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  • Issue of
  • Jun 1-7, 2006
  • Vol. 1, No. 901

News

  • Dixon Trial Update
  • Dixon Trial Update

    Jurors in the trial of former state senator Roscoe Dixon got their first in-person look Friday at Tim Willis, the FBI undercover informant who is a key player in Operation Tennessee Waltz.

    Willis took the witness stand shortly before the lunch break and is expected to continue testifying this afternoon and possibly next week. Willis posed as a lobbyist for the FBI’s sham computer recycling company, E-Cycle Management. Jurors have seen him in several hours of videotapes prior to his court appearance Friday.

    Wearing a pin-striped gray suit, Willis took the stand and said his background included two criminal convictions plus stints working as a political consultant for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and several Tennessee and Memphis politicians.

    A previous witness, Barry Myers, testified that Willis gave him money which he passed along to Dixon. In one tape shown earlier this week, Willis puts money on a table and Dixon takes a stack of ten $100 bills before leaving Willis’s home.

  • We're Not Sure What This Is, But They Sure Look Cool.
  • We're Not Sure What This Is, But They Sure Look Cool.

    The Flyer just received the following press release. We pass it along FYI, as they say.

    "We, here at Team Awesome, would like to spread the word about the first in a series of our upcoming projects. We are holding a launch party at the HiTone on Friday, June 16th to showcase emerging artists from Memphis and Los Angeles. The launch is comprised of a mixed-media collaboration between artists from both cities. We will be showcasing fashion design, music, fine arts, and video.

    We would like to extend an invitation for you, the illustrious media, to join us at our launch party. This would be an excellent opportunity for all parties and it gives everyone the chance to witness the talents that exist in our community."

    (Click headline for a closer look.)

  • Tupelo Homecoming
  • Tupelo Homecoming

    Elvis first returned to play his hometown 50 years ago. A festival this week honors the event and stirs memories -- and moviemakers.
  • What IS It About Lacrosse?
  • What IS It About Lacrosse?

    Police in Dublin, Ohio, have just wrapped up an investigation into the alleged rape of a high school lacrosse player by two of his coaches.

    The team was in Memphis when the incident is believed to have occurred, and further investigation is being conducted here. In late April, volunteer coach Greg Simpson allegedly held down the student on the team’s charter bus while assistant coach Dustin Pentz assaulted him with a gloved hand. The two have since been fired.

    In Memphis, a referee, who could serve as a possible witness, is being interviewed. Jim Lemmy, an assistant district attorney for Shelby County, says an indictment could be at least three months away. For more, go here.

  • A Flock of Seagal
  • A Flock of Seagal

    "Just to be able to keep up with the grooves of a band this tight takes a lot of skill. Seagal's guitar licks weren't burning up the walls, but neither did they slow anything down. With his thickly muscular body, signature ponytail, and a strongly impassive face, he cut a formidable figure fronting the band."

    Yes, it's that Steven Seagal. Apparently, now that he lives in Memphis, the Aikido master has found his inner bluesman and is taking it on the road — reportedly with a killer band called Thunderbox. Read a review of his Seattle performance here.

    The band is touring in support of Seagal's new album, Mojo Priest. Our favorite song title: "Talk to My Ass." Um, no thanks.

  • Brain Activity
  • Brain Activity

    In conjunction with its current exhibit, “Brain: the World Inside Your Head,” the Pink Palace Museum has organized a six-part adult lecture series, covering such topics as brain function and Parkinson’s Disease. The first lecture, on brain maintenance, is this Saturday, June 10th at 1:30 p.m. For more information, go to the Pink Palace Web site here.
  • Hey You At The Record Store! Yeah, You.
  • Hey You At The Record Store! Yeah, You.

    Not only do we have the 6/6/6 apocalypse and the opening of The Omen remake to look forward to tomorrow, but if any of us make it out alive, it apparently won't be the emo kids, who probably have it coming anyway. Don't say we didn't warn you.

    Click headline for a closer look.

