Wednesday, October 31, 2007

National Family Literacy Day at Civil Rights Museum Sunday

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The Memphis Literacy Council, along with Mid South Reads, and Shelby County's "Books from Birth"program is presenting a National Family Literacy Day celebration, Sunday, November 4th from 2 -4 p.m., at the National Civil Rights Museum. The event is a city-wide initiative to promote literacy activities in the family.

Participating organizations include Memphis City Schools, Shelby County Schools, Memphis Public Library, Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, Bridges, The Urban Child Institute, and Seedco. These organizations, along with First Book Mid South, Children's Museum of Memphis, The Memphis Grizzlies, and the United Way's "Success by 6" program have joined the national family literacy movement in encouraging parents to read with their children from the earliest ages.

The event draws together Memphis and Shelby County's leading literacy organizations and agencies in a collaborative to highlight the need for lifelong learning.

"National Family Literacy Day brings us all together, around the issue of parents' and care-givers' fundamental role in their children’s success", according to Wilson McCloy of the Memphis Literacy Council. The celebration will feature live music, appearances by Mayor A.C. Wharton, Mr. Chuck, and a variety of children's book characters. Free books will be provided by Davis-Kidd Booksellers, along with prizes from the Memphis Area Teacher's Credit Union and the Memphis Grizzlies.

For additional information, contact the Memphis Literacy Council at (901) 327-6000, Mid South Reads at (901) 678-2001, or Shelby County Books from Birth at (901) 820-4501.

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"Memphis is Also America"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The Nation posted an article online today from its April 22, 1968 issue. The essay, by Pat Watters, takes a hard look at Memphis -- its white leadership, its newspapers, its racism -- in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination earlier that month.

It's quite illuminating. An excerpt: His movement, his life were Southern; but Memphis, where he died, symbolized more than the South. Its racial crisis of 1968 and its murderous failure were those of all America.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went there during the fifth week of a garbage workers' strike that had built into a civil rights movement and a dangerous crisis. The Memphis Negro community had not developed much of a civil rights movement during the early 1960s. So the movement that did come in 1968 capsuled into a few swift weeks the decade's history of white America's failure to respond to the nonviolence of Dr. King, and black America's recoil into despair and a violence of desperation ... Read it all at The Nation's website.

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Law Enforcement Consolidation Group Discusses Deadline

Posted on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 4:00 AM

"I'm concerned about the time we have left to make a decision,� said Memphis Shelby Crime Commission director Mike Heidingsfield at a meeting of the Shelby County Commission’s Law Enforcement Consolidation Task Force Wednesday afternoon.

The committee has until December 15th to make a recommendation as to whether or not city and county police forces should consider consolidation. But Heidingsfield and other committee members expressed concern that the group, which has been meeting since August, has yet to determine whether they're considering full consolidation (a complete merger of both police forces) or functional consolidation (a merger of individual units like a metro DUI squad or metro SWAT team).

"If we're going to continue to talk and talk and talk, we need to decide what we're talking about," said Memphis Police director Larry Godwin.

"Meeting a December deadline would be very problematic for this body," added deputy county attorney Danny Presley.

So far, the committee has heard presentations from consolidated departments across the country (like Las Vegas and Louisville, Kentucky), briefly looked at a cost analysis for full consolidation, and talked with representatives from the Memphis Police Association and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies' Association.

But Heidingfield says the group has yet to consider the additional cost of adding the 600 Memphis Police officers requested by the mayor earlier this year. And they haven't spent much time on discussing whether a sheriff or appointed director should run a new consolidated force. Nor has the group spoken with representatives from neighboring towns, like Arlington and Lakeland.

"We haven't even discussed a rationale for changing from the status quo," said Heidingsfield.

Task force chair and county commissioner Mike Carpenter reminded the group that they should only be thinking about making a general recommendation as to whether the forces should or should not consolidate. That recommendation will be studied in greater detail by a new committee formed after the December deadline.

Said Carpenter: "After December 12th [the date of the last meeting], if we need more time, we can go back to the council and ask for more time."

