a 30 day fitness and nutrition program that meets out at lovely Lakeshore Park (Northshore Rd and Lyons View Rd). Over a year ago, I was totally amazed at what Boot Camp did for my fitness level, my energy level, my endurance and my running times. A year later, I am still in love with the program. Now after a few months of heavy work travel and indulgent vacation , I am ready to recommit to the program by being a camper! I would love it if some Wigsphere readers decided to join me out there! You can read about the camps here and read more and register here.

Spring is such an inspiring time to workout. The sun stays with us for much longer, so after-work runs are possible. I love running in downtown Knoxville and along Neyland. Plus the weather and the new growth is just really conducive to an awesome outdoor run or workout. That's how I look at it, anyway.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pancakes for ALL!!!

I found this on the street last night... figured it was blog worthy, though apparently ck, the wife, and i are going to see the Big Lebowski at the bijou tomorrow night at 9.

Does anyone have any more details on the pancake dinner? I do like the flyers they made (maybe Yee-haw work??)

Just a little "about town" news.

Ever Get the Feeling...

... that you just got a second opinion on your prostate exam.

These are the new cameras that have replaced those pesky old ones.

Where to begin?

Instead of 4 cameras covering the intersection at Henley and Main, there are now 16.

The Taxpayers of Knoxville are footing the bill for putting up more equipment for private companies to enforce local laws, collect revenues and take them to another state, and then return a pittance to the city.

I'll not launch into my full rationale for my disgust of this practice here, but I will put out this little A.P.B.

If anyone knows who the new company is tha has taken over the operating please let me know. Also if there are any new details on the new contract that the city has signed that would be great to hear also.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In search of good barbecue

If you've not read the Modern Gal's bio, you probably don't know that I spent my formative years in Memphis, which automatically qualifies me as a barbecue snob.

I'm sure y'all are familiar with the Memphis breed of barbecue snobs: only pork qualifies and the sauce is sweet with a tomato base. I guess I could be considered Memphis barbecue snob lite, because I like both wet and dry-rub ribs. Still, anyone who wants to argue with me on what real barbecue is, I ask you first how many World Championship Barbecue contests you've attended.

Anyway, my point isn't to be ornery. My point is this: Every time I move to a new city, I have to establish a relationship with the barbecue scene, and I've yet to do that with Knoxville. Don't tell me Buddy's is the place to go -- Buddy's is fast food NOT real barbecue (though they have amazing oatmeal raisin cookies). Yes, there's Calhoun's, and I give Calhoun's credit for having very good ribs, but their pulled pork is awful.

My Knoxville barbecue bachelorette days have gone on way too long, so I've decided instead to embark on a gastrological journey through Knoxville's barbecue scene to find the crown jewel. I've been asking around town, soliciting suggestions for the best barbecue joints to get an idea of where to start. My friends at the News Sentinel even helped me out with a poll, though it turned out to be useless as the majority picked Buddy's. So Wigshop friends I ask you too: where are the must-eat BBQ joints in our fair city?

In my dedication to spreading the good news of Knoxville, I shall report all of my findings back here at the Wigshop. Let the games begin!

Vetiver @ Square Room

Vetiver played the Square Room Monday night to a small crowd of about 50 folks. I might be over estimating the numbers here, but it was something like that. I suspect that this is due to the fact that the world is on Spring Break and Market Square isn't exactly a destination for typical beach goers. Despite the fact that I felt bad for them having to play for such a small group, it was intimate and they put on a fantastic show.  Having never experienced the venue before, the room sounded great and they played my favorite song "Been So Long." According to one 4 Market Square insider, the band members were really friendly and even introduced themselves to staff.  This just in: they're just a bunch of dudes who like to play music. 

Lead man Andy Cabic mentioned getting lost 100 miles in wrong direction due to an iPhone map mistake. They were traveling from Birmingham to Knoxville but somehow ended up in Murfreesboro which is a little bit off in terms of direction. I won't blame them though. 

Here's to them coming back for another round.

