What does the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum have in common with the Old State House in Boston, Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, Louis Armstrong Memorial Park in New Orleans, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming?
Among other things, I suppose, they're all this year's recipients of grants from the Globus American Icon Special Grant Program. That's the story according to LeisureGroupTravel.com.
The grants are, um, granted by Tourism Cares, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity based out of Massachusetts. This is the fourth grant in a row (dating back to 2006) for Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum.
Photo Courtesy Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
Before a gig at Austin's venerable Continental Club last week, Memphis singer Susan Marshall dropped by the studios of the local Fox affiliate for an interview and a performance of "Oh My Soul" from her new album Little Red, giving the land of outlaw country a little taste of Memphis R&B. The video:
Broadcasting & Cable is reporting that Memphis is one of seven markets that will air episodes of the syndicated show Wedlock or Deadlock for a six-week test run.
The show will appear on Fox — the report doesn't indicate day of the week or time slot. (The show begins airing July 20th, so maybe Mondays?) Other cities to test Wedlock or Deadlock are New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Phoenix, and Orlando.
From the report, the show is described as being "based on a Divorce Court segment in which Dr. Michelle R. Callahan, psychologist and life coach, determines whether struggling couples should marry or move on."
Wedlock or Deadlock is not to be confused with the forthcoming Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC show The Marriage Ref. And The Marriage Ref should under no circumstances be mixed up with the Denis Leary-Kevin Spacey-Judy Davis joint The Ref. And don't even go here.
Related link: The Hollywood Reporter
The Library of Congress has announced this year's crop of 25 audio recordings that must be preserved...forever! The LOC saves recordings "that have been identified as cultural, artistic, and historical treasures to be preserved for future generations."
The list this year includes the late Delta blues master, Mississippi native, and one-time Memphian John Lee Hooker and his debut recording, "Boogie Chillen."
Here's a YouTube slide show set to the Hooker masterpiece.
Other highlights — well, they're all highlights — from the LOC's selection include:
The last-known recording of the sounds of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, from 1935. (Though the bird may not be extinct after all.)
Link Wray's "Rumble".
George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today".
The Internet's got a story this week about Derrick Rose flashing some gang signs in a photograph that has surfaced recently. The photo is said to have been taken during his time at the University of Memphis, where he helped the Tigers reach the NCAA Championship Game. Do we have to say "allegedly" about that game, now?
Here's ESPN.com's account of the Rose mini-controversy.
I'm not too whippy when it comes to discerning hand gestures. Is he indicating his SAT score?
Tom Cruise, FoxNews, Scientology inflammation, and Wichita.
After making an extremely successful return from a rather length hiatus in March, Live From Memphis' Li'l Film Fest is back this Saturday at the Brooks Museum for its 10th installment. Each Li'l Film Fest charges local filmmakers with making short films on a theme, with this weekend's installment on the subject of family.
There are 11 films in the "Family" program, and while I'd echo my complaint from the last fest about the preponderance of hand-me-down horror-flick conceits on display, some of the films find success on this path, such as Reunion from the filmmaker Pandora, a film with a final twist that I didn't see coming but probably should have. The conceptual uniformity helps other kinds of films stand out, such as Downer, from Jason Rawlings and Jason Davenport, with its interesting use of still shots, and Eric Swartz' Monday, which is a simple, well-shot, and, enjoyable glimpse at everyday life.
I was uniquely primed for Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, aka Will Oldham, who performed at Minglewood Hall on Tuesday night.
Back in the early 1990s, when he was performing under the Palace Bros. moniker, I booked Oldham's first and second Memphis appearances at Barristers. At one of those shows, he angrily kicked his monitor off the stage. At another, he refused to speak to me directly and instead insisted on whispering to his Mardi-Gras-mask-clad merch girl, who would then relay his questions to me, and my answers to him, all while we were standing about 2 feet apart. Not much later, I ran into Oldham again during a session at Easley-McCain Recording Studio, when he asked me (directly, this time) for directions to Junior Kimbrough's juke joint, then in full swing. The next night, of course, I ran into him at Junior's Place, and he snubbed me once again.
Okay, he was an asshole. But I still enjoyed his music. I didn't go out of my way to see Oldham play locally, but I did enjoy the epic-length profile of him that recently appeared in the New Yorker. And so, when I offered to host friends-of-friends-of-friends Bachelorette, the New Zealand-based pop band that opened the MInglewood Hall show, and got free tickets, I decided to go.
On his June 10th radio program, CNN personality Lou Dobbs lavished praise on Mirabile Investment Corporation (MIC) , a Memphis-based Burger King franchisee, for having the guts to ignore and disparage its licensing agreement with the Burger King Corporation (BKC) and the business acumen to post the words “GLOBAL WARMING IS BALONEY” on exterior signs across West Tennessee and parts of Mississippi and Arkansas.
Dobbs also admired the wit of MIC's marketing president, J.J. McNelis, who has publicly compared executives at his parent company to cockroaches who run from the light. Dobbs, a self-described moderate with nativist, “traditionalist” tendencies, regularly mocks environmental concerns and has previously linked global warming to something he called “solar sunspot activity cycles.”
The story McNelis told Dobbs differed substantially from what MIC's rep originally told Leo Hickman, a reporter for UK newspaper The Guardian.
