Downtown Dirt by manhole: Fall!

So we’ve come to the end of yet another tortuously long and brutally hot East Tennessee summer. The air is getting crisper, the leaves are turning, and the gridiron is heating up even as baseball’s Boys of Summer are winding down. All of which signals seasonal goodness aplenty at Preservation Pub/Scruffy City Hall/Uncorked/Market Square Cafe.

Such as: The Market Square Rooftop Barhop. We’re in the sweet spot right now — the weather’s still warm, yet just cool enough for comfort. And so the Venues are offering a football-season-only Saturday night rooftop/barhop event that includes nine bars, six bands, four kitchens, three rooftops, two DJs, and a partridge in a pear tree.


Okay, no, skip that last part. But all the other stuff is true, for the low, low price of only $10. And take note that the rooftop jaunt includes the rooftop at Uncorked (!), which the Benefactors have special dispensation to use for this special autumnal barhop.

And while you are taking in the Scruffy City scenery, please take note of new additions such as the flying pig and flock of flamingos on display on the rooftop of Preservation Pub. The Benefactors had those added to the Pub’s rooftop garden scenery only recently, as a means of giving the Magic Beer Tree a little company during those long, lonely off-hours when the doors are closed and the taps are shut down.

Meanwhile, Market Square Cafe is offering a new fall menu that includes the return of the Scruffy Dog — hot dog goodness with a selection of 18 toppings and sauces. Also on tap is a daily lunch menu, including pulled pork and grits on Monday, Taco Tuesdays, steak and potatoes on Wednedays, pasta on Thursday, Fish and Chips Friday and Saturday afternoon chicken wings.

And while we’re on the subject of food: What the f@#$ is Pho?? If you don’t already know the answer — and especially if you already do — you’ll want to find out at Uncorked. Ask for the new Pho special.


Moving into October, and the Halloween season, know that Scruffy City Hall is hosting a portion of this year’s Knoxville Horror Film Fest 8, Oct. 21 through 23. See the website for details, and tickets.

Also, in keeping with seasonal tradition in these parts, look out for everyone’s favorite local Goth electro-pop superstars, Hudson K, and their annual multi-media Halloween spectacular, and for the Coveralls annual costume contest/Halloween performance. Dates on both those shows will be named soon, at

And moving toward Thanksgiving, Nov. 4 through 6 will see yet another edition of the Scruffy City Comedy Festival at Scruffy City Hall. Headliners at this year’s event include Baron Vaughn, Emily Heller, and Trae Crowder.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not mention that the long-awaited Crystal Cave and Waterfall will be debuting in spring of 2017 at Scruffy City Hall, a spectacular three-story crystal waterfall featuring roughly one billion pounds of crystal, something we’ve been promising since SCH opened in early 2014.

That, and Preservation Pub Potty Polisher-in-Chief Scott West will soon see the publishing of his life’s work, the jailhouse trilogy “Recipes for Diaster: The Crook Books, vols I, II, and III.” As you may already be aware, Mr. West spent about four years in a federal facility for the criminally dumb from 2007 until 2011 or thereabouts, in the wake of that dreadful little marijuana/money laundering mishap he and the missus had roundabout 2006.


Never one to waste a Moment, West decided to exit the Big House with more than just a talent for making license plates and a couple of good stories. The resulting three-volume epic will be available soon. Watch this space for details.


What’s in your earbuds? w/ Preservation Pub Cleaning Mistress Stacey Diamond

10494604_10203113619625447_258211701317866442_n1.Adele: “Send My Love To Your New Lover.” It seems like every time I get in my car, that song is on. So it’s always in my head. It has a nice groove to it.”

2.DNCE: “Cake by the Ocean.” That’s my choice for the song of the summer of 2016.

3.Jimmy Buffet: It’s not new or hip, but I listen to Jimmy Buffet all the time.

4.Phish: They showed a live stream of the recent Phish stand in Colorado on the Scroof at Scruffy City Hall. I enjoyed that.

Who do you think you are: w/ Preservation Pub Bartendress Danielle Laffrey

Do you know any really good jokes?

DL: What did the fish say when he ran into the wall? Dam! What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you? Nacho cheese. Most of my jokes are good for a four-year-old.

What’s your favorite practical jokes?

DL: Putting bubble wrap around someone’s rear tire.

What’s your least favorite song?

DL: Anything by the Smashing Pumpkins. Because their songs are sappy, and they make me want to sit alone in the dark and smoke. And Janis Joplin I can’t stand anything by Janis Joplin.

Who is your least favorite celebrity?

DL: Any Fox or CNN news anchors. Because anything they say is bullshit.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

DL: I was working the bar, and I looked up and I just saw the top of this guy’s face, like he was squatting down. I’m like what do you want? He says Millerliteinnabottle,” like it all ran together. I said, ‘Unless you can stand up here and order, I’m not serving you.’ I look up and he’s wheeling out in a wheelchair. I felt so bad. But I chased him down with a beer.

