Monday, August 31, 2009

erick baker at the square room

This post is by Jed (blogger name TBD) who is an avid Knoxville concert goer and actually writes about it, unlike our current stable of lazy writers. In an effort to get our vibrant music scene to be a bigger part of the Wigshop, we bring you Jed's first post:

If you haven’t discovered The Square Room then you're missing out on one of Knoxville’s most accommodating music venues. I've yet to see a show there where the artist hasn’t commented on what a great place it is to play music.

You have to be on your game when looking to see a show at The Square Room as they don’t advertise their concerts in the Metro Pulse, which we all know is the lifeline for all Knoxvillians looking to see live music in the Knoxville area.

Friday night I joined a sold out crowd to see Erick Baker. Opening the show was a duo out of Nashville opting for the simple name of Sam & Ruby. My concert partner, Kristen, swears Ruby sounds like a young Dolly Parton with the way her voice leans towards a sultry bluegrass sound. I prefer to describe them as a mix between Norah Jones and a smooth Ben Harper. My personal favorite from their set was, “The Suitcase Song.” The lyrics are thoughtful, the music soothing; perfect music for a rainy day sitting inside with a book and a cup of coffee.

The main man Erick Baker, who I am not terribly familiar with, played to a crowd that knew almost all of the lyrics to all his songs to the point of having a crowd sing-along for the majority of Erick’s most recognizable song, “My Two Left Feet.” Erick put on a great show, playing until right before midnight. The rasp in Erick’s voice is comparable to that of crooner Ray LaMontagne’s, especially on the his last song, “Stay Awhile.” Overall, Erick’s songs have more jam to them, resulting in a more upbeat feel to his music. On the whole, two artists/groups worth checking out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Get your Knoxville Twestival tickets here

Brace yourselves Wigshoppians. We're gonna have a giveaway! But first, a word about the sponsor of this giveaway.

The Knoxville Twestival is taking place Sept. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Knoxville Zoo. What's a Twestival? Glad you asked.

The very first Twestival was organized and promoted through Twitter (hence the Tw- bit) about a year ago. In the past year it's grown into a series of local festivals held around the world during a three-day period. Tickets are sold and the funds raised benefit a local charity, which in Knoxville's case is the local branch of the Salvation Army.

A $25 ticket purchased here will get you access to the zoo that night as well as food and beverages (I do not know if they are of the adult nature), music from acts like Todd Steed (he's my fave!) and Randall Brown, giveaways and a silent auction. Plus you get to meet up with your fellow social media aficionados.

Now the bit about the giveaway. The Wigshop has four pairs of free tickets to giveaway to the Knoxville Twestival! Woo hoo! But we're not just going to hand them out.

We want to see your best haiku about Knoxville, funny or serious. Bonus points for mentions of key Knoxville landmarks and your favorite bloggers (ahem). We're giving you until Friday, Sept. 4, to make an entry after which the Wigshoppers will confer and select the three most creative entries to win. You may haiku more than once, but you only have a chance to win one pair of tickets (unless you're the only one to enter, in which, congratulations!)

Wait, didn't you just say you had four pairs of tix to give away, MG?

You're so observant. Since this is a Twitter+Festival, the last pair of tickets will be given away to someone who tweets (positively or funnily) about @wigsphere on Twitter in the next week. Make sure you're tweeting @wigsphere so we see your tweets. Include the hashtag #knoxtwestival so we know you're trying to enter.

Now go forth and haiku and tweet! Check back here after Friday to find out if you've won.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seriously, Knoxville

The entry below is written by my friend Carri who just recently moved back to Knoxville with her husband Brian after being away from Knoxville for five years. I've heard this departing and returning called Knoxville's Boomerang Effect, and thought it would be interesting to have her write about why they decided to come back after all those years away.

I'm grateful for their return and think that their experiences away have equipped them with great things to offer this city.

So without much further ado, may I introduce to you Carri...

My husband, Brian, and I are artists who are thankful to be back in “The Scruffy City” after 5 years of absence. We spent four years in San Antonio and one in Brooklyn. When we were in New York, and Tennessee was calling our names (aka we couldn’t afford to stay in The Big Apple), we had to choose which city to base our lives, art careers and goals in. While the other large Tennessee cities have something to offer, Knoxville became the obvious choice for a number of reasons.

The city seems open to experimentation and new ideas in the arts, as long as you’re grounded. And hopefully we are - We don’t feel like we’re stuck here- we feel privileged to be a part of the community. We don’t make pottery, or paint mountain landscapes, but we know the history and importance of those crafts in the region. Hopefully, we can be advocates for the contemporary visual arts while also celebrating the art forms that are already beloved by Knoxvillians.

Knoxville’s medium size and lack of pretention/ big money could really lead to it being a major player in the southeastern art scene. When art is not dictated by money, and the experimental artists are making work just because they can do no other, then the outcome can be something to take note of. But to guard against an insular bubble of an art community, the city must connect to regional, national and international art scenes. This is where the University becomes a key factor. The art students at UT are constantly exposed to the current developments as well as the history of art. In addition, they are taught by visiting artists and lecturers from all over the world. These students then make art and show it to the Knoxville community. So whether they know it or not, Knoxvillians are getting a rare taste of what’s really happening in the bigger art scene today.

