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Knoxville Overground Social Mixer Tomorrow!

Tomorrow night let’s all get together in Market Square to checkout Knoxville Overground’s latest and have some real life social time.

Tomorrow on Wednesday March 25th at 7pm, Knoxville Overground will host a social mixer at 35 Market Square as well as provide tours of the 5,000 sq. ft. facility it hopes to convert into a micro-enterprise development center within the next few months.

Remember, downtown parking garages are free at 6pm (although someone recently commented that had changed to 7pm..unverified). For for information about the social mixer and tour, e-mail See more at KnoxViews.

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Why yes I have heroes! And one is coming to Knoxville!

My heroes and role models center around comedians. The list of influences is huge including Red Fox, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas…hold on…basically the SCTV and Saturday Night Live casts. I can narrow the list to four people: Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Bill Murray, and Robin Williams. When I was around twelve years old, Robin Williams got me in a bunch of trouble when I did his "moisture heat seeking missile" routine that involved a lot of pelvic gyrations for some guests my parents were entertaining. I had no idea what I was doing or saying. The guests were rolling on the floor and my father was fuming. That was my first Carlos Mencia lesson: don’t perform other people’s material.

Robin Williams is coming to Knoxville on April 11th to the Civic Auditorium! There’s even a VIP Meet & Greet package available! Well, he may be coming to Knoxville. His doctor has advised him to skip four Florida scheduled shows due to recent heart surgery.

On August 20, 2007, Williams’ elder brother, Robert Todd Williams, died of complications from heart surgery performed a month earlier. [Source, Wikipedia, Robin Williams]

I wish I was still participating in the Red Cross’ FAST program or that I could justify a ticket. Maybe Robin Williams wants to give himself an intermission during the show and would like a juggler to come on stage with him!

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Blogger Night at the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Last year the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (see also blog) invited bloggers to attend a performance and meet Maestro Lucas Richman. I was blown away. The KSO had an outstanding performance. Frank Murphy announced last week that the KSO is again offering 50 tickets to the first 50 bloggers to respond to Stephanie Burdette. I am pleased that Thursday, January 15, 2009, I and one other blogger from our house will be attending. I am not sure if they still have tickets but if you are a blogger who is in Knoxville or can make it to Knoxville on January 15, I hope to see you! (Be sure to email Stephanie Burdette if you are interested).

The deadline for emailing Stephanie is January 14 at 2:00 p.m. [Source, Frank Murphy, rock me Amadeus]

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Knoxville “The Couch”

The New York Times did a travel piece on Knoxville with some creative writing and declared that the locals refer to Knoxville as "The Couch."

KNOXVILLE is often called "the couch" by the people who live there. [Source, The New York Times-Travel, Allison Glock, 8-Jun-08, 36 Hours in Knoxville]

I came to Knoxville in the Fall of 1988 having never lived more than 4 ½ years in one place. Knoxville is comfortable and I settled in. But never have I heard anyone refer to Knoxville as The Couch! I’ve heard Big Orange Country, The Valley, K-Town, and Knoxvegas. Until the Knoxpatch blog came around I’d never heard that one. And by people who grew up here, Hell, but they leave and then usually come home in 2 to 4 years. The only couch reference I’ve ever noticed is the roadside dumping of couches which are often recycled by University of Tennessee students. There used to be a place in South Knoxville where couches go to die. I never took a picture but it was this huge cliff or old, grown over rock quarry and dozens of couches were haphazardly piled at the bottom as if when their time had come they’d run to the edge of the cliff then plummeted to the sacred couch burial ground. (Was near Ijams if anyone is curious).

Allison Glock wrote a very nice article about Knoxville! The couch reference is just befuddling and makes me wonder if some of her 36 hours wasn’t spent on one of the West’s old couches. Of course, maybe it was a red herring to get Knoxville media and blogs to link to the article. If so, it worked! Michael Silence, Byron Chesney, Bill Lyons, Katie Allison Granju, Michael Silence again, Glenn Reynolds, Katie Allison Granju again, Jack Lail, Michael Silence again, Say Uncle, Chris, KnoxInsider, and Randy Neil.

Update: Glenn Reynolds draws the same conclusion I did. (Glenn, who’s your source!) Jack Lail notes the point.

Update: The Reluctant Optimist, Michael Silence rounding up, and Ann Althouse.

Update 9Jun08: Michael Silence writes the NYT’s editor, Knox Blab discusses The Couch and Michael Silence sums up the Blab chat, and Katie Allison Granju announces Ken Schwall will address this on Channel 10 news at 6pm tonight.

Update 9Jun08: Casey Peters does a roundup, and Michael Silence does an update, and Michael Silence conjectures they meant "Swingtown" and then Michael Silence posts the solved mystery. The Couch continues to provide amusement to the newspaper staff, here and here.

Update: Michael Silence gets automated responses from the NYT. Michael Silence notes Liz Donovan jumps in.

