Friday, October 29, 2010

Sound Advice: Jack Oblivian & the Pirates at the Cove

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 10:41 AM


The appropriately maritime-themed nightclub the Cove will host what could be the most intriguing musical pairing of the year when the newly-formed Jack Oblivian & the Pirates take the stage there this Saturday night.

This super-group of sorts finds local garage-rock powerhouse Jack Oblivian teaming up with a new backing band (dubbed "the Pirates" - no connection to the local cover-band of the same name) comprised of the members of the sunny indie-pop group Star & Micey. Keyboardist Adam Woodard, a member of both Oblivian's usual band, the Tearjerkers, as well as Star & Micey, facilitated the match-up, and spoke to the Flyer this week about the unlikely collaboration.

Flyer: How did this pairing come together?

Woodard: I've been playing with Jack for nearly a decade and just recently hooked up with Star & Micey. I think Jack is just such an amazing songwriter, and the beauty of a great song is that it can be interpreted by just about anybody and still hold up as a good song. Star & Micey have such a unique sound and I really was curious about the match up. Also, Star & Micey has a large local following, and so does Jack, but they are two groups that rarely mingle. I really want to cross-pollinate these two scenes. That's when interesting things happen. But mostly, Jack's a good friend and so are the folks in Star & Micey, and I figured this would be a good way for to hang out with both at the same time.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Open Five: The Big Winner at Indie Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 1:38 PM

The 13th Indie Memphis Film Festival wrapped last night with encore screenings and an awards ceremony. The big winner this year was Open Five, a collaboration between Memphis filmmaker Kentucker Audley and Memphis/New York musician Jake Rabinbach that follows four twentysomethings through a long weekend in Memphis.

Open Five, which is currently streaming for free on Audley's web site, won both the "Hometowner" award for best local feature and the festival's general jury prize for best feature.

The full list of winners:

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Indie Memphis Daily: Sunday Guide

Posted By on Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 8:09 AM

The refurbished, 10th anniversary edition of Craig Brewer's career-launching The Poor and Hungry was a sellout last night at Playhouse on the Square, with Brewer and most of the film's original cast on hand to treat the audience to lots of his own stories about the making of that movie. Brewer also let his hometown audience be the first anywhere — outside the film's own production — to see clips from his forthcoming studio feature Footloose, playing a five-minute "sizzle reel" of clips from the work-in-progress remake, which he had left the Atlanta set of only hours earlier.

If you tried to get into last night's Poor & Hungry screening and weren't able to — a condition that afflicted many — then you'll get another chance today. Indie Memphis director Erik Jambor decided last night to schedule an encore screening of The Poor & Hungry for 2:30 p.m. today, at Playhouse on the Square.

Two other encore screenings for tonight are the documentary Thunder Soul at 8:15 and a repeat of last night's Shorts Program #3 at 8:30. Both of these are at Studio on the Square. For a full schedule of today's events, see

And, now, our guide to the rest of the Sunday film schedule:

Pick of the Day: Freedom Riders (5:30 p.m., Playhouse on the Square)

John Lewis and Jim Zwerg: Portrait of heroism in Freedom Riders.
  • John Lewis and Jim Zwerg: Portrait of heroism in Freedom Riders.

A feature-length documentary about one of the most daring passages of the civil rights movement, acclaimed non-fiction filmmaker Stanley Nelson's Freedom Riders might serve as an essential companion piece to the classic civil rights doc series Eyes on the Prize. Via interviews with the riders, then Alabama governor John Patterson, Kennedy administration representative John Siegenthaler, and ordinary citizens who bore witness, as well as through archival footage and photography, Nelson tells the story of the first wave of Freedom Riders, black and white Americans who endured harassment, beatings, and imprisonment for simply traveling on buses together in the South in defiance of Jim Crow laws. There are few examples of heroism as humbling as those of Diana Nash, Jim Zwerg, and others like them — young students who boarded the buses in full knowledge that they were risking their lives. This festival screening is in advance of a scheduled May 2011 television debut as part of PBS' American Experience series. — Chris Herrington


