Rowdy Memphis (Plot Synopsis): Ted Creskoe (Wade Williams) is a father from Springfield, Missouri, who has come to Memphis to find his missing daughter, Jill. It's been four years since he's seen her — she was a runaway, but sent regular letters back home to let the 'rents know she was alright. Her car is found in a river, but there's no body in it. The main suspect is her abusive husband, Derek (Clayne Crawford). Jill waitressed for and was friendly with a restaurateur (Heather McComb). A body washes up in the river but it's somebody else instead of Jill. Turns out she and the restaurateur faked her death to get her away from the husband. Jill is reunited with Papa, and Dwight visits Derek and threatens him to stay away from the soon-to-be-ex wife.
One subplot this week is that Whitehead (Sam Hennings) is terrible at gunwork and needs help from Sutton (DJ Qualls), who is, surprisingly, a crack shot. The other subplot finds Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodward) in parental angst over a schism with her daughter, who she has learned is engaged to be married.
Memphis Beat, "Inside Man"
Originally Aired June 21st, 2011
Plot Synopsis: This week's show opens at what is presumably an East Memphis (or eastern suburbs) McMansion where there's been a home break-in with a floor safe missing. Dwight (Jason Lee) suspects a return of the infamous "Fox Meadows Burglars." A public call for information leads to a mysterious, awkward tipster, Keith Grant (Reno 911's Thomas Lennon) who has a lot of knowledge about the crimes. The man seems mild-mannered, but he reminds Dwight of "the ones who end up running down Beale Street naked with a samurai sword."
After discovering that he's studied the earlier "Fox Meadows Burglars" jobs more thoroughly than the MPD, Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) urges Dwight and partner Whitehead (Sam Hennings) take on Keith as a consultant, and he ends up helping them solve a case that is plaguing "all the rich folks of Memphis."
A wan subplot concerns Whitehead's attempt to "rebrand" himself.
Respect (Memphis music featured in the episode): The reduced interest in Memphis music doesn't end with the episode titles this season, as the amount of music — and Memphis-specific music — is on the decline. The Muddy Waters' identified "I'm Ready" and the Ray Charles' identified "You Don't Know Me" pop up, but in other versions I couldn't ID. The Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" is head. Most prominently is B.B. King's "When It All Comes Down," which is used four times, twice sung by one character to another in the form of a serenade.
MTV.com debuted the trailer tonight for Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer's upcoming remake of the ’80s hit Footloose. Look close for a glimpse of Memphian and Brewer regular Claude Phillips in a speaking role. The film is set for an October 14th release:
It's been seven years since the Bo-Keys — the "classic" Memphis soul band founded by bassist/producer Scott Bomar — released their debut album, The Royal Sessions. Next week the band releases the follow-up, the excellent Got To Get Back!, which features vocal contributions from a bevy of soul and blues greats — Stax's William Bell, Hi's Otis Clay, Atlantic's Percy Wiggins, and blues harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite.
Bell, Clay, and Wiggins — with local singer Sir Henry Ivy replacing Musselwhite — will join Bomar and his band — including classic-era Memphis session players such as guitarist Skip Pitts and drummer Howard Grimes — for a record-release show at the Levitt Shell on Saturday night.
I talked to Bomar and previewed the album and show in this week's paper.
Here's a brief in-studio documentary about the recording of the album's title track:
This week's theme for my weekly "Movies" segment on the Chris Vernon Show was "kid posses," movies that are built around a group of children (i.e., more than two), based off current box-office leader Super 8, J.J. Abrams' homage to Carter- and Reagan-era Steven Spielberg films:
5. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004): Harry Potter and his sidekicks and classmates — particularly Emma Watson's Hermione — are the most prominent "kid posse" in modern movies, and this third installment in the film adaptations, directed by the great Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama, Tambien, Children of Men), is the best of the series (so far), with an investment in character and an organic filmmaking quality in stark contrast to the amusement-park rides crafted by Christopher Columbus in the first two films.
