Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bike in Movies

The last Wednesday of every month TVB and Public House team up and show a movie out in the back courtyard. Last month it was The Goonies. The month before was There Will Be Blood. Tonight's installment is Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Limited. The movie starts at dusk, so show up around 7:30, grab an Old Style, and enjoy the movie.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

let's talk about trees, baby

(the title is reference to your blog reading soundtrack, which you will find here)

Trees are a huge part of a cityscape. And as you may have found out during the hot months, a walk across downtown is a lot more pleasant in dappled shade.

Urban trees have a hard lot in life. They grow up in little patches of dirt, surrounded by concrete. It takes careful design and planning to get a tree to thrive in the hot, crowded city. Luckily for them, the city does this and lovingly maintains them. Right?

I can't tell you how much the empty patches of dirt on Market Square bother me. We spent millions of dollars renovating the Square and we can't even make the effort to get new saplings in there? And the dirt itself... after a few attempts at a little monkey grass, the city gave up on landscaping. Part of the problem is that everyone cuts across these patches and tramples anything planted there. Perhaps raised planters like the ones down Market Street could help prevent this:

Or if we can't bring ourselves to make that much effort, let's just put in some tree grates so that they don't remain little doggie litter boxes full of steaming poo.

Meanwhile, around the corner, the cities newest tree planting strategy is off to a smashing start:

Dirt: 3, Trees: 2

Given how long we've waited for replacement trees on the Square I'm not holding my breath for Wall Ave. P.S. Does it bother anyone that the brick paver strips don't align with the planting areas?! Maybe it's just me.

On the other side of the Square the trees that were not planted to the city's spiffy new design are doing just dandy. Coincidence?

And now for the last travesty. The end of Market Street closest to the Courthouse just got rebuilt. I loved that narrow little block, with its old brownstones and tree overhanging the street... I looked forward to seeing it get a little TLC. I was distressed to see the tree get cut down, but I figured the placement of the old trees didn't work with the new plan. I saw the brick pavers go down, same as Wall Ave... and they just kept going. Where are the trees?!!

That block of Market is now the hottest on my route to the City County Building. I might have believed them if they told me the street is too narrow for trees, except for, you know, THE BEAUTIFUL TREE THAT HAD BEEN GROWING THERE FOR DECADES.

C'mon Knoxville, let's get it together.

As the commenter below indicated, there WILL be trees on Market Street. I went back and looked at the other side of the street and found these:

I can't wait to see this block after the Fall planting season. I've never been so happy about being wrong!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Request to the Road Works Dept.

Please spend the 2 hours and few hundred dollars it will take to extend the cross walk in important places. For example the corner of Locust St. and Summit Hill Dr.

Walking there yesterday i noticed that in order to get to the button to change the walk signal you have to cross a turn lane. Most drivers don't seem to know that people, unlike birds and squirrels, don't scurry quickly or hunker down under the car itself.

Just thought I would bring this to everyone's attention.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A North Knoxville Delicacy

Yesterday, I was taking some back roads to my house from the Walgreen's on Broadway. My friend Jeff was with me, visiting from out of town.

I drove by the market on 6th Avenue, an establishment I've passed many times before. As I did, I said to Jeff, "I've always wanted to stop in there," to which he replied rather slowly, "Annus."

I looked up, noticing the signage for the first time, and almost ran a stop sign when I realized he was saying the name of the market.

We pronounced it several different ways, but there was no way around it being hilarious. I don't know how I missed it all these years, and while I wonder how anyone could name anything Annus, I'm glad they did. I haven't laughed that hard in some time.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Contemporary Focus at the KMA, opening this evening 6-9pm

On Tuesday, I met with Brian Jobe at the Knoxville Museum of Art to take a sneak peek at the Contemporary Focus exhibition, opening this evening. He along with John Bissonette and Greg Pond are the featured artists for this annual show at the KMA which runs from August 26 through November 6, 2011. Here is an article about it in the News Sentinel.

^ I've known Brian for quite some time, and therefore know his work quite well. The piece he made for this show is similar to his work from the past, as it is incredibly ambitious, but different as it incorporates a large built structure. Not only is it something to behold, but also invites the viewer to pass through it, to let the materials brush against your skin.

