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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

The Fellini Kroger in Knoxville is commonly considered to be an exhibit of surrealism, hence its nickname after a famous filmmaker.  I like that a particular grocery can have a well known reputation, even if the grocer is Kroger, and even if that reputation is ambiguous.

Fellini’s is a 24 hour shopping-center-supermarket in it’s original 1974 condition.  The shopping carts fill the nearby creeks and are parked on sidewalks leading to the epicenter.  Its gumball machines are yellowed glass.  The entrance is a canopy of charcoal grills and seasonal ferns.  A Manager Special will likely be tofu or pickling salts. After 10pm there are no lanes open except for the computers, and the lights are turned down low over the produce section.  The living sleeps, the artificial endures, and you have come here for your sustenance.

I have dreamed of these late night Fellini runs, the stale fluorescence and drone of refrigerator isles.  The fronts of my shins freeze and the wet, spongy slam of a glass door entraps climbing fog upon frozen broccoli.  It makes me shudder.  I can see the glow of the parking lot from my house on a black, summer night.  More than the building, it’s the patrons of Fellini that make it Fellini.

Naturally, I began scouting out how to document the surreality of this locale, in order that you might believe me should you not live nearby.  No doubt you have experienced a similar Fellini grocery scene yourself.  My investigation began yesterday, and I think that it may be over already (I am afraid).

It was a Monday afternoon and Ashley was with me.  She went to the thrift store next door and I entered Fellini to get her regular pregnancy cravings, which consist of wheat saltines, plain cheerios, and carbonated water.  Yes, I had more exotic expectations of these days.  Even at midday Monday, and shooting from the hip, I was able to get a sense of what I wanted to do later.  A lot later, like when they turn down the lights and the people arise from the bed of 3rd Creek. The phantasmagoricality is low in these shots, but remember it was midday Monday.

Then I took this one.  Harmless, but it must have stirred attention behind me.

So then I shot this one.  You’d think I would have known better than that.

A Fellini guard accosted me.  I was escorted to the door, which was at that moment where I wanted to go.

“You can’t take pictures around here like that.”

“Thank you sir, and it won’t happen again.”

“It had better not.”

I escaped into the ferns.

I think I’m going to stick with what I told him.  Not to say I won’t post up in the parking lot some night, behind the Taco Bell drive through, with a telephoto lens.  But when Fellini confronts you like this it is an unsettling warning.  Like an imbalance you witness in nature.  Things are not right with me now.  I have this soda water and some saltines which helps, but I feel like I really wanted pickles and chocolate.

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