Turning the Corner: Is Knoxville Finally Learning How to Try?
Published 05/22/2013 at 3:23 p.m. 1 Comment
In the city I grew up in, the motto was “That’ll do.” Anybody who tried to achieve something that stood out for its quality or individuality, whether it was a building or a plate of food, was just putting on ...
Knoxville: The Unexpected Outdoors Wonderland
Published 05/15/2013 at 4 p.m.
For decades, Knoxville hailed itself as the Gateway to the Smokies. Not many cities identify themselves by wonders that are an hour’s drive away, but the practice offers obvious advantages. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t cause traffic or parking tie-ups ...
Internationally Renowned Saxophonist Greg Tardy Finds His Way Into Knoxville's Jazz Community
Published 05/15/2013 at 11:40 a.m.
He’s maybe not as familiar by sight as some of Knoxville's other jazz players, but judging by the crowds he draws around the world, and the prominent discs that have featured his saxophone, Greg Tardy is one of the most ...
The Elusive Specialty: Of Hot Dogs, Grilled Cheese, and Biscuits
Published 05/15/2013 at 10:41 a.m. 1 Comment
But do we serve anything worth waiting in line for? Something that we’d say, “When you’re in Knoxville, you just have to try a ___”?
Averageville: Is Knoxville the Typical American City?
Published 05/08/2013 at 11:14 a.m.
I’ve been talking around that conclusion for a long time, without ever daring to suggest that particular superlative.
Downtown Business Owners Question Rossini Festival's Move to Henley Street
Published 05/08/2013 at 11:01 a.m. 2 Comments
After 12 mostly successful years on Gay Street and Market Square, the city will be moving the Rossini Festival’s unusual street fair in 2014 to Henley Street, between Main and Clinch, saying it is responding to business owners’ complaints. Jack ...
Where the Boxcars Are All Empty: The Mysteries of Harry McClintock's Knoxville Youth
Published 05/01/2013 at 10:28 a.m.
If you’re a student of folk music, over 50, or both, you can sing along with an unusual song called “Big Rock Candy Mountain."
The National Profile: Some Weird Resonance in the News, and an Appreciation of Terry Morrow
Published 04/24/2013 at 12:18 p.m.
Knoxvillians of a certain age have been struggling avoid a certain comparison, but maybe it’s time to go ahead and get it out. Consider two brothers, successful businessmen, the more outgoing of whom has gubernatorial aspirations.
Robinella Announces Upcoming New Album, 'Ode to Love'
Published 04/24/2013 at 9:59 a.m.
Robinella, one of the most credible local almost-hit-it-big stories of the last decade or two, is still around, with its unusual jazz-country sensibility and its popular lead singer, Robin Bailey.
Better 'n You! A Few Reasons Why We Should Stop Citing State Rankings
Published 04/17/2013 at 10:40 a.m.
State rankings are kind of like ethnic slurs. We can use them as punchlines of jokes about being grateful for Mississippi, and as motivating tools to talk about ourselves. But when someone else uses them, it can rankle.
New Centennial Conservation Expo Promises to Conjure the Spirit of the Enormous, Influential 1913 Fair
Published 04/17/2013 at 10:22 a.m. 1 Comment
On Wednesday, with some Edwardian fanfare, Mayor Madeline Rogero and her staff announced the centennial celebration of the National Conservation Exposition of 1913. If all goes according to still-unfolding plans, this year’s Centennial Conservation Expo will be an unusual Saturday ...
The Small Giant: A Spring Saturday, and a "Sudden and Brief Exclamation" About Knoxville
Published 04/10/2013 at 10:53 a.m.
I had things to do on Saturday afternoon, but it was such a lovely day I took a walk through Market Square.
Two Corners: Some Resonance Behind the Depot Street Fire and the Marble Alley Project
Updated 04/08/2013 at 1:51 p.m.
