I think I'm on the verge of becoming Amish. Or Shaker. Or Quaker. Or at least I'm going to stop sleeping with the television on. I woke up the other morning, and the first thing I saw was what appeared to be Barbara Bush flying through the sky with a bunch of chickens. And then the word "breasts" appeared on the screen. Granted, I was a bit bleary-eyed and hadn't started in on my seven cups of coffee, but the thought of Barbara Bush flying around the sky with chickens and the word "breasts" appearing on the screen made me sit up straight like a bolt of lightning had hit me. After shaking my head a couple of times and lunging for a cold rag, I finally realized that it wasn't Barbara but was instead a man dressed as a pilgrim. And he was indeed flying through the sky with chickens. It happened to be an advertisement for a product called Pilgrim's Pride Chicken, and the commercial was letting the viewing public know their "breasts" were on sale. It was remarkable. Reminded me of a commercial I saw a few years ago that was so fascinating I somehow got a VHS tape of it. It was for one of those quick-loan, get-money-fast places, and the woman in the commercial ran into a beauty shop screaming about her hair being a mess and how badly she needed some money. Nothing all that unusual, I guess, but in the background, there was a woman with smoke billowing from her hair. It had Emmy written all over it. Neither of these, however, is quite as creepy as the Johnnie Cochran law firm commercials, featuring, uh, Johnnie Cochran, who is now dead. And the tagline for the late lawyer's firm is "Put Lives Back Together." Uh, please don't sue me, but doesn't this seem just a bit odd? There he is on the screen talking about putting lives back together, and he is dead? Creeeepy. But enough about all of that. I am going to become Amish. Can Amish people shop at Wal-Mart? I hope not. I read with great interest the other day a brief news item about "singles shopping" at Wal-Mart. It seems that there was a Wal-Mart somewhere in Virginia that had a special kind of dating deal going on, during which shoppers have the option of placing a red bow on their basket, apparently to indicate that they are single and are interested in attracting other single Wal-Mart shoppers not only to browse the aisles together but also to possibly begin a romance. Just as I was reading about this, I heard on the television that it was 112 degrees in Dyersburg, Tennessee, the other day. All I could think of was a bunch of really hot, sweaty people piling into the Wal-Mart there and sashaying through the aisles looking for love. Like I said, Amish is the only way to go. No electricity (except for air-conditioning, of course), no more television, no cell phones, no computers, no cars, a beard but no mustache, and no more commercials about pilgrims and chickens, or news about people suffering from heat exhaustion while participating in a triathlon in three-digit heat (smart move!), and no more reading about finding true romance in the camouflage-clothing section. It's simply too much. And now here's a quick bit about some of what's going on around town this week. Tonight, The Memphis Redbirds are playing Sacramento at AutoZone Park. Tonight's Sunset Atop the Madison concert on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel features music by Gary Johns. Eric Hughes is playing at the Pig on Beale. And Lance Strode and the Cathouse Ramblers are at Rum Boogie Café, also on Beale.
Tonight is the last Friday of the month, which means it's time again for the South Main Art Trolley Tour, with free trolley rides to the galleries and shops on South Main Street. Opening receptions in the neighborhood include: Durden Gallery for photography by Mahaffey White and Drew Whitmire; Jay Etkin Gallery for work by Sandy Robinson and gallery artists; 431 S. Main for Memphis College of Art's "The Salon" street gallery; and D'Edge Art & Unique Treasures for "Talking Trash," paintings on discarded car hoods, washing-machine lids, and other less than conventional surfaces. Tonight's trolley tour also includes the Elvis Presley International Art Show next door to Earnestine & Hazel's, along with activities at the North End of Main Street on the opposite side of downtown, with food, drinks, and live music by The Daddy Mack Blues Band. It's opening night for Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie at Circuit Playhouse. Loggins & Messina are performing their "Sittin' In Again" concert at the Horseshoe Casino. The Masqueraders are at Blue City Café. There is a very special show by Susan Marshall, Rick Steff, Sam Shoup, Dave Cousar, and Harry Peel at Paddy's Memphis Pub. Elmo & the Shades are playing at the Cockeyed Camel. DJ Mr. White is mixing it up downtown at Swig. And none other than Molly Hatchet (!!!!!) is playing at Neil's.
Tonight at the Hope Church Concert series at Hope Church on Walnut Grove, the music is by one of Memphis' most accomplished and loved international stars, jazz great Kirk Whalum. Today's Big Scoop Ice Cream Festival at Agricenter International to benefit the Ronald McDonald House features lots of different ice cream samples, celebrities, kids'games, and more. David Allen Coe and Lynn Jones are at the New Daisy. Willie Covington is at Isaac Hayes Reloaded. There's a grand re-opening party at the Buccaneer with live music by The Dutchmasters, Hedgecreep, and The Tearjerkers. Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre are at the P&H Café. Back at Neil's, it's classic and fabulous Memphis music with the Reba Russell Band and Van Duren. And last but certainly not least, tonight's big, big bash is the Big Brothers Big Sisters Sports Ball at the Cannon Center, the non-profit organization's annual fund-raiser featuring casino games, food, drinks, live music, gladiator challenges, a silent auction, and much more to help raise funding for the potentially at-risk children the organization helps every day of the year.
Lord, help us all. There's a Gospel Brunch with Mother Wit at Café Soul today from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and there's absolutely no telling what the WRBO Soul Classics 105.5 radio host is liable to say. Should be good.
Blue Monday, Allegiance, Go It Alone, and Crime in Stereo at the Hi-Tone.
Jim Spake and Jim Duckworth at Fresh Slices Sidewalk Café & Deli.
Tonight's Memphis Brooks Museum of Art First Wednesdays features extended gallery hours, dinner in the Brushmark restaurant, live music, and performance art by Automusik, and a screening of Automusik Can Do No Wrong. This evening's Court Square Concert Series is by The Van Duren Band. Native Son is at the Flying Saucer. And I must bounce. I have to go put on some shoes with big buckles and fry up a chicken for the sweetheart I met at Wal-Mart. n