THE WEEKEND GUIDE, SEPT. 9-11: James Agee, Sylvan Esso, Theatre Knoxville, and more

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Here’s a list of what to do this weekend besides watch football on a racetrack: a James Agee literary conference, the fair. indie folk, yoga, history stuff, and much more! Visit the Knoxville Mercury online calendar or pick up this week’s issue for a full list of the weekend’s offerings.


James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts
Pellissippi State Community College • Noon-8:30 p.m. • Free
Lovers of Knoxville-born writer James Agee—and of writing in general—can consider his influence on society, take a nonfiction-writing workshop, or mull Appalachian poetry at this weekend’s first James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts at Pellissippi State Community College. The free conference, from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, will feature dozens of scholarly and creative presentations led by noted Appalachian authors and scholars. The conference concludes on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Tennessee Valley Fair
Chilhowee Park • 3 p.m.-midnight • $8 and up
Yee haw! The Tennessee Valley Fair is back, with rides, fried food, farm demos, rides, and a lineup of nightly concerts: Gary Allan (Sept. 9), Kane Brown (Sept. 11), Lauren Daigle, Chris Janson, LANco, Styx, Naught by Nature, Emily Ann Roberts, and Diamond Rio. (Admission to most concerts is extra.) Sept. 9-18.

Movies on Market Square
Market Square • 8 p.m. • Free
Knox County Public Library’s Movies on Market Square is gearing up for its 13th season of family-friendly outdoor movies. The schedule includes The Fox and the Hound (Sept. 9); Legally Blonde (Sept. 16); Up (Sept. 23); Night at the Museum (Sept. 30); Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Oct. 7); and the original 1984 version of Ghostbusters (Oct. 14). Shows start at dusk.

Sylvan Esso
The Mill and Mine • 8 p.m. • $25 • 18 and up

Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso’s self-titled 2014 debut struck a chord with audiences and critic alike thanks to the way it unites earthy, seductive vocals and glossy, synth-heavy production. But darkness and anxiety swim under the album’s smooth surfaces—and also appear on the new single “Radio.” Read our preview here. With All Dogs.


Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Appalachian Trail Maintenance Day
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Help members of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club take care of the trails they use—in this case, the Appalachian Trail and the Davenport Gap shelter near the junction with Lower Mount Cammerer Trail. It’ll take about six miles of round-trip hiking. Bring lunch, gloves, and some tools—contact Steve Dunkin at for details and transportation info.

Namaste Betty Yoga Class
Farragut High School • 9:30-10:30 a.m. • Free
Join in a free yoga class dedicated to Betty Kalister, a local teacher who died in a plane crash two years ago. Betty was a local yoga powerhouse, a happy person, a joy to be around, and—perhaps above all else—an organizer. She loved to gather people around a cause, and so it is fitting that this annual event draws the yoga community together.

Hogskin History Day
Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center (Washburn) • 11 a.m.-5 p.m. • Free

COVER_0519_EntranceEleanor Scott

Get back to the land at Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center’s annual celebration of the culture and heritage of Grainger County’s rural Hogskin Valley. The event features food, music, crafts, games, and a little education on the natural history of the area. Blending Appalachian country living with ecological mindfulness, Narrow Ridge is a 120-acre spiritual retreat and environmental-education center overlooking Hogskin Valley, about 35 miles north of Knoxville. On the day of the celebration, homemade food will be available for purchase. Entertainment includes traditional music, singing and dancing, guest speakers, craftspeople selling textiles and jewelry, door prizes, cake walks, puppet-making, children’s activities, and tours of Narrow Ridge’s grounds and buildings.

Theatre Knoxville Downtown: The Guys
The Emporium Center • 3 p.m. • Free
Set in New York just after the Sept. 11 attacks, Anne Nelson’s play follows a writer and editor as they prepare eulogies for the NYPD firefighters who died that day. Free, but donations are accepted; proceeds benefit the Knoxville Firefighters’ Association and Theatre Knoxville. Performances will also be held on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Temple Dance Night
The Concourse • 9 p.m. • $5 • 18 and up
Knoxville’s long-running alt/goth/industrial dance night.


Family of Earth: A Southern Mountain Childhood
East Tennessee History Center • 3 p.m. • Free

Jim and Dykeman Stokely, the sons of renowned and beloved East Tennessee writer Wilma Dykeman, will commemorate the release of their mother’s new posthumously published book, Family of Earth: A Southern Mountain Childhood. The manuscript for the memoir about Dykeman’s life during World War II was found after her death in 2006.

Senior Editor Matthew Everett manages the Knoxville Mercury's arts & entertainment section, including the comprehensive calendar section—Knoxville’s go-to guide for everything worth doing in the area. You can reach Matthew at

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