I’d never looked twice at the building on Depot Street at Ogden. It was just a big, blank, one-story building, looking from the front like any utilitarian warehouse from the 1970s. I remember the ’70s, but can’t account for what ...
State of Rebellion: Can Tennessee Really Nullify Federal Law?
Published 04/03/2013 at 9:54 a.m.
The Tennessee Legislature has been dabbling with the concept of nullification as of late. In particular, our very own Sen. Stacey Campfield, Rep. Bill Dunn, plus area Sen. Frank Niceley have all supported extraordinary bills to “nullify” federal initiatives, especially ...
Metropolitan? Knoxville MSA is Now Nine Counties—But Not the Ones You Think
Published 03/27/2013 at 10:52 a.m. 1 Comment
If you’ve been feeling a little more metropolitan lately, you’ve got some numbers to back it up.
Drivers Only: The Handicapped-Accessibility Problem We Don't Want to Talk About
Published 03/20/2013 at 11:03 a.m.
After a couple of recent accidents involving death and injury, in West Knoxville and then North Knoxville, it’s not clear that cars are safe in parking lots.
Local CD Review: Lance Owens
Published 03/20/2013 at 10:49 a.m.
The smooth, rich tones of Lance Owens’ self-titled CD are a statement of a confident tenor saxophonist who favors the classics. It is, at turns, suave, sweet, sensitive, swinging. You may want to put on a tie just to listen.
A New Urbanist Fable: If You Can Discern the Moral, Please Advise
Published 03/13/2013 at 10:57 a.m. 1 Comment
Years ago I discovered the easiest way to dull the pain of paying bills is by paying them in person.
Marble Alley 2.0: Buzz Goss' Residential Project Looks Like a Boon for Downtown, if not the Landmark Once Proposed
Published 03/13/2013 at 10:38 a.m.
The press conference at the blank corner of State and Commerce last Friday drew an impressive convention of mayors, commissioners, councilmen, and other conspicuous Knoxville boosters, affirming that architect-turned-developer Buzz Goss’ Marble Alley project is huge. But it’s not much ...
Image Problem: How Well Do Knoxville’s Websites Present the City to the World? Um...
Published 03/06/2013 at 4 p.m. 3 Comments
Ever try googling Knoxville to see what pops up? Unsurprisingly, a lot of public and semi-public websites from government-related organizations. But have you ever taken a good look at them, and considered what kind of image they portray of Knoxville ...
The Way-Back Machine: Knox Websites Could Use Some Updating
Published 03/06/2013 at 4 p.m. 1 Comment
Most prominent local websites include outdated information. Many herald attractions and events now in the past. Anachronisms are almost everywhere, even on homepages.
Function Dysfunction: Working Through Knoxville's Websites
Published 03/06/2013 at 4 p.m.
Most websites, certainly including metropulse.com, offer puzzlements and creaky dysfunctions, things that aren’t clear or take longer than you’d expect.
Bill and Ali at Café No Sé: Tales of Knoxville, By Way of Guatemala
Published 03/06/2013 at 10:40 a.m. 1 Comment
After a few months in charge of the best bookstore in Guatemala, Bill McGowan’s back in town, and wanted to catch up. A skinny guy in a tweed Irish cap and a stubbly white beard, McGowan is originally from Chicago, ...
Kubrick and Agee Walk Into a Bar
Published 02/27/2013 at 2:57 p.m. 1 Comment
In my column about filmmaking, to emphasize the unusualness of the fact that James Agee is still regarded as relevant to current cinema, 58 years after his death, I stretched one point. I stated that James Agee died before he ...
The Next Hollywood: An Oscar-Night Companion to Knoxville's Latest Claims
Published 02/20/2013 at 11:44 a.m.
Is Knoxville the fourth biggest video-production city in America? We’ve been saying that, and I don’t hear rivals for that title complaining.
