Tomatoes: A Long-Avoided Appreciation
Published 07/24/2013 at 11:18 a.m.
I did not like to eat tomatoes. When they weren’t fresh, which was most of the time, they were slimy and tasteless. When they were fresh, they were so bitter they almost stung. But as a middle-aged adult, I’ve come ...
Two Spirits: A Couple of Good Reasons Not to Dread Old Age
Published 07/24/2013 at 10:44 a.m.
Some people tell me they don’t want to live long, because, oh, old age is so terrible, a time of pain, incapacity, and loss. It turns out that way for a lot of people. Nancy seemed to enjoy making old ...
Will UT's Greenwood Mural Go Into Hiding Again? Its Fate Remains Unclear
Published 07/24/2013 at 10:28 a.m.
The smell of adhesives and solvents in the University of Tennessee University Center’s ballroom marks the beginning of the next chapter in the strangest art story in Knoxville history.
A Study In Stucco: The Old City’s Modern Birthplace May Be Leaving Us
Published 07/17/2013 at 3:55 p.m.
Preservationists are having a hard time finding practical reasons to oppose the latest downtown demolition, the stucco one-story building on Central Street, near the train tracks. It’s been vacant for years and is obviously falling apart. This unassuming little building ...
Showing 'Em What We've Got: What Will 'Antiques Roadshow' Find in Knoxville This Week?
Published 07/10/2013 at 10:46 a.m.
For antique collectors, certainly, and in fact for art collectors, historians, and curators of various sorts, Antiques Roadshow is maybe just this side of the Olympics, a huge event that may be in your hometown only once in a lifetime.
City Takes Control of the McClung Warehouses
Updated 07/09/2013 at 6:17 p.m.
After years of frustrations, the city has finally taken control of the long-embattled McClung Warehouses at 517-25 W. Jackson Ave., buying them for $1.45 million. In a hastily convened conference Tuesday evening, Mayor Madeline Rogero announced the city will be ...
A Peculiar Fourth: Some Picture From Knoxville's Most Anxious July
Published 07/03/2013 at 10:25 a.m. 1 Comment
“There’s No Danger,” went a column directed at patrons of Knoxville businesses.
710 and 712 Walnut St.: Dog Ugly, or Spirited Survivors?
Published 06/26/2013 at 3 p.m.
Knox Heritage believes these two 1920s brick buildings may be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places because of what they are and where they are; they’re among the last remnants of a famously residential block.
The Walnut Street Dilemma: Property Rights vs. Historic Preservation
Published 06/26/2013 at 3 p.m. 4 Comments
Despite a monumental effort by local preservationists and developers to address the needs of St. John’s Cathedral downtown, the church is hell-bent on demolishing two 1920s buildings to improve access to its parking lot. The disagreement has spurred misunderstandings, demonstrations ...
St. John’s Creative History—and the Urban-Church Paradox
Published 06/26/2013 at 3 p.m. 2 Comments
Churches occupy a unique place in the prospects of any downtown. They’re often among the most beautiful buildings in a city, and that’s certainly true of Knoxville, and in particular of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral downtown.
The Ghost Mural: Is the Strange Image on a Warehouse on West Jackson the Work of Peter Max?
Published 06/26/2013 at 11:13 a.m. 3 Comments
It might seem far-fetched that Peter Max would have a mural on an old warehouse in Knoxville, Tenn. But then again, maybe not. He was once, if briefly, a neighbor.
Pryor Brown: Can a Parking Garage Be Historic?
Published 06/18/2013 at 4:42 p.m.
Only one historic building has been demolished downtown in this century. Three more proposed demolitions of intact pre-war buildings have come to the fore in the last few days. Up this week, before the Downtown Design Review Board, is the ...
Local Music Review: Hudson K
Published 06/12/2013 at 11:42 a.m.
Hudson K’s new album, Ouroboros and the Black Dove, marks a new turn for Knoxville’s most unusual duo. (Why, they don’t even have a guitar!)
Joe Evans at the Last Chance: One or Two Pieces in the Puzzle of an Obscure Blues Duo
Published 06/12/2013 at 10:51 a.m.
In 1991, Document Records released a 20-side compilation of the 1927 and 1931 recordings of an unusual country-blues group called The Two Poor Boys. Their real names were Joe Evans and Arthur McClain.
No One Ever Reaches There: To Some Desperate Escapees 150 Years Ago, Knoxville Was Oz
Published 06/05/2013 at 12:57 p.m.
Just when you think you’ve heard all the interesting Civil War stories concerning Knoxville, here comes another.
"Draw!" The Smoky Mountain Shootist Society Brings an Entirely Different Sort of Re-Enactment to East Tennessee
Published 05/29/2013 at 1:44 p.m. 1 Comment
Once a month, a large group of armed men, and quite a few armed women, converge on a hilly area near Oak Ridge and start blasting away. They’re not survivalists (as far as we know), but rather a new sort ...
Deconstructing Ben Atchley Street: Hatter Road, and the Origins of Homberg Drive
Updated 06/04/2013 at 4:21 p.m.
Bearden’s Ben Atchley Street controversy presented me with a learning curve. I’ve been tarrying in that quarter, shopping or dining, at least a couple times a month since Lyndon Johnson was president. But even after that long acquaintance, I wasn’t ...
Turning the Corner: Is Knoxville Finally Learning How to Try?
Published 05/22/2013 at 3:23 p.m. 8 Comments
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. 3 Comments
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 ...
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.
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.
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: West 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, ...