Friday, October 29, 2010

hide your wives

hello knoxville. stan here. it's been awhile, i know--i have no explanation. but i figure this picture was worth sharing. the blogger you know as the pol sent this disturbing image along. apparently, it's creep out your co-workers day.

please humiliate or ostracize accordingly.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random thoughts while driving through Broadway and 5th

I drive down Broadway quite a lot in one week, as it is near where I work and live. I finally took some photos of some changes on 5th and Broadway for you all.

First of all, Minvilla Manor is almost done (or maybe it is done by now). It looks very nice, if I do say so myself, but (of course) I have a couple of complaints. I know because of certain constraints they couldn't, but I wish they had kept the white brick (because boy do I have a thing for white brick). Unfortunately for my taste, they had to revert back to the historic surface, which is unpainted brick.

What is funny and a little strange to me though, is that when they tried to take off the white paint, they found it too difficult, and so decided to spray paint the whole building "brick" color. My hope was that once they saw the difficulty in scraping off the white paint, they'd think, "The white stays," buuuut they didn't.

The front of the building with its porches looks amazing, but another sad fact/rumor I heard was that because the building is for permanent supportive housing, the front doors of each unit will not actually function, as they want people to come and go through one main entrance. This makes sense for what the building is intended, but again, that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Another interesting fixture in the neighborhood, diagonally across the intersection from Minvilla, is an archway with a lamp hanging from it.

I meant to write about this a long time ago when it first went up because I think it's pretty sweet. The archway obviously stands as a symbol of St. John's Lutheran Church's connection and service to all the people that are right across the street from them at the Salvation Army, KARM, and soon, Minvilla Manor.

Last spring, I was able to take a sneak peak of their sanctuary while on a walking tour of the neighborhood. The couple that was showing us around talked about the church's commitment to maintaining the beauty of the church (it is INCREDIBLY beautiful and well-maintained inside) and also to the homeless community around them, two things I can get behind.

Anyway, amongst other things, these are some things I think about when I drive that way, but only when I'm not trying to avoid hitting an ambulance or a van parked outside of KARM.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wigshop The Vote!

OK so you know you can't escape it. There are two days left in early voting and I, your resident politico, am here to encourage you to go and do your duty.

First, as always go here for a list of voting places and a sample ballot. There are two long reads on the ballot, a constitutional amendment and a charter amendment. I suggest you read both before heading to the polls.

The constitutional amendment enshrines the right of every Tennessean to hunt, it's that simple. This action, as I understand, is needed as the number of hunters across the country has fallen steadily over the years and has become a distinct minority. It's nothing controversial and doesn't allow people to come through and kill you pot-bellied pig for fun, so vote yes.

The charter amendment reduces the number of signatures needed to get a referendum on the ballot. Again, I suggest voting yes. It's always better in my view to have too many ballot initiatives than too few.

The governors race is pretty much a no-brainer. As I have said before, if you like downtown Knoxville, you have an obligation to support the guy who oversaw much of the current revitalization.

The only race I am a bit concerned with it the state senate race. I lean republican, but I don't lean Campfield. While he is a nice enough guy, I don't have the confidence that he would make a good senator. Randy Walker may not have a great shot right now, but I have met Chuck Williams, the independent, and do like him a lot and think he would be a great outsiders voice.

In short, I would love some feedback on the Stacey race. Is anyone inclined one way or the other? Why? How can I vote for someone who tried to join the congressional black caucus just to make people mad?

OK go vote and remember, when in doubt Write in Spellings!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Halloween week is upon us and I'm hearing lots of buzz about the festivities going on around town. This list from WVLT is pretty comprehensive. Lots of family friendly activities.

If you're looking for not so family friendly activities, the Old City is probably my favorite location for Halloween debauchery. Lots of bar hopping and unique costumes.

I'm gearing up for trick-or-treating on Sunday. This will be my first year as a Knoxville resident that I'll actually get trick-or-treaters, and I'm hearing rumors that my neighborhood gets something like 700 of them. That's scary enough right there.

