Thursday, September 20, 2007

Local Rally for the Jena 6 Thursday

Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A "wear black" vigil is scheduled for Thursday September 20, from 4:30p.m. to 6:30p.m. on the corner of Central Avenue and East Parkway to show support for the "Jena 6."

A series of conflicts between black and white residents of Jena, Louisiana began in September 2006 when a group of black students at Jena High School sat beneath a tree on campus that local custom had reserved for white students. The next day, three nooses were seen in the tree.

Fights between students in the aftermath of that event led to the arrest of six African-American students on attempted murder charges. One of the six has already been found guilty of aggravated second-degree battery, and a conspiracy charge.

The case has brought national attention due to the lack of charges against whites who participated equally in the violence following the noose incident. Rallies are planned across the country on Thursday.

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Monthly Flyer "Third Thursday" Party at Celtic Crossing Today

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Today (Thursday) from 5 to 7 p.m., you're invited to join Flyer staffers and friends in the Flyer's monthly Third Thursday celebration.

This month, the venue is Celtic Crossing in Cooper-Young. There will be drink specials, free hors d'oeuvres, and live music.

Be there and get your Irish on!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tomeka Hart Elected Foreperson of Federal Grand Jury

Posted on Wed, Sep 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Memphis school board member Tomeka Hart has been chosen as foreperson of a federal grand jury.

Hart's name appeared on an indictment released by the clerk's office this month. The foreperson routinely signs indictments. She confirmed to the Flyer that she has been serving since July and expects her term to last another year and a half. Typically, there is more than one grand jury operating at the same time. Grand jurors hear prosecutors present evidence in criminal cases and decide whether or not to indict.

Hart is the second prominent Memphian to serve recently as a foreperson in the federal system. In 2005-2006, former Commercial Appeal editor Angus McEachran did the job.

Former Memphis school board member Michael Hooks Jr. was indicted on federal charges several months before Hart began her jury duty. His case is scheduled for trial later this year.

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Fugitives Invited to Surrender

Posted on Wed, Sep 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Running from the law? From Wednesday through Saturday, the local division of the United States Marshals Service is offering fugitives a chance to turn themselves in exchange for possibly lighter penalties.

Fugitive Safe Surrender will be held at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church at 2231 S. Parkway East from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Prosecutors will be on site to make deals with fugitives facing outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants. It's the Marshals Services' way of cleaning up old cases, and they’re promising "no scams, no gimmicks."

After the church closes its doors on Saturday, the Marshals will begin intensive fugitive sweeps with no favorable consideration given for those captured. In other words, Safe Surrender is your best bet for freedom.

For more, go here.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Anderton's Building Sold

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A Midtown architectural icon may be poised for new life. Crye-Leike real estate company has bought the building that held Anderton's Restaurant at 1901 Madison Avenue for $700,000.

Though the company has not announced specific plans for the site, it says that preserving Anderton's distinctive façade will be a top priority.

To which we say amen, especially if the new tenant brings back those vodka gimlets.

New Competition for NWA on Memphis-New York Route

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From Look for new competition in the Memphis (MEM) to New York LaGuardia (LGA) market come December 13. Heretofore, Northwest Airlines has dominated the run. NW has a major domestic hub at MEM. Now comes word that American Airlines plans to loft what amounts to twice-daily nonstop service on the route beginning a few days before Christmas, just in time for the holiday crush.

Eagle will use a 37-passenger Embraer 135 regional jet on the route between the Home of the Blues and the City that Never Sleeps. Northwest employs full-size aircraft, while Continental Express connects Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Memphis via Embraer Regional Jets.

This is an "O&D" (origin and destination) run for American Eagle. Most passengers using the flight will be headed for New York itself, not looking to connect onward to other flights.

Of all three New York airports -- Kennedy, Newark, and LaGuardia -- it's the latter that specializes in origin and destination passage. — Cheapflights Ltd Jerry Chandler

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"Art Today" Exhibit Opens at The Brooks

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Back in 1953, a handful of Memphis women who sought to educate the public about contemporary art launched a support group for the Brooks called Art Today.

Their first acquisition was a group of paintings by Jackson Pollock, purchased shortly after his death in 1957. Over the next few years, works by other artists joined Art Today's collection, including those by Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams, to name just two.

With a goal of promoting "that which is historically significant in our time," the founders drew from their own experiences as artists and educators.

Now until December 2nd, visitors to Memphis Brooks Museum of Art can see the works of these women -- Nancy Glazer, Mildred Hudson, Adele Lemm, Marjorie Liebman, and Dorthy Sturm -- as well as a selection of some of their significant acquisitions, in a variety of media.

For more information call 901-544-60200.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Memphis" is Back -- Now With "Wow" Effect.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The headline reads: "Love it or loathe it, Memphis style with its color and kitsch is back." But it's all about the "Memphis" design group of Milan, Italy. And, yes, they're back.

From the International Herald-Tribune: There were a couple of lessons for design buffs to learn from the last round of contemporary design auctions. One was that design, like art, is becoming vertiginously expensive. Another was that Memphis is back again.