Radio City, the second album from Memphis legends and "power pop" godfathers Big Star is among the latest subjects in Continuum's 33 1/3 book series — a popular collection of pamphlet-style treatments on individual albums.
The Radio City volume is written by Bruce Eaton, a Buffalo, New York-based jazz concert producer who is an acquaintance of Big Star singer Alex Chilton. In the preface, Eaton recounts first buying Radio City at a used bin of a Buffalo record store in 1976 and three years later finding himself on stage with Chilton playing the Big Star classic "September Gurls."
In all honesty, the Radio City book can be rough going at first: Eaton's repeated faux-self-deprecating descriptions of himself as a "vinyl junkie" and recovering "rock snob" become annoying. (Typical example: "For rock snobs, the more obscure your favorite band, the better.") And his fandom sometimes results in overwritten overstatement, as when Eaton connects his post-college love of Radio City to the Sixties pop he listened to on the radio as a teenager: "It's as if all the music coming out of all the little transistor radio speakers … had somehow been beamed into outer space to some distant planet and then transformed by a band of musical alchemists into something both fresh and yet familiar and sent back to Earth in a stream of glowing super-charged electrical particles by a wizard of sound." Um, yeah dude. And the book is hampered by frequent copy-editing oversights.
But what Eaton's book has going for it is a personal connection to Chilton that provides him with rare access to the somewhat reclusive icon and an insistence on focusing more on the music itself and the circumstances of its recording rather than the more familiar personality-based story of the band's brief initial life.
Next Thursday, MGMT are slated to rock Minglewood Hall.
This week, the band [whose lead singer, Andrew VanWyngarden, is the son of Flyer editor Bruce VanWyngarden] shake up the nursery school set with this tres bizarre six-plus-minute music video, which channels Where the Wild Things Are and employs Joanna Newsom as a hapless mom:
While the bizarre circumstances surrounding David Carradine's death trump all other celebrity deaths this week, us Memphians have our own mourning to do:
Yesterday, 80-year old blues great Koko Taylor died in Chicago, less than a month after she appeared at the Blues Music Awards here in Memphis to collect her 29th BMA and perform her signature, million-selling hit single, "Wang Dang Doodle."
Born the daughter of a Shelby County sharecropper, Cora "Koko" Walton departed Memphis for Chicago in 1952 with her future husband, Robert "Pops" Taylor, in tow, and never looked back. By the mid-1960s, Taylor, an amateur performer who supported her family by cleaning houses, had ensconced herself in the Chess Records family — Willie Dixon was her producer, Buddy Guy served as her guitarist, and "Wang Dang Doodle" was mined from Howlin' Wolf's catalog. In more recent years, Taylor became one of the benchmark artists on the Chicago-based Alligator Records. Eight of her last 9 recordings, including 2007's Old School, received Grammy nods. In 2004, Taylor received the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and, earlier this year, she performed at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Go here for a detailed obituary.
Local filmgoers get their one chance tonight to see one the best films of the past year on the big(gish) screen. Hunger, the debut feature from British visual artist Steve McQueen, which won the award for best first film at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, screens at 7:30 tonight at the Brooks Museum of Art, in partnership with Indie Memphis.
I wrote more about Hunger here.
The Memphis Flyer wants to send you to a free screening of the new film Tennessee this Thursday, June 4th. No purchase necessary. All you have to do is pick up your free pass at our offices.
We're located downtown at 460 Tennessee Street on the 2nd floor. Just stop by and tell the receptionist you're here to pick up your free movie pass.
Limited to one 2-person pass per visitor. The screening for the R-rated film, starring Mariah Carey, Adam Rothenberg, and Ethan Peck, is at Malco's Ridgeway Four at Poplar & 240 at 7:30 p.m. Tennessee opens in multiple locations around town this Friday.
In a world of media and news overload, some stories grab you and plenty of others that should get your attention slip away instead. The pained re-ignition of the seemingly insolvable abortion debate following the heinous murder of Kansas late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller grabbed me, though I've been disappointed by the tenor of so much I've read and heard.
What I've found rattling and at times revolting about the rhetoric of anti-abortion-rights advocates from Operation Rescue's Randall Terry to Fox News talking head Bill O'Reilly isn't their fundamental anti-abortion position, which I respect and find ultimately rational; it's the utter unwillingness to acknowledge — much less sympathize with — the tragic circumstances that bring women and families to the question of whether to terminate a pregnancy, especially one late in the gestation period, which is often a wanted pregnancy stricken by severe complications.
For a civil and serious take on this issue, I've turned to The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan's terrific blog for Atlantic Monthly. Sullivan is a Christian, self-described conservative, and has expressed an opposition to the legality of late-term abortions that he is starting to second-guess. Over the past few days, he's opened a significant portion of his blog space to a detailed, open-minded discussion of the issues surrounding late-term abortion, letting people tell their own stories in a series of anguished but illuminating "It's So Personal" posts that are gripping, essential reading, and allowing space for readers to dissent from both ends of the abortion debate.
Another oasis of cultural seriousness amid the noise is Lake of Fire, a colossal 2006 documentary from British filmmaker Tony Kaye (American History X) that deserves renewed attention in the wake of Tiller's assassination. Kaye shot his film (on black-and-white celluloid) over the course of 18 years, winnowing his material down to a two-and-a-half-hour epic that nobody saw.