While all these factors (plus other ones: the First Friday art walk, an Art Museum, developing Artist in Residence programs, etc.) are impressive, there’s still room for much growth. My husband and I hope to be a part of the further development of Knoxville’s art scene by curating shows that involve artists from other regions, taking our work to other places, supporting local artists/ galleries and continuing to make our own work. While we don’t know how all this will happen, we’re looking forward to the challenge.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the man run, plus a tip

Coming up this Saturday is what may be the best named event on Knoxville's social calendar for the year. It's also one of my favorite races of the year. It's...The Man Run!

Each year, The University of Tennessee Medical Center hosts the Man Run to raise money for free prostate cancer screenings in and around Knoxville. Last year alone, the proceeds from the race allowed UT Medical Center to provide over 400 free screenings. Pretty great.

The event includes a 5k race or a 1m fun run/walk. It begins at 8:00 am at the East Circle of the Medical Center. You can preregister and find further information here or do like I do and register on site that morning.

I love a good 5k, and this one is definitely a fun one. And it's for a good cause.

In other, entirely unrelated news, I heard word that AA Bondy is returning to the Pilot Light on September 14th. AA Bondy is one of the best singer songwriters out there, and he puts on a phenomenal live show. The show is listed on his myspace page but not on the Pilot Lights calendar (yet). If you like Americana, he's totally up your alley. Dig it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Movies on Market Square

Y'all know I love me some movies and some Market Square. So I'm thrilled that Movies on Market Square, sponsored by the Knox County Library is making its return for another year. Movies will be shown every Friday night from Sept. 11 through Oct. 16. What movies? That's where you come in.

photo by max.

Follow this link to the Metro Pulse and choose your six favorite films to be shown during Movies on Market Square. I'm having a hard time narrowing the list down because there are some ridiculously good options. The official lineup will be announced Sept. 3.

Speaking of movies and Knoxville, has anyone seen Inglourious Basterds yet?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Being in a Pickle isn't so bad

On Wednesday, I had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pickle Mansion.

John Haas, the owner, was our tour guide. He's in the process of rebuilding the mansion for his family by returning it to its original state of a three bedroom home. He's a landlord in the Fort and owner of the Fort Sanders Yacht Club, so I'm told, so it makes sense for him and his family to live there. I'm not sure when it will be done, but what an amazing home it will make one day.
He's owned the house for about three years now and has been busy fixing the foundation. This included removing extremely large and incredibly heavy water containers (I don't remember the technical name of them) without making the whole house collapse. The stone work is gorgeous on the ground level. He showed us several archways he's had to rebuild.
From what he said, it sounds like the foundation is set, and so he'll finally be able to move on to the second and third floor, which, of course, is all necessary for the installation of the roof. The damage that was done originally by the fire and over the past six years by water is extensive. I finally realize what a task he has taken upon himself to fix the Pickle Mansion. Calling it a labor of love is an understatement; a labor of insanity is more accurate.

I didn't even know before visiting how the fire six years ago started, but I learned that the mansion used to be split up into several apartments. Supposedly, one of the tenant's girlfriend had just broken up with him, he couldn't pay rent, and as a result, was asked to vacate his apartment.

Shortly after his eviction notice, his neighbors heard him come in, make a bunch of noise, and leave. A few minutes later, smoke was coming out of his apartment. His neighbors tried to break the glass on the fire extinguisher to find it was not glass, but lexan, an unbreakable material. The landlord had replaced the glass with lexan because his tenants had (gotten drunk and) broken the glass one too many times.

The neighbor beat the encased extinguisher until the whole thing fell on the ground. By then they had to leave because the fire was spreading.

All this is hearsay, and the disgruntled tenant was never convicted. It could have all been an accident. All we know now is that John Haas has his work cut out for him for the next decade or two. I hope he finds it within himself to keep going, and to invite me back over when it's all said and done.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More potpourri from the pol

So a few quick shots and a blurb.

First, did anyone look at the clouds above downtown this evening around 530? They were insane. Here is a really bad attempt to capture the beauty with my camera phone.

Second, tonight was the opening of Soccer Taco on the Square. (Can I get an AMEN?!) I didn't get to eat there yet. My wife had class and threatened me with bodily harm if I ate there before her, so I decided to wait patiently. Here is another bad camera phone photo to commemorate the moment, though.

And finally, tomorrow there is a showing of UT art students (I'm assuming new masters students) down at the 1010 Gallery on gay st. One of those artists is Amy Hand. She is a very talented artist who works in clay and makes some really great looking "interpretations" of our culture. I recommend checking it out. It's from 6-9 tomorrow. Tell her the pol sent you and she'll knock 5% off the sales price of any item.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Knoxville Inspired No. 3

You may remember from last week my call for submissions for Knoxville inspired artwork. I received a startling response of one, but, hey, it's quality that I'm after, not quantity.

