Monday, October 31, 2011

Photographs in Search of a Blog, October 2011

World's Fair Park Pavilion, Knoxville, October 2011
I hope you all got to enjoy that great Autumn rain on Friday, the nice weather on Saturday and the first touch of winter on Sunday. It was a great weekend in the city. I read all day Friday, which included "The Letters of Sylvia Beech," loaned to me by Flossie at Union Avenue Books (thanks Flossie, it will be back soon). I tried 31 Bistro Saturday with great friends Shaft and Deda and got in a little trick-or-treat action with Urban Toddler on Sunday. Pretty nice.

Cool Motorcycle in front of Hotel Oliver, Knoxville, October 2011

Tending the garden, fifth floor behind Mast General, Knoxville, October 2011

Singer, Market Square, Knoxville, October 2011
I considered doing something spooky for Halloween, but I'm  not much of a Halloweeny sort of guy so, instead, I'll end the month as I have a number of times before with images from the city I truly liked, but just never found the blog they deserved. Rather than have them disappear into pixel land, I'll throw them out for your pleasure.
Beauty in the City, Knoxville, October 2011
Hippie VW Microbus, Summit Hill, Knoxville, October 2011
Ballet, World's Fair Park Pavilion, Knoxville, October 2011
Spanish Language Radio in Knoxville!

So many things that I photograph are things that I stumble onto in the city. The unexpected sightings of wedding parties, a cool reflection on a building, college kids being, well, college kids, are the kinds of things that make life interesting downtown. When I lived in the suburbs and I went to the grocery store I expected to buy groceries and drive back into my garage. Now, when I buy groceries it involves a walk and I never know what interesting person or sight I might find. Life is too short for dull.

Shadow of the Sunsphere, Knoxville, October 2011
Volt at Electric Car Show, Market Square, Knoxville, October 2011

Bride and Groom, Church Street UMC, Knoxville, October 2011

If you'd like to see more pictures like these, I have nearly a thousand at the Stuck Inside of Knoxville Facebook Page and I'd love you to go there and hit the "like" button as you look around. Tell your friends about it. I'll be adding labels to pictures and tagging people (you might look for people you know - or yourself - and tag them for me!). Also, I'd love to have you as a friend at the Knoxville Urban Guy Facebook Page.
Cool Ride, Gay Street, Knoxville, October 2011

Dog-powered Bike, Central Street, Knoxville, October 2011

Beauty in the City, Too, Knoxville, October 2011

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Changes to Stuck Inside of Knoxville

I think the blog grows up a little bit this month. The first night I decided I was going to take the plunge I had little idea of what a blog was and I had no idea what this journey would be like. 410 posts and about 82,000 page-views later, I have a better idea of what I'm doing and where I want this to go. I'm sure there are also twists and turns ahead that I can't imagine.

So, what is different? For starters, some of you may have noticed the "TN Tunage" link at the top of the page has replaced the "Soundtrack" link. The soundtrack idea was a bad one. About ten minutes after I started it I realized I'd created a monster. The idea was to have a link to every song referenced on this blog so that you could listen to it or purchase it. An absolutely black hole of time-sucking loss if I had maintained it since I reference songs about every other word. So, I've replaced it with lists of songs and musicians related to Knoxville and songs related to Tennessee. It's arbitrary, I know. I'd love to hear your suggestions for additions. I'm da guy, though, so I'll decide.

Dale Mackey making Urban Guy Facebook Functional
Also, you may have noticed that the slide show on the top of the blog had not been updated since May and has now completely disappeared. I've always hated the fact that as the posts get buried, there are interesting pictures which are never seen again. I've fixed this problem and so the slide show is no longer necessary. Which leads to the next announcement: There is now a Stuck Inside of Knoxville Facebook page! Thanks to Dale Mackey (check out her her marvelous blog) who helped me set it up, you can go to that page, "Like It," and view nearly 1000 photographs related to Knoxville. I have various albums devoted to such things as "People Watching," "Knoxville Musicians," "Businesses," "Scenes from the City" and more. Tell your friends, call your grandmother and get the word out. Think of it as a gathering spot for the Urban Nation. I'll add new photographs routinely. Remember to "Like" that bad boy because I'm working hard here and it makes me feel good.

