Hardkour Parkour (or Branson 2.0)

First thing is first: the stories my students did the last two days.

^Morgan Wilson and Brad Thomas did this story on a great violinist they found in downtown Charleston. He has some great videos on youtube you can look up. And…

^(The next day) Chandler Reed and Nick Nutting swiftly shot this story about a really, really cool used bookstore in downtown Charleston, which is doing better than the local “big” bookstores (after our first two ideas fell through and left us with little time before the store closed). This story has it all! Books, a cute, old cat, and a cute, young bookstore employee! I have been really proud of the students I’ve worked with on the trip. All of ’em.

And now for some fun:

^Chandler and Nick (again) doing some Parkour. Their skillz will blow yuh mind.

So today. We traveled to Gatlinburg, TN, a city I had never heard of, but turns out to be a less-America-obsessed version of Branson, MO. They replace their love for the Flag with a love for several different Ripley’s Believe It Or Not “museums” and beef jerky shops. Both cities still share a love for men in overalls playing mandolin or acoustic guitar, though.

Like Panama City Beach, this city has no culture. The only culture here is the culture its tourists bring with them. The whole city is a tourist trap. It is fun to look at, but pretty obnoxious also. Finding a story here was pretty difficult, so my students (Jodie Putman and Paulina Doran) and I came up with an idea: let’s see how many free samples we can get from the various touristy stores. That is our whole story: us eating taffy, fudge, and jerky over and over again without buying anything. I lost track of the amount of free samples we ate. Who needs dinner, right?

I’m glad we are only in Gatlinburg for one day, because I don’t know what we would do story-wise if we were here again tomorrow, instead of moving on to Louisville. A nice dude who works at a fudge shop we got free samples from even said to us, “Gatlinburg is fun…for one day. If you are here for a week, you’ll be so bored.”


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