Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Memphis Beat: "Run On"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Memphis Beat, "Run On"
Originally Aired July 27, 2010

Episode Named After: The traditional gospel song, sometimes called "Run On" and sometimes called "God's Gonna Cut You Down." It's been recorded countless times over the years, but because this is Memphis Beat, the song is an Elvis reference. Presley recorded it in 1966 and it can be found on Amazing Grace: His Greatest Sacred Songs. Other notable recent versions have been done by Johnny Cash, Moby, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Plot Synopsis: Nice opening as we see fingers hit "A3" on a jukebox then reach for a beer as the percussive opening of Sam & Dave's "I Thank You" starts. It's Officer Sutton (DJ Qualls), who begins singing along and is soon joined by colleagues Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee), Whitehead (Sam Hennings), and Greenback (Leonard Earl Howze).

A drunken sing-along leads to roughhousing shenanigans which leads to a bar fight with civilians, whom our heroes polish off before returning to their Sam & Dave. Off-duty cops beating up people in bars. Just another fun Memphis night.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Sound Advice: Holly & the Heathens at the Hi-Tone

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 11:19 AM

I've always liked Holly Cole's blend of girl pop, classic rock and hard corn honky tonk but her first EP Fearless and Free left me a little cold. With the exception of "Turtle Dove," a sweetly crafted study in old school twang, the songs all sounded a little murky and too much alike. Even Cole's full bodied voice couldn't make me fall in love with the disc the way I wanted to. And there was so much potential on display on Fearless and Free that I really wanted to.

Cole's second release, the eponymous Holly & the Heathens, represents at least the partial fulfillment of that initial promise. It's an alluring hodge-podge of sounds and styles that show off Cole's considerable talents while suggesting that this is an artist who's still slugging it out with her influences, trying to figure out where she fits. Standout tracks include "Make Up Your Mind," a folk-psyche ballad that calls to mind Burning World-era Swans. "All That Was Lost" begins with the freight train rhythm of an old Johnny Cash song but plays out as an answer to “As Long,” from , The Reigning Sound's first CD Break Up Break Down. "All in One Day" is a hip shaking exercise in classic rock while the beautifully arranged "Holy," is a spare waltz for guitar and violin that closes this completely satisfying disc with a classic country music koan: “How do you sleep at night when your baby's aching?” Well, how do you?

Holly & the Heathens is a thoughtfully arranged, beautifully sung tangle of yearning and heartbreak. Cole and company celebrate its release on Saturday, July 24th at the Hi-Tone with Jeffrey James & the Haul.

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Win Tickets to Sheryl Crow and Maroon 5

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Enter here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Sheryl Crow at Mud Island Amphitheater on August 20th, with special guest Colbie Caillat.

Enter here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Maroon 5 at Mud Island Amphitheater on August 27th, with special guest Kris Allen.

We're giving away a pair of tickets each week until both shows. Each week is a different drawing and you can enter as many times as you like, as often as you like. Winners will be notified by email on the morning of each drawing.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Very Unfortunate Elvis Item

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 12:51 PM

From the department of the ghoulish and disgusting: Medical instruments and other materials relating to the autopsy of Elvis Presley are being put up for auction by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

The items — which include a toe tag — were apparently saved by for many years by an embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home and will be put up for auction in two lots (estimated at $6,000-$8,000 and $4,000-$6,000, respectively) on August 12th. You can see the Hindman site for more details — if you dare.

(Credit to Boing Boing for unearthing this.)

Memphis Beat: "One Night of Sin"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Memphis Beat, "One Night of Sin"
Originally Aired July 20, 2010

Disappointingly, this was probably the least "Memphis-y" episode of Memphis Beat yet, and since that's what we care about here, this recap will be shorter than most.

Episode Named After: "One Night (of Sin)," in its original version, is a gloriously hung-over 1956 New Orleans R&B gem from Smiley Lewis. Elvis Presley recorded it a couple of years later, both in Lewis' version (which you can hear on the compilation Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly) and in a cleaned-up version. Elvis' altered "One Night" ("with you" replacing "of sin") was released in 1958 on a single opposite " I Got Stung," hitting #4 on the pop chart and #10 on the R&B chart. Elvis later did a killer version of the song on this 1968 "comeback" special for NBC.

Plot Synopsis: Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) and his mama (Celia Weston) are attending a public memorial service for Memphis music legend Darlene "Ma" Boswell. There, the remaining members of the performing Boswell family — husband Doc and daughters Sadie and Delilah — perform a bluegrass-inflected tune and manager Frank Dixon delivers a eulogy.

Afterward, while Dwight is doing a man-on-the-street interview with a documentary filmmaker, Dixon is found dead behind the theatre where the memorial service was held, having fallen from the building's third-floor balcony. Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) suspects grief-based suicide but Dwight's advanced detecting skills lead him to assume foul play.

