Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memphis Beat, "Lost"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Alfre Woodard and Wade Williams
  • Alfre Woodard and Wade Williams

Episode Named After: The adjective "Lost." As my Memphis Beat colleague Chris Herrington confirmed last week, season two episodes aren't named after Elvis songs, as was the case in season one. Too bad. "Always on My Mind," the 1972 Elvis gold record that features prominently in this episode, fits well thematically with the plot and would've made a fine title.

Rowdy Memphis (Plot Synopsis): Ted Creskoe (Wade Williams) is a father from Springfield, Missouri, who has come to Memphis to find his missing daughter, Jill. It's been four years since he's seen her — she was a runaway, but sent regular letters back home to let the 'rents know she was alright. Her car is found in a river, but there's no body in it. The main suspect is her abusive husband, Derek (Clayne Crawford). Jill waitressed for and was friendly with a restaurateur (Heather McComb). A body washes up in the river but it's somebody else instead of Jill. Turns out she and the restaurateur faked her death to get her away from the husband. Jill is reunited with Papa, and Dwight visits Derek and threatens him to stay away from the soon-to-be-ex wife.

One subplot this week is that Whitehead (Sam Hennings) is terrible at gunwork and needs help from Sutton (DJ Qualls), who is, surprisingly, a crack shot. The other subplot finds Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodward) in parental angst over a schism with her daughter, who she has learned is engaged to be married.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Memphis Beat, "Inside Man"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Memphis Beat, "Inside Man"
Originally Aired June 21st, 2011

This week Elvis-loving Dwight exchanges one King for another.
  • This week Elvis-loving Dwight exchanges one King for another.
Episode Named After: So it looks like Memphis Beat has abandoned its first-season pattern of naming episodes after Elvis songs that would then figure in the show. This time the generic episode title refers to the heist plotline.

Plot Synopsis: This week's show opens at what is presumably an East Memphis (or eastern suburbs) McMansion where there's been a home break-in with a floor safe missing. Dwight (Jason Lee) suspects a return of the infamous "Fox Meadows Burglars." A public call for information leads to a mysterious, awkward tipster, Keith Grant (Reno 911's Thomas Lennon) who has a lot of knowledge about the crimes. The man seems mild-mannered, but he reminds Dwight of "the ones who end up running down Beale Street naked with a samurai sword."

After discovering that he's studied the earlier "Fox Meadows Burglars" jobs more thoroughly than the MPD, Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) urges Dwight and partner Whitehead (Sam Hennings) take on Keith as a consultant, and he ends up helping them solve a case that is plaguing "all the rich folks of Memphis."

A wan subplot concerns Whitehead's attempt to "rebrand" himself.

Respect (Memphis music featured in the episode): The reduced interest in Memphis music doesn't end with the episode titles this season, as the amount of music — and Memphis-specific music — is on the decline. The Muddy Waters' identified "I'm Ready" and the Ray Charles' identified "You Don't Know Me" pop up, but in other versions I couldn't ID. The Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" is head. Most prominently is B.B. King's "When It All Comes Down," which is used four times, twice sung by one character to another in the form of a serenade.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Craig Brewer's Footloose Trailer Debuts

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 9:53 PM debuted the trailer tonight for Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer's upcoming remake of the ’80s hit Footloose. Look close for a glimpse of Memphian and Brewer regular Claude Phillips in a speaking role. The film is set for an October 14th release:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sound Advice: The Bo-Keys at Levitt Shell Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 8:46 AM

It's been seven years since the Bo-Keys — the "classic" Memphis soul band founded by bassist/producer Scott Bomar — released their debut album, The Royal Sessions. Next week the band releases the follow-up, the excellent Got To Get Back!, which features vocal contributions from a bevy of soul and blues greats — Stax's William Bell, Hi's Otis Clay, Atlantic's Percy Wiggins, and blues harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite.

