Sunday found me in Knoxville once again at Union Ave Books for another wonderful day of words with friends.
This week, Daniel Ray and I met up beforehand to do a little adventuring downtown. The Tennessee Theater is celebrating 95 years this season. I’ve been privileged to see three shows there: the movie White Christmas with Tamara Davis several years ago; Chic in concert on my own around 2017 (Kimberley Davis, one of Nile Rodgers’ singers, put the mic in my face on “Rapper’s Delight,” which was both fun and funny to hear myself try to do in public); and Alton Brown from the Food Network, a belated birthday present for Russ in October 2021 (he does great comedy, as well as being fun and informative about food and beverages). Daniel told me the day before that they were allowing self-guided tours of the theater on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m., and the poetry readings started at 3, so we decided to go to the Theater.
The interior is divinely decorated with rich architecture and elaborate chandeliers in the lobby, plush red velvet seats, ornate details in every part of the structure (although, truthfully, the dressing rooms were a bit disappointing comparatively). We weren’t allowed backstage or on the actual stage, as they were showing a Charlie Chaplin film at 3, complete with a live organ performance. I missed that part, but Daniel was able to catch it.
After touring the Theater, we walked up the street to Mast General Store, then walked over to Market Square, stopping to see the large mural of Dolly just to the side of Market Square towards Gay Street. We walked back over to Union Ave Books, where I settled in for the reading and Daniel said hello to a few writing friends before going back to see the film at the Tennessee Theater.
Unlike the previous week, I made it back to the correct parking garage on my first try, and made it home, safe and sound. (The week before, I wandered around for about an hour trying to figure out where the heck I had left Bruce parked! I finally enlisted the assistance of two nice policemen, who helped me get my directionally challenged self back on track and where I needed to go. It was still daylight, so I never truly panicked — just beat myself up for not being better at getting around in an unfamiliar place.)
A delightfully enjoyable afternoon of memory-making in Knoxville with friends I don’t get to see nearly enough, after a day-long writing workshop networking with some of my favorite people in the region!