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MAY 15, 2008 VOL. 3, ISSUE 3

KNOXVILLE’S ONLY INDEPENDENT ALTERNATIVE

Free every other Thursday

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Still in Motion The moonshine industry is thriving in Appalachia, if you know where to look By Lisa Slade

INSIDE:

NEWS: LOCAL FOOD BANKS ARE OVERDRAWN COMMENTARY: CLINTON THREATS ASSIST DUBYA WAR CRIMES A&E: INDIAN JEWELRY OFFERS FREE GOLD


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Mission Statement As Knoxville’s premier locally owned, independent and free newspaper, Knoxville Voice publishes bi-weekly with a focus on local news and cultural events. Knoxville Voice’s mission is to: • Give voice to issues, events and people in our community often underrepresented in mainstream media • Sustain a reader demographic that is as diverse as the issues we cover Knoxville Voice accomplishes this mission by: • Reporting stories as they affect ordinary people • Eschewing the interests of large corporations • Maintaining a progressive worldview • Emphasizing social responsibility and democratic participation Knoxvoice.com is the Internet component of our print publication, expanding and supplementing our content. Publisher Dane Baker baker@knoxvoice.com Editor Elizabeth Wright wright@knoxvoice.com Reporter / Copy Editor Elisha Sauers sauers@knoxvoice.com Reporter Lisa Slade slade@knoxvoice.com Arts and Entertainment Editor Eric Dawson dawson@knoxvoice.com Art Director / Design Production Andrew Hock hock@knoxvoice.com Freelance Designer Bryan Garvey Contributing Writers Andrew Clayman, Carolyn Corley, Jonathan Frey, Rick Greene, Nick Huinker, Michael Kaplan, Stephanie Manning, Tony Murchison, Denise Sanabria, Geoff Trowbridge, Ben White, Don Williams Interns Josh Wolff, Eddie Crim Office Manager / Classifieds / Sales Geoff McNulty mcnulty@knoxvoice.com Advertising Sales Director Brett Winston winston@knoxvoice.com Advertising Sales Laurie Cozzolino cozzolino@knoxvoice.com Jennifer Thompson thompson@knoxvoice.com Townes Webb webb@knoxvoice.com Letters to the Editor letters@knoxvoice.com A&E Calendar Events calendar@knoxvoice.com Community Calendar community@knoxvoice.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURE

Still in Motion

The moonshine industry is thriving in Appalachia, if you know where to look

By Lisa Slade This issue introduces a noticeable change in the size and design of the paper. A merger in paper-supply companies required the use of a smaller page size. Our content will remain the same, and we’ll be incorporating new design ideas and a new logo in coming issues. Please let us know what you think, letters@knoxvoice.com

NEWS 8 Local food banks, recipients feel the pinch as need rises, donations drop 9 Knox County Democrats to sign lease for a headquarters 10 Locally based Munitions Management Group workers risk lives

detonating at former bomb-testing sites across the U.S. 12 DIY: Open an underground restaurant 14 Q & A with assistant chiefs of Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad

COMMENTARY 16 Truth to Power by Don Williams: Clinton’s threats against Iran provide cover for Dubya’s war crimes

17 Guest Commentary by Ralph Hutchinson: Religion has no place in

school programs 18 Buildings & Blocks by Michael Kaplan: There Goes the Neighborhood 19 Famous Praise by Ben White: The Link to the World 20 Guest Commentary by Steve Dupree: Elitism by any other name

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 28 29 30 32 34 35 36 37 38 39

Circle Modern Dance offers ‘Insight’ Over the Rhine’s true Americana from ‘The Heart of it All’ Indian Jewelry’s exotically invasive gold sounds The inevitable Chris Rusk Sit N’ Spin Dude, wait... What?! Rotations: Acid Mothers Temple, The Roots, Stanley Jordan The strange magic of ELO’s ‘Out of the Blue’ Art nouveau meets manga in the comic art of local artist Hushico British kids in the ’80s make ‘Son of Rambow’ Funny Ha Ha: A Modest Proposal toward a More Rational Religion 402 S. Gay St., Ste. 202 Knoxville, TN 37902 Phone: 865-522-8684 / Fax: 865-522-8720 Copyright © 2008 Knoxville Voice, LLC Knoxville Voice is published every two weeks and available free of charge by Knoxville Voice, LLC. Without limiting the rights under copyrights reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form without the prior written consent of Knoxville Voice, LLC.

Knoxville Voice 3


Stompin’ grounds

Welcome Mat Points of interest in and around Knoxville

HALEY HERITAGE SQUARE Adjacent to Knoxville’s Morningside Park, Haley Heritage Square pays homage to Alex Haley, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, who made East Tennessee his home prior to his death in 1992. A 13-foot bronze statue of the author is the centerpiece of the Square, and Takia Ajanaku of African American Appalachian Arts, Inc., says it’s a gathering spot for local families and tourists alike. “We think it’s important for East Tennessee, East Knoxville and the city in general because it’s a great vacation site — people take pictures by the statue and of children sitting in his lap, they’re all across the Internet,” Ajanaku says. “People create family reunions around it and it’s a family-oriented place.” Roots is the story of Haley’s family, their journey from Africa into slavery in the United States and their history after emancipation. Ajanaku says Haley’s literary contributions will be celebrated at a May 18 event to recognize the 10-year anniversary of the statue that was created by world-renowned sculptor Tina Allen.

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Storytellers, spoken-word performers and poets will join actor Louis Gossett Jr. at the site from 3 to 6 p.m. for the free celebration that will also feature live entertainment, African dances and a free fish fry. Haley’s motto was “find the good and praise it,” and that’s what this event is all about. (Elizabeth Wright)

We want your photos of local life and happenings — to submit your pictures, e-mail them to ohsnap@knoxvoice.com along with the name of the photographer, the name(s) of who or what is pictured and a brief description of the subject. All images should be high resolution (300 DPI) in jpeg or tif format.

Bike Polo, the Birdhouse (800 N. 4th Ave.) May 3, 2008 photo by Stephen Martin 4 Knoxville Voice


Voice mail

WRITE TO US!

E-mail letters to letters@knoxvoice.com, or send by U.S. mail. We reserve the right to edit for length or clarity.

Your March 20, 2008, issue carried a commentary, “Buildings and Blocks: Three Beauties.â€? The Rich’s department store building was featured and retains a prominent place in Knoxville, post-WWII history. While Miller’s department store and ProfďŹ tt’s were the predominant full-line retailers in the area, Rich’s made an aggressive incursion and signiďŹ cantly upset the retail market, garnering market share from the local retailers. This predates expansion into the suburbs of Knoxville, and the larger retail building was one of the last big retail stores to go into the downtown area. The Rich’s building was very much “cookie-cutterâ€? inside, and the layout was used in other Rich’s buildings. This was an era when department stores were full-line carrying: appliances, clothing, food services, books and furniture; true departments. Miller’s eventually acquired the building, and it became the last vestige of downtown retailing until it closed (ironically similar to the main Rich’s store in Atlanta), as retail moved to the suburbs and malls became dominant. Knoxville has been fortunate to retain the old building. A walk through the building today reveals reconďŹ gured layout. However,

Overheard

Welcome Mat

around the various corridors, a trained eye can pick out features, such as covered escalator shafts, high ceilings and other leftovers from its prior use. Hopefully, the building can be remodeled and retained as part of Knoxville’s downtown history. The building is not alone in conversion from retail to other uses; in the Atlanta area, several older retail buildings have become lofts and condominiums and, in another, a university oďŹƒce and classroom space. Charles B. Jones Jr. Knoxville, TN I just wanted to thank you for publishing the April 17 article on pages 22 and 23 that features locally grown food. I found it extremely helpful, and I wasn’t aware that there were so many local farmers and markets to get fresh food! I have been looking for a healthier, fresher alternative to Wal-Mart for some time now, and this helped tremendously. Thanks again. Rachel Riley Knoxville, TN

— Excerpt from Ben White’s Famous Praise page 19

“I have what’s called The Works in my tooth. It’s a reverse GPS audio transmitter with a camera. They’ll hear everything.�

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Knoxville Voice 5


IN SHORT... Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale gave his 2008 State of the Community Address May 14 as Knoxville Voice went to press. Ragsdale announced his proposal for the FY 2008-2009 county budget, which the county commission will hear at its May 27 meeting. The proposal hinged on available funds announced May 12 by Gov. Phil Bredesen in his address on the revised state budget to a Joint Session of the General Assembly. Bredesen says the current economic downturn led to a revenue shortage of more than $500 million from FY 2007-2008 estimates, requiring voluntary buyouts of state jobs, $87 million in cuts to additional funding of the Basic Education Program and $56 million in cuts of state funding to higher education that could lead to further tuition hikes at public colleges and universities. County commissioners will determine if services should be reduced or taxes raised in response to the available funds during future public hearings. (Elizabeth Wright) Knox County auditor Richard Walls released the final audit of county purchasing card transactions May 12. The audit states questions still exist regarding findings of policy violation and lack of documentation to justify purchases, despite Ragsdale’s responses included in the document. Walls is still lacking receipts from the county mayor’s office for some personal purchases charged to P-cards by Ragsdale, Margie Loyd, Mike Arms, Dwight Van de Vate and Cynthia Finch, although written explanations have been submitted. Documentation remains absent for 16 percent of the purchases, according to the audit. Walls continues to recommend the use of purchase orders in approval of P-card transactions, despite Ragsdale’s statement that it would increase expenses and would be “counterproductive.” The audit also notes the Knox County policies and procedures manual states “any personal charges on the card will be considered misappropriation of county funds…” although the audit revealed four instances of employees reimbursing the county for personal purchases on the cards. The management’s response claims these were “inadvertent or accidental” and that a “Three Strike Policy” has been implemented to address violations. The audit also recommends a formal revision of county travel policies to reflect county management claims that various policies informally adopted allowed P-card use for travel-related charges. (E.W.) Knox County Commissioner R. Larry Smith has proposed legislation that would allow outside incorporated areas of Knox County to sell liquor by the drink. The commission will consider the referendum at the May 27 meeting. At the same meeting, commissioners will discuss the audit of county purchasing 6 Knoxville Voice

cards and auto allowances along with the FY 2008-2009 Knox County budget, including the school board budget request of a $33 million increase to last fiscal year’s funding. Power issues between Knox County school board and commission surfaced at the April meeting with commissioners requesting more control over the county school board’s allotment of funds and questioning current expenses, particularly newly hired-superintendent James McIntyre’s $222,800 salary. The school board’s ability to select its own legal counsel for conflicts between commission and the school board will also likely be discussed during May’s commission meeting. (Lisa Slade) Knox Charter Petition will kick off its petition drive June 23 and is currently identifying convenient public locations where citizens can sign the petitions. The petition drive was necessitated by county commission votes that neglected to place eight of nine county charter amendments proposed by the group on the August ballot. Each proposed amendment requires at least 40,000 signatures before it can be placed on the November ballot, at a cost of $1 per signature. The Charter Petition group is beginning its major fundraising drive now and requests volunteers. “We need to get the amendments on the ballot so people can vote,” says Knox Charter Petition member and former school board member Jim McClain. “Even if they choose to vote against them.” (L.S.) City employees, represented by Anita Cash at the May 6 City Council meeting, say they are pleased with Mayor Bill Haslam’s three-year plan to boost their salaries with a competitive pay scale to other peer cities. A study committee found Knoxville employees are paid 8 percent lower than average market rates but 5 percent higher in benefits packages. The FY 2008-2009 budget will incorporate a compensation plan to disband the anniversary pay raise for employees who have reached “status” after one year of work with the city, instate a “step” system pay structure for police and fire employees and launch a 14 pay-grade system for general government positions. According to Haslam’s projected plans, next fiscal year’s total operating budget is set at $168,494,780 — an increase of approximately 3.3 percent from last year. A major chunk of the general fund will go toward downtown, including $7.6 million in addition to the amount already allocated for the Downtown Transit Center project. The city will also foot $5 million in addition to the $10.2 million already spent on the South Knox Waterfront master plan to cover new debt incurred from the tax-increment financing inducement package.

In the mayor’s budget remarks, which he delivered at SYSCO of Knoxville May 1, Haslam stated the next year’s budget would not require a tax increase. (Elisha Sauers) The City Council debate on digital billboards resulted in limbo May 8 when the issue failed due to the lack of any motion on the floor. The decision would render digital billboards with electronic moving images and bright incandescent lights either legal or illegal in Knoxville. Lamar Advertising Company attorney Gregory P. Isaacs spoke at the meeting, urging council members to grant a 30-day postponement while Dwayne Greeve, representing citizen opposition group Scenic Knoxville, said he didn’t believe 30 days was adequate for a sufficient study group. The 5-4 vote for postponement failed. City law director Debbie Poplin told meeting attendees digital billboards will remain illegal until the council conducts further action. (E.S.)

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The federal Office of the Inspector General began an investigation May 7 of county Mayor Mike Ragsdale’s 2004 purchase of stock in IdleAire during the same month he approved a contract providing $1 million in federal funds to the company. The same day, the Tennessee Registry Election Finance office received a citizen complaint alleging Ragsdale campaign funds were illegally used to reimburse Knox County for personal travel expenses that covered the mayor’s wife’s airline ticket and were charged to his purchasing card. A letter from Ragsdale’s campaign treasurer to TREF claims “the expenses were incurred as a direct result of the Mayor’s performance of his official duties.” Former Knox County community services director Cynthia Finch also responded May 5 to a county-filed Chancery Court complaint against her, claiming the county violated state law and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution by reserving more than $14,000 of vacation pay to cover expenses charged to her P-card that lacked documentation. (E.W.) A recent audit of the Halls Convenience Center garbage compactor found 43.4 percent of waste dumped in county landfills could be recycled, says Tom Salter of the Knox County Solid Waste Department. Doing so would require 1,500 less landfill trips per year, saving Knox County $800,000 per year in hauling costs and landfill tip fees. The additional recycling would also triple the amount of money Knox County makes selling recyclable commodities. Last year, the county sold $400,000. Knox County is seeking a new recycling director, who, upon hiring, will then conduct another waste audit in a different location. (L.S.)

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PHOTOG

By Elizabeth Wright

Knoxville Voice 7


NEWS

OVERDRAWN AT THE FOOD BANK

Local service providers, recipients feel the pinch as need rises, donations drop By Elizabeth Wright wright@knoxvoice.com

Eighty-year-old twins Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner greet me wearing matching aprons as they exit the Love Kitchen where they’re preparing to make cornbread for the next day’s free lunch. As I extend my hand to introduce myself, they open their arms wide to give a hug instead, then take me by the hand to a seat, but not before Ellen has made certain I’ve had plenty to eat today. “Have you had any breakfast? Would you like any food or anything to drink?” she asks. Helen and Ellen have been feeding the hungry and giving hugs to the needy since 1986 at the Love Kitchen, 2418 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. They provide more than 2,000 meals per week serving free breakfast Wednesdays and lunch Thursdays, dispensing emergency food bags and delivering meals to the homebound. Local charities like the Love Kitchen that provide free food for people and families with low incomes are now seeing a drastic increase in those seeking their services at a time when their food supplies are becoming scarce. Although these agencies are currently able to meet demand and feed the hungry, many say they’re concerned about the future, with rising gas and food costs hurting the pocketbooks of their recipients as well as those who typically stock pantries with donations. “It’s getting hard out there,” says Helen. “We’re worried because we’re seeing a decrease — we used to have bread and cakes piled up back there, and today, we’re making cornbread from scratch.” On a recent Wednesday, dozens of people mingled with the Love Kitchen volunteers over a breakfast of sausage and eggs, grits and biscuits with gravy. The Kitchen has grown from its early days serving 22 meals from a church basement into a thriving center that not only provides meals, but free clothing, a library, computer, tax assistance, early voting accommodations and a meeting space for community members. “We couldn’t make it without the donors and volunteers,” Helen says. The sisters describe all the volunteers, a host of individuals including Phi Gamma Delta sorority members from the University of Tennessee and Mayor Bill Haslam and his wife Crissy, as their adoptive grandchildren. The food they prepare and deliver, however, is donated by the community and Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, along with three area grocery stores: one Kroger and the Food City stores of Asheville Highway and Knoxville Center Mall. 8 Knoxville Voice

continue some vital programs that feed the one in seven East Tennesseans experiencing hunger. Still, the National Association of Letter Carrier’s held a food drive May 10 to benefit Second Harvest, and Machiela says she is pleased with the more than 100,000 pounds of food donated. “We are still in the black, only because of the community and their support, but as we look at next year’s budget, we wonder how we’re going to do it,” she says. “We’re being aggressive in our fundraising, and we don’t want to wear people out, but the positive side of this community is that it breaks people’s hearts to think there might be a child going home for a weekend with no food. So this community has always risen to this need when it’s put out there.” IN KNOX COUNTY… • 73,085 people are at risk of hunger. • 21 percent of those at risk are children. • Almost 14 percent of the population lives in poverty. • Tennessee has the third highest average food tax in the United States

Helen Ashe, left, and Ellen Turner, right, of the Love Kitchen. Photo by Elizabeth Wright

Love Kitchen treasurer Patrick Riggins says the agency is experiencing an increase in requests for food with a subsequent decline in donations from the stores. “[The stores] go out of their way to help us, but with less people spending less money on food, the stores order less and have less overage to donate to us,” he says. Donor Second Harvest is also suffering the difficulties of inflated food prices and decreased donations. Along with distributing food to the Love Kitchen, Second Harvest services thousands of agencies and schools in 18 East Tennessee counties, with a pantry that’s open to any non-profit group feeding the hungry. Along with responding to individual requests, Second Harvest also offers a Food for Kids program, giving backpacks filled with food on Friday afternoons to schoolchildren who might not otherwise be able to have a substantial meal during the weekend. “We have been dramatically affected by the national food donation shortage we’ve been experiencing,” says executive director Elaine

Machiela. “National food donations have dropped 30 percent, and our network of 200 across the country has been warning us about this for awhile, but it was a sudden dramatic drop — it wasn’t gradual.” Machiela attributes the plummet to the impact of recent gas and food spikes on the working poor. She says many who live near the poverty line budget for a certain amount of those expenses and are unable to catch up when their estimates prove too low. “If the economy continues to this level, how many people won’t be able to write us a $25 check for that support, how many people will need that to feed their family?” she asks. The budget for Second Harvest’s current fiscal year, which ends June 30, allotted $40,000 per month for food donations, and Machiela says the agency has recently been spending $100,000 per month to meet the increased need. She describes the situation as “scary” and “frightening” and says many rural agencies depend heavily on Second Harvest’s food pantry. She worries they may not be able to

• A family earning $15,000 a year spends more than 20 percent of its income on groceries, while groceries for a family earning $100,000 represent only 4 percent of total income. • Second Harvest distributed 7 million meals with 10 million pounds of food in 2006. • 110 partner agencies distribute food in the county, with nine Mobile Pantry sites. • Second Harvest spends 95 percent of its budget putting food on a hungry person’s plate. Information provided by Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee and Tennesseans for Fair Taxation. To donate to Second Harvest, make checks out to Second Harvest. You may mail cash, check or credit card donations to: Second Harvest Food Bank, 922 Delaware Ave., Knoxville, Tenn. 37921, or donate online at https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/SecondHarvestofEasternTenn/OnlineDonation.html To donate to the Love Kitchen, visit Thelovekitchen.org or bring your donation to the Kitchen, 2418 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please call 546-3248 to notify what you will bring. Donations can also be mailed to The Love Kitchen, Inc., P.O. Box 6839, Knoxville, TN. 37914.


