Friday, March 31, 2006

“Murderer’s Bathtub” Fetches $7,600 on eBay

Posted on Fri, Mar 31, 2006 at 4:00 AM

A year’s delay while eBay pondered whether selling the old flophouse bathtub where James Earl Ray stood when he shot Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cost Memphis judge D’Army Bailey almost $145,000. In 2004, Bailey – one of the founders of the National Civil Rights Museum — put the battered tub up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Memphis. Bidding reached $152,000 before eBay stopped the auction, while it pondered its policy about selling “offensive” items on the online auction. Ebay finally decided the tub was a “historical artifact,” though too late to sell it to the original bidders. Last week, Bailey listed the tub again, and this time the final bid was only $7,600. The winner was an online auction called the Golden Palace Casino, which has purchased other unusual “historical” items, such as a group of four toilets supposedly used by Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia. It’s not clear how the casino plans to make use of its latest purchase, but Bailey has told reporters he is confident the new owners will treat the tub “with sensitivity for its historic significance.” We’re not sure how they treated Jerry’s toilets. For more information, go here.

Rickey Peete Raises $75,000

Posted on Fri, Mar 31, 2006 at 4:00 AM

City Councilman Rickey Peete raised upwards of $75,000 at a fund-raiser on Beale Street this week but says he isn’t planning on running for anything besides City Council. Peete, head of the Beale Street Merchants Association, welcomed hundreds of supporters to a $250-per-person party at Alfred’s. “You run like you’re scared,” said Peete, who represents one of the superdistricts which stretches from Frayser to the Mississipppi state line to Hickory Hill and includes 128 precincts. The election is in 2007 and at this early date Peete has no opponents. The district includes such hot growth areas as Uptown and South End as well as FedExForum and Beale Street.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring Fashion

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Want to see more of last week's cover story on fashion? Go here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

You Want Fries With That?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

It started nearly two decades ago with a “double drive-thru” in Mississippi, and was the first quick-service chains to introduce 100 percent black angus beef. Now, Memphis-based Back Yard Burgers boasts 173 restaurants in 20 states, and the company is looking for a new president/CEO. Founder Lattimore Michael, a former grocery store owner, will continue to serve as chairman, while Joseph Weiss, a major stockholder and franchisee, will serve as interim COO until a new leader is named. Get your application in early. Experience preferred. Read all about it here.

DJ Pris, y'all

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Priscilla Presley did more than hobnob with Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton when she visited Graceland Monday morning for the attraction’s official designation as a National Historic Landmark. She also yakked it up on Sirius Elvis Radio, thanking fans for attending the ceremony and remembering how the “68 Comeback” for NBC-TV was the first time she saw Elvis perform a live concert. Disguised just a little behind aviator shades, DJ Priscilla also played a few Elvis tunes: “If I Can Dream” and a rendition of “America.” For more photos of Priscilla looking sharp in the Elvis Radio studio, go here:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Southern Comfort

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM

From one of our spies, who woke up to find her East Memphis neighborhood covered up by the cast and crew of Southern Comfort, an in-progress TV pilot which has been called a Southern Sopranos: “Several large panel trucks were parked across the street. The one directly in front of my house said, ‘Paskal Lighting – Hollywood.’ A couple of hours later, four tractor trailers, golf carts, cherry pickers, vans, security cars, and a police detail on three motorcycles arrived. Television cable was run for what seemed like miles. Little campers parked on the street were each marked with a character’s name — ‘Demetria,’ ‘Tripp,’ etc.

“The actors’ waste cans were out on the sidewalk. One was overflowing with Winston cigarette wrappers and Diet Coke cans. I spotted Eric Roberts in a suit and tie standing with an actor who appeared to be his double. Madeleine Stow, in jeans and a baseball cap, was taller than I expected. Lots of Starbucks and smoking. The actors milled about in the street or on the driveway. One of the teen actors was having a blast driving a golf cart. I wondered if acting was boring….”

If the action picks up, we’ll let you know.

This, Unlike Pimping, Was Easy

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Ever since Three 6 Mafia’s March 5th Oscar win for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” there’s been a proliferation of writers using the phrase “It’s hard out here for a (fill in the blank).” You’ve got your New York Times’ March 12th headline ''It's Hard out Here for a Pope'' and BusinessWeek.com’s March 20th story “It’s Hard Out Here for a Lobbyist,” just to name two.

This got us wondering how many times the phrase has been used, so we Googled it, which led us to the discovery that many others have already beaten us to it. (It’s hard out here for a Pie-Butt????) Check it out at the Language Log Web site.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Man Who Made Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

“If you have ever mixed multiple patterns in a single room, painted one wall a daring color, purchased a teapot with a little bird that whistles when the water's hot or infused your house with inspiring objects from other cultures, there are experts who'll say it's due to the influence of Ettore Sottsass and his group.