  • The Media Made Me Do It
  • The Media Made Me Do It

    Surprise! Peter Braunstein, the New York freelance writer with a penchant for firefighter's outfits and torturing unrequited love interests has been declared crazy. Considering that the clearly unstable journalist-on-the-lam was captured by authorities wandering the campus of University of Memphis after giving his real name at a nearby blood bank, we could have told you that and saved the taxpayers a hefty doctor bill. But the poor, long-suffering fashion journalist can't be held responsible for his actions, the examining psychologist explains. His actions were spurred by the "highly competitive, glitzy and sexually charged atmosphere of a celebrity-driven fashion periodical." Okay. Go here for more.
  • Cirque du Elvis
  • Cirque du Elvis

    You can't accuse Robert Silliman — the big-biz baron whose CKX Inc. bought the rights to all things Elvis — of lacking imagination. Taste, yes. Imagination, well ... check out his latest scheme to market the long-dead King of Rock and Roll: "an all-singing, all-dancing bonanza, scheduled for 2008, will draw on urban dance, extreme gymnastics, and technology to bring his hits to the stage" via Cirque du Soleil.

    We think Elvis is probably spinning in his grave — and we suspect that if Sillerman could catch him at it, he'd put that on stage. Read more, if you must, here.

  • Dixon Trial Goes to Jury
  • Dixon Trial Goes to Jury

    The trial of former state senator Roscoe Dixon for conspiracy and extortion concluded Tuesday in federal court after an uncomfortable day for the sometimes confused defendant on the witness stand.

    The hopes of Dixon, who was forced to acknowledge taking money from FBI agents masquerading as executives of a computer company needing legislative favors, rested on an eloquent summation by lead defense attorney Coleman Garrett. The accused man had been wheedled and scammed into cooperating with a government-manufactured “conspiracy” over a year’s time, Garrett insisted, calling Dixon a victim, not a perpetrator.

    With his fate ready to be deliberated by a jury, starting today, most observers saw conviction probable, a hung jury possible, and acquittal unlikely. Go here, for more.

  • Taking It To The Streets
  • Taking It To The Streets

    In the wake of the sordid political corruption trial of Roscoe Dixon, how about some good news? The antidote is Street Ministries new community center on Vance, just south of FedEx Forum. It will open Monday, but was open for tours Saturday morning. The center has two full-length basketball courts and will also have tutoring programs, a computer center, rooms for religious studies, and a large game room. It is aimed at children who live in the public housing projects south of Vance. Memphis Grizzlies player Antonio Burks is a product of Streets Ministries, which is run by Ken and Debbie Bennett. A real Memphis success story, and well worth a visit.
  • He Didn't See It Coming?
  • He Didn't See It Coming?

    According to a Scottish newspaper, Uri Geller's dream of turning the first home Elvis Presley owned into a museum dedicated to the paranormal has been "dealt a setback nearly as bizarre as the spoon-bending trick that made the Israeli-born psychic famous."

    The paper reports that "Geller, who thought he had purchased the Memphis property in an eBay auction last month for $905,100, learned on Friday that the sellers had sold the 3,000-square-foot house for an undisclosed sum to a foundation set up by Mike Curb, a music producer."

    Read more of this strange story here.

  • Protest at Love in Action

    On Monday, June 5th, Queer Action Coalition is holding a demonstration marking one year since 16-year-old Zach was sent to the Love In Action Refuge program to be “treated” for his homosexuality. Those who’ve been through Refuge are invited to speak about their experiences. The demonstration will be at the Love in Action facilities at 4780 Yale Road from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information on the protest, go the Queer Action Coalition Web site, here.
  • Talk To My Ass, Part II
  • Talk To My Ass, Part II

    We wrote about action-hero/guitar warrior/Buddhist Memphian Steven Seagal's rockin' blues tour a few days back. Next Wednesday, he's bringing it all back home with a concert at the New Daisy.

    We also wrote about our favorite song on big Steve's new "Mojo Priest" album, titled, "Talk to My Ass." After reading this interview with a writer from the San Francisco Chronicle, we think we might know who Steve's singing about. A sample exchange:

    Q: As far as you know, are you the only blues-playing Buddhist?

    A: I'm sure that's not true at all. There's probably hundreds of thousands of blues-playing Buddhists.

    Q: Does the Buddhist philosophy really work with the blues?

    A: I would have to say this is the weirdest interview I've had yet.

  • What the Hell.
  • What the Hell.

    The hype is everywhere. Today is June 6, 2006, which translates to 6/6/06, and TV stations and daily papers across the country are running an article about a woman who’s had her labor induced to save her newborn child from the fate of Damien.

    And don’t forget the Internet, another tool of Satan. A Google search for 6/6/06 pulls up a ton of sites and blogs with space dedicated to the beastly date. On Yahoo Answers, a poll asks “What could happen on 6-6-06?” A woman by the name of Lorrie details numerous catastrophic and/or historical events that have occurred on June 6th in years past. Like this tidbit: “1862 - American Civil War: Battle of Memphis - Union forces capture Memphis, Tennessee, from the Confederates.”

