Chris Herrington isn't a big fan of Three 6 Mafia's latest. Read his review.
"Minnesota Timberwolves fans went to bed wondering how O.J. Mayo would fit in with their guard-heavy team.
"Memphis Grizzlies backers hit the hay hoping that Kevin Love would open things up for Rudy Homosexual in the frontcourt.
"Both groups woke up Friday morning to a totally different reality, thanks to an eight-player blockbuster trade in the wee hours of the night that changed the faces of both teams ..."
Boy, you can say THAT again. Actually, the original AP story had Rudy Gay's name correct. What's reprinted above is the version edited by Christian news service, ONENEWSNOW. You see, the good folks at ONENEWS think "gay" is a bad word and so they have installed some sort of program that automatically replaces "gay" with "homosexual." Often with hilarious results. Read the rest here.
Trust us, you'll have a homosexual old time.
For all of its naughty words and bad intentions the retooled Producers musical is never all that shocking to anyone except perhaps the militantly prudish and gay activists who might be offended by how long Brooks tries to drag out the same "laugh-at-the-funny-homos" gag. And that's a bit of a problem. We should, at the very least, be joyously grossed out by these revolting creatures of pure avarice, just as we were by Mostel and Wilder's original takes on the repulsive Bialystock and his compulsive partner Bloom. But just like it's equally groundbreaking movie-to-musical cousins Hairspray and Monty Python's The Holy Grail, The Producers loses a more than it gains in its translation to the stage. Like The Holy Grail, in particular, it becomes a fetish object for fans who can't wait to stroke their programs while silently mouthing their favorite lines along with the cast. And at Playhouse on the Square's final preview there were more than a few people in the crowd vibrating in their seats, anticipating such famous quips as, "Blue Blanket!" and "I'm in pain, I'm wet, AND I'M STILL HYSTERICAL!"
Playhouse heavy-hitter Dave Landis seems like he should be able to settle fairly easily into the slippery shoes of the greedy, grossly libidinous Broadway producer Max Bialystock. That's not the case, however, as Landis, the exceptional director of Compleat Female Stage Beauty, plays the role too close to his vest allowing his equally gifted costar Michael Detroit to upstage him at every turn in the role of Bloom, a sputtering nebbish.
Ken Zimmerman, Playhouse on the Square's original artistic director, who put audiences in the aisles with his portrayal of a wicked, if pragmatic capitalist in last season's Urinetown, engages in some expert scenery-chewing as the flamboyantly homosexual (not to mention completely thick) Broadway director Roger De Bris. He obviously (and rightfully) derives a tremendous amount of pleasure knowing just how much his sparkling, silver dress makes him resemble the Chrysler building. David Foster, last seen as a mildly effective Johnny Depp wannabe in Pirates of Penzance is no less delightful as Carmin Ghia, Zimmerman's houseboy and partner in fabulousness. It's a true shame that Foster's only given one threadbare joke to stretch over the entire show, though he swishes through it with zany aplomb.
Bruce Bergner's scenic design, a mix of painted drops and practical furniture on wagons, is almost as flat and uninspired as Ben Wheeler's lights and Jay Berkow's bloodless choreography. To that end The Producers is the perfect opposite of Theatre Memphis' West Side Story where extraordinary design and tight dancing make up for an unevenness among actors and vocalists. In this case, bland design and washed out lighting leaves Landis, Detroit, and a talented cast of professionals looking like well-intentioned community theater performers.
Showgirls wearing giant pretzels, Volkswagens, weiners, and German Shepherds on their heads will always by funny. But once you get past the awesome headgear, Rebecca Powell's costumes for the "Springtime for Hitler" sequence are just plain boring. Brooks' design team took appropriately the look to extremes of sexual fetishism and anything short of that is going to be a letdown. As cute as dancing girls in too-short liederhozen may be, they just can't compete with the sadomasochist connotations of stormtroopers in tight leather hipboots.
To do justice to The Producers a director must push beyond the boundaries of good taste to see if Brooks' time-proven material can still make audiences squirm with guilty delight. It's an exercise in excess irreverence given a minimal, overly reverent treatment in its Memphis premiere.
by Chris Davis
So what? you ask. Here's what: Marco Jaric is engaged to Brazilian super-model Adriana Lima. Yep, the Victoria's Secret model, magazine cover girl extraordinaire will be sitting in the crowd watching her man, Marco. That ought spark attendance at FedExForum, though it might make the front row seats NSFW.
