Long Live A-1
A-1 Artspace, Knoxville's gallery for the avant garde (both in art and music), will be forced to relocate this month from its longtime home at 128 S. Gay St. The gallery's landlordwho allowed A-1 to use the space rent-freehas sold the property to Jo Mason, who also owns another gallery on Gay Street.
For the past four years, A-1 has occupied the former home of Campbell Printing, a large corner space on the 100 Block of Gay Street that had previously been sitting empty for years. A-1's shows and performances contributed to the area's mini-renaissance, which now includes an array of small shops and residents. Olga Alexander, A-1's director and curator, says the gallery will try to remain in the neighborhood and is examining a few nearby spaces.
A-1 will have to vacate by Dec. 20. Its closing show will be by performance artist Ateet on Dec. 19 at 9 p.m.a show which is being billed by WUTK's Brian McKendry as "The A-1 Is Dead International Improvisational Noise Festival and Parade of Homes," featuring The Teddy Bear Terrorist Squad, The Inbread (sic) Misanthrope, and Mr. Livedog and The Redneck Aesthetic. What does all that mean? "Nudity, fire, chaos, and baked goods," raves McKendry. "Live sex acts. Absurdity. People intoxicated on various semi-poisonous substances." (Well, I'm not sure if it's art, but I know what I like...)
Fortunately, A-1 isn't actually dead, and in fact has already booked shows for the coming months.
"We've really been on a roll, and it's unfortunate we have to leave this space," says Alexander. "But we'll take temporary spaces if we have to."
In February, A-1 will be hosting the works of Maria Elena Alvarez (an opening reception will be held Feb. 5); in March, it will have a dual show with artists Elizabeth Condon and Amanda Church. Most promising is the gallery's "Southeastern Art Exhibit," which will be running from April 9 through June 20, courtesy of a grant by the East Tennessee Foundation. Alexander says A-1 is now accepting entries in all media; an outside juror will be used for final selections. For more information, call 974-3399 and leave a message.
There is a new dance club in town. No, it's not just an old dance club that's changed its name. We think.
Warp Core opened up behind Western Plaza on Dec. 4. The self-titled "high energy dance complex" is a new endeavor by the creators of The Network. They boast in a flier that "there isn't a comparable dance experience within 250 miles of Knoxville." That's a bold statement considering that a 250 mile radius includes Atlanta, Nashville, Lexington, and Charlottebut hey, I'm not gonna drive 250 miles just to prove a point.
The club's DJ, who has worked clubs in Atlanta and Detroit, throws Hi-NRG dance and techno music from a 10,000 watt sound system. What does that really mean ear-wise? Well, according to Warp Core bartender Jazz Hoadley, "It's very loud." She wears earplugs when she works to protect her hearing. That is pretty damn loud. If the music isn't enough for you then there is concert-style lighting, lasers, and fog. If that still isn't enough for your dancing soul, then start driving, but remember, 250 miles is a helluva distance just for a dance.
After popular pianist/vocalist Diana Krall played a nearly packed house at the Tennessee Theatre Saturday night, she decided it was her turn to sit back and listen to somebody else do the playing. So, of course, she and her entourage went down to Lucille's, where pianist Donald Brown was holding court. Krall was overheard to remark that Knoxville's premiere pianist was one of her heroes and that she had been trying for years to master one of Brown's compositions. The respect is mutual, as Brown offered to give Krall a turn at the keyboards. Saying she was tired, she politely declined and enjoyed her supper. However, Russell Malone, Krall's guitarist and a well-known jazz musician in his own right, did step in to take a spin with Donald.
It's one of those unexpected-celebrities-at-Lucille's stories that makes you go Dang. But if everybody who, if they had known, would have been there had been there, it wouldn't have been nearly as nice an evening.
Zippy "Why won't anyone ask me to sit in?" McDuff