    Another writer, s“Man From Utopia” takes a different approach to the question: “I've spoken to Satan and he felt that doing anything on 06-06-06 would be too campy and over the top. He indicated to me that Arbor Day has some potential.”

  • "Everybody Got Some Semi-hustle."
  • "Everybody Got Some Semi-hustle."

    Roscoe Dixon told an undercover FBI agent he was frustrated with his limited financial resources as a state legislator and that his dream was to be mayor of Memphis.

    Jurors in Dixon’s federal court trial Monday listened to more tapes of Dixon and bag man Barry Myers, lobbyist Tim Willis, and undercover agent L.C. McNeil, who posed as vice-president of E-Cycle Management.

    “Man, you be lucky to clear $30,000,” Dixon says of his job as a lawmaker, which paid a base salary of $16,000 plus per-diem expenses.

    Dixon, charged with taking bribes from E-Cycle, says that to supplement their income from the legislature, “everybody got some semi-hustle.” Go here to read more.

  • The Search for Johnny Cash
  • The Search for Johnny Cash

    A writer from the Wichita Eagle recently visited Memphis and Nashville for a story on Johnny Cash. Her first impressions of the two cities are, well, interesting.

    About Memphis, she wrote: "Memphis, once a major hub for cotton, hardwood and mules, has the air of a city midway through a desultory attempt to pull itself out of a recession. There are blocks of beautifully renovated storefronts butted up against streets littered with garbage and lined with boarded-up businesses. Deserted and depressed pedestrian malls lead down toward the neon signs of Beale Street, the heart of the city's blues scene."

    Nashville fared a bit better ... we think: "Nashville is softer, smaller and more refined than Memphis."

    To read more of how one writer sees us, go here.

  • I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar
  • I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

    Who doesn’t love karaoke nights? There’s something about listening to tone-deaf, drunk people belt out the lyrics to some over-played early ’90s one-hit wonder that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    One of the best places in town to find this heavenly combo is at Midtown’s premier lesbian bar, The Madison Flame, which features Blacklight Karaoke with Scottie Forester every Wednesday night. Check it out.

    Don't worry. They won't ask you to marry them. At least, not right away.

  • Taps
  • Taps

    A World War II group holds its final reunion in Memphis.

We Recommend

Politics

  • The Tip-off Was the Big Hat with Fruit All Over It
  • The Tip-off Was the Big Hat with Fruit All Over It

    The four candidates for Tennessee's open Senate seat have spent the past six months trying to out-wingnut each other as the most "conservative" candidate in the race. But Ed Bryant may have finally pulled the wingnuttiest stunt of all.

    A press release sent out today details Bryant's courageous trip to the Mexican border in Arizona, where he met with the Minutemen "civil defense unit," and "helped construct a fence."

    Our favorite line in the flackery was this one, however: "Carmen Miranda, the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps Vice President accompanied Bryant around the ranch, introduced him to the Minutemen working on the fence ..." What, Speedy Gonzalez and Jose Jimenez weren't available?

  • “I want to be a player.”
  • “I want to be a player.”

    In years to come, the quote above – which came from co-defendant and “cooperating witness” Barry Myers and turned up on a surveillance tape -- may come to be a shorthand for the motivations of the elected officials and public-sphere wannabes who got caught in the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz sting. As former state senator Dixon’s trial — first of several to come — heads into its second week, we’ve compiled a number of the key quotes for your illumination and reading pleasure. And we wonder: How many of you out there are disappointed that you haven’t turned up so far on the Who’s Who list of names dropped so far by motor-mouths Myers and Tim Willis, the FBI’s key informant in the case? Go here for more.

Opinion

  • The Best Dixon Trial Coverage Starts Here
  • The Best Dixon Trial Coverage Starts Here

    Television stations aren't the only media that can provide "team coverage." The Flyer gets into the act this week, as John Branston and Jackson Baker put their experience and reporting prowess on the Web. For the most insightful look at Dixon's fall from grace, go here to read all about it.
  • Letter from the Editor

    Memorial Day weekend always serves as the unofficial kickoff for summer ...

