Monday, September 30, 2013

Scrap Metal Museum Plans Festivities

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Items on display at the Scrap Metal Museum include this broken piece of crap that kind of looks like a giant spark plug.
  • Items on display at the Scrap Metal Museum include this broken piece of crap that kind of looks like a giant spark plug.
While preparations are underway for the National Ornamental Metal Museum's wildly popular Repair Days (October 3-6), the city's other metal museum is also hard at work on a somewhat less popular event taking place in advance of it.

The annual Tetanus Day event is set to take place on Tuesday at the Memphis Scrap Metal Museum and Gift Shop on S. Florida next door to the National Semi-Trailer Graveyard. And, if past experience is any indication, it will not be well attended.

"Well, the idea is that the public is welcome to come on down and step on some rusty nails or scrape their arms with a rusted out piece of metal siding," explained museum spokesperson Russell "Rusty" Troubles. "And then, they sit back and wait for the tetanus to kick in, which can be a few weeks. Less if you're lucky"

The idea behind the event is to give people tetanus in a controlled environment so they can experience muscle spasm and lockjaw through a controlled process, as opposed to less certain exposure through normal means.

"We don't want kids or people over 60 doing this, as it can be real dangerous," Troubles explained. "And, obviously, if you have an up to date tetanus shot, I wouldn't bother."

Participants sign a legal waiver before participating, and are urged to prepare a will and durable power of attorney documents.

Organizers are ambivalent about attendance, but note that they do not expect a large turnout. "Last year, no one took part in this," Troubles said, while passive-aggressively pointing to a museum t-shirt for sale that was clearly marked with a 2008 date. "Zero. That is the same number we've had for the past five years. Honestly, I have no idea why we do this. And, truth be told. you'd be an idiot to participate. It's ridiculous."

The Scrap Metal Museum and Gift shop is open intermittently on weekdays.

Joey Hack is a regular contributor to Fly on the Wall and member of the Wiseguys improv troupe.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alternative Uses for Jack Pirtle's Gravy

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Okay, now it's y'all's turn.

Look At That Shine: Jay Etkin wants to polish your shoes and sell you a painting.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 7:47 AM


Artist/consultant Jay Etkin, whose now-closed Memphis galleries were once cornerstones of both the developing Cooper-Young and South Main neighborhoods, wants you to see his new work.

He also thinks you need to check your scuffy shoes.

Although he packed up shop and headed to Santa Fe a few years back Etkin's never completely left Memphis and he'll make his presence known at tonight's South Main Trolley Tour (Friday, September 27).

Etkin, an abstract painter whose works are notable for their depth and richness of color, is having a one man show of new paintings and sculptures and Leadership Memphis' Gallery 363.

Etkins new paintings will be accompanied by stacked sculpture
  • Etkin's new paintings will be accompanied by stacked sculpture

Intense, right? But Etkin, who also gave us the adorable, affordable and ever-so-satirical "bag-o-art" series, has a wittier, poppier, and more playful side too that will be represented, to some degree, in a series of stacked sculptures. He knows it never hurts to give the people a little something extra either so, to celebrate his first solo opening in Memphis in ages, complementary shoe shines will be given throughout the evening.

I believe it's a first," Etkin says of the shines. "I was personally going to shine shoes, but thought it best to have a professional do it!"

If you miss this show you'll miss the shine but Etkin is opening a new art space next door to Alchemy in Cooper-Young, so he'll be around.

The total package
  • The total package

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Love Blunts

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Ricky Ricardo Montgomery of Memphis had some splainin' to do last week. He apologized in court to the man he robbed at gunpoint last year. Then Montgomery, who admitted to smoking an impressive 30 blunts a day, issued this heartfelt apology to his wife: "I know how hard I have to fight to be the husband you desire." He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Fred and Ethel were unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

County Resident Says Mid-South Fair More Boring Than Ever

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Reid Harmon
  • Reid Harmon
Midtown— Arlington resident Reid Harmon is demanding a refund after what he describes as “the worst fair [he’s] ever attended.” Harmon, 31, was observed aimlessly wandering through the abandoned Mid-South Fairgrounds late Friday afternoon, scowling as he searched in vain for a Pronto Pup stand.