NEWS

KNOX CO. DEMS TO SIGN LEASE FOR A HEADQUARTERS Ftn. City office locations selected to turn county commission’s 7th into ‘battleground district’ by 2010 By Elisha Sauers sauers@knoxvoice.com Sometime this month, the Knox County Democratic Party will finalize a leasing agreement in Fountain City to establish an office space for local candidates and election campaigning through November, but Democratic Party Chairman Don Daugherty says the party will consider extending the Rennoc Drive lease to secure it as a permanent party headquarters, making it the first ever yearround Democratic base to this area. The Party has strategically chosen the North Knoxville location, which lies directly off Broadway, says Daugherty, to wage war in the seventh county commission district — a historically Republican territory — by the 2010 election. “Fountain City is in both the second and seventh county commission districts, depending on where you are,” says Daugherty, “and while the second is historically Democratic, the seventh is traditionally Republican. But our numbers tell us, with the new voters moving into North Knox, we can gain some ground.” In the past, the Democratic Party has only used temporary offices when elections cropped up, many of them situated in a West Knoxville locale; they would then close shop once the campaign season wrapped. The local Democrats have always had a nomadic existence — a contrast from the local Republicans who have had a perennial home and staff for nearly four years. Cost is a concern, and one of the added benefits of North Knoxville is its lower rent rates. Daugherty says spaces the Party considered in the westerly area of the county were more than $15 per square-foot. In the short term, the Rennoc Drive office will house the bustling business of volunteers, who will clock in hours of phone campaign soliciting, from 8 a.m until 8 p.m., every day except Sunday. It will be a full-time task, says Daugherty, with most of the Party’s efforts honing in on the Knox County general election Aug. 7. “We’ll focus almost entirely on county elections. That doesn’t mean that presidential campaigns won’t be welcome to use our space,” says Daugherty. “We’re going to focus on August. I would anticipate once Sen. [Barack] Obama or Sen. [Hillary] Clinton gets the nomination, their people will come in and open their own headquarters here.” Knox County Commissioner Samuel McKenzie, Amy Broyles, Finbarr Saunders,

Steve Drevik, Kathy Bryant and recently nominated Chuck Ward are all Democrats competing for county commission seats in the August election, with fellow Party members Andrew Graybeal, Robert Bratton and former-Mayor Randy Tyree running for property assessor, trustee and sheriff, respectively. Daugherty says these candidates’ campaigns will take precedence from now until August, with August to November targeting the state and federal general election Nov. 4. The Knox County Republican Party has had a permanent headquarters in Knoxville since 2004. Two volunteers, who each devote 30 hours per week to the Party, maintain the office, located at 2606 Greenway Drive one mile south of the proposed DNP base. Jo Catlett is one of those workers and has been volunteering with the local Republican Party since the 2000 presidential election campaigning began. She was active with the local George W. Bush presidential campaign when Republicans were working out of a temporary office in Concord and was present for the move to North Knoxville. “It’s an ongoing thing and day-by-day, what we do,” says Catlett. “We have a list of people who we can call. Things will, of course, start to get really hectic in a few weeks. As we get closer to the election, a lot more people will be around, and we’ll do more of campaigning.” Catlett says crunch times before elections usually draw six or eight extra full-time volunteers into the office to meet the demands of phone and e-mail solicitation. “Things seem to be working the way we’ve been doing it,” she says. Daugherty estimates the Rennoc Drive location will accommodate workstations for 12 to 15 people in the large room, which he affectionately refers to as the “war room,” with additional space in a smaller enclosed room for two or three more volunteers. Though Democrats haven’t yet officially determined whether the Fountain City office will become the permanent hub for their Party, Daugherty says there’s no question about the decision to create a year-round space. “A lot of people have just been craving a place to call headquarters,” he says. “In the past, as soon as an election is over, we’ve closed whatever temporary office down. But I think we’re now in a position to get this done.”

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Knoxville Voice 9


NEWS

‘BOOMSDAY’ IS EVERY DAY FOR SOME KNOXVILLIANS Locally based Munitions Management Group workers risk their lives daily detonating ordnances from former bomb-testing sites across the U.S. By Elisha Sauers sauers@knoxvoice.com For years, unbeknownst to thousands of moviegoers, “Thriller Night” at the old drivein movie theater in Palmyra, N.J., was just a tire-tread away from a catastrophe more horrifying than anything ever projected on the big screen. Just below the former drive-in’s surface are highly explosive projectiles — some even splintering out of the ground — that could knock out an entire city block if accidentally triggered. They’re leftover relics from a World War II-era bomb-testing site, and with the aid and expertise of the Munitions Management Group of Knoxville, one of only 30-some privately owned companies in the country that specializes in sweeping arsenal-contaminated properties, developers will soon be re-purposing the 185-acre “dirty site” as a new subdivision. The private demand for bomb specialists is higher than one might think. Currently, MMG crews are working in New Jersey and Florida for developers with plans for new

neighborhoods that found military ordnances buried in the land where they intended to break ground. Jim Crawford, a self-described family man who has worked with MMG for a year, is the current site manager in Palmyra. Though he spends months away from his wife and three kids, he flies back to Knoxville every chance he gets, he says. He looks forward to trips home for “R and R” from the everyday stress of his job. “The danger is always in the back of your mind, but you get over it,” says Crawford, whose crew has thus far identified and retrieved more than 200 ordnances in Palmyra since beginning their contract in January. “We have a safety officer who does site safety oversight. It’s good that he’s there because it’s like when you’re hanging up a picture: How many nails are you going to hammer into a wall before you get careless and hit your finger?” Despite the perceived danger of finding and safely disposing of munitions, Don Jen-

An MMG crew carefully identifies a 105-millimeter projectile in Palmyra, N.J. / Photo provided by Don Jenkins

10 Knoxville Voice

MMG workers destroyed this 75-millimeter projectile that was partially exposed in the ground . Photo provided by Don Jenkins

kins, MMG co-owner, says the number of casualties in the industry is low. In the private sector, Jenkins recalls only two on-the-job fatalities in the past century. When Crawford and his crew of 20 men and women head to work for the day, they’re dressed in T-shirts, blue jeans, steel-toed boots, cowboy hats and University of Tennessee ball caps. “No amount of protective gear will do us any good,” says Crawford. “One wrong move and you turn into a pink vapor.” Jenkins readily acknowledges his being an adrenaline junkie played a major role in the founding of the company. While serving in infantry during Desert Storm, Jenkins learned the skills for handling and detonating munitions. When he returned home from the operation, he applied his training to another private munitions management company based in Texas before finally deciding to start his own. His business is thriving solely on wordof-mouth. According to 411 operators, the World Wide Web and the Yellow Pages, no such company exists. Most of Jenkins’ clients learn about him through the company’s networking with hordes of environmental attorneys. Having grown up in East Tennessee, he and his wife moved back to Knoxville where he now oversees MMG. Most of the company’s employees have military backgrounds like himself. “I wanted to do something that would kind of keep me excited all the time,” says Jenkins. “Just seeing the bombs go off and feeling the boom — it’s invigorating.”

In Palmyra, the “booms” are going off once every week. As Crawford’s team accumulates ordnances, the crew buries the found objects in a hole two- or three-feet deep, piles more than a ton of sandbags atop the cache and routinely detonates an explosion between 2:30 and 3 p.m. to demolish the projectiles. It’s something the not-too-distant residents are getting accustomed to hearing on a weekday afternoon. “You hear some bang. It’s pretty loud,” says Crawford. “You can feel it on the ground sometimes. And those sandbags can be tossed some-30 or 40 feet up into the air.” These particular ordnances are remnants of tests Frankfort Arsenal conducted in the early 20th century — some involving mustard gas — but occasionally, Crawford has come across even older antiquities. Earlier this month, MMG workers found a Civil War-era ordnance left from Frankfort Arsenal Union artillery. It was a three-pound, torpedo-shaped hunk of lead. Many of the site workers are drawn to the job with a romanticized sense of adventure, Crawford says. Though blowing up live munitions may be something to brag about at the local watering hole, the work can be repetitive, cumbersome and tedious. Each man or woman on the site can be seen ambling the property for hours on end, with a metal detector in one hand and a shovel in the other. Crawford, whose experience lies in construction management, says there are possibly enough sites like these to keep MMG in business for a long time. “My grandkids could be doing this stuff,” he says.


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Q&A

DAVID HARRINGTON AND EDDIE CATE, ASSISTANT CHIEFS OF KNOXVILLE VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY RESCUE SQUAD By Elisha Sauers sauers@knoxvoice.com

Fifty years have lapsed since the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad began safeguarding these streets. The organization has evolved from a grassroots brigade to a United Way-sponsored, highly specialized group of first responders, who answer to the beckoning call of state and federal emergency managing officials as well as local dispatches. The rescue squad provides daily and specialty operations forces, with members adept with the “jaws-of-life” equipment to assist with the abundant need for vehicle extrication, prying shattered windshields and mangled twists of metal off car accident victims. KVERS also has six specialty operations teams: cave/vertical, heavy/technical, search/rescue, support, disaster/medical and water. When law enforcement officers need a diving crew to search for a drowning victim or body, KVERS’ water specialty team scours the murky brown lakes of the region and the Tennessee River with precision. Just before the rescue squad met at Chilhowee Park May 10 to celebrate its golden anniversary, Eddie Cate, assistant chief of specialty operations, and David Harrington, assistant chief of daily operations, reminisced with Knoxville Voice about the organization’s growth in its half-century of life and where it’s headed in the future. How has the rescue squad changed in 50 years? Harrington: It’s changed quite a bit. They’ve gone from sort of like a mom-andpop operation. They primarily did a lot of the work themselves to keep the trucks on the road and things like that in the early days, and so it was a lot of begging and borrowing to get things done because the money just wasn’t readily available. And over the years, things changed primarily due to being recognized by the community as providing services to this area, and the money comes in a little better than it once did. Things have changed because the liability on what we do has made it more necessary for us to train differently. The equipment is 12 Knoxville Voice

backed up by the liability of the manufacturers and things like that. And it’s not shootingfrom-the-hip training. It’s second to none, probably since Day One. The golden standard, I guess, is that we’re an organization that trains people from all over the United States, and we have an ability to write the books, so to speak. And we’ve always been blessed with talent and innovation from our people down here and the best from this industry. So I think that puts us above the standard. A big thing in this business we have tried to steer away from is this kind of stovepiping, and that’s one thing that used to be rampant in this industry. None of the agencies really communicated with each other because of territorial issues. And one of the changes that

Left to right: Assistant chief David Harrington, board chairwoman Jolene Owen and assistant chief Eddie Cate celebrate the rescue squad’s 50 years of community service. / Photo provided by Leigh Ann Cate

has come about over the years is we all work together a lot better as opposed to isolating or working against each other. That really means that if we have a major incident inside the City of Knoxville, they have the resources — they can do rescues as well — but if there is a certain component that they don’t possess, they can call us in or vice versa. That’s one of the things that we’ve benefited from is that, one, a lot of our members work for some of these other agencies like Knoxville Fire Department, local EMS. And that tears down some of those walls of limitations in communication, and it makes us talk to each other, and so when we do have something in other areas, we don’t have hesitation in calling each other. We’ve seen that change probably in the last 10 years. Cate: We’ve gone from buying trucks and buying a fuse chest and a utility box to making our own rescue trucks putting on our own lights and sirens and stuff like that on it

to where we order custom-made rescue trucks now that are hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the product liability. We went to custom-made trucks in 1983. [Squad members] used to have to stand on street corners three or four times a year with a bucket or a boot and beg for money. They’d get a little bit of money from the city and county — not much. Back then, we didn’t have the United Way, so we didn’t get any money from them. So I think about in ’74 or ’76, the United Way said, ‘If yall’ll quit doing that, we’ll fund you.’ Before, our squad came from just the men in the area working to do the rescues, and until 1980 or ’81, women were not allowed to pull a nightshift. The first women who came on the squad was in 1979 or ’80. And until about ’83 was when the first female was allowed to spend the night. So that’s a change. That’s a big change. And we’ve also added four stations.


Grand Opening Cherry Blossom Boutique What kind of people get involved with the organization? Harrington: That’s a good question, and one of the first questions we ask them is ‘Why do you want in this?’ And the answer we almost always get is ‘We want to help other people.’ The thing about here that’s a little bit different is, one, I think the publicity we get from a lot of specialty causes really draw attention to us. They hear about what we do on the news, or they see us do something and think that’s really cool, or they have a family member who’s been touched by this organization or a family friend, and in some cases, it may be someone who wants to get into it for the excitement or adrenaline. Or it’s something they’re interested in as far as a related career. And all those things are wonderful avenues to us. And as a family, we want to help them excel in their careers. And if this experience is helpful for them, then we’re all for it. But, like anything else, we also have people who join for some idiopathic reason — I think maybe they don’t really know why they want to join or maybe don’t have anyone else in their life, and they gain a family here that’s just as important as the family that you would have at home. And in some cases for some people, an even closer family. And occasionally, we’ll have people join who may just not be the best fit. They see it, and at first, it may look really glamorous, and then they find out it’s not really their thing, but nonetheless, our retention is very high. You know, it takes all types to make this kind of organization work. Cate: We have Red Cross, First Aidtrained people to EMTs, paramedics, nurses, doctors — we have five doctors. We have a couple of people who have a doctorate degree. We have engineers. We have structural engineers, mechanical engineers. We’ve got all kinds. How did you guys first get involved with KVERS? Harrington: I started as an explorer. An “explorer” is an under-aged juvenile delinquent (laughs) — nah, I wasn’t a delinquent. It’s kind of like the Boy Scouts of America. And that’s an important thing. Because it’s our way of keeping our eyes on the next generation. You know, a lot of us, that’s how we got our start. We were given the ability to go

out on calls and things with our regular membership. So later on, you start transitioning into that new generation.

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Cate: In 1972 to 1983, I think, I was with the Knoxville Fire Department explorer program. That’s how I found the rescue squad. I kind of got involved with that after I got back from military duty. You’ve said you provide TEMA and FEMA support. Can you talk a little more about that? Harrington: We’ve gone on several training missions with people from other teams like in Memphis, and we’ve come away with high marks, which goes far beyond what a lot of other agencies can brag about. We’re sort of even going past the local eyes and being recognized by federal eyes as well as the state people of being a unique entity. They’ll call us, and we’re subject to go anywhere. Whoever calls us, if there’s a need, we’ll go to where it’s at. Cate: If anything happens in the state of Tennessee, like the tornadoes they had last month in West Tennessee… I got a call up 11 o’clock on a Sunday night from FEMA saying ‘Hey, can you get a disaster team down here ’cause they’re getting clobbered by tornadoes. I had 46 [Urban Search and Rescue] team members ready to go. To put together a crew like that to go to Memphis, it was phenomenal. Everything is developing and regionalized with TEMA and FEMA. So they’re saying, ‘If something happens, this is your chunk of territory, and you’re gonna have it for three to five days ’cause we may not be able to get to you in that amount of time. That’s all part of the whole system. Harrington: And we do things that most other paid operations cannot touch with the abilities we carry in-house. We’re just really proud we have an organization that has that charisma to get talented people in here, but what we make of it is just phenomenal. There is nothing in this business that we can’t do. Cate: So to say that our rescue squad has come a long way in 50 years? Yeah. I’m just looking forward to the next 50 years.

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Knoxville Voice 13


D.I.Y.

Open an Underground Restaurant

By Brooke Everett

I would love to open my own restaurant/ listening room/coffee shop/gallery one day. If you have ever thought that, you can join a huge club of people like yourself who think but don’t act… or you could just do it. Exorbitant startup costs for things like leases, permits and advertising shouldn’t stop DIYers. Much like Prohibition-era speakeasies, a trend has materialized on the West Coast and in New York City of people holding underground restaurant nights in their homes, either legally or illegally. Once renegade and avant garde, the movement has grown to spawn various monikers (including Ghetto Gourmet) and various Web sites, including the ubiquitous Wikipedia entry. In a DIY restaurant, a patron might sit with strangers on the floor around coffee tables and be served a multiple course meal with drinks while a musician performs. In some ways, it’s just charging people for a well-done dinner party. In others, it’s about experiencing a unique evening while quietly rebelling against something bureaucratic and mass-produced, albeit with a capitalist bent for the more entrepreneurial risk-taker.

14 Knoxville Voice

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LOOKING FOR LOOPHOLES

6. Make a night of it.

Consider having a loc al musician perform exhibit some work . or letting a budding This will broaden yo artist ur audience, add en and may even help tertainment keep thing s leg al (se e sidebar).

7. Iron it out.

Decide whether yo u ca clear whether the din n accommodate vegetarians/veg ans, an d make it ne payment methods are r is smoking or non. Also note beforeh and what accepted (You prob on site, but PayPal accounts work well) ably cannot accept credit cards .

8. Keep it clean.

Whether you will ha ve your hands are clean a health inspection, make sure your ha ir , food is kept at the rig ht temperature an is back, workspace is sanitize d your d. Your only adverti sement is word-of-m you cannot risk ma king anyone sick. outh, so

9. Know when to fold ’

em.

After the last dessert spoons are licked, su gg est everyone head the neighborhood bar for a drink with over to the chef/host. This from lingering with keeps guests out ending the good time. And it gives yo tion to get back to the dishes after a be u the op er break.

10. Get the word out.

There is an undergr ound dining culture buzz alternative foodie rad ar. The folks at Killt ing online. Get on the herestaurant.com dis review speakeasies. creetly

11. Pay someone else to

do it.

There are a few troup es of traveling unde rground restaurateu to various towns, fi nd their kitchen for rs. the night, shop, cook They go one-night dinner pa an rty. Check out the Ghetto Gourmet (Th d host a eg het.com).

12. Start small.

This venture could lead you into some thing big ger or show opening your own you that restaurant isn’t what you want to do after all.

The legal business of underground dining can get gray when you start looking at where a meal falls on the scale from a dinner party among friends to an illegal restaurant serving endangered species. One thing is for sure, though: People open up unlicensed eateries in Knoxville. Scott Brian, environmental program manager of the food division at the Knox County Health Department, says they find at least one a month. “We aren’t going out to bust people,” says Brian. “Our first order of action is to get them a permit and getting them into running a legal establishment.” There are also fines. Brian says the rules and regulations for food service establishments are available from the Tennessee Department of Health (http:// health.state.tn.us/geh/food_service.htm), and there are a lot. They include things like having a three-compartment sink, exterior doors that are self-closing and a lot of plumbing specifications. They also require all food service operations to be completely separated from living areas by solid, self-closing doors. “It is kind of a lot of work,” Brian admits. “A normal residential kitchen does not meet our guidelines.” Those guidelines are for a food service establishment, which, according to the definitions section of the rules and regulations, does not include a catering business with no fulltime employees, where the owner makes the food at home, and the business “makes only occasional sales during any 30-day period.” In any case, if you are selling food without a license, keep your business a secret. It’ll be tough, though. There are 10 inspectors, each one responsible for a portion of Knox County. They work mainly in commercial areas but get information from other county operations, such as the sheriff ’s department, who spend more time in residential areas. Brian says his department investigates any advertisements they see, but do not look online. He also says they get nuisance complaints, so if you are doing anything illegal, do not piss off your neighbors. Things you can do to protect yourself: Bill dinners as art shows or concerts with free food, get a business license, increase your insurance, look into special event beer permits. You can even take a safety and sanitation certification class through the national restaurant association (Restaurant.org). Even after all these measures, running an underground business is still risky. But that’s probably a lot of what makes it appealing.

