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Eye on the Scene

At Least They Don't Sell Cookies

Who knew Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew could be so inflammatory?

On Friday, Aug. 4, the last weekend of the show's run at the Tennessee Amphitheater, a heated debate (to put it politely) broke out between a Boy Scout troop leader,the show's director, Amy Hubbard, and lighting designer Perry Hawley. The whole thing started, Hubbard says, when she and Hawley heard "crazy, crazy loud screaming" while they were watching the show from the light and sound booth at the back of the stage. The action on stage had stopped and they ran out of the booth to see what had happened. A Scoutmaster who was in town over the weekend for the Order of the Arrow convention was standing and allegedly yelling, "Stop. This is the Knoxville Police Department. Stop the show!" at the actors and ran away when the two approached.

Hubbard and Hawley caught up with the screamer in the viaduct behind the Amphitheater and he started yelling at the two about how he "couldn't let them [actors] curse around his boys." Hawley left in frustration to search for a member of the real KPD. "The guy was just freaking out," Hubbard says, and she took him by the arm to lead him out of the ditch and back into the light. He yelled some more about how she couldn't touch him and added "stop putting your stuff on me." The whole time three other Scoutmasters and seven or eight Scouts were standing by, watching the altercation.

Which brings Zippy to ponder a few things:

1) Just think how exciting downtown will be once the new convention center is finished!

2) Shrew isn't Mamet, nor is it one of the Bard's more saucy plays like the bloody and twisted Titus Andronicus. Perhaps the Scoutmaster objected to the phrase "whore's son."

3) According to the Boy Scouts of America, the first purpose of the Order of the Arrow is "to recognize those campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives." The Law, along with listing and defining a Scout as Trustworthy, Loyal, and True, also states that he should be "[a] friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own," as well as stating that a Scout is "polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together."

As if the total stoppage of Friday night's show wasn't exciting enough, Saturday's show—closing night for this East Tennessee Shakespeare in the Park production—was drowned out by the Order of the Arrow's fireworks, the same ones that flooded E-911 with hundreds of calls and made some Knoxville residents (including Zippy) wonder if they were being shelled by the good boys in short pants in preparation for a hostile take-over.

Architecture Geeks

Knoxville's sonic architects New Brutalism are off to Chicago this week to record their second album. The next disc, which is as of yet untitled, will be recorded at Steve Albini's studio, Electrical Audio. Production chores will actually be handled by Bob Weston, a renowned producer in his own right (whose credits are a virtual who's who of noisy, American post punk art/indie rock) and member of Albini's band, Shellac.

NB percussionist Carrie Balch says that the band's next opus will be in the CD format as opposed to the previous vinyl-only offering. Sure, the old-school vinyl hiss and pop is great because the full-scale album art is cool and it has wider tonal range and "warmer" sound, but you just can't listen to LPs in a car. And, art rock or no, the New Brutalism boys want their music to blast from hot rods everywhere, alongside AC/DC and Slayer. The next NB outing will surely give a new definition to the concept of heaviness, collapsing new buildings everywhere.

Return Engagement

It was just announced this week that legendary jazz/bluesman Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, who was here briefly in June for the unveiling of the Old City music mural, will be back in town on Oct. 14, for a show with his regular band at the Laurel Theatre. The colorful 91-year-old fiddler and mandolinist—the last surviving member of the unique string trio Martin, Bogan, and Armstrong—was a Knoxville street musician in the 1920s and early '30s who made his first recordings here. LaFollette, his childhood home, is planning ceremonies in his honor that weekend.

Nom de Bad Ass

When you think of Johnny Cash, some characteristics come to mind. Black clothes, great country songs, and a guy who is an overall badass. When you hear of the group The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, you would think they would probably incorporate the same things.

After seeing the group last Friday at Manhattan's, I'm not sure if they fit anywhere in there. Yeah, they did have some decent songs like "Seven Miles to Memphis" and "Texas Sun." They also did a good cover of the Merle Haggard classic "Mama Tried." They should seriously think about changing their name to "The Bastard Sons of Merle Haggard," because they have more of the Bakersfield sound than a Johnny Cash sound. But the group doesn't have anything that really makes them stick out from any of the other growing number of bands. They have the thrift-store cowboy look going on, but not quite like BR5-49, who have an extremely kitschy but memorable appearance.

Don't get me wrong. This is a good bar band if you want to kick back with some brews and listen to country music. But these "bastards" are no Johnny Cash kin.

Do It!

Thursday: Slobberbone at Manhattan's. Rawk 'n' roll, bay-bee!

Friday: Short Bus, Brian Carper, Crave, Floodwater, and Magpie Suite at The Spot. This show, which starts at 6 p.m. instead of The Spot's usual 10 p.m., will benefit the American Cancer Society—a worthy cause that will lobby for Zippy and his iron lung.

Saturday: Greater Tuna at Theatre Central. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but mostly you'll laugh.

Sunday: Verticle Horizon and Nine Days, opening for Third Eye Blind, at World's Fair Park. Honestly, 3EB makes me all woozy but the other two young bands can play pop like gods.

Monday: Nap. Mutter about how much Knoxville rocked when you were a kid.

Tuesday: Unplugged Jam at Boogie's. Just what you think it is.

Wednesday: Rus Harper's Open Mic at Café Mocha. Beats a sharp stick in the eye. Or does it...?

—Zippy "Ow." McDuff

August 10, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 32
© 2000 Metro Pulse