Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eddie Tucker: At Your Service

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Ever consider saying to hell with it, I'll drive a cab? Consider, first, the following statements:

1) "Whew! Those people are crazy."

2) "What is this place?"

3) "Where did Jesus live?"

4) "Knmlknas, nonss wjosl and mpoi, cvosie." And ...

5) "My son is crazy."

Now consider the source: It's cab driver Eddie Tucker quoting from the tales that Tucker tells at (Tales, some of them, that were also featured in a Memphis Flyer cover story in February 2011.) Those tales have now been collected in a book Tucker calls Taxi Tales from the Streets of Memphis (CreateSpace, in paperback for $19.95).


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Shlemiel Crooks": A New Passover Tradition

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 10:18 PM

This April 1st won't be the first time literary agent Anna Olswanger sees her award-winning children's book Shlemiel Crooks transferred to the stage. Last year, the family musical had its premiere at the Kaufman Center's Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Now, it's become an annual event at the Merkin on the Sunday before Passover. The actors are members of the Poppy Seed Players. The story was inspired by Olswanger's father and great-grandfather. And the narrator is Jerry, the family dog.

What's it take for Shlemiel Crooks the musical to arrive, the perfect fit, on a Memphis stage? Anna Olswanger grew up the daughter of "Mr. Music of Memphis" himself, Berl Olswanger.

"We're hoping that after this second performance we — the playwrights, the composer, the lyricist, and I — will be happy with the script and can consider it finalized. Then we'll submit it to play publishers so that other theaters can license Shlemiel Crooks directly," Olswanger wrote earlier this week by email.

"But even before we get it published, I hope to contact Memphis theaters to see if I can interest one of them in a production. It would be great fun to present the musical in Memphis, because my dad, who was greatly loved in Memphis and dubbed 'Mr. Music of Memphis' by the local press, is the major character (as a kid)."

For some background on Shlemiel Crooks (the book), see Anna Olswanger's recent article in the Jewish Standard. For information on Shlemiel Crooks (the musical), go to the Poppy Seed site at

Anne Sebba on "That Woman"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Wallis Simpson — duchess of Windsor, the woman for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne, "that woman" in the words of England's Queen Mother — has a new major biographer, and this time (for the first time) it's a woman writing: journalist and author of numerous biographies Anne Sebba. Her book on Simpson is called, appropriately enough, That Woman (St. Martin's Press), and it was reviewed in The New York Times on March 9th. I interviewed Sebba in the March issue of Memphis magazine.

Now's your opportunity to get to hear Anne Sebba when she speaks on the life and times of Wallis Simpson as guest of the Decorative Arts Trust at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on Saturday, March 31st, at 10:30 a.m.

No reason to think Sebba won't be a great crowd-pleaser. She was when she spoke before the Decorative Arts Trust in 2008. And she's looking forward to revisiting the city.

As she said when I spoke to her by phone from her home in London: "I've seen a little of Memphis based on my last visit. Not as much as I'd have liked. But when I was there, I had such a lovely time."

Anne Sebba's lecture is free for members of the Decorative Arts Trust and the Brooks; for others, your ticket is the cost of museum admission. For further information, go to the Brooks website.

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