Rachmaninoff's Last Bow: The Reason Knoxville's Home to the World's Only Statue of a Russian Composer
Published 02/13/2013 at 10:58 a.m.
Most folks, even people who live and work nearby, don’t know he’s here. He stands alone in a contemplative spot in a copse of trees where curious walkers find him.
Local Color: Knoxville's Sutherland Avenue
Published 02/06/2013 at 4:13 p.m.
Sutherland Avenue is West Knoxville’s cluttered back porch. It has a lot of important stuff on it, some cool and even beautiful stuff, but all pretty much jumbled out there, and we’re not always eager to show it to guests. ...
The Mark of Samuel Bell: Our Most Famous Silversmith's Better Known in Texas
Published 02/06/2013 at 3:24 p.m.
Come July, our favorite reality-television program, Antiques Roadshow, is on its way to Knoxville.
Tailor Lofts, Retailored: An Early Tour of Conversion's Conversion of "the Arby's Building"
Published 02/06/2013 at 3:06 p.m.
Preservationist developers lament that they’re rapidly running out of old downtown buildings to renovate. Joe Petre’s Conversion Properties is reducing that dwindling number by one. A well-known real-estate broker, Petre has just lately turned preservationist developer, and is now converting ...
Local CD Review: The Lonetones
Published 01/30/2013 at 11:33 a.m.
If you know the Lonetones mainly as the good-natured and obliging string band that’s always happy and capable to fill an early slot in a modest festival’s bill, you won’t have much clue about their albums, especially their latest. The ...
City Guns and Country Guns: One of the Clearest Examples of the Political/Geographical Divide
Published 01/30/2013 at 10:30 a.m. 1 Comment
The gun debate may be the crispest demonstration of America’s city-country split. Our political divide is starkly geographical, in a way that’s true on a micro level in Knox County, precinct by precinct, and on a national level, state by ...
The Medical Arts and Architecture: Rehab of Main Street Landmark, Its Architect, and the End of an Era
Published 01/23/2013 at 10:59 a.m. 2 Comments
Downtown’s residential wave is finally lapping at Main Street. The Medical Arts Building—that tall, beatific jazz-age tower underused and underappreciated for years—is getting rehabbed, and that’s good news.
PechaKucha! With Speed, Slide-Show Lecture Emerges as Nightclub Entertainment
Published 01/23/2013 at 10:49 a.m.
The first thing you need to know about PechaKucha is how to pronounce it. You emphasize both Cha’s: pe-CHA-ku-CHA. If you say it fast, p’CHA’k’CHA, as veterans do, it gives you a sense of the pace of the thing that, ...
What's 'Historic'—And Who Says? Nine Practical Reasons To Save Old Buildings
Updated 02/01/2013 at 8:51 a.m. 8 Comments
At this point, with the preservation-fueled revival of downtown bringing people, dollars, and uncustomary positive press to the city, the value of the community’s limited stock of old buildings might seem obvious. But their demolition is still occurring, often without ...
Light Rail: A Weekend Visit to a Popular Phantasm
Published 01/16/2013 at 10:32 a.m.
Our recent issue about What Knoxville Needs stirred up an old futuristic dream that won’t die. We talk about it today in the same tones we used in the ’60s when we talked about jet packs and hovercraft and computers.
Two Architects: Bruce McCarty and Charlie Richmond
Published 01/09/2013 at 9:31 a.m.
The year’s only a few days old, but Knoxville has already lost two influential and very different architects.
In the Year 2013: Some Notes About the Coming Months
Published 01/02/2013 at 11:51 a.m.
Finally, we’ve arrived in a gracefully nameable era. For 13 years now, those of us who are accustomed to making sense of our recent past by sorting it into decades with distinct personalities, like the ’20s or the ’50s, haven’t ...
2012: An Ode
Published 12/26/2012 at 5 p.m.
A funny thing about the news: It always rhymes.
