Save money by hitting up the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, the uber-popular free fest with over 300 musical and dance performances this weekend. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday night through Sunday night.
Memphis lost 5,000 residents during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1978. During that tragic time, the survivors spent a lot of time in their black mourning clothes. See examples what women and men wore (and how they decorated their homes) during times of loss at "Between the Church and the Cemetery" at the Woodruff-Fontaine House in Victorian Village. The exhibit runs through November 2nd. Party on!!
The second annual Delta Fair and Music Festival begins this weekend at the Agricenter. Catch local metal band On a Dead Machine Saturday night or Foghat and the Romantics on Sunday night. Besides live music, the fair also features a rodeo and various exhibits.
For more weekend options, check out the Flyer's searchable calendar listings.
Jim Hagale, president of the company, met with a handful of members of the Memphis City Council Monday morning. His presentation was part sales pitch and part apology. He thanked Robert Lipscomb, the city's point man on the project, "who took most of the arrows for me." He also apologized for delays in moving the project forward, but said "there has never been a point where Bass Pro became disinterested in the Pyramid project."
The company, which competes with such retailers as Cabela's, L.L. Bean, and Gander Mountain, is wary of over-expansion, Hagale said, naming Krispy Kreme Donuts as an example of dilution of product name.
The "development agreement" outlined Monday calls for a year of further study during which Bass Pro would pay the city and county $35,000 a month. If the company walks away at the end of the year, it pays an additional $500,000 unless it finds structural problems in the Pyramid that make its plan undoable.
If Bass Pro decides to go ahead, construction of a store, aquarium, hotel, and restaurants would take two more years.
The cost to the city and county: $30 million, plus the remaining $9.9 million of debt on the Pyramid. Various experts explained that the $30 million would not come out of property taxes or general fund revenues but would instead be financed by new market tax credits and Tourism Development Zone funds and other creative financing tools. Ultimately, the project depends on tourism dollars to produce a tax "increment" or surplus beyond the current tax take, which is essentially zero since the Pyramid closed.
Hagale showed a video promotion for Bass Pro that touted its economic benefits and broad appeal to nature lovers as well as its core market of hunters and fishermen. He said nearly half of the visitors to the company's superstore the Missouri Ozarks stay overnight and spend three or four hours in the store.
"It's a planned destination trip," he said, adding that the company is "very disappointed when we are designated as a big-box retailer."
That would be one of the kinder depictions. Local bloggers and their commenters who oppose the project generally employ the term "bait shop."
Hagale's cheering section included Mayor Willie Herenton, fishing legend Bill Dance, former city councilman Tom Marshall, and businessman Scott Ledbetter among others. Former President Jimmy Carter endorsed Bass Pro in the video. Only five council members attended; some are at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. At any rate, the meeting was for information only, and no action is required by elected officials at this point. There was a second presentation before the Shelby County Commission Monday afternoon.
Bass Pro has 47 stores and $2.7 billion in sales last year.
And the winners are
Set Design: Craig Lewis, University of Memphis, Assassins
Costume Design: Janice Lacek, University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Lighting Design: Ken Friedhoff, University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Props: Emily Wells, University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Music Direction: Mark Ensley, University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Sound Design: Eric Sefton, McCoy Theatre Rhodes College, How I Learned to Drive
Choreography: Jay Rapp, University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Supporting Actress in a Musical: Shaheerah Farrakhan, University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Supporting Actor in a Musical: Jason Hansen, University of Memphis, Assassins
Leading Actress in a Musical: Kirie Walz, University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Leading Actor in a Musical: Chris McCollum, University of Memphis, Assassins
Direction of a Musical: Stephen Hancock, University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Musical Production: University of Memphis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Supporting Actress in a Drama: Katie Preston, McCoy Theatre Rhodes College, How I Learned to Drive
Supporting Actor in a Drama: Matthew Crewse, University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Leading Actress in a Drama: Shannon King, McCoy Theatre Rhodes College, How I Learned to Drive
Leading Actor in a Drama: Greg Krosnes, McCoy Theatre Rhodes College, How I Learned to Drive
Leading Actor in a Drama: Reginald C. Brown, University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Ensemble Acting: University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Cameo Role: Andrew Whaley, McCoy Theatre Rhodes College, The Rocky Horror Show
