Cool Things

Monday, August 31, 2015

When Dave Brown Met Batman.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM


It's WMC weatherman  and wrestling host Dave Brown's last day on the job. He'll be missed for many reasons. In addition to weather reporting he was a disc jockey, and hosted local TV shows like Dialing for Dollars. But this is how your Pesky Fly chooses to remember him— moderating a squabble between Jerry Lawler and Adam West.   

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Take One More Ride on the Zippin Pippin!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 11:54 AM

A kingly thrill
  • A kingly thrill

Libertyland is long gone and the Zippin Pippin was relocated to Bay Beach Amusement Park in Wisconsin in 2010. But you can still buy a t-shirt, and now, thanks to this video by Theme Park Review, you can ride Elvis Presley's favorite roller coaster without having to visit Scott Walker country. 

Elvis Presley's Favorite Roller Coaster! The Zippin Pippin originally built in 1912 at Libertyland in Memphis was been re-built at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Wisconsin in 2010! The legend lives on!

Posted by Theme Park Review on Monday, June 8, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Digital Masters: The Brooks Museum Turns its Canaletto into an Interactive Minecraft World

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 11:05 PM

The Grand Canal.
  • The Grand Canal.

Memphis' Brooks Museum of Art has out-Smithsonianed the Smithsonian. Instead of installing the Art of Video Games touring exhibit as-is, the museum used the show as an opportunity to do something incredibly cool.

They took this fine Canaletto landscape from the museum's permanent collection. 
Also the Grand Canal.
  • Also the Grand Canal.
And partnered with the VoxelBox to transform it into a fully dimensional, fully populated, fully explorable Minecraft world with a soundtrack courtesy of Vivaldi. 

Several historical characters (including the composer) have been built into the game. What happens next in Virtual 18th-Century Venice is up to whoever's holding the controller.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why Do Memphis Police Streams and Ambient Music Sound So Good Together?

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 6:12 PM


Have you ever wished that you could relax while feeding your crippling paranoia? If so, then you need to tune into You Are Listening to Memphis. Seriously, click that link.

The "You Are Listening to" project mixes live police streams, from a variety of North American cities, with nature sounds and moody new age music. 

"You Are Listening To" has been around for about four years, but I thought I'd share anyway for the uninitiated. It's weirdness worth knowing about. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Play Pac Man on the Streets of Memphis

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 9:15 AM


You can play Pac Man on a map of Memphis (or anywhere you like) right now.

Just point your browser to Google Maps and look for the Pac Man box at the lower left-hand corner. Click it. Follow the simple instructions and you’re ready to munch those Pac-Man pellets.

In the video below, Pac-Man’s doing what Pac-Man does on the Downtown streets around Union and Riverside Drive.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Graceland Too in the Paris Review

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 3:10 PM

  • Detail from a photo by Eileen Townsend

"Ordinary estate sales are like pop-up museums of our lives as unremarkable consumers." 

Yeah, that's the kind of great "I wish I'd written that" line that gets you noticed by the Paris Review.

If you haven't seen it yet, this short essay about the recent, appropriately weird Graceland Too  estate auction, by Memphis Flyer art writer Eileen Townsend is a heckuva good read. In not very many words I think she gets to the heart of a strange, not very happy story. Townsend's to-the-point encounter with Holly Springs librarian Robert Patterson is just devastating. 

“I feel that [Graceland Too owner Paul MacLeod] considered me a friend,” Patterson wrote in a Facebook post that he printed and gave to Townsend. “I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to know him better.”

Good stuff. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#Wigsnatch Revisited: Justin Timberlake's Tweet Turned Into Fancy Needlework

Posted By on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 1:19 PM


Last fall your Pesky Fly flagged a digital dustup between Justin Timberlake and a Twitter critic who accused J-Tim of being a fair weather Grizzlies fan. Timberlake responded to the dismissive tweet noting that he was from Memphis and owned a piece of the Grizzlies, concluding with the colorful idiom "#Wigsnatch."


