"It's a misconception that I lost my law practice because of drugs," CD Mitchell said. "I didn't get involved with drugs until after I surrendered my practice. I went through a real bad divorce, probably dealing with alcoholism … just went through a major depression.
"I wasn't taking care of business, lost focus, and pretty much lost everything. And then I did get involved with drugs, and, yeah, wound up arrested and inside 201 Poplar … spent eight months in federal prison.
"When my parents took me to begin serving the sentence, I said to them:
"'This day is not a sad day for me, don't be sad, because I'll go in, I'll take care of this, and when I come back out, I'm putting my life back in order, I'm going back to college, I'm going to write. Judge me on what I do from this day forward.'"
Kevin Dean was sounding a little out of breath on Wednesday afternoon, and he had good reason to be. Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, was in the middle of unboxing books — more than 90 boxes containing somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 books for the "Art of Reading" party and book sale taking place this weekend at the Germantown Community Theatre to benefit Literacy Mid-South.
Those books — including children's books — by name-brand authors were ordered by and donated by The Commercial Appeal, which is co-sponsoring Friday night's event along with the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz. The books are certainly priced to sell: Hardbacks are $5; paperbacks, $3; and oversized books, $10. Those sales directly benefit the programs run by Literacy Mid-South.
"He'd spent months preparing for tonight, and his load out reflected this."
"He" is Court Gentry, aka the Gray Man, and "tonight" he is hanging by a rope ladder from a microlight hang glider that he's also piloting. Then he's breaking and entering the heavily guarded dacha of his target, Russian mob boss Gregor Ivanovic Sidorenko.
Gentry's "load out" consists of: a Glock 19 nine-millimeter pistol in a thigh rig with an attached silencer; two cables — one a climbing rope; the other a bungee cord — spooled around electric spring retractors attached to Gentry's climbing harness; two black-bladed combat knives on his utility belt; in Gentry's backpack: extra clothing and a medical kit; on his chest rig: ammunition magazines and a single-shot flare gun loaded with a smoke grenade; on Gentry's right ankle: a Glock 26 subcompact pistol; and in a freezer bag also inside his backpack: raw bear meat. Tonight, Sidorenko's quiet evening spent going over documents does not end well — for Sidorenko.
No two ways about it. That's what happened. That's what judge and jury and spectators saw: "river justice" in action. Helen, who grew up on Arkansas' White River, was just 17. But her story hardly stopped with that courtroom gunshot.
"What do we mean when we throw around the term 'genius'?"
Good question and one posed by Jonathan Judaken, who holds the Spence L. Wilson chair in humanities at Rhodes College.
"Once reserved for those who were thought to be touched by the gods or privy to the secrets of the universe or those who changed the course of history or culture, today anyone can be a genius for 15 minutes. How did this come about?"
Another good question, and Judaken was posing those questions in connection with an author who will be visiting Rhodes on Wednesday, November 13th, as part of the school's "Communities in Conversation" lecture series.
It's been a successful fall so far and all signs point to continued success for the first-ever (but by all accounts annual) Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival at the Memphis Jewish Community Center at 6560 Poplar.
As Amy Israel, the center's cultural arts director, recently reported in an update by email, close to 200 attended the luncheon in October with guests Rachelle Bergstein and Jane Weitzman. Later in the month, Moshe and Goldie Monzon drew collectors from the MJCC and larger Memphis community to the sale of their artwork and jewelry. (The couple, according to Israel, will be returning to Memphis "for sure.") And a stormy night didn't deter a good-size crowd to hear reporter Geoff Calkins put the questions to former prosecutor and author Marcia Clark.
Celebrate with food, cocktails, and readings when The Pinch hosts a release party for its fall 2013 issue. The place: the Dixon Gallery & Gardens (4339 Park) on Friday, November 1st, 7-9 p.m. And you're invited.
So begins each of the Madeline stories by children's author/illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, who died in 1962. So begins Madeline and the Old House in Paris (Viking), written and illustrated by John Bemelmans Marciano, grandson of Ludwig and inheritor of his grandfather's style of storytelling and artwork. In this latest Madeline story, she's in the company of a ghost — the centuries-old ghost of an astronomer upset by the loss of his telescope. Pepito, Madeline's friend, is on hand. So too: Miss Clavel and Lord Cucuface.
"The Asian chick with the long hair."
That's how many viewers in the 1970s thought of her. That's how she's described more than once in Love, Peace, and Soul: Behind the Scenes of America's Favorite Dance Show (Backbeat Books). And that's how the author of that book remembered her in a recent phone interview with the Flyer.
The author is Ericka Blount Danois. The "chick" was dancer Cheryl Song. And the TV show was Soul Train, the longest-running first-run syndicated show in television history — 1,100 hours of what was billed as "the hippest trip in America." Meet Danois and have her sign your copy of Love, Peace, and Soul when she's in Memphis on Saturday, October 19th, at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music from 2 to 5 p.m. Former Stax Records chairman and owner Al Bell, who wrote the book's foreword, will be there too, with the book for sale in the museum's gift shop.
Danois, who lives in Baltimore and teaches journalism at the University of Maryland, isn't used to giving interviews. She's more comfortable conducting them. But with the publication of Love, Peace, and Soul and with a recent Q&A (and excerpt from the book) on the Huffington Post, she's getting used to answering rather than asking the questions. Don't ask her, though, about the chances of there being a line dance, Soul Train-style, at her Memphis signing. That question's been posed, and it has been answered:
That's when Edgar Award-winning writer Stuart Woods will be at The Booksellers at Laurelwood (3 p.m.) to sign his latest Stone Barrington thriller, Doing Hard Time (Putnam), a book that makes it, according to the publisher, Woods' 53rd (you read that right, 53rd) novel. Line ticket required for the signing, but it's free with purchase of the book.
That book is a collection of essays that showcases Darnton's scholarship and ability to communicate broad ideas in a straightforward prose style for specialists and general readers alike. But the book closes not with answers but on a single question: What is the history of books? That "history" is a field of enquiry Darnton has spent a scholar's lifetime helping to define.
Daniel, former president of the Organization of American Historians and former curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, was instrumental in launching the Rock 'N' Soul Museum in 2000, and he serves today on the nominating committee for the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. He's in town this week for two events.