Chris Wallace, sign that man to a no-trade contract ASAP. Plus we like the sound of "Marco to Darko."
Mosley founded Citizens for Better Service, a MATA watchdog group, in 1993.
"At the time, MATA had a proposal to increase bus fares and decrease routes," he says. "A group of us riders thought it would be best to form a group to speak for the concerns of bus riders."
Though they speak out any time MATA proposed to increase fares or cut routes, Mosley says the group also deals with complaints against bus drivers. Though MATA has a complaint line, riders don't always feel they have been heard when they use it.
"MATA has some good bus drivers, but occasionally drivers won't even answer a simple question," Mosley says. "Once my group becomes aware of their complaints, we'll take their concerns directly to [Will] Hudson."
With higher gas prices MATA's next gas contract will charge them $4.52 a gallon versus the current $2.87 Mosley is worried that the transit company will once again try to raise fares or cut services. He would like to see them increase services instead.
"There are some areas of town where, if you miss one bus, you may have to wait another hour, an hour and a half for the next one. That's terrible," he says. "The more people see buses running in their neighborhoods, the more likely they are to get on one."
"If push comes to shove and they have to cut routes and increase fares, we want to make sure that it's fair and equitable," Mosley says.
To reach Citizens for Better Service, call Mosley at 789-6463. -- Mary Cashiola
After the show, you can hang around and gamble the night away. Or you can save your energy for the Eyewitness News Celebrity Putt-Putt Tournament at Golf & Games Family Fun Park Saturday morning. Join the ranks of local celebs and Redbirds and RiverKings team members as they play funny golf to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.
If that's not manly enough, there's always the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday. Because what's more manly than racing cars? Racing pickup trucks. So put on your cleanest wife-beater, find a hot daisy-dukes sportin' date, and head to Millington for this annual event.
If you'd rather not spend your evening surrounded by bubbas, check out Soul Funktion at the Full Moon Club. This electronic music event features DJ Offbeat, Saturna, Funke, and Misskai.
End the weekend with something a little more political, like the Roe v. Wade Panel Discussion at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Sunday at 3 p.m. Sponsored by the Memphis Freethought Alliance, the panel features representatives from Planned Parenthood and the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health.
For more events, check out the Flyer's searchable online calendar.
McRae had been placed on desk duty pending an investigation after the incident happened in February. James Swain, the officer who held Johnson down during the beating, was fired immediately.
A coalition was formed in response to the incident to prevent further police brutality against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. The group met Monday night to form an action plan, which included establishing a gay liaison in the police department and demanding sensitivity training for police.
For more, see Bianca Phillips' story from the Flyer.
"Unfortunately, the way the climate is now, we are losing all our local support," said Mike Glenn, manager of the New Daisy Theater.
He wasn't talking about the heat.
Glenn, along with other veteran operators such as Preston Lamm (Rum Boogie Cafe), Bud Chittom (Blues City Cafe), and Tommy Peters (B. B. King's), said the combination of a recession and security concerns have cut business 10-15 percent. Strong support from international visitors, who enjoy a favorable currency exchange rate, is helping to offset waning local support.
Several merchants met for lunch above B.B. King's with seven members of the city council. Lamm and Onzie Horne, head of the Beale Street Merchants Association, did most of the talking. John Elkington, head of Performa, the company that manages the Beale Street Entertainment District, was not there and apparently was not invited.
In an interview after the meeting, Lamm said he and other owners want the city of Memphis and Elkington to work out their differences without a lawsuit so that attention can shift to improving security and growing the business. A federal criminal investigation of a privately owned parking garage south of Beale has also produced publicity, as did the guilty plea on bribery charges of former Beale Street Merchants Association director Rickey Peete, who is serving a prison term.
"We're caught in the crossfire," said Lamm, operator of the Rum Boogie, King's Palace, and Pig On Beale.
After several lean years in the 1980s, Beale Street took off, thanks to a growing economy, a global marketing campaign centered on blues and barbecue, the construction of FedEx Forum and AutoZone Park, and the success of the University of Memphis Tigers men's basketball team. Now that success is in jeopardy.
Peters, whose investment in B. B. King's 17 years ago was a positive turning point for Beale Street, said business is "fragile" and is down significantly in the last four weeks.
The meeting was mainly a get-acquainted session for new council members and club operators. Lamm gave a brief history of the street's 25 years, noting that most clubs that opened in the first two years failed. Horne gave credit to Elkington for persistence in seeing Beale Street through tough times in the early years.
