If you're even mildly interested in seeing some fantastic, seldom-seen vintage photos of first generation punks like Blondie, Talking Heads, the Dead Boys, the Ramones, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, and many others, you'll want to take a peek at this video.
Long before he moved to Memphis, Jonathan Postal shutterbugged for San Francisco-based Punk magazine. He was the original — though short-tenured — bass player for Penelope Houston's seminal group, the Avengers, and a founding member of the Readymades, whose first LP, San Francisco: Mostly Alive, was released this summer on Rave Up Records.
I shot this interview with Postal while we were working together on this week's Memphis Flyer cover story, "School of Slam." Fans of 70s punk who haven't seen his photography or heard the single "415 Music" are in for a treat.
We continue our countdown to next Tuesday's De La Soul concert at Minglewood Hall with the great sex-positive Native Tongues posse cut "Buddy":
One of the year's very best films, Kathryn Bigelow's tense, riveting The Hurt Locker, about the day-to-day work of a U.S. Army bomb unit in the Iraq War, opens today with an exclusive run at Malco's Ridgeway Four.
Check out my review of the film here.
And for more on what to expect, the film's trailer:
Bi the Way, a Memphis-connected documentary about the apparent increase in bisexuality amonger younger Americans, makes its television debut this week on Logo, an MTV-affiliated cable network dedicated to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender programming.
The film, which was co-directed and co-produced by Memphis native Brittany Blockman, most recently screened locally at this year's On Location: Memphis festival and debuted at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival.
Blockman and partner Josephine Decker filmed Bi the Way on a cross-country trip that tabbed case studies, sex researchers, and opinion makers (most notably the always-sharp Dan Savage, of the syndicated sex-advice column "Savage Love") from coast-to-coast, including one bisexual woman in Memphis, where a significant portion of the film was shot.
Bi the Way debuts at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 1st on Logo (channel 294 on my Comcast digital cable). It will be shown again Monday, August 3rd at 4 p.m.
Hip-hop legends De La Soul play Minglewood Hall next Tuesday. You can read my take on the band's two key albums — the classic 3 Feet High and Rising and the underrated AOI: Bionix — in this week's music feature.
To count down the days to the show, I'm going to throw up a choice De La clip here on the blog each day until the concert. First up, the official video for the early single "Potholes in My Lawn":
The New York Times has a story up on Cybill Shepherd, a hometowner who's earned favored-celebrity status from Memphians after four decades in the public eye.
Margy Rochlin's story starts, "The first time Cybill Shepherd appeared on a talk show was on The Tonight Show back in 1968. At the time she was a radiant 18-year-old from Memphis with a confrontational gaze who owned the title Model of the Year. 'I could barely say a word,' she said. 'All I could do was say ‘Yes’ and look terrified.'”
Look for more Cybill in the future; as soon as this weekend, in fact, with Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith, which airs on the Hallmark Channel Saturday at 8 p.m.
A new force on the local filmmaking scene is throwing a party tomorrow night at Minglewood Hall. Dubbed Love Letters to Memphis, the party is being hosted by Paper Moon Films, a new production partnership founded by former high-school friends Nick Case and Ryan Watt, who are trying to fill a niche in the growing local indie film scene.
"Love Letters to Memphis" is a fundraiser for the duo's first joint effort, award-winning local filmmaker Kentucker Audley's Open Five, which begins shooting next week as the first Paper Moon production. We first wrote about Open Five here.
But Watt says that in addition to raising some money towards Open Five's roughly $15,000 budget, he hopes the "Love Letters to Memphis" party can serve as a networking and promotional event for the larger local film scene. To that end, he says other filmmakers will be encouraged to talk about their projects as well.
The party will include a silent auction and music from the local band Star & Micey. Admission is $12. Start time is 7 p.m.
More on Paper Moon:
On Location: MEMPHIS is calling for entries for the 11th installment of the film festival, which will be held April 22-25, 2010, at Malco's Ridgeway Four. Go righ'chere for more information on submissions and the festival.
And here's the Memphis Flyer's coverage of On Location: Memphis 10 from earlier this year. That quite fine slate included the Morgan Freeman-involved Prom Night in Mississippi, the MLK doc The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306, and The Disappeared, which won the competition for Best Feature.
My topic this week for the "Movies" bit on The Chris Vernon Show was "battle of the sexes," based on this week's #3 box-office film The Ugly Truth.
With this topic, it was hard not to make the list all movies from the 1940s, hands-down the finest decade for romantic comedies. But after an unavoidable top three that are all among my favorite films of any era or genre, I went fishing for a couple of more modern entries:
1. Adam's Rib (1949): The best of the Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn pairings. This classic comedy from director George Cukor depicts Tracy (the sly, jovial, unknowingly chauvinistic district attorney) and Hepburn (the sharp, feminist lady lawyer) as married attorneys who take opposite sides in the attempted murder case of a woman (Judy Holliday) who shot her philandering husband, the couple's work-day opposition ultimately straining their marriage.
This afternoon, I caught up with Judy Dorsey, station manager for WEVL FM-89.9, as she took a much-needed break from organizing tomorrow's Blues on the Bluff fundraiser, which features bluesmen Kenny Brown and Blind Mississippi Morris, as well as instrumental group the Bo-Keys, hot off a pair of whirlwind NYC gigs last weekend, including a stop at Lincoln Center and an appearance at Brooklyn's Southpaw Lounge. (For New York Times reviews of both shows, go here and here.)