What are your Halloween traditions? Favorite bars? Best trick-or-treating spots? Better yet, what are your (or your kids) plans for costumes?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spreading downtown too thin?

I know this is like three weeks after the fact, but who remembers this month's First Friday (hint -- there was a bit of discussion about it here on this very blog after it happened). There were A LOT of people out because there was A LOT of stuff going on.

I will never, ever, ever complain about people coming to downtown Knoxville. I'm glad to see downtown so bustling. But ... there was still TOO MUCH going on. Besides First Friday, Pretty in Pink was being shown as part of Movies on Market Square, the 100 Block of Gay Street was having a reopening celebration (technically part of FF, but I think there were people who came out specifically for that) and the Wine on the Water fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was happening, well, on the water down at Volunteer Landing. And those are just the things I was aware of ... I know there were a few other happenings planned at clubs in the Old City and elsewhere.

I made it out to eat and hit one store on Market Square that night and didn't get to do anything else because I couldn't get anywhere else for the crowds.

Like I said, even though I'm not terribly comfortable in crowds, I won't complain about people coming downtown. I will whine a bit about not getting to take part in all these wonderful things because they were going on simultaneously and as good as I am at multitasking I've yet to figure out how to be in four places at once.

I get that it's a beautiful time of the year and everyone wants to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. I get that UT football is its own force of nature, preventing anything else from happening in Knoxville seven Saturdays a year. Can we try to plan a little bit better though? Can we skip Movies on Market Square on First Fridays of the month? Can we try to hold some events on Sunday afternoons? Or even Thursday nights and agree to all be useless on Fridays at work :) Let's not only entice people to come downtown, but give them a chance to actually enjoy downtown and not just the function they're coming to take part in.

What do you think ... is this a pie in the sky request?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The truth about Beardsley Farm {it's awesome}

Even though I've heard the name Beardsley Farm thrown around quite a bit the past few years and have participated in Snow Day, their winter fundraiser, for the longest time I've had no idea what they are all about. Until yesterday.

Katie Ries invited me to take a tour of the farm. She is one of four AmeriCorps workers there, and she gave me a much-appreciated rundown of what happens on the urban development farm. If you read no further, just know this: It's really really awesome what Beardsley Farms does.

First, and I think most importantly, did you know that they don't sell any of their produce? Well, I didn't. They give it all away to organizations like the YWCA and Food Not Bombs. They also use organic practices, no pesticides and all that stuff. This philosphy in itself is pretty amazing to me: to give the very best to those that cannot afford it.

Another function of Beardsley is to provide community beds where anyone can coordinate with them about planting and harvesting their own food. Food in the Fort has about five beds that they use for their program to feed the homeless. Something I think is pretty sweet as well is that next to the community beds, they have a gleaners bed with produce that anyone passing by can take.

The more I learned yesterday, the more I wanted to know how to help them.

My first proactive endeavor is to ask you to consider going to their next fundraiser called "Raise the Roots" on Monday November 22. Mahasti Vafaie, owner of the Tomato Head, and head cook of the Maryville T Head, Robert Birkholz, are going to prepare a meal for all those attending to help raise money for the farm. The event is at the Tomato Head in Market Square and you can buy tickets in advance here.

The fact that this private event is at Tomato Head sells itself, and for a mere $25, to have a seated meal prepared by the owner of one of the best restaurants in Knoxville (and maybe the world), with all the planning and preparation that go into events like this, well, it's a steal.

Some of the ingredients will be provided by Beardsley, and Tomato Head is providing the rest. Alcohol is not included but will be available for purchase.

Need a date? As an added bonus you can take Knoxville's 72nd best blogger, yours truly. Take a ticket, gentlemen, and get in line.


If you can't attend the event, Here are other ways you can help and support Beardsley Farm:

You can donate money.
You can donate tools, materials, and seeds.
You can donate time by getting your hands a little dirty. Just call or email them.
You can spread the word to your friends and peers.
If you're a teacher, plan a field trip with them.

Oh, and they have bees!!

