While this particular blog is intended to get a large amount of information across to the various NCS members (and chapter-only members) of the SECNCS, others can look at it too. I don’t think I’ll be revealing any secret info herein.
Took a whirlwind tour of downtown Knoxville today. Went to visit with Charlie Daniel and his wife Patsy (no, not Charlie Daniels the musician, Charlie Daniel the newspaper cartoonist). They’ve been our “ground crew” in arranging for the upcoming SECNCS Annual Meeting, to be held the weekend of October 25-27 at Crowne Plaza near the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
I’ve been talking to the folks at C-P since back in February and due to Charlie having connections there we’ve got a great room rate for the group that weekend. I won’t mention that rate here, but if you’re in the SECNCS you should already know–it’s unbelievable for almost ANY hotel. However, having seen the C-P in person now I can tell you that it is truly unbelievable! The hotel just underwent a major renovation to all the guest rooms and nearly all the guest bathrooms (they’re still working on some of the baths–replacing tubs with showers), but the rooms we saw were awesome! I told them that my wife will be impressed.
They also have a full gym with both resistance machines, free weights, cardio machines, and indoor pool at C-P. So if you cartoonists are worried about getting out of shape while you’re in Knoxville–never fear. Your family can swim until 11 pm each night, and exercise 24/7.
I also saw one of the meeting rooms–where we’ll be holding our business meeting and public presentations. Actually I saw Salon “B”, we’ll be in Salon “A” on the mezzanine level. That’s where our guest speakers (Mike Lynch, Bill Holbrook, John Lotshaw, Greg Cravens, etc.) will be giving their presentations. Since I’m thinking of it I’d better insert the artwork Mike Lynch has done for the event.
The event theme is “Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks” and I got the cool job of playing art director for Mike Lynch–internationally published humor cartoonist! Wow, this job is the bomb.Also on the mezzanine level is Mahogany’s Restaurant where we’ll be having our Friday night meet and greet dinner. Again, they’re giving our group a great deal–each of our people gets a deal on dinner Friday night buffet in the private room that can seat up to 42 of us cartoonists and our family members. Sweet.
After visiting C-P the Daniels took me across the street to Market Square, but we stopped in at WDVX for the live broadcast of “The Blue Plate Special” and we got to hear Blue Hound Smith perform. Hopefully some of our group will be able to hit WDVX during the lunch hour on October 25 or 26 and see the great shows they put on there. (As an aside, I gave the folks at the station a copy of Gypsy Bandwagon: Stole My Mule to listen to. Hopefully they’ll give it a listen and maybe we can play on that stage sometime in the next year).
On Market Square we went to visit Bella Luna Restaurant, and took a nice meeting with co-owner Christin Love, who was very helpful and is looking forward to hosting our group on Saturday evening, October 26–after our full day of programming.
Bella Luna features “Simple Modern Italian” and they’re ready to show our group a remarkable evening. I’ll be needing to get a head count of all the folks that are going to be there for that. But it promises to be really amazing. And just in case you’ve got special dietary needs, they assure me that they can even accomodate gluten-free! (Imagine that in an Italian place!)
BTW, if you’re coming to the events on Saturday, we’ll be taking a break for lunch, and the hotel is only 200 steps from Market Square where there are any number of awesome restaurants. The Daniels treated me to Latitude 35 for a nice casual lunch, but there must be around 30 other restaurants on the street–so you’ve got a choice.
Back at the hotel we’re planning to have a silent auction benefitting the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, the SECNCS, and the Milt Gross Fund. We welcome the general public to this and will be doing a lot of publicity prior to the event. After that’s done our group will be doing our usual “Cartoon Jam” after hours. We’ve got the meeting room until at least 10 pm, so bring along your “axe” and let’s jam!