Knoxville Voice 15


COMMENTARY

TRUTH TO POWER

By Don Williams

CLINTON’S THREATS AGAINST IRAN PROVIDE COVER FOR DUBYA’S WAR CRIMES

Newsweek recently charged that Dubya is “phoning it in” when it comes to issues facing the twilight months of his bleak swagger through American history. Damn, I sure hope so. From my lofty perch in East Tennessee, it appears the body count rises when he’s working from an actual plan from, say, the Iraq Study Group. Still, should President George W. Bush’s late-term bumbling result in missiles screaming across ancient Persian skies while dropping serial bombs, he could do worse than cite remarks by Sen. Hillary Clinton to justify such war crimes. As I wrote in a recent blog post, Bush might say something like this the day after: “Even my severest critics have suggested we should totally obliterate Iran with massive retaliation if that country attacks Israel. Thanks to brave American pilots and sailors who conducted last night’s pre-emptive strike that won’t be necessary.” Had Clinton set out to turn the Middle East to ash, she could hardly do better than to speak glibly of totally obliterating Iran — a country that aided our war on Afghanistan, that’s made overture after overture for better relations, despite our constant meddling in its affairs in the past century. Why would Clinton suggest “we would be able to totally obliterate” 71 million people who have little or no control over the theocracy running their country? Can she countenance the murder of 20 million innocent children? Has she the capacity to imagine their big eyes and beating hearts? Their feet and hands and wondering minds? Their tiny shoes? Would she send radiation burning through the hearts and bones of their beloved mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters? Is she indeed capable of sacrificing them on the altar of personal ambition? I’d like to think she exaggerated in the heat of political debate two weeks ago when she told ABC’s Good Morning America “we would be able to totally obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel. Unfortunately, she reiter-

16 Knoxville Voice

ated the threats just before the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, telling reporters “massive retaliation” would be the price Iran would pay for attacking our ally. President Theodore Roosevelt suggested one should speak softly and carry a big stick. I’d recommend a medium stick. As Mark Twain said: “To a man with a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.” As Jackson Browne sings: “The hammer shapes the hand,” but I digress. The problem with speaking loudly is that it inflames animal passions and exaggerates danger, providing cover for war-mongers on all sides and seldom has this country been manipulated by a more brutish merchant of war than Bush. Is Clinton so clueless about his psychology and history that she’d grant him cover to bomb Iran? Bush’s presidency could be summed up in a phrase: “My finger in your eye.” So often the only motivation for Bush’s perverse actions is a cruel and ignorant arrogance, though Oedipal issues surely pertain. I’ve chronicled Dubya’s systematic and pathological cruelty, starting as a boy who enjoyed stuffing firecrackers in frogs’ mouths and setting them off. Then there’s his record-setting performance as executionerin-chief while governor of Texas, attempts to grant waivers to allow the Navy to blast sonar that kills and disorients migratory whales and so on. Even after it became clear Iraq was a horrible mistake, costing at least 1,000 percent more in blood, treasure and time than Bush experts predicted, he continued his deathdealing ways. Even as a lame duck “phoning it in,” the temptation to strike Iran is no doubt hard for him to resist. Recently, Bush moved a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. Between the two, they contain unimaginable firepower. There they sit vibrating with hair-trigger tension in the world’s most explosive powder keg. Contingency plans for bombing Iran have long since been drawn up. Bush long since fired CENTCOM commander, Adm. William Fallon, who publicly opposed bombing Iran. Should Bush say ‘go,’ large portions of that country could be “totally obliterated” within hours or minutes. If that happens, Clinton will bear some responsibility. Instead of helping Sen. Barack Obama and Fallon and others create a zeitgeist in which such a move would be unthinkable, Clinton is providing cover. This is

not news. She long ago voted to give Bush unlimited powers to make war on Iraq and in 2007 she voted for an amendment naming Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ which implicitly grants Bush such powers regarding Iran. It’s sobering to recall she did so back when she seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. She’s yet to apologize for those votes. To be fair, Obama’s statements on Iran have been mixed. He suggested in their last debate that he’d leave all options on the table, code for bombing Iran. Clinton and Obama might’ve lifted the tone of that debate by undermining the basis for the question in pointing out that our National Intelligence Estimate — the combined insight of 16 U.S. spy agencies — concluded months ago Iran’s nuclear weapons program had been put in mothballs in 2003.

Still, Obama’s longstanding opposition to war and his history of supporting sane steps toward nuclear disarmament speak well for him. Clinton, on the other hand, has put millions of lives at risk by making whatever horrors Bush decides to unleash seem reasonable in comparison to her own threats. Why would she provide Bush such cover? Has she forgotten how he and others lied us into a war in Iraq that’s resulted in graft, torture, kidnapping, kangaroo courts, domestic spying, Orwellian disinformation, millions of refugees, millions of casualties, suicides and the prospect of miseries without end? The answer appears to be yes. Given Sen. John McCain’s “bomb-bomb Iran” refrain, that leaves Obama as the only voice approaching sanity in the ongoing struggle for the hearts and minds of our world.


COMMENTARY

GUEST COMMENTARY By Ralph Hutchinson

RELIGION HAS NO PLACE IN SCHOOL PROGRAMS The recent report was brief, then disappeared. Representatives of the Franklin Graham Crusade, it said, had visited some local elementary schools the day before the Crusade opened. School administrators said the visits were not religious in nature — they were “character building.” It turns out that one of the groups on the entertainment bill for the Graham Crusade made the rounds of at least three local schools in April in the run-up to the crusade. According to the Supreme Court, even the current conservative one, for the children in a community to be rounded up by the government (education is compulsory, after all) and indoctrinated into any set of religious beliefs — Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish — violates freedom of religion. The Supreme Court also recognizes in a land that protects everyone’s freedom, if you give the kids’ minds to one group, you have to give them to EVERY group, from the Weather Underground to the Ku Klux Klan. The Supreme Court also recognizes that children are not adults and deserve special protections. The word they use is “inculcate,” a word I don’t use every day but a good word. It means that kids soak up knowledge of all kinds and lack filters to sort out the sensible from the nonsense, the true from the false. They receive what the teacher (or any authority figure in the front of the room) says as “true knowledge.” That’s why the teacher, an employee of the state, is not allowed to lead them in a prayer, or teach religious instruction. A lot of things are inculcated into our children in schools besides book-learning. Social expectations like manners: “Clean up after yourself,” for instance. Civic responsibility, too — when kids say the pledge of allegiance every morning, even for those who are too young to have any idea what “indivisible” means or why they are saying it, civic responsibility is inculcated into them. What is too controversial to be “inculcated” into our children in schools? Partisan politics is a no-no, and it may be helpful to use it to think about religion and the Graham visit. You are [choose one] a) Democrat; b) Republican; c) Libertarian; d) Green; e) Independent; f ) Something Else. First grade, your child has a teacher who is active in [Your Party Here], and has a “Vote For [Your Fave Here]” sign on the front of the desk and generally espouses the principles of [Your Party] to your child. Your child comes home talking just like you want. Great!

What are the chances that every teacher your child has in grades one through six is a member of Your Party? Uh-oh. We don’t read about schools getting sued for political instruction because it is so obviously bad that no one does it. But some teachers/administrators think religion is so very, very important (saving people from the eternal fires of hell), they are tempted to cross the line. In the case of the Graham Crusade — what an opportunity! A youth-oriented group to talk to a captive audience. Call it “character building” — who can be against character building? But in court cases, judges often apply this test: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. My guess is whatever was fed to the children at Carter and Rocky Hill schools as “character building” would have a tricky time passing the duck test. It probably quacked a little bit religiously. But, here’s the other thing — Franklin Graham on Islam: “It’s the teaching of Islam that is not tolerant of any other faith. It’s world domination. When they dominate an area, they’ll let other belief systems exist, but they’ll persecute them so that (people) convert to Islam, and there’s total domination. Once you’re in Islam you can’t get out of it. If you leave Islam you have to be killed.” Seeing as though this is not true of mainstream Islam, Graham is either ignorant or he is twisting the truth — not great credentials for teaching “character building.” But Franklin does know intolerance: His brand of Christianity takes as its cornerstone this teaching of Jesus: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” Believe it, or burn in hell for eternity. On NBC Nightly News in November 2001, Franklin Graham said: “The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the Son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.” In the climate of November 2001, that was pretty close to hate speech — many people felt it crossed the line. It also lacks the virtue of veracity — the God of Islam is the God that Jews and Christians worship; the Christian Bible is considered sacred. In 2006, on ABC’s Nightline, Graham said: “If people think Islam is such a wonderful religion, then go to Saudi Arabia and make it your home.” This kind of talk does not reflect tolerance — which many parents would like to see as part of the character with which their children are endowed.

Me? I grew up in a Pentecostal Holiness religious tradition and lived in it fully, went on to become a Presbyterian minister and still am. My kids were baptized into the Christian faith and go to a Christian church. When my daughter Emma goes to school, I want her to learn math, spelling, social studies, geography, music, art and literature. Her teachers are wonderful, and her school is outstanding. I don’t want them to teach her their religion, even disguised as character building. In fact, I’d put Emma’s views on tolerance alongside Franklin Graham’s any day of the week, and it wouldn’t be Emma who looked like she could stand a dose of “character building.” Because I believe, and I think Emma does, too, Franklin Graham’s God is a God whose love is far more broad and powerful than Franklin dares to imagine. That’s where my daughter’s character is rooted. I’m praying for Graham.

Knoxville Voice 17


COMMENTARY

BUILDINGS AND BLOCKS

By Michael Kaplan

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD

The new urban renewal: Commercial and industrial structures replace Victorian houses on W. Scott Avenue. Photo by Michael Kaplan

A transformation is underway on Scott Avenue, at its west end. It’s the part of Scott that falls under the Downtown North/I-275 Corridor Redevelopment Plan, an urban renewal document put together by Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation and approved by county commission and City Council in 2007. I attended the public hearing on March 27 of that year and called attention to some things in the plan that seemed odd. Why, for example, does the plan include a panhandle that extends along Grand Avenue (north of the World’s Fair Site) and Interstate 40 to 17th Street, one of the main arteries of Fort Sanders? That’s a bit South of North. Why does the plan, designed to rehabilitate North Central Street, end at Woodland Avenue (the dividing line between two City Council districts) when Central continues for another mile? Why does the plan, intended to correct the derelict state of houses within its boundary, exclude the historic districts of Old North Knoxville and Fourth and Gill, each with its own share of derelict properties? (The map looks like a doughnut, with Old North being the hole.) There weren’t satisfactory answers to these questions. As a member of the Metropolitan Planning Commission said, the planners couldn’t do everything at once, and better to get started. There were other issues. The plan included some 1,300 tracts of land and 400 property owners. About half the land-use was residential, but most of those tracts fall in C-3 (general commercial) or I-2 (industrial and warehousing) zones. That could be a death

18 Knoxville Voice

sentence for hundreds of existing houses in the area. Under the legal terms of the plan, any property qualifying as ‘blighted’ could be removed for other uses that, under the 2005 Supreme Court decision in the Kelo v. City of New London case, might generate higher taxes or, in some other way, be considered “in the public good.” Even if existing houses remain, commercial or industrial zoning would make infill residential construction problematic. The net effect of a “clean up” (to use MPC’s term) west of North Central Street would be to create an island of affluence on the east side, a situation not unlike that in downtown Knoxville, where natural and artificial boundaries have limited the city center’s growth, making housing within it a scarce and valuable commodity. An early warning that something was awry was the construction two years ago of Thrasher’s Pest Control on North Central Street at East Scott Avenue. Built next to a refurbished house, the metal building conforms to C-3 zoning borrowed from the suburbs: 25-foot setbacks and off-street, asphalt-paved parking lots. Though legal, this approach disregards its neighbors and the retail/commercial rehab work further down Central where traditional buildings front on the sidewalk and pedestrian scale is respected. Similar development, at even larger scale, is occurring on West Scott. The street between Central and Branner Street has mostly been cleansed of houses, replaced with a motley assortment of metal buildings conforming to C-3 zoning but, like Thrasher’s, of an alien character. Most disturbing is that the removed housing, arguably in need of repair,

was the most affordable property in the area. This is not just the other side of Central, it’s the other side of the stated “vision,” where “hundreds of people ... live in townhouses, condominiums and apartments supporting new shops and restaurants.” The concept, favorable to someone’s bottom line, grossly ignores those already living on the west side (mostly absent at the public hearing), working people who have owned their houses for generations or rent at decent prices. It’s argued that economic development of this sort can raise property values for everyone, but who really cares when all you want is to live where you’ve lived for years? This leads to a more general question: What is a neighborhood anyway? The dictionary says it’s an area with recognizable boundaries (natural features, streets, land use) and distinguishing characteristics. These may be physical (street layout, house typology) or social (class, ethnicity). The word itself derives from “nigh,” or near. People live near one another; services and amenities are close by and accessible for walking or a short ride. A good example is my former neighborhood in New York City, Jackson Heights, one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. Demarcated by four major streets, it contained everything needed for life: schools, churches, post offices, libraries, a big city hospital, parks, playgrounds, movie theaters and shops of every sort. We got around by foot, bike and bus, but in most weather, nothing important was farther than a half-hour walk. The coherence, convenience and vitality were made possible by the density of settlement, some 31 persons per acre.

Fast forward 50 years, and I now live in North Knoxville at a density of less than four persons per acre. Close-in neighborhoods, suburbs for downtown, have become more like the sprawled suburbs of the late 20th century, where shopping usually means getting in the car and driving at least a halfmile. Though the population of the area has remained fairly stable throughout the years, Big Retail has victimized the small groceries, drug stores and eateries that once dotted the streetscape, replacing most of them with big boxes and fast-food drive-ins along the North Broadway strip. Hopefully, the process of decentralization will reverse itself, and those supporting it can be commended for their energy and investment. Through this difficult period of change, though, one should keep in mind that buildings, planning and money alone don’t create neighborhoods. It’s people and the relationships between them that make a difference. To build a Butler and Bailey (one of Knoxville’s favorite independent groceries), one needs a Mr. Bailey to stock the shelves. And to build a Pete’s Coffee Shop you need a Pete (and his family) willing to get up at four in the morning. To insure people are part of the formal process, public meetings where decisions are made need to be attended by more than architects, developers, bankers and politicians; rather, everyone who lives, works and plays within the new urban renewal should attend. ©2008 Michael Kaplan


COMMENTARY

FAMOUS PRAISE

By Ben White

THE LINK TO THE WORLD For now, I’ll call her T, and this is how I met her: My buddy Ernesto and I were both panting, our Cedar Bluff jog coming to a close, when the red sedan came to a stop beside us. “You guys live around here?” The lady had big brown hair and wide-rim glasses. “No,” I said. “Where do you live?” She spit out the question like a command. “I live in Maryville. He lives in South Knoxville.” “Are you looking for something?” Ernesto asked. “A rental house.” “Do you know the street?” “No,” she said. “It’s a rental house with 12 to 17 adults living in it.” “And you want to live in it, too?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “But it might just be the…” She raised her eyebrows and lifted a baby carrot to her mouth, crunched into it, tossed the stub end at our feet and drove away. “The what?” I asked Ernesto. He held up his palms. “It might just be the what?” I asked again, and then we saw that she was stuffing fliers into the paper boxes along the street. As she drove around the corner and out of sight, one of her fliers fell into the road. I picked it up: “$500.00 reward for verified information and the capture of a group of 12 – 17 adults living in the Cedar Bluff area in a rental property house.” The words “and the capture” had been marked out, but I could still read them underneath the black ink. There was a phone number.

“What the heck?” I said, showing Ernesto the flier. “Why did she mark out ‘and the capture’?” he wondered. As we finished our jog, we played with the scenario: Was she a bounty hunter? Was she looking for drugs? Was she, as Ernesto suggested, trying to rescue her sister from a sinister cult? I had to call her. I waited until the next day, and when she answered, I told her that I was the jogger she’d stopped the day before. I told her I was a freelance writer and that I thought her story might be interesting. “You’re damn right it is,” she responded. We agreed to meet for coffee that night, but before we got off the phone, she warned me, “Everything we say will be monitored by the FBI. They’ll be able to see us, too.” “Really?” “Really. I have what’s called The Works in my tooth. It’s a reverse GPS audio transmitter with a camera. They’ll hear everything.” “That’s cool,” I said. “I don’t have anything to hide.” I have to admit, had she told me this before we’d agreed to meet for coffee, I’m pretty sure I’d never have scheduled an interview with her. But I did meet her, and I sat on the patio of Starbucks with T for an hour while she told me about what she believes is her struggle with the FBI. It started as a joke to rattle the cage of an ex-boyfriend and his drug buddies. She was living with the guy back in '06 until she realized that he was into cocaine and crystal meth. She kicked him out and called the authorities.

And then she started to notice her phone reception going fuzzy, crackling and popping. She assumed the ex and his thugs had tapped her line, so — in order to confuse the bad guys — she began talking about international arms deals as if she were a black market trader. Sometimes, she even talked into a dead line about weapons and drop-off locations. One night at Kingston Alley restaurant, she noticed a man in a dark suit who sat in the corner shadows watching her all night. She believes the FBI heard her rambling on the phone about being an arms dealer, and she thinks they took her seriously. Around this same time, she was having some dental work done, and it was, she claims, her “West Knoxville dentist” who inserted the spy gear into her tooth. It wasn’t until she heard the transmitter feedback that she knew for sure, and it came in the form of FBI voices ringing in her head like radio signals: “That dentist about shit when he saw the badges! The Works is in that tooth, man.” T noticed that she was being followed everywhere. The voices became more prominent, too: “There she is! She went the wrong way! If she finds us, she’ll be pissed. Arrest her!” One voice coming from her tooth even apologized to her. I asked her about the 12 to 17 adults living in the rental house. She poked her jaw: “I heard it from this. That’s how many agents are working my case.” I asked her what she planned to do if she found them. “Ask them,” she replied, “why they knocked my psychic power down to 20 percent.” It’s her psychic ability — “I was the world’s

best psychic” — that now keeps the FBI on her trail. T believes that she’s fighting the War on Terror. She speaks to her tooth and has a direct line to President George W. Bush, who uses her phrases regularly during press conferences. She also says things to her tooth that then directly scroll across the Fox News Channel ticker, which she monitors nonstop. T says the tooth implant is making her sick with headaches, nausea, confusion, dizziness, heart palpitations and extreme fatigue. She hardly sleeps. She can’t work. She talks in whispers in her friend’s backyard, and she hears the FBI laugh at her in the shower. She’s been digging at “tooth No. 2 and tooth No. 3” in order to fish out the implant. She’s made a hole in each. T believes that with her psychic powers, she’s the world’s top spy. She believes she knows things vitally important to global security (like Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts). She wants to help. “Just get me to Nancy Pelosi,” she said. “I’m the link to the world.”

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Knoxville Voice 19


COMMENTARY

GUEST COMMENTARY By Steve Dupree

ELITISM BY ANY OTHER NAME... Several years ago, perhaps a year or 18 months after I got out of the United States Navy, I was hanging out in a bar just off the Cumberland Avenue strip (Hawkeyes, for those who know the area). I was a regular there, and several of the patrons knew me at least to speak to me in the bar or at such social events where we might encounter one another. During one of a million-or-so mindless bar discussions involving several of the patrons, I used a polysyllabic word. I used it correctly, and its meaning was exactly and specifically what I wished to convey. Another patron looked over and replied, “You see, Dupree, you are a perfect example of over-education in America.” I replied sarcastically, “What, high school is too much education?” But in reality, that was the toned-down version of what was in my head. Fast forward several years, and now we have a viable candidate for the Office of President of the United States who happens to be of African descent, a man whose father left early on and whose white mother (and her family) primarily raised him. Now, from what I understand, neither side

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of his ancestry was ever going to be described as wealthy, but they got by. He excelled in school and, after obtaining a law degree, excelled professionally as a community organizer in the Chicago area, specifically in the poor, predominantly black, neighborhoods. Then, as he is running for his party’s primary nomination, he gets described publicly as an “elitist.” Suddenly, I’m back in that college bar. I’m one of the few folks in the place who (at that time) has never been to college and was not in any imminent danger of enrolling. Someone tells me I’m over-educated, and someone calls Sen. Barack Obama elitist. I know what words were actually said, and I have related them here, but that isn’t what I heard. No, each time what I heard was “Boy, you need to remember your place!” I have heard Gawdonly-knows-how-many versions of that statement through the years. Most of the time, it’s folks who were too polite or too scared to say it outright so they say things like “You’re an elitist” or “I didn’t expect you to be black” or, or, or. Now, I can already hear the denials out there. I’m sure people are claiming I/she/

he/they didn’t mean any such thing. They wouldn’t even think such a thing! Oddly enough, I’m not comforted. No, I find nothing reassuring in the idea they are showing aspects of racism without conscious thought. As a matter of fact, I tend to think therein lies the problem in a nutshell: They aren’t thinking. I have made many decisions in my life without considering racial ramifications. As a result, I have frequently found myself the only minority in a variety of groups — social, educational and professional. I got over any sensitivity one might have about such a thing long ago. I am not an open wound. I have let hundreds, if not thousands of comments or statements pass without reaction, whereas if I were sensitive to such things, I would have taken the opportunity to educate those who (generally) aren’t looking to be educated. But, I’m not deaf. I’m not blind. I’m not stupid. Sen. Hillary Clinton has, by her own admission, socialized with national leaders. She, too, is a lawyer and served on the board of the world’s largest retail chain. Her husband was POTUS for eight years. Since her family left the White House, she and her

husband have earned $109 MILLION. She ran for, and won, a United States Senate seat. None of those things individually are common. Taken together, they make her part of an extremely ELITE group. Sen. John McCain is the son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals. He attended the Naval Academy and was a fighter pilot. He is a U.S. senator currently and was a Congressman prior to that. He is married to a beer heiress worth, I know not how many, millions of dollars. Again, individually, not common things. Taken together, they make him hyper-ELITE. I do not, for one second believe, either McCain or Clinton would actually say the words. Indeed, I would be somewhat surprised were I to somehow find out they had thought that specific phrase or anything close. But, that doesn’t stop me from hearing it. If I were not already an Obama supporter, hearing other people say, “Boy, you need to remember your place” would make me one. And that is exactly what I hear when they say “elite.”