Hardworking local punk rockers The Angel Sluts will celebrate the release of their new E.P., Suesie Was a Nihilist, this Saturday night at Murphy's. The record is being distributed by local independent label Fat Sandwich.
We've got a story on the band in this week's Flyer, but The Angel Sluts frontman Harry Koniditsiotis had much more to say than we could fit in the paper. Here are a few select outtakes from our conversation:
On developing an interest in music:
"I come from somewhat of a musical family. I had plenty of relatives who were classically trained. My great grand mother Sarah Sheinart Yavis founded the first all women’s orchestra in America in the late 1800s. I always joke that she was the first "riot grrrl." My brother and I grew up playing piano and horns but when I turned 15 I wanted to play drums in a rock band. My folks didn’t want that racket so I opted for a bass guitar. All my friend’s bands needed bass players so I figured that was the fastest way to get into a band. I think my mom has a video tape of us playing a couple of high school fairs. I played my first bar at 16 - Muddy Waters' in New Orleans. I thought it was awesome. Like a lot of kids we couldn’t really play our instruments very well or other people’s songs because we sucked. It was easier to write our own songs. So I just started writing."
The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s star-laden 1978 documentary on the Band’s final concert, which also features performances from Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and Muddy Waters, among others, will lead off the series, which will run for seven consecutive Friday nights, culminating in an “audience choice” screening on August 12th.
In between, selections will include Radiohead: Live in Prague (7/8), the seminal Altamont-era Rolling Stones doc Gimme Shelter (7/15), the partly Memphis-filmed U2 tour diary Rattle & Hum (7/22), the George Harrison-organized ’70s classic Concert for Bangladesh (7/29), and the all-star blues concert film Lightning in a Bottle (8/5).
Memphis Beat, "At the River"
Originally Aired June 14th, 2011
Memphis Beat — TNT's set-in-Memphis, filmed-in-New Orleans, borderline-anachronistic cop procedural — returned for a (somewhat surprising) second season last night, bringing us more of Jason Lee's Elvis-loving MPD detective Dwight Hendricks and his colorful coterie of sidekicks.
Episode Named After: This is unclear. Last season, every Memphis Beat episode was named for a song recorded by Elvis Presley. That appears to not be the case for season two. I'm guessing "At the River" is not a reference to the 1997 single by techno outfit Groove Armada. Instead, it's likely a religious/gospel reference. But is it to the gospel standard "Shall We Gather at the River" or to "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" (Lyric: "At the river, I stand/Guide my feet, hold my hand")?
Plot Synopsis: The episode opens with a dead cop and a bullet shell found in the grass on the banks of the river. Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) splits up partners Dwight and Whitehead (Sam Hennings), having Whitehead work the murder and having Dwight pair up with a (comely) new Internal Affairs agent, Claire (Beau Garrett), while she looks into questions surrounding the late policeman.
As usual, the procedural stuff is run of the mill. More interesting is Claire, a new addition to the show and to Memphis ("I was a beat cop in St. Louis for five years — got to a glass ceiling I couldn't break through," she explains) that opens up some potentially fruitful avenues for the show, not counting the unavoidable romantic subplot.
Tickets go on sale this morning at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000.
For my second week back on the "Movies" beat — the film recommendation bit I'm doing during my weekly segment on The Chris Vernon Show — the topic is "Americans" in Paris, based on the new Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris, which opens in Memphis tomorrow and stars Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter on holiday in the City of Lights. (My review here.)
So here are my Top 5 non-French films set in Paris:
5. The Dreamers (2004): Director Bernardo Bertolucci's second sexually provocative film about an American male in Paris, following the more titanic but also more dated 1972 landmark Last Tango in Paris. Here young American Michael Pitt has a meet-cute with Parisian siblings Eva Green and Louis Garrel at the cinema in the days leading up to the May 1968 national protests and ends up living with them while their parents are away, resulting in an emotionally and sexually complicated triangle. Full of references and homages to the classic Hollywood and French New Wave films the characters love. The title is both sympathetic and a critique. My original review here.
