Interview at Nelson\'s Art Gallery

Friday night we stopped in for Johnson City’s First Friday downtown festivities and had a ball at Nelson’s Art Gallery as they celebrated the ETSU Pottery Class Graduation in an event called “Seize The Clay.”

You gotta love the Latin title and together with Matthew and Jared, we captured some interesting video footage from several young artists and Dick Nelson as he described some of the plans for the summer in Downtown Johnson City. Carson also shot plenty of pictures who can check out here.There were about 200 people at most on the streets, but the Art Gallery had plenty of foot traffic. He’s been producing the event for a long time now and has light food and you could buy handmade East Tennessee pottery and get a big pot of soup. You can talk with plenty of artists too as most linger around their creations as folks browse through the gallery that includes a variety of work and art supplies – not to mention a couple of house critters who cruise the crowded showroom.

Photographer/Artist Paul Bishop was showing me his new work from his cell phone. Normally a high-end studio photographer, Paul is rethinking his images lately and has a wonderful printer that captures intriguing images. Paul states in a humble, measured tone, “the least I can do is match your sofa.”

Outside on the streets – two bands last week. There was an oldies band with nine players at the top of the street and Hot Carl in front of the bead shop on the West End of Main Street. I love this little three piece band which features John McAmis on guitar and a bass player and drummer who had a terrific groove. No speakers other than a guitar and bass amp and a kick drum and they had plenty of happy dancers around them.

There were plenty of kids on the street too as the Hands On Museum were exhibiting heavy duty rescue equipment on the street as little ones were crawling in and out of the cabs of the big rigs.

They close the streets down for First Friday and there was plenty going on too in other locations. Capone’s (formerly Gatsby’s) had a $8.00 ticket to see the national act “Hurt” and Halo and the Hideaway were rocking with live bands most of the night.

One of our favorite new spots in Johnson City (besides Nelson’s) is Russo’s. This cool little cajun restaurant has a great etouffee and one of my favorites – a shrimp palermo. The wait staff is great and they have several creole babes who put the Hooter’s girls to shame with their grace and service and not to mention their vocabulary. They could sure use a better wine list, but overall it’s a great place to hang out and I love the jambalaya.

The streets were crowded and peaceful the entire evening. We made our way down to Numan’s Pool Hall where 10,000 Flames were playing on stage later that night and we ordered a few beers, but not enough to make me enjoy the karaoke singers that were there long before we there.

There’s no excuse to say “there’s nothing to do” in the Tri-Cities. Especially on First Friday in Johnson City and we look forward to much more from Dick Nelson and the business entrepreneurs who stay open and support this downtown initiative. Keep up the good work and see you next month!