Memphisness

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Memphis Heat Soundtrack is Hot Stuff

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 5:33 PM

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I suppose the Flyer's other Chrises — film editor McCoy and music editor Shaw — will be writing about this in the days and weeks to come. But since FOTW works the local wrestling beat, it seemed appropriate to break the news here. The creative team behind Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' is celebrating the documentary's 5-year anniversary with a March 24th screening at MALCO's Cinema Paradiso that doubles as an official release party for the film's previously unavailable soundtrack. Serious vinyl nerds will want to know that the handsome blood red platter was the first disc cut on Phillips Recording's newly refurbished record lathe. But that's just trivia. The Doug Easley-produced tracks — often introduced with sound bytes from the movie — are all pretty fantastic too.

The record opens with a clip of Superstar Bill Dundee explaining the meaning of heat: "Heat is when they don't like ya." The Superstar's definition transitions perfectly into "Black Knight," a full throttle scorcher by River City Tanlines. It's an excellent start to a disc as offbeat and entertaining as the film that inspired it.  


"Black Knight," is also the only track on the entire record that wasn't created expressly for Memphis Heat. What follows is a series of punchy instrumentals that will do the same thing for your ass they do for the film: Make it move. 

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This is probably my favorite (mostly) original Memphis movie soundtrack since Impala scored Mike McCarthy's Teenage Tupelo. The tracks, recorded by a clutch of Memphis' finest players, have a vintage feel and walk such a fine line between joyous and sleazy they may remind some listeners of the Las Vegas Grind series. 

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Good stuff. 


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Thursday, March 3, 2016

WMC's "Demonic Weave" Story Believed to be Root of Ignorance in Memphis

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 1:36 PM

A bad omen came on top of her head.
  • A bad omen came on top of her head.

According to WMC Action News 5, thieves have murdered four people while attempting to steal hair weaves, "and now many Memphians say demonic spirits could be to blame." That's right folks, WMC has scooped the rest of Memphis media on this important story about vanity, greed, consumer hair products, and secret doorways to realms infernal, where ancient evil lurks, waiting to swoop down and snatch a wig right off your damn head.  

"Whose-ever hair I was wearing on my head, that heifer had a bad omen"

Even anchors Joe Birch and Kontji Anthony, who've introduced so many ridiculous segments by now you'd think they'd be used to it, looked to be passing kidney stones as they tossed the story to WMC's Senior Satanic Hair Correspondent Jerica Phillips, who, in turn, implored viewers to perform a Google search for "cursed hair."

"The prophesies are plenty," she said before sharing a YouTube video of an unidentified woman claiming, "Whose-ever hair I was wearing on my head, that heifer had a bad omen and that bad omen followed her from India and came on top of my head, and I took on her spirit." 

An image from WMC's report shows the terrifying face of hair that's cursed as hell.
  • An image from WMC's report shows the terrifying face of hair that's cursed as hell.

One woman Phillips quoted asked, "Do you know the history of the hair's original owner? What type of spirit did that person have? You may be buying a person's hair and their demonic spirit." Another suggested that people are doing "ungodly things" because, "many of the [hair] purchases are made in other countries that worship false gods."

"It may sound bizarre," Phillips said with the serious tone of a veteran broadcaster, "but some people believe virgin hair from India may be possessed during a ritual called tonsuring, the cutting of hair for religious reasons, or sacrifices to idol Gods."

Memphians Phillips interviewed, like  Dr. Bill Adkins, the pastor at Greater Imani Cathedral of Faith, were skeptical, though the material was consistently framed as a subject for legitimate debate.

At least Phillips reached a conclusion upon which we can all agree: "Whatever the root cause of a beauty trend turned crime trend, we can all agree the war spawned by weave must stop."

Truth.
Demonic weaves believed to be root of hair crimes

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Friday, February 19, 2016

The Best (Untapped) Parking Spots in Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 3:37 PM

It's time someone said it: The Memphis Zoo is the Kanye West of Memphis tourist attractions. The Zoo innovates. It may be controversial, but the Zoo doesn't wait for progress to come to them. Where other institutions said, "You can't park there because that is not a parking space," the Memphis Zoo effectively said, "You can park anywhere you damn well please. You are a Zoo patron, and Zoo patrons make their own fates." 

We hear you, Memphis Zoo. We have captured your innovative spirit and come up with a list of the other best (currently untapped) Memphis parking spots.