Dale Mackey adding the "Social" to the Network
Also on the Facebook front, Knoxville Urban Guy has a personal page which Ms. Mackey also helped me set up. I post updates there regarding the blog and what I'm doing in the city. It's probably as close to tweeting as this twit will ever get. It's also a place you can leave comments about the blog or send me a little message along the way. Friend me. I'll accept you in a heartbeat, I promise.

Is your head just spinning from all these changes? Mine, too. I thought I'd have one more change to point out: my first sponsor. I had a national hotel chain contact me about posting a link on the blog. Somehow along the way that fell apart, but if your business would like to sponsor a link on a site that has had over 80,000 page-views of people looking for information about downtown Knoxville, well . . .

So what to do? Any of the following that you haven't already done:
  • Subscribe to this blog (it's on the right-hand side). You'll get an e-mail every time there is a new post. After you do this you must confirm through an e-mail to start receiving the updates.
  • Become a Follower (it's also on the right-hand side). I know there are hundreds of you who read the site, why not become an official member of the Urban Nation? Sixty-nine is an awkward number to be stuck on, so help me out. Beyond the simple joy of seeing your icon on the page, this enables you to read the blog on Google Reader.
  • Friend me on Facebook
  • Like my Stuck Inside of Knoxville Community Page and start looking through those great photographs.
  • Check out the TN Tunage page at the top of the blog and e-mail me your suggestions
So, everyone has their weekend assignments. I'll be checking on your progress and I'll look forward to connecting on Facebook!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Urban Outfitters Pauses in Knoxville

Cool, but friendly Urban Outfitters, Knoxville, October 2011
It was an odd sight at the corner of Church and Gay earlier this week. A make-shift barricade segmented a portion of the parking lot which was thereby pronounced a retail establishment open for business. A small sign on the sidewalk beside Gay Street declared that Urban Outfitters, after an unrequited flirtation with a permanent presence in the city opted inside for a drive-by.

Sign on Gay Street Sidewalk, Knoxville

Uber Cool Stuff for Uber Cool People
I clearly didn't fit the demographic for which the display was so finely arrayed, so the fact that some of the way-cooler-than-I'll-ever-be people on the premises were friendly enough to talk to me was a bonus. My primary question, however, was whether this brief foray constituted a market probe of any sort, and to that I got a clear non-response.

Dishing out the Goods, Urban Outfitters Mobile Lab
The merchandise offered by the variously tattooed, pierced and totally awesome young people was out of the extreme reaches of my fashion world. Sunglasses and clothing were strewn about as were oddities like Instamatic cameras and headphones. The entire experience was a bit surreal, but the young people were upbeat and pronounced the visit a "success!" The tour includes college towns not otherwise served by the company.
Urban Outfitters' Mobile Home, Knoxville, October 2011

Shoppers at Urban Outfitters Mobile Fashion Response Unit
I spoke to a policeman who assured me there had been no incidents of concern. He specializes in that sort of thing, as his regular gig is the East Tennessee History Center where he only  need be concerned with occasional visits from that scruffy citizen Jack Neely. He did mention that he sometimes works at the public library which has seen a recent influx of trouble-making students from the STEM Academy waving their Ipods all about. I could only shudder to think.

Get your lavender soda on the way out!
The tour is sponsored by the Dry Soda Company, which seemed odd for a corporation to have a corporate sponsor. The drink flavors offered didn't make me particularly thirsty, with their rhubarb, cucumber and blood orange blends.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alive After Five, Kaziques and Dancing into the Night Latino Style

Caziques performs at Alive After Five, Knoxville Museum of Art

Alive After Five, Knoxville Museum of Art
I recently enjoyed another round of Alive After Five at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Alive After Five actually starts at 6:00 and is easily confused with the former Live at Five on WBIR, which has now become "Live at Five at Four," which makes absolutely no sense, but this has nothing to do with that. Got it? Me either, but several Fridays each Spring and Fall the Art Museum rocks, which isn't something you necessarily expect of an art museum.


Friday before last the doors opened to Kaziques, a Nashville band with featuring "a dynamic Pan-Latin, Afro-Cuban mix of salsa, meringue, cumbia, bachata." Got that? Neither do I, but the Latin rhythms filled the night and filled the dance floor. I recognized some faces from the Hola Festival, which is likely because volunteers from that event got into this event without charge. The dance floor was filled with denizens of Casa Hola moving to the Salsa and more.

