Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Memphis" is Most Meritorious Magazine

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Congratulations, Memphis magazine

We'd like to offer congratulations to our sister publication, Memphis magazine, for being voted "Most Meritorious Magazine" in the 2007 "Memphis Most" readers poll conducted by The Commercial Appeal.

The magazine was founded in 1976, and the CA says those hardworking folks on the other side of our building are "still the chronicler of the Bluff City, its people, places, and history."

Editor Mary Helen Tibbs told the daily that the readers themselves can take much of the credit for the publication’s success -- and its award: "It means a lot for us to know that our readers are being both informed and entertained by the work we do."

Check out what goes into a "Most Meritorious" magazine.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Beale Street Gets Blues Ball

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Pat Kerr Tigrett, designer, party-maven, and creator of Memphis' annual Blues Ball, announced this week that this year's big party will be held on Beale Street.

The event, which brings hundreds of Memphis music fans together each year, will be held at the Westin Hotel, the Gibson Guitar Factory, and on George W. Lee Street, on September 29.

Wanna get your Blues Ball on, street party style? Check out the BB website for event and ticket information.

Tennessee Task Force to help Texas with Hurricane Dean

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A city of Memphis-sponsored rescue team known as Tennessee Task Force One (TNTF-1) departed Monday morning for Texas in anticipation of Hurricane Dean making landfall there.

The 80-person team, made up mostly of firefighters from Memphis and the surrounding Shelby County municipalities, is trained and equipped to perform search and rescue tasks. The team also includes medical and technical personnel, in addition to search dog handlers.

"We'll assemble in Dallas and we'll be there until the hurricane goes through, and either we're needed down there, or there's no damage and we're sent home,� says John Selberg, assistant fire chief Germantown Fire Department and TNTF task force leader.

Hurricane Dean, now classified as a category-4 storm, could reach the Texas-Mexico border near Brownsville Tuesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) finances TNTF-1 and other local disaster task forces nation-wide. TNTF-1 and other local disaster task forces are typically called in anticipation of potentially disastrous events. This will be the local group's 11th hurricane. They were also called to assist in the Pentagon search and rescue following the September 11, 2001 attacks there.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Northwest Airlines Seeks Midwest Air Deal

Posted By on Sun, Aug 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

AirTran has been trying to acquire Midwest Airlines for two years now in a hostile takeover bid.

But it looks like Northwest Airlines has swooped in, instead.

Less than an hour after AirTran abandoned its bid for Midwest, TPG Capital, an investment group that includes Northwest, bought Midwest for $400 million.

Northwest, which has a hub in Memphis, has said it will not be an active manager of the airline. No word on whether this will mean more flights to and from hotspots such as Kansas City, but maybe -- just maybe -- Midwest will share its signature Chocolate Chip cookie recipe with Northwest. For more, read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shawn Klush Crowned King of Elvis Tribute Artists

Posted By on Sat, Aug 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

AP -- Managers of Elvis Presley's Graceland anointed their first "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist" Friday night, ending a worldwide search for a Presley pretender to wear their official crown.

The new make-believe King is Shawn Klush, a 38-year-old Elvis impersonator from Pittston, Pa.

"It's unbelievable," he said of the victory. "It's an overwhelming experience, and it couldn't be in a better place."

Klush was chosen at a concert hall in downtown Memphis in the championship round of a series of tribute contest held around the world.

He won $5,000, a $5,000 shopping trip to Graceland's souvenir shops, $3,000 toward a new Elvis jumpsuit and other prizes. The biggest prize, though, was the "Ultimate Elvis" title, a first in the world of Elvis impersonators.

Klush, who wore a white bespangled jumpsuit and sang "My Way," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "You Gave Me A Mountain," praised the other contestants and the Elvis fans who filled the 2,000 seat hall at the Cook Convention Center beside the Mississippi River.

"The fans are amazing. The longevity they have is incredible," he said.

Presley died at Graceland, his former Memphis residence, on Aug. 16, 1977, and the finals of the tribute artist contest were part of a weeklong string of concerts, dances and memorials focused on the 30th anniversary of his death.

The contest is a big change for Graceland managers who have had little to do with Elvis impersonators over the years, generally regarding them with a mixture of resigned bemusement and outright disgust.

That attitude changed this year, and a series of preliminary contest, begun in March, were held around the country and abroad to send 24 finalists to Memphis. A qualifying round in Memphis on Sunday cut the list of finalists to 10.

Only a first-place winner was chosen, but Klush and two other contestants, Trent Carlini, 37, of Henderson, Nev., and Donny Edwards, 32, of Las Vegas, were called back by the judges to perform a third song each, while the others were limited to two.

The contestants were backed by a nine-piece band and performed before a huge display of red blinking lights spelling out ELVIS, similar to the backdrop for Presley's 1968 TV concert called the "Comeback Special."

Fan Carol Daley, 57, of Ontario, Canada, said she was happy Graceland was finally embracing Elvis tribute artists.

"These guys are fantastic," said Daley, who attended the finals with four female friends from Canada, all decked out in matching Elvis T-shirts. "Everything about them is so good. You're talking about the looks, the sound, the moves. It's the whole package."

Elvis Presley Enterprises, which runs the $40-million-a-year worldwide business in all things Elvis, opened Presley's Graceland to public tours in 1982 and the famous white-columned house now draws almost 600,000 visitors a year.

-- Woody Baird

Guy Sebastian: Memphis Diary, Week Three

Posted By on Sat, Aug 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

It's the weekend, kids, which means it's time for another edition of -- drumroll, please -- Guy Sebastian's Memphis Diary! The boy does get around:

"This trip is going so fast. Diary No.3 means I've been here for nearly three weeks already, wow!

I've left the tinsel and dazzle of LA LA Land behind me now after a couple of amazing weeks of songwriting and have landed in Memphis to start recording the album.

I love Memphis but right now I'm trying to decide if I have picked the absolute worst or absolute best time to be here. As I write this the people next door to my hotel room are having the world's biggest Elvis party. I mean, I really like Elvis but if I hear "Jailhouse Rock" one more time I'm gonna pull out all of my once afroed hair.

I've seen more sideburns and rhinestones in the past two days than you could possibly imagine and, let me tell you, in Memphis the white jumpsuit is definitely alive and kickin'. It does make me think, though, what a huge legacy Elvis left and that 30 years on people are still flocking here to see him -- he truly is a legend.

I tried to get a peek at Graceland today but the crowds were too big so I opted to do a drive by Sun Studios instead -- the next best thing!

Tonight, I also met Steve Cropper. Steve is producing and playing on the Memphis record that I am over here doing. We had dinner at this amazing Brazilian steak house. It was all-you-can-eat and we both took that literally ...

Read more from Guy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

National Honors for Le Bonheur Magazine

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Le Bonheur Magazine is the winner of a 2007 Clarion Award from the Association of Women in Communications. The magazine, produced three times a year by CMI Custom Publishing -- full disclosure: the publishing arm of The Memphis Flyer's parent company -- was selected as the "Best Overall Internal Magazine" in the national competition.

According to magazine editor Kini Kedigh Plumlee, the Clarion Awards drew more than 650 entrants from across the United States. Awards were presented in a wide range of categories, including advertising and marketing, newspapers, online media, photography, public relations, radio, and television.

Other winning publications include Newsweek, Redbook, Self, and the Harvard Medical School Alumni Bulletin. Here's complete list of the 2007 winners.

Plumlee and art director Amy Mathews (also associate art director of the Flyer) will attend the Clarion Awards ceremony in Orlando, Florida, October 4-6.

Birmingham Looks to Promote "American Idol" Stars With a Beale Street Touch

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Beale Street has B.B. King's Blues Club and E P Delta. Now, with help from Beale Street developer John Elkington's Performa Entertainment, Birmingham's planned entertainment district wants to cash in on that city's American Idol star power.

Earlier this week, city officials announced that Birmingham native and AI winner Ruben Studdard will open a club in the district tentatively called Ruben's 205. In addition, Performa is working with AI winner Taylor Hicks to lend his name to a venue as well.

Check out the story in the Birmingham News.

Last "Dead Elvis Ball" Ever on Saturday

Posted on Fri, Aug 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

One of Memphis' longest, and strangest, "death week" traditions is about to go for a final ride in that long black limousine. With great sadness we announce that the P&H Cafe will host its very last Dead Elvis Ball on Saturday August 18th.

