Wednesday, September 30, 2009

tennessee shines tonight at the bijou theatre

We Wigshoppers are super excited to be attending this evening's installation of Tennessee Shines down at the Bijou Theatre on Gay Street.

If you don't know...Tennessee Shines is a AC Entertainment's monthly concert series. Every last Wednesday of the month, Grammy winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale hosts a two-hour music event featuring the best and brightest Americana and folk musicians from around this area.

I mean this as a very high compliment: Tennessee Shines reminds me of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. There's just something down-home and feel-good about an opportunity listen to live American roots music. This is the kind of music that just makes you happy.

Tennessee Shines has an impressive roll call of alumni acts including Erick Baker, Scott Miller, The Black Lillies and the everybodyfields. Tonight's acts are Mike Farris, Tim Easton, Randall Bramblett and Amy Speace. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Tickets are 15 bucks in advance and 20 at the door and well worth it. I definitely suggest you head downtown tonight and check out this Knoxville gem. You'll see some of the Wigshoppers swaying along to the music.

Friday, September 25, 2009


[via Drinking Knoxville]

A candid assessment of our city's geography. Note the wig on top of the Sunsphere. I may start spelling "Knoxville" this way!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ten out of Tenn. at the Square Room

(Our resident music critic Jed comes back for round two. Enjoy.)

If you like finding new music you might want to check out the Ten out of Tenn series at the Square Room. It's a perfect show to get a sampling of new regional musicians.

The founder Trent Dabbs gets together 10 singer/songwriters from Tennessee (primarily our music capital, Nashville) and takes them on tour, with the members playing backup for each other and each getting to perform two of their own songs live. That way they all get a little bit of exposure, while hopefully drawing a bigger crowd than each individually would. This was the 3rd edition of Ten out of Tenn. Past editions have featured artists you might have heard of: Erin McCarley, Andy Davis and Matthew Perryman Jones.

The current group brought a mixed bag of tricks to the show. Full disclosure: The main reason I went was that my sister’s former middle school friend (and Knoxville native) Ashley Monroe was part of the lineup. Ashley’s sound was definitely more country than most of the artists. So while I’m biased towards Ashley’s performance, I thought on the whole that the ladies put on a better show than the guys.

Based on the short 2 song samplings, here is my (subjective) enjoyment of each artists songs in Tiers (Tier 1 – I liked both of their songs, Tier 2 – I liked one of their songs, Tier 3 – Didn’t really care for either song/maybe I just didn’t get it. Let’s be honest, if we all didn’t have different music tastes we’d all still be listening to Gregorian chants).

Tier 1: Madi Diaz, Joy Williams, Andrew Belle, Ashley Monroe

Tier 2
: Trent Dabbs, Kyle Andrews, K.S. Rhoads

Tier 3: Mikky Ekko, Jedd Hughes, Sarah Siskind

(ed. note: Be sure to check out the next Ten out of Tenn. show at the Square Room! And check out the links to the musicians' MySpace pages.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


It's hard to say this because I love the Bijou dearly, but I'm not a fan of it's exterior sign and marquee which were both installed in January of this year. The more I admit it, though, the more I find others who share the same opinion.

I knew it was a mistake the first time I saw the frustration of the man who clumsily placed each plastic letter up there with a long pole. I think that job got old in about five minutes. Imagine having to update that sign as frequently as shows come and go at the Bijou.

I assume the installation was premature. Whoever was in charge wanted the sign to be unveiled during their 100th anniversary jubilee, but there was not enough funds to put in something more fitting.

It's ok if the money wasn't there. I just wish they had waited. Knoxville could have celebrated the Bijou's 100th birthday without a new sign. The Bijou is well-worth celebrating without cheap bells and whistles.

I can't post the photos here because of copyright laws, but you can view a different version of the sign on the Bijou's website, which I think is better proportioned than what they actually installed. Also, these photos don't do my opinion justice. You have to see it for yourself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Kno'ers listen up

Found this on Flory's Blog:

North Knox streetscape meeting this week

OK you north knox'ers: Time to make your voice heard.

Go talk about bike lanes, green space, and on street parking to get that corridor redone in a classy and beneficial style.

