First Friday, Uptown Beginning

Planned Parenthood’s “Framed Choices,” Market Square, Knoxville, May 2011 

Part of the fun of First Friday is the events you are certain you want to hit. Part of the fun is the random surprise along the way. This First Friday held a few surprises, fantastic weather and plenty of people letting their freak flag fly.

Staley works with the teens and took time to talk about the project

Austin-East Student poses with his photographs, Market Square, May 2011

I started on Market Square where I found a gathering of young people displaying their photographic art assembled around messages of hope and encouragement. They were high school students participating in a program through Planned Parenthood. Staley McCartney explained that each teen has developed photographic works that follow the theme “framed choices.” I interviewed one young man whose photographs explored teen suicide and hope and his hero Alex Haley.

Anit-abortion, Anti-Planned Parenthood protestors face the students and their photograps

True, but deceptive sign held by protesters.

In contrast to the positive vibe and hopefulness of these bright young people, a group of anti-abortion protesters gathered in response to the presence of Planned Parenthood even though the presentation in question had nothing to do with abortion and only 3% of Planned Parenthood resources nationally are related to abortion services. Their photographs, particularly, were disgusting. The prominent display of aborted fetuses at an event involving young children seems abusive to me, but I’ll have more on that, later.

Fools and Horses, Preservation Pub, Knoxville, May 2011

Fools and Horses, Preservation Pub, Knoxville, May 2011

My friend and I had some excellent tacos at Blue Coast Burrito (we really loved the fish tacos) and caught a few songs by Fools and Horses in the great upstairs (mostly) smoke-free upstairs room at Preservation Pub. We walked through Krutch Park past some guys playing guitar and free-associating and talked to some of the gathering drum circle which is sponsored by Knox EarthDrum each First Friday.

Musicians in Krutch Park, Knoxville, May 2011

Drum Circle Organizer, Krutch Park, Knoxville, May 2011

Drummers prepare for the circle, Krutch Park, Knoxville, May 2011

From there we walked down a very crowded Gay Street toward the 100 block, which has a whole different vibe from the one on Market Square (generally family friendly, many of our friends from West Knoxville) or Krutch Park (groovy hippy vibe). The 100 Block has both these elements, but it has a bit more of an avantgarde crowd on a First Friday night. It was on Gay Street that I spotted the Vehicle of the Night, a 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline.

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline, Gay Street, Knoxville, May 2011

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline, Gay Street, Knoxville, May 2011

Half-way to the 100 block I met Molly who specializes in Massage, Yoga Instruction and Energy Healing. She also belongs to something called Unify Knoxville. She was sweet to let me take her picture. I wish I’d done a better job (next time, Molly).

Molly, Gay Street, Knoxville, May 2011

Soon I’ll cover more of what we found the rest of the night.