For 28 years, the DEB (like the P&H itself) has been a safe haven for cynics and sourpusses who are more inclined to mock Elvis Week festivities than to celebrate the King’s unparalleled career or to mourn his untimely demise. Except for the handful of intentionally bad Elvis impersonators hanging around the bar, it's difficult to distinguish the DEB from any other raucous night at the P&H. The beer is cold, the service is friendly, and the Rhythm Hounds, a band whose repertoire leans more in the direction of Van Morrison than Elvis Presley, will keep the music playing until the wee small hours.

Festivities begin at 9 p.m.

Guy Sebastian Made it to Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian has found his way to Memphis at last and is recording at Ardent Studios.

A couple weeks ago, the Flyer innocently linked to Guy's Memphis Diary. Little did we know we would stir up a bunch of folks from the land down under. They loved it. They thanked us. They blogged about cool we were.

We totally rule Australia, mates! Now there's new news about our pal, Guy. He's in the Ardent Studio, recording with legendary Stax musicians. Stay tuned for more diary action Sunday.

And Guy, give us a ring. We'll do lunch.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Locally Published Teen Magazine Gets Dissed

Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A recent "Magazine Rack" column from MediaPost takes aim at Justine, calling the locally produced teen magazine "bland," "by-the-numbers," and "crap."

"In Justine's world, things like sex and alcohol and acne and smothering peer pressure don't exist. It's a magazine for shut-ins, fantasists, and reality deniers," says MediaPost’s Larry Dobrow.

"Justine confines itself to a pretty little fantasy world, and not a particularly interesting one at that."

Ouch. There goes Justine's crush on MediaPost.

Read the rest here.

MLGW Cites Record Usage This Week

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW) customers have set electricity usage records in each of the past two days.

Interim MLGW boss Jerry Collins says that despite the record temperatures, and record megawatts expended to fight them, the system is functioning properly, and customers have experienced few outages.

Collins adds that the utility company solved the problem of potential high-use outages in advance by repairing traditional problem areas last September.

The utility still recommends a variety of conservation methods to keep utility bills manageable, including setting thermostats at 78 degrees, and closing window shades on the sunny side of the house.

Visit MLGW's website for more info.

Ray Price: Overlooked Titan of the "Last of the Breed" Tour

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Flyer writer Chris Davis takes a look at the life and times of iconic country singer Ray Price in this week's issue.

Price is appearing with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in the "Last of the Breed" concert at Mud Island Saturday night.

India Fest This Weekend

Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2007 at 4:00 AM

You may or may not find inner peace at this weekend's India Fest, but you'll certainly find a tasty bowl of dhal soup. And you'll surely experience an array of traditional Indian culture, such as native music, dance, and art.

The fest begins Saturday with a free bazaar at Agricenter International, featuring all things India with sales of native clothing, jewelry, crafts, and other accessories. Vendors also will be peddling food from the various regions of India.

"There will be booths representing 10 different states, and people can taste the cuisine from each. Regionally, there's quite a difference in the way food is prepared in terms of spices," says Neeraj Gupta, president of the India Association of Memphis.

When the belly is full, be sure to work off those calories with free yoga and Indian dance lessons.

On Sunday, the party will move to the Michael Rose Theater at the University of Memphis. Musicians, dancers, and specialists in "hand shadowgraphy" will take the stage for "Yaadein: An Evening of Entertainment To Celebrate Six Decades of Independence."

"India is so unique, and it has so much to offer," Gupta says. "We want to make the broader community aware of the arts of India."

India Fest Bazaar, Agricenter International, 7777 Walnut Grove, Saturday, August 18th, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free.

"Yaadein," Michael Rose Theater, University of Memphis, Sunday, August 19th, 4-8 p.m. $10 (advance), $15 Day of show.

--by Bianca Phillips

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Suitor for The Pyramid?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2007 at 4:00 AM

With the Bass Pro deal for The Pyramid still not closed, a substantial alternative buyer may be closer than anyone knew to acquiring the facility (and relieving Memphis and Shelby County of $10 million in indebtedness and responsibility for half a million in annual maintenance costs.)

To get the story, go to "Political Beat".

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