“I’ve been coming to this fair off and on my entire life,” said Harmon removing his shirt and hiking up his tube socks. “Sure it’s had some wear and tear over the years, but it’s like they’re not even trying anymore.”

Harmon described how he had struggled to enter the locked Lifestyle Center building for upwards of forty minutes, hoping to get a glimpse of some classic cars, or sit in on the preliminary rounds of the Junior Youth Talent show.

“The cutbacks are really noticeable when you go to see the livestock show,” the delirious man continued. “I don’t think I saw any show animals that weren’t squirrels or birds.”

"Thanks Obama," Harmon shouted and then he proceeded to award a blue ribbon to a nearby tree.

Even though Harmon says he probably won’t be attending the fair in the future, he did have some good things to say about his final visit.

“I like that they added all of this extra parking,” he said. "And I like the construction equipment exhibit." The interview was cut short as Memphis Police arrived to arrest Harmon for destroying a section of the Kroc Center.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Posted By on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 8:14 PM


If you aren't following @midtownkrogers on Twitter then how will you know when the salad bar has fresh bacon bits? This parody account is a cease and desist order waiting to happen so get your @midtownkrogers tweets while supplies last.

One Piece at a Time: Area farmer aims to create a functional replica of the truck from "The Beverly Hillbillies"

Posted By on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Tim Smith in the original Hillbillymobile.
  • Tim Smith in the original Hillbillymobile.

It's just not a successful weekend if I don't make it to the Downtown Farmer's Market in time to pick up a couple of bags of salad greens from Tim Smith of the Gracious Garden farm near Holly Springs, MS. It was over just such a purchase — some sorrel greens I believe — that I learned of Smith's magnificent obsession. Like a character from a Johnny Cash song he is collecting— one piece at a time— all the parts required to build a working replica of the truck that carried Jed, Jethro, Ellie Mae and Granny from the tiny town of Bug Tussle all the way to the mansions of Beverly Hills.

That's right. Tim Smith is building a Hillbillymobile, just like the one from the opening credits of The Beverly Hillbillies.

"I have wanted to do this since I was young and realized I'd better get it under way if I'm going have time to enjoy it after it's finished," the 46-year-old farmer wrote in an email. "This is going to be a costly adventure but a dream come true."

Smiths quilt
  • Smith's quilt

Smith started by creating his own version of the quilt for the bench.

"I did this last January to inspire me to get the project started," he says. The fancy stitching impressed the curator of the Ralph Foster Museum in Branson, MO where the original truck is housed, and Smith was invited to take measurements.

Grannys Quilt
  • Granny's Quilt

"I figured if I was going to build the truck that I needed to go to the horses mouth to get it right," Smith says of his journey to Branson.

Although he's not had much luck in finding a 1921 Oldsmobile touring car to adapt Smith has tracked down several pieces including a period specific radiator emblem, which was found in a barn in Colorado. "I overpaid but it's a defining touch and an inspiration to continue," he says.

A modified 1950 f1 Ford frame will serve as the foundation.

Dont forget the MIG welder
  • Don't forget the MIG welder

The wheels may prove to be a challenge. "But I have a plan to make them of steel with wooden spokes overlaid so I can attach them with to a standard hub with brakes," Smith says. "The original only had rear brakes and that's not a safe option for Memphis traffic."

When Smith told me it might take several years to complete his project I asked to document the progress. Maybe in the process Fly on the Wall readers can help the gracious gardener find all the missing pieces of this magnificent puzzle.

A defining touch.
  • A defining touch.

And remember: The sooner he gets this beauty on the road the sooner we can all enjoy seeing it cruising down Bill Morris Parkway loaded down with lettuce and arugula. And maybe even somebody's granny.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Taco Bell Demolition Infuriates Sex Pistols Fan

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Artists depiction of a possible compromise
  • Artist's depiction of a possible compromise
Midtown— The demolition of a Union Avenue Taco Bell has one Memphis area music enthusiast furious.

“I’m not surprised that something like this could happen,” said Bing Hampton, standing on the sidewalk watching a wrecking crew as they prepared for work. The crew had come come to take down the Taco Bell at 1447 Union, which was built on the site of the previously demolished Taliesyn Ballroom where British Punk band the Sex Pistols played on their disastrous 1978 American tour.

