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Looking On the Bright Side

When it went up a couple of years ago, a lot of folks, including several architects we know, made fun of the new Unitarian/ Universalist Church on Kingston Pike, the most common complaint being that it looked like a surburban commercial building and clashed with its historic residential neighborhood. However, that very same building just became the only building in East Tennessee to win a design award from the American Institute of Architects. The design, by Nashville firm Tuck Hinton, was one of five honorees in the AIA's Tennessee Society Design Awards Program. Other honorees were the Ingram Science Building at Montgomery Bell Academy (also by Tuck Hinton), the Antioch Community Center, and the Dover Centre in Cool Springs.

The jurors' only comment about the Knoxville design quoted in Monday's Nashville Tennessean, was, "We applaud a building that in other hands could have been a metal building beside a highway."

Hey, maybe they're right. We hadn't thought of it that way.

Well, Gee Wh-wh-wh-whiz

The Riverside Tavern, a Regas family enterprise with the usual touches of Regas class, was home in the last few weeks to the ultimate in accoutrements for the most discriminating of (male) UT sports fans. In a men's room urinal was this plain, red splash pad that looked like any other until it was peed on. Whereupon, lettering appears, and the pad reads: "Go! Big Orange" Although the metapohor is unusual, we are confident this somewhat inelegant instrument is intended as a gesture of UT support and not some variation of the abhorrent practice of visiting teams' stomping on a football stadium's midfield logo. No word yet on whether or how a similar message might be offered up in the women's room.

Beyond New York

While most of the rest of us were watching an unfortunate football game on TV on the evening of October 7, a couple of tall guys with German accents were stalking around downtown Knoxville, taking photographs in places we're not used to seeing people take photographs. TV producer Rudolph Straub and photographer Livio Piatti, who both live in Zurich, were scouting locations for a Swiss television project, retracing the footsteps of author/adventurer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who toured industrial America in the 1930s. Little known here today, Schwarzenbach stopped in Knoxville in 1937 and included a chapter about Knoxville in her book, Jenseits von New York, ("Beyond New York"). The book, now hard to find and available only in German, includes half a dozen unbecoming photographs of Depression-era downtown Knoxville, especially along old Front Street; Piatti attempted to recreate some of the scenes along modern-day Neyland Drive. If all goes well, the Swiss will return sometime in the near future with a film crew.

Straub says parts of Knoxville, especially Maplehurst, remind him vaguely of Copenhagen. They were impressed with the size of Neyland Stadium (more than with its architecture, which they called "functionalist"). They watched the end of the Vols-Dawgs game at Barley's, and admitted they preferred soccer.

They were the first newcomers in a long time who pronounced the name of the Sterchi building correctly, without coaching.

They left the next day to continue their American expedition in North Carolina.

Eyes Right, Hooouh!

If you think Dubya's a squishy moderate and Gore's an outright Commie, have we got a dinner for you! The first annual Reagan Day Dinner, sponsored by the Tennessee Conservative Union, will be held on Thursday Nov. 2 at the Radisson.

The featured speaker will be the sharp-tongued, iconoclastic former advisor to Ronald Reagan, Lynn Nofziger, of whom even liberals might find something to love, since he was Nancy Reagan's least favorite political operative (something about his unkempt fashion sense, tough language and possibly his stinky cigars).

Also slated to be in attendance are Fred Thompson and Jimmy Duncan.Tickets are $100 each, and TCU chair Lloyd Daugherty has big plans for the proceeds of the dinner."The money will go to fight the income tax," he said. "I was going to do this 3 years ago, but I had my leg amputated and had to cancel it. I just felt like conservatives anti-establishment types.needed to have a dinner of our own.

October 19, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 42
© 2000 Metro Pulse