Friday, July 30, 2010

sunlight on old brick

The 100 block is the best place to be during a summer sunset.

Just so you know.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

when worlds collide

Greetings all.

I was recently on the 100 block, and noticed a new tenant that's headed to the neighborhood. I don't know much about this new neighbor, but what I do know sounds intriguing.

What an odd and incredible paring for this spot. I can only imagine the mix of fried chicken and Lady Gaga that is in store for our friends on the 100 block.

This is surely one to review, come opening day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Aislenine + Glowing Body =

First, let me say again, how grateful I am to have a grocery store in downtown. Last night, I needed laundry detergent and bacon, hopped on my bike, and had it in moments at Aislenine in the Old City/ Bowery.

While there, I was offered one of The Glowing Body's newest offerings in their food line up. They are unofficially called Readymade's, i say unofficially because they dont's have a label or anything as of yet. This is all in its infancy and so could have a different name soon.

So the Readymade is a raw, organic, uber-healthy, grab and go dish. The one I had consisted of quinoa (had to wiki that one), feta, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mint, something else, and a vinaigrette. It is a hearty and satisfying dish that carries easily and eats on the go.

Swing by Aislenine, ask about them, try one out, and see for yourself. The bacon I got is delicious as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hipsters for Haslam! Slumlords for Stacey!

"It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yeeeeearrrrr..."

That's right, it's time to vote again. Early voting has been going on since Friday and you need to get out and vote. No, this is not the big one you keep hearing about that will determine control of the House and Senate, but the primaries for those bigger races. There are however some County elections and changes to the Charter that are important to consider. (Scroll down to see how to get rid of Stacey Campfield)

Here are a few sites to go to for more info:

Knox County Election Commission (locations to vote)
KNS Voter Guide for info on the vote
Sample Ballot

County Races:

Read the sample ballot to see the proposed charter amendments. There are 5, 4 are changing wording on how to fill vacancies (I'll vote yes) the second makes recalls in government easier lowering the number of signature needed, speeding up the process (again I'll vote yes).

County mayor:

Burchett vs. Maize - this one won't be close.


Governor - It's not worth voting in the Democratic primary McWherter is it so vote in the Republican primary.


Seriously, those of you who live, work, love, and dream in our scruffy little city have a lot of that to thank to Bill Haslam. Let's all pay him back in our small way.

******Important if you don't like Stacey Campfield******

If you want Stacey out of the TN State Senate you have to vote in the Republican Primary, otherwise he will win another term.

Ron Leadbetter is running against him... again. And will likely lose... again.

If you want Stacey out, as many of you do, you have to make a point to vote now otherwise he'll continue to try and join the congressional black caucus and such.

HT Municipalist

So that's it, get out and vote. If you want any other opinion on candidates let me know. I like Hornback for Committeeman, but that's another story.

Vote Early, Vote Often, and of course Write out Nepotism, Write in the Pol!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Downtown view

Nice light after a short rain shower downtown.

Friday, July 16, 2010

in my dreams

Sometimes when I'm sitting at my desk at work, I dream of a secret life playing roller derby. I'd come to work with black eyes and cuts on my face, but I would never tell anyone where they really came from. "Oh that?" I'd say. "I ran into my kitchen cabinet," or "Oh, that's from when I fell out of bed this morning. It's merely a scratch."

Everyone would know I was lying, but they'd be too scared to ask what really happened. If we had a water cooler, my co-workers would whisper, "I think B joined a fight club," over their paper cups of water.

I already know what my roller derby name would be. I came up with it as the heavens parted and light shone down on me from above. Thuggs Bunny. It's tough, yet feminine ...and it's ridiculous. 

Reality is not as fun as my dreams. There are two large reasons why I can't play roller derby: My health insurance is not that great and I've always been a pansy. But Thuggs Bunny can dream, can't she?

I can also get my fix of roller derby by watching the Hard Knox Roller Girls play at the coliseum. I went to my first game a few weeks ago. Granted, I had had a few beverages prior to the game at a World Cup party, but I had a blast. I was yelling, cheering, giving high fives, I was even compelled to fist pump a few times. That's much more than I can say has ever happened at any other sporting event in my life.

Their next home game is August 14th at the Coliseum. When you go, look out for Goblynn; She is the scariest person I have ever seen, but she skates and throws 'bows like a champion. Here are some images to entice you.

I also am now the Sunsphere Mascot's #1 fan. I took more video footage of her than anything.

I was never quick enough to catch one of her high kicks, her main move when her players are tearing it up. On her back reads "Sunsphere This." You just can't beat it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

To go or not to go? There is no question

What are YOU doing tonight? Or tomorrow night? Or Saturday or Sunday night? If you have any of these evenings free or really any Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday night free through August 15, you should totally be heading down to Market Square at 7 p.m. for the FREE Shakespeare on the Square performances.

The Tennessee Stage Company may not have Leonardo DiCaprio or Claire Danes, but they're bringing you Romeo and Juliet anyway on the stage at Market Square. I don't think I need to give you any background on R&J -- you know the drill -- That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and all that jazz.