Let The Wigshop know if you're planning on going; we'd love to hear your ideas.

Maybe a Trolley lane?? JK JK, but seriously we'd love to know if you're planning on going. Community activism is a plus in our book.

"The meeting is slated for 6 p.m., Thursday, September 24, at St. John's Lutheran Church, located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway." Thanks Flory for the heads up.


It’s election day today...HUZZAHHH!

The city council primary election started at 8AM and goes through 8PM. With an expected turnout of about 5% at best, you may never have had a better opportunity to make your vote count.

Find your polling place here and go vote.

Just FYI, The Wigshop (meaning the Pol) endorses either Messrs. Brown or Dupree.

In the Old North 4th District, we like Nick Della Volpe

This being the primary, the top 2 votes move on to the general election, so do some good and cast your vote

And as always, if you’re unsure of who to vote for, “Write-in Spellings, Write-out Nepotism.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Trolley... HERE?!?!

This is a serious proposition. Knoxville needs a trolley system and I think I know where it should go.

First let's Discuss some back story.

It's no secret that Knoxville used to be a trolley town. Anyone who has walked down by the 100 Block on Gay st. can see the old tracks lying piled up. The legacy of a bygone era when mass transportation meant something other than a bus.

But why a trolley you might ask. Why not just improve our bus system? It' much more flexible, right? Yes it is and that is part of it's problem. A trolley creates an inflexible and continuous bond between points A and B which is what is needed in this circumstance.

Knoxville has a wasted opportunity that it stares at everyday. The most high-density urban residential neighborhood is half a mile from the center of the city and yet there is a distinct disconnect. Not only is there a large group of people who live so close to downtown, but another large group that work in that area. Two large hospitals employ a great many people who could feed back and forth between the two areas.

Perhaps you're starting to see the picture. I think we need to install a fixed track trolley line between downtown running through Ft. Sanders.

It's not my opinion that Knoxville needs to develop an extensive trolley system to feed places like Bearden, Old North, Turkey Creek, or Cairns.

The Plan.

What we need is a track that runs east-west between Gay St. and Tyson Park along Clinch Ave. (I'm up for a detour along Summit Hill to the old city but that would be more expensive.)

Clinch provides a direct link cutting through both the financial and retail parts of downtown linking it up with the heart of Ft. Sanders residential and hospital districts. This gives us a way to bring together two communities separated by a horrible gulch, Henley st.

There's alot to discuss about this idea so I'll trow out some bullet points:

  • Two trolleys running continually
  • The distance from A to B is 1.5 miles
  • Low or no fare, like the current "trolley" system
  • Purchase refurbished historic trolley cars (cheaper than new)
  • Pet friendly service (here's hoping)

Other cities are looking into fixed track trolley systems right now as well which is where I have gotten a lot of good information. Look into the Birmingham, AL proposed system. Here and Here. Cities like Charlotte, Portland, Little Rock, all have trolley systems, knoxville can too.

It's hard to get exact costs, but it looks quite "affordable". (Meaning in the millions apprx $4 Million a mile, but the fixed costs are a capital improvement and have a century long lifespan.)

I believe this would give Knoxville another character point unique to Tennessee and is a small enough scale project that it can be more easily justified than a drastic overhaul of our entire system.

It could be done in two years. Who's with me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the gold sun resurrected

Sometimes demolition will uncover hidden treasures- like an original punched tin ceiling or mahogany woodwork. Things that were often covered up in the overly-forward thinking era of the mid twentieth century come to light in our own more preservation-minded time. The modernist glass facade that covered the old masonry and stonework of the Miller Building comes to mind. Oddly, this 1960s urge to cover up historic detail ends up protecting some buildings better than any preservation movement. Case in point- walking to work this morning, I observed another such treasure had been found:

It's not often you find preserved storefront with glass and the original painted sign. Especially that of a Knoxville icon like the Gold Sun Restaurant. As you may remember, there's been much ado about the fate of 37 Market Square. Eventually, the owner and the HZC agreed to preserve the front bay of the building, while demolishing and rebuilding the rear. It now seems that that decision was quite prescient. I hope that the architects attempt to integrate this gem into their design. I know they will if Kim Trent has anything to say about it. Maybe even the restauranteur could build their concept around the old Gold Sun. I guess that'd mean they'll have to have fried chicken on the menu. Could be worse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bistro at the Bijou - 2 day fix

So last week I posted about KTC and all of their cool races. It was awesome getting all the comments about races and triathlons that you lovely readers plan to participate in. While I was a competitive swimmer all the way through college, I do not do triathlons, so I am sorry that they are left out of my fitness-related posts. Many thanks to those of you who comment and fill the void.

