Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knowledge Bowl: Hutchison Sting vs. Germantown Red Devils

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Knowledge Bowl, Match 4: Hutchison Sting vs. Germantown Red Devils. Aired November 21st, 2009.

Hutchison (Red team):
Caroline, Senior
Amanda, Senior
Katherine, Senior
Claire, Junior
Alternate: Jasmine

Germantown (Blue team):
Rohit, Junior
Eric, Sophomore
Andrew, Sophomore
Jiaming, Junior
Alternate: Matt

Round One: Hutchison 50, Germantown 60
Round Two: Hutchison 110, Germantown 165
Round Three (Lightning Round): Hutchison 30, Germantown 30
Final: Hutchison 190, Germantown 255

Note: I'm on massive deadlines for a couple publications I edit, Germantown magazine and MBQ (Knowledge Bowl isn't my only day job, you know), so this week's recap's going to be a little bit shorter — sweeter, I say — than usual and I'm also punting hard-core statistics for another week. I'll make up for it word-count overload in a future post, I assure you.

The Game:
Like last week, we once again have an instance where the score was closer than it would've been because of missed bonus questions. I'm starting to think capitalizing on bonus questions is the most important facet of Knowledge Bowl victory. I'll see what weighting statistics toward that hypothesis means for player ratings next week.

After round one, Hutchison was down by only 10, despite only getting 3 toss-ups correct versus 6 for Germantown. Round two saw the bonus-question-accuracy tilt in Germantown's favor, as they got 5 of 7 bonuses correct in the second frame. Germantown entered the Lightning Round with a 65-point edge and played Hutchison to a draw in the third round to secure the victory.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sound Advice: Harper Simon

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 3:32 PM


Just the other night, a tidbit in the New Yorker about Harper Simon's self-titled debut caught my eye — mainly because the album was recorded with American Studios session alums Gene Chrisman and Mike Leech. What slipped my attention was the news that Simon was performing at the Hi-Tone Cafe tonight, after a month-long residency at Los Angeles' famed Largo nightclub.

The son of the iconic Paul Simon (and the subject matter of tunes such as "St. Judy's Comet" and, yes, "Graceland"), Harper updates Sweethearts of the Rodeo-era Byrds and Dylan's Nashville oeuvre with the help of legendary producer Bob Johnston, who manned the control board for Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, Nashville Skyline, Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding; the Man in Black's Hello, I'm Johnny Cash; Leonard Cohen's Songs From a Room; and Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, and Bookends.

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Knowledge Bowl: Marion Patriots vs. FACS Crusaders

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 8:05 AM

Knowledge Bowl, Match 3: Marion Patriots vs. First Assembly Christian School Crusaders. Aired November 14, 2009.

Marion (Red Team):
Landon (Captain), Senior
Nicole, Junior
Raghib, Sophomore
Jonathan, Junior
Alternate: Sam, Junior

FACS (Blue Team):
Andrew (Captain), Freshman
Hannah, Junior
Zach, Junior
Megan, Senior
No alternate

Round One: Marion 55, FACS 80
Round Two: Marion 100, FACS 85
Round Three (Lightning Round): Marion 40, FACS 30
Tiebreaker: Marion 0, FACS 10
Final: Marion 195, FACS 205

Marion? Huh? According to the taping and broadcast schedules on the official Knowledge Bowl website, Match 3 was set to be FACS vs. Wooddale. For some reason, the team from Marion High School in Arkansas played against FACS. I can currently give no explanation. (Marion didn't appear elsewhere in the tournament either, so I'm going to chalk it up to Wooddale being unable to play for some reason and Marion being the first alternate to fill in.)

The Game: The early moments of the game provided an answer for a hypothetical future KB FAQ. Marion rang in early and missed a question before they actually had any points, ostensibly accruing a five-point penalty. The scoreboard doesn't tally negative points, so Marion had an understood -5 score.

This was confirmed after Marion's first correct answer (Nicole: "Civil War"), when the scorekeeper posted Marion's first sum as 5 instead of 10.

Round one was tighter than it should’ve been. Marion only answered two toss-ups correctly, but they did get the two bonuses. FACS, though it got 6 toss-ups correct, only cashed in on one bonus question.

The end of Round Two saw Marion within 10, setting up a tense finale. The Lightning Round was thrilling as promised, with Marion tying it up with 4 correct answers to FACS' 3.

