Published 4/18/2012 at 12:35 p.m. 3 comments
The Rossini Festival is next weekend, 10 years old now. In my experience with my home town and its festivals, Knoxville Opera’s annual street fair was the first one that clicked on all cylinders: interesting food, good drink, diverse music, ...
Knoxville’s Most Intimate Connection to the Titanic
Published 4/11/2012 at 12:08 p.m. 1 comment
On Central Street, at the very foot of Cumberland Avenue, is a plain white cinder-block church. A wooden sign calls it the Romanian Church. Thanks to the scarcity of intervening buildings, you can see it from Gay Street. The building’s ...
The Arby’s Building, By Any Other Name
Published 4/4/2012 at 1:15 p.m. 1 comment
Many folks middle age and beyond remember that before the building at Gay and Union was Arby’s, it was Spence Shoes. In fact it was a shoe store, on the ground floor, for more than 40 years, with a tailor, ...
Sundown vs. Nightfall: A Textbook Case of Urban Economics
Published 3/28/2012 at 2:30 p.m. 1 comment
Sundown in the City has been a dilemma on Market Square, but it wouldn’t be even roughly the same thing anywhere else.
Published 3/21/2012 at 11:54 a.m. 2 comments
Walking into the door was like changing channels. Inside that warm room of dark, ancient brick was a friendly, casual scene from one of those dreams where you suddenly see people you knew a long time ago: a dozen people ...
The Santorum Vote: Primary as Postlude
Published 3/14/2012 at 12:27 p.m. 1 comment
I watched the returns carefully, just because I’m curious about historical resonance. Since the Civil War, East Tennessee has voted differently from the rest of the state. Even within Tennessee’s newfound red-state status are echoes of old divisions.
No Destination Attractions? Knoxville?
Published 3/7/2012 at 11:21 a.m. 8 comments
Everyone’s list of what makes our hometown interesting is different. But when I heard that some folks’ lists of Knoxville’s assets have nothing much on them, I wondered if maybe they’d be interested in borrowing mine.
Some Late-Winter Desk Clearing
Published 2/29/2012 at 2:36 p.m. 0 comments
Jack Neely fills us in on a London crime scene, Knoxville Gray, our almost-superlative statue, and a chronic building-naming dilemma.
The Lamentable Tragedy at the Washington’s Birthday Zouave Ball
Published 2/22/2012 at 12:18 p.m. 0 comments
If the Zouave Grand Military Ball at Spiro’s Hall wasn’t the social event of the season, it was the liveliest thing afoot on the evening of Washington’s Birthday.
Published 2/15/2012 at 12:07 p.m. 2 comments
For years, I told people I’d been inside a Walmart only once in my life, offering my vivid memory of that huge place with the friendly greeters and an unbelievable amount of well-organized stuff. It was on Chapman Highway, on ...
The Carousel: Maybe America's Oldest Theater With a Stage in the Middle
Published 2/8/2012 at 3:41 p.m. 0 comments
Last year, the University of Tennessee chose not to level Clarence Brown Theatre, as planned. Still in the UT bulldozer’s long-range sights is the Carousel Theatre, which sits separately, like Clarence Brown’s big garden shed.
Is Knoxville the Birthplace of the First Rock ’n’ Roll Star?
Published 2/1/2012 at 11:13 a.m. 2 comments
Knoxville is the birthplace of Atlantic Records' first big star, who was one of the founders of rock ’n’ roll. Granville McGhee’s name is not as recognizable as that of Chuck Berry or Bo Diddley or Howlin’ Wolf—but as Stick ...
Possum Without the O
Published 1/25/2012 at 12:08 p.m. 2 comments
I’ve been enjoying Bill Landry’s book, Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures. It chronicles the back story of the long-running WBIR series of anecdotal stories about backwoods crafts, sports, cuisine. I have only one complaint about the book. Landry spells possum ...
Gloria in Excelsis
Published 1/18/2012 at 12:41 p.m. 6 comments
Folks have been asking me what I think of Gloria Ray, and especially whether she earns her annual compensation, which is slightly larger than that of the president of the United States.
The Stories Behind a Couple of Recent Demolitions in Bearden
Published 1/11/2012 at 11:28 a.m. 2 comments
You can’t help but notice that the Bearden area has gotten a little flatter in recent months. Near Kroger and Starbucks, an old motel building vanished. Its name, Biltmore Court, has an odd connection to some painted words barely visible ...