Thanks to the remarkable talents of Memphis artist Carly Crawford this TimberTweet has been reproduced in cross stitch. 

Standing up in my cubicle. 

Slow. Clap. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

96X Raps: Throwback X-radio station becomes throwback hip-hop station

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 10:49 AM


RIP 96X; Long live Boomin96! 

Just when everybody was finally getting used to hearing that one James song we'd all happily forgotten years ago, WIVG-FM’s throwback X-radio format has been changed to a throwback hip-hop format. Thanks to Flinn Broadcasting for continuing to make our drive time radio experience like a scene from Walking Dead where one of the main characters runs into the reanimated version of somebody they dated back before the zombie apocalypse. 

With its devotion to 80's and 90's-era hip-hop Boomin96 is currently serving up all that East Coast/West Coast rivalry you've been missing since Notorious B.I.G. delivered his "Long Kiss Goodnight."

Plus Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

His & Hers: Aaron James & Nancy Apple turn cultural flotsam into art

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM


Some couples really complement one another. Take, for instance, Cadillac Cowgirl Nancy Apple,  a well-known Memphis songwriter and guitar picker, and her beau, Aaron James, who's a writer and an altogether different kind of  picker, with a keen eye for oddity and architectural treasure. Both Apple and James are avid thrift shoppers and experienced dumpster divers, with a taste for American kitsch, and an outsider artist's drive to transform lost objects into decorative and thought provoking constructions. The creative couple will show their work Thursday, Dec. 4th at Crosstown Arts in a one night only show appropriately titled His & Hers.

Unsurprisingly, Apple's cut-and-paste shrines are built around gutted guitars, fading fiddles, and other stringed instruments that have seen better days. I especially like this piece featuring decoupaged images of Johnny and June Carter Cash.  

Gentlest Heart by Nancy Apple
  • Gentlest Heart by Nancy Apple

James' assemblages are more confrontational,  commenting on consumerism, religion, and war. This one pretty much speaks for itself. 

  • Aaron James

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Take a Video Tour of Elmwood Cemetery

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM


Filmmaker and occasional Fly on the Wall contributor Edward Valibus has shot and edited a gorgeous video tour of Elmwood Cemetery. Just the thing for these last cool days of October.

Winter is coming. 

Fundraiser for Memphis Artist Tommy Foster

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Keep Calm, Tommy's got this.
  • Keep Calm, Tommy's got this.

If you’ve ever risen above the usual noise and infighting long enough to look around and realize that Memphis is a city full of wonders and curiosities, Tommy Foster is one of the people you should thank for that. And right now there’s an easy and special way to do exactly that.

Foster is a trendsetter: the epitome of Memphis cool and inventiveness. In the 80’s this multimedia artist and endlessly creative entrepreneur founded the Pyramid Club, an upstairs rock-and-roll bar on Madison Ave. that hosted performances by a range of musical talents from Alex Chilton to Human Radio, The Grifters, and The Scam. He almost singlehandedly launched Memphis’ funky coffeehouse culture when he opened Java Cabana in the Cooper-Young neighborhood, and turned the coffee shop’s back room into the Viva Wedding Chapel, where King-loving couples could tie the knot surrounded by folk art depictions of rock-and-soul saints, in ceremonies performed by none other than Tommy Elvis himselvis. Variations on his wonderful coin operated Elvis impersonator shrine, (originally created for Java Cabana, though it came to reside at Goner Records) were placed in House of Blues venues across the country.
Little people enjoying floats, phosphates and funny hats at A. Schwab's soda fountain.
  • Little people enjoying floats, phosphates and funny hats at A. Schwab's soda fountain.

Not one to sit still for long Foster launched the Viva Memphis photo booth, and more recently he became the buyer for A. Schwab, where he also oversaw the creation of a fantastic soda fountain, a unique Beale St. tourist attraction with plenty of local appeal. In addition to all of these accomplishments, he’s the father of Memphis activist and musician Bennett Foster, best known for his time with groups like The Barbaras, and The Magic Kids.