Host Jim Jaggers, unaware of the tie, was about to go to commercial when someone off-camera shouted, "No no no no no! Tiebreaker."

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sound Advice: Those Darlins and King Khan & BBQ

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 4:39 PM


After Midtown label Goner Records dropped the King Khan & BBQ Show's self-titled debut album five years ago, plenty of locals jumped on board the party wagon helmed by this Berlin-meets-Montreal duo, currently in the midst of a relentless tour promoting the release of Invisible Girl, just released on In the Red Records.

Sure, King Khan and BBQ's pastiche of Little Richard-inspired falsetto runs anchored with punk rock sing-along choruses makes for a great reason to get out of the house tonight. However, my money's on tour openers Those Darlins, who came from nowhere (okay, Murfreesboro) and have recently exploded on the national scene, thanks to scorching appearances at the Scion Garage Fest and at SXSW and rave write-ups in Paste, the New Yorker and even Oprah Magazine. No strangers to Memphis, Jessi, Kelley and Nikki Darlin have volunteered their efforts for the Delta Girls Rock Camp and played countless gigs in town, most recently with the Magic Kids last April.

Rude, raucous and brilliant, off-the-cuff musicians, Those Darlins are the aural equivalent of the babysitter you wish you had when you were twelve — willing to teach you how to smoke, cuss and kiss, before loading you up on ice cream and shots of your folks' whiskey.

Download "Wild One," from their self-titled debut, here.

And don't miss tonight's show at the Hi-Tone. Admission is $10 and doors open at 9 p.m.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Knowledge Bowl: Bartlett Panthers vs. West Memphis Christian Black Knights

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 11:24 PM

Knowledge Bowl, Match 2: Bartlett Panthers vs. West Memphis Christian Black Knights. Aired November 7th, 2009.

Casey (Captain), Senior
Davis, Senior
Macy, Senior
Chris, Junior
Alternate: Asher

West Memphis Christian:
Timothy (Captain), Senior
Braden, Senior
Shea, Junior
Michael, Junior
Alternate: Jonathan

Round One: Bartlett 130, WMC 30
Round Two: Bartlett 110, WMC 65
Round Three (Lightning Round): Bartlett: 10, WMC 10
Final: Bartlett 250, WMC 105

The Game: The only real tense moments in what was ultimately a pretty dominating game was about halfway through the second round. With the answer “Quadratic,” by West Memphis Christian’s Timothy, the Black Knights pulled the score to 130-100. Then Bartlett answered the next five correct toss-ups (and three bonuses) and put it out of reach for good.

Some might say there was a conspiracy afoot. West Memphis Christian reduces to WMC — the call letters for a TV rival to News Channel 3. Well, that was the kind of thing I thought about while scrawling out my voluminous notes for this first round match. I took two-and-a-half pages of notes, including every correct, incorrect, and bonus answer. I may not do that again, but I wasn’t sure at the time what info I might need for promised statistics. (See more, below.)

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Best of the Decade: Music (3-1)

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 5:52 PM

And so it finally ends. Remind me to choose a smaller number the next time a decade ends. Coming up in a few weeks: The Decade in Film, a collective affair with a very different format.


Album: "Love and Theft" — Bob Dylan (Columbia, 2001)
This album has aged so well and I thought it was classic pretty much immediately. A Top 5 Dylan album for me. From my 2001 year-end piece:

I've listened to "Love And Theft" more in the last four months than I've listened to the supposedly sacred Time Out of Mind in the last four years. Casually profound and profoundly casual, this startling return to form reminds us that the key to Dylan's greatness has always lain less in the weighty pronouncements that got him dubbed the "Voice of a Generation" than in the warm, open tone of his music, the freeness of his vocals, and the consistent humor and wit of his lyrics. It is (Oh no! Here it comes!) his best record since Blood On the Tracks.

Song Sample: "Summer Days"

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Laurie Stirratt Opens Tallulah's Kitchen

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 2:25 PM


Oxford, Mississippi, bassist Laurie Stirratt, best known around these parts for her work with alt-country trailblazers the Hilltops and Blue Mountain, pictured above, is now cooking up a storm at Tallulah's Kitchen.