On alternate nights you can see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). If you're unfamiliar with this little parody of the Bard's work, trust me when I tell you it is worth the effort of parking in the Market Square Garage to see. Three actors squeeze all of old Will's works into one tidy little show, complete with corny jokes, pop culture references and a little crowd interaction.

Here's the complete schedule if you're aiming for one show or the other.

If you like what you see, I'd encourage you to bring some cash to donate to the TSC to help cover their expenses and the good works they provide to our community. They usually have T-shirts for sale that look like the above artwork, if you're into sporting that fine fellow on your frontside.

AND DON'T FORGET YOUR LAWN CHAIRS!! I've sat on my rear end for a whole performance, and while it can be done I don't recommend it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blue Circle Hamburgers

I was cleaning out a storage space where I work the other day (you had no idea my job was so glamorous, did you?) and found a little treasure.

I'm not positive but assume that this glass was once affiliated with the closed restaurant pictured below. What ever happened to this restaurant? Was it delicious? Was it called Blue Circle Hamburgers? Someone enlighten me, please.

I've always liked its side entrance located on Wall Avenue, and if it was an afordable place to get a burger, wouldn't it be nice if it re-opened? With all the renovations happening to that building, I keep expecting the sign to be removed, but I think it's funny and hope it stays.

last photo by Tinah Utsman

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Duck and Cover

Ok this whole, "lets run over cyclists" thing is getting out of hand.

Most of you know about CK's recent run-in with a KAT bus, but there was a second accident, just as bad, that happened recently as well.

If you go to the downtown wine store frequently, or infrequently for that matter, you'll have gotten to know Matt. He is not the guy with the funny mustache- he is the mild mannered, knowledgeable, and friendly guy who, if you're willing, will send you on oenological excursions into the wide world of wine (and whiskey, gin, ect.)

About a week or so ago, Matt was riding from SoKno to downtown and had an unfortunate experience with a car and driver who did not take into account the rules of the road when it came to bikes. Now Matt has a broken knee, destroyed bike, and a long recovery period.

photo by max.

This sort of thing has to change. There are too many people riding bikes in the city center now for there to be so much ignorance on the part of drivers when it comes to interacting with cyclists. It is clear that there is still a huge knowledge gap on the part of both regular commuters (the person who ran over Matt) and professional drivers (the KAT driver who you would think would know better and yet still tried to kill CK).

I'd like to propose a campaign to educate the public. Lets pick the innermost zip codes and have the city begin public service announcements. They can send out mailers with magnets for refrigerators laying out the rules of operation of vehicles around cars and with a phrase that will encourage people to keep and eye out.

This is where i need help, I'm still lacking in the slogan front.

"Don't throw down on K-town... bikers."

"Live and let Bike"

"Knoxville Bikers are People Too"

"Biking: It Isn't Just for Hippies"

Help me out with some slogans, themes etc. and we'll get the ideas to the right people in city or county government. This is important to everyone who bikes, knows someone who bikes, or drives a car. As the number of bikers increases, as it will, the amount of considerate drivers needs to increase necessarily, or they'll need to reopen to Baptist emergency room to deal with the consequences.

Monday, July 12, 2010

trees please

The 100 Block of Gay Street is rapidly approaching completion, and as much as I love concrete, what really got me excited are all the planter spaces waiting for trees to be planted. Later that day, I was waiting for my wife at the corner of Wall and Gay, sweating profusely. It was HOT. Like many Knoxville summer days, it was tolerable in the shade, but direct sunlight was to be avoided. Alas, most of Gay Street was severely in short supply of shade. As I stood there getting sweatier and sweatier, I had a vision of paradise:

So what's it going to take for something like this to happen? I applaud the city for the great design of the 100 block, and for replacing all the limb-dropping Bradford Pears for more elegant maples on Union and Wall. But Gay Street is our showpiece, the main impression (aside from Market Square) that we leave on visitors. There are a few trees by the Bijou, and the 100 block will soon be shady. All I'm saying is let's start planning on getting a little more good shady green-ness in the middle. Who's with me?

Friday, July 09, 2010

The reality of downtown living just got a lot more real-er

As many of you have heard, Knoxville recently got a grocery store downtown. This is a huge step forward for Knoxville, and is indicative of the type of downtown life many people have envisioned and striven for for many years.

>In a city our size, its one thing to have bars downtown. Most do. Restaurants that stay open past lunch is another step. Even further, to have people living downtown owning and renting is another sign of progress - to reclaim downtown as a center for community.

The one catch with this downtown living reality is that we are still lacking the necessities, namely - a grocery store.

When I first moved back to Knoxville for grad school, people asked how I liked it and I told them that it was incredible being back (granted, when I was here for undergrad, I lived in Maplehurst, so I already saw the city through rose-colored glasses). But for Knoxville 2.0 I lived in downtown proper, and I walked or biked everywhere - except to the grocery. Yes, there is the Farmer's Market, but its seasonal ... and they don't sell toilet paper.

Being able to walk down the street and get a dozen eggs or a gallon of milk is highly underrated, and I think that's why having a downtown grocery is so significant - downtown is no longer an outpost of our westward-spreading city, it is a place to live.