Music

  • Charles “Wigg” Walker at Hi-Tone
  • Charles “Wigg” Walker at Hi-Tone

    The Night Train from Nashville pulls into the Hi-Tone Café for a nonstop dance party this Friday night, when ‘60s Southern soul star Charles “Wigg” Walker and his newly formed, nine-man funk outfit the Dynamites transform the club into a stop on the chitlin’ circuit. Walker — an unsung musical hero if there ever was one — made his name waxing sides for the Chess and Champion labels; today, he’s dazzling younger generations with his superlative showmanship and perfect pipes while most of his cohorts are enjoying a quiet retirement. Listen for cult classics like “No Fool No More” and brand-new tracks like “Slinky” and “Come On In.” Setting the mood: Memphix DJ Chase One, Buck Wilders, the Hook-Up, and Nashville DJ D-Funk. Fans of the Bo-Keys, William Bell, or Sharon Jones, this show is for you. A paltry $5 will get you into the party, which starts at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 2nd.
  • Jim Dickinson Live On Television. Be There!
  • Jim Dickinson Live On Television. Be There!

    Friday night, Beale Street Caravan, Memphis' long-running national radio show, is taking the leap into television — and they want you to be there.

    BSC will be at the New Daisy Theatre on Beale Street, celebrating the release of James Luther Dickinson's new CD, Jungle Jim & The Voodoo Tiger on Memphis International Records. This performance will be the first video-taped event for BSC's new TV series featuring Memphis' indigenous musical talent.

    The party will feature performances by Jim Dickinson and the North Mississippi Allstars, Amy LaVere and The Tramps, Jimmy Davis, plus surprise guests. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15.

    For more information, call the New Daisy at (901)525-8979 or email Sam Tibbs at sam@bealestreetcaravan.com.

Film/TV

Art

Food & Drink

Sports

  • No Longer the Memphis Showboat
  • No Longer the Memphis Showboat

    From a Miami Herald story on former Grizzlies bad boy, Jason Williams: "It might not look like it when he's bouncing basketballs off the gym walls and through the hoop just to prove he can. Or when he's flinging the ball clear across the practice court to try to hit a defenseless Michael Doleac.

    "It's during moments such as those that Williams seems like the carefree, kid-at-heart point guard who couldn't care less about his fall from grace in Sacramento or his countless losses and ugly confrontations in Memphis."

    As J-Will's Heat prepares for the NBA finals, he gets some love from the local daily. Read it all here.

  • J-Will Sits in the Fourth Quarter? That Sounds Familiar.
  • J-Will Sits in the Fourth Quarter? That Sounds Familiar.

    The Palm Beach Post's analysis of the Detroit/Miami NBA semifinals touches on a familiar story: Former Griz bad boy Jason Williams is sitting out the fourth quarter in favor of his backup.

    "In Monday's Game 4, Williams did not score in 27 minutes, missing each of his four field-goal attempts. That followed seven-point outings in Games 2 and 3.

    "Overall, Williams is shooting 11-of-23 against Detroit and has made only 2-of-12 three pointers. The ex-Florida Gator has been nearly invisible in the fourth quarter in the series. He's played nine minutes in the final period, including only one minute the past two games, sitting in favor of back-up Gary Payton.

    "Still, coach Pat Riley said he's not unhappy with Williams."

    Isn't that what Hubie Brown and Mike Fratello used to say?

  • Cooter’s Gone
  • Cooter’s Gone

    It’s a dark day here at the Flyer as we mourn the loss of one of our favorite college football players — Jim Bob Cooter. A walk-on quarterback for the Tennessee Vols, Cooter has been suspended from the team for allegedly distributing moonshine from the UT locker room and shooting railroad crossing signs with his pellet gun. Okay, we made some of that up. He was actually charged with a DUI over the weekend.

    Here’s to you, Cooter! It's Rocky Top's loss.

  • U of M Athletic Scholars
  • U of M Athletic Scholars

    We probably spend way too much time crunching numbers with the athletes we cheer. How many yards did DeAngelo get? How many points did Rodney score? But the best number to see next to a Memphis Tiger’s name is 3.0 (as in grade point average). No fewer than 147 University of Memphis student-athletes — including volleyball star Christen Clayton — made Conference USA’s academic honor roll for 2005-06. Check out this elite roster here.

Special Sections

  • Ginnifer Does the Bard
  • Ginnifer Does the Bard

    Memphis actress Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love, Walk the Line, Mona Lisa Smile) has signed up to be part of New York's Shakespeare Society's presentation of "A Question of Genius." The show is an "exploration into Shakespeare's enduring legacy," and will include scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, and King Lear. The event is slated for Monday, June 5th at Hunter College. Read more here.
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