Today Foster is fighting cancer and friends have organized a benefit at Amurica Studio, Sunday, Nov. 2 from 6-9 p.m. There will be a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and music provided by DJ Fresh Bennett. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jerry Lawler in a Batmobile

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 10:05 AM

To the King Cave!
  • To the King Cave!

This week the internet discovered something Memphis wrestling fans have known for a long time. King Jerry Lawler is one of the biggest nerds on Earth.

Buzz culture website had this to say:

"Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler owns an original 1966 Batman TV show Batmobile. Maybe you already know this. It’s one of those stories I see, assume everyone knows about, see written up on Deadspin four days later and have to post about on day five for residual traffic. So, yeah, whether you were aware or not, Jerry Lawler owns a goddamn Batmobile."

It's true, of course. Sort of. Lawler owns a replica, pulled from the original Bat-mold.

In 1966 George Barris built the original TV Batmobile. There were six additional stunt cars modeled after the original, and five duplicates built for promotional use. Lawler, a longtime collector of Disney, Coke, and superhero memorabilia purchased his a little over a year ago from Bat-fan and fabricator, Matt Dollar

It makes perfect sense, of course. Lawler's origin story, as explained by former ring announcer Lance Russell, goes something like this. When the King was still a young prince he wanted to be a comic book artist and spent much of his spare time learning to draw the superheroes of DC comics. The skills he developed, however, lead to a surprise opportunity to draw Memphis wrestlers for use on WHBQ's weekly televised wrestling programs. That, in turn, lead to Lawler's colorful career in wrestling, which included dressing up in a superman suit and sparring verbally with West/Batman. 

Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Inside the Scottish Rite Temple: Circuitous Succession

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

The Double-Headed Eagle.
  • The Double-Headed Eagle.

"The cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thought our supreme wish, the freedom of human conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention." So begins the Scottish Rite creed, a set of ideas evidenced in the Masonic order's welcoming of ambitious works by nearly 50 local, national, and international artists into their grand temple at 825 Union Avenue, a building frozen in time, and already laden with symbols, murals, and decorative detail.


Curated by Jason Miller, "Circuitous Succession Epilogue" brings together a variety of artists working in mediums ranging from wood and steel to fragile ceramics and plastic Walmart grocery sacks. The artwork can also be heady, exploring a range of topics from economic disparity to corporate dominance to female exclusion. It may also be witty, as is the case with stairwell installations by sculptor Greely Myatt, and a tricky piece by multimedia artist Jay Etkin that has been used by Miller to create a kind of hide-and-seek game with visitors.

A partial video tour with Jason Miller

  • Sculpture by Roy Tamboli
The Scottish Rite building is three stories with a dining room and a grand theater that was expanded and refurbished when it was used to film performance scenes for the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. It is already outfitted with ornamental work, masonic symbols, and portraits of past members. 

A closer look inside the Scottish Rite theater with Jason Miller
Secrets inside
  • Secrets inside
Miller, who curated his first exhibit in the grand, non-traditional space a year ago, is also a conceptual artist who believes that an artwork is completed by its surroundings. The Scottish Rite gives him a lot to work with. 

The rose cross.
  • The rose cross.

Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."
Jason Miller, behind the board. Backstage at the Scottish Rite Temple - CHRIS DAVIS
  • Chris Davis
  • Jason Miller, behind the board. Backstage at the Scottish Rite Temple

Going up?
  • Going up?

Door detail
  • Door detail

A better look at the board.
  • A better look at the board.

Sculpture by Anna Maranise
  • Sculpture by Anna Maranise

Anna Maranise's sculpture, installed in front of an allegorical Scottish Rite mural, provides one of the exhibitions best interactions between art and environment. Miller describes it as being like a "Cronenberg film."

The old masters. Masons, that is.
  • The old masters. Masons, that is.

