Monday, June 30, 2008


It's a busy day for me today, so I'm giving you a shot from my recent archives. Here's a railroad bridge framed by another railroad bridge framed by the Henley Street Bridge over the Tennessee River. The railroad bridge farthest away dates back to the 1800s. I took this shot in May of this year.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

For Your Health

The Blooms Days festival is an annual fundraiser for the University of Tennessee Gardens, the outdoor laboratory for the UT Department of Plant Sciences. There's food, bluegrass music, gardening lectures, plants for sale, and demonstrations of taijiquan by the Knoxville Chapter of the Taoist Tai Chi Society, of which I am a member. Taijiquan is a "low impact" form of martial arts used for its health benefits. Here, members are going through a "set" of 108 movements. (You won't see me in this set of course, because I was behind the camera!). The aims of the Taoist Tai Chi Society are very simple: to make tai chi available to all, to promote the health-improving qualities of tai chi, to promote cultural exchange, and to help others. I've been practicing tai chi for two years now, and can say that I have better balance and flexibility than when I started - and also get to enjoy good company.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


The nineteenth annual Kuumba Festival, which highlights African and African American arts and culture, came to Market Square yesterday in a flurry of dancing and color. The Kuumba Watoto Dance and Drum Company treated the crowd to high energy traditional African dances.
The Free Spirit Stilt Walkers also amazed and delighted the crowd with their costumes and dancing.
Not to mention their political endorsement. Election years are so very interesting. 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hood Ornament

It's another last minute Sky Watch Friday. At the antique car show last Sunday, I noticed the shiny reflective hood (bonnet for my UK visitors) of this 50s Ford raised up so we could admire the mighty engine inside. While others were doing just that, I was admiring the reflection of the sun behind clouds, and the Tennessee Theater marquee. But the hood was so big, I couldn't fit it all in the photo.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wild Urban Kingdom

Walking down Union Avenue early one morning this week, I saw this grasshopper sitting in the middle of the sidewalk as if he owned the whole downtown. He was huge, and not something I'd expect to see posing on the concrete. You know, grasshoppers should be on...well, on grass. His beautiful bright markings are supposed to warn predators that he tastes really bad. Consider me warned, because I snapped his photo and walked away.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hey Mister DJ

So I was walking down Market Square recently one evening, and I saw this tall, thin guy, and he looked remarkably like Barack Obama. And this guy was swinging these two glowsticks attached to a string, swinging them around and around in different patterns. And I said to myself, that can't be Barack Obama because Barack may want change, but I don't think he's interested in glowsticks. And I was right. This guy is one of the DJs at The Fairbanks nightclub in Bearden.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jedi Entry

This is a detail of the iron and glass front door of the restored office and showroom of the Candoro Marble Works building. I originally took the photo because I liked the roughness of the rust, the remnants of old paint, and the pitted doorknob. But then I saw the instructions - I love a door with instructions - and knew that if I could open the door, then the Force must be with me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thunder Was His Engine

It's the 50th anniversary of Thunder Road, the 1958 film starring Robert Mitchum that's about moonshiners running their illegal product in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. Yesterday Gay Street was closed for a reenactment of the dramatic car chase scene from the movie, and I had a front row spot to grab a photo of the vintage 50s cars speeding toward us. Don't worry, they slowed down well before they got near the crowd. There was also a vintage car show in front of the Tennessee Theater, where the movie was being shown, and James Mitchum, Robert's son, came and talked to the crowd about the movie.
But why the big deal, you say? Why does Knoxville care? Well, I give you the ending lyrics of The Ballad of Thunder Road, the song written and sung by Robert Mitchum:

Blazing right through Knoxville, out on Kingston Pike,
Then right outside of Bearden, they made the fatal strike.
He left the road at 90, that's all there is to say.
The devil got the moonshine and the mountain boy that day.

And just for your edification, here's Bearden hill on Kingston Pike today, where you'll be lucky if you get up to 35 mph in the traffic jam:
Just sayin'.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The Knoxville Pride Festival was held yesterday afternoon and evening on Market Square. It featured food, rock and folk music, and performers from the Rainbow Club's Drag Show. Here you see Xena playing to the crowd. 
I like the diversity of events scheduled on the square. Some days you get drag, some days you get gospel music. I like it all.
There's so much going on in Knoxville this weekend, that I'll just have to overflow into tomorrow, when we'll take a trip down Thunder Road.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou, Honda Hootists?

