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Beer Flows on Gay Street Again

City Brew, Knoxville's third-generation downtown brewpub, opens to great fanfare this Friday on Gay Street. The applause you heard when you opened this page came from Metro Pulse staffers who've been anxiously awaiting the reopening of the restaurant, which only incidentally brews its own beverages. If the pre-opening lunch is any indication, the menu is better than ever and the service is also much, much better than in the pub's previous incarnations. They did not serve their beers or ales at the pre-opening, so the stellar judgments are at least sober. Credit the influence of the Regas management team that helped bring this about and assisted with the training of the cooks and servers. Investor Steve Cerne, manager Susan McCashew and chef John Fletcher have gotten the pub back in business with a flourish.

Clueless in Knoxville Darkness

The polished, professional CD reviews in the Nov. 24-30 issue of Knoxville After Dark—for new discs by Johnny Cash, Idaho, Roni Size, and a few others—were a relief from the paper's monotonous club listings and butchered-prose profiles of local bar bands. That's probably because they were written by Nate Lippens, Barbara Mitchell, and Leah Greenblatt, among others—all well-known contributors to Seattle's caustic and well-informed alternative weekly, The Stranger. In fact, the very same reviews ran in the Nov. 9-15 issue of the Seattle paper, word for word. Which could be a problem for the local entertainment rag, since they ran the reviews without permission.

"As far as I know, we're not giving anyone permission to run them," says Stranger editor Jennifer Vogel, commenting on the revelation that her paper's copy ended up in After Dark.

After Dark publisher Neil Alexander says it's not his fault that his paper printed reviews from another paper without attribution or compensation. "We have somebody who does CD reviews for us," Alexander says. "I understood that he had permission." Alexander says he'll talk to his "guy" and insists there's no need to worry about it.

Money Really Ain't Everything

Parker Brothers Hardware is for sale. After spending the past year fighting for their lives against developers who are trying to put together a Home Depot deal in Bearden, owners Chuck and Linda Lee are putting their Bearden landmark store up for sale. Founded in 1923 by Linda's grandfather, Lloyd "Pappy" Parker and his brother, H. Deadrick Parker, Parker Brothers has been a homegrown mainstay since the days when they made deliveries in a mule-drawn wagon. The original Parker Brothers was downtown on Walnut Street, and in the heyday of hardware, Parker Brothers had branch stores in Fountain City and Norwood, and published its own seed catalog.

Parker Brothers has been in its current Bearden Village location since 1993, and in Bearden for decades before that. The Lees' back office has been the center of the fight to keep the big-box giant out of Bearden, which is home to many small, family-owned businesses.

"We just decided it's time," says Chuck Lee. "I'll be 62 in March, and both my parents died at 62 with cancer. I've got heredity working against me, and Linda and I figure it's time we enjoyed ourselves. So if you know anybody who'd like a good-running business, we make 41.5 percent profit."

You Can't Miss It

If all goes well, the forlorn old green-enameled KUB building at Gay and Church will be auctioned off next week. It's been empty since KUB moved into the much larger, magnificent turn-of-the-century seven-story Miller's Building. Renovated by the city at an expense of millions of dollars, the beaux-arts brick building is once again one of the most conspicuous buildings on Gay Street, decorated, in case you didn't notice, with lion heads and four bigger-than-lifesize statues of buxom nude women. You can see it clearly, two blocks away, from the old KUB building.

But the sign on the door of the old KUB building directing us to the new "branch" at 445 Gay St. modestly doesn't mention architecture. It just tells us that the new "branch" is "across from Arby's."

The fast-food joint is, after all, a milestone now, one of the few institutions downtown that's been in the same place long enough for folks to remember it.

Recount Reduced to Fractions

This Friday, Chancellor Daryl Fansler will probably appoint a receiver to resolve the controversy within the anti-annexation group Citizens for Home Rule. The receiver will be instructed to set up a general membership meeting for the purpose of electing officers and doing away with the dual officers and boards of directors that the warring factions have elected. At a hearing last week, Fansler grappled with heavy issues, like listening to (and declining) Patra Rule's side's request for a restraining order to force John Emison to stop referring to himself as president of CHR, and getting involved in a heated debate about what is two-thirds of 11.

Attorney Marilyn Hudson, a former fourth grade math teacher, represents the CHR faction that ousted Emison as president. Emison's side contends that his ouster was not legal, because the seven members who voted to throw him out fall short of the two-thirds required by CHR bylaws for such action. The Emison side also contends that the ouster of a pro-Emison board member before the vote was not legal, and therefore the board had at least 12 members at the time of the vote . Hudson maintains that the board had been reduced to 11 members prior to the vote, and that two-thirds of 11 is seven.

"My fall-back position is that seven elevenths is still two thirds," Hudson said. "I took three into 11 times two."

Fansler, calculator in hand, disagreed, with the observation: "Math is what drove me into law school, Ms. Hudson. Take it up with Texas Instruments."

November 30, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 48
© 2000 Metro Pulse