Direction of a Drama: Gloria Baxter, University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Dramatic Production: University of Memphis, Animal Farm
Best New Play: Rebecca Fisher, The Magnificence of the Disaster
Best Production of an Original Script: Rebecca Fisher, The Magnificence of the Disaster
Set Design: Christopher McCollum, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Costume Design: Andre Bruce Ward, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Lighting Design: Michael Compton and Chris Swanson, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Lighting Design: Michael Compton and Chris Swanson, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Props: Robin Black, Harrell Theatre, High School Musical 2
Set Dressing: Kerry Strahm, Germantown Community Theatre, Crimes of the Heart
Makeup and Wigs: Barbara Sanders, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Music Direction: Dennis Whitehead, Playhouse on the Square, Jerry Springer the Opera
Sound Design: David Newsome, Theatre Memphis, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Choreography: Mitzi Hamilton and Kathy Caradine, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Choreography: Mitzi Hamilton and Kathy Caradine, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Supporting Actress in a Musical: Jude Knight, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Supporting Actor in a Musical: Ken Zimmerman, Playhouse on the Square, The Producers
Leading Actress in a Musical: Cheyenne Nelson, Circuit Playhouse, The Great American Trailer Park Musical
Leading Actor in a Musical: Kent Fleshman, Circuit Playhouse, The Great American Trailer Park Musical
Direction of a Musical: Mitzi Hamilton, Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Musical Production: Theatre Memphis, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Supporting Actress in a Drama: Jo Lynne Palmer, Next Stage Theatre Memphis, Pride and Prejudice
Supporting Actress in a Drama: Sheana Tobey, Circuit Playhouse, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe
Supporting Actor in a Drama: Matt Reed, Next Stage Theatre Memphis, Seascape
Leading Actress in a Drama: Sheana Tobey, POTS at the Works, And Baby Makes Seven
Leading Actor in a Drama: Jerre Dye, Circuit Playhouse, Compleat Female Stage Beauty
Ensemble Acting: The Cast of Pride and Prejudice, Next Stage Theatre Memphis,
Cameo Appearance: Corey Cochran, Circuit Playhouse, A Year With Frog and Toad
Direction of a Drama: John Rone, Next Stage Theatre Memphis, Pride and Prejudice
Dramatic Production: Next Stage Theatre Memphis, Pride and Prejudice
Behind the Scenes Award: Alvin Miller, Germantown Community Theatre,
Larry Riley Rising Star Award: Ken Friedhoff
Local artist Niki Johnson's work will be featured at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center Friday night in a show titled "Consumer Content." Johnson's sculpture, paintings, and prints highlight the relationship between consumers and advertisers. The opening runs from 7 to 9 p.m., but Johnsons work will be on view through September 15th.
Don't let produce rot in the fridge. Learn to use the summer's bounty in the free Seasonal Cooking Demo at Wild Oats Friday night at 7 p.m. Edible Memphis editor Melissa Peterson will use fresh local ingredients to create a tasty summer meal, and of course, workshop attendees will be allowed to sample the dish.
For years, the Church Health Center has provided affordable health care to the city's uninsured, but the center relies on donations to provide that service. Support health care for all people at the annual Rock For Love benefit for the Church Health Center at the Hi-Tone Friday and Saturday night. The event features live music by Lord T & Eloise, Al Kapone, Snowglobe, and others. Shows start at 9 p.m. both nights.
While we're on the topic of supporting nonprofits, you might as well check out the annual Sports Ball at the Peabody Hotel Saturday night. The event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis. The black tie/tennis shoe gala wants attendees to pair comfy sports shoes with cocktail dresses and tuxedoes. The party starts at 7 p.m.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has the Oscars. But Memphis has the Ostranders, the annual award ceremony honoring the best actors, directors, and productions in local theater. Veteran character actor Chris Ellis hosts this year's ceremony. The cocktail reception begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Memphis Botanic Garden. The awards ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m.
For more weekend fun, check out the Flyer's searchable listings.
Responding to a question from Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, John Elkington of Performa Entertainment Real Estate said being able to tell lenders that the proposed $500 million, 70,000-seat stadium is being built adjacent to the BJCC "would be a huge plus."
That prompted an exchange that suggested Langford might know the location ...
Judging from the rest of the story, now Elkington knows, even if most of the rest of Birmingham doesn't.
"The development of well-planned landscaping programs create inviting surroundings that boost local economies and improve the quality of life for citizens, said Bredesen. "It's important to create welcoming places for people to live and work and to build a sense of pride in ones community."
