Knoxville might not necessarily be the Mecca for creative writers, but MTV...yes, I did say giving those 18-28 a chance to find the short story writer within. MTV Books is screaming out to the creative masses for entries to its Write Stuff Short Story Competition. Send in no more than 25 typed, double-spaced, one-sided, 8 1/2 x 11, manuscript pages by Dec. 1 and maybe you'll be one of the 15 lucky writers included in the short story anthology. For complete details, phone the MTV-ers at 800-454-5358. And if they don't pick you....who said MTV knew anything about writing anyway.

Metal men

Local extreme metal group, Enter Self, seems destined for broken-up band land. Mired in so-called financial difficulties with their label, Dwell Records, the group's debut CD, Transcendental Dawn, will not be released as planned. The group also seems to be undergoing a small, intragroup facelift, as they are looking for a new drummer (call 579-1497 if you beat the skins) and have recently switched vocal talents. Yes, fans, it is all quite depressing but true. Never fear, though. The groups contribution to the In Slaytanic Blood CD, "Mandatory Suicide," will still be released next spring. Sounds very cutting edge.

Compact Gifts

It's that time of year again, when the gift-giving frenzy starts to seize us all—and my desk becomes simply littered with local CD releases. In a perfect world, I'd have a few days to leisurely review them all in a timely, well-reasoned manner. And, then, Ewan McGregor would come feed me peeled grapes and monkeys just might fly out of get the idea.

Instead, I'm going to let you all know that these local discs are out there, what they loosely contain, and promise the said, lengthy review sometime after the holiday silly season no longer has us in its grasp.

Our own R.B. Morris is on a compilation of unreleased Oh Boy! tracks called Lucky 13. Also on the disc are previously unreleased and/or live tunes from John Prine (my favorite is "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian), The Bis-Quits, and Heather Eatman.

Where's Romeo just released Lifeline, which was partially recorded at Southern Sound in Knoxville. The tunes run the gamut from funk to Latin to country and even include some bent covers. The band will be having a release party at Bird's Eye View on Dec. 4.

Sam Mustafa's Detail is in the spirit of recent visitors The Nields and Eddie From Ohio. Mustafa calls it "progressive acoustic music," which sounds like it could be a real downer, unless you also know that it has a strong rock spine.

Travelin' Man just released Eyes of a Stranger, a disc that captures the flavor of Jeff Headrick's live shows—soft rock with spunk.

And, finally, Coastin', the new CD from great fingerstyle guitarist Bill Mize is chock-full of acoustic tracks that make you want to put the top down and drive as if there were no tomorrow.

If I were you...

Which I'm not, of course, but if I were able to plan your entertainment week, this is what I'd do:

Thursday: Screaming Cheetah Wheelies with Bare Jr. at Moose's Music Hall. The Wheelies, a Nashville-based band, is a cross of high-octane guitar-driven crotch-rock with Al Green-style Gospel while Bare, Jr. replaces the traditional rock guitar with a distortion box-driven dulcimer.

Friday: R.B. Morris and the Irregulars at the Laurel Theatre. We love R.B.'s poet-soul and know, deep, deep down, y'all do too.

Saturday: Mr. Skinny at Moose's Music Hall. These local boys play slap-funk like nobody's business. See them now before they are snatched away by the charms of the big city.

Sunday: Atomic City Rhythm Rascals at Borders. Fronted by Evan Carawan, the Rascals play real roots music—the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, dulcimer kind—that makes you want to stand up and jig.

Monday: Aerosmith at Thompson-Boling. It's like candy. You just can't help yourself.

Tuesday: Danielle Howle at Moose's Music Hall. For the last time, people, go see Howle if you are into that funky chick with a guitar vibe. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday: The Importance of Being Earnest produced by Actors Co-Op at the St. Oliver Bistro. Even if you think you hate theatre, you'll die when you see Zack Allen's Lady Bracknell. Trust me.

—Zippy "Cruise Director" McDuff