Photo contributed by Evan Zimmerman / The cast of "Les Miserables" performs "Master of the House."

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, we have company. Scooch over.

LISA DENTON: You're the one hogging the couch. You scooch.

BARRY: Harumph (scooching).

LISA: I suppose all this scooching is a sign that our friend and colleague Mary Fortune needs to sit between us before we start throwing elbows. Sort of feels like the backseat of the family car.

BARRY: We've never had a guest join us here on the figurative couch, where we pretend to talk about which calendar event might actually get us off the couch and out and about.

LISA: No, we do do some stuff.

BARRY: You said do do.

MARY FORTUNE: You guys really are as immature as I thought.

BARRY: This is news to you?

LISA: Oh, look, she's leaving. Come back, Mary. See, you're running her off before she even sits down.

MARY: I was just going to get a beer. I always assumed y'all were drinking while you wrote this. No?

BARRY: Yeah, no. We'd actually be funny if we were drinking.

LISA: Quite possibly. They say liquor can't solve all your problems, but it's worth a shot.

MARY: Oh, right — Lisa is punny. I forgot about that when I agreed to sit down.

BARRY: She does that a lot. She means well.

LISA: Y'all don't get to gang up on me.

BARRY: By the way, you have to fight Lisa over any Cheetos you find in the couch. Change goes to me.

LISA: You know there's an event coming up Saturday night where we could test any drinking theories we come up with. It's called the Holiday Spirits Cocktail Festival. For $39, you get 12 sample-size cocktails, a photo with Santa and the chance to shop at a mini gift market while you stroll through First Tennessee Pavilion listening to Christmas music.

MARY: I'm sorry, you get 12 cocktails? Does sample-size mean eyedroppers of alcohol, or does Uber need to go ahead and plan a round of surge pricing for this event?

BARRY: I think they could make money, and get some laughs, taking pre-shots and post-shots photos with Santa.

Before the festival, we get a shot (you see what I did there?) at a Broadway mainstay here at home. "Les Miz" starts its five-day, eight-show run Tuesday at the Tivoli.

MARY: I believe it's spelled "Lay Miz," Barry. And how cool is it that we get so many of these big-deal, big-city shows in Chattanooga? I love listening to my friends and neighbors pronouncing "Les Miserables" with an East Tennessee accent. You know things are getting legit cultural when that happens.

BARRY: I sat next to a woman at "Re-a-nt" years ago. That's how she said it, anyway. Thanks for stopping by, Mary. Come back now, ya' hear.

Get event information every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354. Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Mary Fortune at or 423-757-6653.