So, it’s Thursday night in the city. Close to the weekend, but not really there. Still, close enough to start feeling the weekend looming a bit, and the weather turns spectacular if only for a few hours. Sitting outside in the courtyard with a glass of wine and my laptop early in the afternoon I’d been surprised by a few sprinkles. But they stopped and a cool, crisp spring evening emerged that just begged for getting out of the house. So we did.
Urban Outfitters opened today, so we walked around to see what might be had in the new store. The first thing that struck me was how few people browsed the displays and clothing racks. I thought it would be swamped from the start in much the same way Tupelo Honey took three months before a table came available. Not so much.
And they were young, college-aged patrons for the most part. Urban Woman bailed on me after about five minutes. She later told me she was the oldest person in the store and, apparently, this did not please her. It was a hip, stylish, if lightly tatooed crowd, but I’m not usually real conscious of age. The displays left no doubt who they were after, however.
It’s an interesting mix of clothing and other items. From my first cursory perusal, I’m thinking we may wind up buying more of the non-clothing items. Short dresses and cut-off jean shorts don’t really grab us. I’m generally opposed to clothing that pretends to be old, anyway. In my day, cut-off jeans came after the jeans were too worn or had been outgrown, so they were re-purposed for shorts. I guess that takes too long, anymore, so we pay to have them cut, frayed and faded.
Sunglasses, purses, edgy books and other items were intermingled with the clothing. Downstairs I found some actual new-release vinyl albums which took the prize for most interesting find in my world. The same area also included frames for album covers (2 for $20), pretty cool looking headphones ($60) and the biggest surprise of all: A record player with which to enjoy all that vinyl. I’m pretty impressed with all that and I will return to look more closely. I spotted my friend Bill Foster nearby and spoke briefly.
The store is attractive in an artsy sort of way. If I looked very harshly at it I might suggest that they are straining to be hip. Does that make them a hipster store? You’ll have to decide. The store also includes a mezzanine level, so there is quite a bit of space and it looked to me as if they could fill a bit more of it. I’m anxious to see how many people they draw on First Friday.
I walked from there toward the square to re-join Urban Woman who was listening to Robinella. Looking at the bustling square on a week night, with awesome local music playing, I felt all over again how much I love this city. And, yes, I’ll admit Market Square and Robinella say “Knoxville” to me more than a chain store will ever be able to.
My daughter’s friend Alison called to me from Tupelo Honey and I stopped to talk to her and her parents who had just gotten off the Megabus from D.C. I felt proud of my city as they enjoyed their good food on a cool night with great, local music. I joined Urban Woman and delightfully found that we were both thinking of Shonos. Outside seating was readily available, so we walked in that direction.
My friend Jayne greeted us warmly as we entered and found us a seat on the patio next to a pretty serious looking one-hundred-twenty pound dog and his person. The music from the stage reached us at just the right volume for talking or listening. During a break the music from the stage switched to Steely Dan’s Greatest Hits, which was nice. Our waitress turned out to be Haley Holt, long-time friend and reader of the blog. Haley just scored an apartment at 36 Market Square, which is pretty exciting.
I had the Eddie’s Special which includes spicy chicken and beef mixed with vegetables and sauce. Urban Woman had the Orange Chicken, which also had a bit of a kick to it. We liked both, but preferred the Eddie’s special. I had the Miso soup, which was chocked full of seaweed, as it should be, and was absolutely delicious. I also had a glass of house chardonnay and the bill came to less than $30 before tip. That’s hard to beat downtown. I’ll return for the sushi sometime soon.
I listened to the last thirty minutes of Robinella’s set before I walked home and found her to be as flighty and quirky and amazing as ever. Her vocals are so very good. She said she’s been playing bass in her father’s band recently and doing a nursing home circuit. I hope when I’m in a nursing home someone as talented as Robinella will come sing to me.
So, I walked home. It’s not the weekend, but it could almost feel that way. It’s not the weekend, but it’s a very good night to be walking around in Knoxville, Tennessee. From the pleasant buzz of a Thursday evening, we move to the crazy chaos that is First Friday. See you there.