It's Honda Hoot weekend, and I promised you motorcycles. But where could they be? The sign said Bike Night, but I didn't see any bikes. I wandered down to the Ships-a-Hoot party on the waterfront. I saw lots of bikers. I even saw Elvis. But no bikes.
I asked Elvis, "Where are all the bikes?" He said " Down at the end of Lonely Street at the Heartbreak Hotel." "Uh, thanks." I could see I was on my own for this one. So I wandered around downtown on my fruitless search. Groups of cycles would buzz by - three down one street, then four down another street, always too fast for my camera. I felt like Monsieur la Vache chasing his swarm of Vespas, just out of reach...until I finally spotted and snapped this little group.
But you know, Elvis was right - many cycles were at the hotel, safely resting after a long ride on the Dragon at Deals Gap in the Smokies (318 curves in 11 miles!).
The moral of this tale? Don't count your Hondas before they Hoot.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Downtown Sky

For your consideration: Evening clouds, reflections of clouds on the First Tennessee Bank building, and a street lamp just because I liked it.

I've officially signed up (last minute, but still...) for Sky Watch Friday @ Wiggers World.
Go check it out.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Time Warp Tea Room

The Time Warp Tea Room is not your mother's tea room - unless she rides or races vintage motorcycles. Located on North Central Avenue, in the part of the Old North Knoxville neighborhood that used to be known as Happy Hollow, the Time Warp is cycle friendly. Forget the white linen tablecloths, bone china, and cucumber sandwiches that come with most tea rooms. The Time Warp is decked out in vintage motorcycle memorabilia and serves a mean bowl of chili, not to mention a great cup of coffee or (gasp!) tea. There is often live music on weekends, like the night I took this photo: if you peer into the window, you can see local wordsmith Jack Rentfro at the microphone. It's a fun place to hang out, even if you don't own or ride cycles, and I expect the Honda Hoot folks will be congragating there this weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keyhole Doorway

This is the most unusual doorway in Knoxville. Built in the 1890s for the residence and medical office of a Dr. S. M. Miller, this structure is commonly referred to as the Keyhole Building for the distinctive keyhole shaped entryway you see here. From the 1940s to the 1980s, the Keyhole Building was bought and occupied by Knoxville Business College. After the college moved to another facility, the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, stood boarded up and neglected until just a few years ago when a local development group rehabbed the three story structure into condominiums, which sold very quickly.

The motorcycle is just a little lagniappe for you, and a reminder that the Honda Hoot motorcycle rally will be spending it's 15th year here in Knoxville starting tomorrow and going through the weekend. Of course I'll try to take some photos!

Also, here's a shout out to Clueless In Boston, whose doorway series inspired me to take this photo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I am under the spell of the full moon, which compels me to post another lunar photo. Here it rides high, cushioned by clouds, on a collision course with the Holston building.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Moonlight & Architecture

The phase of the moon is "waxing gibbous" - not quite full. The architecture is a detail of the Arnstein building downtown. I was out for a walk last night and just liked the contrasting colors.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Love My Dog, Part 2

Here's one more shot from yesterday's Bark in the Park event (Babooshka, come visit Knoxville! Many people here like to have their picture taken). This owner's happiness at being with her pet just shines through in her photo, and in the conversation we had. Also, I forgot to mention yesterday that the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley runs the only no kill shelter in the area. Pet owners out there, please spay / neuter your dogs and cats - it's hard to find homes for all their offspring!

Speaking of offspring, I'm off to call my dad for Father's Day and sing at him - off key, but with great gusto - the apple didn't fall far from the tree in that area. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Love My Dog

The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley's annual fundraiser, Bark in the Park, was held tonight on Market Square. There was live music, and games for dogs and their owners. The restaurant patios were filled with people and their canine companions, and everyone was having a great time. What I really loved watching was the bond between dogs and owners, and dogs creating bonds between strangers. I met so many wonderful and interesting people and their pets tonight, and shot a lot of photos. This is one of my favorite portraits. I met Isabella, the sweetest pit bull puppy, and her owner, who was training her to sit. I see so much joy in this picture; pets can often bring out the very best in people.
Do you have a favorite pet that brings joy into your life?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Living Here in Allentown

Bogart's covered bridge, Lehigh Parkway

Mennonite girls, Allentown Farmers Market

Veterans Memorial, downtown Allentown

Allentown Rose Garden

Cheese steak! Yuengling! Nirvana!

Actually, I was just visiting my family, and I'm back in Knoxville again, scandalously deciding to break all the CDPB rules and show you a bunch of photos from somewhere that is not Knoxville. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Candoro Ruins: Remains

All that remains: a dusty chair, a cloudy window, an empty ashtray. It's time to leave the ghosts of Candoro.

