Sunday night, 27-year old rapper T.I. was onstage at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, performing for 16,000 fans at an event dubbed "T.I.'s Goodbye Bash."
Sometime before noon today, T.I. will shed the sunglasses and the designer wear, and, as plain ol' Clifford Harris Jr., check into the low-security Federal Correction Institution in Forrest City, Arkansas.
The journey from headlining rap star, actor (ATL, American Gangster) and one-time Justin Timberlake collaborator to jail has been documented in T.I.'s Road To Redemption, a reality show which began airing on MTV in February.
Let's review just how that rocky road led from a spot on Forbes magazine's roster of the world's richest rappers to the federal pen:
It's not too often you get reports of UFOs in the Memphis area, much less ones that are captured on video and disseminated through YouTube. A dispatch from Examiner.com discusses a May 20th sighting in Horn Lake, Mississippi, of all places. (Warning, video contains NSFW language.)
American Idol top-ten-alist Lil Rounds is going to be back in Memphis this afternoon for a "community recognition ceremony." At 3:30 p.m. at Handy Park on Beale, Lil will be honored in a show that will include music from U.S. Navy rock band FREEDOM and the Millennium Madness Drum Squad (worth the trip just by themselves).
Craig Brewer has posted the infamous "director's cut" footage from "Track 10" of $5 Cover on his YouTube channel. The footage, deemed "too hot" for both MTV and FiveDollarCover.com, features Hill Country Revue's Dickinson, actress Grant, Dickinson's electric washboard (dubbed the "Psychedelic Sex Machine"), and a "silver bullet" vibrator. Let your imagination run wild, or just watch. Needless to say, this video is likely NSFW, and may not be up for long:
ESPN reports that Daly wore pink pants in his final round of the BMW PGA Championship. Fashion faux pas? Nope. He actually donned the pink trousers in support of Amy Mickelson — the wife of golf superstar Phil Mickelson — who has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
From the story, Daly says:
"I had a pair, so I figured I'd do that for her today. I thought it would be a good gesture," Daly said of his trousers. "I know Phil very well and I know Amy. I've known them for a long time — we've played the Tour together. She's a great lady. She has always been a sweetheart to everybody."
"There's been some [breast cancer] in the family and a lot of friends. It's just a tough thing women have to go through. But if they caught it in time, it is curable."
Phil Mickelson was slated to attend the St. Jude Classic (June 8-14 in Memphis) before suspending all play after his wife's diagnosis.
A CNBC anchor is getting shown some love from the local music group 40 Watt Moon. The popsters penned an ode to Squawk Box's Becky Quick in their song, named after the financial-news TV personality.
Some lyrics from "Becky Quick":
"Squawk Box, she's a fox,
The best thing about 6 o'clock
When I turn on my TV.
Market falls, margin calls,
Think I mighta just lost it all.
Then she smiles at me."
40 Watt Moon is:
Kevin Pusey: lead vocals, guitar
Chip Googe: lead guitars, background vocals (also a Memphis Flyer account executive)
Michael Duncan : bass guitar (and "Becky Quick" writer)
Mark Miller: drums, percussion
For more information, go to the 40 Watt Moon Website.
A scant 24 hours ago, Memphians Lil Rounds (pictured) and Alexis Grace performed on the "American Idol" season 8 finale, sharing the stage with the likes of Queen Latifah and Jason Mraz before Conway, Arkansas, native Kris Allen was crowned champ.
There's an excellent piece by Richard Florida up on The Atlantic's Daily Dish. The writer jumps off from the pending rocker nuptials of Meg White (The White Stripes) to Jackson Smith (scion of MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and singer-songwriter Patti Smith) in Tennessee.
From there, he takes in the trending great American migration of musicians to Nashville. Interesting stuff from the guy who coined the phrase "creative class."
God, I hate Nashville.
I hate to disagree with Thurston Moore, but contrary to the Sonic Youth guitarist's bold assertion, The Memphis Goons are not a “fantastic American rock-and-roll story.” The Goons, whose newest collection of songs PEPPO is now available for download at iTunes, were a smart, exceptionally talented ’60s/’70s-era rock-and-roll band that nobody knew or cared about. In other words, their story is fairly typical, and it goes something like this: Suburban kids make fantastic, ahead-of-its time (and/or unfashionably retro) music in their parents' garages and basements and nobody notices.