--Bianca Phillips

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An American Apparel Halloween?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Halloween is coming right up, and American Apparel on South Main, has some suggestions.

Using inspirations from pop culture, American Apparel suggests generic versions of Edie Sedgwick, Michael Jackson, the cast of Three's Company, and our very favorite, a look described as "Hollywood Blvd. Streetwalker."

Of course, not all of us look as good as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but American Apparel’s version is a lot less skanky than 90 percent of what you see adult women wearing on Halloween.

You can check out their suggestions here.

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Controversial Goodwyn Street Closing Proposal Nears Hearing

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A controversial proposal to close Goodwyn Street at Southern Avenue (near the Memphis Country Club) to through traffic gets a hearing at City Council next Tuesday, November 8th.

Residents of the area are sharply divided over the issue, with proponents claiming the move will stop excessive speeding on Goodwyn and reduce crime.

Opponents of the closing say the measure is all about race and class and that the closure is to keep residents of the poorer neighborhood south of Southern from being able to enter the exclusive Chickasaw Gardens area.

Last May, a highly publicized rape occurred on Goodwyn. Since then, some residents have been pushing for more crime control, including closing Goodwyn at Southern.

But Gwen Lausterer, who lives in condos at Southern and Goodwyn, questions how the proposal will affect traffic on Haynes, Greer, and other side streets that run between Central and Southern, especially those that don't have a traffic light (as Goodwyn does) to control traffic.

Activists on both sides of the issue are gearing up to attend a hearing set for next Tuesday, November 8th at 10 a.m.

For more information about the street closing and the hearing, contact city planner, Carlos McCloud, at 576-6619 or carlos.mccloud@memphistn.gov.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Knock On Wood! It's Eddie Floyd at Stax Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Tonight marks October's version of "Last Mondays in Studio A" at the Stax Museum. Performing from 7-9 p.m. will be Stax legend Eddie Floyd and the Bo-Keys. 

There will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks -- and a cash bar. $20 General Admission; $5 Stax Museum Members.

Doors open at 7 to the general public and at 6:45 for members. Seating is limited.

For more information, see the Stax website.

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We're Number 1!!!! Memphis Named "America's Most Sedentary City"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Forbes Magazine set out to find America's Most Sedentary City, and guess what? It's US! Good ol' Memphis, Tennessee.

Memphis' perfect combination of high obesity, high television-watching rate, urban sprawl, poverty, and relative lack of parkland, landed us the top spot.

It sounds sort of silly, but the article is quite serious, well-researched, and well worth a read.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crikey! Timberlake Gives $100K to Aussie Zoo Owned by Steve Irwin Family

Posted By on Sun, Oct 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Millington-bred heartthrob Justin Timberlake has started his Australian tour with a donation to Australia Zoo.

According to Australia's SkyNews.com, Timberlake stopped during his performance to hand a check for $100,000 to Australia Zoo director Wes Mannion.

Timberlake said he was impressed with Australia's love of its native animals. He then invited the crowd to join him in a tequila toast with his band members to celebrate crazy, sun-kissed, beautiful Australian women.

Okay. That's weird, but at least he likes animals.

Australia Zoo is owned by the family of the late Steve Irwin family. Timberlake will perform again in Brisbane tomorrow before heading to Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Elvis vs. The Beatles -- The Rematch, Now With Bad Wigs

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

In real life, Elvis Presley was supposedly jealous of the Beatles. Now, 30 years after the death of the King of Rock-and-Roll, the owner of the top Elvis souvenir shop in Britain is trying to boot his next-door neighbor, who just happens to run a shop devoted to the Beatles.

Sid Shaw, owner of Elvisly Yours in London, has obtained an eviction notice against Howard Cohen (who, it must be said, in his newspaper photos looks more like Elvis than Sid). It's certainly been "A Hard Day's Night" for both of these mop-topped gentlemen.

Read more about it at the Daily Mail website.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elvis Collection Lost in California Fire

Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From the New York Daily News: Lilly Lawrence's extensive Elvis memorabilia collection -- which included a Ford Fairlane and several of his movie scripts -- was lost to the fires in Southern California. She did manage to save his Army uniform.

