Cash makes ‘Candide’ climb

Roy Cockrum, right, with Knoxville Symphony Music Director Aram Demirjian and his wife, Caraline, at a dinner Cockrum hosted prior to the opening performance on Friday.

Several years ago when our client Pilot Flying J got into the racing business by sponsoring a professional NASCAR driver, company CEO Jimmy Haslam told me, “Money equals speed, Mox.” What he meant was that the more money you put into a racing team, the more successful the team will be.

So, this week I learned a similar lesson. Money equals talent. Another client of ours, Knoxville lottery winner Roy Cockrum, poured a ton of money into underwriting the current joint Knoxville Symphony and Clarence Brown Theatre production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” and the result is over-the-top amazing. What that generous infusion of cash did was allow Clarence Brown’s artistic director, Cal MacLean, to audition singers in New York and Chicago and bring them to the Knoxville stage. The result is spectacular. Continue reading

Filed under: Knoxville, Theater | 8 Comments

Getting satiated in Savannah

Famous restaurateur Sean Brock opened a Husk in Savannah late last year. We’ve eaten at the Husks in Charleston and Nashville and couldn’t wait to try the one in Savannah. It did not disappoint. From left, Alan Carmichael, Tess Richard and Jimmy Moxley.

I have a deal with my brother, Jimmy, to ensure that we will keep seeing each other now that our parents and grandmother all have passed away. It goes like this: Alan and I will go to the Gulf Shores area, where he lives, once a year; he and his wife, Tess, will come to Knoxville once a year; and we’ll all meet somewhere once a year.

So far, it’s working out great! Earlier this summer, we all met up for a visit to Savannah and Charleston and had a blast. This post is about Savannah and the great eateries — and other things — you might want to try should you decide to head that way.

And you should! Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Its historic district is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States. And, thanks to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), literally scores of historic buildings have been lovingly restored and reused. We also like the fact that it is very walkable. We stayed in the historic district, but walked to the riverfront every day. Continue reading

Filed under: Travel | 14 Comments

Celebrating a Knoxville artist who loved New York

A self-portrait of artist Joseph Delaney painted in 1933.

“Joseph Delaney: On the Move” is a little trip to the hurly-burly street life of New York City — and it’s right here near downtown Knoxville.

Delaney, the younger brother of better known artist Beauford Delaney, was born in Knoxville in 1904 and died here in 1991 after returning for a five-year stint as an artist-in-residence at the University of Tennessee. But, between those years, he spent a lot of  time on the streets of New York, a city he loved and which was a frequent subject in his art.

The Knoxville Museum of Art has just opened the Joseph Delaney exhibit, which will run through Nov. 4. Do try to make it over there to see it. Especially if you, like me, also love New York City and its sights and bustle. Delaney’s paintings and sketches capture the feel of the city through images of parades, nightclubs and other gatherings.

During his many decades in New York, Delaney sold numerous paintings in Washington Square and was known as a part of the Harlem Renaissance. The current exhibit contains more than 50 of his works.  Continue reading

Filed under: Art, Downtown, Events, Knoxville | 4 Comments

Stuart’s ‘Summer Supper’ astounds!

Chef Peter Glander supervised a committee of volunteers to turn out an amazing mid-summer dinner.

Tables on the terrace overlooking the Tennessee River. A scrumptious dinner prepared by one of Knoxville’s celebrity chefs and a committee of volunteers under his supervision. A beautiful and unique house that encompasses salvaged vestiges of Knoxville’s past.

You know that it is a Knox Heritage Summer Supper — and one of the best ones ever.

Last Saturday, 30 guests (and nearly as many hosts) gathered at the stunning cottage of Stuart Worden on the south side of the river. He and his late wife, artist Betsy Worden, designed the place 40 years ago with an eye to incorporating artifacts from the city’s past.

“All the beams and windows came from old Knoxville hotels and stagecoach inns,” Worden told the guests during his brief remarks from the stairs. “It took two years to build — and four brothers, the Rule brothers. I feel very fortunate that I get to live here awhile.” Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Historic preservation, Knoxville | 10 Comments

Urban League’s ‘Shoes for School’ shatters records

Ana Juan-Pascual and her brand new pair of shoes.

New shoes will be on the feet of 1,270 children when they go back to school this week, thanks to the Knoxville Area Urban League, its sponsors and 300 volunteers.