The New Orleans born, Mandeville-raised rocker-turned-chef is showing off her Louisiana roots via a rotating menu, which includes red beans and rice, chicken and sausage jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and homemade Italian meatballs. The restaurant-within-a-restaurant — TK's shares a kitchen with Catfish One — is located at 2028 University Avenue, just a mile east of Oxford's town square.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Best of the Decade: Music (6-4)

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Breaking into the Top 5 now, with only one more post to go. With albums 7-5 on the list and classic singles leaping from a couple of those albums, 2000 was a very good year.


Album: Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea — PJ Harvey (2000)

I admire most of Harvey's albums, and all of them up to this point. But Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea is the only one I love — probably because it's so full of affection itself. After years of tormented, severe, magnificent English blues-rock of her own imagining, Harvey crossed the Atlantic and made her love album: A woozy, breezy, blushing but endlessly rocking romantic ramble through Manhattan and Brooklyn. In truth, I hadn't listened to it front-to-back in a few years before pulling it out during a summer vacation road trip this year. And I was taken aback at how gloriously well it had held up.

Song Sample: "You Said Something"

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Naked Justin Timberlake: Your Semi-Regular JT Fix

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Justin Timberlake is in talks to portray Boo Boo in the film production of Yogi Bear, based upon the cartoon series from Hannah-Barbera. No lie. Variety sez so.

Further: Dan Aykroyd = Yogi. Anna Faris to play a documentary filmmaker. I smell Oscuster (an Oscar-winning box-office blockbuster).

No word yet if the script will have Boo Boo bringing pic-a-nic baskets back.

Give My Poor Heart Ease

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Thanks to his epic documentation in written works like Blues From the Delta and Afro-American Folk Art and Crafts, Bill Ferris has always been my go-to guy whenever I've needed to research more about bottle trees and cane fifes.

Like his former cohort Judy Peiser, with whom he co-founded the Center for Southern Folklore, Ferris understands how to be a true folklorist: He disappears into the background and, with tape recorder and camera, documents his subjects in their natural light.

In this week's issue of the Flyer, Leonard Gill reviews Ferris' newest book, Give My Poor Heart Ease. As Gill notes, the Mississippi-born Ferris, founder of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at Ole Miss and the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, who currently works at the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC, will return to his former stomping grounds — the Center for Southern Folklore — for a booksigning at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

The book's title comes from a 21-minute film produced by Yale University Media Design Studio with the Center for Southern Folklore back in 1975. (View it at Folkstreams.net.)

Meanwhile, the book itself is chock full of revelations, such as this first-person narrative from Otha Turner in his prime:

"I can dance. I can sing, ride horses, chop cotton and plow, whoop and holler, cut somersets, do all that stuff. I got two acres and two-tenths of land. I bought it. Scurrying hard, my labor paid for it. I paid one thousand for the land and 150 dollars for the house. Paid three hundred dollars to move the house. And I rent twelve acres and a half of cotton land."

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Best of the Decade: Music (9-7)

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 5:06 PM

The first of the final three posts.


Album: Kala — M.I.A. (XL, 2007)
From my ’07 year-end piece:

Sri Lankan-born world citizen M.I.A. mashes up Western pop (Modern Lovers, Pixies, Duran Duran) with Third World rhythms on this follow-up to her ecstatic debut Arular. Where the earlier record was an intensely pleasurable, beatwise brass-ring grab, Kala is a more rattled, woozy sonic miasma. Fantasizing about a Third World stick-up of First World wealth as she demands (or does she?) that soulja boys the world over toss away their guns; losing her mind in the midst of putting "people on the map who never seen a map"; falling in love on a Darfur tour, rapping joyfully with Aborigine kids: No album this year took in more of the world or did so with such a playful, disorienting rush of ideas.

Song Sample: "World Town"

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Sound Advice: Magic Kids, Mouserocket and the Return of Harlan T. Bobo

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 10:05 AM


Goner Records' Alley Party, rescheduled after a rainy October, is on for Barbaro Alley (Main Street between Union and Gayoso) at 5:30 p.m. today.

It's free, it's outdoors, and the current weather couldn't be better — plus, who hasn't missed the enigmatic Harlan T. Bobo, who spent the last several months in France, slinging ice cream and awaiting the birth of his firstborn son, Nino Bobo?