On Sunday I ran the Wears Valley 15k out in Townsend, and I have to say that if you are a runner you MUST plan on doing this race next year. Do you ever have one of those moments where everything makes sense and all is good with the world? I had one during the race as I was running along a lonely road with fields on either side. It was a foggy morning and the scenery was lush and saturated and green. To my right were two beautiful old barns, and to my left were some cows grazing. It was a perfect moment. The Wears Valley 15k is now my favorite race that I've ever done, and it has inspired me to seek out more scenic races. We certainly have ample locations around here for that.

Anyway, the point of this post is that when I got back to Knoxville at about 11:30, I was HUNGRY. I texted my friend J that we should meet for lunch or brunch and she replied that The Bijou at the Bistro now has SUNDAY BRUNCH. The Bistro has long been one of the only reliable Knoxville locations for Saturday brunch, but they've never been open for Sunday Brunch...UNTIL NOW! I was so excited to hear this fabulous news, and so we headed to the Bistro.

Like I said, I was hungry. So I got the Pork Tenderloin breakfast with eggs, potatoes and toast. It was phenomenal. I mean...amazing. And the thing about the Bistro is that it's SO AFFORDABLE. Some of the more upscale joints in this town charge upwards of 15 dollars for a brunch entree, but at the Bistro you can get SO MUCH FOOD for 10 bucks or under. (Actually, my favorite brunch plate is the homestyle eggs, and it's only 4.99 or something like that). And their mimosas and bloody marys are HUGE and only 2.50. I had two mimosas. And a lot of food. It was a day for celebrating - a great, beautiful race (under my goal time) and the knowledge that there is now good, affordable brunch at the Bistro on Sunday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My "old woman" hangout

We all know by now Knoxville is full of great things to do; at least that's what 99% of our posts here are trying to prove.

I'd like to take this opportunity to argue that Knoxville is also a great place to sit and do nothing.

Below is a photo of one of one of my favorite spots to "do" this very thing. It's right beneath the Gay Street Bridge near Calhoun's.

Feel free to have your very own old man/woman moment there today.

It's race season...

I adore late summer and fall in East Tennessee for a number of reasons: cooler weather, colorful foliage, apple cider and RACE SEASON! There are so many incredible races in and around Knoxville this time of year.

I think the best way to stay tuned-in to upcoming runs is to either be a member of or follow The Knoxville Track Club (KTC). A mere twenty dollar annual membership gets you all kinds of discounts at places like River Sports, Runners Market, New Balance, Gourmets Market and Swim and Tri. You also get discounts on race entry fees and a host of other membership benefits.

If you aren't a member, you can still visit their website for a calendar of upcoming races. Late last week I decided to change my holiday weekend travel plans and so was left with an open weekend. After football festivities on Saturday, I checked out KTC's site and found out about the Jellico Miner's Mile 10K and 5K on Labor Day. So some friends and I headed down to Jellico bright and early on Monday morning and ran an awesome race.

Some notable upcoming races:

Wears Valley 15k in Townsend - Sunday, September 13
Marine Corps Mud Run (5k) in Knoxville - Saturday, September 19
Seymour Rotary 5k - Saturday, October 3
Cross Knox 15k/5k walk - Sunday, October 11
Race for the Cure 5k in Knoxville - Saturday, October 24

Those are just a tiny sampling of the races this season. I hope you consider heading over to to check things out. You'll find details for the above events and all others listed there.

AND, of course, get some runs in!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

explosions in the sky

Just in case some of you have forgotten what Boomsday looked like Sunday night, here it is. Sorry for ze delay.