Weekends are supposed to be the busiest time for concerts and film screenings, but tonight's about as loaded as it gets.here.
Additionally, the Orpheum Summer Classic Movie Series kicks off with a screening of To Catch a Thief, the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock romantic thriller co-starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. To Catch a Thief is a merely good film from a great director, but seems to be the title the Orpheum has embraced. The series continues tomorrow night with the Coen brothers' The Big Lebowski. Screenings begin at 7:15 each night. Tickets are $7.
Meanwhile, a few miles southeast, at Snowden Grove Amphitheatre, there's a whole lot more country music going on, as septuagenarian legend Willie Nelson brings his Country Throwdown Tour to town. Nelson will be joined by contemporary outlaw-style artist Jamey Johnson and a long list of up-and-coming country acts. More info here.
With country happening downtown and in Mississippi, Midtown is hosting a couple of promising rock shows tonight. At Minglewood Hall, New York-based electronic duo Ratatat performs at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. And at the Hi-Tone Café, Austin psychedelic rockers the Black Angels perform. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $13.
The memorial information is as follows:
The Rudy Williams Music Memorial Service will be [Tuesday] from 5-7 p.m. at NJ Ford and Sons Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church on South Wellington at 11 a.m. on Wednesday June 8th. The Beale Street Funeral Procession Motorcade will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and will proceed East on Beale From 2nd at Blues City Cafe and end at W.C. Handy Performing Arts Park. Musicians, Family or Friends interested in being in the procession can meet at 2nd and Beale after 12:30 to participate. The Burial will be in the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery at 2 p.m.
After a long hoops-season hiatus, I brought back my "Movies" segment as part of my weekly appearance on The Chris Vernon Show (730 AM Fox Sports) yesterday. (Barring the occasional schedule change or additional drop-in, I join Verno each Thursday afternoon from 5 to 6 p.m.)
The deal with the "Movies" bit is that I recommend five films each week based on a different topic, usually — but not always — connected to something that's new in theaters or big at the box office. This week's comeback list was "Wedding Preparation" movies, based on two current box-office hits, The Hangover Part II and Bridesmaids.
In addition to bringing back the radio segment, I'm going to (attempt to) follow up each Friday by posting the lists here.
And so it goes:
5. The Best Man (1999): The writing here is a little too wooden at times, but this gives a generation of attractive, able young African-American actors (Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, etc.) the grown-up showcase that's still too rare. A group of college-era friends reunite when two are getting married and various old issues erupt. Written and directed by Malcolm Lee. Produced by his cousin, some guy named Spike.
The Onion's AV Club is doing an online travel series called Pop Pilgrims, in which a three-man crew is road-tripping to visit 36 pop culture landmarks around the country and shooting five-minute videos at each destination — one city a week for 12 weeks, three landmark locations in each city. Among the initial stops have been California locations that are featured in films such as Vertigo, The Graduate, and Reservoir Dogs. The crew's visit to Memphis is featured on the site this week. The three Memphis locations featured are:
The Arcade Restaurant, where they visited with Shangri-La Projects' Sherman Wilmott to talk about his experience as a production assistant on Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train:
Ardent Studios, where they talked to owner John Fry and studio manager Jody Stephens about the studio's history.
Sun Studio, where they took in the studio tour, including getting some input from Goner Records' owner Eric Friedl.
There will be 4 separate drawings, each with a trivia question about this week's Memphis Flyer.
You can enter as many drawings as you like, but you cannot win more than once.
Here's the schedule of the drawings:
Twitter - 2pm
Twitter - 2:30pm
Facebook - 3pm
Facebook - 3:30pm
At the appropriate time, I'll send out the link to the entry form and trivia question. You'll only have 15 minutes to answer each question, so Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook so you don't miss your chance!