Still in Motion

22 Knoxville Voice

The moonshine industry is thriving in Appalachia, if you know where to look By Lisa Slade slade@knoxvoice.com


FEATURE

No longer open: The Fort Marx Restaurant in Cosby. Photos by Lisa Slade

Like most people in East Tennessee, I’ve heard the rumors about Cocke County. I’ve heard it’s a mystic locale, the last outlaw county, where some say criminals and lawmakers run freely together across the mountainous countryside, making crystal meth, running chop shops, organizing cock fights and eliciting prostitutes. Most enticing of all is the rumor that Cosby, located at the heart of Cocke County and with a population of 5,201, is the moonshine capital of the world.

Though my information on Cosby’s moonshine reputation may have come from unreliable sources, I’ve come here in search of moonshine, assuming if the rumor were true, moonshine should be easy to find. I envision moonshine stands on the side of Liberty Road, moonshine bars and little handwritten signs with arrows pointing to people’s homes. The signs will say: “Stop here for moonshine!” and I will stop. I’ll purchase a jar, preferably flavored with strawberries or cinnamon apple (It’ll taste just like apple pie), from the family, and I’ll bust it open right there. They’ll tell me all their secrets, show me their stills and we’ll laugh into the night, playing authentic bluegrass music so beautiful that Earl Scruggs himself would be proud. The children will dance. I’ll eventually pass out on the floor as the sun is coming up, and in the early afternoon, I’ll awake, pack my belongings and what’s left of the ’shine and I’ll drive back to Knox County. I’ll regale my citified friends with true tales of the untrammeled land out there. “It really is the moonshine capital of the world,” I’ll say. The rumors are wrong. I drive around Cocke County and see no signs of what I hoped to discover. Outside the car, it’s a perfect 82 degrees. The sunlight is bouncing off the backs of shiny horses grazing the

green fields, but I don’t see one moonshine roadside stand. I drive down Dark Hollow Road, the site of a restaurant called Fort Marx. Another rumor I heard indicates it’s a humble-looking place, two trailers at the top of an unmarked, switchbacking dirt road, with owners who supposedly serve authentic German food and homemade liquor. But the sign next to the road reads “Closed.” I drive up anyway, through ruts large enough to consume my entire car. A tanned, shirtless man tending his small vegetable garden stares as my car clambers by. I finally reach Fort Marx. It is, indeed, closed, the roadside sign not a red herring for deterring non-locals. There is no moonshine to be found in this alleged moonshine capital of the world. I’m just driving around, wondering why I’m on this quest in the first place. Once two strangers climbed on Rocky Top Lookin’ for a moonshine still Strangers ain’t come back from Rocky Top Guess they never will — Osborne Brothers, “Rocky Top” White lightning, white liquor, mountain dew, corn liquor, corn whiskey, rotgut, panther’s breath and panther piss. Those are just a few of the names for the homemade liquor

Knoxville Voice 23


FEATURE “One night, the feds were chasing me, and I found that curve. I looked in my rear view mirror, and he’s flipped his car.” — Guy Furr

In the old days: Moonshiners wore suits

most widely known as moonshine. Some say it causes blindness; others casually note it’ll come out the back of your neck if it’s too strong. Drinking too much could make you mad, permanently insane. Discerning the truth about moonshine from the myths about moonshine requires more than a copper still. The first distilled alcohol originated in 12th century Europe, invented by alchemists seeking medical elixirs. The alcohol industry grew throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, and when colonists came to America, they brought their techniques with them. Moonshine is, by definition, homemade, which has always been the source of its legality problems. The federal government implemented a liquor tax in 1791, making home distillation illegal. Whiskey brewers resented the government’s imposition on their craft as well as the tax itself. Robert Mitchum in the film Thunder Road said: “A man has a right to do anything, including making whiskey, as long as he makes it on his own land.” The name comes from the way moonshine distillers worked: under the light of the moon so they could, hopefully, avoid arrest. The mountains, hills, creeks and caves of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina made ideal hiding places for moonshiners and their stills. After the Nineteenth Amendment enforcing Prohibition passed in 1919, making and selling liquor became more lucrative in this region. During the Great Depression, it provided many rural men a means to feed and clothe their families. Because it’s made primarily of corn and sugar, both plentiful

24 Knoxville Voice

crops in Appalachia, moonshining presented itself as a way to turn an unused resource into an asset. “Prohibition was probably the worst thing this country ever did to itself,” says Alex Gabbard, author of Return to Thunder Road and a retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist. “It made the Depression much worse. The entire infrastructure stopped the day it started. All those people were unemployed that day. The entire country went dry, but that didn’t stop people’s interest in consuming alcohol. It was a boon to the rural areas that didn’t have sources of income. Once the crops were in, there wasn’t much to do in the wintertime. Corn could be kept and then made into moonshine. People in the cities, like Knoxville, found ways to get it.” Gabbard tells stories of retail outlets on Sutherland Avenue, where a driver would pull up to a certain window, slide his cash in and, seconds later, have the cash replaced with a bottle of moonshine liquor. Even though the nation repealed Prohibition in 1933, Knoxville remained under the guise of a “dry city” until 1961, while on the sly maintaining moonshine-stilling as a moneymaking business. The ingredients were easy to obtain, the process was simple and the profit margin was large, as long as makers weren’t paying taxes on their liquid. Or, in other words, as long as they weren’t getting caught. Guy Furr was 16 when he became a bootlegger in 1948. He started hauling liquor to support his family. His father died when he was three years old, and his stepfather died when he was 13. His mother worked in a

mill, but Furr had three siblings, and one income wasn’t enough. “We had to work hard and make a living,” he says. “Back then, there was no such thing as welfare. If you didn’t make it, you didn’t have it. Everybody I knew was poor. When I got a chance to haul liquor, I did it because it was good money.” Furr worked for Hope Earnhardt, uncle of late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, at a liquor and gambling house in Kannapolis, N.C. “Hope got a car and fixed it all up,” he says. “His brother J.B. Earnhardt knew all about bootleggers in Wilkesboro, [N.C.], because he was a hauler himself. He took me up and introduced me to all the bootleggers, showed me the roads and taught me to drive. He and I hauled liquor together for a while and then he saw I could take care of it myself and then I started hauling by myself.” In the 1940s, federal agents didn’t have radios in their cars. For that reason, chasing was a one-on-one race. Feds would spot a hauler and take off after him on the windy back roads bootleggers traversed. Furr says bootleggers’ cars were often faster than the police cars. The Feds couldn’t keep up, and when they could, the runners knew tricks to ensure escape. “There was a place up there that was a dirt road, and the road had a real sharp curve in it,” says Furr. “If you didn’t know what you was doing, you could roll your car. When the feds got after me, I would try to find that road. The only way I could get around that curve was if I’d put the right hand front wheel kind of in the side ditch and let the back swing out, but if a car behind me didn’t know how to take the curve, they’d roll the car. One night, the feds were chasing me, and I found that curve. I looked in my rear view mirror, and he’s flipped his car.” Furr was chased often, especially around the holiday season when roads were blocked in an attempt to catch bootleggers. When that happened, he started running liquor on horseback, outfitting one of Hope’s horses with two sets of saddlebags, allowing him a carrying capacity of 12 jars. Furr would ride the horse through the fields and woods. He was never caught that way, he says. But Furr was eventually caught. Federal agents nabbed him during a run in 1950, when he was 17 years old. He didn’t serve any time as it was a few weeks before his 18th birthday, but he paid a fine and was placed on probation for two years. After that, he quit running liquor and moved to Baltimore to work in a shipyard. He’s 75 now and lives

in Western North Carolina. The most skilled bootleg drivers started running their fast cars on tracks more often than on country roads. From those tracks, NASCAR was eventually born, and some of the first NASCAR stars, like Junior Johnson, were former bootleggers. And there was thunder, thunder over Thunder Road Thunder was his engine, and white lightning was his load There was moonshine, moonshine to quench the Devil’s thirst The law they swore they’d get him, but the Devil got him first — Robert Mitchum, “The Ballad of Thunder Road” The average jar of moonshine ranges between 90- and 140-proof. The masters say once beyond the 100-proof level, 50 percent alcohol content, the fun component begins to wane and the headaches increase exponentially. Everclear grain alcohol is sold at 190-proof. Southern Comfort whiskey is 100-proof. Moonshine can be made stronger than those, but it usually isn’t. Even if it were, most wouldn’t want to drink it, as it would contain a flavor similar to lighter fluid — which it practically is; 190-proof alcohol is highly flammable. Although I couldn’t find the fabled land of moonshine bars and open stills, I’ve still seen plenty of jars passed around at parties and gatherings in the area. So why do some go to the trouble of obtaining it, paying cash and risking arrest or fine? Why do people still risk everything they have to make it? “Right now, there’s a whole lot of nostalgia involved,” says Stephen Feinstein, East Tennessee moonshine maker and historian. “My grandfather did it. He got sick, but then his uncle was one of the largest bootleggers in Nashville. It’s a family thing, and it’s very important to me. My grandfather was a legend, and that’s why I got into the whiskey.” And that is a common answer: People who make moonshine are celebrating their family’s history and culture. Perhaps people who drink moonshine want a piece of that history, want to be a part of that narrative. “People buy it now out of curiosity,” says Feinstein. “People call other people to say ‘I got moonshine.’ It’s expensive, but people want to say they have it. I don’t think most of them like it. Some just buy it to have it at a party. It’s the allure.” Local characters like Marvin “Popcorn”


FEATURE Sutton add to that allure. Sutton has written a book, called Me and My Likker and starred in his own documentary, The Last Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make. He’s 61 now but looks much older and learned his trade from his father and grandfather. “Popcorn’s a legend,” Feinstein says. “They say he’s probably made as much whiskey as Jack Daniels. It’s like any hero. I’m a big fan of Davy Crockett, but what I know about him isn’t necessarily true.” Sutton was arrested March 13 for “carrying on the business of a dealer in distilled spirits” and possession of a gun by a convicted felon. It was his fifth arrest but only his third moonshine-related one. A police raid of Sut-

ton’s Parrottsville farm revealed one 500-gallon still, two 1,000-gallon stills, 800 gallons of moonshine and copper line. Sutton pleaded guilty April 4. He returns to U.S. District Court Aug. 4 and faces a potential 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. It’s not just Popcorn Sutton people are enamored with; moonshine itself has become a popular culture icon, especially as tourism has expanded in the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee. A stretch of Kingston Pike once used by runners was known as “Thunder Road” and Mitchum’s Thunder Road, a 1958 film about running moonshine in Tennessee and Kentucky, only added to the frenzy surrounding moonshine only grew in Knoxville.

Someone’s lucky find: A moonshine still next to a creek

There are dozens of regional songs about moonshine and the University of Tennessee’s own fight song, “Rocky Top,” mentions it. Moonshine jam, containing no alcohol, is sold at the Knoxville airport. Mountain Dew soda is named after moonshine. Former moonshine caves are available for touring, including The Lost Sea in Sweetwater, Tenn., featuring America’s largest underground lake. According to Lost Sea history, the cave has also housed myriad illegal activities since its discovery during the Civil War. In 1947, a bar, three stills and a dance floor were installed in the cave. The humidity and air pressure allowed bar patrons a largerthan-average drinking capability; however, once they walked out into fresh air, so the story goes, the full force of their drunkenness would strike, and many would fall back down the stairs into the cave. The cave’s bar closed in less than a year because of the number of injuries, but the cave was used for distilling Don’t drink it all at one time: Jar of moonshine

for several more years. Forbidden Cavern in Sevierville also offers tours of a former moonshine cave. I’ve been a moonshiner For seventeen long years I’ve spent all my money On whiskey and beer I go to some hollow And sit at my still And if whiskey don’t kill me, Then I don’t know what will —Unknown, traditional Irish ballad “Moonshine” Of those making moonshine today, some, like Feinstein, make it solely for their own purposes. An online forum is devoted to the art of home distilling (Homedistiller.org) with members trading recipes, showing off artistic still designs, discussing the benefits of alcohol as fuel and sharing bits of history


FEATURE

One of the original stills discovered in the Lost Sea. Photo by Lisa Slade

they’ve learned. Moonshine-making ultimately revealed another purpose for the liquor, and might hold the clue to the culture’s sustainability. The process for making liquor and making ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is almost exactly the same. Ethanol must have a proof of nearly 200, meaning that all the water is distilled out before it is fuel quality. There is a large ethanol distillery plant in Loudon, a branch of British-based company Tate & Lyle. The plant produces ethanol from corn as a fuel additive in giant stills. Owning a moonshine still is perfectly legal. Running the still is also legal, provided the owner is making ethanol and not moonshine and provided the owner has a permit. Feinstein isn’t afraid of going on the record for Knoxville Voice. He has a distilling permit. He is required to cut whatever comes off his still with gasoline, rendering it undrinkable, but he’s otherwise permitted to carry on with the same tradition that made his grandfather famous. “Some people are getting permits. Some are scared to get a permit. I just took the bold route, and sometimes, that’s the best route to take,” he says. Gabbard applies his knowledge of energy from his years as an ORNL scientist to what he knows about moonshine. He thinks ethanol could provide a bright energy future for the United States, as it already has for Brazil. “If you take the moonshine culture as a whole, those ingredients can grow into an ethanol industry in this country,” says Gabbard. “There are a lot of benefits of that. In a way, the old time moonshiners have laid the way for America’s future.” Ironically, the modern IndyCar Series cars run on ethanol, though NASCAR hasn’t yet made the switch. For others, the moonshine industry is still just that — an industry. Rastus Baker,* a Tennessee runner, estimates that he makes

26 Knoxville Voice

$30,000 per year running moonshine. He has a day job as well, but running liquor supplements his main income. Baker has been a runner since he was 17. He owns a small copper still, but he’s never made his own moonshine, though his father and father’s friends did when he was a kid. He picks up a load, 56 gallons, from one of his seven suppliers and then sells it for $30 a gallon. He gets more than most. Some sellers only get $10 a gallon, but Baker refuses to sell for less because “It’s just not worth it.” He’s never been chased or caught by the police when delivering, he says, because no one knows what he’s doing. “People don’t really look for it,” he says. “They’re worried about meth and cocaine, not moonshine.” But Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives representatives say they are worried about moonshine. That worry is tax-related, but there are also safety risks associated with drinking moonshine. Lead toxicity is a frequent concern, as some distillers use car radiators in moonshine production. Moonshine is sometimes mixed with toxic products like methanol to raise the alcohol percentage. “In the early days of moonshine, it was business-driven but also quality-driven,” says Gabbard. “Recipes and stills were handed down from generation to generation because they made good, quality whiskey. Today, however, it’s dangerous to consume. Why people consume it is beyond me.” ATF special agent Erik Kehn says: “There’s a lot of concern over health risks, but also because [moonshine-making] seems to spawn other criminal activity.” Some East Tennessee moonshine busts have revealed other crimes. Sutton was arrested for illegal alcohol activities but also for illegal weapon possession. A March 2007 Newport arrest exposed moonshine, but investigators also found marijuana plants and seeds. In

January, Cocke County sheriff deputies discovered marijuana, Hydrocodone pills and moonshine during an arrest. Feinstein doesn’t think moonshine deserves the bad reputation it’s received by being linked to other crimes. “The majority of the people out there think it’s not wrong. The stuff meth and other drugs was made of was designed to kill you. It’s a different world. I don’t even like it to be compared on the same level,” he says. Furr feels though the tradition is occasion-

ally passed down to younger generations, the meaning of it all has become muddled with time. “I don’t like what the younger generation is doing,” he says. “The younger generation doesn’t understand what it was all about. All the old bootleggers are gone. They’re all dead or gone. That’s why we try and let people know what happened. This is history, and that’s why we want to get it in the books and get people to understand what we did. When we’re gone, it’s gone.” Statistically, making moonshine is a dwindling practice. According to ATF statistics, 5,228 stills were seized nationwide in 1970. In 1995, no stills were seized. There are so few busts now, ATF doesn’t even have current statistics. Though moonshine’s future is uncertain, Baker doesn’t think it will ever go away entirely. “I think they’ll just keep on making it,” he says. “It’s a novelty. I know probably 100 people around here who drink it every day. Some people just like it instead of beer. It gets the job done quickly, and it’s pure. Why do you have homegrown tomatoes when you can go to the store and get them? They’re better.” *This name was changed at the request of the source.

Diagram of a moonshine/ethanol still


May 22

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

POETRY IN MOTION

Circle Modern Dance continues to bring ‘Insight’ to Knoxville’s performing arts community By Rupa Ved

Photo by Eddie Crim

At 17 years and counting, Circle Modern Dance is one of Knoxville’s longest running non-profit arts organizations. Combining the freedom of modern dance with physically intense movement, the dance company offers classes as well as lessons in Capoeria, a form of martial arts-derived dance originating in Brazil. CMD is dedicated to producing and showcasing diverse choreography, and the group provides an outlet for guest choreogra28 Knoxville Voice

phers to promote the appreciation of dance and music in Knoxville. “Circle Modern Dance was founded by a group of highly motivated choreographers and performance artists who were interested in sharing and performing their avant-garde works,” says CMD artistic director Joy Davis in an email interview. She began working with CMD during her freshman year of college in 2002. “As a college student and new choreographer, it allowed me to find a community of dancers and dance professionals outside the university, which propelled my understanding of production and community involvement,” she says. With its willingness to experiment with various forms, venues and performers, CMD provides an outlet for choreographers, dancers and musicians of all ages and ethnicities to participate in performing art. “The more diverse a cast, the more diverse an audience,” says Davis, “as the cast and guests bring in peers and friends from their respective cultural settings. As a result, for our upcoming show ‘InSight… an evening of movement and performance,’ we have a cast of about 50 people who are from all walks of life.” Participants have been preparing for months in the annex studio of the Emporium Building on Gay Street. Members of the company often rehearse here, as well as the University of Tennessee Alumni Memorial Building Dance Studio. The Bijou Theatre will host the performances May 16 and 17. Composed of nine choreographic works, one improvisational act and musical performances by local group Hudson K, the show will merge contemporary dance and physical theater. Davis describes the event as a “multi-visionary, extra-sensory mega-physical experience that captures many themes.” Considering its many diverse acts — created by nine different choreographers — the performance will likely heighten senses as it captivates the audience. “Our goal is to allow the audience and performers to learn about themselves through these movements and stories,” Davis says. It begins with a variation of live action fairy tales such as Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White. This piece uses humor in its presentation of classic characters such as maidens, a king and a frog.

The next act, “Aprons,” conveys the story of how a mundane piece of cloth holds the timeless memories of mothers and grandmothers, followed by the third act with live music by Hudson K. The fourth act depicts the misconceptions about weddings, and the fifth act entails projections of dancers and a duet on stage between Kim Matibag, cofounder of CMD, and wheelchair dancer Adam Manookian. In the sixth act, Sunshine Industries will “take a load off, Annie” with suitcases, hats and a caboose. Next, the seventh scene contains virtuosic contemporary dance by choreographer Morgan Fleming. The next part is the choreographer’s improvisation, which expresses the movement of the choreographic process, following a duet on inner dialogues, opposites, similarities and the transcendence of duality becoming one. The show will conclude with the theme of perspective and change. This is a five part collaborative work between Davis and local musician Jen Rock, and it will include footage from the Spirit of Knoxville’s balloon launch footage. “The balloon footage goes to 95,000 feet into the atmosphere, and we will present it with a debut of aerial dance on silks, which combines graceful poses, intense flexibility and enormous strength,” says Davis. The experimental film and music will accompany the dance to depict renewed life and enlightenment through dance. In addition to Hudson K’s original songs, live music, including a rendition of “All You Need is Love,” will accompany a Capoeria performance. Students from Vine Middle Magnet School and the Community School of Arts will also perform. Circle Modern Dance continues to grow and, to date, has featured more than 500 performers, with Davis and company hoping to continue to attract many more. “It is the ultimate goal of any performance, I believe, to make a statement, draw an audience in for realization and to expose more people to the art of movement,” Davis says.