Monday, March 16, 2009

bluegrass capital of the world (?)

pictured: Town Mountain at Friday's Blue Plate Special

A few weeks ago we asked what Knoxville's identity was. The only thing that seems to be clear on this issue/crisis is that nothing is clear. I had a few thoughts on Friday while I was at the Blue Plate Special:

We don't need to import anything new to "snazz-up" our town (i.e. the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame). We have something here that is largely ignored except for aficionados. Most people know we have a "Bluegrass Scene", but couldn't really tell you who what or where this scene entails. WDVX and the BPS have become the most visible indicators of this Scene.

You may not know this, but Knoxville used to be a center of music: rural music, now mainly known as Country with a capital 'C'. Bristol claims to be the birthplace, but the genre came alive here. We had WNOX and the Mid Day Merry Go Round. It was as big as the Opry. Many famous acts got their start here. And it wasn't that long ago- people remember when Knoxville the place to be, enough so that I hear it mentioned all the time by artists passing through. What happened? Well, Country music moved west- stolen, as it were, from us by the "Music City". They crafted an identity around the music and prospered. And our musical heritage became part of our past, celebrated only by small makers at downtown parking lots where palaces of entertainment once stood.

However, as the glamor of mainstream Country Music became entrenched in Nashville, its old deep roots have remained alive here. Much like how it formed in isolated valleys of our mountains, this music remained on our neighborhood porches, in small cinder block bars on alleys. A small radio station played records in a camper. Dolly never left. The music remained.

Call it Old Time, Hillbilly, Appalachian Folk. But "Bluegrass" is the title that most people recognize. In terms of identity, this is important. We've lost 'Country', and given it's current state, I'm not sure we'd want it back. Bluegrass, however, is a decentralized genre. There aren't many major cities in the Appalachians- maybe that's why. Knoxville is about as close as it gets. Consider this-
the Tennessee state quarter is based on music. A guitar (Country/Nashville), a trumpet (Blues/Memphis) and a fiddle (Bluegrass/???). You fill in the blank. These reasons, plus many more, are why we should make ourselves the Bluegrass Capital. It makes sense.

It's here, it's part of what makes Knoxville unique. No one else has claimed/stolen it. We have the music infrastructure (I'm looking at you, AC Entertainment). We need a festival. Not just another little Bluegrass festival, a big national-scale Bonnaroo of Bluegrass. We need a Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum. We need more live radio shows. We need an University Institute dedicated to preserving traditional Appalachian music. We need to make our city The Mecca of Bluegrass fans.

It wouldn't take much more effort that we've invested in other abortive attempts to brand Knoxville. It'll take focus, something Knoxville isn't very good at, to hang our hat on one thing and to do it well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ephesus on the Strip

Since moving back to Knoxville a year ago, I've had yet to establish a local Mediterranean restaurant as my go-to place, probably because I've had a hard time remembering where any of them are. Ephesus on the Strip was suggested, and yesterday's blustery weather made it the perfect day for some heavy Greek food.

Probably the one thing Ephesus doesn't have going for it is its location, unless you're a UT student. It's located in the middle of the Strip next to the Half Barrel, which means you've got to get creative for parking at lunchtime. I got lucky instead and found a street spot nearby, I guess because it was the Thursday afternoon before Spring Break, but it may be better to venture out for dinner, and they are in fact open for dinner every night of the week.

What I loved about it was that it's a sit-down place with the speed of fast food. Again, that may have had something to do with the impending Spring Break, but most Mediterranean restaurants I've been in in my life could be classified as fast food. The sit down and be waited upon bit was just a classy touch.

I ordered an open-faced Gyro (I think, strangely enough, it was called the Pocket Gyro) and a side of tabbouleh. Neither the gyro nor the tabbouleh was what I'd considered to be standard, but I liked that about them. The tabbouleh was redder and spicier than any I'd ever had. It was good, though I couldn't finish the whole side of it. The gyro was everything I dreamed it would be and more. The meat was tasty, the pita was super soft and warm and the sauce was creamy. And it had pickles on it. I never knew I'd been missing pickles from my gyros, but I know now and won't make the mistake again.

Apologies for the poor photo quality. I had neither my camera nor the staff photographer with me.

Anyway, I'd definitely recommend it. They have a large menu, and I'm interested in going back for dinner to try out one of the many platters they have or to take the baklava for a test drive. I also neglected to try the french fries, which I fully intend to do because there is something so wonderful about fries that have been cooked in the same oil as other Mediterranean offerings. There's no alcohol served though, so you'll have to find your ouzo elsewhere.