More recently, however, Elkington has been a focal point for criticisms on everything from minority representation to security and marketing. Elkington has indicated a willingness to restructure Performa's management agreement or even abandon it for a price, but a lawsuit with the city has made a swift resolution unlikely. Subpoenas have been issued to club owners, but Horne said they are too broad and complying with them would be "onerous." He told council members that owners "have nothing to hide."
Club owners and merchants want the city to either take a bigger part in security and maintenance or get Performa or someone else to make changes. They say they often have to clean up the street in front of their businesses themselves, and Chittom said they have to pay $46 an hour to police officers to supplement the regular force on Friday and Saturday nights.
Security has been a special concern since a private security guard was involved in a well-publicized physical confrontation with a patron last year.
We've been able to keep all the tough trade out and keep our noses clean, but sometimes under the weight of the world you ask if it is worth it," said Chittom.
Travis Cannon, owner of Wet Willie's, said he came to Beale Street in 2000 when business was booming. Lately, however, an increasing number of panhandlers and homeless people have driven away business.
"We need to make people feel safe," he said.
Horne, who has been involved on and off with Beale Street in various capacities since its opening in 1983, said Beale Street is the biggest tourist draw in the city.
I promise you, international tourists do not come to Memphis just to see the (Peabody) ducks," he said.
Beale Street, Horne said, draws some four million visitors a year, and they spend approximately $40 million, but that is low per-capita spending because "a large number of visitors are not spending money." Crowds of young people flock to the street around midnight on weekends and try to get inside the clubs or just wander around, several owners said. Clubs stay open until 5 a.m. and drinks can be sold and consumed on the street -- in both cases thanks to local legislative action.
"When they congregate in large numbers they intimidate our paying guests," said Horne. "We have a security problem that needs to be addressed."
Councilman Myron Lowery said he is not sure what if anything the council can do at this point, but he wondered why extra police have to be hired by the private sector to patrol a public street. Councilman Barbara Ware said she's concerned that Handy Park and the statue of W.C. Handy are overshadowed by Budweiser advertising.
Lamm said Beale Street needs a guiding force. He noted, for example, that there are separate websites for the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Performa, the Beale Street Merchants Association, and the city of Memphis that feature Beale Street. Branson, Missouri, in contrast, has a single site where visitors and tour groups can plan their visit and buy tickets.
Interviewed later on Wednesday, Elkington said Performa does not add any surcharge to the police billing rate, as Chittom said. He agreed that security is a problem, not only on Beale but all over downtown and other parts of Memphis. Peforma is trying both off-duty police officers and "greeters," or civilians (all female) who check IDs at barricades on Beale and Second Street on weekends.
He said Memphis is in a recession and Beale Street is feeling it.
"When Peabody Place says it is closing its retail, that is a serious commentary on the state of things," Elkington said.
The government's losing streak in local corruption cases has grown to two now, with a surprise announcement Tuesday afternoon from the U.S. Attorney's office that it is dropping its case against city councilman Edmund Ford and former MLGW head Joseph Lee. The two faced bribery and extortion charges relating to favors allegedly done Ford by Lee acting in his official capacity.
The case was based on the well-publicized fact of Ford's having amassed significant unpaid utility bills for his funeral home at a time when, as a councilman, he had oversight capacity over MLGW. Only last month, Ford was acquitted by a jury of bribery and extortion charges relating to the acceptance of cash from FBI informant Joe Cooper pertaining to a zoning case.
The statement from Lawrence J. Laurenzi, acting U.S. Attorney, reads as follow:
STATEMENT REGARDING DISMISSAL OF CASE AGAINST
EDMUND FORD AND JOSEPH LEE
MEMPHIS, TN-Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced today that the United States of America has made a motion to the District Court to dismiss the case of US v Edmund Ford and Joseph Lee. The Government has re-evaluated the case and stated to the Court that a dismissal is warranted in the Interest of Justice.
This was the government's motion for dismissal:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
vs. No. 08-20001-Ma
EDMUND H. FORD,
JOSEPH LEE, III, *
MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT
COMES NOW the United States of America through the undersigned attorneys to move thisHonorable Court to DISMISS the above-numbered indictment as to both defendants.
The Government has re-evaluated the case and states to the Court that a dismissal is warranted in the Interest of Justice.