"Sottsass is one of the greatest designers of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets of design of all time," says Paola Antonelli, curator of architecture and design at New York's Museum of Modern Art. "What he did was revolutionary, from the 1960s on. First, designing typewriters and mainframe computers for Olivetti, then doing the first decorative plastic laminates for Memphis, which are still in use today.”

Yes, she said “Memphis,” but what Antonelli is talking about is the famous Memphis Design Cooperative, an Italian group founded by Sottsass in the 1980s. Sottsass, now 88, is here in America for his first U.S. museum show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Read more about Sottsass and how he decided to call the most influential design movement of the late 20th century Memphis (it involves wine and a Bob Dylan song) here.

Hard Times Indeed

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

If you can manage to keep a career going in Hollywood for three decades, you're doing all right. And we're awfully proud of the beautiful, if difficult, Cybill Shepard, really we are. Why, Cybill was the queen of the ’80s, "Moonlighting" with up-and-comer Bruce Willis, and later starring in her own sitcom. And she absolutely thrilled us with her spot-on portrayal of domestic nightmare Martha Stewart. (Favorite line in the movie? "HEY SLUT! I'm writing your mother a letter and telling her you're a WHORE!"). But, good times they are a-fleeting. Cybill is still working, but we have to wonder if her agent is on the sauce, letting her take on a movie directed by, ahem, Mario Van Peebles, aptly-titled Hard Times. Insert your own joke here. More info on the sure-to-be-blockbuster:

Appearing Today on Fox, MSNBC, and CNN

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The national media crime watch shifts to Selmer, Tennessee, this afternoon when Mary Winkler has her first court appearance. The minister’s wife and mother of three small children is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of her husband, Matthew Winkler, the preacher Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer. Over the weekend Winkler hired well-known Mississippi defense attorney Steven Farese, who was interviewed Monday morning on CNN. The motive in the murder has not been revealed yet, although investigators say they know what it was. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

We're Here To Help

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Sunday’s Commercial Appeal ran the last column by Wendi C. Thomas, who is moving to Baltimore to work for The Baltimore Sun.

According to Thomas, she’s been crying so much as to wipe out the area Kleenex supply. While we suspect many much of that crying has been crocodile tears, we’ve found these sites, where she can buy tissue in bulk. Check them out here, here, and here.

And, given all the barbecue she’s reportedly been eating, we thought she could use some wet naps as well.

Friday, March 24, 2006

And Now for Something Completely Different

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Looking for an unusual night of theater? Book a seat for Saucy Jack and the Space Aliens, playing through April 2nd at the Circuit Playhouse.

Set in a galaxy consumed by eco-wars, a seedy nightclub on a distant planet offers refuge to the depraved and disco-deprived. But as murderous mayhem lurks, the crime-fighting Space Vixens shine a mirror-ball beacon of hope through the boogie nights. A futuristic, fun-filled musical tribute to the era of bubble-wrap and glitter boots, this campy post-millenium Rocky Horror Show will have divas of disco grooving with a ‘Saturday Night Fever’ until the ‘last dance.’

Circuit Playhouse, 1705 Poplar, 726-4656

Your Right to Buy Sex Toys

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2006 at 4:00 AM

You have none. At least you don’t if you live in Mississippi. On March 19th, the Mississippi state supreme court upheld a law banning the sale, advertising, or exhibiting of any three-dimensional device used primarily for the stimulation of human genitalia.

The decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the Memphis-owned Christal’s chain of adult stores on behalf of its Southaven store. The company claimed that store was forced to close in 2000 because of the state’s ban on the sale of certain “intimate devices.”

The court's decision upheld a 2003 ruling that contended that the state had an interest in “protecting public physical and mental health and supporting public morality.” Whatever. What it means for you Mississippians is simple: When dildos are outlawed, only outlaws will have dildos. Read more about it here.

Or you could go here, and learn to make your own sex toys. But that would be wrong, not to mention icky.

Spineless Bastards

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The big corporate boys at Johnson & Johnson claim local firm Medtronic ripped off some of their products, which we find, um, patently offensive. Medtronic announced today that it won the case in arbitration. Arbitration? Grow some, why don't you J & J! But our pals at Medtronic are putting the screws to J & J now, claiming the big guys ripped off one of Medtronic's catheter designs. Rather than piss and moan about it, they're taking J & J to court.Who knew the people parts biz was so scandalous? Full story here:

Thursday, March 23, 2006

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

There was much speculation in Europe last weekend that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were going to tie the knot at George Clooney's Italian villa. Not so, apparently. In fact, the latest rumors are that Brad was back in the states, watching his two favorite teams in the NCAA tournament.

No word yet on whether the reclusive Brad Mem will be attending tonight's Bradley-Memphis game.

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