FESTIVE IS AS FESTIVE DOES The passing of the Cooper Young festival may well mark the passage from hellfire heat to autumn’s welcome cool down, finally, here in the city. Held this past Saturday, it was hot enough that we might as well have all been walking on the sun. (You’ve got to love television commercials- arbiters of our pop culture references. Ugh. ) Oh, wait! You probably just got that really annoying song in your head. Sorry about thatÑplease think about something else now. To be sure, the festival’s offerings were much richer than that which can be encapsulated in a really overplayed theme song. Cooper Young, at least symbolically, represents that vast undercurrent of creativity that is the real river here in Memphis. And, similarly, the festivities were not limited to the event itself. Throughout the neighborhood eclectic revelers did their thing. At a block party of sorts around the corner from Java Cabana, I stumbled across part of a set by The Gabe and Amy Show, live from somebody’s front yard. Most memorable was their rendition of the well worn classic, “Let’s Have a Party,” blasted out Wanda Jackson style. It sort of made me sad that I missed Jackson’s recent performance in, uh, Jackson. Big kids and little kids could be found dancing in the streets all over the Cooper Young district. (Except where the throng was too thick to allow for motion of any kind whatsoever.) Bodies lined the curbs, clinging to shifting patches of shade and watching the spectacle in motion. There were people everywhere. People on roller skates, rocked out hipsters, families, ballroom dancers, lingerie models, musicians, painters, metal workers, potters, and jewelers. Old people. Babies. People in togas. Drunk people. Lots of drunk people, come to think of it. There’s something about the combination of extreme heat, creativity and beer that brings something out of a person, I guess. One of my friends spontaneously created a “joke toll” at one point, at which passersby were accosted for humor to gain passage down their friendly public sidewalk. And the best joke? OK, I’ve got it. What do Santa Claus and three ho’s have in common? Ho, ho, hoÉ I know. A bazaar’s worth of crafts and artistic works were up for grabs from vendors along the streets, ranging in price from the completely affordable to the modest investment. As for me, I went home with a pair of sunglasses, a Yeigermeister dog tag (for some reason), a paper fan with moons as blades, and the momentum to carry on with the celebrating until dawn on Sunday. Which, from what I have been told, is exactly what you’re supposed to do.


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