Beardsley Community Farm
1719 Reynolds Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37921

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pols Hood View

Downtown, I love where I live.

Home Sweet Home

Yes the building has it's quirks and Henley street can be loud at time, but that is a small price for the benefits returned.

I live in the Financial/ Court district close to the corner of Henley and W. Hill Ave. across from Lord Lindsay and overlooking the river. The river is probably the biggest selling point of where I live. Every morning I wake up to the sights and sounds of life on the water. Barges, rowers, the Vol Navy it is all part and parcel to my everyday existence and it is always changing.

From my back porch I can see Neyland Stadium (yes that is a feature not a bug for me)and game-days are always entertaining as we are right in the middle of everything. What I love most though is the dynamic nature of my corner of town. Lord Lindsay is now in new ownership and will soon reopen as something though I'm not sure shat. Brian Pittman has been working hard on his two houses and they are now two gems in downtown housing.

Walk three blocks and I am at the Y, the library, or the Bistro at the Bijou and beyond that the rest of downtown. I have the luxury of living close enough to walk everywhere, but with the benefit to being set apart just enough to have peace on those crazy downtown nights.

I didn't even begin to tell you all about the Medical arts building, the history of the post office, the Henley street bridge redo, the story of my building, my love for the JFG sign, and the hundreds of other things about these few blocks that make me glad to call it home.

My Home Away From Home

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

nourish skin studio

I recently turned 30, and I've noticed some big differences in my skin over the past 8 to 10 months. I guess it really is just like clockwork: My face realized it was 30, and it was time to freak the heck out. I see a dermatologist whom I love, but I go to her for more medical skin issues as opposed to cosmetic ones. Her offices do own a "medi-spa," but the rates are out of my budget beyond the occasional "special treat." I've always enjoyed facials and truly believe in the benefits of customized skincare, but I have a difficult time rationalizing the expense; and most of the facials offered by Knoxville spas are around 75 to 100 bucks. That's just not something I can do every month when I've got hair to maintain and running shoes to buy. So now that I'm 30 and want to make facials a part of my normal routine, I've been wondering what the heck I should do.

I cannot recommend highly enough the fantastic services at nourish skin studio in Bearden. Nourish is a lovely little boutique spa located at The Shops at the Orangery. It's owned and operated by Amanda and Sydney, who have a philosophy I can really stand behind: "Our philosophy is a simple one...we believe that with regular care of your skin, you will see a difference." With that in mind, nourish offers custom facials at an unbelievable price. When I say custom facial, I mean that they'll analyze your skin and devise a treatment based on what your skin needs. Sure, that sounds pretty much like any facial you'll ever get. However, what I really like about nourish is that they make the plan for you. Every time I look at a spa's list of services I get overwhelmed by which service I'm supposed to pick for myself and if it really makes a difference to book the 95 dollar service as opposed to the 70 dollar one, and if I need the collagen mask or the chemical peel, etc. At nourish, they customize the facial for you, and all you have to do is sit back and relax. And the kicker is that each one hour custom facial is only fifty bucks!

Beyond the price, which really is unbelievable and amazing to me, there's the atmosphere. Nourish is a quaint, clean little space that's fun to visit. Amanda and Sydney are both so pleasant and knowledgeable, and visiting nourish is like taking a little escape. From my personal experience, they're willing to work with your scheduling needs, too, and are extremely accommodating and welcoming. The product lines they carry are also affordable. After using some of the products for only a few days, I can already tell a difference.

I travel all the time and lately it seems like I've been home a fleeting few days among 6 weeks of steady travel. I came home from a work trip and had one day to prep for a family wedding out of town. Everything in my life had been neglected, and my day was jam packed with errands and to-dos before I took off again. Amanda completely accommodated me on a short notice and gave me one of the most relaxing and enjoyable hours I've had in 6 weeks before I got back on the road. And, of course, my skin looks amazing.