^ I was excited to hear John Bissonette is in this show. The last time I saw his work was at the Downtown Gallery on Gay Street for First Friday a few months ago. Being a painter myself, I really admire his work. He merges abstract and representational subject matter, layering transparent colorful paint, and typically leaving blank spaces on the canvas. One called Untitled (Jackson) made me catch my breath a little bit. In this show, he includes an installation, closely tied to the paintings he's made.

^ Greg Pond's work is sculptural, using welded metals, polished wood, and other shiny materials. Brian told me he is a sculptor who also works in sound art. I could see how this particular work might be inspired by sound or music, by the forms he uses, the spaces he creates, and the different delicate materials working together to hold each other up.

Hope you can stop in this evening.

Contemporary Focus
August 26- November 6, 2011
1050 World's Fair Park
Knoxville, TN 37916-1653

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gillian Welch Tonight At the Tennessee Theatre

Tonight the incredibly talented Gillian Welch is playing at the Tennessee Theatre. If you don't know anything about Gillian she is a Country/Bluegrass singer and songwriter who, in my opinion, is one of the best songwriters of all time. As a songwriter she belongs with Bob Dylan, Guy Clark, Shawn Camp, Townes Van Zandt, and Tom Waits. Her music is written with her partner David Rawlings (pictured). The songs are laden with the most beautiful harmonies. On a recent episode of "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross on NPR, Gillian and Dave talk about their songwriting process and play a few of their songs. It is a great interview that is absolutely worth your time. They discuss everything from how they find harmonies to Gillian being adopted.

The thing about Gillian Welch's music is that it is driven by her voice. It is a beautiful voice that is accented by Dave Rawlings original and awesome harmonies. It should be noted that Dave is a fantastic guitar player as well. All of their strengths are showcased in the live show, which just so happens to be tonight at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $35. It is going to be awesome.

(photos from Amoeba's blog).

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's been real

Well friends, the time has come for me to bid farewell to Knoxville and The Wigshop. I have finished up graduate school, and have moved on from our fair city in search of more promising pastures.

First off, I must apologize for my non-existant participation lo these past months. Being engrossed in finishing up school, I certainly felt distanced from the pulse of the city, and truth be told, my mind was elsewhere. In hindsight, I guess I could have done a post on the Chipotle on The Strip, since I ate the majority of my meals there this past spring. Perhaps a story about my love affair with the Barbacoa Bowl would have been good reading. Perhaps.

You might have noticed, in addition to my own low posting that the blog in general was hitting a slump. Yes, there were posts here and there, but the general malaise forced us all to ask some big questions--Was the blog over? Were we all dried up? Had our lives busied up so much (school, new jobs, marriage, babies ...) that this was not something we could continue to fit in?

Earlier this summer B invited us to a place where she was housesitting, and we had our Summertime State of the Union. We drank wine, pestered some neighboring cattle, and checked our collective pulse. It was a great meeting, and I think, one that made us all realize what a special thing this blog is.

As you might have noticed lately, posting is back on the rise.

The thing is, posting isn't hard. New downtown grocery? post! Rooftop of Pres Pub opens? post! Stephen A. Burroughs and B start dating? post! What it really takes is people who genuinely care about the city in which they live. That said, what with its flourishing, walkable, and ever evolving downtown, Knoxville is a pretty easy place to care about.

The number of places to eat, drink, shop, work and live within downtown's small footprint reflects a density of life that one would have expected before suburban expansion--a density (and walkability) that, especially in a town of this size, is reminiscent of some medieval European city.

While there are numerous reasons why downtown Knoxville is the way it is, in my opinion, the University's role cannot be understated. The culture, diversity, and high level of education fostered by UTK has greatly helped in shaping the population of downtown Knoxville. Yes, on game days our city is flooded with thousands of people you sometimes wish you weren't related to, but all in all the University has and will continue to inject our small town with new, vibrant life.

Thanks for three great years Knoxville. I'll see ya when I see ya.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the summer too shall pass

I've been pretty lame this summer, deciding to be super American and drive my car everywhere rather than ride my bike at all. Continuously blasting fake cold air in my face has taken its toll on my psyche, however, so last Tuesday, when the air cooled off a bit, I got on my bike and headed downtown. I realized it had been forever since I've taken time to enjoy an evening on Market Square, so with no plans, I biked up Gay Street to see what would unfold.

