Thursday, October 30, 2014

Take a Video Tour of Elmwood Cemetery

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM


Filmmaker and occasional Fly on the Wall contributor Edward Valibus has shot and edited a gorgeous video tour of Elmwood Cemetery. Just the thing for these last cool days of October.

Winter is coming. 

Fundraiser for Memphis Artist Tommy Foster

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Keep Calm, Tommy's got this.
  • Keep Calm, Tommy's got this.

If you’ve ever risen above the usual noise and infighting long enough to look around and realize that Memphis is a city full of wonders and curiosities, Tommy Foster is one of the people you should thank for that. And right now there’s an easy and special way to do exactly that.

Foster is a trendsetter: the epitome of Memphis cool and inventiveness. In the 80’s this multimedia artist and endlessly creative entrepreneur founded the Pyramid Club, an upstairs rock-and-roll bar on Madison Ave. that hosted performances by a range of musical talents from Alex Chilton to Human Radio, The Grifters, and The Scam. He almost singlehandedly launched Memphis’ funky coffeehouse culture when he opened Java Cabana in the Cooper-Young neighborhood, and turned the coffee shop’s back room into the Viva Wedding Chapel, where King-loving couples could tie the knot surrounded by folk art depictions of rock-and-soul saints, in ceremonies performed by none other than Tommy Elvis himselvis. Variations on his wonderful coin operated Elvis impersonator shrine, (originally created for Java Cabana, though it came to reside at Goner Records) were placed in House of Blues venues across the country.
Little people enjoying floats, phosphates and funny hats at A. Schwab's soda fountain.
  • Little people enjoying floats, phosphates and funny hats at A. Schwab's soda fountain.

Not one to sit still for long Foster launched the Viva Memphis photo booth, and more recently he became the buyer for A. Schwab, where he also oversaw the creation of a fantastic soda fountain, a unique Beale St. tourist attraction with plenty of local appeal. In addition to all of these accomplishments, he’s the father of Memphis activist and musician Bennett Foster, best known for his time with groups like The Barbaras, and The Magic Kids.

Today Foster is fighting cancer and friends have organized a benefit at Amurica Studio, Sunday, Nov. 2 from 6-9 p.m. There will be a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and music provided by DJ Fresh Bennett. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Johnny Cash's Son Strips at the Airport

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 5:02 PM

It's been a long time since country music fans have been treated to a news report that included the line, "Cash will be released when sober." But like they say, history repeats. 

They also say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Goodness knows Johnny Cash could raise a little hell when he was on a bender. It looks like his son, John Carter Cash, has an exhibitionist streak and occasionally allows himself to be overserved as well. According to various reports Cash was arrested in Deer Lake, Newfoundland, for stripping down to his underwear in the airport.

Thankfully nobody was struck blind and security successfully convinced Cash to put his clothes back on.

In a tell-all book the younger Cash wrote about his family's various battles with substances, including his own. . 

No charges were brought against the 44-year-old singer. And so far there's been no word as to whether or not this life event will result in a song called "Monday Pants Coming Down," or "Newfoundland Drunk Tank Blues."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Local Man Concerned About Who Gets Free Candy

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Other People Candy
  • Other People Candy
Midtown— Central Gardens resident James Whale expressed concern today that undeserving individuals might receive free candy from him and his neighbors this Halloween, while tacitly attempting to not sound racist.

"I love seeing the neighborhood kids dressed up in their costumes getting candy," Whale said. "The little ghosts and vampires are hilarious. Last year we had a family dressed like the Avengers with a young girl playing Thor, if you can believe that. But, you know, I'm just not real happy when....other people show up. The tall ones, especially. "

When pressed for details Whale had a difficult time expressing himself. "This year we bought some really good candy. We got name brand chocolate bars and the good tootsie pops, and some really scary gummy candies that look like severed ears and noses. And, well, you know."

