Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Revisiting a West Memphis Wrestling School Documentary, Discovering a Nightmare

Posted By on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 10:39 AM

  • Cover photo by Jonathan Postal
The most exciting part of moving offices after decades in one place is the archeology — all the lost and forgotten wonders you find along the way. I recently cranked up an old G4 laptop with a badly damaged screen and a keyboard that only half worked to see if it contained any photos or files I wanted to keep. The machine I hauled across Louisiana and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and barely saved from being  trampled by police horses while covering protests in St. Paul, was shockingly clean and mostly broken. I did, however, find and extract a crudely-made half-hour documentary titled "School of Slam" about a wrestling in school in West Memphis. Finding this was exciting for a couple of reasons but mostly because I thought the video — originally created as a "web extra" for a Memphis Flyer cover story about Mid-South wrestling culture — was lost forever during an update of memphisflyer.com. 

Technology changes so fast it's funny to compare the future you once imagined with the future we got. 8-years ago I bought a Flip digital video camera and thought it would revolutionize how I prepared long-form stories. Why not shoot all my interviews and fact-finding? Why not develop stories and lo-fi web documentaries simultaneously? Sounds like a reasonable plan, right? My first (and only) real attempt to work this way resulted in "School of Slam," a Memphis Flyer cover package and short documentary about students at the Nightmare Ken Wayne School of Professional Wrestling. The whole process wound up being more work than I'd anticipated. It took forever to assemble using the slow-moving gear at my disposal, and while the story found its audience, the accompanying video hardly seemed worth the effort. Looking back, knowing it was made with an $80 camera, a zero-$ budget, and a whole lot of desire to create as much regionally flavored content as I could with what I had, it's not a terrible effort, and entertaining top to bottom. I couldn't wait to re-share the "lost" package. 

This is the point in the story where things start to go dark.
The Nightmare
  • The Nightmare
Before posting I wanted to check in and see if the school was still open. What I discovered was unsettling. Last year the school's namesake Nightmare Ken Wayne was sentenced to 20-years in prison for child pornography.

From The Clarion Ledger:

The former professional wrestler known as Nightmare Ken Wayne has been sentenced to 20 years for child exploitation, officials said Thursday.

Attorney General Jim Hood announced Wednesday afternoon that Kenath Dwayne Peal, 57, of Horn Lake will serve five years and spend 15 years in post-release supervision after he was found by investigators with the attorney general's Cyber Crime Unit and the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department to have numerous images and videos of child pornography. He was arrested in September 2014 by the attorney general's Crimes Against Children Task Force. 
Now that you know the rest of the story, to borrow a line from the late radio personality Paul Harvey, here's the original "Flipumentary" — School of Slam

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Band Pictures of Olde: Goods, Bads & Fuglies Part One

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 11:23 AM

Crazy Town takes top honors in round one.

Over the years the Flyer has accumulated a lot of promotional photos, and I've been digging through them all. Over time you start to see patterns emerging and I thought I'd share some of the best, some of the worst, and some of the very worst. But let's start on a positive note with EnVogue going for classic and getting there.
Are there one or two Ds in "Blinddog"?
Also noteworthy in this Blinddog Smokin' photo: Everybody wears sunglasses trope is framed by having everybody in the band look in the same direction. Hat-guys are flanked by no-hat-guys for a nice symmetry.

File under "Bands Named For Things They've Smoked and Regretted."
Okay, yeah, I know this isn't a band photo, but this mint and grape-flavored condom were found in the bottom of the band photo drawer so I'm going to assume they were stuffed in some band's promo kit. Maybe Rock really did eat itself.
Hailing from about 5-miles South of Flavor-Town...
A few words about Crazy Town, and why it's a contender for band photo perfection. There can be no question, with shirtless guys (trope), hard-faces (trope), guyliner (trope), frosted tips (trope), some dude shooting the bird (trope), droopy-draws (trope), rock-names (trope) and an ironic D.A.R.E to keep kids off drugs t-shirt (trope of tropes) this photo's got everything but hats and sunglasses, And are they in some kind of wheat field or something? Did they think about calling themselves Crop Circle?