“It's the same old song, isn't it? First we tear down our history and then we tear down the Taco Bell we build on top of it,” said Hampton, wearily shaking his head in response to an announcement that the new Taco Bell being built on top of the old Taco Bell would have a completely different architectural profile.

“Why can’t they do like they did with Stax and build it back exactly the same but with a charter school,” Hampton asked as he gathered discarded building materials to sell on eBay. “The Sex Pistols didn’t really play all that many dates in ‘78 and this Taco Bell was built on top of one of them. It was the Graceland of Taco Bells and Memphis totally blew it. Again.”

Hampton believes the city will someday regret allowing Taco Bell to tear down the Taco Bell it built over the site where the Sex Pistols played.

“Oh well,” he said at length. “I’d rather eat Krystal anyway.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Local Means Local," Local Locavores Say

Posted By on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Where the hell is Ripley?
  • Where the hell is Ripley?
Midtown— A group of staunch locavores have started a boycott of the Cooper-Young Farmers Market due to a recent discovery that some of the “local” produce not only originates from outside Midtown, it also comes from outside the Memphis City Limit, Shelby County, and beyond.

“We’ve been tricked this whole time thinking we’re eating true local produce,” says Goldie Locke, a 54-year-old Midtown resident and regular farmers market patron. “When they said the tomatoes I've been buying came from Fayette County, I almost threw up right then and there.”

The issue has lead to a new movement from Midtown consumers demanding a specialized “38104 label” be applied to produce and foods that have originated from the area.

“My husband and I were eating a steak we thought was locally grown," Locke continued. "And I asked if he'd ever even seen a cow in our part of town.

"That’s what got us wondering,” she said with a trembling voice as a group of vegan onlookers grimaced behind her.

A representative of the farmers market, who wished to remain anonymous, went on record saying it is difficult to keep track of a product's origin. "We did have a '901' label a few years ago that was successful but then The Southaven Squash Scandal of 2011 kinda ruined that."

Farmer and life-long Midtowner, Moe Santo, likes the idea of local labeling. "We're always having to chase off these rascals from Mississippi, Arkansas, and those fancy-pants Eastern-ers. Go sell your got-dang melons at the truck stop and leave us alone!" Mr. Santo then grabbed a rake and shoo-ed away an SUV with a Germantown Red Devils bumper sticker on it that was attempting to pull into the parking lot.

As of this report, the only “38104 label" approved items for sale at the farmers market were a one pound bag of okra, a small bundle of catnip, and 3000 handmade candles.

Edward Valibus is a distinguished archduke of Lithuania currently residing in Memphis, TN. He spends his days frittering away his wealth making independent cinema with his production team Corduroy Wednesday. He holds the current world record for eating the most pudding cups in one hour and is a special contributor to Fly on the Wall

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Little Trash Monsters

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM


My favorite thing about the Trolley Stop Market isn't on the menu. And, as hard as it may be to believe, it's not even Magic Tim Friday who goes from table to table on Friday nights performing up close magic. I love the robot-like constructions created by Memphis artist Kenny Hays.


I love them even more when they interact with paintings and photographs making Memphis look like a city populated by giant junk monsters.


All About Bauhaus: Architecture month events salute the marriage of form and function

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Bauhaus Building, Walter Gropius, 1925-26, Dessau, Germany © Gordon Watkinson
  • Bauhaus Building, Walter Gropius, 1925-26, Dessau, Germany © Gordon Watkinson
It's not all silliness here at FOTW. Occasionally we get serious long enough to share a cool thing or two, and a chance to consider the impact of Bauhaus design certainly qualifies.

September is national architecture month and there are multiple events planned around the photo exhibit Bauhaus twenty-21, opening at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis this week. One of the more immersive options is a two-day architectural photography workshop for architecture/photography professionals and students featuring Gordon Watkinson, the artist/photographer who developed the Bauhaus twenty-21 exhibit.

More about Bauhaus.
More about Bauhaus twenty-21.

More about the AMUM exhibit.