InSight - an evening of movement and performance Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17, 8 p.m. Bijou Theatre (803 S. Gay St.) / 8 p.m. $15 Balcony/ $20 Orchestra For Tickets call: (865) 656-4444 or visit www.knoxvilletickets.com

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

OVER THE RHINE

True Americana from ‘The Heart of It All’ By Andrew Clayman If you’ve ever taken the lovely northbound jaunt up Interstate 75 to Cincinnati, you know it’s a bit of a strange cultural collision point. Northerners call it the start of the South, and Southerners say the opposite. Influences flow here on the Ohio River and spin off in a thousand different directions. As a result, you get a city that has produced both Andy Williams and Katt Williams, 98 Degrees and Adrian Belew. In a mildly twisted way, it’s a microcosm of America. Cincinnati just needed somebody to bring it into focus. That’s where Over the Rhine comes in. The husband-wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist has been a Cincinnati music staple for nearly 20 years. They even named their band after the well-known Nati neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine, where the couple lived in the ’90s. So, the city and the band are almost literally synonymous. But one does not necessarily explain the other. “Cincinnati does have a rich musical history, both in terms of recording and radio broadcasting,” says Detweiler. “But I like to think of Over the Rhine (the band) as more of a Midwestern melting pot of American music. I think what has been most fascinating to us is to be songwriters connected to a particular piece of earth — a place where we have roots. We’re interested in the idea of an American writer or artist that you associate with a particular place, be it Robert Frost, Thoreau, Flannery O’Connor, etc.” Detweiler and Bergquist seemed to embrace this concept particularly on Over the Rhine’s 2003 magnum opus, Ohio, an album they’ll be revisiting in its entirety as part of a special live show in Cincinnati this month. When they hit Knoxville, however, the set-list will likely be centered more on tunes from their latest effort, The Trumpet Child — a wildly eclectic homage to the best elements of traditional American folk, jazz, blues, country and just about everything else this side of crunk. Some might call Over the Rhine “revivalists” or torch carriers, but as Detweiler sees it, the styles of music he and his wife embrace never went away in the first place. “Jazz. Blues, bluegrass, and rock ‘n’ roll — these are unique forms of American music,” he says. “They’ve grown out of the messy, beautiful experiment that is America. And I think they’ve established themselves permanently in the world. Musicians will always choose to become students of those forms of expression and attempt to contribute to them.” Over the Rhine has certainly made its share of noteworthy contributions in that department. But it’s been a winding road to

Over the Rhine w/ Mary Gauthier Wednesday, May 28 Bijou Theatre (803 S. Gay St.) / 8 p.m. / $19.50

success. Back in the early ’90s, the band was signed to IRS and packaged as an alternative folk-rock act in the 10,000 Maniacs mold. When that experiment failed, OTR began a long run of label-hopping and lineup changes that only now seem to have come to fruition. At the moment, Detweiler and Bergquist are the only official members of Over the Rhine, and they released The Trumpet Child last year on their very own label, Great Speckled Dog. “It’s going really well,” Detweiler says of the label. “It just makes a lot of sense in 2008 to do things this way. It would take a lot at this point for us to consider signing with an established label again.” In some ways, Over the Rhine’s past labels must be forgiven for their failings. Strange as it may sound, selling sharp, sophisticated American music to an American audience isn’t necessarily the easiest thing in the world. For much of their career, in fact, Detweiler and Bergquist have found equal if not larger audiences overseas, where a fascination with American jazz, country and blues may be more prevalent than in America itself. “It’s wonderful to be embraced far from home and realize that your music has gone ahead and made friends,” says Detweiler. “It’s been gratifying for us to be able to play four sold-out shows in one week in Wellington, New Zealand, for example. And we’ve been grateful for BBC airplay at times in the past. But I don’t feel that Americans who appreciate good songwriting are out of touch. They are very supportive of the music they find meaningful.” In terms of their own support system, of course, Detweiler and Bergquist have each other. The pair married in 1996, and 10 years later, Paste Magazine ranked them No. 74 on its list of the 100 greatest living songwriters. Always fine-tuning his game, Detweiler is equally adept at playing a slick country guitar riff or a sprightly jazz piano line. And his wife, a classically trained vocalist, can navigate the divide between Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday with relative ease. “I continue to find her alluring,” Detweiler grins, and it’s clear that Over the Rhine is one case where a musical partnership and a romantic relationship have co-existed quite nicely. “There is a lot of overlap, but we did have to learn that being married and collaborating creatively as songwriters are not one and the same. We use the metaphor of two different trees that both require water and sunlight, each with a life of their own. We try to take care of both the best we can.”

Knoxville Voice 29


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

DIRTY HANDS

Indian Jewelry’s exotically invasive gold sounds By Eric Dawson dawson@knoxvoice.com

Indian Jewelry Friday, May 16 Pilot Light (106 E. Jackson Ave.) / 9 p.m. / $5 “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have dirty hands.” So goes the mantra at the center of Indian Jewelry’s “Dirty Hands,” from their 2006 album Invasive Exotics. It may as well serve as a calling card for the band, a rotating assemblage of punks, hippies, heads, vandals, ne’er-do-wells and malcontents, who happen to play some pretty bitchin’ rock ‘n’ roll. The band are responsible for a number of wellreceived singles and albums, and a slew of frantic live shows, drawing from and expanding on a host of bands on the rougher side of progressive psychedelia. Indian Jewelry has been around for about 10 years, emerging from the band Swarm of Angels in the fertile underground rock/noise/ improv/whatever scene in Houston. “There are about 100 bands there that are great, of every genre,” says Indian Jeweler Brandon Davis during a phone conversation en route to New York City from Pittsburgh, on tour with founding members Tex Kerschen and Erika Thrasher. The group performed under different names for years, most notably NTX, before finally settling on their current moniker in 2004. That’s also the year Davis moved to 30 Knoxville Voice

Chicago and Kerschen and Thrasher relocated the Indian Jewelry project to Los Angeles, where they recorded Invasive Exotics. “Wherever Tex and Erika are, that’s where Indian Jewelry is,” Davis explains. Recently, everyone moved back to Houston. Though Kerschen and Thrasher are the core of the group, usually assisted by drummer Rodney Rodriguez and Davis, the ranks of the band are always expanding and contracting. “We’ll often pick up people for a couple of days, and they’ll go with us on tour for a while,” says Davis. “We’re picking up a fourth member tonight. Sometimes people we’ve met at a show will join us for a while. But that doesn’t happen often and it usually doesn’t work out that well.” During the recording sessions for their upcoming album, Free Gold, Davis says the number of people on a track could range from “one to two to 10.” This approach to recording and playing live can seem rather casual, potentially bearing the stale whiff of collective or improv jamming, but underneath the layers of noise, distortion and percussion are honest-to-God songs. There’s plenty of room for loose interpretation and extrapolation live, but the albums reveal a solid struc-

ture to the music, especially Free Gold, which has a noticeably improved recording quality compared to earlier releases. Davis, however, rejects the notion that the band has cleaned up or gotten more focused. “A lot of people seem surprised by how musical what we do is,” he says. “But it’s stuff we worked on a long time. We’ve always been musical. People think we’re cavemen, just up there banging on shit.” What gives them that impression? “Lazy journalists, and dunderheaded people in general,” Davis postulates. The band’s reputation does precede them; most reviews and press mention their wild live performances, which include strobe lights, extended trance-inducing, percussionheavy workouts and unabashed guitar histrionics. They’ve drawn scads of comparisons to Butthole Surfers’ infamous live shows, and occasionally people and things might get hurt or broken. When Davis speaks of the band’s deceptively chaotic sound, “Going South,” the midpoint of Invasive Exotics, comes to mind. A steady, simple beat courtesy of a low-fi drum machine stays the course of the 10 minute song, augmented by occasional live

percussive flourishes (i.e., somebody hitting a cymbal). A guitar rides atop it all, breaking out into labyrinthine solos here and there, while someone delivers distorted vocal rants throughout. It sounds similar to something from Chrome’s first album, when they were more of a psychedelic band laying the groundwork for their machinist future. But from the opening synth figure — a somewhat beguiling childlike keyboard doodle — to the song’s exasperated winding down, it’s a cohesive, effective performance. The remainder of the album offers further examples of the band’s structures: “Health & Wellbeing,” a droning space-rock number that sounds like a completely different band have taken over; “Partying With Jandek,” a short percussion/guitar duet that serves as an homage to Houston’s outsider-folk godfather; “Lying on the Floor,” a Thrasher-fronted junkyard electronics lament; and album-closer “Lost My Sight,” a sort of summation of all that has come before. If Invasive Exotics can, at times, sound like listening to a label sampler rather than a cohesive album, Free Gold sounds more like a band that have locked into a sound and, over the course of an hour, are trying to perfect it. A thick layer of fuzz coats every song, incessant distorted guitars are buried in the mix, vocals are awash in reverb, and analogue synths swoosh in and out of songs like UFOs. There’s also an added layer of shoegazey pop present, best exemplified in the rare acousticdriven tunes of “Pompeii” and “Everyday,” the latter song showcasing a multi-tracked Thrasher vocal that evokes Cass Eliot and Michelle Phillips. There already seems to be a wider buzz about the band, and while it would be a stretch to call Free Gold accessible to most casual listeners, a recent upswing in noise-pop might be good timing for the album’s release. The band, for their part, don’t seem to notice much of a difference in Gold’s sounds. “We’re just doing what we’ve always done,” Davis insists. The Knoxville shows at Pilot Light, where they’ve played a few times before, are “some of the wildest shows,” says Davis. “We’ve played with Maxi and the Pads, Divorce, Dark Meat. Usually everyone gets into it and there’s a lot of dancing. We should have a fourth member by the time we get there, maybe more, but you never know what might happen.”


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

CHRIS

SIT N’ SPIN By Eric Dawson dawson@knoxvoice.com

Rusk

The indomitably spirited Chris Rusk is a familiar face to Knoxville music fans of all stripes. Having banged the drum for such disparate groups as the Cheat, Darker Denim, Dixie Dirt, Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight, Powersnake, Royal Bangs, Russ the Buss and others, young Rusk is a preternaturally gifted drummer. He’s also a mouthy little cuss, which made him a perfect candidate for Sit N’ Spin. The recent demise of Dixie Dirt and Midnight Bomber has led him to concentrate on his oldest, dearest band, Royal Bangs, who are preparing to tour following their recent release on Audio Eagle Records. After that, it’s back on the road with The Cheat. He’ll also show up for a Russ the Buss or Powersnake performance, but stresses those are largely extracurricular, for now.

Painkiller “Dr. Phibes” from Guts of a Virgin (1998) CR: OK, I’m already going to guess John Zorn, but what project, right? I’d say Naked City, but that’s too obvious. Painkiller? KV: Yeah CR: I don’t own a Painkiller album, but I’ve heard them some. Have you seen videos of Naked City performing live? It’s strange because they have this intense, grindcore shredding stuff going on, but they’re all sitting there in front of music stands. It’s like, ‘Whoa!’ I watched a documentary on Zorn, and he’s really specific about what he wants, every little thing.

KV: Their drummer and bassist are on this. CR: It kinda sounds like U.S. Maple. KV: This is a Skin Graft supergroup of sorts. K.K. Null and Jim O’Rourke with Darin Gray and Thymme Jones from Cheer Accident. CR: It sounds like something Brian Formo would try to book at Birdhouse. I love Skin Graft bands. They’re all pretty similar but really interesting. KV: It seems like a lot of those bands have already been forgotten about, though. CR: Except for Melt Banana. They opened for Lou Reed. KV: Well, they actually didn’t, at least here. CR: What? It was too good to be true!

Yona-Kit “Disembody” from Yona-Kit (1995) CR: Oh, this is cool. It sounds like something from [the] Skin Graft [label]. KV: Yep. CR: Is it Cheer Accident?

Can “Dizzy Dizzy” from Soon Over Babaluma (1974) CR: This sounds like some kind of Mr. Bungle-esque thing to me at first. No? Hmm. Give me a hint. KV: It’s from the ’70s. Not American.

32 Knoxville Voice

CR: Oh, is it Can? I don’t listen to as much Can as I should. I should have guessed, though. I can’t believe I said Mr. Bungle. I totally blew that one. The recording quality on this is really nice; it doesn’t sound like ’70s to me. ESG “Tiny Sticks” from South Bronx Story (1983) CR: OK, this is ESG. You’ll hear ESG around here at every indie dance party. I really dig that song ‘Dance.’ It’s got a great bass line. KV: They were forgotten about or not even known about for a while, but it’s ridiculous how influential they’ve become over the last few years. CR: Yeah, a lot of bands that come through Pilot Light and have the dancey thing — and I guess Royal Bangs are kinda guilty of it, too — they have that extra drum set where you just click on crap. Yeah, we’re totally part of that bullshit I guess. But I love this! All this percussion going on but it’s real loose. I’m re-

ally into that right now, even if I don’t play like that. That’s what I like about punk bands and old punk recordings. Kinda like old Rolling Stones shit: It’s not technically great, but it just feels good. Yes “Heart of the Sunrise” from Fragile (1972) CR: (laughs) Oh shit! This is that prog band. Russ the Buss almost covered this song. What’s their name? Yes! [Russ the Buss guitarist and KV contributor] Nick Huinker loves this shit. Nick plays this every time we start practicing. Him and [Midnight Bomber’s] Ben Oyler only listen to prog right now. The other day, Ben tried to tell me how great Procol Harum were. Not that they’re prog but just a lot of that cheesy ’70s stuff — I don’t want to hear it. This is cool, though. I like this. I like some prog but not much. KV: (after a stretch without either party speaking) OK, well this is a long song, we don’t have to listen to all of it. CR: Thank you.


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT KV: That’s a far cry from Ginger Baker’s method. CR: Yeah, yeah, but I dig this stuff, too.

King Crimson “Larks Tongue in Aspic Part 2” from Larks Tongue in Aspic (1973) CR: Oh, man, I like this. Is this King Crimson? I like King Crimson. I guess maybe I do like prog (laughs). Midnight Bomber has a song named after this, except it was ‘Whore’s Tongue in Asslick.’ I don’t own this album, but riding in the car with Ben, I’ve heard this. KV: This is nothing you’d willfully put on, though? CR: I don’t know; I go through phases. Right now, I’m going through a Slayer phase, and next week, I’ll go through a Beat Happening phase. I haven’t gone through my prog phase yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. Dark Logik “Prt Thts Wtch” from Dark Logik (1999) CR: Oooh. Oh man, I should know this, it sounds really familiar. Give me a second. Is there singing? KV: No. CR: I know this. Give me a hint. KV: They were local. CR: It’s local? Holy fuck, really? Man, we [Midnight Bomber] ripped them off! This sounds really familiar. This is awesome. Was Jason Stark in this band? Who was the drummer? KV: Jason Boardman. CR: Oh, fuck, OK! It’s uh… what were they called? Eric Lee and… Dark Logik! I don’t know if I’ve actually heard this entire album. This is amazing. I really try to rip off Boardman when I play drums. Man, why don’t these guys play anymore? I wasn’t around for this. KV: What were you, like 10 in 1999? CR: I was a pre-teen. Fleetwood Mac “Tusk” from Tusk (1979) CR: I have no idea who this is, but that one guy sounds like Billy Corgan. KV: Fleetwood Mac. CR: I know nothing about Fleetwood Mac. Ryan [Schaefer, from Royal Bangs] is really into them right now, and of course Dixie Dirt were. KV: Yeah, it’s going around. CR: I guess I’m not hip to that right now. KV: You’ll get there, you’ll go through your Mac phase. Fela Kuti with Ginger Baker “Ye Ye De Smell” From Fela with Ginger Baker Live! (1971) (Fela says “Ginger Baker!”) CR: Ginger Baker! KV: Damn it! I was trying to fast forward past that.

Ice Cube “What They Hittin’ Foe?” from Amerikkka’s Most Wanted (1990) CR: NWA? KV: Solo. CR: Ice Cube. Oh, yeah. This is awesome. I’ve just kind of dabbled in hip hop. But I love NWA and Wu-Tang. The last time I was in Brooklyn, I tried to find Ol’Dirty’s grave. I couldn’t figure it out, though. That’s probably for the best. I’d probably have been shot.

CR, ODB / Photos by Andrew Hock / Knoxville Voice

CR: I win! KV: Who’s that with him, though? CR: (listens for a minute-or-so) What exactly is this? KV: Ginger Baker with Fela Kuti, live in 1971. CR: I’ve listened to some Fela. I’ve listened to that one song where he talks about killing white people (laughs). Ryan really likes this stuff; he’s played some for me. You know, I haven’t listened to much Ginger Baker, either. I don’t know as much about drummers as I should. I don’t really follow them or anything. KV: Are you self-taught? CR: Yeah, I got a drum set when I was 13 or 14 and just started playing it, playing with records. I played along with Led Zeppelin a lot. Then I got into punk and just wanted to play like Black Flag. I never paid attention to who any drummers were on records, though. I took some Latin jazz lessons for about a year from this one guy, but we didn’t really talk about individual drummers. I like Keith Moon — I’m into his style of playing now, where you just flail around and hit whatever.

Boredoms “7 ” from Super Roots 7 (1998) CR: (after 10 seconds) I love it already. Hell yeah! Who is this...? Oh! (Points to Boredoms T-shirt he’s wearing.) Is this ‘B for Boredoms’? KV: No, this is one of those Super Roots. CR: I haven’t heard those. This is cool, though. That’s what’s so great about the Boredoms: They always are doing something different, something crazy. Midnight Bomber drove up to Columbus, Ohio, to see them. It was so cool. There was a choir, and Eye was playing this tape machine and then pulled out these giant glowing orbs and started dancing around with them. At one point, he whipped his hair out in the audience, and it just sort of hung there. We actually talked to him. We saw him eating sushi in a restaurant, so went up to him and were total dorky fans and had our picture taken with him. Slayer “Catalyst” from Christ Illusion (2006) CR: Slayer! Hell, yeah! Is this from the new one? Christ Illusion. This song’s cool, but the best track on there is “Jihad.” This is great, Rick Rubin produced it, it sounds like their old stuff. I think their solos have gotten a lot better. Like the solos on those first few albums they’re just trying to sound like a dentist drill, but they’ve gotten way more proficient. I’m really into Slayer right now. Danny [Sale] from Royal Bangs is a metalhead. I guess a lot of people who listen to our music wouldn’t suspect that. People think we just listen to indie rock or something. KV: You’ll note the conspicuous absence of indie rock in the songs I played you. CR: Yeah! And I’m glad! KV: Royal Bangs fans will soon know about your prog side. CR: Good. Maybe they’ll learn something.


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

DUDE WAIT...WHAT?!

Heading Out For the West Coast

Lord Knows They Paid Some Dues

It is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to two of Knoxville’s coolest, as Brian Formo and Julia Hungerford move on to greener pastures. Formo was active in the art/performance space of Birdhouse Laboratories, handling the live music booking, as well as other tasks. He also booked shows at other venues around town and served as a sort of manager for local group Woman. Formo, after a few weeks on walkabout (well, driveabout) to various cities, is heading for the hipper climes of Olympia, Wash., to serve as an intern for K Records. Originally from Idaho, the guy has been too active and planted too many roots in Knoxville over the last six years to not think of it as home in some respects, so hopefully, he’ll keep in touch and send more bands our way. Old school townie, drummer extraordinaire and Queen of the Scene Julia Hungerford leaves us for the literally cooler climes of the California mountains. Hungerford has performed in numerous bands through the years, including the Cheat, Gutlocker and Darker Denim. She was able to get in a farewell performance with a red-hot Hungerford Vs. Fist show at Pilot Light May 8, including an inspired take on Spacemen 3’s “Revolution.” She was also a longtime champion of live music and local bands and was a consistently interesting conversationalist over drinks. We wish them both the best and, this being Knoxville, expect to see them again before too awfully long.

Local ’90s indie rock faves Beeswax are getting back together for one last show before singer/guitarist Todd Stapleton moves away. (Seems like people can’t get out of this town fast enough. Haven’t they heard it’s a brand new day in Knoxville, and things are only getting better and better? I mean, we have a gastropub and everything.) Stapleton will be taking the stage at the Longbranch with fellow ’Waxers Gray Comer (guitar), Scott Heiskell (bass) and Scott Henshaw (drums) May 16 for their first show in nine years. I haven’t heard them in, oh, at least nine years, but if memory serves, they had some good tunes and were a lot of fun live, so here’s your chance to revisit those magical, innocent Clinton years or hear a piece of now-defunct local music history for the first time.