In addition to the 60 minute custom facial, nourish also offers a number of services including waxing, spray tan and the "ultra nourish" signature treatment, which I want to try next time. It's a place that understands both your skin and your budget, and like I said, I just can't recommend it enough.

nourish skin studio
the shops at the orangery, second floor
5412 homberg drive, nw 37919

Monday, October 18, 2010

lose some weight, fatty

Hey Fifth Avenue! Why don't you go on a diet? You're WAY too big. Do you really need those extra lanes? You look like a road that goes somewhere, but really you just link some neighborhoods together. Not that I can fault you for that, Fifth Avenue. I use you everyday to circumnavigate downtown. But why do you have to be so fat? You could easily be a svelt two driving lanes with a turning lane and bicycle lanes! If only you'd lose some weight...

Fifth Avenue is an essential part of the Knoxville bicyclist's strategy to get around the inner neighborhoods around downtown. For our purposes here, I'll call it the Great Northern Transverse Bicycle Route. No other cross street works quite so well and crosses all the major routes into downtown- Broadway (Homeless Dodge 'em Course), Central (clever name TBD), and Hall of Fame (The Senor Taco Expressway). The Great Northern Transverse Bicycle Route provides a good way for the not-so-inner neighborhoods of Mechanicsville (where I live) and Parkridge to connect into downtown via the Grand Hipster Bicycle Meridian (aka Gay Street). If you want to get to a friend's house in another neighborhood and don't want to have to handle downtown traffic, it acts as a good inner bypass for bicyclists.

The Great Northern Transverse Bicycle Route

So why is it a four lane?! No traffic I've ever scene on the Great Northern Transverse Bicycle Route would warrant this Middlebrook Pike-esque streetscape. As the Regional Bicycle Program looks for roads to put on a "road diet" let me respectfully submit this huge fatty. It's just screaming for bicycle lanes. Let's get the paint truck out there and make this happen.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Juicy*, I've a feeling we're not in 4th and Gill anymore

Over the summer I moved from 4th and Gill to, what I lovingly call, the ghetto side of Luttrell Street. You know what I'm talking about. Turn at the Broadway BP onto Grainger and you're there. It's a wonderful and bizarre place.

The first time I moved to this neighborhood was in 2005. I was still in school and found this sweet old rental house on Grainger with tall ceilings, hardwood floors, and textured wall paper. It wasn't in the best shape, but considering my previous home was Shelbourne Towers, I could only improve my situation.

I moved in with two girls in the downstairs of the house, and four girls lived on the second floor. At 3 am on the night before classes started at UT, we awoke to something I hope to never wake up to again. The back of our house had been lit on fire by some bored and deranged soul. Welcome to the neighborhood!

I currently live right around the corner from that house, and within the first week of living here, an equally disturbing situation occurred. A strung out woman came to my door and asked for a woman named Suzy. I told her that Suzy did not live here, which caused her to curse loudly at me and call me a liar. She had knocked on my neighbors' doors as well, so we called the police. I grew up a lot that night, as I saw a glimpse into the life of a drug addict.

Now that I live here again, I began to wonder which neighborhood association claimed us. I learned it is not 4th and Gill (why am I not surprised), but actually Old North Knoxville. Much to my chagrin, Luttrell Street is divided by the Hall of Fame/Broadway exit, and so even though I live on Luttrell, which is one of my favorite streets in Knoxville, there is a difference between 4th and Gill's Luttrell and our side of Luttrell.

For one, it doesn't take even a minute's walk from my place to feel like you're sort of in a third world country. Dogs run through pothole infested streets in front of dilapidated houses. Front porches are like junk museums. You hear people yelling quite a bit, and all the neighborhood dogs bark in chorus with one another multiple times a day.

We have a man who is our self-proclaimed Neighborhood Watch. He rides the streets on his motorized wheel chair. Everytime I see him, I feel so safe.

Some of the houses are just as darling as 4th and Gill's are, but we also have a little greenway and creek nearby. Even though there are signs that warn you NEVER to touch the water in the creeks, it is incredibly beautiful in spots where the path winds through enormous trees.