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Indie Memphis Daily: Saturday Guide

Posted By on Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 8:29 AM

The biggest day of the Indie Memphis Film Festival is so packed that we're doubling up our picks in each category. As always, for a full schedule and ticketing info, see

Picks of the Day:

The Poor and Hungry (7 p.m., Playhouse on the Square)

Eric Tate and Lindsey Roberts, iconic, in Craig Brewers The Poor & Hungry.
  • Eric Tate and Lindsey Roberts, iconic, in Craig Brewer's The Poor & Hungry.

We're expecting this to sell out, so hopefully you have your tickets already. Suffice it to say, Craig Brewer's first completed film not only launched the most meaningful career in Memphis film history, it also spurred the growth over the past decade of both the homegrown filmmaking scene and the very festival that is hosting this screening. The film is required viewing for anyone who wants to be culturally literate on modern Memphis, but hasn't been screened publicly in several years. Brewer will be departing his Atlanta-based Footloose production for one night to attend this screening and conduct a post-screening chat session, with most of the film's original cast and crew in attendance. I wrote more about the new Poor & Hungry here. You can read Chris Davis' original cover story about Brewer's trip to the Hollywood Film Festival here. — Chris Herrington

Ed Wood (10:30 p.m., Studio on the Square)


Tim Burton's 1994 black-and-white fantasy biopic of spectacularly failed filmmaker Ed Wood (creator of grade-Z ’50s "classics" Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 From Outer Space), with Johnny Depp in the lead role and a tour de force turn from Martin Landau as big-screen Dracula Bela Lugosi, will screen on a 35-millimeter print Saturday at 10:30 p.m. at Studio on the Square. The screening is being hosted by one of the film's screenwriters, Larry Karaszewski, in town for a couple of festival panels. Karaszewski has a history with the city, having co-written the Memphis-shot The People vs. Larry Flynt. — Herrington


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Movie Music: Indie Memphis Connects Musicians and Filmmakers

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Nancy Apple
  • Nancy Apple
Tonight—Friday, Oct 22— the Indie Memphis film festival has scheduled a different kind of meet-and-greet. From 5-7 p.m. Indie Memphis invites regional musicians to stop by Playhouse on the Square to mix with festival filmmakers and celebrate the creation of the Indie Memphis Music Sampler, 2010, a CD collection featuring a variety of local talent ranging from the well known to the completely obscure. The collection—produced on a shoestring budget and distributed to participating filmmakers only—was created to introduce area players and songwriters to the broader filmmaking community.

“We tried to make the sampler as culturally diverse as we could,” says Indie Memphis volunteer Aaron James who partnered with singer/songwriter Nancy Apple to collect the music and assemble a package.

“We tried to make it as culturally diverse as possible,” James says. “We’ve got everything on here from orchestral pieces to hip hop by the Teflon Don.

The sampler lists a bit toward Memphis’ rootsier artists with standout tracks like Chris Owen’s minimal “Be Still,” “Fireball,” Davy Ray Bennett’s revved up folk rocker, and “Tutwiler,” a funky slice of keyboard-driven soul by The Grip.

"Tutwiler" by The Grip

“Nancy brought a lot of credibility to the project,” James says, impressed by the depth of his partner’s connections within the Memphis music community. “At one point we realized we didn’t have a good hip hop track so she got on her cell phone and called Teflon Don who sent an Mp3 right away.”

