So, this seemed like the kind of night that wouldn’t produce much in the way of blogging. Urban Woman and I decided we needed to spend a little time just being together and taking it easy. Our normal First Friday ritual involves running from one place to another to see as much as possible, followed by a 9:00 return home for Urban Woman while I go back out looking for more.
We had to go out as neither of us had any intention of cooking and eating something seemed like a good idea. We stopped by Downtown Grind, spoke to Lance and talked to Cynthia about a painting and her upcoming show. We stopped in the Art Market since we were walking by and spotted a few things we really liked. Eventually we settled into an outdoor table at the French Market planning to quietly enjoy some crepes and watch people walking by.
That’s when First Friday started coming to us. As we approached the French Market we realized some sort of performance artists had taken residence. Go Contemporary Dance presented modified portions of their upcoming performance at the Clarence Brown Theater. A set of five performances will include one adaptation of themes from Hunger Games as well as the two represented that night at the French Market. One is based on art coming to life in the Louvre and the other involves African Monitor Lizards. The performance is this Saturday, October 13.
It’s an unusual atmosphere for a crepe, but having dancers only feet from out table turned out to be a fun thing and we talked about the possibility of going and taking Urban Girl, but concluded she might be frightened a bit by the lizards. Passersby stopped and took photographs and the outdoor seating at the French Market became a bit busier spot than we’d imagined when we selected it.
Then it got crazier. We’d noticed noisy goings-on over at Krutch Park when we arrived and I assumed it involved the gathering of the drum circle. Then they disappeared. Somewhere around mid-crepe shouting and chanting grew louder on the street and we realized the drum circle wasn’t a drum circle, but the beginning of a Slut Walk. The News Sentinel reported it and very soon turned off the comments for predictable reasons. If you don’t know, the idea is that no woman is “asking” to be raped no matter how they dress or act and many in the march dress accordingly.
After dinner we walked back down Gay Street, passing one of the new rickshaws along the way. I hope they are being used (this one was empty) because I think they add a little something to our atmosphere. We didn’t return home just yet, because I’d read a strong recommendation on the Knoxville First Friday by my friend, local artist Steven Lareau that we give a listen to The Womack Family Band who had a show at the WDVX/Knoxville Visitor’s Center. I’m glad we listened to the suggestion.
Even though Urban Woman needed a quiet night, I suspected from the description that she would enjoy this show. And we both loved it and found a band I think we’ll follow going forward. They are sort of a family, though no one is named “Womack.” Noah (mostly bass and vocals) and Haley Heyman (mostly guitar and vocals) are brother and sister. Tony Schaffer (mostly lead guitar and vocals) is engaged to Haley while Noah is dating Cory Webb’s (drummer) sister. Pretty incestuous even for a band.
The music is what matters and it is Americana, but a blend of an incredibly diverse array of music reaching from the Beatles and Bob Dylan to Ray Charles, Wynton Marsalis and Frederick Chopin. Their love and knowledge of American music is obvious in everything they do whether including jazzy chords, calypso rhythms or the beautiful harmony with which they infuse so many of their songs. They truly are a group not to be missed and their new CD, “The Blue Room,” catches them at their best. I downloaded it the next day and we haven’t stopped listening to it.
So, at only 8:00, we walked home for a quiet night, a glass of wine and reading good books. I fell asleep before the time I would usually return from First Friday, but I’d gotten more pleasure and enjoyment from a relatively short evening in Knoxville than I’d expect in a couple of days most places, thanks to a very good, if slightly quiet, First Friday.