Bell, Clay, and Wiggins — with local singer Sir Henry Ivy replacing Musselwhite — will join Bomar and his band — including classic-era Memphis session players such as guitarist Skip Pitts and drummer Howard Grimes — for a record-release show at the Levitt Shell on Saturday night.

I talked to Bomar and previewed the album and show in this week's paper.

Here's a brief in-studio documentary about the recording of the album's title track:

The Bo-Keys "Got to Get Back !" Mini Doc from Electraphonic Recording on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The "Movies" List: Kid Posses

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM

This week's theme for my weekly "Movies" segment on the Chris Vernon Show was "kid posses," movies that are built around a group of children (i.e., more than two), based off current box-office leader Super 8, J.J. Abrams' homage to Carter- and Reagan-era Steven Spielberg films:

5. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004): Harry Potter and his sidekicks and classmates — particularly Emma Watson's Hermione — are the most prominent "kid posse" in modern movies, and this third installment in the film adaptations, directed by the great Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama, Tambien, Children of Men), is the best of the series (so far), with an investment in character and an organic filmmaking quality in stark contrast to the amusement-park rides crafted by Christopher Columbus in the first two films.


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Outtakes With The Angel Sluts' Harry Koniditsiotis

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 1:01 PM


Hardworking local punk rockers The Angel Sluts will celebrate the release of their new E.P., Suesie Was a Nihilist, this Saturday night at Murphy's. The record is being distributed by local independent label Fat Sandwich.

We've got a story on the band in this week's Flyer, but The Angel Sluts frontman Harry Koniditsiotis had much more to say than we could fit in the paper. Here are a few select outtakes from our conversation:

On developing an interest in music:

"I come from somewhat of a musical family. I had plenty of relatives who were classically trained. My great grand mother Sarah Sheinart Yavis founded the first all women’s orchestra in America in the late 1800s. I always joke that she was the first "riot grrrl." My brother and I grew up playing piano and horns but when I turned 15 I wanted to play drums in a rock band. My folks didn’t want that racket so I opted for a bass guitar. All my friend’s bands needed bass players so I figured that was the fastest way to get into a band. I think my mom has a video tape of us playing a couple of high school fairs. I played my first bar at 16 - Muddy Waters' in New Orleans. I thought it was awesome. Like a lot of kids we couldn’t really play our instruments very well or other people’s songs because we sucked. It was easier to write our own songs. So I just started writing."

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Indie Memphis Announces Concert Film Series

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 11:49 AM


After experimenting with bringing movies back to Overton Park during the past two Indie Memphis Film Festivals, Indie Memphis and the Levitt Shell are partnering for a summer “concert film” series that will kick off on July 1st.

The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s star-laden 1978 documentary on the Band’s final concert, which also features performances from Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and Muddy Waters, among others, will lead off the series, which will run for seven consecutive Friday nights, culminating in an “audience choice” screening on August 12th.

In between, selections will include Radiohead: Live in Prague (7/8), the seminal Altamont-era Rolling Stones doc Gimme Shelter (7/15), the partly Memphis-filmed U2 tour diary Rattle & Hum (7/22), the George Harrison-organized ’70s classic Concert for Bangladesh (7/29), and the all-star blues concert film Lightning in a Bottle (8/5).

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Memphis Beat, "At the River"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Memphis Beat, "At the River"
Originally Aired June 14th, 2011

Memphis Beat — TNT's set-in-Memphis, filmed-in-New Orleans, borderline-anachronistic cop procedural — returned for a (somewhat surprising) second season last night, bringing us more of Jason Lee's Elvis-loving MPD detective Dwight Hendricks and his colorful coterie of sidekicks.

Jason Lee is back in TNTs Memphis Beat, which somehow returned for a second season last night.
  • Jason Lee is back in TNT's Memphis Beat, which somehow returned for a second season last night.
As was the case last season, we're going to keep tabs on this — with an eye on the show's notion of "Memphis." Memphis Beat recap originator Greg Akers and I will be tag-teaming the show again this season. With Greg away on paternity leave at the moment, I'm leading off:

Episode Named After: This is unclear. Last season, every Memphis Beat episode was named for a song recorded by Elvis Presley. That appears to not be the case for season two. I'm guessing "At the River" is not a reference to the 1997 single by techno outfit Groove Armada. Instead, it's likely a religious/gospel reference. But is it to the gospel standard "Shall We Gather at the River" or to "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" (Lyric: "At the river, I stand/Guide my feet, hold my hand")?