Photography Workshop: Bauhaus twenty-21
September 20-21
$200 per participant
Room 303 | Jones Hall, University of Memphis Campus
Presented in conjunction with The University of Memphis Department of Architecture & the Art Museum University of Memphis

Monday, September 16, 2013

Restaurant Patron Wishes Burlesque Dancers Would Empower Themselves after Dinner Rush

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Would you like a hot apple pie?
  • Would you like a hot apple pie?
Midtown — Derrick Sanders had just sat down to a tasty burger from his favorite neighborhood dive when he heard the opening bars of “Poker Face” and realized, “Oh no, it’s another burlesque show.” Sanders, who had taken a survey on Feminist literature in college to win back his ex, became visibly uncomfortable at the idea of strangers liberating their sexuality as he enjoyed his meal.

The troupe, introduced as Blush City Burlesque by host Iona Vibrator, appeared to be comprised of half a dozen otherwise sensible women prepared to dance suggestively for a room filled with people who wanted nothing more than to spend their Tuesday evening eating burgers and maybe some nachos or onion rings.

“Don’t get me wrong, I respect a woman’s right to choose and everything,” said Sanders as he quickly ate his steak fries, “but I wish they’d chosen to perform after nine. This is worse than when the high school punk bands play.”

He then tried, to no avail, to signal his waiter Gary, who was presently transfixed by Betty Trubble’s interpretation of The Flintstones theme song. When reached for comment, Gary exclaimed, “Woo!”

Faced with the grim reality of having to clap politely every three to five minutes, Sanders departed before his brownie a la mode could arrive, leaving an undetermined sum of money on the table. In the future, he plans to patronize restaurants with smaller floor plans.

Robert Callahan is a Wiseguy and regular contributor to Fly on the Wall.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Comedy You Can't Refuse: Your Pesky Fly Joins the Wiseguys for an Evening of Gaiety and Laughter.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM


Do you like what you read here at Fly on the Wall? Do you dislike it intensely? Either way you'll want to know about Saturday's Wiseguys: Storytellers Unplugged event (Sept. 21) so you can come by to cheer or heckle, depending on your disposition. For I, your Pesky Fly, will be the featured storyteller. And, as anybody who knows me will quickly confirm, you never know what will pop out of my mouth. Or where it's been.

For me this performance already feels like a celebration. The new and improved Fly on the Wall is now three months old and I couldn't have gotten this thing off the ground without The Wiseguys who took a chance and agreed to participate in my weird little fusion of comedy, cool things, and community journalism.

In a very short time we've covered the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of the Memphis music scene. We've taken you on an alternative Elvis tour and exposed Janis Fullilove's deepest darkest secrets. We've been topical. We've been obscure. We've invented our own holidays and were even on the Miley Cyrus WTF beat weeks before twerking was the only thing anybody could talk about.

And on top of that we've continued to chronicle all things weird and wonderful about Memphis. I'm proud of our progress, and hope this is all just a surface scratch.

So, why did The Wiseguys join me in this endeavor? I have no idea. But for my part, the seed was sown the last time I was asked to be the featured storyteller and found myself, quite unexpectedly, telling a room full of strangers about an unsettling period in my life when it seemed like I couldn't go a week without being surprised by a dildo of unknown origin. (Yes, you read that correctly, and I apologize for the NSFW language, but that's the long and the short of it).

I'd go for a walk: dildo. My car would break down: dildo. I'd reach into a crack in the wall: dildo. It was like the universe was sending me some message: But what?

In the storytellers format the comics are tasked with creating original comedy performances on the spot responding to whatever tale the storyteller happens to share. I gave the Wiseguys dildos. They, in turn, showed me a good time. So when I needed to assemble a Fly-Team, able to roll with whatever story the news cycle threw our way, these were the guys I thought of first. And every so often I intend to write a post reminding our readers that I haven't assembled just any old Fly-Team. I've got The Wiseguys.

Please forgive this brazen act of shameless self-promotion. But I'm really happy to return as a featured storyteller and I wanted to say so here for any Fly fans who might care to join us.

Details below the fold:

Continue reading »

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey's 10 Best Paranoid Fantasies

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Putting the Twit in Twitter: Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey Remembers 9/11

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

I've got to stand up and give Tennessee's Lt. Governor a slow clap. It's no easy task squeezing that much awfulness into 140 characters or less.


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