Thursday, September 30, 2010

Union Avenue Coming into Light

It seems like the newest downtown renovation is coming close to completion. The Daylight building on Union Avenue has much of the residential units occupied, and I believe all retail space on the ground floor is booked and almost ready to open their doors.

The first tenant, a photographer's studio is already up and running in the beautiful (light-filled) space at the east end.  There are many more to come as the final work is done on each of the units, and I think that having the Daylight Building will do much for Union as well as downtown.

Unless you already know and love Pete's at the west end of Union, the trek westward can seem a little out of the way, and having Daylight as an anchor will further expand the close-knit fabric of our downtown community. Giving people more of a reason to venture west of Market Square - to visit, perhaps, the new organic grocery going in to Daylight, will only serve to encourage people and development to fill out the downtown footprint.

Three more cheers for David Dewhirst and the lucky tenants who get to live and work in one of the best buildings on one of the best streets in Knoxville.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Different Type of Art Shop

I have been running dry as far as topics go recently. There few things I want to write about and so I haven't really been writing. To get out of this funk i grabbed my camera and set out on foot around the town. This, by the way, is also a recommended practice just to find out what new is going on around some of the lesser frequented parts of the city.

Towards the end of my walk I come across a man and his wife and children all standing outside of a new shop at Clinch and Locust. The man turned out to be Dave, the owner of Ace High Tattoo.


Dave is well known in the Knoxville area tattoo scene (of which i know woefully little) and has recently moved from his former location of Kingston and Carr to our little slice of urban heaven. Almost literally in the shadow of the Sunsphere, Ace High is the first tattoo parlor within the downtown area (as far as I can tell) and has some great and unique qualities.

First, Dave has a gift for chatting. That is important as I, being a non-tattooed wigster in my track jacket, could easily have been growled away by a man with a tattoo that says "We The People" on his neck (it could have said "I love to cuddle" and I still would have been intimidated), but instead he proceeded to tell me will all gusto about his transition to the downtown area and how happy he was to be here.

A Sign.

Ace High has been open for a little over a week and seems to already be drawing in quite the clientele. The big glass windows make the shop both welcoming and an attraction as you can go by and just watch people get tattooed. in fact, Dave encourages you to just walk by and watch or come in and watch. It's a very welcoming environment, and pleasantly short on snakes curling around knives driven into the heart of large chested women.

There are a few odds and ends to finish out the shop for aesthetic purposes and Dave has invited me to come back once that is done. I just may take him up on that and who knows, perhaps I'll get a little glam-rock Sunsphere tattooed on me for safe keeping.


Window Shopping.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Isolation Industry, now through October 15

Last Tuesday I made the long voyage out to Pellissippi State, in Oak Ridge territory, to see an art exhibition. I have to admit, I was a little wary of viewing art there, only because I had never been, but I was pleasantly surprised by my experience.

The exhibition features work by Wyoming-based artists David Lawrence Jones, Patrick Kikut, and Shelby Shadwell. Their paintings, drawings, and installation work combined made for a very thoughtful and well done show about abandoned industrial icons and the unlikely beauty resulting from the mix of nature and things man-made.

The work by Kikut are of deteriorating billboard signs, forgotten graphic designs standing alone in large expanses of space. By bringing attention to them, he insinuates their intrinsic beauty even in their state of decay.

Shadwell's charcoal drawings on paper knocked my socks off. I admit I am bias toward his subject matter which are nighttime highway scenes of streetlights and headlights moving down dark roads. They really are breathtaking.

Jones uses dirt and metal in a small scale installation of what seems to be a construction site. The metal he uses is weighty and the dirt is, well, dirty, but the manner in which he puts it all together has a way of being ironically adorable.

I'm aware that some may not see the beauty in this kind of subject matter, but the way Kikut uses color, the seemingly simple use of charcoal in Shadwell's drawings, and the preciousness of Jone's models are stunning. They take the time to examine these things and ask you to as well.