Moving on...

Also file under "Bands Named For Things They've Smoked and Regretted."

These photos were next to each other in the folder. 
When you're Elvis and you need to poop.
Also, can somebody photoshop this guy on a horse already? And speaking of...

Assuming the original name “Sex With Tiny Horses” took up too much room on marquees.
Ladies and gentlemen... David Cousar, dreamboat.

Little-known "fact." John Popper only carried one harmonica at a time. The rest of his shirt was full of grenades. 
Submitted without comment.
Random glamor shot from Hickory Ridge Mall misfiled among the band photos. 
Go big or go home.

Remember that time when we were all high at band practice and craving melon and nobody had any melon?

When you’re the guy in the band photo looking up. And the guy wearing your own band’s t-shirt. And everybody’s wearing sunglasses.
Pretty sure this was every band that played at Rascals in the 1990's.
Nah, these guys opened.
Also, Bang La' Desh
That's a screenshot. Bang's shown up on other Flyer band photo lists, and I couldn't find the original. It seems to have gotten lost alongside pictures of Asphalt Ballet and Dirt Circus. But it belongs here, so I grabbed a screen shot.

Guessing the original name was Cadillac Choir but they added Voodoo for authenticity.  
Memphis' own The Chase featuring Mall Boots.
Guess he wasn't really magic?
I got nothing.
This band is not the previous band but another band that looks just like them.
I got nothing.
Self explanatory.
Pretty sure this says Animalbag, whatever that is.
Now this is how it's done.
This is going to be the most epic band photo ever. Real garbage and everything!
It's "Dragpipe." Like "Bagpipe," get it?
Dragpipe cover band.
When you are deeply suspicious of your photographer. 
The shirtless trope. Few can pull it off but Junior Kimbrough owns it. (Photo by Dan Ball)
Is that a hammer in your pocket or are you just happy to audition for Hamlet?
The Chubbies were always very polite and you should listen to this song right now.
Pretty sure those are all string instruments.
When you only play one month out of the year. And everybody's sad.
The tiny instrument trope.

Saw these guys on a double bill with the girl group Butlers of Inertia.
Now touring as Irony.
The matching suits trope.
The "hope you got an endorsement" shoe-gaze.
Upon realizing the names Toaster Oven and Fridge had already been taken...

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Pyramid Dreams: Plans for a 'Mid that Never Made

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM

That's no Zippin Pippin.
  • That's no Zippin Pippin.
As the Flyer prepares to move offices I've been going through a lot of old band photos, pulling out as many Memphis and Memphis-related images as I can identify, keeping a basic set of interesting stuff and disposing of at least 25 of the newspaper's accumulated 30-lbs of Cowboy Mouth promo photos. While shuffling through pictures of bands with names like BonePony and Bang La' Desh I came across a set of misfiled architectural renderings for a Pyramid that never was. I'll share those momentarily, but first Bang La' Desh.
Okay, now that that's out of my system, here are plans for Pyramid Harbor and The Pyramid Adventure, an indoor amusement park. I apologize in advance for how terrible the last shot is. I'll try and replace it with a better one later today.
Fly on the Wall is still holding a grudge because nobody's ever taken our suggestion to add a parking-sphinx seriously.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Commercial Appeal: Best Place to Work in Memphis is Nashville

Newspaper honors Memphis businesses by giving them plaques with pictures of Nashville.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 2:22 PM

It's nice to see the Commercial Appeal honoring Memphis' best workplaces. Like Bartlett City Schools which, according to this Facebook post, were ranked second in the “Top 10 Large Business Workplaces” category. But wouldn't it be even nicer if the plaques had a picture of the Memphis skyline on them, instead of Nashville?
Local journalism. Can't beat it.

Andy Wise Leaving WMC Post. Tags Decision #WiseChoices

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:41 AM

Look how they follow you.
  • Look how they follow you.
WMC consumer advocate Andy Wise is making a change. More details will be available at 1 p.m. Right now all we know is that Dec. 15th is the newsman's #LastDay.
And that he has some parting wishes, none of which involve Fly on the Wall.

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