Scottish-Latino Dancing at the Knoxville Museum of Art

Kaziques at the Knoxville Museum of Art
As is the case at each of these events, Michael Gill co-ordinated, hosted and emceed the gathering. The entire museum with all its public collections is open, a cash bar and food for sale (very inexpensively) from selected vendors are also offered. For ten dollars anyone may walk through the door. The cost is six dollars for students and free to members. It's an incredibly cheap date and is usually packed, though there is room for you. The music rolls on this Friday night with Boys Night Out.

Beautiful Belinda was ever present

Lovely, smart and talented singer jams with the band

Late in the evening the band was joined by a young woman whose name evaded me, but I gathered she is working her way through law school (smart) while occasionally displaying her amazing vocal skills (talented). If life was fair she would at least be ugly. Life isn't fair.

I hope you enjoyed these photographs of the beautiful dancers. Imagine yourself to be one of them next time around. 
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Final City People Home Tour Post: Fire Street Lofts and Westmoreland Condos

Fire Street Lofts, Old City, Knoxville
I'll move on to other topics after today's post, but I did want to mention the last two homes I visited on my downtown home tour. Both are in the Old City, which is contains the greatest density of population in the center city. Fire Street Lofts are located at 220 W. Jackson Avenue (the street comprised of exposed brick) and Westmoreland Condominiums are located around the corner at 135 S. Central Street.

Entrance to the condo at Fire Street Lofts, Knoxville

Bathroom, Fire Street Lofts, Knoxville
I'd visited Fire Street Lofts before and really liked them the first time around. As I recall, I toured one or two units with balconies which looked toward the south. This unit was on the northern side of the building and so, had views toward the train depot and Sharp's Ridge. Like many downtown homes, it is long and fairly narrow and it is a single-level dwelling. A hallway runs along one side and inter-connected rooms are partitioned off down the other side, with the bathroom leading to a laundry room then a bedroom, which has only a partial wall separating it from the kitchen and dining area/den. 
Walk-in Closet/Laundry Room connects bathroom and bedroom
Fire Street Lofts, Bedroom with brick and half-wall

As I write that, I'm not sure I'm doing it justice as it was very cool and open, though privacy was preserved for the bedroom from the rest of the home. Pipes and plumbing were exposed, but something that warmed all that up for me was the exposed beams, which were massive and unadorned, but softened what could be a more industrial feel without their influence. Also included was very cool downtown Knoxville art and historical photographs and paintings. If you like this condo, you might want to check this one out. It is a unit in Fire Street Lofts for sale for just over 400K with just under 2K sq. ft.

What home?

A closer look - Westmoreland Condominiums
I'm always surprised and delighted by at least one of the homes I visit on this annual tour and the spot for "Coolest Home" was waiting at my final stop. Around the corner and very easy to miss were the Westmoreland Condominiums. I'd never toured them and time was short, so I skipped the Jacksonian which I'd seen before. At first glimpse, their did not appear to be a home to view, simply the parking lot for Enterprise Rent-a-Car. A second look revealed mums, pumpkins and a little door.

Kitchen/Den, Westmoreland Condominiums, Old City, Knoxville
Laundry Room/Bathroom, Westmoreland Condominiums

Young Urbanite's Room, Westmoreland Condos, Old City, Knoxville
Inside was a beautiful surprise: Not only did I find some of downtown Knoxville's most discerning citizens, Brent and Casey (hint: they read this blog - what great taste!), but I found a beautiful home and a lovely little family including one of our newest urban citizens whose grandmother held him the entire time I looked around - which was also something I could completely get behind. 
Westmoreland Condominiums, Old City, Knoxville

Another view of the gorgeous kitchen
The condominium is very spacious and the kitchen in particular is beautiful with its stainless steel and colorful tile. Like most homes in the city, the kitchen opens into the living area which is, in this case, very large. Just outside this area is a private enclosed porch and I think parking is provided with the home, which is a very sweet deal if you can get it in the city.

Private Porch, Westmoreland Condos, Old City, Knoxville
Den/Living Area, Westmoreland Condominiums, Knoxville
And so concluded another tour of the city. I love these tours - in our city and in others. It's interesting to catch a glimpse of how other people live and utilize space in a private setting. It says something about us, I think. I also come away from these tours realizing the variety of housing options even our small city has to offer and looking forward to the homes to be added soon. Maybe one of them will be yours!

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