You may remember "the couch" incident--the one when writer Allison Glock said people from Knoxville call their city "the couch" in The New York Times' "36 Hours in Knoxville" in 2008.
Glock more than makes up for that error in her portrait of Knoxville in the August/September issue of Garden & Gun magazine. The article isn't online, but Glock's descriptions and list of places to dine, drink, shop, see, and sleep are not only spot-on, but pretty helpful to this Knoxville newbie.
"Knoxville is a town of poetic understatement," she writes to open the article. "The regional humbleness is a long-standing tic, a well-worn ambivalence captured impeccably by Knoxville-bred writers like James Agee, Nikki Giovanni, RB Morris, and Cormac McCarthy."
Glock even compares Knoxville to "the heavyset Judd sister, who, let's be honest, seems like the only fun one" due to the city's outshining by the picturesque Tennessee Valley and Great Smoky Mountains.
She waxes poetic about the Dogwood Arts Festival, and the International Biscuit Festival, saying "That Knoxville is the sort of place one can live in and write biscuit-inspired rock operas is precisely the point," in reference to the runner-up of a Biscuit fest songwriting contest.
She highlights local celebrities Red Hickey ("the voice of Knoxville"), Scott Miller (a songwriter who "tells stories better than most novelists"), Colleen Cruze ( the "spunky, punky farmer's daughter" who hands out shots of chocolate milk and sell kale-flavored ice cream from her "spiffy farm truck"), and the Love Kitchen's Ellen Turner and Helen Ashe (the octogenarian twins who feed the hungry and deliver meals to "elderly shut-ins and those with debilitating illness").
Knoxville is like an episode of Cheers, Glock writes. "Stay a week, and everybody knows your name. Stay two, and you'll be asked to join the band."
The magazine's on stands now. Pick up a copy ASAP!