Adlin and Appleford celebrate South Knoxville at Vestival Saturday May 10. Photo by Elizabeth Wright

Getting Through The state House recently approved the Competitive Cable and Video Services Act in a whopping 93-2 vote. The Act will ostensibly introduce more competition for cable providers in Tennessee, but critics of the bill feared there would be little benefit for cable subscribers and that services to lower-income households would potentially be limited. As previously reported in a Knoxville Voice cover story, funding for public, education and government (PEG) channels was also threatened. Changes to the bill in the final weeks of negotiations yielded mostly good news for PEG channels, however, preserving their funding and channels, and requiring the cable companies to provide the backhaul. Cable Franchises may still not have to provide build-out for high-speed cable and Internet access to all areas, though. “It could have been a lot worse, but as far as build-out goes, that’s unfortunate,” says Knoxville Community Television general manager David Vogel. “This still doesn’t guarantees service to everyone.” (Eric Dawson)

34 Knoxville Voice

Dirty Works work up a sweat at Sullivans. Photo by Eddie Crim

Fecal Japan enters the mirror through a house on Gratz Street. Photo by Elizabeth Wright


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

ROTATIONS

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso UFO Recurring Dream & Apocalypse of Darkness Important Records Important Records’ Web site claims Recurring Dream is the “heaviest Acid Mothers record ever,” a statement to be taken with a grain of salt coming from one of those small labels whose every release is “highly anticipated,” “rare,” “limited,” “all-star” and so on. Plus, Acid Mothers are already responsible for some pretty heavy music as it is (about 60 albums-worth as of this writing, but they’ve probably added a few by the time you read this). I’ve gotta say this one could take the cake, though. Most AMT albums take a little while to get going — some woogily cosmic synth and guitar noodling building for five or 10 minutes, priming the pump for the next 60 to 90 minutes of guitar-orgy maelstrom. But here, “Eternal Incantation Or Perpetual Nightmare” begins in medias freak-out, as head Mother Kawabata Makoto and company are already laying waste to their instruments, which they continue to do, without letting up, for the duration of the album. Of the two tracks on the album, the title track is what Important had in mind when they called the record heavy, as it has an atypical (for them) doom metal structure — plodding, repetitive bass and drums with slow, distorted riffing piled on top. These guys wear it well and don’t believe Kawabata’s joke about it sounding like Sunn O))) because there’s way more going on here than a series of drones. If you wanted to compare the two tracks to Japanese kaiju, “Eternal Incarnation” is more Ghidorah-like — a winged, multi-headed gargantua blindly flailing about and making a mess of its surroundings — and “Recurring Dream” is more of a Godzilla, a lumbering behemoth, blindly crushing everything in its path.

The CD has two tracks, each 36 minutes in length, and the LP version of the album — which comes packaged in an impressive gatefold cover designed by conceptual metal auteur Seldon Hunt — has two “bonus tracks,” which turn out to be extended versions of the CD tracks. Not necessary, perhaps, but as each performance stretches past the hour mark, it makes the band seem all the more athletic and amazing. And occasionally ridiculous. How do they sustain such frenzies over the course of an hour? In more cynical moments, I suspect they might just be looping a five-minute section of a bass/drum/guitar/ synth jam and letting Kawabata play a series of solos over it. But then a flute will come in as the synth drops out, or the second guitar will be turned up in the mix, and I realize there’s some kind of structure at work here. With every AMT release, the question arises: “Do I really need it?” It depends on your level of commitment and/or curiosity toward the most prolific, heavy psychedelic Japanese band around, but excess is part of what AMT albums are all about. And this one just burns and burns. (Eric Dawson) The Roots Rising Down Def Jam Hip hop is known for not exactly aging well (Neither is rock, but because it’s been around longer we’ve come to accept sexagenarian “comebacks” and “legends.”), and 15 years-plus in the game is unfortunately long in the tooth for most MCs. If he’s not getting better, though, the Roots’ Black Thought is every bit as good as he’s ever been on Rising Down. It’s another solid release from the Illadelph crew, its most socio-political minded yet, beginning with the album’s title, taken from William Vollmann’s epic treatise on violence, Rising Up, Rising Down. It’s not all one big bitch session though, and the beats and rhymes can flow by nicely for the casual listener disinterested in a message. Unlike most Roots albums, this album is

lousy with guest stars, and though that’s a hip-hop habit of which I personally am weary, the Roots — as usual — move beyond typical genre trappings and make great use of the visiting MCs. No one is phoning it in here. Frequent collaborator Dice Raw and former Root Malik B appear on multiple tracks, and old politically conscious pals Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli show up as well. Just as impressive as this who’s who of rapperswhite-people-like, though, are lesser-known voices such as Truck North and Saigon on the infectious “Criminal,” and Porn’s nimble turn among the high-profile company of “I Will Not Apologize” and “I Can’t Help It.” Despite the high caliber of the visiting team, though, the hottest track on the album belongs to Black Thought. “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction),” is a solo freestyle over a typically simple but amazing ?uestlove beat, backed with minimal synths. It’s the type of thing the Roots seem to do effortlessly, and for all the pushing and pulling of themselves to keep things fresh, it’s this kind of no-frills, live interaction between the group members that reminds us how unique these guys are. The production as a whole is more minimal than usual, allowing a showcase for the assembled MCs. But the most notable sonic difference throughout is the addition of somewhat icy synths, replacing the warmer tones of the Fender Rhodes organ they usually employ; “I Will Not Apologize” even flirts with Dr. Dreesque production on the chorus. ?uestlove has of late been publicly worrying over the place of the group in the hip-hop market today and their future with Def Jam. Given that 2006’s Game Theory — their seventh studio album — came and went without much fanfare and Rising Down will probably perform more solidly but still fail to set the charts on fire, it could be we’re taking the Roots for granted almost two decades into their career. That would be a shame because they remain one of the most dependably vital and interesting groups around, in any genre. (E.D.)

Stanley Jordan State of Nature Mack Avenue Records Who is Stanley Jordan? “Tapping” guitar impresario and interpreter of the jazz canon? Purveyor of fuzak? New Age drifter, composer of Relaxing Music for Difficult Situations, Vol. I? Jordan’s recent release suggests he’s all that. And a pianist as well. Sort of. Rarely does a recording so successfully oscillate between great heights and yawning subterranean lows. The only dependable feature of State of Nature is the piano performances, which consistently do not work. Irrespective of who’s at the keys — duties shared between Jordan and Giovanna Imbesi (according to Wikipedia, collaborator with Yanni and John Tesh) – the result is at best ignorable, at worst annoying. Fortunately, the piano is absent on many cuts. The fact is piano is essentially unnecessary anyway, given the two-handed pianistic effects Jordan’s guitar technique exploits. The CD opens promisingly with “A Place in Space,” featuring Charnett Moffett on bass and Kenwood Dennard on drums. Building from a simple funk melody, Jordan’s solo quickly goes baroque with counterpoint, simultaneously running separate guitar lines against each other. For pure technical mastery, the cut’s a marvel, and it certainly doesn’t lack for passion, either. That promising opening is followed by “All Blues,” a great choice, unfortunately marred by Jordan’s terrifically pedestrian piano skills evidently intended as a highlight of this particular cut. That clammarred exercise is followed by the squishy and bird-chirp embroidered “Forest Garden,” an apparent nod to our inner-New Age. The remainder of the CD follows similar lines, interweaving piano clunking (on the Horace Silver classic, “Song for My Father”), great guitar solos (on the Andante from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and “El Condor Pasa”) and aural pap, well-larded with sampled surf, sitar, synth washes and cooing vocals. Wildly uneven and opaquely programmed, State of Nature offers genuine moments of brilliance, available for selective downloads. (Jonathan B. Frey)

Knoxville Voice 35


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

DIGGING: THE EARLY YEARS

SPACE-YACHT ROCK

The strange magic of ELO’s Out of the Blue helped chart Mike McGonigal’s course toward a lifetime of record obsession By Mike McGonigal Before we begin, I’d like to suggest that you commit a crime. Assuming you don’t already have it, go to the Internet and steal a copy of Electric Light Orchestra’s 1977 album Out of the Blue. Or you could pick up an original copy of the actual vinyl almost anywhere for about four bucks. I’d like to begin with the first minute of a song. It’s the start to one of four hit singles from Out of the Blue, the song “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” the third track on the record’s first side. This prog-lite tune has all the elements of classic, disco-era, chart-topping ELO, and typically, a ton of information gets crammed into very little space. The song starts with strings playing syrupy sweet lines, instantly reminding one of The Beatles’ use of orchestral elements, then the guitar kicks in and it’s a very clean and retro-rockabilly type line, and the vocodered backing-vocals sent from outer space jump in just after that. Then, suddenly, an acoustic guitar and the multi-tracked voice of singer-songwriter and ELO leader Jeff Lynne come in, along with the drums, played by Lynne’s longtime cohort Bev Bevan. The backing-vocals now ape ’50s pop, the piano comes in during the next section, and then the strings take over again. If you think the singing is a touch Beatle-y, too, then, well — then, you’re right! Jeff Lynne’s Beatles fascination is writ so large, I consider it a fetish. He seems incapable of writing a song without something Beatle-y in there. It’s as if his joy for the Fab Four is so great, he must re-experience it constantly by quoting or evoking their work, recast in a shinier, glitterier light. Lynne had been part of a generation of bands inspired by The Beatles, beat bands from Birmingham, England, where in the mid-’60s there were more than 500 groups and an incredibly vibrant so-called “Brum Beat” sound that, while not exactly taking the world by storm, sounds as if it were an insanely competitive scene to start in. His band, the Idle Race, developed into The Move, a groovy psychedelic hard pop act, which splintered into ELO when Lynne, Bevan and Roy Wood decided they wanted — and this is from their own press information — “to move in a different musical direction and take off from where The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’ had finished.” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” next treats us to Lynne’s gruff growl, and he’s so incredibly cute when he’s pretending to be tough because it’s like watching a Monchichi smoke a cigarette. It just doesn’t work, but that’s part of the appeal. Lynne used to isolate and record each component of the drum kit separately, as he wanted 36 Knoxville Voice

the cleanest sound possible. This helped Lynne achieve his incredibly grand yet crisp sound, but it also helped make the song woefully unfunky — not bad, just unfunky. There is a kind of pummeling fake-majesty at work here. ELO shares a lot with metal in these three regards: anthemic-ness, stiffness and a pummeling that’s supposedly related to European classical music, but the similarities are borne superficially on closer inspection. This record changed my life! It sent me into a nerdy spiral of music obsession I’ve yet to be able to break out of. I would like to say I like ELO without any sense of nostalgia. But my own obsession with the group would surely not be strong had I not discovered them in my own pre-critical period, when I was nine years old. I’m not sure if I heard ELO before The Beatles, but I certainly loved ELO first and bought all of their albums first. The first thing to notice about the Out of the Blue album cover is the ELO logo that used to look like a giant baroque neon jukebox, and, thanks to artist Shusei Nagaoka, has been transformed into a floating space station bearing the same lurid colors. The docking bay for the craft resembles an 8-track loading bay, clearly for receiving interstellar 8-tracks. (On more recent ELO albums, it looks like the loading slot for a CD.) Opening up the album reveals the type of detail-riddled, airbrushed space porn that definitely commanded my attention as a kid — the image a cross section of the interior of the spacecraft and androgynous figures in space suits (presumably the band members). Lynne had grown up fascinated with space, ever since Sputnik made its first orbit. With Star Wars released on May 25,1977, Out of the Blue’s sci-fi cover and general theme of space six months later surely couldn’t have hurt the record’s appeal. The group had a hugely successful, though very costly, world tour in 1978, ELO performing inside a giant space-

ship that naturally shot bright laser lights into the crowd. My favorite space orb to fixate on has always been Lynne’s gigantic head, impossibly big, thanks to that huge overgrown hedge of a dudefro he sports. “Space” is sonically symbolized through the use of fancy synthesizers throughout, and this is an album where credit for “special effects” is given to an engineer named Mack, who’s thanked for slaving “over a hot Mixer for 1,127 hours.” Of course, in ’70s stadium prog-rock, synthesizers meant power, spectacle and money. Weird, new sounds were coveted and created in a sort of space race between groups of ugly guys with long hair and ridiculous flowery silk shirts. On the record’s only instrumental track, the floaty space-yacht song “The Whale,” I guess we hear space whales. General critical consensus on ELO is almost non-existent since there’s so little written about them that’s not purely dismissive. The only solid writing on the album under discussion was on the I Love Music Web site. One of the first things to pop up after a “Jeff Lynne interview” Web search is some poor sap of an ELO fan on the message board for The Onion’s AV Club. He’s imploring the editors to assign somebody, anybody — though he mentions he’s a writer, too (and no, it wasn’t me) — to please, please interview Lynne. Thankfully, it’s not Lynne seeming to ache for such recognition, at least not publicly, unlike, say, Billy Joel. Lynne doesn’t seem too terrifically bothered by his place in music history. I found that guy’s note to The Onion — and the writing on all the ELO-themed sites on the Web — so geeky, in their fanboy approach. After all, in popular music, being an ELO fan is about the same thing as being into so-called “hard” science fiction in literature. So I was psyched when the band’s music started to crop up, for the most part, in films and commercials a few years ago — the notable watershed moment being the use of “Mr. Blue Sky” in the advertisements for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — a big change from the band’s music being used in the film Billy Madison several years earlier, in which ELO plays in the background during a scene showing a homicidal nerd still obsessed with high school 10 years later, implying that ELO is music for homicidal nerds still obsessed with high school. It could be time for Lynne and ELO to cease being a guily pleasure, and reclaim their rightful due as brave explorers of pop’s unknown frontiers.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

ART

WHERE ART NOUVEAU MEETS MANGA A talk with comic book artist Hushicho By Denise Sanabria Indie comics are currently experiencing a huge renaissance and accumulating respect for their artistic value. Once considered a “low” art form by the larger art world, work from this genre now demands exhibits in leading museums. Robert Crumb, the father of underground comics, is the first artist in this area whose drawings have commanded more than sixfigure earnings at auction. Students in art schools and university departments around the world today take the graphic-novel and comic genres very seriously and integrate elements, if not the entire discipline, into their work. Local comic book artist and professional illustrator Hushicho works with an unusual fusion of art forms once airily dismissed and refused acknowledgment as fine art. He has stylized his line drawing in the manner of Art Nouveau masters Aubrey Beardsley and Alphonse Mucha — both of whom were once decried as merely decorative — with just a tiny bit of the best of Manga, the muchbeloved Japanese style of comics art. His elegantly drawn characters live in languidly developed stories, based on both ancient Biblical and pagan mythologies. Knoxville Voice recently visited with Hushicho to discuss his work. KV: Do you consider yourself more of an illustrator or a comic book artist? H: I just say artist because I do so many things. I like to do illustrations for ads, and I like to do writing. I’ve published two novels so far and occasionally write articles for publications. I have a small studio where I do for-hire work. KV: When I look at your work, I can see this battle between Art Nouveau and Manga. H: I absolutely adore Art Nouveau. The first piece of art I ever fell in love with was by Alphonse Mucha. I think it is a real shame that Art Nouveau doesn’t get the attention it deserves in art history. I’ve also studied with some Japanese comic book artists — that was after I studied under an American one who was an inker. Japanese sequential art has a huge history that goes back for centuries. There is a lot of work that is seen in the West that are like archetypes, but there is also so much that is never seen by Americans that is really extraordinary, and there is no one, single style. It is really diverse.

KV: Where do you get your storylines? They aren’t like the classic American comic book “12-year-old boy fantasies,” about flying through the air and having powers and kicking someone’s butt who’s been picking on you.

H: I’m not sure — some of it can be erotic, but a lot of it is more sensual, and I think that is a distinction that has been lost in the modern world.

Hushicho often displays his work at Temple, Knoxville’s alternative dance night, where he also does his Tarot readings. His work is also online at www.hushicho.captainn.net.

H: Yes! And the girls with the huge hooters that defy gravity! In the 1990s, the idea of comics telling a deeper story really sort of hit. There were comics before then that were different and not all superheroes, but a lot of them were marginalized. Most of mine are based on traditional folklore or legend, but I try to give it my own personal twist. My Pandemonium Renaissance series is a leisurely paced comic adventure that is supposed to relax the reader. The premise is that what we know as hell is actually quite a nice place. But unfortunately, the last 2,000 years of PR have been very bad for their tourist industry. KV: No spandex, capes and violence? H: Oh, definitely not! KV: Tell me about your process and what media you use. H: I usually use a good stock of paper and a mechanical pencil for most of my basic sketches. I’ll set down the pencil, and it will be kind of rough, and then I’ll ink over it. I usually do colors on the computer with a graphics tablet. The individual strokes you use are like painting it. I have (the file) set to different layers. I’ll do, say, the hair on one layer, and other parts on another layer. If they were all on the same layer, they would interfere with each other too much. The graphics tablet, I’d say, is the best investment I’ve made. It’s an older one: a Graphire lll. I got it cheap — about $60. It was worth every penny. When I do work with actual paint, I use a lot of watercolors for wash. I really like watercolor pencils because they are so easy to use — and they are cheap, too, which is wonderful! KV: You also do Tarot readings. Have you ever wanted to design Tarot cards? H: Yes! I have wanted very much to do that, but I just haven’t found a good place to print them. One day, I will! KV: What would you say is the erotic level of some of your work?

Artwork provided by Hushicho.

Knoxville Voice 37


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

FILM

‘SON OF RAMBOW’ By Nick Huinker

What is it about a child’s mind that turns the countryside into a rolling symphony of righteous, invisible explosions when viewed through the window of a moving car? That turns a scarecrow at midday into a conniving foe, or a red necktie into a triumphant, bloody sweatband? Garth Jennings’ Son Of Rambow is the rare sort of film about children that manages to mine these details convincingly and put them to consistent use. Because its protagonists’ lives are at times uncomfortably real, imagination isn’t anything so simple as a momentary escape; it colors their behavior and emboldens them. Soon after we first meet Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner), his teacher dismisses him from class as it prepares to watch a documentary film. A member of the culture-resistant Christian Brethren sect, he is forbidden from watching television and, instead, sits in the hall filling a notebook with colorful sketches until a well-thrown tennis ball introduces him to the school’s resident ne’er-do-well Lee Carter (Will Poulter). The two tenuously hit it off — Will enticed by the novelties of secular childhood, Lee fumbling with the prospect of much-needed friendship. Later that afternoon, a bootleg of Sylvester Stallone’s First Blood becomes Will’s first and only taste of popular culture. The bootleg is Lee’s own work (on behalf of his brother/erstwhile guardian), shot with a spanking, bulky new VHS camcorder. (Among other things Rambow is, from its music and fashions to its style and sensibility, a graceful re-creation of mid-80s Britain.) But the camera serves another purpose in

FILM NOTES

Lee’s life, as he occupies his free time aspiring to a BBC contest for young filmmakers, and soon forces Will to be his star. (Such is the dynamic of their friendship, even as it evolves; Will himself is heartbreakingly eager to forsake his upbringing, but Lee’s Nelson Muntz complex keeps their relationship straddling a line between earnest affection and instinctive bullying.) And thus the fantasy-laden “Son Of Rambow” is born, first on Will’s page and then through Lee’s lens. Then, as one might expect, things begin to get in the way. High concept aside, Jennings and filmmaking partner Nick Goldsmith don’t seek to do too much more than celebrate the dra-

matic family comedy, and their smart script gets them most of the way there by itself; it’s alternately fanciful and melancholy, both dignified and freewheeling, never acknowledging these qualities too often stand at odds with each other. But it’s also fascinating in the ways it chooses to augment and undermine genre conventions: Though it’s clear, for instance, that the traditionalist Brethren are obstructing Will’s happiness, the film deigns to neither contrived malevolence nor apology. Why? Because that’s character, not plot. The same goes for Lee’s nascent kleptomania, and the bad influence it casts on Will. As they leave a store, ill-gotten wares nearly spilling

from their coats, we cringe for the impending reprisal, but none comes; why, after all, bend events for the sake of judgment? The film’s style is impressive in the same subdued way. There are scattered sequences animated to complement Will’s wandering imagination, and the bulk of the filmmaking scenes are tinged with gloriously cartoony physical humor. But despite their music video background and their cluttered, well-meant debut The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Jennings and Goldsmith (together known as Hammer & Tongs) generally imbue the rest of Son Of Rambow with a handsome, patient tone that persists even through a goofy French exchange student subplot and glorious bits of throwaway wit, turning what could have been merely cutesy and indulgent into something far more accomplished. As for the boys’ movie? It’s to Hammer & Tongs’ further credit the novelty of their filmwithin-a-film settles comfortably into the backseat once the story draws us in, and it’s in this sense in particular Rambow tops fellow MTV escapee Michel Gondry’s vexing but similarly conceived Be Kind Rewind. Both are about friendship, fictions, collaboration and democratized expression, but Rewind was all concept, blindsiding its audience with a careless, inept frame for VHS shenanigans; with Rambow, the delicately gangly British boy playing “Rambow” might put people in the seats, but what’ll keep them there is one of the most charming, worthy family films in recent memory. Son of Rambow opens May 23 at Regal Downtown West.