The city of Memphis Roadscapes project includes establishing an entryway to the Whitehaven neighborhood, to be located at the intersection of Elvis Presley Boulevard and Brooks Road. The area is a gateway to Graceland and the new Memphis Visitor Center. Landscaping will include native trees lining the road and a small stone wall to replicate an existing one in front of the Visitor Center.
The Tennessee Roadscapes initiative was developed in 2006 as a partnership between community organizations across the state and TDOT to create inviting spaces through an integrated approach to roadside landscaping. TDOT funds 80 percent of the cost of a project with the grant recipient contributing the remaining 20 percent. Grants are derived from federal funds that are specifically earmarked for roadway enhancement projects.
Gore, now an environmental activist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on climate change.
Nash founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and was active in "freedom rides" and other civil rights movement events.
For more on the Freedom Awards celebration, visit the NCRM website.
In the ongoing tussle over more than $57 million in city funding, the City Council's budget committee this morning approved a compromise.
Under the terms of the compromise, the city schools would give the city $57.5 million from its reserve fund. The city would then allocate that money back to the school system to meet a state maintenance of effort clause and save the city schools from staring down the gun barrel of a $423 million state funding cut in October.
"The ball will be in MCS' court to fund it," council attorney Allan Wade said. "If they do not fund it, it will be their choice to not fund it."
But when council member Barbara Swearengen Ware asked if the school system was in agreement with the compromise, there seemed to be some reluctance from the district.
To read more, visit In The Bluff.
As they say, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Mrs. Fields, the cookie company started by Debbi Fields Rose more than 30 years ago, announced Friday it plans to file for Chapter 11 protection.
The company, which includes frozen-yogurt shop TCBY, has plans to restructure.
Rose, married to former Promus Hotel chairman Michael Rose, started the company in 1977 in Palo Alto, California. She later sold it in 1997, and the corporate headquarters are now based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A number of fish have bought the farm. Shelby Farms, that is.
Shelby Farms' Patriot Lake is experiencing a mass kill of gizzard shad, similar to an incident in March.
The U of M Ecological Research Center's Bill Simco investigated the March kill and told the park that cloudy weather had reduced the oxygen levels in the lake, making it inhospitable for gizzard shad.
The park has called Simco to test water quality again, just in case, but because the dead fish are once again gizzard shad, they suspect lower oxygen levels as the culprit.
"We don't think we have any cause for alarm," says Robert Mayer, director of park operations. "This is just a natural occurrence."
The real bad news is for park rangers.
"The rangers have to put on their waders, get out in the water and scoop out the fish," says communications manager Jen Andrews. "We have to get them out somehow."
To read more, visit In the Bluff.
Kriner Cash, his staff, and members of the Memphis City Council and school board should climb on a yellow bus and check out three new high schools their predecessors left them and taxpayers at a cost of nearly $100 million.
Each of the schools Southwind High School, Douglass High School, and Manassas High School comes with the latest furnishings and technology and some important unfinished business. Taken together, they offer a lesson in school choice, city-county politics, urban renewal, flight from the inner city, and the underpinnings of the current conflict between the Memphis school board and the City Council.
Read the rest of John Branston's City Beat column.
New Memphis City Schools superintendent Kriner Cash may have initially said he could figure out a way to live with the City Councils $66 million cut. But on Thursday night, at a public meeting held at BRIDGES U.S.A. in Memphis Uptown neighborhood, the superintendent was singing a different tune.
Whatever may have been said or done in the past, its clear that the superintendent and his team have determined that MCS needs the city funding commitment, not just this year, but in perpetuity.
The seats at Bridges were filled with City Council members, Memphis City Schools board representatives, parents, and teachers. The publics questions regarding the school systems budget, teacher raises, possible layoffs, taxes, and optional funding were addressed but not always answered. Concerns were seldom allayed.
Cash referred to a gloomy power point presentation and said that without the additional funding, jobs would be lost, textbooks wont be replaced, initiatives wont be launched, and significant additional cuts will have to be made in years to come as the system fails to meet its mandated cash reserves.
Cash justified six-figure salaries offered to new hires by saying he was putting his new team together and the generous salaries were market value. He also said that a majority of the job cuts would come from systems main office and administration.
The superintendents presentation assumed yearly increases in operating costs though school enrollment has been in decline.
The proposed compromise between the city and the school system is, quite literally, passing the buck.