The 21st annual Blues on the Bluff falls exactly 375 days after the untimely death of WEVL volunteer dee-jay Dee "Cap'n Pete" Henderson, who was murdered in his backyard on July 15, 2008.
"We're still coping as best we can," says Dorsey, noting that Anthony Biggers' poster for this year's Blues on the Bluff features Cap'n Pete's truck and that, thanks to modern technology, listeners can still tune into taped episodes of "Cap'n Pete's Blues Cruise," which airs on WEVL from 9 p.m. to midnight every Friday night.
"Even so, there's a void there that will never be filled," she sighs. "I miss him every week."
It's 36 hours before vocalist/guitarist Jeff Golightly is due to celebrate the release of The Everyday Parade's self-titled (and self-released) debut at Nocturnal.
Golightly's no stranger to the local music scene — in the 1980s, he played in one of the city's first new wave bands, The Crime, darlings of the early Antenna Club scene, who shared the stage with the likes of the B-52s and released a memorable single, "ICU" b/w "Do the Pogo" on Capitol Punishment Records. Then reality intervened, and Golightly put his stage persona on hold to raise a family.
Fast-forward 20 years, to the formation of The Everyday Parade.
The band's debut album, a paean to '80s power pop that features rockers such as "Everything's Burning" and "Negative Creep," pairs Golightly and his former Crime bandmate Rick Camp with drummer Leh Sammons and bassist Tom Wilson. It was recorded at Midtown studio Rocket Science Audio with engineer Kyle Johnson. You can hear it live on Saturday night — The Everyday Parade is slated to perform at 11:30 p.m., after openers Kitchens & Bathrooms and David Brookings.
We here at the Flyer have found ourselves caught in a catch-twentysomething when attempting to cover the electronic-psychedelic rock music group MGMT. On the one hand, one of ’em is from Memphis (band member Andrew VanWyngarden graduated from White Station High School) and the band is growing into a worldwide sensation. Seems a natural to write about them as the cause arises.
*On the other hand, Andrew is the son of Bruce VanWyngarden, editor of the Memphis Flyer. Is it unseemly to cover MGMT when they make news?
Some people think so. Consider Flyer website commenter safeguy, who said, in response to a story about the band playing in Memphis this June, “I sometimes wish that the Flyer was a paid weekly so that I could threaten to unsubscribe every time you write another article about MGMT.” And HeyPrettyBoy said, in response to the same story, “I LOVE MGMT! but too much MGMT isn't cool...”
Or embrace the disclaimer?
Guess which one we’re doing.
The upcoming issue of MovieMaker magazine names the Indie Memphis Film Festival one of the world's "25 Coolest Film Festivals."
MovieMaker says it compiled its list “with the help of hundreds of independent moviemakers, festival directors and fest attendees. We scoured the world to identify more than two dozen fests that are creating a truly unique film festival experience.”
Among those festivals celebrated alongside Indie Memphis are the South by Southwest Film Festival, the Roger Ebert's Film Festival, and the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, which was founded by current Indie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor.
“We are thrilled to be recognized on a national level for the work we’re doing here in Memphis. It is truly humbling to be included on a list that includes so many amazing film festivals,” Jambor said, in a press release accompanying the announcement.
Indie Memphis' 12th festival happens October 8-15 at Malco's Studio on the Square. You can learn more about the festival here.
Memphis filmmaker Kentucker Audley (of the IndieMemphis-winning debut Team Picture) and Jump Back Jake frontman Jake Rabinbach are collaborating on a feature film — Open Five — scheduled to begin shooting in early August. The film, which Audley (pictured) will direct and which the duo co-wrote and will act in, is rooted in Rabinbach's experiences as a New Yorker living in Memphis.
To help raise an $8,000 portion of what's expected to be a roughly $15,000 budget, the duo is soliciting online donations, with various perks offered depending on the amount of the donation. You can donate or just learn more about the project here.
"It's a fictional film, but we both drew on our own lives," says Rabinbach, who has been alternating his time between Memphis and New York while playing guitar in the New York band Francis & the Lights. "I'm interested in how people who have lived in New York function in Memphis, because it's a really different culture."
The film, about a weekend double-date between two local artists and two visiting New York women, "aims to be a new defining portrait of Memphis ... particularly focusing on the living tradition of modern Memphis musicians and filmmakers," according to Audley's director's statement. Joe Swanberg is coming in to be the film's director of photography.
This week's "Movies" topic on The Chris Vernon Show was "Two Guys and a Girl" — films featuring a trio protagonists fitting that gender make-up — based on current box-office champ Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.
The heavy contingent of foreign and/or old movies at the top of the list didn't seem to please radio listeners, but I stand by it:
1. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001): Alfonso Cuaron's coming-of-age story/women's picture/subtly political Mexican road movie might be the best film of the past decade. Two teen best friends, the privileged Tenoch (Diego Luna) and the middle-class Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) take Luisa (Maribel Verdu), the foxy adult wife of Tenoch's cousin, with them on a road trip to find the Heaven's Mouth beach, which may or may not exist. Cuaron is generous to his teen protagonists while simultaneously exposing how limited and self-absorbed their view of the world is. Shot-by-shot, scene-be-scene, moment-by-moment, it's brilliant.