It was the usual, great, First Friday in Knoxville. My only complaint, and I’ve said it before, is the limited time everything is happening. We ate with friends at 31 Bistro (happy hour appetizers and drinks = dinner for two for less than $20) and probably got there around 5:30. By the time we finished our meal and talked a bit, it was 7:30, meaning time was already getting short for First Friday which ends for the most part around 9:00.
I just think we need to grow up and have a once a month night where we all stay up just a little later. Would 10:00 be that difficult? It’s impossible to eat out and have enough time to do most of the things offered, which often leads to a drive-by of exhibits, openings and music all of which deserves a more laid-back viewing. Enough grumbling.
I really enjoyed the art and the company of Tracy Hartley. We are both originally from Mobile,Alabama and so it was fun talking about various parts of the city, lamenting the things about the city that break our hearts and celebrating the best it has to offer. He currently lives in Atlanta, but he was very complimentary of what has happened in Knoxville in recent years. A goodly portion of that is, we agreed, thanks to mutual friend and mutual former Mobilian, Kim Trent. It lead to a series of thoughts about what would have happened if Kim had moved to Mobile and done the same work there? It would have changed two cities.
His art is firmly rooted in southern culture and the folk art tradition of our region. It celebrates everything from pork to diners and chickens to fish. He also builds furniture and sells quite a bit in the Atlanta area. The link above will take you to better photographed samples of his work and his contact information. Now if we could just convince him to move to our city we’d have a whole Mobile Mafia thing going on.
The Emporium’s exhibit for the month is mostly watercolors by the Merleville Watercolor Society, a local group who meet and critique each other’s work. You can find a list of the artists here. Regretfully, I didn’t get the names of the specific artists with the works I’ve pictured here, so you’ll have to investigate that for yourself. Or read the names on that link and see if you can guess which artist did each work I’ve pictured.
A number of the paintings were incredibly similar to photographs for watercolor. I’m not sure how you do that, but those really caught my eye. The one that looks like a small street or alleyway in Europe reminded us of Canterbury, England and a street we liked there. Upstairs in the gallery is usually reserved for a different artist and that must have been the case this time around. I really liked the small sculptures though I regret I did not catch the name of the artist.
The new gallery (to me, at least) was 2 Many Pixels which features photographs. It’s located at 130 West Jackson Avenue (sort of across from Remedy) in suite 201. The entrance is in the left-hand corner of the building as you face it and you have to either go up a flight of stairs (very rustic, I must say) or take a slow elevator ride.
The effort is worth it. While the photographs weren’t so much of downtown Knoxville, as I had expected, the photographs were made in this area and they are simply amazing. The ones you see in this blog post had to be taken at an angle and cropped to look decent on the blog, so you really should go to the gallery to get the full impact.
Of course, there are probably a couple of hundred photographs in the exhibit and the ones here, while some of my favorites, only represent a small portion of what you will find in the collection. The title of the show is “STREETWISE: Knoxville” and it is a coordinated effort with the KMA and features the work of four photographers. The photographs will be in place through the month of June and the gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Finally, at the end of the evening I ran into what just may be the solution to the desire for good food on a First Friday combined with that limitation on time I mentioned earlier: a food truck. I’ve heard people talking about how great the food trucks are in big cities and how much they wish we had one. Now I understand this a little better.
Byron and Nikisha Sambat started the Savory and Sweet Food Truck business about eight weeks ago and, by all appearances, it seems to be going very well. For the most part they drive it to special events locally, but they plan to take it to Bonaroo this summer. The menu pictured was just for that day and the next day they came to the Market Square Farmers’ Market (where they sold out completely) and to Cinco de Mayo with a different menu.
The food is fresh and delicious with most of their ingredients supplied by local farmers. They also purchase bread locally from Harry’s Delicatessen. I had their Bacon-wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates on Friday night and again on Saturday they were so good. I also enjoyed a great pork taco on Cinco de Mayo. Highly recommended.