Update 10Jun2008: Michael Solomon (letter seen on No Silence Here) complains and says Allison Glock is owed an apology and Barry wonders why a real issue is being ignored for "The Couch". Michael Silence gets a funny comment.

Update 11Jun08: Ken Schwall interviews people.

Update 12Jun08: Metropulse interviews Allison Glock and she isn’t happy with Knoxville bloggers. Katie Allison Granju agrees with me that bloggers were not outraged just confused at the authoritative way Alliison Glock claimed locals call Knoxville "The Couch." We appreciated her well written article and I think her statement "Next time I suppose I’ll just write about Pigeon Forge." is a poor response; instead, she would have made herself look better by thanking the community for the correction to her error. Chris at Rocky Top MBA draws an elegantly written conclusion to Couchgate. Well done Chris!

Michael Silence responds to Glock’s response. And notes other blogger’s responses.

Update 14Jun08: Michael Silence cites more comments (much to Cathy’s chagrin).

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Blogfest was a blast!

Rich pulled together another great gathering of great minds. Hopefully Lissa will have the official round up. You beer damaged brain keeps wanting to introduce her as Leesuh but her name is Lihsuh. I’m so sorry!

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In attendance were Cathy (minus business cards…sorry), Rich, Lissa, Tommy, Victor Agrenda (Knoxvillians probably want to read him here), Joseph Agreda, Frank Murphy (and son), Jon Katsiros, and a friend of Jon’s (sorry..I missed their sites). Michael Silence had planned to attend but something must have come up. Apologies if I left anyone out.

We secured a large space of the absolutely packed (and valet parked) Wild Wing’s Cafe. Now we probably overstayed our welcome. Little note to management, simply asking if we could free the table would be better than slowly turning up the radio. When the radio didn’t run us off, they turned the televisions to a ball game at LOUD volume. As we left, the TVs suddenly quieted. That was funny! The venue was nice but I think we are still looking for the ideal spot which combines fun, food, adult beverages but child friendly (I suppose that’s optional), wifi, and the ability to socialize.

What happens at a Blogfest? We get to see the faces behind the words we read in feed. Of course as video and audio become more prominent by citizen journalist publishings that statement loses some of its oompfth. Still, nothing compares to the energy and dynamics of real life conversation which is what I believe Loic Le Meur (Whoa! He’s my younger brother’s age!) is attempting to duplicate with Seesmic. New ideas are generated, laughs, laughs and more laughs, food is consumed and beverages, economic and social boundaries are breached bringing people in different walks of life and opposing political views together on common ground, introductions are made and new readers created in this pioneering land of blog. Overall, good times are had. Of course, I miss seeing Randy Neal, Dr. Helen, and the blogfather himself, Glenn Reynolds at the table. Lookout Glenn! You’ve just been RealityMeAlanched! And yes, to all those I didn’t name, I missed you too!

Oh, one, is that Sylar?! (Sylar’s IMDB) And, two, my wife thought one of the guys in attendance had "really sexy eyes."

Other Blogfests:

Update: Lissa posts about A Wild Blogfest and Rich has his wrap up. Frank has posted blogic: the gathering and Tommy put down a few sentences. Cathy talks about the restrooms at Wild Wings Cafe.

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Review of the Atomic Horns

Last night fellow blogger, Barry of Inn of the Last Home, was playing with his band, The Atomic Horns, at Ray’s. Thought I’d drop in at 10pm, enjoy a few tunes and one beer, and be home by 11:30pm. Four beers later, I stroll (not stagger) home at 2am. Still, next time I’m sticking to my one drink limit no matter how many free or unrequested beers the waiter brings.

The Atomic Horns surprised me. I expected to see maybe three musicians on stage. I counted eight! Plus a sound engineer. Later the evening the count rose to 10 musicians. Nothing quite compares to a live band with brass in it! There is a life, a crispness, to real brass that does not convey itself in our compressed mp3 audio. Equally as great were the strings and keyboards. The lead guitar danced on the fret board. Barry and the other keyboardists made me feel like we were standing beside Ray Charles in the music store in The Blues Brothers. Speaking of The Blues Brothers, they made an appearance! But we will get to that. The vocals were fantastic. Each singer nailed the respective cover song and sounded just like the original.

My only complaint with the show was the volume. It seemed to keep creeping up and at times was almost unbearable. Perhaps that’s just my old ears. I had to walk to the other side of the building to give my ears a rest and noticed a couple of people who had been watching the band had moved to the other side of the building to be able to converse. I found it a bit frustrating to only be able to talk to my friends on napkins and between songs. This is a shame because The Atomic Horns have a great show. They do bits. Jake and Elwood came out complete with with handcuffed briefcase holding the sacred microphone. There were other innovative tidbits in front of the stage but I will simply encourage you to see The Atomic Horns to experience them!

I give the show a high recommendation. As a side note, I have to admit being back in a sports bar and grill after all these years was a little weird and funny at the same time. It made for good people watching. I’m happy my bar fly years are long behind me.