I guess if I were in the business of handing out wigs, I'd give Ephesus seven or eight of 'em.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Knox Heritage 35th Anniversary

If you're anything like me, walking through an old building that's being renovated provides a silent pleasure... and so does drinking a glass of wine. I'm excited I get to enjoy both on April 3rd.

Knox Heritage is turning 35 this year and to celebrate, they are having a members only sneak peak of the S&W Cafe on Gay Street. The current developers are returning the building to its former glory, which is exciting news for downtown. The event is Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 8 PM.

You can become a member of Knox Heritage here or you can join at the event.

Knox Heritage has played a huge role in making downtown Knoxville great today by preserving the beautiful buildings of the past. If you've made Knoxville home for the long or short haul and would like to thank Knox Heritage for helping make your city what it is today, I know they'd love to celebrate their anniversary with you.

*Reservations are required. 865.523.8008

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've seen the future ... and the view is sweet!

Howdy folks,

As you probably know, David Dewhirst is widening his reach in our beloved downtown with his latest project the JFG Flats. For the rental project he is converting the old JFG warehouse into swanky apartments, and, I predict, will be a very important move for the revitalization and growth of the Old City.

Yours truly was invited to attend a pre-tour of the building and some of the units ... and here's what I found.

The units are still in progress, and I suspect they will match, if not exceed, his other projects' design aesthetics. Prices start at around $500 for a studio, which may seem a little high, but with all that you get for the price, I think its justified.

As you can see from the pictures, Dewhirst is doing a great job to retain that warehouse aesthetic, while providing the modern vibe one would expect from a downtown loft. (Note: most of those are the original window frames, a signature of the era, kitted with new double-pane windows).

This last one is the old bean grinder on the top floor that will be incorporated into the design of one of the few three bedroom units - with private roof access. Dewhirst seems to have put out another great project, and one that will surely be a hit come move-in day (mid July).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

spring in the city

Walking around in the sun yesterday, I was inspired to just wander and take pictures. Most of them were so so, but I thought this one really captured the feeling of early spring in the city. We have a beautiful little downtown, and in the next month it will look more stunning than it does all year, thanks mostly to all the budding trees.

Here's to spring in the city, and warm days doing nothing.

UPDATE: As I was walking through the Old City yesterday, I noticed Pasta Trio was open. That may not seem weird, but you may have not heard that they were closed down because of tax issues. It seems that they're back in business, which Josh Flory confirmed today.

Monday, March 09, 2009

a streetcar named:

I walk/ ride my bike along the river often, but just noticed this the other day connected to the Three Rivers Rambler. I don't know if it has anything to do with the movie, but it was the first thing I thought of. Whatever it means, I like it.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

First Friday in Review

The First Friday festivities this month were some of the best in my gallery-going experiences here in Knoxville thus far. I won't bore you with a critique of each venue and why I think some painting was awesome. I honestly don't know that much about the art world to be worth a damn. I'll let the photos speak for themselves. I wasn't really wearing my journalist hat tonight, so forgive the lack of detailed captions.

Downtown Gallery had a great exhibit by Tom Riesing and Allen Cox. You should go see it if you like trees and color.

Forgive me sweetheart but I forgot your name. Your voice was beautiful though. It brought the Carpet Bag Theater alive for the 5 minutes I was there.

The Emporium was full of people as always. For some reason we always make this our starting point.

Fluorescent Gallery always seems to be the last stop on First Friday. Don't ask me why, though I think it might have something to do with cold beer. Note: I was going to post a better photo of a piece where people drew their own stuff as they came in, but there was a big penis on it. Just being honest, Knoxville. Modern Gal says we're PG-13 here. That said, one of the works at Flo was another of my favorites. It involved a leash. Check it out.

Maybe it was the warm weather, but there were a gazillion people out for First Friday this month.

Last but not least, the Chamber of Commerce folks (see above photo) put on a nice show in their offices on Market Square. Having never been to their office I was a little curious. Needless to say they did a great job and I will definitely be making a return visit in April if they are open. Plus they had free wine (after giving them some contact info). If you do go I encourage you to wander to the back of the space and on your right you will find a painting of a brown horse. I can't remember the artist's name, but he told us about his technique which was fascinating. His was one of my favorites from the night.

Parting shot:

See you next month!