Strutting in Chatt-Town

Tonight is one of Chattanooga’s best: The Bessie Smith Strut. A multi-cultural reverie of drinking and strutting (walking, really), music and street food on MLK Boulevard. The strut takes place on Monday of each Riverbend, the city’s week-long music festival and is, without question, the best of the festival. Why?

First, you may see anyone. The city’s famous and infamous: the one-man-band with no teeth and a cowboy hat who sets up his amp-in-a-cart rig and hopes to drum up party gigs (see above); stumping senators and state reps; Sandy, the buff once-Marine whose bike sports pom-poms (not just from the handle bars), a full-size flag from the seat-back, and, frequently, a weed whacker; the Scuppies of revitalized neighborhoods with their babies in Bjorns; project-folk alongside Lookout Mountain old money, bling Jesus and Tiffany & Co. rock-studded cross.

Second, all this, to celebrate Chattanooga’s beloved Bessie Smith (Cecil Giscombe, wherever you are, take note), the great African-American blues singer of "Give Me a Pig’s Foot and a Bottle of Beer" fame. Bessie, fellow Chattanoogan, here’s a PBR and a brisket wrap to you!

Look for this year’s photos tomorrow, maybe midafternoon...

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