Aisle 9, located on North Central across from The Night Owl opened for business in May, and is phasing in its inventory over the next couple months. As it stands, they have an enormous selection of beer as well as many other City Market items--from granola bars to cleaning supplies. Soon they will have produce, meats and cheeses, and come fall, the deli will be open for business (and delivery).

The next time you're in the area stop by and say hello. The friendly staff are more than happy to give you the rundown of what the place will look like in a month or even in a week--they're about to double the amount of shelf space, so things are changing quick.

We're living in a community, people, and those nostalgic scenes of walking down the street for a quart of milk are now reality.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

karma month at the glowing body

I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday weekend. I went with some friends out to the Ocoee and had a great time. I love being able to take full advantage of a long, holiday weekend. It's hard to believe it's already July 6th. Then again, I guess I say the same thing every summer.

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to The Glowing Body. They are hosting their annual "karma month" throughout July. This is really a wonderful gift to the community, as the majority of the classes on the month's schedule are being offered at donation rates. From the Glowing Body's website:

Glowing Body has instated July as our annual Karma Month. “Karma” directly translates as “action” and is typically associated with performing service as Yoga, while letting go of attachment to any preconceived outcomes or results. In an effort to make yoga accessible to a wide range of potential students without requiring predetermined compensation, the Glowing Body’s instructors offer selected classes as “Karma” or donation-based classes.

I really like what they say in regards to value: "It is requested that you place value on the classes offered, meaning that you give even just $1 if that is what you can afford..." I truly value my yoga practice but can't always budget for the class rates on top of my gym membership, running gear and race fees. July is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the amazing instructors and courses at the Glowing Body, at even just a few dollars off the regular class price. If you have never been to the Glowing Body, this is the perfect time to check it out. Of course you should definitely swing by Magpies after your class for a delicious cupcake or dozen.

Information and schedule on the Glowing Body's website. The Glowing Body is located on Central Avenue downtown, just west of Broadway.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Utopia near Knoxville

When I was younger, most of our family vacations took place in and near the Smoky Mountains. I am drawn to that area to this day because of the ties I have to it from my childhood, but lately, I've been wanting to branch out and explore (personally) uncharted territories.

One place I've really been wanting to visit is the Big South Fork area. I still haven't officially been, but last week I was close. I went to Historic Rugby (a town en route to BSF) for a work field trip. If you've never heard of it or never been, it's remarkable. I never knew anything like it existed in Tennessee.

Rugby was founded by Thomas Hughes in 1880 to be a class-free, agricultural community for men in England who wanted to start a new life in America. Some call it a Utopian community, and now I know why. The land and buildings are beautiful and seemingly untouched. Today there are regulations that require people to only build where original homes once stood, and they are strongly encouraged to use designs similar to the Victorian architecture of the historic buildings.

There is one cafe in town, and we ate lunch there. The cuisine is English, things like fish and chips and Shepherd's Pie. I ordered the Welsh Rarebit, two English muffins topped with grilled tomatoes, onions, bacon, dijon mustard, Worcestershire, and a cheese sauce. It was delicious, but instead of going on a long walk after eating something like this, I split a piece of home-made peanut butter pie with my co-worker instead.

Rugby really is an incredible place. If you should ever decide to stay there, they have cottages in which you can sleep with hammocks on the front porch. You can go for a swim in the Gentleman's Swimming Hole, formerly for men but now also for gentle-women (progressive). They have a couple of quaint shops featuring local artisans' work and even a print shop with printing press, but they can't afford to pay anyone to set up there. I wonder if Yee-Haw could ever do anything there...

Rugby also has the nation's oldest preserved library, in the sense that it is exactly the way it was when it started. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

Even if it was work that brought me there, I am grateful to have finally spent some time in that area. In early October, I'm going back for the annual East Tennessee Preservation Alliance Conference. It's supposed to be incredible then; the leaves will be at their peak. The theme of the conference, in essence, is how to preserve land and historic buildings in a way that makes them destinations, something people in Rugby seem to know a thing or two about. If you are interested in attending the conference, contact Ethiel at

It took about an hour and a half to reach Rugby from Knoxville. Here are directions. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It's worth seeing and learning about for yourself.

pilot fireball 5k

One of the most fun races of the year is this weekend! It's the Pilot Fireball 5k, and it's this Saturday (the eve of our 4th of July) at 9pm. This is the only night time run associated with the KTC , and it really is a fun one. The race begins and ends at the UT Vet School, so you're running out and back on Neyland. This strip of Neyland = flat as a pancake, so it's a good race if you're looking to get your best 5k time. It's a GREAT race if you just want to go out and have some fun. The crowd is big, and everyone is happy and energetic. A lot of people choose to wear 4th themed attire. It's July in Knoxville, so it's going to be a hot one. Drink water before... and plenty of beer after. You can register for the race or find more info here.

I hope our readers have some fun plans for the holiday weekend. Whatever you do, drive safely and call a cab or spend the night if you need to. Happy Fourth!