On a side note, if you haven't caught the Magic Kids yet, here's a perfect opportunity to do so. See why the rest of the world — including Red Kross genius Steven McDonald, who traveled to Gonerfest to see 'em, along with the powers-that-be at eMusic, Matador Records and U.K. label Stiff Records — is going bonkers for the Kids' Phil Spector-meets-punkish pop pastiche.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pearl Jam: 40

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Following the triumph/debacle of my much-lauded/derided U2 Top 40 list, it seemed like a great/terrible idea to give some other band the brilliant/redonkulous list treatment. Up next: Pearl Jam. Why? Because I can.

I’ve chosen to implement a completely different strategy for determining my Pearl Jam list than my last one, however. With U2, I listened to every album for a refresher and then made my list after the fact. For Pearl Jam, I have listened to each album, in order, and ranked each song as they played. (To wit: “Once” was number-one on my list until I listened to “Alive,” and then it dropped to two, until I listened to “Why Go,” when it dropped to three, and so on.)

Pearl Jam recently released a new album, Backspacer. I haven’t listened to it yet, and it seemed mildly appropriate to work up a list based on everything that came before it. Consider this a snapshot of my Pearl Jam opinions the day before I buy their next.

A note about eligibility: Pearl Jam has something like an open-source relationship with their fans. They’re prolific and they release scads of material in non-traditional formats such as fan-club extras, soundtracks, tributes, EPs, singles, official bootlegs, etc. In light of this, I created a list that assumed no studio Pearl Jam song was off-limits. That’s not to say I’ve heard everything there is out there. But I made a fairly concerted effort to access as much as is commonly available. Many rarities were collected on the band’s Lost Dogs two-disker, and I highly recommend it to anybody who’s into Pearl Jam enough to still be reading the words I’m typing here.

I ruled ineligible all live versions, because I just ain't got that kind of time on my hands. This is Knowledge Bowl season, yaknow.

Pearl Jam Top 40 Songs:

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Thirty Days of Rock'n'Roll

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 12:42 PM


With an unprecedented amount of concerts scheduled over the next four weeks, November is shaping up as Get Your Ass Off the Couch and Go Out Month. My bank account is already hurting just considering the expense, but check out these highlights from the calendar at the Hi-Tone Cafe:

On Thursday, Nov. 5th, a solo performance from Small Faces organist Ian McLagan, who, like Booker T. Jones, delivers soulful chords via a Hammond B3. On Saturday night, an appearance from R&B wildman Andre Williams (pictured above), who has somehow managed to outlive cohorts Ike Turner and Nathaniel Mayer. The return of Germany-Canada garage rock duo King Khan & BBQ on Nov. 10th. Japanese cuties Shonen Knife (Nov. 11th) and legendary New Zealanders the Axemen (Nov. 9th). The unlikely, yet oh-so-perfect pairing of Dexter Romweber and Charlie Louvin on Nov. 21st. And, last-but-not-least, homecoming gigs from the like of Harlan T. Bobo (Nov. 25th) and the Reigning Sound (Nov. 14th).

With upcoming Minglewood Hall dates by Neko Case, Son Volt, and Dan Auerbach (Nov. 4th, 17th, and 20th, respectively), this bests even the typical spring influx of touring acts heading to and from SXSW.

Animator Bill Plympton at Studio Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Animator Bill Plympton, an Oscar nominee and Cannes prize winner whose feature Hair High screened at the Indie Memphis Film Festival last month, will be in town tonight for a screening of his newest feature, Idiots & Angels, at Studio on the Square.

Indie Memphis describes the film:

In Bill Plympton's latest feature, Idiots & Angels, a selfish and morally bankrupt man, wakes up one morning with wings on his back. Even more troublesome than their embarrassing appearance is the wings' tendency to want to do good deeds. After much ridicule, he desperately tries to rid himself of the good wings, but eventually finds himself fighting those who view the wings as their ticket to fame and fortune. Is Angel's misguided soul capable of being rescued? 

Told through Plympton's trademark animation style Idiots and Angels is a dark comedy about a man's battle for his soul

The Idiots & Angels screening is at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Admission is $5 or free to Indie Memphis members or Memphis College of Art students. Plympton will conduct a Q&A after the screening.

Plympton will also lecture at the Memphis College of Art tomorrow night at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public and is being held at Callicott Auditorium.

The trailer for Idiots & Angels:

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