I, like Wild Bill, have moved quite a bit in my eight year stint of living in Knoxville, but this is my hood these days. These streets are tough, but I've moved here twice, so I guess that's saying something.

*my cat

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So that's it...

I've been wondering for two years what on earth was going on here:

So the other day I decided to find out. I had to figure out who would protest hospitals, schools, businesses, and Methodists. I mean seriously, I have some theological qualms with them, but to spend night and day protesting Cokesbury seems a bit extreme. So I found out, it's carpenters.

According to the literature i was given the local carpenters union (and anyone who wants to join in) is boycotting all of Jim Wakefield's projects. Wakefield is a fairly large construction and contracting outfit in the region and, according to the union people, has a nasty habit of hiring illegals to do the work that these union guys would be doing.

The argument goes, hiring illegals drives down the wages of skilled labor, like carpenters, and so hurts their ability to make a decent wage. Therefore, the union is protesting all of Wakefield's projects to try and put pressure on them to stop.

George and Larry on picket

Regardless of your thoughts on unions, these guys (and ladies too) are out there all day everyday in all kinds of weather. Either the pay is really good or they are very committed to their cause.

Another mystery solved. Want more?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

Hey Knoxville!

Gettin' excited about Christmas? Me too. I'm asking for a new bike, Sea Monkeys and a Best Buy gift card (so I can buy DVDs and CDs - its easier to just get a gift card than to tell my parents what music to buy, and I don't really want to subject my mom to weird cover art and get into the whole discussion of crass lyrics, etc).

As exciting as Christmas is, we should probably both hold off on thinking about it too much. It is mid-October after all, and we still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to look forward in the mean time.

Alright, just wanted to write and say hey. Hope you are well.

Talk soon.

PS: What are you thinking about going as for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood

This is the inaugural post in a new Wigshop mini-series welcoming you to/celebrating our neighborhoods.

As the youngest member of the Wigshop team (as well as still being a student) I tend to move fairly frequently. I have moved four times in the last four years. As recently as the end of this summer I moved into what has been the best place I have ever lived.

The area of town that I inhabit is the strange no man's land that lies in the triangle between Broadway, Central, and the train tracks that leave the Old City. My roommates and I wondered what we would call where we live. We decided to look up the history and found that we live in what is known as "The Emory Place Historic District." The drawback to living in an area called "The Emory Place Historic District" is that no one has any idea what you are talking about when you tell them where you live. We have ended up saying something to the extent of, "Outside of the Old City and across from Historic Knox High."

I love it here. We have the best neighbors I could ever ask for. Seriously, I have never had neighbors that are this great. We are also a stone's throw from Happy Holler, Downtown North, Old North Knox, 4th and Gill, Old City, and Downtown in general. There is an actual community here, I know almost the whole block around my apartment. We do get a fair amount of "working girls" as well as a bunch of transient peoples that bother us on our porch while waiting for a bus at the greyhound station. These weird, idiosyncratic encounters only fuel my love for my neighborhood. I love where I live.

Friday, October 08, 2010

preserving what?

This has to be the most ironic street in Knoxville. "Historic Preservation" Drive is a little one-way collector road that goes parallel to the biggest waste of space in Downtown (James White Parkway) and goes by the loading dock of the Coliseum. Scenic right? Right through the part of town that was completely destroyed for "urban renewal" in the 60s. Is the name some kind of joke? I heard a rumor that it was an Ashe era up yours to preservationists. Does any one know the story about it? It's rare to see something so utterly mismatched, so I thought I'd put here here for you, dear readers, to find out what the hell is going on.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Blue Burro

Perhaps some of you have already seen this, but i figured it's worth a story on the wigshop as well as it is quite a development.

Blue Coast Burrito is opening up on the north end of Market square (see construction below) sometime this winter.

A quick read over the company's website leads me to think it is a Moe's meets Bonefish Grille. I'm cautiously optimistic about this addition to the food lineup. A causal dining chain with fish tacos might fill a void and encourage other similar outfits to come in. I was sorely disappointed when Gridiron Burgers canceled their bid to open downtown as I think a simple burger joint would do very well.

photo by Best Boro Bites

Blue Coast currently has locations in Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, and a few places in Arkansas as well. A well established outfit that apparently does well.

