Saturday, March 31, 2007

Memphis' Goal: Beat Soddy-Daisy!

Posted By on Sat, Mar 31, 2007 at 4:00 AM

In its second annual ranking of business-friendly cities in Tennessee, the state’s Center for Policy Research placed Memphis at number 47 out of 50. (What, they don't think John Ford is business-friendly?)

If that weren’t troubling enough, some place called Soddy-Daisy ranks 16th. Check out the entire list.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hubbard Street Dance Company Comes to the Buckman

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2007 at 4:00 AM

“Hubbard Street can dance circles around nearly any company you might name. These dancers shine in everything from multiple pirouettes to the most slithery and explosive contemporary moves.”

That's how the Philadephia Inquirer describes Hubbard Street II Dance Chicago, whose members will slither onto the stage of the Buckman Performing Arts Center this Friday, March 30th, and Saturday March 31st, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28. For more information call 537-1483.

Inside the world of COGIC

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2007 at 4:00 AM

As tens of thousands converge on Memphis this weekend to pay tribute to Bishop G.E. Patterson, our sister publication, Memphis Business Quarterly, takes a deeper look at COGIC's impact on Memphis and its worldwide media empire.

Fred Thompson Could Ruin It for the Rest of Us

Posted on Fri, Mar 30, 2007 at 4:00 AM

If ever there were a reason for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson not to run for president, this could be it: If he runs, networks will probably not air reruns of Law & Order, on which Thompson played DA Arthur Branch, to avoid having to give Thompson's opponents equal air time, as mandated by the FCC.

In the past, networks have not aired programming featuring Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzennegger during their campaigns.

According to the Washington Post, there's still time to Tivo all the L&O you can before this possible drought: "But even if Thompson announces that he's getting in the race, the equal-time provisions -- and the blackout for the reruns -- would not immediately kick in. The law applies only to candidates whose names appear on official state ballots, a step that none of the candidates have yet taken."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Memphis Flyer and Memphis Magazine Win Green Eyeshade Awards

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Flyer staff writer Chris Davis and Memphis magazine senior editor Marilyn Sadler have won Green Eyeshade Awards for feature writing in a regional competition conducted by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Davis’ "Desolation Row" (February 2, 2006) and "Coast Towns” (September 7, 2006) examined, in words and photographs, the devastation along the Gulf Coast one year after Hurricane Katrina.

Sadler’s “The Poor Side of Town,” published in the September 2006 issue of Memphis, focused on the lives of people living in Zip Code 38126, one of the most impoverished areas in the nation.

The 57th Annual Green Eyeshade Awards honor the best work of journalists in 11 Southern states. The awards will be presented at the Green Eyeshade Awards Banquet in Nashville on May 5th.

Report Says Mid-South Isn’t the Best Place to Live

Posted on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Life is hard in Arkatennissippi, according to a new report from Morgan-Quitno Press, a company that produces state and city rankings.

In their 2007 Most Livable State report, Tennessee ranks 44th in the nation. Arkansas comes in at 49th. And poor Mississippi bottoms out the list at number 50.

To determine “livable states,” researchers looked at crime rates, infant mortality, marriage rates, income levels, bankruptcy filings, the prisoner incarceration rate, poverty rates, and even the number of sunny days per year and the amount of books in public libraries.

The most livable state is New Hampshire with Minnesota coming in at a close second.

How the Mighty Are Falling

Posted on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Demolitionists are putting on quite a show today outside the Flyer’s offices, razing a building known to most as the site of the recent Butler Street Bazaar. The building, which in former lives was also a post office annex and a warehouse for the Tennessee Brewery, is being torn down in advance of becoming, what else, a new town home/condo development.

The property was purchased and is being developed by Architectural CustomWorks. Past projects from CustomWorks include CityHouse condominiums, located just around the block from the now-defunct Butler Street Bazaar building, and homes at South Bluffs and Harbor Town.

Developer Berry Jones of Architectural CustomWorks spoke with Greg Akers of the Flyer’s Living Spaces condo and home guide this week (on the street now) about his plans for the Butler Street building. Jones said, “We intend to, unfortunately, demolish that building, although we hope to save some elements of the building to use in the new project. The plan is urban-style town home.”

The new development will be called Butler Park Station and will include retail and office space.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bobby Womack at the Cannon Center Sunday

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Bobby Womack says the recent death of Stax compatriot Luther Ingram is another reminder that he’s among the last of the great soul men still working. This Sunday at 7:30 he'll be working here in Memphis at the Cannon Center.

"Memphis did so much for me, so it's always like going back home when we have a show there," says Womack. "And I’m glad this one is in the spring. The last time I was there, it was snowing, it was cooold, and people were standing around the corner waiting in line to see me.”

The show this weekend features a rejuvenated setup following the death of Womack's longtime sound engineer, Rudy Taylor, who had several hits with the Gap Band, including "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" and "Party Train."

“We were doing a show with Al Green the night he passed," Womack says. "I came off the road and have been off for a long time since he passed. It didn’t feel right without Rudy. I think this is the second time out since then. He wouldn’t have wanted us to stop.”

Womack’s career actually springboarded in Memphis with the recording of his signature remake of "Fly Me To The Moon." Without prompting, he recalls, “Willie Mitchell played trumpet and his brother James played sax and we recorded it at Chips Moman’s American Studios.

Age has mellowed Womack. “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke anymore, and haven’t for seven years now. I used to hang all night with the chicks to the next day. All I’m about now is going to the stage.”