By Eric Dawson dawson@knoxvoice.com

‘REDBELT’ David Mamet has gotten more press over his recent muddleheaded Village Voice essay renouncing liberalism (If you haven’t yet read it, Eric Shulte’s biting point-by-point critique at Rutlessreviews.com is the least tedious way to take it all in.) than his new film Redbelt, and it was difficult to walk into the theater without this in mind. But I’ve enjoyed most every Mamet film to varying degrees, so it was easy enough to be relatively hopeful about his new one, even given the writer-director’s newfound enthusiasm for free-market economics. It’s unfortunate, then, that what Mamet has served up in his tale of beleaguered urban jujitsu instructor Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a convolutedly contrived moralistic tale that reinforces (wittingly or not) the neo-con 38 Knoxville Voice

belief that when reason and diplomacy fail, nothing is left but to kick a little ass. The surface of the film is enjoyable enough, possessing a good deal of suspense and great performances throughout. Much of the pleasure in a Mamet play or film lies in the tension bubbling under the surface from the opening scene on, building and building until it finally explodes all over the characters and audience. There’s bound to be trouble brewing, and we’re never exactly sure from where it will come. Will it be from the a-little-too-intense cop who studies jujitsu under Terry (Max Martini); Terry’s frustrated, hot-tempered wife (Alice Braga) and her shifty brothers; the alcoholic movie star (Tim Allen) and his manager (Joe Mantenga) and wife (Rebecca Pidgeon) who recently befriended Terry; the

nervous, drug-addicted lawyer who wanders into Terry’s studio (Emily Mortimer); or some combination of the aforementioned? Whoever turns out to be the baddie, we’re never left in doubt Terry’s moral character — thanks to the code of jujitsu — is beyond reproach. Normally in a Mamet drama, everyone is tainted at least a little, and generally a lot. It’s a big part of what makes his dialogue and plots relevant and fun. In Terry, though, he’s created a man who stands alone in an ever-widening morass of corruptness and, in the process, has created his most cartoonish character yet. Speaking of cartoonish, the grand finale is as far-fetched as anything found in Iron Man, and in fact, that superhero’s troubled alterego was much more believable and interesting

than Terry’s Rocky Balboa-cum-Terry Malloy (I have to assume Mamet named his protagonist in homage to Marlon Brando’s character in On the Waterfront, so similar are the two films’ dilemmas and resolutions). Redbelt ultimately feels like Mamet’s take on the simplistic moral dramas of summer blockbuster fare — a stab at playing the same game as the big boys. He’s succeeded remarkably well, and like most of those Hollywood films he loves to deride, Redbelt is slight and forgettable.


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

FUNNY HAHA!

A MODEST PROPOSAL TOWARD A MORE RATIONAL RELIGION By Scott McNutt

A while back on a local discussion board, someone proposed forming a church of fundamental humility and inquisitiveness, whose evangelism would consist of asking people what they thought about stuff. So taken with the concept was I that I’ve decided to resurrect it — with just teensy tweaking and fleshing out. What follows is my modest proposal for the formation of a church whose beliefs and practices would conform entirely with those of the United States of America’s military rules of interrogation. It would be called the Church of Rational Inquiry for Truth (adherents would be called CRITters for short). The Church of Rational Inquiry for Truth would be dedicated to the quest for the True Truth, naturally. We’d ferret out the Truth, no matter where It was and no matter who was hiding It. All CRITters would do is ask questions of people. We’d calmly ask rational questions of anyone whom we suspected of harboring Truth. If those suspects provided us with answers we believed were half-Truths or unTruths, we’d ask them some more rational questions — still calmly, but more forcefully. Our Pastors of Gentle Persuasion might, for instance, strap the unTruthers tightly into chairs in contorted, perhaps even painful, positions, and say to them in very even tones, “Tell us the Truth.” And if the unTruthers still refused to be Truthful, we would use even more persuasive techniques to squeeze the Truth out of them. We would do this not because we derived any

pleasure out of causing pain to the unTruthers, you understand, but only because we were dedicated to finding the Truth. But anyway, Our Deacons of Diligent Inquiry would have to force the unTruthers to stand naked on one foot in a dark, cold, wet cell for up to 72 hours without food or water, periodically telling them, “Tell us the Truth,” until, at last, the Truth was told. At this point, we might even believe they had given us the Truth. But if we believed they had told us only a small “t” truth, or that they had maybe told us the Truth, but not enough of the Truth, we would even resort to still more forceful measures. And we’d only do this with great sadness, not because we wished ill on these pitiful unTruthers or because we took joy in their misery, but because the higher cause of seeking the Truth sometimes requires extreme measures. So our Bishops of Really Forceful Inquiry would repeatedly hold the unTruthers heads’ underwater for up to two minutes at a time to be sure we had the real, unadulterated Truth. Of course, after the unTruthers converted and became Truthful, we’d still have to test their faith. You follow that, don’t you? The unTruthers have been unTruthful in the past. We must take care that there is no backsliding. So to be sure that the Truth the converts had provided was actually True, our Archbishop of Actively Ensuring the Truth would take our new converts’ families to an isolated place and, over closed-circuit TV, threaten

to execute their families and even pretend to do so off-camera. That way, we’d ensure the Truth they had told us was, in fact, the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth. Of course, if our Pope of Pure Truth had doubts about the converts’ sincerity after this, we might, in very rare circumstances, stage actual executions of a convert’s family. We would hate that they’d forced us to this extreme, but what else could we do? The Truth must be known. So we’d execute their families. And then we’d be satisfied. We’d have to deal with splinter groups, of course; every religion has them. There would be those who would claim that the search for Truth cannot be constrained by concerns for mere decency, and that any and all measures, including torture, must be allowable in pursuit of the Truth. They’d give themselves some noble-sounding name, like the Church of the Thorny Crown of Absolute Truth, Inc., to make themselves appear more reasonable and their methods more palatable. But we True CRITters would know that they were wrong, and we would denounce their methods as barbaric. We’d tell them there was a line, a humane line, and that they’d crossed it. All the while, we’d still love our splinter CRITters and their quest for Truth, misguided, though, it was. And such would be our love for our misguided fellow CRITters that we would use only humane methods, like brainwashing, to return them to the True path of Truth. Then there would be those who would

deny and denounce us, saying that the True God was a God of love. Their God, they’d say, would never countenance the methods we used in our search for the Truth. They’d say Jesus would tell us that if a man struck you upon the cheek, to turn the other one to him. They’d say Jesus would tell us to love our enemies as our brothers. They would say, “Ask yourself, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’” However, through the doctrines of the Church of the Rational Inquiry for Truth, we’d already know the Truth about Jesus: that he’d brought, not peace to Earth, but a sword, to fulfill his mission. He — Jesus, that is — says so himself, right in Matthew 10:34. Jesus, we’d be confident, would approve our mission, too. So when the deniers and denouncers asked us “What Would Jesus Do?” We’d tell them “He’d hold our iPods for us while we stoned this guy. Not to death, that would be wrong — but he’d hold our iPods while we stoned this guy to Truth.” And that’s the TRUTH. So help me, God.

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HAPPENINGS 2 FOOT YARD FRIDAY, MAY 23 PILOT LIGHT (106 E. JACKSON AVE.) 9 P.M. / $8 Boasting an impressive résumé working with the illustrious likes of Tom Waits, Phillip Glass, Eugene Chadborne and Mr. Bungle, as well as maintaining membership in Tin Hat Trio, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and Book of Knots, Bay Area violinist Carla Kihlstedt steps out to the front in 2 Foot Yard. Joining Kihlstedt is Marika Hughes on cello, and Shahzad Ismaily taking both percussion and guitar duties. The band’s 2003 release on John Zorn’s Tzadik label brought a batch of rave reviews, and the new CD Borrowed Arms continues the eclectic musicality found in their debut. Despite Kihlstedt and company’s avant-garde pedigree, 2 Foot Yard’s music is a wholly accessible and enjoyable amalgam of folk, jazz and pop elements, with a touch of cabaret thrown in. Kihlstedt has a lovely, inviting voice, and her violin playing brings an Eastern European folk feel to many tunes. Live, the trio are gregarious and loads of fun, obviously enjoying the music they make and the pretty sweet gig they have. (Eric Dawson)

FOREVER YOUNG: BOB DYLAN’S BIRTHDAY BASH SATURDAY, MAY 24 WORLD’S FAIR PARK AMPHITHEATER 7 P.M. $15 DONATION TO COMMUNITY SHARES Lordy, lordy, Dylan’s… 68?! The unwashed phenomenon, the original vagabond, is knocking on 70’s door, and some local musicians are celebrating the day that gave us Minnesotan Robert Allen Zimmerman, known to the world as Bob Dylan (but you can call him Zimmy). The fourth annual event, co-hosted this year by the honorable Bob Deck and the venerable Todd Steed, will see performances by the Carawan Family, the Lonetones, Maggie Longmire, the Detroit Daddies, Dead Flowers, Greg Horne, Steves Horton and Dupree, and Steed and the Suns of Phere. Each act will perform Dylan songs for 20 to 30 minutes, with no songs to be repeated. The man’s catalogue is deep enough to facilitate that, but it’s going to be a long night, so I hope there’s no fighting over who has to perform “Wiggle Wiggle” or “Woogie Boogie.” All proceeds will go to Community Shares of Knoxville. (E.D.)

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THE ACTOR’S CO-OP PRESENTS MARAT/SADE THURSDAY, MAY 15 — SATURDAY, MAY 17 IRONWOOD STUDIOS (119 JENNINGS ST.) 8 P.M. / $10-$15 This is the final weekend to catch the Actor’s Co-op presentation of Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade,” under the direction of Coop artistic director Amy Hubbard. The 1963 play — originally in German and presented here in the Geoffery Skelton English translation — takes place within a French asylum, just after the French Revolution. The rascally Marquis de Sade, a guest of the asylum, stages a play about the Revolution that culminates in the death of Citizen JeanPaul Marat, using the inmates as actors and the nurses as assistants. Inspired by de Sade’s true-life imprisonment in Charenton Asylum, where the head doctor allowed him to stage performances, the play is a confrontational affair in the manner of the theater of Bertolt Brecht or Antonin Artuad, and has been known to outrage and offend audiences. Though it probably won’t seem as radical to today’s audiences, the play still packs quite a punch with its exploration of class, politics, violence and individual free will. And if you’re in the right frame of mind, it even has a few laughs. (E.D.)


HAPPENINGS NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS W/ ALVIN YOUNGBLOOD & ARTVANDALAY THURSDAY, MAY 15 SUNDOWN IN THE CITY ON MARKET SQUARE 6 P.M. / FREE Aptly named North Mississippi Allstars actually hail from North Mississippi. Hernando, Miss., to be specific, located in DeSoto County on the northern border of the state. Hernando is so far north, it’s sometimes considered a suburb of Memphis. So the North Mississippi part of their name makes sense. The Allstar part is still a work in progress, though increasingly less so. The band formed in 1996, composed of brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson (sons of legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson), Duwayne Burnside (son of legendary Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside) and Chris Chew (of the Chews of Charleston?). Burnside is no longer with the band, but the remaining three carry on, touring all over the East Coast this year. Their most recent album, Hernando, garnered high praise from Rolling Stone, the New York Times and other esteemed periodicals. The threesome certainly sound like they were born and raised in a border town. They display an unlikely combination of blues and rock — unlikely not because it’s never been done (It has. Oh, how it has.), but because it’s never been done quite like this. It’s dirty and civilized, polished and improvised. Sometimes all the fun is in the contradiction. Head to Sundown this Thursday, drink a few beers and, as the Allstars themselves say, “Shake What Yo Mama Gave You.” (Lisa Slade)

playing May 18, it’s likely to be sullied with the presence of alcohol and mad music. But that’s not the point. It’s a community space to promote local art and bring people together through diverse events like these in the Old City, while having fun and creating a good story to tell around the coffee pot Monday morning. At the weekly Drunk Brunch Cookouts, Host will grill food and spin records to the backdrop of chess tournaments, card games, dominoes, Twister and Pete Hoffecker’s Tetris projections on the big screen. Bring your favorite game or roll up your sleeves and see if you can contort your body on the Twister mat or count the dots on the dominoes after a couple of hours at the space. And for those with a vendetta, Host will offer Voodoo Doll workshops in June (and who doesn’t have a special someone whose likeness they want to stab with needles? I know who mine is! And I can imagine a person or two who might want to stab me.) Sonja Foard will teach the classes, and space is limited, so preliminary registration is now underway. Visit the Host space or e-mail hostclothing@ yahoo.com to become your own voodoo priestess. (Elizabeth Wright)

DR. RALPH STANLEY AND THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS FRIDAY, MAY 16 WORLD GROTTO (16 MARKET SQUARE) 8 P.M. / $60 You all know this guy. After more than 60 years in the game, bluegrass innovator and national treasure Ralph Stanley still maintains a pretty impressive tour schedule, and Knoxville is lucky enough to have him stop by with some regularity. This time, the good Doctor brings his banjo to the subterranean paper-mâché caves of World Grotto. Gotta say that seems like a weird fit, but he’s played all kinds of venues all over the world, and I’m sure he’s smelled his fair share of patchouli. (E.D.)

DRUNK BRUNCH COOKOUTS EVERY SUNDAY, STARTING MAY 18 HOST CLOTHING (106 A W. JACKSON AVE.) 2 P.M. / FREE VOODOO DOLL WORKSHOPS JUNE DATES, COST TBA HOST CLOTHING (106 A W. JACKSON AVE.) The Host Clothing set isn’t typically known for its wholesomeness. Although the art studio and store is hosting (Haha!) a series of Sunday afternoon cookouts and game-

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CALENDAR ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Thursday, May 15 • Mad Tea Party / Colin Grant Adams (twin bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • North Mississippi All Stars with Alvin Youngblood Hart and artvandalay / Market Square / 6pm / Free • Mike Doughty / Pilot Light / 9pm / $14 • Chillbillies / Wild Wing Café / 10pm • Divorce with The Cheat / Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria / 10pm • Groove Therapy / Downtown Grill & Brewery / 10pm • Jaystorm with Jackson Mohr / Hanna’s Old City / 10pm • Mad Tea Party / Preservation Pub / 10pm • Sam Lewis / Downtown Grill & Brewery / 10pm

Friday, May 16 • Kitty Wampus / Calhoun’s on the River / 7pm • Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson’s annual Ladies only Garage Party / 7-10pm / Free • Fierce Embrace with Teriffic Kid and Solar Ghost / Prince Deli / 8pm • Music Therapy / Time Warp Tea Room / 8pm / Free • Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys / World Grotto / 8pm / $60 • Appetite for Destruction with The American Plague / The Valarium / 9pm / $8 / 18+ • Indian Jewelry / Pilot Light / 9pm / $5 • Melanie Hayes and the Meltones / Bistro / 9pm / Free • Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors / Big Daddy’s / 9pm • Stock Creek / Oskie’s Sports Bar and Grill / 9pm • The Quorum / Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant / Free • Pistol Creek Catch of the Day / Tomato Head / 9:30pm / $5 • Garage Deluxe / Downtown Grill & Brewery / 10pm • Matt Woods / Manhattan’s Bistro and Oyster Bar / 10pm • Retroholics / Ray’s Entertainment Sports Grill / 10pm / $3 • Rose and Rhodes / Downtown Grill & Brewery / 10pm • Simplified / Wild Wing Café / 10pm • Beeswax / Longbranch Saloon / $5

Saturday, May 17 • The Shed High Life Series featuring Kincaid / The Shed / 8 pm / Free • Bombadil / Time Warp Tea Room / 8pm • Third Grade Haters with The Grand Parade and Vinyl Season / Prince Deli / 8pm • Kitty Wampus / Coyote Joe’s / 9pm • The Quorum / Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant / 9pm / Free • Wesley Lunsford Trio / Bistro / 9pm / Free • WUTK 90.3 The Rock presents Down from Up with Thoroughfare and The • Amend / The Valarium / 9pm / $7; $5 with College ID 42 Knoxville Voice

• The Accidentals / Sassy Ann’s House of Blues / 9:30pm / $5 • Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors / Paul’s Oasis / 9:30pm / Free • Bucktown Kickbacks / Preservation Pub / 10pm • Departure / Wild Wing Café /10pm • Melanie Hayes and the Meltones / Downtown Grill & Brewery • Neesee Hurst / Downtown Grill & Brewery / 10pm • Multi-Bob / Ray’s Entertainment Sports Grill / 10pm / $3 • Natti Love Joys / World Grotto / 10pm

Sunday, May 25

Sunday, May 18

• Luego / Centralia Massacre (twin bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • HURT with Course of Nature / The Valarium / 8pm / $10 • The Cheat with Jeff and Meemaw / Pilot Light / $5

• Robinella / Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria / 8pm • TBA with Peaking Lights / The Birdhouse / 8pm

Monday, May 19 • Billy Smith/ Rocky Alvey/Lani Nash (triple bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • Wade Hill / Robert Lovett / Aubrey’s Maryville / 7-10pm / No Cover / Weather Permitting

Tuesday, May 20 •Chris O’Brien and Chuck E. Costa / Jeff and Vida (twin bill) /WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • The Graceful Failures / Downtown Grill & Brewery / 9pm / Free • Lymbic System / Pilot Light / 9pm / $6

Wednesday, May 21 •Llama Train / Kelle Jolly and Friends (twin bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free

• The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra / Grove Theater Oak Ridge / 3pm • Doug Harris Band / Coyote Joe’s / 4pm

Three Flights Up Gallery • Bryan Allen, Alice Carroll, Julie Carroll, Liz Howell, Jeanie Humphrey, Steven Lareau, Gayla Seale, Kimberly Pack and Katy Smith / Through May 30

Monday, May 26 • Jon Worley / Ganasita (twin bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • Wade Hill / Robert Lovett / Aubrey’s Maryville / 7-10pm / No Cover / Weather Permitting • Relay for Life Benefit featuring Cutthroat Shamrock / Hard Rock Café Gatlinburg / 9pm / Donations Accepted

Tuesday, May 27

Wednesday, May 28 • The Biscuit Burners / Arlo Finch (twin bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • Wade Hill with Robert Lovett and Terry Phil lips / Oskie’s / 9pm / No Cover • Over the Rhine with Mary Gauthier / Bijou Theatre

Thursday, May 29 • John Myers / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • Robert Earl Keane with The Dirty Guv’nahs / Market Square / 6pm / Free • Sin Ropas with Blake/e/e/e & mdwy / Pilot Light / 9pm / $6

UT Downtown Gallery • “Air Box” by Dong-yong Lee / Through May 28

OTHER PERFORMANCES Friday, May 16 • Music Spring Festival / Market Square • The Princess and the Pauper / The Emporium Center for Arts & Culture • 107.7 WIVK Rocky-Top Power Pull / Chilhowee Park • InSight – Circle Modern Dance will Soar like never before / Bijou Theatre

Saturday, May 17 • Get Outdoors Festival / World’s Fair Park • Interfaith Clinic 2008 Mash Bash / Knoxville Convention Center • The Trip to Bountiful / Theatre Knoxville Downtown • InSight – Circle Modern Dance will Soar like never before / Bijou Theatre

Saturday, May 24

• Boogie Down Baby / Knoxville Food and Drink / $15 balcony, $20 orchestra

Thursday, May 22 • Doug Hoekstra / Cuttthroat Shamrock (twin bill) / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • Presidents of the United States of America with Cutthroat Shamrock / Market Square / 6pm / Free • Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: Virtuoso Paganini / Tennessee Theatre / 8pm / $19 $78; $10 student

Friday, May 23 •2 Foot Yard / WDVX Studio / 12pm / Free • Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: Virtuoso Paganini / Tennessee Theatre / 8pm / $19 $78; $10 student • 2 Foot Yard / Pilot Light / 9pm / $8 • Ricochet with The Retroholics / The Valarium / 9pm / $10 • Wade Hill with Robert Lovett / Blue Chips / 9pm / No Cover / 21+ • Melanie Hayes & The Meltones / Tomato Head, Maryville / 9:30-11:30 / $5

Saturday, May 24

• Forever Young: Bob Dylan’s Birthday Bash / World’s Fair Ampitheather / 7-11:30pm / $15 • The Shed High Life Series featuring Blue Mother Tupelo with TWest Band / The Shed / 7:30 PM / Free

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES A1 ArtSpace • The Mad Member’s Show / Through May 16 / 7-10 pm Basement Gallery • Slow Turn Tight Loop Long Life / Through May16 The Emporium Center • 2008 Members Exhibit / Through May 29 Knoxville Museum of Art • Michael Light: 100 Suns / Through June 1 • From East Tennessee & Beyond / Ongoing • Thorne Rooms / Ongoing Mighty Mud • Spring Open House May 31 / 12- 9pm Old City Java • “Verdant,” prints by Kari Holden Through May • “Between a Rock and a Soft Place,” photo graphs by Alan Finch Through May

A& E Calendar Submissions Send to mcnulty@knoxvoice.com


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Knoxville Voice 43


CALENDAR Community Calendar Submissions E-mail potential entries to community@knoxvoice.com or via mail at 402 S. Gay St., Ste. 202, Knoxville, TN 37902. Entries must be received Friday prior to publication.