~ ~The Ultimate Best Undiscovered Parking Spots in Memphis~ ~ 

1. Elvis's Grave at Graceland 

When are we all gonna wake up and smell the peanut butter banana honey bacon sandwiches? He's been dead a long time. It's high time we should be able to park on this sweet patch of land. 

Now: 

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Better: 
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2. The Lobby of the Peabody Hotel 

Ducks should be on a menu, not on a red carpet. What should be on a red carpet is a brand new SUV. 

Now: 
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When things are right with the world: 
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3. Inside the Orpheum Theater

This is a no-brainer. Downtown parking is packed. People sometimes have to walk blocks (whole blocks!) to their destination. The solution is clear. 

Current embarrassment: 
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Future triumph: 
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4. The FedExForum 

We grind hard. So why should we be forced to park in a neighboring garage? Why should we be made miserable, like people who don't know our rights? 

Just look at this sad image: 
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Now look at this happy one: 
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Case closed. Park wild, Memphis. 

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When "Whole Oats" Opened for Bowie in Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 1:17 PM

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There's an old adage stating that the three hardest dates for a musician are, in order, "Christmas, Easter, and Memphis." Few things illustrate the point like this review of David Bowie's first Bluff City concert. Commercial Appeal reporter Joe M. Dove wasn't merely unimpressed by the Spiders from Mars. He described Bowie's 1972 concert at Ellis Auditorium's North Hall as, "mostly noise."

And get off my lawn!
  • And get off my lawn!

"David Bowie probably could be a talented musician," Dove wrote in a merciless review of the concert. "But his show is not selling music. He has substituted noise for music, freaky stage gimmicks for talent, and covers it all up with volume." The writer had been led to believe The Spiders were, "a ballad group," and was surprised to discover an artist capable of "out-freaking Alice Cooper on stage." His harshest lines, however, were reserved for an opening act identified as Whole Oats:

At the least, Bowie's show can objectively be called better than that of his warm-up group, "Whole Oats", a country rock quartet.

Playing all of their eight numbers in a simple four-four time, the group could not even keep the attention of the crowd which spent much time milling up and down the aisles and tossing several plastic Frisbees.

One of "Whole Oats" final numbers was titled "I'm sorry." It should have been dedicated to the audience.

So, whatever happened to this forgettable straight time-obsessed country rock quartet slammed by critics and ignored by frisbee crazed Memphians? Nothing happened to them. Because the quartet never existed. The detestable act was, in fact, Daryl Hall & John Oates who went on to become the most successful pop duo in history.

"Whole Oats" isn't a typo. Dove didn't get available facts wrong, exactly. Daryl & John were new on the scene and preparing to release their first Atlantic Records LP. 

"We'd like to dedicate this song to the audience," said Daryl Hall never. 

Before the duo signed with Atlantic they'd also named their partnership "Whole Oats." So, when the label released a promotional single for the forthcoming album,"Whole Oats" is the name the company went with. The group was identified as Daryl Hall & John Oates when their debut album Whole Oats was released in November, 1972, only two months after the Bowie concert. For the period between the promotional release and the official release, "Whole Oats" it was. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHOLE OATS!
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Whole Oats!

Memphis was apparently one of H&O's first stops on the way up. Nobody noticed. Even Ron Hall's fantastic concert history Memphis Rocks doesn't clarify the listing, identifying Bowie's opening act only as Whole Oats. 

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Naughty Santa on Germantown Parkway

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 4:30 PM

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Perhaps you've seen a video of the inflatable Santa that went face down on Germantown Parkway last week. But have you seen a video of the inflatable Santa that went down on Germantown Parkway last week with 70's porn music in the background? I thought not. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mongo Promises Pot Hole Repair and Kermit with a Kalashnikov

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Finally, some campaign materials from Memphis' favorite space alien/candidate Prince Mongo. This bumper sticker suggests filling potholes with politician bones, which seems a little extreme. As does arming puppet frogs with machine guns. But, you know, God bless all of us. Or something. 

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"Hang 'um is clear," as is, "Flush 'um." You may not see the stuff about politician bones, because it's printed so faintly across the top, but it's there. Here's a detail. 
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

8 Places Elvis Fans Won't Visit but Probably Should

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 2:33 PM

This was originally published here at FOTW back in 2013. It's still a good list and since so many Elvis-people are in town it seemed like a good thing to re-post. If you've never seen it before, enjoy. If you have, enjoy all over again!