While I'm away, I hope you enjoy this tour of Candoro Marble Works in South Knoxville. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Candoro Ruins: Inside

Light pours down on to benches and shelves and metal parts. Water drips into puddles and echoes rhythmically. The doors in the distance may be a mirage. Candoro sleeps.

While I'm away, I hope you enjoy this tour of Candoro Marble Works in South Knoxville. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Candoro Ruins: Open Door

A door sags on its aging hinges. What is beyond its threshold?

While I'm away, I hope you enjoy this tour of Candoro Marble Works in South Knoxville. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Candoro Ruins: Peepshow

A slice of the past reveals itself through broken glass. The afternoon sun shines through skylights, immutable.  The industry of rust remains mute.

While I'm away, I hope you enjoy this tour of Candoro Marble Works in South Knoxville.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Candoro Ruins: Lonely

Candoro has a plaintive grace. Machinery is silent. The wind sighs around the corners and through cracked windowpanes.

While I'm away, I hope you enjoy this tour of Candoro Marble Works in South Knoxville.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Candoro Ruins: Reclamation

The Candoro Marble Works was once the nation's largest producer of Tennessee pink marble. Established in the small community of Vestal in 1914, Candoro employed 140 people at its peak production. The factory cut and finished marble blocks from quarries in the surrounding counties. While the old company office and showroom is being restored, the factory itself settles into genteel ruin, slowly being reclaimed by time, weather, and tangled vines.

While I'm away, I hope you enjoy this tour of the Candoro Marble Works in South Knoxville.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On the Road

By the time this is published, I expect to be on the road to visit my family in Pennsylvania. There will be a cheese steak and a cold Yuengling lager waiting for me at the end of the road. I leave you with an interesting sky to watch at the intersection of Summit Hill, Broadway and Henley streets. (Hi, Sky Watch Friday group!). I'm also scheduling a trip for you all for the next few days - into the ruins of the old Candoro Marble Works factory in South Knoxville. See you next week!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


This is Brenda, proprietor of Brenda's Barber Shop. She's been a barber for thirty-two years, all of them downtown. She's fun, friendly, and knows all kinds of stories about downtown history and politics. Brenda has a talent for cutting hair - she can make my hair look good despite the frizz-inducing humidity of summer. At first she wasn't sure about having her portrait posted on the Internet, but I told her about this cool photography group I'm in, and CDPB won her over.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Controversial Bear

Some time ago, Knoxville sponsored a public art program where local artists painted bear statues that were displayed around town, then auctioned off for charity. All the bears were removed just recently. But this little bear on Gay Street was the reason the city government was asked to create a public art committee to evaluate what they put in city parks and on public  sidewalks.  If you didn't catch it from the first photo, here's a close-up of what caused the controversy:

Some folks felt this was free speech through art and applauded the effort. Others thought the art jumped the boundaries of sensitivity and good taste and objected to having this in public without being vetted beforehand. I tend to side more with the broadest definitions of free speech, and I was ok with this bear being displayed in public, but I also hope this bear will start a discussion of what are the community standards for city-sponsored art in Knoxville, and who exactly decides what they are. What do you think about this bear? Do you have art evaluation committees in your town?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Good Advice

I'm posting early today because I have a twelve hour day ahead of me at work and probably won't feel like posting by the time I get home. This may not be one of my best photos, but I like the advice, and I'm sharing it with you today. This is a bench along the Lakeshore Greenway with a beautiful view of the Smoky Mountains. It's one of my favorite places to rest after a walk. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Urban Fossil

This is the first time I've tried my supermacro lens, and here's the result. Construction workers poured new concrete sidewalks on Union Ave. in autumn, and here's the proof. Some day millennia from now, archeologists will unearth this and know what kinds of trees grew in Krutch Park.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Theme Day: My Local Corner Shop

My local corner shop. Wow, that's a phrase I don't hear anymore in my town. Suburban migration, car culture, and strip malls replaced the traditional idea of the "corner shop" decades ago. But you know what, the pendulum is swinging back to the corner again, very slowly, at least in the downtown neighborhood. Mast General Store is one of a number of shops that have moved in to rehabbed historic buildings downtown. Mast has clothing, shoes, sporting goods, kitchenware, furniture, and an old fashioned candy department that I find hard to resist. But I chose Mast because of its positive impact on the city, and its community involvement. If you enlarge this photo, you'll see the "Soles 4 Souls" charity drive in the display window. Downtowners are still hoping for a grocery store, and the way things are going, they have reason to be hopeful.