90th anniversary cocktail party: the bees’ knees!

Judith Foltz getting a head start on the festivities as many folks dined at nearby Bistro at the Bijou prior to the party’s 8 p.m. start time.

“Party Prohibition style!” the invitation said. And a sold-out crowd threw on their pearls and feather boas and shelled out a bunch of clams to do just that! It was not your average night in downtown Knoxville as folks in the mood to enjoy some giggle water lit up the aisles and stage of the Tennessee Theatre. Not a bluenose in sight!

First you had to find the secret entrance in an alley and you had to know the password: Clara Bow is expecting me! Then you gained admittance through a little-known passageway into the theatre itself where the roulette wheels were spinning, and everyone was making whoopee while the Knoxville Swing Dance Association did its thing on the stage to the tunes of the Old City Buskers. Wow. Prohibition was fun! And, all proceeds benefited the Tennessee Theatre, currently celebrating its 90th anniversary. Yep. It was “born” in the Roaring ’20s — thus the theme.

Michael Foltz looked the part, too!

Jackie Wilson at the Bistro.

Soon, it was time to head over and try to find that secret entrance! From left, Jen Mowrer, Jackie Wilson, Sandi Swilley, Gay and Bill Lyons, and Judith and Michael Foltz.

Could this red lamp in the alley indicate the entrance? Mary Fran Darwin welcomed us.

These three cute flappers gave us our lanyards and name tags. (And drink tickets!) From left, Tracy Mulder, Melissa Tribble and Halee Sprinkle.

Wow, never been in this part of the theatre before.

Once we got in, we ran into more fun folks. Alan Carmichael and Mickey Mallonee.

Paige Parrot, left, and Samyah Jubran.

Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock, left, with Ken Johnson and Stacy Graven.

One of the Tennessee Theatre’s architects, Anker Graven, (of Graven & Mayger) was Stacy Graven’s grandfather. Stacy and her husband, Ken, live in the Seattle area, where she is the executive director of Visit Bellevue.

Stacy told Becky Hancock that her grandfather’s early architectural drawings were done with ink on linen paper. To save money during the Great Depression, her grandmother (Anker’s widow) would take old drawings and wash the ink out of them and recycle the linen into rags. “I wonder how many original drawings to buildings he designed were lost,” Hancock pondered.

Finbarr Saunders, left, with Casey Fox and Jesse Fox Mayshark. Their cocktail catering company, Libacious, provided the recipes for the evening’s two signature cocktails.

Here’s Alan with one of them: The Ward 8, a whiskey sour riff with grenadine popular through the 1930s.

The other one, called the Southside Fizz, was a gin and mint number rumored to be Al Capone’s preferred cocktail. It’s pictured in the previous photo in Jesse’s hand.

Angie and Kevin Wilson.

Adrienne Knight offering shrimp appetizers. Fabulous food was by Holly Hambright.

Here’s Taylor Mathews with Swanky Sammies: pepperoni, salami, smoked ham, smoked turkey, provolone and olive relish on focaccia! Wow. I wish I had not eaten dinner!

Becky Hancock, left, with Lauren and John Miller.

These two look like they are having a little too much fun! Alan Carmichael, left, and Bill Lyons.

Joan Swift.

Tom Bugg (holding little Nora Wells) with Heather Seiber.

John Craig with Coral Turner and little Clio.

Rick Fox, left, and Ralph Cianelli.

Rhonda and Jim Clayton.

Robin Smith, left, and Debbie Emery.

Lila Honaker, communications and development director of the Tennessee Theatre.

The hard-working Eric. L. Smith!

Holly’s great food spread.

And desserts!

Bill hitting the roulette table.

All the gambling tables were busy! (Photo by Alan Carmichael.)

Blackjack, anyone? (Photo by Alan Carmichael.)

The Old City Buskers. (Photo by Alan Carmichael.)

Cutting a rug. (Photo by Alan Carmichael.)

This video clip shot by Alan Carmichael will give you an idea of the fun time:


Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and we said goodbye to Jen Mowrer, left, and Mariane Whittemore as we were leaving.

We ran into Kelly Hider and John Kelley on the sidewalk.

And I worried that Judith was going to steal this car!



Filed under: Downtown, Events, Food, Historic preservation, Knoxville, Music, Theater. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 90th anniversary cocktail party: the bees’ knees!

  1. Alan Carmichael, on October 2nd, 2018 at 8:53 pm said:

    Becky told Mighty Musical Monday that Stacy Graven cried when she walked into the theatre auditorium that her grandfather designed and saw it for the first time. Then Becky cried too. That’s what that theatre does to you.

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on October 2nd, 2018 at 8:55 pm said:

    Alan: Aww. You are so right. It is a treasure. We are so lucky to have it.

  3. Becky Hancock, on October 3rd, 2018 at 9:33 am said:

    Thank you Cynthia (& Alan) for coming to the Tennessee’s 90 Year Speakasy! It was a perfect way to pop the cork on the anniversary of this wonderful theatre. I never saw so much fringe and falsies (eyelashes, that is!)

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on October 3rd, 2018 at 9:43 am said:

    Becky: WOW, what a fun night! Perfect, really.

  5. Monique Anderson, on October 3rd, 2018 at 2:59 pm said:

    I hate that I missed this. So fun! Cynthia: Alan dressed up!!!

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on October 3rd, 2018 at 4:14 pm said:

    Monique: Didn’t he look great? I think he really enjoyed it!

  7. Karen Ray, on October 4th, 2018 at 9:19 pm said:

    Wow Cynthia, I loved seeing your great pictures from this event. We were excited to support the fundraising efforts for the theatre and working with Lila on the Fantasy Casino portion of the event. It’s fun to see pictures of our staff in action!

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