Dueling Banjos

Arrowmont was fabulous. The women in my class were (are) fabulous. My instructor rawked. The food at art camp was spotty, but the morning oatmeal was fabulous. After the snow on Monday, the daffodils and jonquils and narcissus and wood violets and forsythia and wisteria bloomed. I saw a single tufted titmouse. I love them, and they don’t venture south to Miami. However. Gatlinburg itself is scary. If Niagara Falls had butt sex with the cheap end of International Drive in Orlando, and the resulting love child was birthed by Las Vegas, that love child would be Gatlinburg proper.

It is a single long road, bordered on two sides by Elvis impersonator shows, haunted houses, museums dedicated to the automobiles of dead celebrities, chain restaurants, themed miniature golf courses, taffy and fudge shoppes, multiple offerings of “vintage” photography studios (the kind where you dress up like old west hookers or gun slingers and get a sepia toned 5x7 for $45), multiple iterations of Ripley’s Believe it or Not “museums”, a Hard Rock Cafe, an aquarium of some repute (“Hah. Fish in tanks.” says my friend Diana) a scattering of nutjobs preaching the Word from atop bus benches, tacky tee shirt and tchatcke shops,  windows with ticket hawkers reminiscent of hookers in Amsterdam, and the random banjo player looking for hat change. And then there are the tourists who find all that a desirable destination. Good lord. If I hadn’t already had a drink, I would have needed one.

And yet, turn left at the Hard Rock, go up a shallow hill, and you are in an art school. A fine craft wonderland. I’ll go back, and I might even wander down to the joint where we had some great micro-brews and amazingly good pizza. Just, please, don’t make me go back down the gantlet to get there. I don’t know if I’ll be able to say no to the vintage photography set ups.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/09 at 04:52 PM in What the Fuck is Wrong With You People

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