Plot Synopsis: The episode opens with a dead cop and a bullet shell found in the grass on the banks of the river. Lt. Rice (Alfre Woodard) splits up partners Dwight and Whitehead (Sam Hennings), having Whitehead work the murder and having Dwight pair up with a (comely) new Internal Affairs agent, Claire (Beau Garrett), while she looks into questions surrounding the late policeman.

New addition Beau Garrett, as St. Louis native Claire, gives Lees Dwight a romantic interest and cultural foil for Season Two.
  • New addition Beau Garrett, as St. Louis native Claire, gives Lee's Dwight a romantic interest and cultural foil for Season Two.
The investigation into the fallen officer opens up connections to gun-running and a white supremacist group, the Resistance Militia. It also leads to an exploding trailer that allows Dwight and Claire to dive forward in front of the flames — an action cliché that Memphis Beat deploys without a trace of irony. Meanwhile, a subplot reveals tensions between Rice and Whitehead that subtly hints at race and gender issues.

As usual, the procedural stuff is run of the mill. More interesting is Claire, a new addition to the show and to Memphis ("I was a beat cop in St. Louis for five years — got to a glass ceiling I couldn't break through," she explains) that opens up some potentially fruitful avenues for the show, not counting the unavoidable romantic subplot.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Bob Dylan Tickets On-Sale Today

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Bob Dylan will kick off the summer season at the Mud Island Amphitheatre with a concert on July 30th, with classic-rocker Leon Russell opening.

Tickets go on sale this morning at 10 a.m. via, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The "Movies" List: "Americans" in Paris

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 5:56 PM

For my second week back on the "Movies" beat — the film recommendation bit I'm doing during my weekly segment on The Chris Vernon Show — the topic is "Americans" in Paris, based on the new Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris, which opens in Memphis tomorrow and stars Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter on holiday in the City of Lights. (My review here.)

So here are my Top 5 non-French films set in Paris:

5. The Dreamers (2004): Director Bernardo Bertolucci's second sexually provocative film about an American male in Paris, following the more titanic but also more dated 1972 landmark Last Tango in Paris. Here young American Michael Pitt has a meet-cute with Parisian siblings Eva Green and Louis Garrel at the cinema in the days leading up to the May 1968 national protests and ends up living with them while their parents are away, resulting in an emotionally and sexually complicated triangle. Full of references and homages to the classic Hollywood and French New Wave films the characters love. The title is both sympathetic and a critique. My original review here.


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On Tap Tonight: Concerts and Screenings

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Weekends are supposed to be the busiest time for concerts and film screenings, but tonight's about as loaded as it gets.

Over at the Brooks Museum of Art, there's a concert and screening combo in the form of the experimental documentary Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, which screens twice tonight — at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. — each time with live musical accompaniment from Brendan Canty of hardcore legends Fugazi and members of the band Bitter Tears. Tickets are $12 for museum and Indie Memphis members and $15 for non-members. More info here.

Additionally, the Orpheum Summer Classic Movie Series kicks off with a screening of To Catch a Thief, the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock romantic thriller co-starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. To Catch a Thief is a merely good film from a great director, but seems to be the title the Orpheum has embraced. The series continues tomorrow night with the Coen brothers' The Big Lebowski. Screenings begin at 7:15 each night. Tickets are $7.