As I drove home, I realized it made sense that this exhibition is at Pellissippi State rather than downtown, and that I drove there in my car by way of I-40 instead of riding my bike down to Gay Street. It was especially nice to drive there later in the day, a perfect set up to view the work there. Try and make it there if you can. All information about the show is in the flyer above.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The beauty of consignment

Yesterday I sold an old portable record player. The beauty of the situation is that I received money for it without having to correspond with the person who bought it. Why? Because I sold it on consignment at Hot Horse (108 E Jackson Ave in the Old City).

After having no luck selling it on Craigslist (because people who shop on Craigslist enjoy paying one dollar for things), it was nice to get it off my hands and know that it was taken care of by persons more knowledgeable than I am. When I picked up my earnings yesterday (80%!), I was happy to have made a little bit of money while also helping a local business. As I was leaving, Ryan, who was working behind the counter, said I was welcome to bring in more stuff to sell. If I come across more musical oriented wares, he can be sure that I will.

If I was more of a savvy businesswoman, maybe I would try my hand at Ebay, but I am doubtful that I have the time, organizational skills, and energy it would take to correspond with customers and ship items. I like the idea better of selling what I can here in Knoxville, especially if it helps locally-owned businesses downtown. The more good and diverse things Knoxville has to offer, new or used, the more it will become a destination for tourists and natives alike.

I only know of a few other consignment shops downtown. Reruns sells second hand (but nice) women's clothing and accessories, Rala sells artwork, TVB will sell your old bike, and Morelock Music, I think, will sell musical instruments for you. Anywhere else?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

artists return to their roots

Two UT alumni are back in town, looking around at how much has changed since they studied here. Not an unusual scene in a university city. But these guys (former roommates) are back for a gallery show in their old stomping grounds- bringing paintings, sculpture, and LED light arrays.

Bill FitzGibbons and Creighton Michael met here in Knoxville back in the turbulent days of the late 1960s, becoming part of the counterculture art scene on campus. Together they started a clandestine magazine "The Druid" highlighting poetry, writing and art from students. After college, FitzGibbons ended up in San Antonio, via stints in St. Louis and Alaska. Micheal now resides in New York. Even though they haven't lived in the same city in decades, they have continued collaborating through the years, notably at the LAB Gallery in New York with "EELight" (pic above). Now their newest collaboration is coming back to where it all began.

Starting tonight, the Ewing Gallery (on campus at the A+A Building) is hosting "Filament" showcasing the latest endeavors of Fitzgibbons and Michael. Michael is the painter of the two, with a series of canvases exploring tension of texture and "mark making". FitzGibbons, the sculptor, has a huge steel piece (an abstract wormhole) and a series of "fire drawings"- basically using an welding torch to draw on canvas. In addition, he has set up a huge light sculpture using LED lights on the north wall of the KMA. If you're in downtown during the evening in the next few days, it's well worth a visit to watch the shifting color patterns. Probably the most interesting piece is the direct collaborative effort of the two... but you'll have to go tonight and experience it for yourself. They will lecture at 7:00 (lecture hall 109, just down from the gallery) with a reception to follow at the Ewing Gallery.

Knoxville launched the diverse careers of these two very interesting artists, and it's very fortunate to have them back sharing their talent with it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Call To Arms (for cuddling)

From time to time we at The Wigshop have taken to asking our readers to help puppies find a home. So far (the previous two times) have lead to happy endings for the pups. Today we have another puppy that needs help. Each of these dogs are fully checked out and legitimately in need, truly abandoned, and will (as far as is possible to tell) be fantastic family pets. We have consistently had the same individual approach us for help, as he works for a vet and is able to "vet" these animals prior to their adoption offering. If you know of anyone who may be interested please pass this along as it makes a real difference in these animals' lives. Thanks!

