Knoxville Creative - Work, Play, Live - Volume 4

Meet Lila Honaker. Lila is a longtime Knoxville resident and resides in the lovely Old North Knox. She's a marketing guru, a hustler, a master puppeteer, and just an overall joy to be around. I am so excited to feature my new friend Lila in my Knoxville Creatives - Work, Play, Live Series. Enjoy!


Name: Lila Honaker

Age: 34


How long have you lived in the Knoxville area?: 15 years

Were you born/raised in Knoxville? If not, where did you grow up?: I was born and raised in southwest Virginia, just a couple of hours from Knoxville. When I go "home", it's to Abingdon, VA. It's a small town in a rural area. It was quiet and slow growing up there, but I managed to spend my time wisely.

What is your occupation and where do you work?: I am the Communications and Development manager for the Tennessee Theatre, the Official State Theatre of Tennessee.

View from the stage of the Tennessee Theatre

View from the stage of the Tennessee Theatre

What is your favorite thing about your job?: Everything! This theatre is such an amazing asset to this community and we have so many fantastic shows and events. Music and arts are my loves, and it's so rewarding to combine work and passion. Being an advocate for the theatre, sharing this place with as many people as possible, and hearing the stories of folks who love the Tennessee and have fond memories of it are some of the best parts of my job. And there is nothing like watching a child visit the theatre for the first time!

What do you do for fun?: I love music - seeing live shows, hosting house concerts in my home, or singing and dancing along to my faves. I have a "Soul Sunday" tradition where I play old soul and R&B vinyl and clean the house. (It's fun, really!) I also love to get outside as much as I can. We're surrounded with so much natural beauty that it is a shame to not soak up as much of it as possible. And I love to travel. I don't get to as often as I would like, but I do it as much as I can. There is so much to learn, about the world and yourself, when you travel.

Do you have a unique/fun hobby?: I'm in a puppet troupe, part of Theatre Obsolete. We make most all of our puppets ourselves and take a "DIY" approach to puppet theatre. It's gritty, dark, funny, and not what most folks expect when they think of puppetry. We write and perform a "Spookshow" inspired by the days of vaudeville each year around Halloween.

Lila standing in front of the home where her puppet troupe performs

Lila standing in front of the home where her puppet troupe performs

What is your favorite outdoor activity?: Hiking! I try to get out on a hike every week. Sometimes I stay local and sometimes I make a "drive and hike" day trip. We have so many great trails and parks within a 2 hour radius. I didn't hike very often until a few years ago and I don't know why. There's something very soothing and grounding about being away from the hustle and bustle and surrounded by natural beauty.

If you had to pick one restaurant in Knoxville to eat at for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?: That would be Tomato Head. It's my tried and true and never disappoints. It's the one restaurant that I never go weary of or think "I just ate there" when someone suggests it. And the food is like nothing anywhere else. The Keptner Melt and Southwest Salad are my staples.

What is one thing you like about your home that you think is unique?: It's been lovingly preserved. It was built in 1930 and I'm only the 3rd owner. So many homes of that era have been renovated, modernized, flipped, or even botched. I love all the original qualities and character that have stood the test of time.

Do you have any pets?: I have a miniature schnauzer name Zoe - my best mate and hiking partner. She has a ton of personality and keeps life exciting. There's nothing like coming home to her enthusiastic greeting! Golly, how I love that girl!

Last but not least, what do you love about Knoxville?: I love how unexpected Knoxville is. It's always fun to have folks visit who are surprised at how much Knoxville has going on. It makes it feel like a special little secret that's getting better and better all the time. From the music scene to the outdoors to the number of creative folks who do their thing here, it's a hidden gem in many ways.

Ashton Streifert