David Allan Coe
  • David Allan Coe
On the concert front country, outlaw-country icon David Allen Coe — perhaps best known as the author of "Take This Job and Shove It" — will perform at Handy Park on Beale Street tonight. He'll be joined by Brad Kessler. Admission is free with a $10 minimum food and beverage purchase. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, a few miles southeast, at Snowden Grove Amphitheatre, there's a whole lot more country music going on, as septuagenarian legend Willie Nelson brings his Country Throwdown Tour to town. Nelson will be joined by contemporary outlaw-style artist Jamey Johnson and a long list of up-and-coming country acts. More info here.

With country happening downtown and in Mississippi, Midtown is hosting a couple of promising rock shows tonight. At Minglewood Hall, New York-based electronic duo Ratatat performs at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. And at the Hi-Tone Café, Austin psychedelic rockers the Black Angels perform. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $13.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Memorial Services Announced for Beale Ambassador Rudy Williams

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 8:54 PM

The Beale Street Merchant's Association has released memorial information for Rudy Williams, the ubiquitous trumpet player who often graced the entrance to King's Palace Café. Williams, who had been missing for several days, was found dead last Tuesday in a wooded area close to his Whitehaven home. Williams' death is believed to be from natural causes.

The memorial information is as follows:

The Rudy Williams Music Memorial Service will be [Tuesday] from 5-7 p.m. at NJ Ford and Sons Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church on South Wellington at 11 a.m. on Wednesday June 8th. The Beale Street Funeral Procession Motorcade will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and will proceed East on Beale From 2nd at Blues City Cafe and end at W.C. Handy Performing Arts Park. Musicians, Family or Friends interested in being in the procession can meet at 2nd and Beale after 12:30 to participate. The Burial will be in the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery at 2 p.m.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Return of the "Movies" List

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 2:35 PM

After a long hoops-season hiatus, I brought back my "Movies" segment as part of my weekly appearance on The Chris Vernon Show (730 AM Fox Sports) yesterday. (Barring the occasional schedule change or additional drop-in, I join Verno each Thursday afternoon from 5 to 6 p.m.)

The deal with the "Movies" bit is that I recommend five films each week based on a different topic, usually — but not always — connected to something that's new in theaters or big at the box office. This week's comeback list was "Wedding Preparation" movies, based on two current box-office hits, The Hangover Part II and Bridesmaids.

In addition to bringing back the radio segment, I'm going to (attempt to) follow up each Friday by posting the lists here.

And so it goes:

5. The Best Man (1999): The writing here is a little too wooden at times, but this gives a generation of attractive, able young African-American actors (Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, etc.) the grown-up showcase that's still too rare. A group of college-era friends reunite when two are getting married and various old issues erupt. Written and directed by Malcolm Lee. Produced by his cousin, some guy named Spike.


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The Onion's AV Club Visits Memphis Landmarks

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

The Onion's AV Club is doing an online travel series called Pop Pilgrims, in which a three-man crew is road-tripping to visit 36 pop culture landmarks around the country and shooting five-minute videos at each destination — one city a week for 12 weeks, three landmark locations in each city. Among the initial stops have been California locations that are featured in films such as Vertigo, The Graduate, and Reservoir Dogs. The crew's visit to Memphis is featured on the site this week. The three Memphis locations featured are:

The Arcade Restaurant, where they visited with Shangri-La Projects' Sherman Wilmott to talk about his experience as a production assistant on Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train:

Memphis: Arcade Restaurant - Set of Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train

Ardent Studios, where they talked to owner John Fry and studio manager Jody Stephens about the studio's history.

Sun Studio, where they took in the studio tour, including getting some input from Goner Records' owner Eric Friedl.

Bonnaroo Ticket Giveaway

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 11:33 AM

This afternoon, we'll be giving away Bonnaroo tickets through Facebook and Twitter.

There will be 4 separate drawings, each with a trivia question about this week's Memphis Flyer.

You can enter as many drawings as you like, but you cannot win more than once.

Here's the schedule of the drawings:
Twitter - 2pm
Twitter - 2:30pm
Facebook - 3pm
Facebook - 3:30pm

At the appropriate time, I'll send out the link to the entry form and trivia question. You'll only have 15 minutes to answer each question, so Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook so you don't miss your chance!

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