Friday, April 25, 2014

A much-needed tiny tweak for our downtown


UPDATE: Rogero's twitter account said they'll look into it.

Knoxville has a thriving Market Square now, after years of "not much going on downtown." And yet... I had never seen someone ticketed WHILE loading their gear into a venue. Until now. Good work, Knoxville, I'm sure that $16 will be put to good use while our local, very vocal, very awesome, DEDICATED artists pay up... because we lacked the foresight to put common sense in our city codes.

As the commenter in this Facebook post notes, other cities have made allowances for artists to load in their gear. Surely we can do the same. (Or, I dunno, exercise common sense once in a blue moon.)

Sigh. Will someone please propose a doggone loading zone to whatever charter needs it so this isn't a problem?

Think about when other artists see this. It makes it harder for the venues on this side of the street to book shows. It lessens our appeal to people who would otherwise come here, perform here, draw business here... Also, this ticket should immediately be revoked.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How does Knoxville get to be more like Silicon Valley? Networking!

Plain fact is, the talent pool in the Bay area is immense. The sheer numbers mean you're likely to bump into someone and have a conversation that'll yield some practical result some day, be it a business or just an enhancement to what you're already doing. One of the fun things about the tech industry is how, sometimes, people have a sort of "we can make things better" sense of camaraderie. Not always, but often enough to make you feel good about what you do.

But here in Knoxville, in a lot of industries, it is all too often a networking dead-end -- never mind an order of magnitude fewer people to begin with. At networking "events" either people want to grab clients and run, or people are only interested in a very small sphere of what they do, or they simply aren't attending those events that seem not worthwhile or relevant to what they do (which is more a marketing problem, but more on that in another post).

Insularity is a big problem here, and it's slowly being chipped at by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. I recently met with their team, then was quickly introduced to a local app creator whom I met with today. That sort of casual connection is absolutely vital to spurring tech sector growth here in Knoxville. With a fragmented entertainment landscape and a plethora of nooks to crawl into, Knoxville has an odd way of isolating groups that should be cross-pollinating (so to speak).

The app, by the way, is iSpotlight. It's got a basic design, but the utility is quite cool. You select sports figures or celebrities, musicians, etc. from a list (curated by the staff) and the app filters news only about those people to your phone. It seems simple, but it's actually pretty cool on the backend. If you need something to follow people you're into, I think the app has a lot of growth potential. They need more people to test it out, however, so download it (it's free, iOS-only for now) and try it out -- support your local business!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's kill business!

It never ceases to amaze me that "business friendly" Tennessee has so many business restriction laws and ordinances on the books. Nanny state? Well, did your nanny shake you down for nickels? Because that's what we do here.

First up is a law (veteran lunatic Campfield is partly to blame but the Koch brothers' are actually behind it as companies like Amp cut into their established businesses) that prohibits the creation of rapid bus transports. Yeah, we don't want efficient travel in cities like Nashville -- that's just not what the founders would have done, you know?

Chalk one up to moneyed interests and let's just ram TN as far back into the centuries as we can. Why not prohibit all cars and go back to mules?

Anyway, then there's the less-stupid but still-crazy exorbitant fees about to be levied on our fledgling food truck industry here in town. I've seen these explode in the past few years, but guess what? OTHER businesses started feeling "repressed" or whatever, and now Knoxville is set to levy the 10th most expensive fees on the trucks.

Do we happen to be in the top 10 for food trucks? Nope. Are we in the top 10 for downtown outdoor eating? Nope. Economics is hard, y'all.

None of this makes sense unless you happen to be the special interest looking for a governmental mechanism to limit your competitors. I don't think that's actually capitalism, but then I don't come from oil money or big pollution or career politics or big construction so what do I know.

Monday, April 14, 2014

People who want freedom for their side only don't want freedom at all

Ah, hypocrisy is alive an well in Knoxville. Here's the thing: You may not like what is in a newspaper, but you don't get to censor the fourth estate by what amounts to book burning IN A SCHOOL. Reprehensible. Did this person not realize that children don't vote? Or that destruction of property is a crime? Or that there's this neat thing called the "marketplace of ideas" that hinges upon our allowance of free speech, especially in schools.

No, she's just friends with someone in a hot political race and in typical Southern dingbat fashion decided to play dirty and then rat herself out. Like a rat.

This is the same mentality as a kid ripping up signs in yards. And in the last presidential election that's what happened to the people down the street from me, who had a very large, prominent sign supporting Obama. Vandals destroyed it, but they fixed it and put it back up.

You want the friend of a vandal setting policy for your kids too? If you want them to wind up as fresh prison fodder, by all means elect someone with no integrity -- that's a surefire way to do it.

So yes, newspapers ARE allowed in schools, even if you don't like the messages in them.

Last thing: Why are the people who are most shrill about being repressed typically the one going around repressing others? It takes a special kind of lack of self-awareness to be this way. It's something we should teach our children is as crazy as saying evolution doesn't exist or the Earth is the center of the universe. Or we shall find that our problems are so complex that our dulled minds can no longer solve them. And thus we shall cease to be.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Will Patrick Sullivan's become a UT-themed bar?

God I hope not. But that's the rumor. Knoxville has NO sports bars, right? OK, just checking.

Oh and I won't go on about the folly of tying your fortunes (in a historic building no less) to the tides of a collegiate sports team. But I could.

I give it a couple of years.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Theater or ampitheater, that is the question

Or at least, a couple of the proposals for a field left over from the World's Fair days. Personally I love the idea of the UT theater department moving over there. It would be as though Knoxville gave a tiny shit about performing arts.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Scruffy City holiday!