That’s because the annual “Shoes for School” event was held Saturday at Caswell Park. According to the Knoxville Police Department, 6,400 people showed up to pick up the shoes and school supplies and to visit booths set up by 38 organizations giving away everything from book bags to socks to notebooks and pencils. Some enjoyed hot dogs and snow cones, some got their picture made with a dinosaur, and some played a game against a robot.

The largest sponsor this year was Covenant Health, which brought a photo booth with a green screen, allowing folks to be photographed with a choice of backgrounds, including the dino. Other sponsors included East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Comcast, among others. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville | 10 Comments

Tomato Jam a smash!

Hahaha! This is Palmer Mason, the proprietor of Craft Accommodations! His drink, called “The Sputino,” took home first place in the People’s Choice Awards. Congrats!

So, the second annual Tomato Jam was this past Sunday and the 10 cocktails I tasted (yep, 10!) were fabulous, as was the VIP brunch by Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro of OliBea.

The event benefited Nourish Knoxville, the organization that oversees the Market Square Farmers’ Market, and all the cocktails featured produce from local farms.

I thought all the drinks would taste like Bloody Marys, but they really did not. Although they all contained some form of tomatoes, the dominant flavors in some were cucumbers and watermelon. And some had a spicy kick!

Winners of the People’s Choice awards were: Craft Accommodations’ drink called “The Sputino,” first place; The Drawing Room at The Tennessean’s “Vine-a-Min Water,” second place; and J.C. Holdway’s “Mr. Stripey and the ’Mater D’s,” third place. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Food, Knoxville | 7 Comments

Coach Pruitt scores with Knox leaders

Dr. Jerry Punch, left, interviews Coach Jeremy Pruitt, center, and Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer on stage at the reception. Punch, a sports broadcaster who was with ESPN for 32 years, lives in Knoxville. (Photo by Pam Rhoades.)

With the University of Tennessee football season starting in about a month, you can feel the excitement growing in the Knoxville air with each passing day. I see more people wearing orange. And I definitely hear more discussion of the team and its prospects. Continue reading

Filed under: Business, Downtown, Events, Knoxville, UT sports | 3 Comments

Jackson Hole: Bison, bingeing and Bill Baxter

From left, Alan Carmichael, Bill Baxter, and our traveling companions, Dawn and Richard Ford.

A fun five-night visit to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, exceeded expectations — especially in terms of scenery, wildlife and food. An extra treat was running in to Knoxville businessman and civic leader Bill Baxter on our second night there. We were enjoying drinks at the Silver Dollar Bar in the historic Wort Hotel, which Baxter owns, when Alan ran into Bill outside the men’s room. Continue reading

Filed under: Food, Travel | 23 Comments

Wine in the Woods: a delicious mystery

An enchanted “mystery dinner” brought together friends and friendly strangers.

A bunch of friends signed up late last month for an exciting culinary excursion organized by Chef Robert Allen and his cohorts at Citico’s restaurant and WindRiver resort in Lenoir City.

Called “Wine in the Woods Mystery Dinner,” here was the plan. Guests signed up and paid a very reasonable $150 per person fee. They then showed up at Citico’s for a special cocktail and were ushered onto a boat by which they were transported to a mystery location on the sprawling Tellico Lake property. A gourmet dinner with wine (and other beverage) pairings ensued. At the conclusion of the magical evening, everyone was ferried back to their cars at Citico’s.

The evening was a success in every sense. First of all, it was a sellout. Then, although some of us were worried about it, the weather ended up cooperating. (There was a rain plan which, thankfully, was not needed.) The company was convivial, the food and wine delicious and the setting beautiful.

Come along! Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food | 10 Comments

Best eating on this year’s Clarence Brown trip to NYC

Oh, man! This is the salmon at Butter, the midtown restaurant of celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli, one of our favorite new discoveries.

The goal of my friends and me during the Clarence Brown Theatre’s annual New York trip is to make our restaurant selections as exciting as the Clarence Brown’s play selections.

This year we accomplished this by choosing Gabriel Kreuther, Butter, Grand Central Oyster Bar and The Stinger, our “go-to” little bar and eatery in the lobby of our hotel, The InterContinental Times Square. We also stumbled in to the charming, whimsical Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle hotel. And what a treat that was. Continue reading

Filed under: Food, Travel | 10 Comments