Hey! My name is Frankie, A.K.A. Frankie Knuckles, A.K.A. Frank the Tank, but if you want me to sit then just call me Frank. Knoxville, you just lucked out. After doing a lot of traveling and sightseeing I’ve recently decided to call Knoxvegas my new home and have begun the quest to find my new forever family. First let me tell you a little about myself. I am a white, neutered, male boxer and my foster parents think that I am around 1-2 years old. Since I know you are all thinking it, let me go ahead and squash all of the bad rumors about white boxers because I can hear and see fine. I have received all of my shots and, except for being a little thin (53 lbs), the vet said that I am perfectly healthy. Although I am potty trained and extremely well behaved, I do have a lot of energy and will need my new family to take me on long walks and teach me proper manners. I am an especially social dog who loves meeting new people and making new doggy friends, so another requirement I have is that my new family be able to take me to the dog park at least once a week. If you feel like you might be the perfect person to give me the life I deserve then I would really love to meet you.



If you'd like to know more about Frank please email us here at the blog. Be patient, I promise we review everything and we'll pass you contact information along to his foster parents who will take care of further details.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sky, ho!

A new public art installation or a new way to forge Third Creek?

Shot along the Neyland/Third Creek Greenway, whose detour through the UT Ag Campus is supposed to last through the spring on account of KUB construction.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure, Harby's Pizza style

Ok, kiddos. It's time for a dining experience that only Old North-ish Knoxville can offer.

First, pick a song to listen to during this post:

The Mighty Quinn by Manfred Mann
San Francisco by Scott McKenzie or...
Solitary Man by Neil Diamond

Are you gently swaying from side to side yet?

Now choose a game to play:
Backgammon or...


Where do you want to sit? Near the album and photo covered wall? or...

by the fanciest mural in all of Knoxville?

You don't get a choice of what to eat. We're ordering the Harby's Special: onions, pepperonis, olives, and bell peppers. Mmmm-mm.

The booty is bountiful at Harby's pizza. There's Miss Pac-Man, a fish tank, and check out these fluorescent light covers below.

If you've never been before, just look for the man fishing for pizza off of Broadway just north of Senor Taco. They aren't lying when they say "One bite and you(')r(e) hooked."

Afterward, be sure to stop in at Mystical Orb next door for all of your incense needs.

Harby's Pizza
3718 Walker Blvd
Knoxville, TN 37917

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Book Eddy on the move

Greetings all,

I wanted to let you know that the much-beloved Book Eddy will soon be opening a North Knoxville location. The move was encouraged by the impending closure of the Henley Street Bridge (a four year closure), and will help to keep their doors open.

This is a great opportunity for the Book Eddy to continue serving as an integral part of downtown life, and to rub elbows with Mag Pies.

The new shop will be much smaller than the massive Chapman Highway location, and will have mostly used books from the humanities--think more literature and less Accounting for Dummies.

To boot, the new building was designed by Sanders Pace Architecture, the Knoxville firm responsible for many great designs throughout our city - Southeastern Glass, Nama and TVB, just to name a few.

Doors should open in November, so be sure to come check out their new home.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Turning over a new leaf?

Could it be? Is it possible? Is Knoxville trying to become more... pedestrian friendly?

I noticed this a few weeks ago and have finally gotten around to doing the post. The city has apparently installed a really high-tech cross walk on hall of fame near the community center and new bus station. (Please see evidence below) The new crosswalk comes equipped with lighted thresholds on the sidewalk, and flashing lights embedded in the roadway to alert drivers that the pedestrians have the right of way. I didn't see any buttons to push to turn it on so it either is sensor operated or is on all the time.

Knoxville has not been, in my opinion, the most pedestrian town in the most literal sense. Much of the city is dedicated to the pursuit of the automobile, with barely an afterthought for sidewalks. And then once there are sidewalks they are typically short-lived and in disrepair.

This type of development (if it portends more of the same) is the type of infrastructure development that the city should invest in. Let's just hope this isn't just some box they had to check to get the new station LEED certified.

PS - Here is a shot of the new bus station for good measure. I think it's quite pretty.

PPS - So the Wigshop has been toying with a free Adwords trial for the past week or so. Have any of you seen the ads? Don't get used to them as once the trial is over the ads will stop, but I'm just curious whether or not anyone really notices them or not. Let us know!