According to the story, Lawrence is the daughter of the former oil minister of Iran and is a "politically active philanthropist." Her 10,500-square-foot home in Malibu was destroyed by the fires sweeping through Southern California.

Many of the Elvis items were bought from Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley at a sale at Graceland several years ago.

Despite the loss, Lawrence is circumspect. "My possessions do not possess me," she told the Daily News. "I'm more concerned about the boys in Iraq than my possessions."

Read the story here.

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"Southern Comforts" and Eudora Welty to be Served at Davis-Kidd

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Hungry for a little down-home flavor? Check out "Southern Comforts at Bronte," the restaurant at Davis-Kidd Booksellers his Saturday, October 27th, at 3 p.m.

The event will include Southern fare "fried green tomatoes, chicken salad, pecan pie" and a performance of Eudora Welty's classic, "Why I Live at the P.O.", featuring Alice Berry and Jenny Odle Madden of the group Voices of the South.

"Alice and I have been performing together since 1995," says Madden. [Welty's] story was one of the first we put together [as a play]. We took it to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival in 1996 and have been presenting it in schools and retirement centers over the years."

Last spring Madden contacted Davis-Kidd for help with the Memphis Children's Theater Festival, and the relationship bloomed. "This story was a natural," Madden says. She and Berry are hoping to produce another Lunch and Literature show in the spring.

Tickets for the event are $10 and are available at Davis-Kidd. For more info, call 683-2032.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gandhi/King Peace Conference in Memphis This Week

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2007 at 4:00 AM

This weekend, October 26-27, Christian Brothers University will be hosting the 2007 Gandhi-King Conference on Peacemaking.

Based on the theme, "Building the Beloved Community," the conference will explore nonviolent means to achieve lasting peace within ourselves, our communities, and our world.

Attendees from over 25 states and 12 countries and 300 mid-south high school students are expected. Naomi Tutu, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Barry Gan, Father Simon Harak, and Rosa Clemente have been confirmed as speakers. There will be a Friday evening reception and performance event in downtown Memphis.

To register and get more info, visit the conference's website or call 901.725.4990.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

WKNO To Host Oral History Workshop

Posted on Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Inspired by Ken Burns' documentary The War, WKNO, along with the Memphis Public Library & Information Center and the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, is presenting an oral history workshop on November 10th.

Representatives from True Story Pictures and The University of Memphis Department of History will help participants learn about telling their family's stories. While The War focused on World War II soldiers, this workshop is open to veterans and non-veterans alike.

The workshop is free and is being held on Saturday, November 10th at 10 a.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 458-2521.

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Buy David Gest's Stuff

Posted on Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 4:00 AM

According to a story in The Independent David Gest will be auctioning off his large collection of memorabilia through an British auction house on December 5th. Among the items up for bid are the gold disc for the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," sheet music signed by the Four Tops, and a pair of Beatles' sneakers.

Gest says he began collecting as a teenager after he attended a memorabilia show with Michael Jackson. His collection is so large that he added a third story to his Memphis home.

Gest tells the reporter that his decision to sell part of his collection stems from his stint on the British reality show, I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.. "All of a sudden, this life of collecting things seemed... I started to ask, 'Can you live without all that?' And I realised that if I could live in the jungle with so little food and still have a happy life, then everything I thought was important just wasn't."

To read the story, go here.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Columbus' Ship to Dock in Memphis

Posted on Sat, Oct 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Okay, okay, so we know Columbus is, like, dead or whatever. And his ship Nina is probably long gone. But a replica of the famed vessel is set to visit Memphis from November 2nd through the 12th.

The faux Nina, which was used in the film 1492 starring Gerard Depardieu, was built completely by hand without the use of power tools in 1988. Archaeology Magazine called it the "most historically correct Columbus replica ever built."

The ship's been touring the country since 1992 as a sailing museum. While in Memphis, the Nina will be open to the general public for self-guided tour every day of the week.

For more information, go here.

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