Today's featured artist is Dale Mackey. She has been so inspired by Knoxville, she's screenprinting t-shirts about it, in a very clever manner, I must say.

design is by Shawn Poynter

She told me she's also done a lot prints of the same design on cardstock as well. She sold both the cards and the t-shirts at Yee-Haw's handmade trunk show a few weeks ago. If you missed that one like I did, you're in luck because there's another one September 18-20th.

I added some of her other creations below. You may see more if you click this.

Sidenote: I have a crush on the drawing below of the pineapple. So good!

If you're interested in contacting Dale about her work, you may email her at From an artist's point-of-view, it means the world to hear from rando's that dig your art, so give her some lovin'.


I'm still taking submissions, and this time I'm extending it to all Knoxville artists. If you're an artist and want to be featured on the, email me at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

flip this house, knoxville style

In a certain historic neighborhood in town there are two homes on the market that look oddly similar. One was redone a few years back by a well-known historic restoration firm. It's listed for 174% above the pre-restoration purchase price. The other, well, it sat on the market for a while last year and finally switch hands to the current sellers, who are asking 283% more than pre-restoration level after about a 5 month renovation (after falling in price 70K since being on the market).

Can you tell which house is the flip? (ironically, each are within sight of the other)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Knoxville Inspired No. 2

We're all about to go down
Beth Meadows
carving and acrylic on wood

Can you guess the specific inspiration for this Knoxville-based artwork? Below is a detail. It's a little blurry, but if you can make out the word on the side of the ship, it's a dead give away.

This piece is currently at La Costa on Market Square, along with several other paintings by yours truly, during the month of August.

Don't worry. This post is not only a shameless plug; it is also a call for submissions.

The floor is open to our readers: Do you have any Knoxville inspired artwork- paintings, sculpture, photographs, etc.? If so, send them to and it may be featured on the along with your own shameless plug. It might just be your big break.

The Best?

Be sure to vote for your favorite stuff for the News Sentinel / "East Tenessee's Best" poll. Other than their new graphic, however, it looks like business as usual. Any poll that lists Weigel's and Pilot Travel Centers in their "Best Coffee Shop" category is hard for me to take seriously.

But just like the Oscars, here are a few genuine CK predictions:

Best Clothing Store - Gap

Best Pizza - Pizza Hut

Best Mexican - Taco Bell

Best All-Around Store: Walmart


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tell your Friends

There are times when one must leave the hustle and bustle to do something that takes their mind off of the roller coaster that is life. Sometimes you just need a place to get away.

But what do you do when you don' t have the time or cash to travel?

I'm here to fill you in on places of wonder and delight, B's Narnia within Knoxville: Thrift/Junk/Antique Stores.

Why there so many of these establishments in Knoxville is for a different post. I'm just here to say I am thankful for the plethora of places where others people's trash becomes my treasure. (Note the alliteration. Aren't you excited?)

There is Green Acres on Alcoa Highway, Am Vets down Magnolia, the four stores on Chapman Highway, and a road practically paved with cheap, used goods down Central from Broadway to the Habitat Thrift Store. (If your mind just jumped where I think it did, get it out of the gutter!)

I think it's safe to say these stores are places where all are welcome- homeless, hipster, unemployed, artist, fraternity/sorority members who are having a pub crawl down the strip- basically anyone trying to save a buck or two, which is everyone these days.

The photos shown here are of the store Friends on Central. If you've never been, it's three floors of old musty wonderful stuff. Don't forget to check the creepy Christmas room in the basement while you're there!

Enjoy your mini vacay.

note: I blame Old City Java coffee for the cracked out nature of this post

photos by, guess who: Tracy Jackson

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

a few musings...

Hey guys, CK here. You might have noticed I've been somewhat absent from Wigshop life lately. The current economic scene has forced me to be creative in my employment, part of which means I've been out of town quite a bit this summer. And let me tell you, I missed this place. For all our griping about how Knoxville could be better, my main impression from being away is how much better our city is than the average town in America. I know, 'cause I've been out there. We have a good place here. But sometimes you have to get away to realize it.

Here are somethings I thought about and missed while I was away:

1) The WDVX Blue Plate Special (especially on Friday at the Square Room). I've never found anything like it anywhere else. I really missed being able to get my live music fix for free every week.

2) Sitting in the sun at a cafe on Market Square. Sure you can find cafes in other cities, but you'd have to go to Italy to find them on a large central piazza, bustling with people.

3) Being able to walk and ride my bike around. We have our fair share of sprawl, but one can live downtown here and live (mostly) without a car. I found that most towns that I was in require a car no matter what. Their downtowns were dead and all the stores were in huge commercial developments on the interstate. Like I said, we have that too- but I missed having an urban option.

Getting tired of Knoxville? Go away for a while. You might just miss this scruffy little city.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Party Time~!

Saw this in SoKno behind Underdogs. Love it.

Not sure about the use of the preposition "for" though. Grammatically speaking, not theologically.