The undersigned counsel for the Government advised counsel for the defendants (Michael E. Scholl, Esq. for Mr. Ford and Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., Esq. for Mr. Lee) of this motion, and they advised that they did not object to it.
Based on the foregoing, the Government asks the Court to grant this unopposed motion.
LAWRENCE J. LAURENZI
Acting United States Attorney
By: s/ Thomas A. Colthurst
Assistant U.S. Attorney
s/ Lawrence J. Laurenzi
Assistant U.S. Attorney
# 18324 - Tennessee # 009529 - Tennessee
167 N. Main Street, 8th Floor 167 N. Main Street, 8th Floor
Memphis, Tennessee 38103 Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 544-4231 (901) 544-4231
Case 2:08-cr-20001-SHM Document 29 Filed 06/24/2008 Page 2 of 3
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I, Thomas A. Colthurst, Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, hereby certify that copies of the foregoing MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT have been e-mailed or mailed, first class postage pre-paid, to the following counsel for the defendants:
Michael E. Scholl, Esq.
8 S. Third Street, Fourth Floor
Memphis, TN 38103
Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., Esq.\
One Commerce Square, Suite 2200
Memphis, TN 38103
David A. Howard, Esq.
44 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130
on June 24, 2008.
s/ Thomas A. Colthurst
Assistant U.S. Attorney
More details will be added as they become available.
Officials and townspeople -- proud, excited and sometimes downright stressed -- are working hard to make the Magnolia State shine in a global spotlight. They're finding homes for newspaper and TV folk, laying miles of cable, bringing Internet capabilities up to date, and figuring out where to park dozens of satellite trucks that will surely lumber into Oxford like Winnebagos on game day.
Marty Wiseman, executive director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, said the Ole Miss debate would capture a wide audience, particularly if Obama doesn't accept McCain's invitation to town hall meetings this summer. So far, Obama has not committed to the town hall format and Wiseman said Ole Miss officials should hope he doesn't.
Read the complete story at sunherald.com.
Over in Beijing this summer, a bunch of fit folks are going to dazzle an international audience with feats of muscular grace. One such event you'll be subjected to is the gymnastics "rings" competition, where athletes grasp a pair of circles suspended in the air and commence to swing themselves up, down, and around with the occasional awe-inspiring mid-flight holding pattern thrown in, where they make their bodies into a cross and stay in position for a few agonizing seconds.
Screw those guys.
In Memphis, "rings" means one thing: onion rings. It's deep-fried athletics at its best. Nobody, not even Wikipedia, knows who invented onion rings. But it takes a city like Memphis to make the eating of them worthy of Olympics competition.
Unlike with the International Olympic Committee, in Memphis rings, there's no governing body and no standardized set of rules and regulations. Everybody offers their own twist on the spherical sport, with variations coming from size and type of onion used and batter and seasoning distinctions.
Rings athletes must always exercise judgment when choosing their venue. Among the best rings in the region are those found at Belmont Grill, Bigfoot Lodge, Huey's, and Velvet Cream and they're all different from each other.
The rings at Belmont Grill taste like Zeus handed them down from Mount Olympus. Eating them requires an uncanny mind that can overcome circular logic and a well-developed hand-eye coordination that will help you stick the landing.
Bigfoot Lodge's rings have a touch of local flavor: They're served with a side of barbecue sauce. Acrobatic dipping will score you extra artistic points from jealous sidewalk judges.
If you think bigger is better, Huey's is your game. Theirs are rich brown behemoths that put the "Oh!" in onion rings. And if you order the Grand Daddy Huey Burger, you're going to get served two hamburger patties topped with a ring.
The world traveler should hot-foot on down to Hernando, Mississippi, to Velvet Cream called "The Dip" by seasoned veterans and flex your muscles with their rings. Make it a biathlon and enjoy one of their famous shakes, freezes, or slushes.
Though the Olympic rings event is for males only, in Memphis, the competition is gender neutral. It doesn't matter if you're representing Team XX or XY. Anybody can give rings a sporting chance.
Many rings competitors are actually two-sport athletes. At Corky's BBQ, you can get the "Onion Loaf" a tower of onion rings which merges a pair of Olympic events: rings and the pole vault. It's strictly for the serious competitors who don't consider rings a mere game.
Never forget, though, that rings is no spectator sport. It's all about your teammates: Though there's an "I" in rings, that doesn't mean you shouldn't share!
Parallel Bars: The competition is stiff along one block of Madison Avenue.
