Craig Brewer is trying to figure out the best way to honor the life and legacy of Wanda Wilson, the Midtown muse, and former P&H Cafe proprietress, who was interred in her hometown of Parsons, Tennessee. The Poor & Hungry filmmaker, who went on to success in Hollywood with movies like Hustle & Flow and Footloose, doesn't know if it's something that can be accomplished in a single event.
"I feel like the arts community needs to check in with each other again," he says, wondering if there's anything in Memphis quite like the P&H was when Wanda held court at a little round table at the end of the bar.
"You know, if Wanda didn't exist, if I had just created her for a movie, somebody would say, 'Craig, you can't just will somebody like this into existence because you think it would be cool,'" he says, remembering how the earthy, feather-draped beertender had given him such good advice when he was just starting out as a filmmaker.
"She was so instrumental in my career and in my life," Brewer says. "What I'm left with is this feeling that there isn't anybody else like her. There's nobody who's this fulcrum of all these different people and artists."
The local arts community and all other denizens of the P&H Cafe can "check in" to pay their respects at "Wanda: A Celebration of the Life of Wanda Wilson" at Playhouse on the Square on Saturday, February 14th.