#8: Alcenia's
, 317 N. Main

Free hugs with every meal. For real.
  • Free hugs with every meal. For real.

Alcenia's is a funky little soul food joint at the Southwest edge of Memphis' Pinch District where meals are cooked to order and every new customer gets a hug. Although neither the restaurant, nor the building has a specific Elvis connection, sidewalk tables provide guests with the best view of the I-40 overpass in town.

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Of course, when Elvis was a teenager living in the Lauderdale Courts housing project there was no scenic I-40 overpass. Instead, there was a cluster of African-American bars and in the evenings both the music and the crowds spilled out into the street.

Why Elvis fans won't visit: There's really not much to see, unless you count this sign marking the location of Memphis' first bar.


Drunk History
  • Drunk History


Why they should: The long demolished Green Owl, a working class African-American beer joint once located at 260 N. Main, just southeast of Alcenia's, was one of young Elvis' favorite neighborhood clubs. He was especially fond of a musician who played a homemade bass he'd fashioned from a bucket and a broomstick.

A view from the dark underbelly
  • A view from the dark underbelly

There's not much music along this somewhat lonely stretch separating the Pinch from the Convention Center, unless you count the song of all the cars and semis speeding by overhead. But these are the sidewalks where an impressionable teenaged Elvis mixed and mingled with blues players, and even though so much has been demolished, walking through Downtown's dilapidated but bouncing back north side, with its trolley line, horse stables and old shop fronts, is still like stepping back in time.

#7: The old Memphis Police Station, 128 Adams

These crumbling stairs...

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Lead to this locked, boarded-up door...

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That once served as an entrance to Memphis' Downtown Police Station.

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Why Elvis fans won't go: Unless you're a fan of weeds and urban decay, why would you?

Why they should: Elvis was fascinated by law enforcement. The lengths he'd go to collect a new badge knew no bounds.

Suspicious Minds
  • Suspicious Minds

But it wasn't all about the bling. Elvis was also genuinely in awe of policemen, and would sometimes ride along after making late night/early morning visits to the station. He even visited the downtown station one Christmas claiming that he needed something to do and it was the only place in town that was open.

Besides, who doesn't love to picnic near classical ruins?

#6: The Blackwood Brothers Record Store, 209 N. Lauderdale

The Lord is my bail bondsman
  • The Lord is my bail bondsman

Why Elvis fans won't go: Because the building, located just off Poplar Ave. near the Jail, has been converted into a bail bondsman's office in what might best be described as Memphis' bail bond district.

Why they should: Elvis was a huge fan of gospel quartets, and the Blackwood Brothers, with their fancy customized touring bus...

Elvis is gonna want one of these
  • Elvis is gonna want one of these

and their own private plane...

And one of these
  • And one of these

were, to put it mildly, complete badasses. Also, you can see the site formerly known as Lauderdale Courts from the front door.

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Today the only records being discussed at 209 Lauderdale are permanent ones, but when his soul needed a'rockin', this is where Elvis got his vinyl fix.

#5: Gulf Station, Second & Gayoso

On October 18, 1956, much ass was kicked near to this very spot
  • On October 18, 1956, much ass was kicked near to this very spot

I sometimes pretend that the above piece of public art is a monument built on the site where Elvis licked two gas station attendants then told the cops (jokingly) that his name was Carl Perkins.

Of course it's not and the the actual brawl went down across the street.

Cornered
  • Cornered

All three men involved in the altercation were charged with assault and battery, but Elvis had been struck first and the Judge ruled in his favor.

Why Elvis fans won't go: It's not an obvious landmark.

Why they should: Two reasons. This is where a scene plucked right out of an Elvis movie actually happened. Also, Elvis's life changed fast. This fight and the resulting day in court represent a dawning realization that life would never be normal again.

Continue reading »

Friday, June 19, 2015

Help Fly on the Wall Reunite Lost Hairpieces With Their Owners

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 11:55 AM

We've all seen them. The flipped wig. The tumbling tumbleweave. So many hairpieces separated from their owners. Lying in some public place like a dead animal. The time has come to do something about it. Fly on the Wall is reaching out to readers and asking them not to ignore all this senseless hair loss. If you see a lost wig, or some lonely extensions, take a picture and send it to us. We'll post it in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, we can reunite some good people with their good hair. 