Sculpture by Jay Etkin
  • Sculpture by Jay Etkin

No smoking signs are everywhere.
  • No smoking signs are everywhere.

Installation by Greely Myatt.
  • Installation by Greely Myatt.

More places to store your hat and coat.
  • More places to store your hat and coat.


It's impossible to really capture how the above piece resonates in its space, below a Masonic ceiling mural. You really do have to see it to get it. 


A painting by Beth Edwards
  • A painting by Beth Edwards

  • Chair.

At times it's impossible to tell where the exhibit ends and the Temple begins. Everywhere you turn there's a William Eggleston photograph just waiting to be taken.

It's an impressive organ. No other way to put it.
  • It's an impressive organ. No other way to put it.

Theater detail.
  • Theater detail.

More backstage stuff.
  • More backstage stuff.

Costumes abound.
  • Costumes abound.

More costumes.
  • More costumes.

More places to store your hat and coat.
  • More places to store your hat and coat.

Buckets and a radiator.
  • Buckets and a radiator.

  • Stairs

  • Art

Fire escape
  • Fire escape

More chairs
  • More chairs

Rope hanging in a window
  • Rope hanging in a window

All that and a place to store your cloak. Members only.
  • All that and a place to store your cloak. Members only.

Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough not pictured in this post. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."

Circuitous Succession is an ambitious instillation in an impressive space that's majestic in some corners, and bit frayed at the elbows. The art alone is compelling enough. In the temple, it's downright irresistible. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Want to Buy Johnny Cash's Rolls-Royce?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Oh, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day. But Instead I'll just ride around in this sweet Rolls.
  • Oh, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day. But Instead I'll just ride around in this sweet Rolls.

Fly on the Wall has documented lots of Elvis related auctions, ranging for the sublime to the ridiculous, but the King of Rock-and-Roll wasn't the only Sun Studio mega-star to indulge in a little extravagance here and there. And this Johnny Cash-related opportunity is a dream come true for a collector with deep pockets. 

Cash's music was deeply American, but when it came to cars he could be a bit of an Anglophile, with a taste for the Rolls-Royce driving experience. The Man in Black's appropriately-colored 1970 Silver Shadow is now currently up for grabs. The final hammer falls at Barrett-Jackson auctions in Las Vegas later this month. 

It's a 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, automobile.
  • It's a 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, automobile.

The car is a relative pup having accumulated only 32,000 miles since it was built to order by Mr. JRC whose initials are monogrammed in gold on the rear doors.  

I've been everywhere (NOT!)
  • I've been everywhere (NOT!)

Tags: , , ,

Friday, August 15, 2014

You Can Own the Key to the City of Memphis Presented to Phyllis Diller by Mayor W.W. Herenton

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 3:08 PM

But you've got to act fast because, at posting time, there's only six hours left before the auction ends.

That's right. You can own a key to the city of Memphis.

Also cranks most Buicks
  • Also cranks most Buicks

And not just any key, but the one presented to Phyllis Diller by Willie Herenton. The Phyllis Diller. The Willie Herenton.

HAAAAAAAAA! -- Phyllis Diller
  • "HAAAAAAAAA!" — Phyllis Diller

Sorry, this next photo isn't actually the key that's for sale which may or may not come with a case. It's another key given to someone else at around the same time. But really, you've got to see this elegant ignition tickler as it was intended to be seen. No ribbons. No frills. Just one helluva damn key.

  • Hot

Also contained in this lot: a certificate of honorary citizenship of Shelby Co. presented to Diller. It's dated 1988, a few years before Herenton took office, so it's probably not related to the key in any way.

The Memphis Key is currently going for $81. That's $7 more than Diller's keys to Cheasaning, MI, and Havre De Grace, MD.

Memphis is #1 (when it comes to Keys to the City presented to Phyllis Diller)
  • Memphis is #1 (when it comes to Keys to the City presented to Phyllis Diller)


Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation