Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sound Advice: The Vespers and The Memphis Dawls at Otherlands

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 2:20 PM

vespers.jpg

This Thursday, August 2 the up-and-coming roots-music quartet from Nashville The Vespers will return to Memphis after its showcase-stealing performance at the Folk Alliance Conference back in February to headline a bill at Otherlands.

The group - which consists of two sets of multi-instrumentalist siblings, brothers Bruno and Taylor Jones and sisters Callie and Phoebe Cryar - has been on the rise ever since, earning rave reviews for its debut LP, The Fourth Wall, from the likes of No Depression, The Boot, and other Americana music media sources.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Batman Back-and-Forth, Day 4: In Which There is Hugging

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 4:35 PM

No one prefers Batman Begins
  • No one prefers "Batman Begins"
In many ways, The Dark Knight Rises is the movie of the year, and here at Sing All Kinds we seem to have a disagreement on our hands. Chris Herrington thinks The Dark Knight is the best film in the trilogy. Greg Akers finds The Dark Knight Rises to be the superior film. This week we're hashing it out here. NOTE/WARNING: Spoilers will be flying like batarangs.

Tuesday, Herrington made a “sprawling,” “commanding,” and “entertaining” case that The Dark Knight (DK) is the best in the bunch. Wednesday, Akers wrote the War & Peace of off-the-cuff Batman blog posts in trumpeting The Dark Knight Rises (DKR). Thursday, Herrington, exhausted from battle, conceded some points and double-downed on some others. Today, Akers makes his rebut and turns out the lights in the Batcave.

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Early Look at Big Star Doc

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 10:37 AM

A couple of hundred Memphians at Studio on the Square got a sneak preview last night of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, a documentary feature about the legendary Memphis band of the ’70s that helped relaunch the career of Alex Chilton and launch, a decade later, a whole generation of alternative-rock and post-punk bands.

A trailer for Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me:

The work-in-progress screening was sponsored by the Memphis chapter of the Recording Academy as part of an annual membership event and featured a post-screening question-and-answer session with New York-based filmmakers Drew DeNicola, Danielle McCarthy, Olivia Mori, along with the lone remaining original member of the band, Ardent Studios' Jody Stephens.

Before the screening, DeNicola (the film's director and editor) labeled it “a participatory event,” in which he wanted feedback from an audience that knows the band and its story well before heading back to the editing room to complete the film.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Batman Back-and-Forth, Day 3: Time for Tangents, Jokes, and Obscure References

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Batman_Blog_2A.jpg

In many ways, The Dark Knight Rises is the movie of the year, and here at Sing All Kinds we seem to have a disagreement on our hands. Chris Herrington thinks The Dark Knight is the best film in the trilogy. Greg Akers finds The Dark Knight Rises to be the superior film. This week we're hashing it out here. NOTE/WARNING: Spoilers will be flying like batarangs.

Tuesday, Herrington made a “sprawling,” “commanding,” and “entertaining” case that The Dark Knight (DK) is the best in the bunch. Yesterday, Akers wrote the War & Peace of off-the-cuff Batman blog posts in trumpeting The Dark Knight Rises (DKR). Today, Herrington is back to respond to Akers' tome:

Herrington: Fine, Greg, you win. Your post exhausted me almost as much as the opening-hour set-up stuff in Batman Begins, which, by the way, our Flyer film colleague Addison Engelking would like to point out is his favorite of the Nolan/Batman trilogy, along with asserting that he is not, in fact, “no one.” Chiming in via e-mail, Addison offers this:

For the record, I think BATMAN BEGINS is the best movie of the trilogy because it goes the furthest in answering the most interesting questions about the Batman story worth answering:

1. Why would you become a crime fighter? 

2. Where would you go to train for this, who would train you how to do this, and how would you go about fighting so many people at once? 

Still stand by my view that THE DARK KNIGHT is the weakest of the trilogy, but it makes more sense as the middle of one long 9-hour film. 

I guess I don't care quite as much about the answers to those questions as you guys or have as much interest in pondering the Batman universe. Your thoroughness in all things Batman has worn me down, Greg, and I no longer have it in me to argue over the Big Themes and plot points. You make a pretty strong case for the thematic/political/sociological aspects of DKR, but I still think it flirts with ideas and imagery of income inequality more than really dealing with it. We'll agree to disagree.

But there are some other aspects of your opus that I want to respond to, and some other side issues I want to toss out.

Nolan clearly wants to play in the Heat sandbox, but it comes at the expense of the comic book characters. Was Batman actually in DK? I can't remember. He's virtually a non-factor. I acknowledge that you probably don't see that as a negative, but since they got everyone all dressed up for a Batman movie, I wish it was a little more Batman-y.

I've got a newsflash for you: Batman — meaning Bale when he's in that kinky black rubber suit, riding around in those overblown tank-like vehicles — is the least interesting thing about these Batman movies. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne is a different matter, but Batman himself is just not that compelling an on-screen figure. More Bale, more Bane, more Dent, more Joker, more women (please), and less Batman proper is a fine recipe as far as I'm concerned.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The "Movies" List: Super-Hero Villains

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

I've been doing a “Movies” list segment most weeks on The Chris Vernon Show for a few years now — a top five list of movies or movie-related items each week, usually based on what's big or at least new at the box-office each week.

With the show moving this month to a new station, with a better signal and presumably an expanded audience, it seems like a good time to hit reset on the segment — and to start logging them again here.

