Rock, roll and revel in First Friday fun

Betsy PickleOur Town Arts

Happy First Friday, y’all! It’s not even supposed to hit 90 today, so you’ll have it made in the 88-degree shade when you’re trying to sample the culture scene of the First Friday Art Walk downtown.

And when I say sample it’s because there’s just too much going on to take a gulp of anything. Think small bites of deliciousness – possibly accompanied by some vino or brews.

One new exhibit that caught my eye was Robert Felker’s “Patron Saints of Rock” at the Bijou Art Gallery. Its opening runs 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. and is free.

Visual artist Felker pays tribute to musical artists who have inspired him with this series of archival inkjet prints. Many of us can relate to Felker’s appreciation for music and musicians. Some of us listen and steep ourselves in the words and music; Felker wanted to give back.

“O holy church to which I belong

Thy Saints inspire with heavenly song;

For Thee, I built a humble shrine

To save this broken soul of mine.

The featured musicians cross several genres and are a mix of the living and the dead. This would be a great first stop on your journey tonight.

The Emporium Center, at the other end of Gay Street, opens a “really big show” tonight: “Townsend Artisan Guild: The Best of Us.” That’s a bold claim, but expect to see some gems from the 20 participating guild members.

Works include fiber arts, charcoal, pen and ink, oils, watercolors, acrylics, photography, pottery, woodworking and mixed media. Founded in 2007, the guild is now 80 strong and supports the practice of and education on arts from the “quiet side of the Smokies.”

Several other new exhibits open at the Emporium, and there will be a reception from 5 to 9 p.m.

If downtown isn’t convenient for you, there are First Friday activities in several outlying areas – from the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton and the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Norris to the District Gallery in Bearden and the Broadway Studios and Gallery in North Knoxville. One hugely popular event is the Robert Tino Gallery’s Fall Festival – this year the three-day festival turns 26.

Check out the There’s More to Knoxville calendar for a wealth of details on First Friday and other local events.

Something rare for Ijams: ‘Misery’

James Caan and Kathy Bates in “Misery”

They say misery loves company. Ijams Nature Center also loves company, and the finale of the Summer Under the Stars movie series – held in conjunction with the film experts from Central Cinema – is tonight: “Misery,” based on Stephen King’s thriller.

It’s a sweet little story about a woman and her pet … writer? Oh, yeah. Author James Caan gets to know his biggest fan, Kathy Bates, and adoration is not all it’s cracked up to be. Rob Reiner directed the 1990 hit film from a script adapted by William Goldman.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the film starting at dark (around 8) on the front lawn of the visitor center. There will be food trucks (of course) and a beer garden (ditto).

Tickets are available singly or as a family four-pack. It’s rated R, so parents might want to think twice (or more) about taking really young children.

Betsy Pickle is a veteran entertainment, features and news reporter best known as the longtime film critic for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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