Divine providence would have it that The Pol was window shopping at Noveau Classics, because that is apparently what the Pol does when he locks himself out of his apartment. We decided to go have a drink on the roof of Pres Pub because he hadn't been up there yet.

Once on the roof, we were able to find a table close to the Square. The weather was pitch perfect and from the stage, there were jazz musicians playing. We couldn't tell from there if it was an official performance or some buskers, but there were spectators below, enjoying it all the same.

After our drink, we walked out into the Square where The Pol ran into a freshman he had met a few days earlier, and a group of his friends. They would be starting class the next day. Even if no one told me they were freshman, I would have known because one proudly wore a bright orange lanyard around his neck featuring his dorm key.

As the jazz played and I breathed in the sweet, autumn-like air, I was a little jealous of the group of new students. Walking around a bustling downtown Knoxville in college wasn't an option during most of my college experience, let alone before my very first day of class. I looked into their cherub faces, into their deer-in-headlight eyes, and decided it best not to tell them how lucky they were.

As they walked off, The Pol and I sat on a bench to listen to the rest of the set. It was then I realized the trumpet player was my old landlord, Vance Thompson, who is the director of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. When they finished, he thanked the small crowd and said they would be playing every Tuesday until September (or maybe through September, I'm not quite sure).

So if you've been hiding under an air-conditioned rock all summer like me, I encourage you to take a stroll through Market Square this Tuesday evening and have a listen. Even if it's hot, the tunes are sure to be coooool. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blue Steel on a Meme

We're not responsible for it, but it's something we wish we'd thought of. Facebook has exploded in the past few days with Stephen A. Burroughs Memes, honoring our favorite personal injury lawyer.

We here at the Wigshop have long be fans of the East Tn. Lawyer, as evidenced by this post, this post, this post and this post. We could spend all day uploading our favorite contributed memes celebrating the Blue Steeled Billboard King, but instead we'll let you go take a look yourself. We are pretty partial to this one, though ...

That's right, Knoxville. You now know the other half of the secret.

We're also glad to see he has a sense of humor about it all (he's been lurking on the wall of the FB page).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lights out for an old friend

How does one say goodbye expost?

Two weeks ago I was enjoying the Big Fix, a side of deep fried corn on the cob, and a cold Knoxville Corona, not a care in the world and without any hint of there being trouble in paradise.

Backroom BBQ is dead, and along with it my hopes for a quadruple bypass by the age of 30.

I've tried to come up with poetry, perhaps write a dirge or an aria, maybe some grand bit of prose to be worthy of the place that captivated my tastebuds imagination for so long.

No more horseshoes, no more bad pinball machines, no more watching socially inappropriate man-tv in mixed company. Backroom was a place I could go on a budget and be filled. It also had the best brisket in town. (No arguing that point here, it's impolite to speak ill of the dead.)

I'm really going to miss Backroom BBQ, it was a go to place for visitors in Knoxville and now its gone. If anyone has some words of encouragement this sad and hungry blogger covets them.

Cue Semisonic.

(Apparently Patrick Sullivans is also closed, honestly i only sat there to eat backroom when the bar side was closed and apparently the guy who ran it was a crook, at least in conjunction with the musical acts. Or so I hear.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

knoxville's jobless recovery

Back in '02-03, the US economy recovered from recession in a peculiar way. Granted, that particular recession (caused by the dot-com bubble) was short and relatively benign compared to the one we're still recovering from. The economy shrank a mere -0.3% (compared to the '09 recession of -5.1%) and unemployment peaked at 6.3% ('09 was 10.1%).

In the years following the dot-com bubble burst, unemployment stayed high. in fact, the number of employed actually shrank even though the unemployment rate held more-or-less steady. (How, you ask? Exodus from the labor force) basically, the economy picked up without new jobs, leading most to suggest technological improvements fueled the upturn (like automated services, among many others). Now in '11, "economic recovery" is almost 2 years old, and Knoxville may be hitting its stride. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Knoxville very own jobless recovery with mannequins! Why hire from a staffing firm when you can dress up ex-goody's employees that you found on Craigslist?