Wednesday afternoon, I did the first “Movies” segment for the new-look show — best super-hero movie villains, based on The Dark Knight Rises and Verno's own pro-Bane, anti-Joker outburst from earlier in the week. From here on out — if I can keep it up — I'm going to log the lists on Sing All Kinds each week after the segment has been broadcast. (And if you can't hear it live, "The Chris Vernon Show" is available both on the station's site and via an iTunes podcast.)

That's it, here's the list:

5. Dr. Octopus from Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The best villain in the overall Spider-Man franchise turned out to be the best villain of the four films made so far as well. Played by Alfred Molina, a fine and elastic actor who doesn't fit the typical villain archetype, Doc Oc was also the source of the one scene in the first three films in which director Sam Raimi truly indulged his chaotic, comic-horror style:

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Batman Back-and-Forth, Day 2: Assault and Batarangs

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Mano-a-mano
  • Mano-a-mano
In many ways, The Dark Knight Rises is the movie of the year, and here at Sing All Kinds we seem to have a disagreement on our hands. Chris Herrington thinks The Dark Knight is the best film in the trilogy. Greg Akers finds The Dark Knight Rises to be the superior film. This week we're hashing it out here. NOTE/WARNING: Spoilers will be flying like batarangs.

Yesterday, Chris Herrington made a “sprawling,” “commanding,” and “entertaining” case that The Dark Knight (DK) is the best in the bunch. Today is Akers' turn to make the case for The Dark Knight Rises (DKR).

Greg Akers: Chris, since you had the opportunity of primary source film reviews to support your case for each of DK and DKR and I didn't, I feel that first I should establish one thing: I love The Dark Knight. I think it's a great movie.

I also think DK is flawed; wounded in ways that DKR is not. I love Dark Knight Rises more, in spite of its own, lesser flaws. Hence, this discussion.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Batman Back-and-Forth: Picking the Best Dark Knight

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Batman_Blog_one.jpg

Last week, withThe Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan brought his Batman trilogy to a close.

Batman Begins was released in 2005, with Nolan setting a new bar for what can be done with a superhero film as he got elbow-deep in the meat of the Batman origin story. The operative word for Batman Begins is "fear."

The sequel The Dark Knight, hit the streets in 2008 to rapturous praise on the way to the then-second biggest box office grosses of all time. The Dark Knight explores much more fully the criminal underworld of Gotham, particularly menacing new figure the Joker (Heath Ledger). Likened to Michael Mann's epic crime saga Heat by this publication, The Dark Knight is much more than a superhero movie. If Batman Begins was a great comic book movie, The Dark Knight was simply a great movie: bigger and more complex, with greater performances than its predecessor. The operative word for The Dark Knight is "chaos."

The Dark Knight Risesread Herrington's review here — begins eight years after The Dark Knight. The operative word for The Dark Knight Rises is "pain."

In many ways, it's the movie of the year, and here at Sing All Kinds we seem to have a disagreement on our hands. Chris Herrington thinks The Dark Knight is the best film in the trilogy. Greg Akers finds The Dark Knight Rises to be the superior film. (Note: No one thinks Batman Begins is the best of the bunch.) And for the next couple of days we're going to hash it out here. In the interest of brevity (yeah, right), Batman Begins is henceforth BB, The Dark Knight is DK, and The Dark Knight Rises is DKR. (NOTE/WARNING: Spoilers are likely.)

We'll let Herrington start with why he prefers DK to DKR:

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Limes Tour West

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM


A new generation of Memphis musicians is teaming up with Limes mainstay Shawn Cripps to tour the West Coast and a little bit of the Southwest.

Cripps has been playing music in Memphis since he first arrived in 1990, though his brainchild band, Limes, has been playing in various incarnations since 2000. Inspired by a song he wrote called, “We are the Limes” in ’99, Cripps assembled a crew of misfits for his vision of Limes.“[The song] had kind of an underdog feel to it,” Cripps says. “It went something like, ‘We pick up our guitar but we don't know how to play/You could laugh if you want/But some day we'll blow you away/We're not lemons/ Hey, hey, we are the limes.’”

Nick Ray (Viva L’American Death Ray, ’68 Comeback), Harlan T. Bobo, and Jack Oblivian were the original members. Since then a slew of local musicians have played with Limes including Quinn Powers (Burning Sands, Final Solutions), Alicja Trout (River City Tanlines, Lost Sounds) and Ross Johnson.

The new lineup is Cripps on guitar and vocals with Stephanie Richard (Secret People) on bass and Chris Owen (Tout Le Mon, Time) on drums. “I wanted this lineup to improvise and play with energy,” Cripps says.

Cripps also wanted the group to play more than just the old Limes songs. He says neither musician was very familiar with his older recordings except Richard knew some songs from Tarantula!, so he’d play a riff and then they’d elaborate. Since January, the band’s created 12 new loosely structured songs that they’ll be taking on the road. “Enough for a new record,” Cripps says.

He also says the dynamics will continue to shift from show to show, depending on the crowd and ideas that arise on tour. “Anyone who’s been to Limes shows or who’s played in the bands knows that we never play the songs the same twice. You know, it changes but you never really know when.”

The idea for the tour almost fell through after someone ran their car into Cripps’ 18-wheeler truck while he was driving on I-71 through Cincinnati, but, he says, “We decided to go ahead and keep the tour but think of it more as a vacation.”

The tour begins in Seattle on July 19th and ends in Memphis at the Hi-Tone on July 29th.

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