Friday, June 28, 2013

Black Lodge Video and Craig Brewer Throw a Party

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Craig Brewer
  • Craig Brewer
With digital on demand changing the way people consume cinema Craig Brewer wants to raise Black Lodge Videos profile, and remind people that great video shops, like great record stores, aren't just a retail opportunity, but a resource.

You can read all about tonight's party here. But, even if you miss this shindig celebrating the launch of Indie Origins, a fun documentary about the Memphis film scene in the 1990's (featuring a cameo by me and some ridiculous facial hair), the DVD will be distributed free at Black Lodge with additional rentals.

Some sneak peaks at Indie Origins.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mad Men: Season Six Recap

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM

The sixth season finale of Mad Men aired Sunday night. If you're like me, you engorge yourself on each episode of Mad Men. You huff it, snort it, smoke it, mainline it, drop it, pop the lid and swallow it, inject it between your toes.

If you're like me, you watch each episode (or at least choice scenes) multiple times — schedule permitting — discuss it with anyone who will lend an ear, develop wild and complex theories, and read every episode recap online you can. (Here I'd like to publicly acknowledge the work and thought of Todd VanDerWerff on Onion A.V. Club and Matt Zoller Seitz on Vulture, upon whose shoulders this post pretends.)

In April, on my Twitter account (@gregakers) and at the behest of Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn (@flinnshady, #FF), I named my top 10 TV dramas since 2000. In a Flyer post some other time I'll name them and elaborate, but, spoiler alert, my #1 show on the list is Mad Men.

Upon naming Mad Men my top show, I said:

Five-tool TV show. Looks great, acted great, written great, entertaining about matters of import.

It has changed what I have come to want from the TV, film, and books I consume. I now value thought over plot, character over narrative.

Nothing "happened" in that episode of MAD MEN? I don't care. Peggy made this face about something Don said? MORE PLEASE.

The glacial though constant jockeying for position, reflective of changing social dynamics, true then and now. That's the show I want to watch.

That was after episode 1 of season 6. How do I feel now that the season has reached its terminus, and with but one final season to go before Mad Men rides off into the sunset? Same.

(Hereupon, I declare Mad Men Total Spoiler Alert status for this post and also presume if you're reading you know what the show's about. I'm not going to define a "mad man.")

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Memphis Wrestling Legend Jackie Fargo Dies

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

  • Strut!

Memphis wrestler Jackie Fargo, known for his trademark “Fargo Strut,” swore to the bitter end that he could still take Sputnik Monroe. “Easy,” he said. Now that the Fabulous One has been called on up to join Monroe in that big cage match in the sky, maybe the two legendary grapplers can settle things once and for all.

Jackie Fargo, easily one of the most popular and influential wrestlers to ever work the Memphis territory, died in hospital, Monday, June 24, after being found unconscious in his home Saturday. The 85-year-old Fargo had been struggling with congenital heart disease.

Fargo was a mouthy, peroxide blonde, heel brawler, who held numerous titles over the course of his lengthy career. Like most pre-WWE wrestlers he worked several territories, but was most closely associated with Memphis where he co-owned the Southern Frontier Lounge & Restaurant with Country singer/deejay Eddie Bond who passed away in March. Fargo and Bond were also instrumental in launching Jerry Lawler’s career... as a sign-painter.

Fargo vs Lawler

Lawler started working outlaw wrestling shows in West Memphis while he was employed as both a sign painter and deejay with Fargo and Bond.

"I remember going into Eddie's office when he was on the phone," Lawler told The Memphis Flyer in a 2007 interview. "He motioned for me to sit down and pick up the other receiver. And it was Jackie on the other end. He didn't like that I was talking about these outlaw shows on the radio... And he was saying, 'The kid doesn't need to be over there wrestling with those punks. Maybe we needed to get a bunch of the real wrestlers together and drive down to West Memphis on Saturday night and break some arms.'"

It was all a bluff, and Lawler called it. No arms were broken, and a week later Fargo invited Lawler to fight on TV in Memphis.

Fargo admired Lawler and called him the “smartest guy in the business.” Like Lawler he’d also gotten his start wrestling outlaw in South Carolina under the name Dickie Bishop.

I suppose it’s true to say I Idolized him,” Lawler said of Fargo in his autobiography, “It’s Good to be the King (Sometimes).

Fargo appears in Memphis Heat, an exhaustive, entertaining documentary about Memphis wrestling.

Bobby “Blue” Bland: 1930-2013

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Bobby Blue Bland at last falls Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
  • Bobby "Blue" Bland at last fall's Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
One of the key links on the road from blues to soul, Bobby “Blue” Bland, passed away yesterday, at age 83.

A Rosemark, Tennessee native, Bland first rose to prominence in Memphis as a member of the Beale Streeters, a group that also featured such future luminaries as B.B. King, Junior Parker, Johnny Ace, and Rosco Gordon.

Bland started making his solo mark in the late ’50s for the Duke label, which had relocated from Memphis to Houston, scoring R&B hits such as “Farther Up the Road,” “Little Boy Blue,” and “I Pity the Fool.”