Indie Memphis Daily: Friday Guide

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 7:56 AM

This Indie Memphis Film Festival continues today with some high profile docs, movies in the park, and parties on the roof. Read our full-festival survey from this week's paper here. For full schedule and ticketing info, see

Pick of the Day: Thunder Soul (7 p.m., Studio on the Square)


As captured in Thunder Soul, some of the funkiest soul instrumentals of the 1970s were recorded by a group of 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds from Houston, Texas. The Kashmere Stage Band, under the influence of Otis Redding and the tutelage of progressive high school band teacher Conrad. O. Johnson, became widely recognized as the best high school band in America. In an effective documentary about a Kashmere Stage Band reunion concert, Thunder Soul director Mark Landsman shows how the band’s success empowered the Kashmere High students, who also began to excel at sports and academics. It’s a powerful — and great sounding —testament to the often undervalued power of art education in public schools. — Chris Davis

Filmmaker Mark Landsman talks about Thunder Soul:

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Indie Memphis Daily: Thursday Guide

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 7:47 AM

The 13th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival kicks off tonight and will run for four packed days at a handful of Midtown venues. We survey the festival in this week's cover story, but will also be offering up our own interactive daily guide each morning of the festival. So check back here throughout the next four days for tons of fest coverage. For a full schedule and ticketing info, see

Pick of the Day: Night Catches Us (9:30 p.m., Studio on the Square)

Anthony Mackie is a former Black Panther returning home in the terrific indie drama  Night Catches Us >/em>.
  • Anthony Mackie is a former Black Panther returning home in the terrific indie drama Night Catches Us .
Of few dozen films I was able to pre-screen for this year's festival, this period drama from filmmaker Tanya Hamilton, which drew strong notices when it debuted at Sundance early this year, may have been the best. It's an intimate, prickly depiction of an African-American community in Philadelphia dealing with the dissolution of the black power movement, particularly the decimation of the city's Black Panther Party. Set in 1976, the film stars Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) as a former Panther returning home to a cold welcome, with Kerry Washington as a woman with whom he has a complicated past. (Fans of The Wire note: Wendell "Bunk" Pierce and Jamie "Marlo" Hector show up in supporting roles.)

Hamilton delivers an honest reckoning with the contradictions and complications of the Black Power movement in a portrait that is sad but not romanticized. The film also boasts a score from hip-hop stalwarts the Roots that rivals The Social Network as the year's most effective movie music. Night Catches Us was acquired by Magnolia Pictures, which will release it via movies-on-demand later this month and give it a theatrical run starting in December. One of the year's best indie features, and here's an early chance to see it. — Chris Herrington


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Monday, October 18, 2010

Win Tickets to Eddie Money

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Enter here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Eddie Money in concert at the Millennium Theatre inside Gold Strike Casino on Saturday, October 30th.

We're giving away 5 pairs of tickets on Friday, October 22nd.

Enter here for Eddie Money tickets


Friday, October 15, 2010

Sound Advice: The's and Overnight Lows at the Hi-Tone

Posted By on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM


Sunday night, the Hi-Tone Cafe brings in live music from across the globe in the form of Tokyo, Japan's all-girl surf/garage rock trio the's.

The's have achieved semi-legendary/cult status worldwide, thanks to decades (the band formed in 1986) of touring across the globe, as well as the band's cameo inclusion in Quintin Tarantino's modern kung-fu classic Kill Bill Volume 1.

Sunday's show at the Hi-Tone will be one one of only two total appearances in the United States by the band this year, making this gig a can't-miss fans of charmigly weird throwback rock and Japanese pop culture alike.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sound Advice: WEVL Fall Concert

Posted By on Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 1:22 PM


This Friday, the Hi-Tone Cafe hosts the WEVL Fall Concert, an annual fundraiser for the venerable local radio station (89.9 FM on the dial). This year's show is built around an unlikely but intriguing trio of local rock acts - a reflection of the diverse programming offered by the community-funded station.

"We always try to mix it up and support different bands and genres within the scene," says WEVL Program Director and show organizer Brian Craig. "Other stations have specific demographic that they have to cater to, but we've got a variety of listeners and music that we can support."

According to Craig, the show, which came together at the last minute, was driven by the enthusiasm of the participants.

"We'd been wanting to do something with all three of the bands for quite some time, especially the Dirty Streets, who Andrew (McAlla, host of the Memphis Beat program) has been championing for a long time. The Limes had also been asking us about playing a benefit for a while, so it just fell in place. We're very lucky that all three bands wanted to do it and the scheduling worked out."