Just this past week I saw two heartbreaking examples of lost hair. The first was on Main St. Downtown. 

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I don't know who this Zellner guy is, but I'm pretty sure he's bragging.

This whopper is an Uptown wig. Or maybe a Schnauzer. Spotted just behind Sun Trust bank. 

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If this is your hair or you know who it belongs to, contact Fly on the Wall. If we can, we'll give you some idea as to where the hair was last seen. We can't guarantee a successful reunion because none of us are touching that. 

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

U.S. Postal Service Issues Neverending Elvis Stamp

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Old young Elvis stamp
  • Old young Elvis stamp


Okay, okay, it's technically a "forever" stamp. Same idea.
U.S. Postal Service will dedicate the new Elvis Presley forever stamp August 12. At Graceland. During Elvis Week. Can we get a "hell yeah," and an "American Trilogy," please?

#TYTYVM

Presley is only the sixth inductee in the USPS Music Icon Series, but the second Sun Studio recording artist. Johnny Cash became a forever stamp in 2013. Other icons in the series include Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Lydia Mendoza.  

Stamp in Black
  • Stamp in Black


Postmaster General Megan Brennan says a preview of the stamp will be available at a later date. 

Press release boilerplate from Brennan:

“Elvis is a natural addition to our Music Icon Series. His life and talents are an incredible story. Spanning from his humble beginnings in a Tupelo, Mississippi, two-room house to becoming one of the most legendary performance artists of the 20th Century, Elvis Presley’s works continues to resonate with millions the world over.”

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The obvious hashtag for tweeting and such: #ElvisForever.



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

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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. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

A Different Kind of Car Jacking

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 12:56 PM

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Florida Man's really got nothing on Tennessee Man. At least not if the latter is from Memphis, anyway. To wit (as they say), included among the most circulated news stories in the Bluff City this week, was this item about a naked car driver who enjoys it when people take videos.

According to various reports, Mr. Naked Car-Driving-Man also likes touching himself. 
From WMC: 

Memphis police officers are on the lookout for a man who people say is creeping out drivers by driving naked while pleasuring himself.

Last month, Allyson Duckworth spotted a man she says was driving naked. She says the man had on nothing but sunglasses and a hat. She also says the man was touching himself. She spotted him at Highland and Poplar Avenue.

"It still bothers me,” says Allyson Duckworth, who had grabbed her camera and started recording the man's actions. "When I started videoing him, he really enjoyed that, I think he wants to be seen and wants to be found."
One photo of the suspect shows a man committing "the same act," wearing woman's shoes and nothing else. Which is perfectly understandable considering just how sexy the right pair of shoes can make you feel. 

In an unrelated story a WMC reporter told viewers about a child thrown from the roof of a car on Mud Island while standing on the roof of a car. Because... we give up.
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mystery of Memphis' Tri-Phallic Welcome Sign Explained

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 2:32 PM

Shitty aritst's enhancement
  • Shitty aritst's enhancement

Fly on the Wall recently observed that the three note logo on Memphis' new welcome sign looks an awful lot like a bunch of dingalings.  

Here they are once again, just for reference. 

Dingalings
  • Dingalings

Since Bass Pro opened in Memphis' long abandoned Pyramid, the internet has been awash in new pictures of the skyline, and every photo seems to teach the Bluff City a little something new about itself. This image, for example, seems to suggest that the phallic nature of the welcome sign may not have been an accident. For so it was written in prophecies of old, "When three cocks crow over the Memphis sunset, then will the giant asphalt spermatozoa reveal itself."

STOLEN FROM THE INTERNET FOR THE BETTERMENT OF MANKIND
  • Stolen from the internet for the betterment of mankind

I think it's time to bring back the crystal Skull, people. 

Who doesn't like a little head?
  • Who doesn't like a little head?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Everything is Awesome: Meet Lego Jason Miles

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 11:27 AM

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Fly on the Wall has chronicled the many faces of WMC's excitable news reporter Jason Miles

We've shown you Jason Miles under a car

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We've shown you Jason Miles under a car on a cake.

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Now, fresh from his Twitter profile, here's Lego Jason Miles.

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Will some less lazy person please photoshop this Jason under a car? Please?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Play Pac Man on the Streets of Memphis

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

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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.


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