Monday, October 23, 2006

Feds Bust 10 in Memphis Prostitution Ring

Posted By on Mon, Oct 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

While Memphis was making headlines as the nation’s second most-violent city, 150 law enforcement officers from local and federal agencies were shutting down six Memphis brothels that brought in prostitutes from New York, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Mexico.

United States Attorney David Kustoff announced the arrest and indictment of ten Hispanic men charged with running the prostitution ring between May, 2004 and October 13, 2006, when the arrests were made.

The women charged $30 for 15 minutes of sex, according to the indictment, which also states that customers were given a bead or poker chip to signify that payment had been made.

Kustoff made the announcement at a press conference Monday along with FBI Special Agent in Charge My Harrison and Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin.

Godwin said police make prostitution arrests all the time, but he was “totally taken aback” at the international scope of the prostitution ring.

Authorities said 150 law enforcement personnel were involved in the case. The women were not charged but they are expected to testify against the men who ran the operation

Time For A Tennessee Quake?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Okay, we’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news when it comes to the impending Tennessee earthquake. The good news is that one quake doesn’t beget another, so says Monday’s New York Times. The 6.4 quake off Peru wasn’t because of the 6.8 quake in Papua New Guinea or the 6.7 quake in Hawaii last week.

The bad news? The United States Geological Survey estimates that there is a quake of 6.0 or higher somewhere in the world every two and a half days.

Or read the Flyer’s take on what will happen in Memphis when the inevitable happens.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Infamous Memphis Censor Built Lincoln American Tower

Posted on Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 4:00 AM

With all the news about the Lincoln American Tower — one of four downtown buildings heavily damaged or destroyed in last week’s downtown blaze — so far nobody has mentioned the building’s most famous — some would say infamous — tenant.

Lloyd T. Binford, president of the Memphis branch of the Columbia Mutual (later Lincoln American) Insurance Company, had the gleaming white tower built in 1925 overlooking Court Square. But insurance was just his day job; Binford made a name for himself here and across the country as head of the Memphis Censor Board, a job he held from 1928 to 1955. And what a censor he was.

Because he had once been robbed while working as a mail clerk on a train, he forbade the showing of any westerns that featured train robberies. He hated Charlie Chaplin, calling him “that London Guttersnipe” and “a traitor to decency and virtue,” so refused to allow theaters here to show any Chaplin movies. Because Binford disapproved of Ingrid Bergman’s affair with Italian film director Roberto Rossellini, her films were blackballed too. After all, the actress “was living in open and notorious adultery.”

He banned such classics as Rebel Without A Cause because, he claimed, it “promoted juvenile delinquency.”

More troubling, though, was Binford’s attitude towards blacks. Though insisting he was not a racist, he made film distributors here actually cut out scenes from movies that showed blacks and whites on an equal footing — such as a classroom scene in Curley (1947), for example, that happened to show black and white children attending a school together. “The South does not recognize social equality between the races,” he explained. Lena Horne’s segment was snipped completely out of Ziegfield Follies (1946), and he banned Imitation of Life (1934) and Brewster’s Millions (1945) because “they gave too much prominence to negroes.”

Binford made Memphis a laughing stock. National publications mocked our city, with Time magazine saying Binford had “been sniffing too many magnolias.” Movies he censored were called “Binfordized” and it’s a fact that Memphians saw films that were shorter than those shown in other cities, though they never realized what had been cut from them.

Nevertheless, he ran the Memphis Censor Board with an iron fist for almost three decades. He died in 1957, and is buried in Elmwood, but his lasting monument in Memphis is the Lincoln American Tower, where he had offices on the top floor.

Bill Cosby at the Orpheum

Posted on Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 4:00 AM

After the levees in New Orleans broke late last August, along with everything and everybody else, Dillard University -- a historically black liberal-arts school founded in 1869 -- was flooded and suffered catastrophic damage -- $347.6 million worth. The water alone wrecked the first floor of all of Dillard's dorms, its International Center for Economic Freedom, theater, and Information Technology Center. Wind and fire did further damage campus-wide. In the aftermath, Dillard has lost half its students and has had to reduce faculty and staff by two-thirds.

Thankfully, the story doesn't end there, and there are a couple reasons to have hope for Dillard. The first is symbolic: The campus' many beautiful live oaks survived the storm and remain hearty and hale. The other is substantive: Comedian Bill Cosby is putting on a show on Saturday, October 21st, at The Orpheum Theater to raise money for the school.

One hundred percent of the evening's profits will go to Dillard's Katrina Scholarship fund. And this isn't a touring show, either. It's a one-off night of comedy, here in Memphis, the location personally selected by the Cos.

It might be chilly that night, so put on your favorite multicolored sweater, get out your checkbook, and head down to The Orpheum for a night of sage comedy and contribution.

For information on the show, go the Flyer's searchable online calendar.

Volunteer Memphis and Hands On Memphis Merge

Posted on Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Volunteer Memphis is a group that matches people to volunteer projects. Hands on Memphis is another group that matches people to volunteer projects. Yesterday, it was announced the two groups will merge.

Ken Hall, former excutive director of Hands on Memphis, said the merger will help the nonprofits that both groups serve.

