Hey, Let’s Hang Out Together: Where You’ll Find Me

Self Portraits, March 2016-1

I’ll be involved in several events over the next few days, plus one at the end of next week, and I’d like to invite you to join me at each of them. For those of you who have followed this blog for very long, you’ll recognize themes with each of these which have run through the blog over the years. Every single event should be fun and I’d love to see you there and to meet you if I don’t already know you. Let’s take a look at what I’ve got going.

Tonight I’ll be at the Square Room for Design Slam Volume 3 presented by the American Institute of Architects East Tennessee Chapter, where I’ll be a celebrity judge. How many articles have I written and how many times have we discussed design issues? It’s a significant part of every conversation about the explosive redevelopment we’re witnessing in our city. Proper design choices will impact the quality of life of coming generations of our citizens.

Bear Medicine at WDVX, Knoxville Visitor's Center, September 2013
Bear Medicine at WDVX, Knoxville Visitor’s Center, September 2013

This fun event focuses on a particular design problem related to a downtown site, which will be revealed at the slam. The competition features six teams of local designers and architects who will, in the course of the event, come up with their best design solutions. It should be fast paced and, with Chris McAdoo serving as emcee, there will be not a single dull moment. Cash bar and food will be available and I’d love to have the support of lots of Inside of Knoxville readers as I pretend to be a legitimate part of the proceedings. It starts at 5:30 and runs until 8:30 and it’s free.

Tomorrow (Thursday) night is the Rhythm n Blooms Kickoff Party at Pilot Light with Bear Medicine and Count This Penny. This one is a little later with a 9:00 PM start time, but at $7, it’s a steal. Both bands are excellent and have been mentioned on this blog a number of times. Each features excellent song writing delivered in a straightforward manner. From the cello in Bear Medicine to the vocal harmonies in Count This Penny, you won’t be disappointed if you love fine music.

Count This Penny, Rhythm n Blooms, Knoxville, April 2015
Count This Penny, Rhythm n Blooms, Knoxville, April 2015

I will be there making it a late night despite the storm that is Rhythm n Blooms which starts the next day depriving me of adequate sleep for the next four days (one for the photos). You can get into this show with $6 at the door, but you need to quickly grab your Rhythm n Blooms tickets and prepare for another weekend of amazing music in the city.

Friday, just prior to my annual assault on the Rhythm n Blooms Festival, you’ll find me at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center moderating a panel discussion of business in the city – another dominant topic on this blog. I’m partnering with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center to bring you First Friday Fanfare: Inside of Knoxville Business Showcase (and, yes, we know the first one isn’t on First Friday – it seemed foolish to do that this particular month), the first in a series of such events focused on various business issues and best practices.

Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, July 2015
Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, July 2015
Nothing Too Fancy, Union Avenue, Knoxville, August 2012
Nothing Too Fancy, Union Avenue, Knoxville, August 2012
Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel2, Tenth Anniversary for Bliss, Knoxville, April 2013
Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel, Tenth Anniversary for Bliss, Knoxville, April 2013

The panel for this month is very exciting to me, filled with people I admire. We’ll have my dear friend Flossie McNabb who grew up on Gay Street, as her family owned Fowler’s Furniture. She returned to our downtown just a few years ago to open Union Avenue Books, Knoxville’s only independent new book store. Scott Schimmel, co-owner of both Bliss and Bliss Home,, will be on hand with his unique perspective of starting businesses downtown (before very many others were doing so) and not only succeeding, but expanding to other cities. Rounding out the panel will be Dustin Burnett, co-owner of Nothing Too Fancy, maybe the coolest shop per-square foot of any businesses downtown.

We’ll let them talk, we’ll let you ask questions and generally unlock the key to their various successes. Free beer and food will be provided and the event itself is free. All you need to do to attend is register at this link. Join me and let’s have a fun early evening from 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM.

Saturday will be a crazy busy day downtown between the Chalk Walk on Market Square and Rhythm n Blooms in the Old City. The Rhyhtm n Blooms portion of my day will start as I moderate a panel titled “Reclaiming Spaces,”  which will focus on turning blighted or underutilized spots into something beneficial for communities, whether they become housing, businesses, art hubs or gardens. Hence, another topic we continually return to on this blog.

Jackson Terminal, Knox Heritage Fantastic Fifteen, The Standard, Knoxville, November 2015
Jackson Terminal, Knox Heritage Fantastic Fifteen, The Standard, Knoxville, November 2015

We’ll be in the Jackson Terminal Building – a space that could just as easily have fallen into disuse and demolition, but has been renovated into a very attractive retail location. The panel will include Mark Heinz of Dewhirst properties, Ben Epperson with the city’s placemaking initiative and others. We’ll discuss how “places” are lost, how to effectively re-claim or save them and look at successes and failures on that front. This event is free, starts at 1:45 PM and is open to the public! Still, you’d be missing a lot not to get your pass to Rhythm n Blooms.

Finally, one week from Saturday, on April 16, I will join forces with the Knoxville Writer’s Guild to present a two-hour seminar titled, “Writing a New Way: Blogging Your Way to Success.” I’ll focus on my journey with this blog including the reasons behind it, what helped it succeed and the difficulties encountered along the way. We’ll also springboard from my experience to discuss ideas and possibilities to help anyone interested in starting their own blog.

We will have a candid, hopefully helpful, conversation about the expense, the hours and what matters most to ensure success of a blog whether it is for profit, to help a particular community of people, to expand and enhance your other ventures or simply for fun. You’ll be able to meet and network with others interested in the same topic. And we’ll have a good time. The workshop will be presented at Central United Methodist Church from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM and the cost is $40. Tickets are available here while they last, and I’d love to have you join me.

So, there you have it. Numerous opportunities to hang out with me and focus on the kinds of things we’ve enjoyed on this blog. I hope to see you at each of them, starting tonight.