As Dwight sifts through multiple suspects, including a "super fan" played by guest star Giovanni Ribisi, a "B" plot about partner Whitehead's inappropriate tall tales on the job doesn't go much of anywhere.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Film Review: "Micmacs"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Dany Boon in Micmacs
  • Dany Boon in "Micmacs"
In Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Micmacs, there are two big weapons manufacturers in the French town where Bazil (Dany Boon) lives, and he has been victimized by both: Bazil's father was killed by a landmine made by one, and Bazil is mortally wounded by a bullet made by the other.

Homeless and destitute, Bazil falls in with a gang of other discarded people on the fringes of society, living in a junkyard: an ex-con, a contortionist, a former human cannonball, a human calculator, a machinery artist. They all have questionable talents, except when they are united. Bazil enlists his new friends to help him take down the arms dealers.

With a series of serious practical jokes that unfold like Rube Goldberg machines, the gang pits the two weapons-manufacturer CEOs against each other and stand back to watch the damage escalate — until an exiled African dictator complicates matters.

Micmacs earns its many physical-acting nods to Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and The Three Stooges. Boon has a lanky body and an everyman mug but he comes alive with frequent poetic physical moires.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Original Big Star Bassist Andy Hummel Dies

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 8:05 PM

Multiple media sources have confirmed tonight news that first emerged on Twitter this afternoon, that original Big Star bassist Andy Hummel passed away today at his Fort Worth, Texas, home, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Hummel was 59.

(L-R) Andy Hummel, Jody Stephens, Alex Chilton
  • (L-R) Andy Hummel, Jody Stephens, Alex Chilton

Hummel played on the band's first two, classic, albums, 1972's #1 Record and 1974's Radio City, before leaving the band and eventually relocating to Texas, where he built a successful career in the aeronautics field.

Though he never pursued music as a profession after leaving Big Star, Hummel remained close to the band's legacy, appearing, with drummer Jody Stephens, at a Big Star panel at Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival several years ago, and again last year in the wake of lead singer Alex Chilton's sudden death. Hummel took the stage in Austin this spring to join Stephens and a host of Big Star-influenced musicians in an impromptu tribute concert to Chilton. Here he is, playing bass on "September Gurls," then embracing Stephens — now the band's last surviving member — before leaving the stage:

Skewby Gets Busy

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Memphis hip-hop hopeful Skewby, who was tabbed an "Unsigned Hype" by The Source earlier this year and featured in our spring music issue, has been prolific of late, with a series of first-rate mixtape-style releases coming out over the past few weeks as an appetizer for his upcoming debut "album," More or Less.

Today, Skewby and his team put up a video for his remix of the P.Diddy single "Angels":

Earlier this month, Skewby reacted to the NBA free-agency madness with his own single, "Free Agent":

And late last month, Skewby teamed up with fellow Memphis MC Gyft for the terrific "So Dope":

None of this new music is from the forthcoming More or Less, currently planned for a September release. It's all just the opening act. You can download all this music and find out more about Skewby here.

Daylight Fades Encore Screening

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 9:54 AM

After selling out two premiere screenings at Paradiso last month, the locally produced vampire-themed drama Daylight Fades gets a couple of encore screenings this week at Studio on the Square.

The film will screen at 7 p.m. and 9:25 p.m. Tuesday, July 20th. Tickets are $9.99 and are available in advance until midnight tonight here. Any leftover tickets will be made available at the door tomorrow night.

The film is still expected to get a longer local run sometime this year, but this will be the last chance to see it this summer.

You can read my interview with the team behind Daylight Fades, including director Brad Ellis and actor/screenwriter Allen Gardner, here.

The film's trailer:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oscars 2011 1.0

Posted By on Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 8:58 PM

The Kings Speech
  • The King's Speech
This weekend, before imbibing Inception for a second time, it struck me that it's probably time to make a first stab at predicting the 10 movies that'll be nominated for Best Picture Oscar in about 6 months. After all, it was way back in June 2009 when I made my first, pitiful attempt at the 2010 Oscars.

I was 2 for 10 in that initial prognostication. Let's see if I can do better this time. In order of my certainty they'll be nominated.

Best Picture 2011 1.0
Toy Story 3
The Social Network
Never Let Me Go
The Tree of Life
Another Year
The Kids Are Alright
Eat Pray Love
The King's Speech
The Fighter

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Batusis Q&A Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM

In this week's Flyer, Stephen Deusner talks to proto-punk legend Sylvain Sylvain, guitarist for the New York Dolls. Sylvain is hitting town with a new band, Batusis, which places him alongside another ’70s punk veteran, Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys. They'll play the Hi-Tone Café tonight, but beforehand you can have the chance to meet them too.

Sylvain and Chrome will conduct a Q&A session at 7 p.m. at the Brooks Museum this evening in conjunction with the museum's current "Who Shot Rock and Roll" photography exhibit. The event is free with a museum admission; however, reservations are required. Call 544-6208 for more info.