The new group will probably not be called Hands on Memphis Volunteers. A name will be announced in the future.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

First Peek of Libertyland Doc

Posted on Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Tonight at 9 p.m., on the last evening of the Indie Memphis Film Fest, Mike McCarthy will screen Memphicentric, a mix of the local filmmaker's old and new work. Among the offering is a sneak preview of Destroy Memphis, the documentary about the effort by grassroots group Save Libertyland! to keep the amusement park open. The screening is at Muvico.

A closing night party for the film fest follows at 11:30 p.m. at Earnestine & Hazel's.

Northwest Eyes China Route

Posted on Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Northwest, Continental, United, and American airlines all want to go to China.

The four airline carriers have been asking customers to sign petitions to show their support for a proposed route to China. Only one airline will be awarded the privilege, however, because the U.S. and Chinese governments have only agreed to add one route.

Northwest’s proposed service to Shanghai would be a nonstop flight from Detroit. Ninety-five other American cities — of course, one is Memphis — would connect to Detroit.

Read The Detroit Free Press article. To sign Northwest’s petition, click here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Runway Debut of Timberlake's Fashion Line

Posted on Wed, Oct 18, 2006 at 4:00 AM

"Timberlake's duds are disco-ready," according to an AP report about a fashion show for William Rast, a line of clothing Timberlake and a friend created about a year ago.

The show, the runway debut of William Rast, was held in a Hollywood nightclub and was attended by JT's girlfriend Cameron Diaz, Nicky Hilton, and Patrick Dempsey, among other stars.

The show concluded with a dance-off.

Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

Posted on Wed, Oct 18, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Just in time for Halloween, local orthopedic center, the Campbell Clinic passes along some tips from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand on how to carve a pumpkin safely.

• Carve at a clean, dry, well-lit area. Any moisture on hands, tools, or cutting surfaces can cause slipping that can lead to injury.

• Always have adult supervision and leave the carving to adults. It only takes a second for an accident to occur. Let kids draw the pattern on the pumpkin and help scoop out the seeds. When it is time to start cutting, always cut away from the body in short, controlled strokes.

• Use pumpkin carving kits. These kits contain special knives that have serrated edges. These knives are less likely to get stuck in the pumpkin skin, and are not sharp enough to cause deep cuts if they have to be wedged free.

• If an injury occurs, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be required.

Ken Jennings' Take on Memphis

Posted on Wed, Oct 18, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings was in Memphis last weekend for the Southern Festival of Books. Judging from his blog entries — which refer to Elvis glasses, coleslaw, and a sexy elevator — it sounds like he had a good time.

Gest/Minnelli Reality Show on YouTube

Posted on Wed, Oct 18, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Not long before the David Gest and Liza Minnelli marriage crumbled, they were working on a reality series for VH1.

The show never made it to air, but you can now watch the pilot on YouTube.

Freedom, Sedarises

Posted on Wed, Oct 18, 2006 at 4:00 AM

It was an interesting Tuesday evening at the Cannon Center. In one part, Stevie Wonder received the National Civil Rights Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Freedom Awards ceremony. In another, humorist David Sedaris read several of his essays and talked about possibly moving to Japan to quit smoking. Or try to, for the first time in his life.

And, yes, we know that’s a picture of Amy Sedaris, David's sister. David declined to tell any “Amy stories” — saying now that she was known it felt like gossip — so to the audience member who asked, we hope this offers some solace. Oh, and she has a new book out, so you can read about her yourself.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Memphian a Playboy Babe

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Lissome Clare Grant, a Memphis native and actress who appeared in Walk the Line and Black Snake Moan, is currently Playboy’s "Babe of the Month." Now, before you start drooling on yourself, she’s not naked or anything. Scantily clothed, yes, but not naked. But you should buy the magazine anyway, you know, just to support a Memphian.

Using Unused Prescription Drugs

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2006 at 4:00 AM

What does a research associate at MIT have in common with Dr. Scott Morris, head of Memphis’ Church Health Center? They both want to put prescription drugs — specifically those tossed in the trash or gathering dust in medicine cabinets — into the hands of needy people who can’t afford them. “We’re going to start [recycling the drugs] as soon as we get totally comfortable with the legal issues,” Morris told a reporter for The Boston Globe. “I’m totally enamored with the possiblity.” Read it all here.<

Jerry Lee Lewis Featured in Vanity Fair

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis is profiled in the November issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

“The title of his much-anticipated studio album, Last Man Standing,” says VF, “couldn’t be more fitting as Jerry Lee Lewis reinforces his status as one of rock-and-roll’s founding fathers.” So begins the magazine’s last-page “Proust Questionnaire,” which includes such modest answers to their standard questions as: “What talent would you most like to have?”

“The one I’ve got!” says Jerry Lee.

“What is your most marked characteristic?”

“My left hand is dynamite!”

And “What is your motto?"

“Live and let live, but get keep outta my way!”

For more, including the Killer’s favorite hero, the greatest love of his life, and his greatest fear (none of them what you might expect, either), you'll have to pick up the issue. November VF isn't online yet.

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