While Jack Neely did not find any frivolous architecture of note in Knoxville (I guess the airplane gas station is too hoary now to be considered frivolous), I suggest that Knoxville can rise to the occasion and attract more business to the Convention Center by embracing frivolity. ["Trends and Knoxville" cover story, March 12, 2009]
Let's change the Sunsphere into a giant wig stand. This will surely bring in every hair dresser and cosmetics convention east of the Mississippi. By changing the wig styles, we could attract an even wider clientele. An Elvis wig for his fan and impersonator conventions, a Dolly Wig, a Donald Trump wig when he hosts the local version of The Apprentice or for a convention of ex-apprentices. A hydroponic dreadlock kudzu wig for the convention of Southern ecologists and invasive plant specialists. A mortar board hat for graduation ceremonies. And if the Dalai Lama comes to town we can take a break from wigs.
The insulating properties of the wigs would certainly help with heating and cooling the Sunsphere and rotating them would mean observation of our glorious skyline would still be possible. Yes, the possibilities boggle the mind; mine is already slightly boggled. This idea has met with joyous approval by every forward-looking trend follower I've spoken to, all four of them. So let us have a campaign for frivolity to lighten our spirits in these gloomy times and perhaps increase our international profile and Convention Center occupancy rate.
Greg Congleton, Knoxville