Lending his smooth but grave baritone to material that paved the road from blues and R&B to the emerging, gospel-fueled form known as “soul,” Bland was an artistic rival of such seminal figures as Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, if not quite a commercial one. Bland's 1961 album Two Steps from the Blues remains one of the towering achievements in any of those forms and perhaps one of the most under-recognized classics in all of pop music. Among the highlights in "Lead Me On," a breathtaking record that at once suggests the depths of America's racial history and looks out to feelings more eternal and timeless.

Bland remained a traditionalist, uncrossed-over hit-maker in the ’70s, a period perhaps best remembered now for his “Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City,” later prominently sampled on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bonnaroo Slide Show

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Reporter Shara Clark wrote about the highlights of this year's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee in this week's Memphis Flyer.

Here are some shots reporter Bianca Phillips snapped at the festival that wouldn't fit into the paper.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bob Saget, Billy Idol talk Bonnaroo 2013 (Plus, your chance to win tickets!)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 4:04 PM

  • C. Taylor Crothers

The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival returns to Manchester, Tennessee next week for its 12th year, drawing nearly 90,000 music lovers to a 700-acre stretch of farmland for four days of fun in the sun June 13-16. The festival is known for its diverse bill of artists, and this year’s lineup features headliners Paul McCartney, Bjork, Mumford & Sons, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, as well as comedic performances by Daniel Tosh, Bob Saget, David Cross, and others.

In a recent telephone press conference, actor and comedian Bob Saget, legendary punk rocker Billy Idol, and festival founder and promoter Rick Farman chatted with reporters about the upcoming festival.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Bonnaroo Comedy Theater, and Bob Saget will perform two sets there on Sunday, June 16th. “I’ve done some festivals, but nothing of this height, and I’m very excited about it,” Saget said. “Lewis Black kept asking me to play Bonnaroo year after year. He said it’s one of the best festivals he’s ever been to because it’s got so much heart behind it.”

Saget said he’ll combine comedy and music in his act, pulling material from his recent comedy specials and incorporating some new material. He’ll feel out the audience, soak in the vibe, and form his act around that. “There won’t be any synthesizer screens coming on as I tell kids what they should and shouldn’t do and don’t drink beer at the Sock Hop or whatever the hell I did on Full House,” Saget said. Though he did jokingly express concern over possible mishaps during the show: “Nobody can like accidentally slingshot some ecstasy into my mouth from the audience right, where by the end of my second set, I’m just in love with everyone?” he asked. “I might wear a beekeeper’s hat in order to keep anything from coming toward my mouth.”

English rocker Billy Idol will be performing a late-night slot Saturday, June 15th and promises to play a “party set.” “It’s around midnight, and I know Bonnaroo’s pretty famous for partying,” Idol said. “In fact, I usually go on stage pretty straight these days, but I’m hoping to get the biggest contact high of all time.”

Idol’s “party set” will include hits like “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “White Wedding,” "Dancing With Myself,” and “Mony Mony,” as well as a few Generation X songs and a new song or two. Idol said the set will be a representation of all of the music throughout his career, and fans can expect “balls to the wall” energy from his performance. He is excited to play for an audience that may not come to a Billy Idol concert otherwise. “It’s even more exciting to get to come to something like Bonnaroo and play to a bunch of crazies at 12 at night and have one hell of a party,” he said. “They throw things at me, I understand. But if they come up there and they want to fuck me to death, I understand that as well.”

Bonnaroo founder and promoter, Rick Farman, is amped for this year’s festivities and said they are offering a new program to bring more of the surrounding community to the event. “This year, we’re focusing on Nashville and offering a combined package where you buy a ticket, and you have a shuttle to get down to the festival and take you back,” Farman says. This is a way for those who are curious about Bonnaroo but don’t want to commit to the four-day camping experience to get a taste of what the festival has to offer.

“Over the years, we’ve really sought to diversify the ways that you can do Bonnaroo,” Farman said. Of course, attendees can stay in an area hotel or bring their own camping gear or RV, but Bonnaroo also offers on-site RV or tent rental. “It’s always been a part of our plan to try and make Bonnaroo as attractive and accessible to a variety of different audiences and a variety of different economic levels,” he said.

Farman says the inspiration for Bonnaroo comes from European festivals like Glastonbury, Roskilde, Reading, Leeds, and Lowlands. “They’ve been going on for 30, 40, 50 years and have really become iconic and part of the overall culture of the countries that they’re situated in,” Farman said. “I think that’s what we aspire to be. We’re on our way to being 12 years in. We’ve still got a lot of growing up to do, but we really believe that we’ve got a very long life ahead of us. We couldn’t be happier about that, too."

For a chance to win tickets to Bonnaroo 2013, go here and complete a short survey. Winners will be notified via email by noon tomorrow (Friday, June 7) and must be able to pick up tickets at our office downtown.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sound Advice: Wednesday Madness w/ the City Champs and More!

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 5:10 PM

The City Champs
  • the City Champs

Live music fans in Memphis are in for a rather hectic, choice-filled treat tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 5), as there are no less than four high-quality shows taking place at various venues around Midtown - most of which are scheduled to take place concurrently.

The early-bird offering of the evening is an appearance by local soul-jazz trio the City Champs at the Levitt Shell. This show was originally scheduled for this past Saturday, but had to be re-scheduled due to the rain. The show starts at 7:30 and admission is free.

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