COMMUNITY Thursday, May 15 to Thursday, May 22 Free Outdoor Basketball Leagues for adults and high school students / Hosted by City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department / Games will be self-officiated / Tuesdays and Thursdays / 6 pm to 8 pm / Harriet Tubman Park and Lonsdale Park / Day-of-registration will be available / For more information, call Vincent Brown at 215-1409

Thursday, May 15 to June 4 Ridgedale Baptist Church VBS Registration / More than 18 classes and sports for children to choose from / VBS begins June 4 and ends July 18, Wednesday nights 6:30 pm to 8 pm / Visit www. ridgedale.org for more information

Thursday, May 15 Knox Heritage “Fragile 15” announcement / A list of places and properties to develop preservation strategies for Knox County’s most endangered / 11 am / Lones-Dowell House / 6341 Middlebrook Pike Regional Senior Summit / Workshops designed to empower and educate seniors / 8:30 am to 4 pm / Knoxville Expo Center / 5441 Clinton Highway / Free

Friday, May 16 Go Red For Women Luncheon by American Heart Association / Educational sessions, health screenings and keynote speaker Ryan Kelley, Mrs. Tennessee 2006 and contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser / Sessions at 9:30 am, Luncheon at 12 pm / Downtown Knoxville Marriott / $40 / For payment and information, call 212-6500 and visit www.goredforwomen.org Introduction to the Miracle Energy Channels and Self-Healing Techniques / Introduction to the

44 Knoxville Voice

powerful ancient Vedic path for awakening supernatural healing and soul capabilities to protect yourself from negativity in hectic, modern world / 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm / Carpe Librum Booksellers / 5113A Kingston Pike / Free (donations accepted) Contact 233-0022 or kim@ecotera.com

Friday May 16 and Saturday, May 17 Spring Cherokee Rod Run / Breathtaking drive through Blue Ridge Parkway with $15,000 in prizes, entertainment by Jeff “Hoss” Howard and family fun / 9 am to 5 pm daily / Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds / Concert 6 pm Friday at Fair Grounds Amphitheater / For more information call 1-800-438-1601 or visit www.cherokee-nc.com

Saturday, May 17 East Tennessee Border Collie Rescue / Animals are available for adopting or fostering / 10:30 am to 1 pm / Agri Feed Pet Supply / 5716 Middlebrook Pike Get Outdoors Bike Ride / 2008 Knoxville By Cycle summer bike ride kick-off / 10 am / Meet at World’s Fair Park Get Outdoors Festival / The largest event in the region for outdoor enthusiasts, athletes and families who want to discover new ways to get fit and have fun / Swap meet, demonstrations, activities and live music / 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. / World’s Fair Park / Free / Call 215-6607 for more information M*A*S*H Bash fundraiser for InterFaith Health Clinic / Activities for all ages with proceeds to provide patient care / Knoxville Convention Center / 7 pm to 11 pm / $75 / For more information contact Nina Bowling at 546-7330 or interfaithhealthclinic.org Neighborhood Trolley Tour of Fountain City / Knox Heritage and Knoxville Junior League feature history and notable places in Fountain City / 10 am and 1 pm / $10 for Knox Heritage members, $15 for general public / Call 523-8008 for tickets and departure location Small Breed Rescue / Animals are available for adopting or fostering / 1:30 pm to 4 pm / Agri Feed Pet Supply / 5716 Middlebrook Pike

“What Great Thing Can Patches Do?” / Local author Sharon K. Mitchell will talk about her children’s book with books available for sale and signing / 2 pm / Blount County Public Library / Sharon Lawson Room / Maryville

influencing health care change in the United States and Tennessee / 7 pm to 8:30 pm / Church of the Savior / 934 N. Weisgarber Rd. / For more information, contact Greg Williams 423-726-2495 or gwilliams@thcc2.org

Sunday, May 18

Friday, May 23

Inaugural 10-Year celebration of Alex Haley statue and Haley Heritage Square / With speakers, storytellers, poets, fish fry and special guest Louis Gossett, Jr. / 3 pm to 6 pm / Haley Heritage Square / 1600 Dandridge Ave. / For more information, call 546-9705

UT Gardens Fundraising Event / Aguamar Secret Garden Party hosted by Tom Boyd and Sandi Burdick / 6 pm to 8 pm / Directions provided upon payment for reservation / $50 / To reserve a ticket, visit www.friendsoftheutgardens.org

Satsang and Energy Healing Session / An afternoon of relaxation, experience of Divine healing energy and spiritual sharing of a new ancient path / 2 pm to 3:30 pm / 2486 Topside Rd, Louisville / $25 / Contact 233-0022 or kim@ecotera.com to RSVP and receive directions

Community Celebration Bash / Hosted by Shora Foundation to bring awareness to teens on issues including sex education, substance abuse, voting registration, employment and more / 11 am to 4 pm / Metro Village Market / Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. / For more information, contact Tamika Harper at 292-4575

Strawberry Fields Farm Tour / Taking Knoxville to strawberry and sustainable animal farms for the first of the To the Source Farm Tours / 12 pm to 6:30 pm / Leaves Market Square at noon / For more information contact Charlotte Tolley at charlottetolley@hotmail.com or 405-3135

Tuesday, May 20 BIG GIVE for African American Appalachian Art’s Kuumba Festival 2008 / To raise $45,000 necessary for vital cultural program / 5 pm to 8 pm / Emporium Arts / 100 S. Gay St. / For more information, contact Chioma Adaku at 615-738-8119 Women in Black Sixth Anniversary Observance / Standing for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine / Observance at noon, silent walk to Krutch Park at 12:20 pm followed by short program with music by Guy and Candie Carawan / Corner of Locust St. and Cumberland Ave. / In memory of Peggy and Ramsey Harb / For more information, call Carol Nickle at 637-6258x202 or Mary Harb at 977-0630

Thursday, May 22 Tennessee Health Care Campaign Local Organizing Group meeting / To discuss annual meeting June 21 in Nashville, house parties and

Saturday, May 24

Grreat Dogs Rescue / Animals are available for adopting or fostering / 11 am to 2 pm / Agri Feed Pet Supply / 5716 Middlebrook Pike Ridgedale Baptist Church Yard Sale / To benefit youth mission trip / 8 am to 4 pm / Ridgedale Baptist Church / 5632 Nickle Rd

Wednesday, May 28 to Saturday, May 31 11th Annual Milk Mustache Mobile Tour / Record a 30-second video explaining why a mom you know should be rewarded for keeping family fit and named America’s Chief Health Officer with own Milk Mustache Ad / Or upload a video entry or 50-word essay at Whymilk.com by Sept. 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29 Stroke Awareness Month event / Learn about survivor Melissa Miller’s experience, receive answers to questions and watch demonstrations of rehabilitation technology / 4 pm to 6:30 pm / National Neuro Center / 11440 Parkside Drive / Suite 301 / For more information, visit nationalneuro.com

Saturday, May 31 Italian Story Hour / Bilingual stories and crafts for interested children presented by community

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CALENDAR volunteers / 3 pm / Blount County Public Library / Maryville / Please call library to verify hours

Knoxville Green Party Business Meetings / First Monday of each month / 6:30 pm / Sunspot / 1909 Cumberland Avenue / For more information, contact 523-6775 or www.knoxgreenparty.org Knoxville Green Party Open Discussion Group / Third Sunday of each month / 2 pm / Golden Roast / Melrose Place / For more information, visit www. knoxgreenparty.org

East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition monthly meetings / Learn about growing availability of biofuels, biodiesel and ethanol and how they can help your community and your country / Second Thursday of each month / 11 am to 1 pm / Copper Cellar / Cumberland Avenue / For more information, contact 974-1880 or visit www.etcleanfuels.org

Teen Summer Reading Program sign-ups begin / Teens read books from May 31 to July 27 and win prizes in weekly drawings and a grand finale prize of $70 Visa gift card / 9 am to 5:30 pm / Blount County Public Library / Maryville

New Thoughts Knoxville / Celebrating life through science of the mind / Meet every Sunday / 10:30 am / Free / Laurel Theater / Corner of 16th St. and Laurel Ave. / For more information, contact 524-5858 or www.rsok.org

Knoxville’s Green Drinks Gathering / Join the environmental elite for “Green Drinks” at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria to discuss current issues and network / First Thursday of each month / 5 pm / For more information, visit www.greendrinks.com

Ongoing

People for Peace Demonstrations / Against the War in Iraq, proclaiming that “peace is patriotic” / Summer schedule starts May 18, 9 am to 1 pm / Corner of Kingston Pike and Concord Street near UT / For more information, contact Bob 546-5643 or grimac@DiscoverET.org

Spontaneous Choreography/Community Process / Improvisational dance workshop with Angela Hill / 1 pm to 4 pm / The Emporium Annex / 100 S. Gay St. / $30 or $20 if register by May 24 / For more information or to register, contact venturedance@ gmail.com or 678-2748

Downtown Speakers / Meet every Monday 11:45 am to 12:30 pm (no holidays) / TVA West Tower / 400 W. Summit Hill Drive / 9th floor Conference Room / Contact Steve Allen at 254-6851 for more information First Friday / Gallery Walk through downtown / First Friday of every month / 5 pm to 9 pm / For more information call Scott Schimmel at 256-2469 Fountain City Toastmasters / Meet every first and third Thursdays / All are welcome / 6:50 pm / Wallace Memorial Baptist Church / 701 Merchant Drive / For more information, contact Julia at jrintn05@hotmail.com Great Smoky Mountain Toastmasters / Meet every Monday at 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm / Hiwassee College / Rymer Building / Contact Grant Fetters at 423-442-3731 for more information Jack the Ripper Discussion Group / Serious discussion of the Whitechapel murders of 1888 / Second Thursday of each month / Time Warp Tea Room / E-mail ripperconference@gmail.com for more information and current topic

Planet Kundalini / Love donation Kundalini Yoga gatherings / Raise your energy, feel the love, drink tea, chant and be happy! / Monday nights / 7:15 pm / Fairbanks / Homberg Place The Resource Valley Raconteurs / Meet at the Pellissippi State Hardin Valley Road campus every 1st and 3rd Monday / 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm / Faculty Staff Dining Room in the Goins Building Cafeteria / Contact Sharon Burlingame at 694-6588 for more information

Tuesday, May 20 City Council meeting / 7 pm / City County Building / Main Assembly Room

Tuesday, May 27 Knox County Commission meeting / 5 pm / City County Building / Main Assembly Room

GOVERNMENT Thursday, May 15 Public meeting to discuss Public Art Task Force recommendations / 2 pm / City County Building / Small Assembly Room

Monday, May 19 County Commission Intergovernmental Committee meeting / 8:30 am / City County Building / Main Assembly Room

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County Commission Finance Committee meeting / 10 am / City County Building / Main Assembly Room

ENVIRONMENT Ongoing Critical Mass Ride / A monthly bicycle ride celebrating cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road / Last Friday of each month / Riders gather below the Sunsphere at 5:30 pm / For more information, e-mail bicyclebill1068@yahoo.com

od ate go r b e l e k to c & drin food Miller Mondays - $2 Miller Lite and High Life from 7:00-9:00 with games & free goodies from Miller. Tuesdays - $2 ALL Drafts Wednesdays - Half-price bottles of wine ONE BLOCK SOUTH OF CUMBERLAND AVE. (NEXT TO UT)

Drink specials from 9pm til close Mon: $2 import drafts Tue: $1.50 domestic pints Wed: $2.25 import bottles, $1.50 PBR tallboys Thu: $1.50 domestic bottles ALL DAY/EVERYDAY: $5 NATTY PITCHERS, $3.50 JAGER/GOLD/RUMPLE SHOTS!!!!

Mon-Sat - 11am - 3am, Sun 1030am - 3 am • 637-GOOD • 1909 Cumberland Ave

Knoxville Voice 45


TWO WEEKS OF ADVERTISING FOR LESS! Private Party Ads: Up to 6 lines for $10; $2 for each additional line. Commercial Ads: Up to 6 lines for only $20; $4 for each additional line

PLACING AN AD PHONE GEOFF MCNULTY AT 865-522-8684 ext. 09 (9am-5pm M-F)

CLASSIFIEDS BUY SELL TRADE Ready for Summer? Buy a waterski!. O’Brien 890 World Team Comp Series M-XL slalom waterski, 167cm.Aerospace Aluminum Top, Kevlar Dampening. Lightly used.Contact mysteryd8@ gmail.com. Best offer. Garage sale. Saturday, May 17, 2008. 8am12pm. 1512 Foolish Pleasure Lane, 37931.

GOODS AND SERVICES Protect yourself from identity theft. Continuous credit monitoring, fraud-alert notifications and identity restoration. Don’t wait until it happens - enroll and get peace-of-mind today. Crystal Stinson (865) 250-4508

EMAIL: mcnulty@knoxvoice.com

Have your birthday, graduation or bachelor party @ Versus. We provide live Xbox 360’s, Wii’s, PS3’s, games, stage & sound system. vsknoxville@gmail.com or myspace.com/ vsknoxville 865-246-4960

DROP-OFF: Ads can be placed in person at our downtown office (402 S. Gay St., Ste. 202 above Mast General Store) — ask for Geoff

Two adorable boxer mix 8 week old puppies, playful, healthy and CUTE need a home separately or together ASAP will deliver. Call Jeanne at 428-0389 or 805-8834 or email jeannetredup@charter.net

FAX: 865-522-8720

PAYMENT & POLICIES Knoxville Voice accepts cash, money orders, VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. All ads must be pre-paid. We reserve the right to reject, edit, or reclassify any advertisement. We are not responsible for the failure to run an ad or for errors in the text except to the extent of the cost of the first insertion. No refunds, in-house credits only. All cancelled advertising will be charged at the short rate. We run personals, but we do not accept adult classified ads.

NOW HIRING Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders needs P/T Delivery drivers. Day/Night. Call 769-9005 Paul’s Oasis hiring P/T experienced bartender. Will also serve tables on the floor Apply in person at Paul’s Oasis 8021 Kingston Pike, Knoxville (865) 690-9388

HOMES FOR RENT FOR RENT. HUGE 2 br, 1.5 bath townhouses with private decks. Less than 5 minutes to downtown/UT, close to all hospitals. Move-in special. Call 300-9898 to inquire. 46 Knoxville Voice

MEET HOT SINGLES! Connect discreetly by phone. www.acmedating.com Use adcode 2822. 18+ CALL 865-588-0020 HOST CLOTHING 105A W. Jackson Ave. Are you interested in metaprogramming and/or forming a paramilitary unit? If so, call 865-633-8840. A NEW PET? Let Kreature Komfort help. Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Days-Evenings-Weekends. Lic, ins, 865-385-8483. www.kreaturekomfort.com

MUSICIANS ATTENTION SINGER/SONGWRITERS: Big Mama’s Digital Entertainment is searching for new artists. Have your music showcased on TV and online for everyone to see anytime! Big Mama’s Venue features the best audio, lighting and video production in the region. If you think you have got what it takes we want to see and hear you! Free DVD of your performance! Limited slots available! Sign up now! www.bigmamasunplugged.com ATTENTION BANDS!!! Submit your electronic press kits to Brad Hasting at Big Mamas Digital Entertainment via email to bhasting@ tnpro.com for bookings. ATTENTION BANDS! Big Mama’s Digital Entertainment is searching for new bands. Have your music showcased on TV and online for everyone to see anytime! Big Mama’s Venue features the best audio, lighting and video production in the region! If you think you have got what it takes we want to see and hear you! Free DVD of your performance! Limited slots available! Sign up now! www.knoxrocks.tv Watch Knox Rocks.TV every Saturday night on MyVLT at 11:30 p.m. (channel 8 on Comcast) featuring the best in local and regional bands

3721 N. Broadway St. | 865-357-7799 Mon-thurs 10-10 | Fri-Sat 10-11 | Sun 12-9


I SAW YOU! Have you seen someone around town that you would like to get to know better? “I Saw You” listings are free! Were you seen by someone? Have a free reply printed. E-mail isawyou@knoxvoice.com for more info or to place your “I Saw You” ad. I saw you a lot. Early morning before court and late nights before your lids fell. I saw you when I totaled my black motorcycle, now I ride an orange motorcycle. Just today I noticed that you smile at the sun. Are you back from the peninsula?

I saw him utilizing the internet to do its you owe Spanish for you. Here is an insinuation: Its teacher can always say what has been writing by you and what has been translated for a robot. You obtain a F for senseless.

I saw you at Union Jack’s. Since I didn’t get a chance to get your number I swiped the info off your credit card receipt when you left...would you like to meet me for a drink? I swear I’m really not a stalker.

Sensei, we thought we were the only two women for you. How come you left with Blondie?

I saw you pulling up your big boy pants but your panties were still in a wad.

You seemed content as I watched your heart beat through your chest. Now you seem to be outgrowing your home. Is that test tube comfortable?

Oh...I saw you at that Irish Pub, Rebel Steve’s or whatever. I had on the parka in the 80-degree heat and you were falling out of your top. Let’s meet up and play some naked computer games.

I saw you going through every single Mother’s Day card available. No one else’s mom wants your greasy fingerprints in their house.

Wheezy from P-Town, Where have you been? I saw you in a Steve Austin red sweat suit. On you it actually worked.

Yo Envy, I saw you man. You looked like Rosie O’Donnell at a bisexual-bridal shower.

Hey Cowboy, you are a great dancer! Same time next Thursday at the Prez Pub?

I saw you sneaking food to that little fluffball after midnight. You’re in for a world of misery, bucko.

I saw you crossing county lines with her. Is it because she’s 15?

I saw you with your big hair and wild eyes. You want me but you don’t even see me – you just want the SLR. GET SOME SLEEP, your eyes are freakin’ me out.

Yo le vi utilizando el internet para hacer sus deberes españoles para usted. Aquí está una insinuación: Su maestro siempre puede decir lo que ha sido escrito por usted y lo que ha sido traducido por un robot. Usted consigue una F para insensato.

www.bryangarvey.com

I saw you fucking up my progress.

I didn’t see you at work the past two weeks. I miss the doom metal and Barry Adamson leaking from your headphones. Do you miss my Led Zeppelin mouth riffs?

I saw a Black-faced Spoonbill in a book today. Does that count as bird watching?

freelance graphics and motion design

You whipped me in the eye while playing with your Indiana Jones doll. I’ll take that as a sign of affection.

Knoxville Voice 47


National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education*

SECURE THE NETWORK, SECURE YOUR FUTURE! Enroll now into one of the nations elite information assurance degrees. Call now to learn more 865-688-9422 The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education in information assurance (IA), and producing a growing number of professionals with IA expertise in various disciplines.

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SCHEDULE YOUR TOUR OF CAMPUS TODAY

*The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) is an outreach program designed and operated initially by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the spirit of Presidential Decision Directive 63, National Policy on Critical Infrastructure Protection, May 1998. The NSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in support of the President's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, February 2003, now jointly sponsor the program.

Knoxville Voice  

May 15, 2008 edition of Knoxville's only independent alternative newspaper