published Monday, January 6th, 2014

Get Off The Couch: 'Feast or famine' describes offerings

LISA DENTON: Barry, I was looking at the entertainment calendar the other day and realized the old saying "feast or famine" might apply. Late December and early January had far fewer options than the norm, but the middle of the month is definitely picking up steam.

This week, we need to pencil in a Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Masterworks concert and Scenic City Roots show, both on Thursday; local bluesman Lon Eldridge in a Patten Unplugged Performance and an Abbey Road Live show, both on Saturday; and the contemporary Christian Winter Jam on Sunday. Plus, throughout the weekend, you can see Steve O of "Jackass" fame at The Comedy Catch, or go to World of Wheels at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

And not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the following week we'll have the world tour of the Chinese dance company, Shen Yun, the Harlem Globetrotters and Don Williams among the reasons to get off the couch. And that's just the short list.

BARRY COURTER: I bet you Steve O and a symphony concert have never been mentioned in the same paragraph before today. That just further proves your point that it is a diverse and eclectic schedule ahead of us.

Steve O is an interesting character. He was born in London, speaks three languages -- or did at one time in his life -- holds citizenship in three countries and survived untold dangerous stunts in the name of humor. Did you know he attended the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in the hopes of becoming a professional stuntman? That might help explain how and why he is still with us and able to be doing stand-up comedy. Some of his "Jackass" stunts were pretty crazy.

LISA: I have to confess I haven't seen the entirety of the "Jackass" oeuvre (two more words never uttered together). My son used to try to get me to watch the TV shows and movies, but I cringed too much to actually see what was onscreen. I never understood why Steve O, Johnny Knoxville and company would intentionally inflict pain on themselves, but they had plenty of fans who thought it was hi-larious.

And I know enough rednecks to see some of those stunts and think, "That looks like something [fill in the blank] would try."

BARRY: His bio says he has been clean, sober and a vegan since 2008, but that he will still staple a certain body part to his leg, so there is that.

Switching gears a little, well maybe a lot, the Winter Jam story is a good one, in my opinion. The guys in NewSong started the Christian music showcase in 1995, and it continues to be one of the most successful tours of the year. It's $10 at the McKenzie Arena door and, as always, it will feature some heavy hitters including Thousand Foot Krutch, Newsboys, Lecrae and Tenth Avenue North.

LISA: Colton Dixon is also set to appear, and he has a bit of history with hometown girl Lauren Alaina. She had picked him as one of her two favorites to win Season 11 of "American Idol," but he was eliminated the night Alaina, the Season 10 runner-up, was the guest performer. That must have been a disappointment. Reminds me of your track record in picking restaurants.

BARRY: Isn't that the truth? You don't want me as a regular diner.

LISA: And don't forget that this year's World of Wheels auto expo will have guests sure to draw fans of TV zombies and bearded men. Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Sasha on "The Walking Dead," will sign autographs Friday, and Justin Martin of "Duck Dynasty" will do a meet-and-greet on Saturday.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at 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

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