Mannequin with (awkwardly placed) pitchfork, Broadway

Bed intruder preventer with optional bandana, E. Scott Avenue

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

yoga, yoga! lululemon athletica and the practice in western plaza

Have you heard about the brand new yoga studio that just opened in Western Plaza? It's called The Practice, and it's next door to KeyFit and just down the way from Runners Market, Bike Zoo and Hard Knox pizza. They have a pretty exciting class schedule including the only 6am(ish) classes offered in town as well as some great power lunch classes daily. They have a limited website that will likely be expanded soon. You can go there to find the weekly class schedule.

And guess what else? lululemon athletica (technical yoga/run/fitness apparel for men and women) is coming to town, and the Knoxville showroom will be opening soon! The Metropulse blogged about this exciting news awhile back, and we've heard that news of the location and opening date is imminent.

Well, in honor of the two above mentioned happenings, lululemon and The Practice are hosting a trunk show this weekend! There are complimentary classes and goodies for sale both Friday and Saturday. The image below has all the deets. Can't wait!! Oh, and the lululemon Knoxville showroom as a facebook page where they've started to announce upcoming events.

Yoga! Yoga!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

bridge craziness again

Filmed this the other evening after getting home from work.

I really hope they pay these guys well. Yes, that is a guy with shovel scraping the rubble off the arch. He had some sort of wire attached to his harness.

There were actually 4 guys doing this when I was out there, seriously dangerous stuff.

(don't know how to flip the image... think of it as an expression of my artistic side...)

Friday, August 05, 2011

BLACK AND WHITE -- and First Friday

One of mine, and the other wigshoppers, favorite activities is First Friday. Not that I need to remind most of you, but tonight is first friday. Get downtown and enjoy the art (It's FREE by the way), and it is a good time. Notable events: Artists for Madeline Rogero at the Gallery Lofts at 5, work by Ashley Addair at Lox at 7, Whet Yer Whistle at the Pilot Light 7-9, and my favorite gallery - Fluorescent is putting on a show called "Aftermath." Get out and go.

SATURDAY NIGHT is round two at the Fireproof Gallery which is located at 201 Randolph Street (one block out of the old city). The first fireproof show was awesome. It was a street art themed interactive workspace that featured a lot of local bands and even a skatepark.

This time it will be featuring artwork from:

Zach Widgren
Katy Smith
Amanda McCall
Katie Moseley
Dave Grimes
Preston Profitt
and more being added

The music will be kicked off with black lips inspired Faux Ferocious(I am going to put in a hyperlink for all of the bands). Recent UT grads punkin it up in Nashville.

Followed by a band from cookeville called Hellbender

After them a band called Peer Pressure.

Then Marina Orchestra

Photo by Heidi Jewell

The last act is one of my favorite artists Evan P Donohue. He is an incredible young songwriter from Nashville. He writes awesome Buddy Holly-with-southern flair and straightforward rock and roll songs. He has serious songwriting chops and writes beautiful pop melodies that will be stuck in your head for days. On top of all that he is a great guy.

Come to the Fireproof Gallery from 7 pm to 3 am Saturday night. The music will start later, interpret that however you will. $5 donation to keep the lights on and the music playing.

See you there!

also photo cred: check out Heidi Jewell's great street fashion blog Under The Guise

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Knoxville Urban Wilderness Corridor

One of the things I love most about Knoxville is its commitment to outdoor recreation. The city has been mostly on the front edge of a push to bring more greenway space to urban areas. Already you can access 16 miles of uninterrupted greenway from downtown to Bearden, and many other neighborhoods have their own, shorter greenways.

Thanks to the work of Legacy Parks, South Knoxville soon should have it's own extended greenway-like system that could end up being the crown jewel of Knoxville's outdoor green spaces. Through land acquisitions and cooperation with land owners, Legacy Park is working to create the Knoxville Urban Wilderness Corridor -- 15 miles of uninterrupted paths that link some of South Knoxville's existing treasures, like Ijams, the quarries and the riverfront bluffs. Much of the trail system already exists but needs to be improved.

I also love that Legacy Parks Foundation Director Carol Evans tells the Knoxville News Sentinel that the aim is to not only preserve green space but encourage residential and business improvements on the south side of the river. Kind of an 'if you build it, they will come' approach.

Legacy Parks could use some help with funding after Knox County cut it out of its 2010 budget. They're looking to make up a $50,000 loss in revenue at an Oct. 14 luncheon. The price of the tickets are a little rich for my blood, but Legacy Parks does take donations. More deets on their website.

(H/T: Knoxville News Sentinel)