published Monday, May 19th, 2014

Get Off The Couch: Gearing up for holiday weekend

LISA DENTON: Barry, we need to mosey down to Nightfall on Friday. And I say "mosey" for a reason. The headliner is Pokey LaFarge, whose name intrigues me. Plus, his roots-rock band includes a washboard player. Those don't come along very often, which is a darn shame.

BARRY COURTER: You fully expect a guy named Pokey LaFarge to have a washboard player, don't you? And probably a washtub bass player. They don't have one of those, but the players all have serious chops, and I don't just mean their musical chops. These guys can grow some sideburns.

I like their song "Garbage Can Blues." Pokey recommends folks should "take out your can and shake it for the garbage man." Sound advice.

As an added bonus, the 9th Street Stompers are the opening act. They are kind of a local all-star group of roots or Americana musicians. It should be a fun evening.

LISA: Nightfall rarely steers you wrong, even if you don't know the band going in.

Next Monday is Memorial Day, so there's a lot happening this weekend. Lake Winnepesaukah's SoakYa water park opens Saturday, and Confederate Railroad will be there in concert on Sunday. Farther out in the region, there are two Friday-through-Sunday festivals: Roots Fest at Cherokee Farms in LaFayette, Ga., and Thunder on the Rock, a music festival/bike rally, in Monteagle, Tenn. Maybe you should go to one of those festivals to practice your camping skills for Bonnaroo.

BARRY: I've been down to Cherokee Farms for a show, and it is just about perfect for a camping/concert event. Actually, for anyone who thinks he might enjoy something like Bonnaroo but isn't quite sure, these would be good places to try it out. Roots Fest has a great lineup with The Dirty Guv'nahs, our own Strung Like a Horse and the Honey Island Swamp Band, among almost two dozen others.

Up on Monteagle, if heavy-metal thunder is more your thing, they'll have Davey Smith, Contagious, Legacy and Big Gun, an AC/DC tribute band, along with some other rock bands.

LISA: I think they make the music loud at Thunder on the Rock to compete with the sound of all those motorcycle engines. We should also mention that it's an adults-only party, 18 and older. Roots Fest, on the other hand, is more family-friendly with kids under 12 admitted free.

You know what else I want to do? See "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre before it closes June 1. There's so much to recommend this story. Harper Lee's novel won a Pulitzer Prize and is considered a classic of American literature. The 1962 film won three Academy Awards out of eight nominations, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck, who played the hero lawyer Atticus Finch. The American Film Institute ranks the movie at No. 25 on its list of Top 100 Films of All Time and Atticus Finch as the No. 1 hero in film history, above Robin Hood, Han Solo, Moses and Batman.

BARRY: Moses had help.

LISA: Jim Kennedy has the Atticus role here. I don't believe I've seen him onstage before, but I'd say it's in his genes. As you know, his sister Mimi Kennedy is a famous actress. Her list of credits is a mile long, but she may be best remembered as the hippie mom from "Dharma & Greg."

BARRY: I got to share a pizza with Mimi over lunch years ago. I loved her on that show, and she was great to visit with. Jim should be perfect in the role.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at ChattanoogaNow.com.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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