If you were going to torture someone, how would you do it?

DL: I would play a skipping CD over and over and over again.

Describe your worst date ever.

DL: We were on a date and we went to a place where I worked, and I proceeded to get really drunk because I was nervous. He had to drive me home, and I vomited all over his Jeep Cherokee. And he had to stay with me overnight because I was upchucking all over myself. I called him the next day and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Shampooing my vehicle.’

Describe Hell.

DL: Where I couldn’t get cigarettes or alcohol. It’s all females, and Smashing Pumpkins and Janis Joplin are playing in rotation.

What would you say if you met the Devil?

DL: ‘Haven’t we met before?’

Zeus Speaks

unnamedZeus is Preservation Pub’s in-house djinni. 

SP: The presidential campaign wears on. What do you foresee concerning Hillary Clinton’s mystery illness?

Z: I want to say that Trump could’ve done something to her, maybe put something in her drink. Whatever happens, I’m just worked we’re going to end up with martial law. The powers that be are stirring things up, provoking racial wars, attacks, innocent people are being shot.

SP: How should we interpret this seemingly kinder, gentler version of Donald Trump we’ve seen in the news lately?

Z: I think he’s being spoon-fed. They told him, whoa, you need to tone it down. You’re pissing off whole nations. You don’t have enough people behind you to run your mouth like that.

SP: What do you think is our biggest problem as a society?

Z: Disobedience. People refusing to do what God wants them to do. They want to be their own God. Too many people giving, not taking. We shouldn’t even have homelessness. We have one of the richest nations on earth. How do we even have homelessness.

SP: The trend of NFL football players not standing for the national anthem to protest racial injustice continues.

Z: We should respect America. But at the same time, we should have freedom to make our own decisions.

Zeus’ quote of the month: Not everyone is from this earth. Some of us are just passing through.

Now Playing: Mic Harrison and the High Score

Look for Mic Harrison to pull a double shift come Sept. 16, sitting in for a couple songs with old buddy Scott Miller at the latter’s show at the Bijou, and then heading over to Market Square to play the Miller after-show party at Preservation.

But then Harrison has never been afraid of rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty. Even after years in the music industry — as a member of Knoxville’s erstwhile Americana favorites the V-roys, along with Miller, and then as a member of power-pop outfit Superdrag, before taking the helm of his current project with the High Score — Harrison works full-time as proprietor of his own lawn service, the counterpoint to weekends spent either raising the roof of various regional beer joints, or else holed up writing and recording in a local music studio.

It’s a hard dollar, to be sure, but Harrison wouldn’t have it any other way. “Shoot, if I didn’t love it, I’d have quite a long time ago,” he says with his characteristic good-ol’-boy charm. “Some people go to the lake. Some people race cars. I play shows.

“I’ll say this: doing this stuff is harder than it used to be. Everyone’s got stuff going on, family stuff, work. Schedules are a lot harder than they used to be. It used to be, hey, let’s go to Richmond this weekend. Now everyone has to check with the wife, check with boss. It’s a lot harder to book anything out of town.”

Right now, though, Harrison and the High Score are hard at work in town, pulling together a new record, a follow-up to 2012’s “Still Want to Fight.” Harrison says the hard part is done — the songs are all at the mixing stage — but given the aforementioned scheduling issues, the going is still slow. “I hope it’s out by spring,” he says.

Harrison’s stock in trade is dusky Americana with plenty of swaggering, staggering rock attitude and more than a hint of pop savvy. And now that former Superdrag drummer Don Coffey has joined the High Score, he promises that the forthcoming album will be a decidedly melodic affair.

“There’s a few curveballs on it, for sure,” he says. “It’s not as country as I usually do. It’s got a lot more power pop. Hey, with Don Coffey playing drums, it’s hard not to be a little big power pop.

“We’re kind of producing it ourselves, but the guys at the studio are helping us some, too. We were working on one track the other day, and those guys were like, ‘Hey, you’re getting a little too Florida Georgia Line with that guitar line. Reel it back a little.'”

Frontman Harrison is the primary lyricist for the band, but he says the music itself involves a full partnership with himself and all the members of the High Score. “I usually come in with a chorus or a piece of a song, and then the guys will work it out,” he says. “I’m sort of the ‘starter.’

“I’ve come to rely on them for that. It’s very seldom a case where I’m like, ‘Here’s the song. This is the way we should play it.’ I let them put their own twist on stuff. It makes the music more interesting, makes for different licks and different turn-arounds.

“If I was doing it all, it would be a little bit more boring. I hate to sound cheesy, but it’s a chemistry thing. And our chemistry is like something that came out of a laboratory. It’s pretty good.”

Mic Harrison and the High Score will play the Scott Miller After-show party at 9 p.m. at Preservation Pub. A ticket stub from the Miller show will be good for $5 off on Mic Harrison merchandise.