Whale fell silent while meticulously weighing small piles of smarties and other classic halloween candies purchased in bulk from Costco then parceling them out in fun-sized Halloween themed baggies. "It's just, I don't know, not right," he blurted out at length. "It's just that people come in from other neighborhoods and take the candy I was giving away."

Asked what differentiates the trick-or-treaters that trouble him, Whale said only that some of them are too old to be trick-or-treating, and don't have costumes. "You know what I mean," he said, twisting his face into a mask of strained ineloquence. 

"Look, I don't mind when my neighbor's kids bring a bunch of friends over,  that's different." Whale said, breaking into a sack of his own candy corn. "I really don't mind the expense. I love buying candy for kids in my neighborhood, and neighborhoods like mine."

"Oh well, I guess I'll just get some spare candy for, you know, them. For the out-of-neighborhood trick-or-treaters," Whale said removing a couple of large bags of those disgusting candies wrapped in black and orange paper from the trunk of his car. "You know what I mean."

Joey Hack is a regular contributor to the Fly On The Wall blog and is a member of The Wiseguys Improv troupe. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jerry Lawler in a Batmobile

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 10:05 AM

To the King Cave!
  • To the King Cave!

This week the internet discovered something Memphis wrestling fans have known for a long time. King Jerry Lawler is one of the biggest nerds on Earth.

Buzz culture website had this to say:

"Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler owns an original 1966 Batman TV show Batmobile. Maybe you already know this. It’s one of those stories I see, assume everyone knows about, see written up on Deadspin four days later and have to post about on day five for residual traffic. So, yeah, whether you were aware or not, Jerry Lawler owns a goddamn Batmobile."

It's true, of course. Sort of. Lawler owns a replica, pulled from the original Bat-mold.

In 1966 George Barris built the original TV Batmobile. There were six additional stunt cars modeled after the original, and five duplicates built for promotional use. Lawler, a longtime collector of Disney, Coke, and superhero memorabilia purchased his a little over a year ago from Bat-fan and fabricator, Matt Dollar

It makes perfect sense, of course. Lawler's origin story, as explained by former ring announcer Lance Russell, goes something like this. When the King was still a young prince he wanted to be a comic book artist and spent much of his spare time learning to draw the superheroes of DC comics. The skills he developed, however, lead to a surprise opportunity to draw Memphis wrestlers for use on WHBQ's weekly televised wrestling programs. That, in turn, lead to Lawler's colorful career in wrestling, which included dressing up in a superman suit and sparring verbally with West/Batman. 

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Inside the Scottish Rite Temple: Circuitous Succession

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

The Double-Headed Eagle.
  • The Double-Headed Eagle.

"The cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thought our supreme wish, the freedom of human conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention." So begins the Scottish Rite creed, a set of ideas evidenced in the Masonic order's welcoming of ambitious works by nearly 50 local, national, and international artists into their grand temple at 825 Union Avenue, a building frozen in time, and already laden with symbols, murals, and decorative detail.


Curated by Jason Miller, "Circuitous Succession Epilogue" brings together a variety of artists working in mediums ranging from wood and steel to fragile ceramics and plastic Walmart grocery sacks. The artwork can also be heady, exploring a range of topics from economic disparity to corporate dominance to female exclusion. It may also be witty, as is the case with stairwell installations by sculptor Greely Myatt, and a tricky piece by multimedia artist Jay Etkin that has been used by Miller to create a kind of hide-and-seek game with visitors.

A partial video tour with Jason Miller

  • Sculpture by Roy Tamboli
The Scottish Rite building is three stories with a dining room and a grand theater that was expanded and refurbished when it was used to film performance scenes for the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. It is already outfitted with ornamental work, masonic symbols, and portraits of past members. 

A closer look inside the Scottish Rite theater with Jason Miller
Secrets inside
  • Secrets inside
Miller, who curated his first exhibit in the grand, non-traditional space a year ago, is also a conceptual artist who believes that an artwork is completed by its surroundings. The Scottish Rite gives him a lot to work with. 

The rose cross.
  • The rose cross.

Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."
Jason Miller, behind the board. Backstage at the Scottish Rite Temple - CHRIS DAVIS
  • Chris Davis
  • Jason Miller, behind the board. Backstage at the Scottish Rite Temple

Going up?
  • Going up?

Door detail
  • Door detail

A better look at the board.
  • A better look at the board.

Sculpture by Anna Maranise
  • Sculpture by Anna Maranise

Anna Maranise's sculpture, installed in front of an allegorical Scottish Rite mural, provides one of the exhibitions best interactions between art and environment. Miller describes it as being like a "Cronenberg film."

The old masters. Masons, that is.
  • The old masters. Masons, that is.

Sculpture by Jay Etkin
  • Sculpture by Jay Etkin

No smoking signs are everywhere.
  • No smoking signs are everywhere.

Installation by Greely Myatt.
  • Installation by Greely Myatt.

More places to store your hat and coat.
  • More places to store your hat and coat.


It's impossible to really capture how the above piece resonates in its space, below a Masonic ceiling mural. You really do have to see it to get it. 


A painting by Beth Edwards
  • A painting by Beth Edwards

  • Chair.

At times it's impossible to tell where the exhibit ends and the Temple begins. Everywhere you turn there's a William Eggleston photograph just waiting to be taken.

It's an impressive organ. No other way to put it.
  • It's an impressive organ. No other way to put it.

Theater detail.
  • Theater detail.

More backstage stuff.
  • More backstage stuff.

Costumes abound.
  • Costumes abound.

More costumes.
  • More costumes.

More places to store your hat and coat.
  • More places to store your hat and coat.

Buckets and a radiator.
  • Buckets and a radiator.

  • Stairs

  • Art

Fire escape
  • Fire escape

More chairs
  • More chairs

Rope hanging in a window
  • Rope hanging in a window

All that and a place to store your cloak. Members only.
  • All that and a place to store your cloak. Members only.

Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough not pictured in this post. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."

Circuitous Succession is an ambitious instillation in an impressive space that's majestic in some corners, and bit frayed at the elbows. The art alone is compelling enough. In the temple, it's downright irresistible. 

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WREG Tweets Porn, Internet Responds

Posted By on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 11:04 AM


This morning WREG was "hacked," which, we think means some poor hack at WREG accidentally tweeted a weather promotion with a porn link attached. Of course the Twitterverse couldn't let something this momentous pass without a spectacular spanking. Here are some of Fly on the Wall's favorite #rockbone responses so far.

We've all been there.
  • We've all been there.

You can take the boy out of 460 Tennessee St. But you can't take 460 Tennessee St. out of the boy
  • You can take the boy out of 460 Tennessee St. But you can't take 460 Tennessee St. out of the boy

Radar envy?
  • Radar envy?

Of course you knew there had to be a band called Rock Bone, right? "GRAB THE BONE!"

Wendi's right. Well played with. #rockbone
  • Wendi's right. Well played with. #rockbone

  • Also a big fan of that song "Rockbone Like a Hurricane."

Nailed it!
  • Nailed it!

The city needs a new slogan.
  • The city needs a new slogan.

#Rockbone as Fuck!
  • #Rockbone as Fuck!

You're so Memphis.
  • You're so Memphis.
  • BOOM!

If we've missed something especially awesome, please share in comments. And Happy Tuesday! #rockbone

UPDATE: Of course this is exactly the sort of thing that gets picked up by Mashable, who've brought new information to the table. Pornhub at least attempted to begin a dialogue with WREG. Sweet. #Rockbone #PornhubKatie

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New (Painted) Faces on South Main

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 2:39 PM


Little by little the Mosaic public art project sponsored by the Center City Development Corp. is changing the face of South Main. Here is a close up look at some complete, and near complete murals. 

This team-painted piece remembers the Memphis sanitation strike. The faces are  all pretty spectacular. 


This guy's probably my favorite. 


Or maybe this guy...


Follow the Jump to see details from Lance Turner's "Jay," a tribute to Memphis garage punk Jay Reatard, and a train-inspired mural. 

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