Indie Memphis Launches Freedom Series

Posted By on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 9:56 AM

This weekend, Indie Memphis launches a new program, their Freedom Series, a series of "community-hosted films and conversations on topics" on issues related to human and civil rights. The series, which has been curated by local artist and Indie Memphis volunteer Robin Salant, will bring related film screenings to different parts of the city, hosted by different community organizations and with discussion sessions following each screening.

Admission to each program is free, with a $5 minimum donation suggested to benefit the hosting organization.

For an official schedule and guide to the series, go to

Here's a quick look at this weekend's screenings:

TONIGHT: Two films screen at Malco's Studio on the Square, starting at 7 p.m. First is The Veiled Commodity, a short film about the history of slavery and human trafficking. It will be followed by Complaint Choir, an hour-length documentary that follows the international "Complaints Choir" art project by the Finnish/German artists Tellervo & Oliver Kalleinen. The artists travel the world collecting complaints and transforming them into songs, which are then sung by the complainers themselves.

Co-producers Frank and Lisa Mauceri (Frank is in the band Batusis, playing the Hi Tone Café tonight) are scheduled to attend.

The Memphis Complaints Choir is scheduled to perform after the screenings.

Complaint Choir trailer:

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Memphis Beat: "Polk Salad Annie"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Memphis Beat, "Polk Salad Annie"
Originally Aired July 13, 2010

I'm taking the baton from previous Memphis Beat re-capper Greg Akers this week. We'll probably be alternating — or something close to it — the rest of the way.

DJ Qualls in the spotlight this week.
  • DJ Qualls in the spotlight this week.
Episode Named After: The signature song from Louisiana swamp-rocker Tony Joe White, "Polk Salad Annie" was originally released in 1969 and almost immediately picked up by Elvis Presley, who made it a concert staple throughout the ’70s. A food-themed song for a food-themed episode.

Rowdy Memphis (Plot Synopsis): Detective Dwight Hendricks (Jason Lee) and fellow officers Whitehead (Sam Hennings), Lightfoot (Abraham Benrubi), and Greenback (Leonard Earl Howze) chow down on several platters of ribs at Fat Red's Barbecue, where Greenback draws a standing ovation for his rousing takedown of a man attempting to rob the restaurant.

Back at the station, Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) readies her charges for the influx of tourists at the annual "Beale Street Barbecue Festival." This week's mystery gets underway when Fat Red ends up stabbed in the stomach during the contest. The initial suspect is hog farmer Bryce Harper, a former supplier with whom Red had severed ties. It turns out Harper has made an attempt on Fat Red's life, but not this time. A dispute between Fat Red and his sister Analise (Sing All Kinds favorite Melanie Lynskey guest stars) over a $20,000 order from Harper puts Analise under suspicion, and officer Sutton (DJ Qualls) is mic'ed-up and sent undercover to romance Analise at a Beale Street club in search of information. After revealing a conflict over the future of the restaurant, Analise hires Sutton to finish the job on her brother and, with Fat Red's help, Dwight and crew attempt to ensnare Analise in the murder plot. But Fat Red breaks character, leading to comic sibling-rivalry hijinks, a car chase, and Sutton having to use his downhome wisdom to talk the volatile couple down. Meanwhile, Lt. Rice is having trouble with one of her sons, who finds himself down at the police station for all the wrong reasons, and Dwight has decided to let his smokin' hot ex-wife Alex (Sunny Mabry) "stand on her own two feet."

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Win Tickets to Sugarland at Snowden Grove Amphitheater

Posted By on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Enter here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Sugarland at Snowden Grove Amphitheater on August 13th, with special guests Little Big Town and Vonda Shepard.

We're giving away a pair of tickets each week until the show. Each week is a different drawing and you can enter as many times as you like, as often as you like. Winners will be notified by email on the morning of each drawing.

Here are the dates for the weekly drawings:
Friday, July 30th
Friday, August 6th

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Antenna Club Documentary Goes Public

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 4:36 PM


For several months, work has been in progress locally on a documentary film about Memphis' legendary alternative/punk nightclub from 80s and early 90s, the Antenna Club. The project is being helmed by local musician and filmmaker Chris McCoy, who is directing his first full-length film since 2006's Eat.

The film features a complete overview of the club's history, from its origins in the late 70s as the Well, to the 80s and early 90s heyday, to the lean final stretch in 1995, along the way showcasing unbelievable rare live footage and interviews with the Oblivians, Panther Burns, the Klitz, the Modifiers, Pezz, Sobering Consequences, the Crime, the Grifters and so, so many more.

This week, McCoy took his new project public, launching a page on the site Kickstarter which allows anyone to contribute to film's final completion and distribution. McCoy and his crew are ambitiously looking to scrounge up around $6 thousand, but have already raised approximately 20% in a just a few days.

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