Packard’s Games and Movies fuels friendly competition and hours of virtual entertainment with an eclectic abundance of gently used media. Gamers can fire up current consoles with a collection of used games, such as Halo 3 ($9.99) and Fable II ($7.99), which carry the ghosts of past triumphs to challenge their new owners. Those yearning for pixels of the past can dive into a rich selection of retro games ($2.99+) for vintage systems including Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Guide virtual superheroes as they jump across flames and elude persistent tax collectors with controllers for the Playstation 2 ($9.99+), Super Nintendo ($9.99+) or the Nintendo 64 ($12.99–$19.99). Stacks of previewed DVDs ($4.99) and Blu-rays ($8.99+) provide ample fodder for future movie nights. Each store has a slightly different selection, so call ahead for specific inquiries or simply browse through the cartridge- and disc-packed aisles in person.
The Emerging Cinemas network presents world-class performing arts, recorded on-scene at internationally recognized theaters and splashes them across the big screen before popcorn-chomping American audiences. Coppélia, choreographed by Patrice Bart, is a comic tale that follows the en pointe follies of a lovesick villager whose fiancée must compete with a life-like dancing automaton to win his affections. Composed by Mozart, The Magic Flute, a two-act opera with both dialogue and singing, tells the story of young prince Tamino and his love interest, Pamina, as they struggle through a series of fantastical trials and stress-induced cupcake binges to realize their union.
Not content to only screen their bone-chilling flicks on Halloween weekend, Knoxville Horror Film Fest rolls out a variety of horror features and shorts throughout September and October to ready moviegoers for the spooky holiday. The festival proudly celebrates the bad as well as the good. Besides doling out bloodcurdling awards such as Best Gore Effects and Best Curdled Blood, the judges name one lucky piece of celluloid Weirdest Film, a distinction won by the oddly titled Thank You Jesus! in 2011. Throughout the year, filmmakers can submit their work in hopes that it will be shown in the company of high-profile releases such as the plasma-splattered AnnaLynne McCord vehicle Excision and the long-awaited adaptation of David Wong’s John Dies at the End, both of which are being shown at the 2012 KHFF.
The Bijou’s origins stretch back through American history, but it didn’t become a theater until relatively recently: 1908. For nearly a century prior to its dramaturgical reinvention, the building was a high-class hotel that housed high-ranking military commanders, influential civic leaders, and even President Andrew Jackson for a spell in 1819. When General Ambrose Burnside took the town of Knoxville during the Civil War, the hotel was converted into a hospital, makeshift war room, and oil-wrestling arena for Generals William Sherman and Phil Sheridan. The latter portion of the 19th century showed the building more favor, and during the lavish 1870s another president—Rutherford B. Hayes—paid call, and delivered a speech from the hotel’s balcony.
The early 1900s saw the hotel’s biggest renovation to date when it was purchased and upgraded by the Auditorium Company. The newly rechristened Bijou Theatre opened to a sellout crowd, and was a major outlet for vaudeville from 1913 to 1926. Hard times began to pile up soon afterward, and the lapsed theater would have been demolished in 1975 were it not for its eleventh-hour listing on the National Historic Record. Since its most recent renovation in 2006, the stage has hosted pop stars and musical blockbusters.