For more information and tickets to Sunday's show, go here.

— Tony Jones

Plea Agreement in Arson that Killed Two Memphis Firemen

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Anthony Paul Shaw of Memphis pled guilty to federal charges of starting a fire at a Family Dollar Store in 2003 that killed two Memphis firemen.

The U.S. Attorney's office announced the plea Wednesday. Shaw agreed to a sentence of 50 years in prison pending approval of the judge in the case, Samuel H. Mays.

The fire at the Family Dollar Store at 3732 North Watkins on June 15, 2003 took the lives of Lt. Trent Kirk and Pvt. Charles Zachary and injured Pvt. Tim Scott.

Every Step You Take, I'll Be Watching You

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Can’t get enough of your handsome mug? Or maybe you’d like crunch your ex-boyfriend’s face with every step you take. Either way, you can now have a face (yours or someone else's) emblazoned on your shoes.

Local footwear company Gametime Athletics is introducing the Face-Off sneaker, an athletic-style shoe with a personalized digital image printed on the side and sole of a shoe.

Gametime, started by Checliss "Big C" Rice as a jersey company in 2004, has designed footwear for numerous NBA teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies. Their M-Town shoe line, featuring a variety of colored athletic kicks, was introduced in April 2006.

Want to know more?

Tennessee Entertainment & Music Commission Launches New Incentive Program

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Tennessee will become more attractive to creators of visual and musical content under three new incentive programs launched Wednesday, according to the executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission Perry Gibson.

"These three incentive programs will place Tennessee squarely among the most production-friendly locations in the U.S.," said Gibson. "Building on Tennessee-based films like Walk the Line, Hustle & Flow and 21 Grams, we're showing that Tennessee is a prime location for filmmakers seeking artistic and economic success."

The Tennessee film and television incentive program will utilize a series of tax rebates, a headquarters incentive, and a grant program established by a $10 million fund sought by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen last year and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly in the Visual Content Act of 2006.

Under the legislation, Tennessee can support film and television projects in the following ways: The same rebates are available for Tennessee-based production companies with an in-state production budget of $200,000 per project.

Film production companies that establish a permanent headquarters facility in Tennessee and incur a minimum of $1 million in qualified expenses in the state may be eligible for a 15 percent refund of the company’s qualified expenses.

The Film, Entertainment and Music Commission is also establishing a competitive grant application system for Tennessee-based filmmakers. Filmmakers who reside in Tennessee can apply for a grant of up to $40,000 for the development and completion of qualified film or digital productions.

Applications for each of the incentive programs must be made to the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. The executive director of the Commission will evaluate applications, select projects for funding and then recommend them to the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development and the Commissioner of Revenue for approval.

Additional information on each of these incentive programs, along with applications and definitions is available on the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission Web site.

Oh, Sweet Jesus, What an Ass!

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Sometimes, here in MemphisFlyer.com-land, we get bored. We start feeling jaded. What, we wearily ask, could the world ever offer that would surprise us? You ever feel like that? Sure you do. Which is where serendipity — and this photo — come in.

Intrepid Flyer reporter and Pesky-Fly-about-town, Chris Davis, took the picture while pursuing his daily rounds. We'd love to write a thousand words about it, but in this case, it's probably better to allow the picture to do all the talking. Your job is to imagine just what on God's green earth would provoke a preacher to put this on his church's sign.

Truly, only in Memphis.

Oh, and on the other side? The Spanish version: "Domingo -- Jesus dijo, traerme aquel asno." Madre mia!

G.E. Patterson Lies in State

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A steady stream of mourners filed past the remains of Church of God in Christ (COGIC) presiding bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson today at Mason Temple, COGIC world headquarters.

Flags flew at half staff outside the historic church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final speech, and the entrances were draped in purple and black bunting.

Celebration music played over the church public address system inside. Two screens lowered from the ceiling played a slide show of Patterson's life. Patterson lay in a casket wearing his white vestments with red trim. His gold-rimmed spectacles rested upon his face.

Today's viewing began a four day home-going celebration that will culminate with a Saturday morning funeral. Former president Bill Clinton reportedly will attend. Patterson died of heart failure last week at the age of 67.

— Preston Lauterbach

'Memphis Soul' Finds a Home in Chicago

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones found a lot to like in the play "Memphis Soul: The Story of Stax Records":

"A warm, Memphis-style sun shone Sunday on the Black Ensemble Theater. And in the guise of Rufus Thomas, the lanky Rick Stone was 'Walking the Dog' and, when not perambulating a persnickety pooch, leading a chorus doing the 'Funky Chicken.'

"And Isaac Hayes was in the building. Or, at least, Dwayne Lonzo's decent facsimile thereof. 'Sing, Black Moses,' said a voice from the back. For a moment, this nascent spring seemed like a promised land.

Black Ensemble knows how to throw a seasonal party. But even by the exuberant standards of this joyous theater, 'Memphis Soul — The Story of Stax Records' is an uncommonly good time." Read the rest of Jones' review.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

City Council Wants New Voting System

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Attention, Diebold! Shelby County voters aren’t the only ones getting new voting machines this election season. The city of Memphis is currently taking proposals for a new City Council voting system.

The city wants a state-of-the-art system that will provide digital audio recordings of meetings, provide citizens access to the files on the city’s Web site, and provide each of the council members with a touch screen interface.

The system should also be able to count to 13, in order to collect and track council votes in real-time, including options for “yes,” “no,” “abstain,” and “ranting."

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