If anyone has actually eaten at one please let me know how it is. OK that's all for now on the market square update.

PS - Swagger has some really cool T-shirts for sale so you should check them out. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Goodbye to Abode

So by now you may have all heard that Abode on Market Square likely will close sometime in November after four years of operation ... unless a deal is worked out to sell it. For now, owners Allison and Matt Sprouse are working to sell off the remaining inventory. Allison says she's had a few people express interest in buying the business, but she's not going to get her hopes up just yet.

The Sprouses have two, well three successful businesses outside of Abode. Matt has a career in television production and Allison runs an event planning service called The Modern Hostess (I swear I'm not connected to her, but I do LOOOOVE the name :) Their third business is parenting two adorable girls, and they've decided they were spread a little too thin want to focus more on that job and their other businesses.

Still, I'm going to miss Abode in its current incarnation. I'm guilty of visiting the store once a week just to touch all the gorgeous hardwood tables and artsy knick-knacks. I splurged on my biggest grown-up furniture purchase there a few months ago -- a huge square sheesham wood table -- and it's the best furniture purchase I've ever made.

Right now most of Abode's inventory is on sale for 15%-30% off. If a furniture purchase isn't in your future, there were still a lot of adorable homewares available when I was in on Friday. At least stop by soon to give Allison and Matt your love and thank them for being such great business owners!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

For Arts Sake

We at the wigshop could probably write a week's worth of posts about last First Friday. We won't, but here's another:

I couldn't believe the hordes of people downtown for First Friday last Friday night. Crossing Summit Hill at Gay Street with forty plus people was thrilling. I felt like I was in a big city for a moment. It was exciting. It was overwhelming.

I walked through the 100 block of Gay Street for the big grand opening party. There were more galleries than I remembered being there even last month, and all of them were bursting at the seams. It was great to experience, but my night had something quieter in store.

I went to see "For Memories Sake" a short film by Ashley Maynor at the East Tennessee History Center.

For Memories' Sake - Official Trailer from Ashley Maynor on Vimeo.

In this documentary, Ashley conveys the importance of film preservation and proper archival techniques through the fascinating story of her grandmother, Angela, who had taken at least a dozen photographs everyday for thirty-five years. As Ashley sifted through the vast collection of photo albums, she began to realize how talented her grandmother was as a photographer. She was compelled to dig deeper into why Angela took so many photographs, and in the process, she uncovered films and family videos, some in bad condition from years of exposure to sunlight, heat, and dust. She began to go through all of these items to save and preserve them.

Ashley's time and energy placed great value on a large part of her grandmother's life that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Angela never thought about writing an artist statement or showing her photographs and films to the public. She took pictures daily because she had to, possibly to cope with darkness in her life in the forms of an abusive husband and the tragic death of her son.

We left the film and what I thought to be a profound moment of art viewing and walked back out into the mayhem that was First Friday.


I think First Friday has finally caught on and we can expect even more commotion downtown with each first weekend of the month. As it grows, there are a couple of things to consider:

1) The best art can be seen off the beaten path, and some of the worst art is consistently on the beaten path. I say this because I don't want people to mistake Knoxville as a factory for mountain landscapes. There is great artwork out there, one just has to make the effort, and if you haven't yet, please go to the Fluorescent Gallery and the Birdhouse.

2) As you overload on cheese cubes and copious amounts of boxed wine, I hope you will engage in the art being shown. Find out where good art will be, go there, and tell a friend whether you like it or not. If you like it, tell the artist. This may be their only compensation.

With a slew of awards and recognitions for "For Memories Sake," I think Ashley Maynor has received more "compensation" than many artists will ever receive for their work, but I'll give here even more. Her film was moving and inspirational to me. In the midst of everything going on last Friday, there was a quiet and a calm where an artist conveyed to me something important to her in a beautiful, creative, and intelligent way.