Arm muscles rippling, backs straight as arrows, legs braced securely, eyes straight ahead, concentration focused. It's poetry in motion, and the awed spectators wonder just how long the participants can continue until they slip and tumble to the ground.
Oh sure, the parallel bars competition at the Olympic events is fairly interesting, but what's that got to do with this? Here, we're talking about the drinkers perched on the stools, lifting frosty mugs of Budweiser to their lips at a pair of "parallel bars" in Memphis: two Midtown landmarks named Old Zinnie's and Zinnie's East.
From the outside, Old Zinnie's is a curiosity a turreted building constructed in 1905 at the corner of Madison and Belvedere that over the years has housed a drugstore, a beauty parlor, and even a bicycle shop.
"We opened Zinnie's in 1973 or 1974, right after Huey's opened," says Perry Hall, current owner of Zinnie's East. "The original owner was a guy named Gerry Wynns. Everyone called him Winnie, but he didn't like that name for a bar, so they named it Zinnie's."
Precisely 109 meters to the east (a distance sanctioned by the Olympics committee), Zinnie's East is a newer establishment, a two-story brick structure erected on the site of a white cottage that was home to a classical-music bar fondly remembered as Fantasia.
So why build two Zinnie's practically side by side?
"We thought we were going to lose our lease down at Old Zinnie's, because the landlord kept raising the rent," Hall says. "So we tore Fantasia down in 1984, and our plan was to just let the other place go and build a new one right here."
"We opened Zinnie's East on February 14, 1985 Valentine's Day. And on the 13th we walked away from the old place thinking it would go downhill," Hall says. "But it wouldn't die! It just would not die. And now it's become a haven for all the kids from Rhodes."
Old Zinnie's is now owned by Bill Baker. "Not the Bill Baker from Le Chardonnay," Hall explains, "but the other one."
Having two bars with essentially the same name, he admits, has confused customers.
"Old Zinnie's is associated with just a beer and a hamburger, and for a long time people didn't think we [at Zinnie's East] did anything but serve beer and hamburgers." Instead, the new Zinnie's offers a wide-ranging menu, tasty plate lunches, and for those who care nothing at all about their cholesterol levels, a concoction called the Zinnie-Loney: fried bologna, Swiss cheese, and grilled bacon on a bun. Angioplasty costs extra.
Old Zinnie's has some nice architectural touches inside, including a magnificent old bar with tile accents and illuminated stained-glass panels spelling out "Zinnie's." But "new" Zinnie's (as it's often called) features an underappreciated work of art etched glass panels, designed by Memphis artist (and frequent Flyer contributor) Jeanne Seagle that, says Hall, "has the whole panorama of what Madison Avenue was like when we opened in 1985 all the characters, from Monk to Dancin' Jimmy."
And there's more. Upstairs at Zinnie's East is yet another bar, called the Full Moon Club. It originally opened across Belvedere from Old Zinnie's, then moved to the second floor of Zinnie's East, taking over space that had been used for catering private parties.
Unfortunately, the Olympic judges refuse to acknowledge that the Full Moon Club and Zinnie's East would qualify for the uneven parallel bars competition it's some silly technicality but as far as parallel bars go, Old Zinnie's and New Zinnie's are both winners. More Olympics?
The Memphis Newspaper Guild Local 33091 has filed a National Labor Relations Board charge against The Commercial Appeal involving the most recent lay-offs.
Guild members had entered into talks with newspaper executives in an effort to relieve some of the hardships faced by employees affected by the layoffs.
In bargaining sessions with the company on June 10, Guild representatives asked for more bargaining before layoffs were initiated. Guild representatives were told the company had not set a final list of who would be laid off.
Two days later, 30 people lost their jobs and were escorted out of the building. The remainder of the layoffs were completed before the next bargaining session. The CA has so far offered no insurance beyond the end of the month, no severance pay beyond the accrued pension benefits, and no bumping or re-employment rights beyond that any member of the public would have. The employees are considered terminated, not laid off.
The Memphis Newspaper Guild is a union that represents employees in the accounting, advertising, circulation, editorial and maintenance departments at The Commercial Appeal.
The Memphis-based shipping business, sometimes viewed as a bellwether for the broader economy, also provided a first-quarter and fiscal 2009 outlook that were below Wall Street's earlier expectations. That helped to send shares down nearly 3 percent.
Read the rest of the bad news at MarketWatch.com.