Christmastime in the City, 1912: Of Velocipedes, Bon-Bons, Grafonolas, and SPUGs
Published 12/19/2012 at 10:35 a.m.
One century ago, a dozen different Knoxvillians might give you a dozen different ideas about what constituted a Christmas tradition. There survived a few people old enough to recall when Knoxville hardly celebrated Christmas at all. Until the ’40s—the 1840s—it ...
NPR Recommends KJO's Christmas Album
Published 12/19/2012 at 10:10 a.m.
We take the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, who played their annual Christmas show at the Bijou Theatre Tuesday night, for granted, but National Public Radio just named KJO’s Christmas Time Is Here one of five recommended jazz Christmas albums of the ...
Knox Boox: For the Locavore Reader, a Seasonal Shopping Aid
Published 12/12/2012 at 10:31 a.m.
And there’s been a pretty extravagant variety of very local books this year. These are the ones I’ve encountered and, for one reason or another, been impressed with.
Peggy and Holly Hambright: Sibling Stars of the Knoxville Culinary Scene
Published 12/12/2012 at 9 a.m. 1 Comment
They’ve rarely worked together. They didn’t learn cooking together as kids. And the last time the two lived in the same house, 30-something years ago, neither aspired to be any sort of chef. Yet sisters Holly and Peggy Hambright are ...
The Secret Identity of Signor Grimaldi: One Strange Story from the Holiday Season of 1877
Published 12/05/2012 at 10:07 a.m.
That anyone named Grimaldi ever lived in 1870s Knoxville might be surprising in itself.
Downtown Wayfinding Plans Move Forward
Updated 12/06/2012 at 12:31 p.m. 1 Comment
Tuesday night at a public meeting, the city rolled out a long-term plan to fix a problem people have been complaining about since the 20th century: a lack of coherent, informative signage. Jack Neely gives them a look.
Victory at Fort Higley: Breaching the Ramparts with Aslan
Published 11/28/2012 at 1:22 p.m.
Scaling the Lilliputian ramparts of Fort Higley last week, I hardly knew the place. One of the two best-preserved Civil War battlements in Knox County, the little fort’s been half-forgotten in these South Knoxville woods for the last 149 years, ...
Look Fast: Four Campus Landmarks Aren't Long for This World
Published 11/20/2012 at 11:34 a.m. 4 Comments
No big fan of chain-link fences to begin with, I especially hate to see that fence go up around the Aconda Court building on Cumberland Avenue and what’s now Volunteer Boulevard, and some other historic buildings just behind it, just ...
The Vols-Knoxville Equation: These Seasons May be the Acid Test for an Old Truism
Published 11/14/2012 at 9:11 a.m.
Saturday I was at work downtown, as I am most Saturdays, catching up on stuff. I’d been half paying attention to the Missouri game on my desk radio, when early in the fourth quarter I went out to get a ...
Everybody's Liberal. Everybody's Conservative: A New Psychopolitical Theory to Muddle the Results
Published 11/07/2012 at 12:03 p.m.
Here’s my theory, in a nutshell. You’re liberal, I’m liberal. You’re conservative, I’m conservative. We’re probably conservative or liberal about different things. My theory, and I’m sticking to it, is that everybody is both conservative and liberal, maybe even in ...
How Knoxville Invented Liberalism
Published 10/31/2012 at 11:45 a.m. 1 Comment
Yes, we know, East Tennessee is ultra-conservative. But Knoxville has also presented the world with quite a few influential liberals over the years. In fact, several nationally controversial “liberal” institutions, from The New York Times to the United Nations, have ...
For the Purple: Why Some Red-State Republicans Might Find it Expeditious to Vote Blue
Published 10/31/2012 at 10:33 a.m. 2 Comments
One thing Republicans and Democrats and Libertarians and Green Partisans can agree on is that we’ve all survived presidents we don’t like, presidents we thought were dangerous idiots who’ve wasted our money. Maybe that’s the foundation for a new dialogue.