If you are an artist making good and relevant work in Knoxville (you know who you are), thank you, and keep it up.

Monday, October 04, 2010

wait, what happens at first friday

Around 9:30 or so this past Friday, I found myself at Aisle 9 in the Old City. I bumped into a friend of mine in traffic, who informed me that he was headed there, and I followed suit.

Once there, I ran into some friends, and saw several Knoxvillians who I've seen around town. Some of the usual folks who make the rounds at 1010 and Fluorescent, and many others. There was a DJ spinning in the front, and there were people hanging out - talking, laughing, dancing, drinking.

After a while, I noticed that a couple uniformed men had come in. They were fire marshals, and they were looking to see if there were too many people inside. It was then that I realized that I'd spent the past 45 minutes in a grocery store on a Friday night, and that I was having a great time.

This, my friends, is the beauty of First Friday. How incredible is it that once a month, you can't find a parking space downtown, and that the streets are filled with folks from all over. How great is it that every gallery, shop and restaurant are filled with new art for your experiential pleasure.

I recently tried explaining First Friday to an artist friend of mine who lives in Nashville. Needless to say, it took a few tries for her to get the picture.

her - "Wait, wait, wait, you mean that one store has new art and an opening every month?"

me - "No, like I said, it's the whole town. Basically every place that has walls in downtown, has new art and an opening ... every month."

her - "Huh ... Knoxville is a lot cooler than I've ever wanted to give it credit for (her words, not mine)."

So, thanks Fire Marshals for giving me enough of a reality check to realize what a great city we've got. Here's to a great October and an even better November.

Friday, October 01, 2010


It's Friday and holy moly is there a lot going on this weekend. I'm having a hard time prioritizing my to-do list, that's for sure.

It's also Oct. 1, so you know what that means -- First Friday!! How beautiful is the weather? And the 100 block of Gay is open. Seriously, there is no reason not to be out tonight. Here are a few things you might want to catch:

  • Ashley Maynor's award winning documentary "For Memories' Sake" is being screened at 6p and 7:30p at the East Tennessee History Center. The film is a half-hour long and explores Maynor's grandmother's passion for photography and home videos and a bit on how to preserve and interpret memories captured on film. You can bring your own photos or film for advice from Maynor on how to preserve.
  • Also, Abode is possibly closing (more on that later). Catch one of their last First Fridays, where the shop will feature paintings by local artist Lauren Karnitz. You can also get 10% off purchases.
  • When you head to Magpies to try out their Pumpkin Spice super deluxe flavor (psych! I'm going to eat them all before you get there!) check out Newisher Works by our friend Dale Mackey in the small hall between Magpies and the Glowing Body.
  • And if that isn't enough, swoon over Duckie and indulge in your love of '80s by catching "Pretty in Pink" as part of Movies on Market Square tonight. Starts around 8pmish.

So, that takes us to Saturday, and there's no rest for the weary on Saturday either.
  • Kick off Saturday by participating in the the regional bicycle program's 10th annual neighborhood bike ride. The ride starts at 10 a.m. at Central St. and Baxter Ave. in Happy Holler, and you can park at the Knox Central building at 1000 N. Central. There will be snacks from Three-Rivers Market at the beginning and discounts at Magpies, Time Warp and the Freezo after. The ride is for people of all skill levels and ages and will take you through Old North, Parkridge, Old City and Mechanicsville. Lasts about an hour, and BRING YOUR HELMET (can't ride without it).
  • After that's done, it's Happy Hollerpalooza time! Things will be going on in the 'hood all day, but N. Central will be closed down from 2p to 8p for this sort of block-party festival. All the Happy Holler businesses will be open during this time as well.

You think you've got Sunday off? Think again. Sunday brings the annual Hank Day, honoring Hank Williams, who possibly died here or at least on his way to Knoxville. WDVX's Red Hickey will host the festival, which runs from 1p to 7 p at the Candoro Marble Building at 4450 Candora Ave. There will be live music, cooking and I hear B will be hawking some salvage wares.