Huckleberry paid us a visit, too.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

phonographs for sale

I don't often park on the top level of the Market Square Garage, but those of you who do may have noticed this faded advertisement half covered up on the back of 29. Advertising is perhaps the most transient of art forms, except it seems when it's painted on brick. Look around- all over this city we have hieroglyphs of a long departed civilization informing us of its extinct technology for sale.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Knoxville Twestival haiku winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Knoxville Twestival haiku contest. We had a lot of fun reading them. Now, without further adieu ... the winners.

Back2Pennyrile for the Cas Walker shoutout (by the way, excellent use of many Knoxville icons in your haikuing)
Cas Walker, they said,
would bring us miracle salve!
Duck! It's a chicken!

Radioactiveegan for the Twestival-specific haiku
beer at twestival?
boogying with animals?
you can count me in.

Jim Clark for his Vols football haiku
Wear orange sweatshirts.
Ice beers, light grills, shout, "GO VOLS!"
Prepare for heartbreak.


Discordia gets the Twitter tickets as he both haikued AND tweeted about us (and even attempted to Twitter a haiku, though it didn't work out.)

If you're one of these four people, please e-mail your real name and e-mail address and/or phone number ASAP to themoderngal(at)gmail(dot)com so I can pass it along to the event organizers and they can hook you up. Have fun at the Twestival! I am going to try to make it Thursday, but work may get in the way.

Friday, September 04, 2009

First Friday, the off the beaten path edition

It's Friday, and that means two things: It's the last day to enter our Knoxville Twestival giveaway (go here and enter) AND it's September First Friday!

You First Friday veterans are probably well familiar with the venues around Market Square, Gay Street and the Old City. I'd like to encourage y'all to take a look at the other side of First Friday tonight.

If you head out N. Central Ave., you'll find some First Friday gems, not the least of which is Magpies and its free samples. Every First Friday goer needs a good base for all that free booze you'll be drinking, and cupcakes are as good a base as any, if you ask me.

Head farther up N. Central until you get to the Happy Holler 'hood (you know, where Toots, Time Warp and Veg-O-Rama are). You'll find our very own B showing some of her artwork at Relix, a furniture and art thrift store located next to Veg-O-Rama. B has been hard at work adding to her collection for tonight's show, so you don't want to miss it. Plus, Relix is a very cool space. I hear there may be a fashion show going on there as well.

Where is the Metrognome? by Beth Meadows
acrylic and varnish on particle board

Take a trip over to Mechanicsville when you're done and visit 501 Arthur -- sandwich shop by day, art studio by night. If you haven't seen 501 Arthur, you're in for a treat. It's got some beautiful architectural features and some funky lighting. 501 Arthur also does a nice dinner on Friday nights through 9 p.m. if those cupcakes aren't enough for you.

Now go forth and First Friday!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

word on the street...

...Is that Lenny's Sub Shop is coming to Gay St?! Has anyone else heard this?

With Steamboat coming to Market Square and now Lenny's, there will FINALLY be fresh, quality grab-and-go lunch spots downtown!

And I do love me some of Lenny's hot pepper relish. Yum.

Oh, and speaking of food: It seems like Regas has done a little re-branding and re-visioning. From what their marquee says, they've started having live music. They offer a new "Gatering Place" menu, and their website has been re-vamped. Say goodbye to stodgy old Regas. Say hello to Regas Square...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It's that time of year again...

Not football, something much more exciting. Election Season. YIPPPEEEEE!!!

True story, we have election starting... well... TOMORROW. Tomorrow is the first day of early voting for City Council elections. And your local political junkie is here to help you out.

Why is this election important? We're getting a new City Councilman.

Why is that important? Because, if you like living downtown, coming downtown, or making snarky remarks about those hipsters downtown, you want to make sure that the representation is up to the challenges of supporting our thriving little community.

So without further ado...

There are three candidates in the primary (which is what this election is for)

David Dupree - blog

Daniel Brown - KNS video

Charles Frazier - KNS Video

I'm working on contacting each one to find out their thoughts and purposes for the position.

I'll keep you informed of what I find out.

If you have any particular questions you'd like to ask these guys please let me know.

Only two of the three will advance to the general so lets pick the best two then narrow it down.

Here and Here are a couple of overviews of the candidates as well.

Also if any one has already formed an opinion I'd love to know, because I am still in process.