Nearly 30 years after the tracks were originally recorded, Teenage BBQ, the Goons' first collection of lo-fi home recordings, were released on Shangri-La, a small independent Memphis record label. Still, other than a few critics and obscurity collectors, nobody paid much attention. Well, except for Robert Hull, the former Creem contributor and executive producer for Time-Life Music who listed the Memphis Goons as having created the third-best garage-rock sounds ever — after the Kingsmen and the Sonics — in an essay on “original punks” that was collected in the Rolling Stone-published book Alt-Rock-a-Rama. Hull, an original punk who sometimes uses the aliases “Robot Hull” and "Xavier Tarpit", grew up in Whitehaven, a Memphis suburb, and is a founding member of the band.
On Sunday, I interviewed Pat and Gina Neely of Neely’s Bar-B-Q and Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys and Road Tasted with the Neelys. They’re currently on a 17-city tour promoting their just-released cookbook Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook. They’ll be back in Memphis over Memorial Day weekend for two booksignings.
An abbreviated Q&A will be in the Flyer hitting the stands this week, and the full version will be online later in the week.
Here’s a teaser:
Martin Luther King Jr. is getting the biopic treatment. The civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. Though an ancillary figure in countless films and the subject of many documentaries, MLK has never taken the lead in a feature film. His story will be taken to the big screen by no less a filmmaking luminary than Steven Spielberg, Variety reports.
The King estate has authorized the film and has given the production rights to intellectual property such as MLK's famous speeches.
Spielberg will produce for his DreamWorks studio. No word yet on who will be tapped to direct, write, and, star, though obviously now is the time to begin wild speculation. I'll nominate Memphis native Vicellous Reon Shannon (right picture below) to play MLK.
A couple of weeks ago at a series of local premiere screenings for $5 Cover and its ancillary documentaries, filmmaker Craig Brewer sounded the alarm on behalf of Indie Memphis, the local film organization that has put on its annual festival for the past 11 years in addition to other programming.
At each screening, Brewer implored attendees to support Indie Memphis or risk losing it. It wasn't, at the time, an unrealistic fear.
Indie Memphis is coming off its biggest and best festival ever last fall, the first under fulltime executive director Erik Jambor. But the combination of an enhanced budget and a faltering economy put Indie Memphis in precarious financial waters that the organization seems to have navigated, at least in the short term.
"We had some funding lined up that fell through, and it was a bit of a surprise to us," says Les Edwards, the longtime Indie Memphis director and current board chairman.
Eighteen hours later, and I'm still cracking up over last night's 30 Rock finale, which featured Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige, Mike D and Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys, Michael McDonald, Adam Levine, Rhett Miller, Norah Jones, Talib Kweli, Moby, Robert Randolph, Steve Earle, Sheryl Crow, Clay Aiken, and Cyndi Lauper on the same soundstage. Fictional GE exec Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin, in his greatest role) called 'em all in for a "We Are the World"/"Do They Know It's Christmas?" type benefit to fund a kidney for his newfound biological father, Milton Greene, as played by Alan Alda.
The deed was done under the cover of darkness. “We did it to mark our turf,” says their leader Christiana Leibovich. “We don’t want any other knitters on our territory.”
The Memphis Knit Mafia put up this “pole cozy,” a bit of guerilla knitting, over an old sign post outside of Café Eclectic in the Vollintine-Evergreen neighborhood last Tuesday night. The work, which is about 10 feet long, is a colorful mash-up of knitting styles — cables, stripes, checks, and even the Batman logo — created over a few months by the seven or eight core members of the group.
The members of the Memphis Knit Mafia, whose ages range from late 20s to mid-40s, originally met each other through the online site ravelry.com. They found their personalities and wicked senses of humor clicked, and they decided to form their own group, meeting each Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Café Eclectic.
One of the year's very best films — North Carolina indie filmmaker Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo — has a strong Memphis connection in the form of Red West, the charter member of Elvis' "Memphis Mafia" and longtime character actor who delivers his first starring performance after 49 years in the business.
West moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, a couple of years ago, but will return to Memphis today to introduce the 7:25 screening at the Ridgeway Four. He will also stick around afterwards for a question-and-answer session.