The school district would transfer $57.5 million from its reserves to the city, an amount the council says its owed. The city would then give the $57.5 million back to the school system, which would allow the district to balance its 2008-2009 budget.
The problem, according to the school system, is that the one-time transfer of $57. 5 million doesnt replace the funding stream the school district loses if the council continues to withhold funding and, if projections reflect reality, MCS could witness a budget shortfall of $14 million by 2010.
The dialogue between the city, the school district, and the public was hampered somewhat by a series of ground rules designed to allow such a meeting in light of a pair of lawsuits the city and the school district have filed against one another. -- by Chris Davis
Midtowners shouldn't miss the opening reception for "This Is Midtown," a collection of photographs from the city's edgy, artsy sector by Tommy Wilson. The show opens tonight at 7 p.m. at the newly reopened Edge Coffee House on North Watkins.
Escape throngs of tourists by ducking down to Southaven for the Snowden Music & Bike Rally at Snowden Grove Amphitheatre. The three-day event (Friday through Sunday) features live music by Blind Melon (minus deceased lead singer Shannon Hoon, of course), Memphis own Saliva, Kansas, and Bad Company.
Indian food lovers, get your panek paneer fix at India Fest Saturday at the Agricenter. Food from all regions of India will be for sale, as well as traditional saris, bindhis, and other accessories. The free festival begins at 11 a.m. and runs through 7 p.m.
Now that the weather's cooled off a bit, there's no excuse for staying indoors. Hop on a bike and head to Nesbit Park in Bartlett for the annual Legend of Stanky Creek Bike Race. The two-day time trial and mountain bike race begins on Saturday at 1 p.m. and runs through Sunday.
Dig out that poodle skirt and head to Playhouse on the Square for a performance of The Buddy Holly Story, a musical tribute to the 1950s rock star. Sunday's performance will be preceded by a Mini-Antique Car Show of autos from 1950s and 1960s, as well as a Buddy Holly Trivia Contest, burgers, and root beer floats. Events begin at 2 p.m.
For more weekend ideas, check out the Flyer's searchable online calendar.
With a Memphis City Schools budget presentation to the City Council scheduled for this evening, school board and charter commission member Sharon Webb proposed -- and then withdrew -- a charter change that would have required the city to fund the school district.
In today's Charter Commission meeting, Webb presented a charter amendment that would have guaranteed Memphis City Schools at least 75 cents on every one hundred dollars of assessed property value.
After the City Council cut $66 million in funding to the school system in June, the district sued the city, arguing that it has a mandate to fund education under a state maintenance of effort clause. The city has argued that the maintenance of effort clause relates to the official local funding body, the county.
Webb said she wanted to give the citizens of Memphis the choice to fund Memphis City Schools.
"My rationale is that the children of the Memphis City Schools belong to Memphis city," Webb said. "From the abrupt decision made by the City Council, I really don't believe everybody understood the full impact of what happened." To read more, visit In the Bluff.
"The issue for us is getting the word out -- not only who we are but about the problem in Memphis. One in three people in Memphis are functionally illiterate," explains Debra Hall of the Literacy Council. "It's really a call to let the community know that we have a problem, because we can't solve it if they don't know about it."
This is where the eating comes in. A Taste of Cooper-Young is a progressive dinner, with nine of the neighborhood's restaurants providing a signature dish. The participating restaurants are Celtic Crossing, Tsunami, Café Ole, Young Avenue Deli, Lous Pizza Pie, the Beauty Shop, Java Cabana, Do Sushi, and Blue Fish.
The evening begins with cocktails -- including the Literatini, "a cocktail for the well-read," Hall says -- at the Literacy Council offices, then its off to sup, with seatings at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
"In a traditional progressive dinner, you go around in a group to each restaurant," Hall says. "With ours, we'll give you a ticket and then send you out to whatever restaurant you want, in whatever order you want. That way, there won't be a huge back-up in any particular restaurant."
After dinner is done, it's back to the Literacy Council for wine and a silent auction, featuring Cooper-Young-themed items from area businesses and artwork, including a painting by N.J. Woods and framed photographs of the neighborhood.
Last year's Taste of Cooper-Young raised $12,000.
"Last year was a great success," Hall says. "I've been having people ask me all year long when the next one was going to be."
"A Taste of Cooper-Young" Thursday, August 21st. Seatings at 6 and 7:30 p.m. $50. To purchase a ticket, go to memphisliteracycouncil.org.