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Sound Advice: The Royal Pendletons at the Poplar Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM


This Saturday night, the somewhat resurgent (as of late) Poplar Lounge will host a last-minute show by Louisiana garage/surf/punk-rockers the Royal Pendletons, along with local DJ Buck Wilders.

The Royal Pendletons formed in the early '90s, carving out a small but dedicated national following on the strength of relentless touring and a string of well-received recordings for garage-friendly Goner Records and Sympathy For The Record Industry labels. The band is perhaps best known for introducing the world to the musical stylings of the highly prolific "King" Louie Bankston, a onetime Memphian who is also known for his work in the Persuaders, the Bad Times (with Eric Friedl and Jay Reatard), and Missing Monuments, as well as various incarnations as a solo act.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From the Self-Promotion Department: The Shop Around the Corner at the Brooks Thursday Night

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 2:21 PM

The Brooks Museum of Art's ongoing "Reel to Real" series, in which Memphians involved in the city's film and arts scene select and introduce films, continues this Thursday night. The host for this edition is, um, me.

Margaret Sullavan, Jimmy Stewart, and Frank Morgan in the neglected masterpiece  The Shop Around the Corner .
  • Margaret Sullavan, Jimmy Stewart, and Frank Morgan in the neglected masterpiece The Shop Around the Corner .
Because Memphis audiences have displayed such a ravenous appetite for classic Hollywood films not named Casablanca or Gone With the Wind or directed by Alfred Hitchcock, I'm showing Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 romantic/workplace comedy The Shop Around the Corner, selected because it's probably my favorite film that A) isn't widely known and B) as far as I know hasn't screened locally (at least since it's original run).

The film stars Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan as a pair of bickering clerks at Matuschek's, a little leather-good's shop in Budapest. They spar during their workdays while each is secretly pursuing an anonymous romance with a pen pal, not realizing that they've been writing to each other. This romantic conceit plays out against the backdrop of the shop, the primary location and a complicated source of stability for its employees against the very uncertain backdrop of post-Depression, pre-WWII Budapest.

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Indie Memphis Announces Partial Festival Program

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Today, Indie Memphis released a portion of the lineup for its 13th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, which will screen films over four days at three Midtown locations starting Thursday, October 21st.

In addition to announcing the full competition slate for non-local docs and features, Indie Memphis announced what are essentially the tentpole screenings for the festival's first three nights.

Louis Gossett Jr. (right) stars in  The Grace Card, the made-in-Memphis feature that will open this years Indie Memphis Film Festival.
  • Louis Gossett Jr. (right) stars in The Grace Card, the made-in-Memphis feature that will open this year's Indie Memphis Film Festival.
The opening night film at this year's festival will the premiere of The Grace Card, a religious-themed feature that was made locally and is set for a national release early next year. The Grace Card will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 21st at Playhouse on the Square, and will be followed by the local premiere of Open Five, a collaboration between local filmmaker Kentucker Audley and musician Jake Rabinbach (of Jump Back Jake), with help behind the camera from Chicago indie stalwart Joe Swanberg.

The Grace Card was directed by Memphis optometrist David Evans and co-stars Louis Gossett Jr. The film was recently acquired by Sony Pictures, which has scheduled a February 25th theatrical release for next year.

Open Five, which screens at 9 p.m., also at Playhouse, follows Audley and Rabinbach (playing fictional variations on themselves) as they accompany two out-of-town visitors — both NYC girls and potential love interests — across the city for a weekend. I wrote about the film's production here.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Naked Justin Timberlake: Your Semi-Regular JT Fix

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM

With the release of The Social Network today, co-star and Millington-native Justin Timberlake is all over the place right now.

Timberlake appeared on Jimmy Fallon's show to promote the film, and the pair performed a duet "History of Rap," backed by Fallon's house band, the Roots. From Sugarhill Gang to Jay-Z. Good stuff.

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