A Fuzzy Upper Lip:

Bijou Theater employees came to work Monday to find a little weekend vandalism--or impromptu art criticism. In the lobby's "East Tennessee Hall of Fame," a gallery of area celebs, the painting of TV cop and UT theater grad David Keith had been defaced. The oil painting, protected by a glass shield that the perpetrator apparently popped open, now sports a carefully drawn mustache of the Errol Flynn variety. There are no suspects in the walk-by inking, but Bijou officials believe it was probably a reveler from the adjacent Bistro who paused on the way to the restroom. The painting's off the wall temporarily, and the theater plans to have it painstakingly restored. Employees have no idea why Keith was singled out, but, one says, "We're glad it didn't happen to Dolly."

Passionville:

The cover of the September Esquire features an unusual photo of two football players, one pro, one college, suited up but helmetless in the middle of a big unidentified stadium. Front and center is Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, while over his right shoulder, looking intent and windblown, is Peyton Manning. Does Football Still Matter? goes the headline. On the contents page is a provocative deck: "A sport born of the passions of small towns and wild boys has grown indifferent to their ardor. But don't tell that to Green Bay and Knoxville."

You might expect to find a profile of Knoxville in the article, but the cover story is mainly about the NFL, with only a little about Knoxville or the Vols, a lyrical story mourning the loss of passion in the pros. "Football used to be a game of barbarians. It grew out of working towns full of dark stories and wild boys," the article opens. Knoxville fits that profile, all right. Then, deep in the article is the only reference to the kid depicted heroically on the cover:

"The NFL left passion to the college game which is still played in the freedom of Saturday afternoons in the small places where the stadium is the biggest building in town. In fact, it's the surpassing paradox of this football season that the college game's biggest star is University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, a cool, cerebral type, the son of good parents and the possessor of a head so level you could bowl on it. Last spring, when he could have signed with the NFL, Manning instead decided to stay in Knoxville. The sensible kid chose the passion."

That's the first time we've seen Knoxville equated with passion in a major magazine article--but we kind of like it.

Ain't it Grand?

Some wags can't restrain themselves from remarking that recent Knoxville Police Department goings-on--the infamous "theft" of chief former beer inspector David McGoldrick's city car, and the car assigned to current inspector, Sandy Reynolds, getting stolen and ending up in Cocke County while she shopping for new shoes for Jimmy Duncan's 50th birthday party--gives a whole new meaning to the term "Auto Theft Division." (Reynolds told investigators she believes her car was taken by McGoldrick's pals in retaliation for her cooperation with investigators who later ruled McGoldrick "stole" his own cruiser.)

Rubbing Elbows:

How much film talent can we possibly support? Knoxvilian Leslie Machacek has written a screenplay that has garnered some interest from Big Boys like Oliver Stone and Tim Robbins. Machacek, who works at Cup a' Joe, began writing it two years ago, then approached former Judybat Jeff Heiskell (who has penned some three or four screenplays himself) to help her finish the work. Now, screenplay, synopsis, and outline are done and Machacek is flying to New York to meet with Tim Robbins' story development team this week.

The work is entitled Military Affairs and takes advantage of that current trend in entertainment: women in the military. The heroine is an Air Force woman who gets raped, and the movie focuses on the brass's extensive efforts to--surprise!--cover up the incident. Machacek says she has a friend in the entertainment business who read the screenplay, liked it, and contrived to get Oliver Stone to see and like it as well. Machacek has also had tentative communication with Disney.

Machacek is confident of the success of her endeavor. The screenplay is well-written, she says, and authentic--she is well-versed in the subject having been in the Air Force herself. And she says she'd like to see Jodie Foster in the main role.

A Coincidence, Surely:

If you're planning to go over to the UT campus and protest the impending razing of Turner House, you may run into trouble unless you know exactly where you're going. The functionaries in the UT Politburo have removed the sign. You may have to look hard to find the old house at 1403 Middle Drive.

Challenging Myths:

UT graduate student David Drews has produced and written a documentary on Tennessee history titled The Gibbs Family: Five Generations on the Homestead, which will air on PBS in Tennessee and North Carolina beginning in August and on subsequent dates in September and October. The first Knoxville broadcast on WSJK will be August 31 at 2 p.m. The documentary, says Drews, "challenges the myths about early settlers in the Southern Appalachian region."

That's Entertainment:

GTV grand dragon George Bove was so pleased with his spread in Metro Pulse last week that he decided to show his appreciation to MP editor Coury Turczyn Tuesday night by directing his hench-woman, Kim West, to give Turczyn a "big kiss" over the air, which was her cue to fellate the microphone. The coif-tossing Bove, also aided by Santa Claus, a drag queen, and a street poet, shot the video for this week's episode outside the City County building while County Commissioners (whom Bove persists in calling "City Commissioners") were inside critiquing his work and contemplating the appropriateness of using taxpayer dollars for such frivolities. Turczyn says he found the display "titillating" but not obscene.