Monday, October 20, 2008

All the World's a Stage

The curtain rises at the Historic Tennessee Theatre. Your mission, Photobloggers: Photoshop yourself into that empty spotlight.

Actually, it was a light check, and the show wasn't supposed to go on for a bit. I didn't mind, though. I'm still bedazzled by the 2005 renovation that took this showcase theater back to its 1928 grandeur, and enhanced and expanded the stage to host more types of shows.

Way back in time when I was just a Brand New Knoxville Girl, I sat in this theater and watched the classic film Thunder Road. I bought a bag of popcorn and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer at the concession stand and climbed the worn staircase to the balcony, choosing a nice seat in the center of the row. The seat had a big hole in it, and I almost fell through. The curtains were shabby, and the walls were dingy with soot. I was absolutely convinced that vampires lived in the projection booth. And I couldn't wait to come back. This place had good bones, if only someone would notice the treasure buried here under all that neglect and dirt.

And finally people did, and it turned into a successful community project. I've been in this theater many times, and hope to visit many more.

I'm also doing a little project. I shot a series of photos inside the theater on my natural light auto setting and took what I got. Maybe I'll show you a few more. The next time I have an opportunity to visit, I'm going to bravely use my manual settings and look at the difference. Of course, if the difference is cruddy, they may never see the light of blog.

10 comments:

USelaine said...

The lighting just as you have it is cool! How wonderful to have been there to see both the "before" and "after" of such a place.

Hope said...

I remember going to movies at the Tennessee Theater as a child in the late 60's and early 70's....and then attending performances and so on as an adult. The renovations that have been done are superb. The interior of this theater is just breathtaking, and I'm definitely looking forward to your series of photos!

Jim said...

The stage is beautiful.

Virginia said...

GOod one. We have the Alabama Theatre here and I must get my friend to give me a tour so I can get some photos. Natural light setting on auto. I don't know that one. I rarely use Auto because the darn pop up flash always jumps up and I hate it. Will investigate. Would love to see your other photos and compare! And I like the idea of sipping a Pabst and muching popcorn in the balcony. Your description of the seats is priceless.

Hilda said...

I love it! The community should be very proud of how they restored this theater — it's beautiful!

Snapper said...

Sometime in the early to mid 90s I sat in that exact same balcony seat (or very nearby) for a John Hiatt concert. Amazing. Yes the place has good bones and I'm delighted to hear it's been restored. Did you know there used to be a carbon copy in downtown Nashville? It was on Chirch Street and my parents used to take me there to see John Wayne movies when I was a little kid, long before suburban triplexes. It was still standing when I first went to your Tennessee theatre which is how I know they were identical, right down to the tiles and the urinals in the mens room. Nashville's was demolished for a parking lot. Knoxvillians are far wiser.

marley said...

Wow, what an amazing theatre. It looks like a great place to see a show. Show us some more!

On a completely unrelated subject. Have you heard about the Body Farm in Knoxville?!

A new TV series has started hear in the UK. The presenter is driving around in a black London cab, visiting all of the States in America. Last night he visited your very own Knoxville and went to the Body Farm. Its a place where they keep dead bodies out in the open to see the effects of decay. How delightful! The presenter had never seen a dead body before and was almost sick when they showed him one in a black bin! Not nice. Anyway, if you knew all of this - sorry :)

Knoxville Girl said...

Elaine - the place leaves me breathless.
Hope - it's so cool to hear from someone who grew up with the presence of this theater.
V - no more PBR at the bar these days - but Mr Daniels is in the house.
Hilda - this story is one of Knoxville's finest hours.
Snapper - I had no idea about the Nashville theater, what a shame. Hey, maybe I saw you at a concert there.
Marley - I have some more up my sleeve. Babooshka mentioned the BBC program yesterday - I'd love to see it. I know where the Body Farm is located, but it's a no go unless you are doing research or in law enforcement. And they are known worldwide for the pioneering research they do there.

babooshka said...

Can you believe with all the cable channels we still end up watching body farms in Knoxville on the BBC! I adore old cinemas. Good to see someone had the foresight to see the potential and restore the old gal. Looking forward to the manual experiments. Just call them artsy farty shots.

Tash said...

WOW! What spectacular color! Wonderful shot. I have a night setting I use that dims the light so it never gets the true brightness of the place & the regular setting is always fuzzy. You've done well with holding it steady.