Yes, Memphis. Remember the Milan-based group of designers and architects, who split the design world after their 1981 debut? There were those who loved the postmodernist wit of their kitsch, colorful furniture, and others that loathed it. Like Diva, the De Lorean DMC-12, Bow Wow Wow singles and Betamax video cassettes, Memphis was then dismissed as an early 1980s blip. There still isn't a stick of the stuff in the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

All that's changing -- MoMA's antipathy apart. Among the most sought-after lots at Phillips de Pury's most recent New York design sale were 1980s pieces by Ettore Sottsass and Andrea Branzi, both Memphis designers, and Alessandro Mendini, who was their chief collaborator in the Studio Alchymia design group during the late 1970s. All of Memphis's hallmarks - super-sizing, dizzy colors, gaudy patterns and cheesy motifs - were visible in the most directional pieces at this spring's Milan Furniture Fair.

They will surface again at this week's London Design Festival. And cool young designers are suddenly citing Memphis and Studio Alchymia as inspirations.

"It's the wow effect," said Job Smeets, co-founder of Studio Job, the Dutch design duo whose Memphis-inspired objects often grace the windows of the Moss design store in New York. "When I open old Domus magazines and see those amazing pieces by Sottsass and Mendini, they seem so emotional and expressive. How were they able to think of those crazy shapes?"

Read the rest.

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Left Behind: The Death of Progressive Radio in Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

What's good news for sports junkies is tough luck for fans of angry leftist radio. WWTQ AM-680, once the home of Air America recently became Fox Sports Radio.

"Nobody is more disappointed than I am," says program director Jerry Dean of Air America's local demise.

So what, exactly, killed Progressive Talk in the Midsouth? There was certainly no shortage of optimism in January 2005, when Entercom, the Pennsylvania-based media conglomerate that also operates Memphis station 104.5 WRVR, launched WWTQ.

"The time is right for liberal radio," Michael Harrison, the publisher of Talkers Magazine, the leading talk radio trade publication, told the Flyer. Dean described local support for a progressive alternative to Rush Limbaugh and Mike Flemming as a "groundswell."

"It still seems like a good idea," Dean says, unable to explain why Air America attracted consistently low ratings and failed attract advertisers in solid blue Memphis. He suspects some advertisers were afraid to associate their brand with a liberal station.

"But it's not like liberals don’t buy things," Dean says. "Cars, clothes, and everything else."

WWTQ never found an effective way to localize the station. The eponymous show briefly hosted by Memphis media veteran Leon Gray showed early promise, but Gray's conservative views on issues like evolution and gay rights didn't appeal to listeners tuning in to hear Randi Rhodes and Al Franken. In June 2006, Gray and the progressive talk format parted ways.

Dean doesn't agree that WWTQ failed to localize and remains complimentary Gray's performance. "I always thought Leon did a really good job," he says.

In his obit for the Leon Gray Show, Jim Maynard, a liberal blogger and sometimes political candidate wrote, "listening to [Gray] was almost as frustrating as listening to Mike Fleming on the conservative talk 600-AM. In fact, I doubt many people could tell the difference between them if they listened to them side by side on issues like gay rights, abortion, school prayer, creationism v. evolution, etc."

Not all of the blame for WWTQ basement level numbers can be blamed on the station's failure to localize. Air America has experienced numerous setbacks nationally as well. The station lost its flagship host when comedian and author Al Franken left Air America to run for Senate in Minnesota.

--Chris Davis

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hope in Memphis

Posted on Sat, Sep 15, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Attention, Days of Our Lives fans, Kristian Alfonso, aka Hope Brady, will be in Memphis in October to showcase her jewelry line.

The soap-opera actress will be appearing at the Mistletoe Merchants promoting Hope Faith Miracles. The line includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and stationary.

Mistletoe Merchants is an annual shopping event that benefits the Mid-South Make-a-Wish Foundation. It will be held at the Agricenter International October 5th through October 7th.

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Block Party

Posted on Sat, Sep 15, 2007 at 4:00 AM

One of Memphis' most successful and most beloved festivals will happen for the 20th time on Saturday, September 15th.

The annual Cooper-Young Festival will take over the streets of that neighborhood with its usual complement of music, arts, and food.

"It's a celebration, an end-of-summer party," says Lyn Patrick Myers, the festival's director. "It's about letting your hair down and just being around other people."

Last year's festival drew an estimated 65,000 people, and Myers expects that Saturday's crowd will be just as large.

The festival's list of vendors reveals the diversity and texture that give the Cooper-Young neighborhood its eclectic personality. Nearly every conceivable art and craft will be for sale, alongside cultural vendors, and representatives from local non-profit groups.

"There's really no stereotyping here," Myers says. "It brings a lot of people together who are never around each other."

Local indie-rockers Lucero headline Cooper-Young's musical line-up. The festival features three stages with music playing all day. Also appearing are the University of Memphis Jazz Band, singer-songwriter Blair Combest, and a number of local favorites such as Vending Machine and Jump Back Jake.

The Cooper-Young Festival begins at 9 a.m. Forecasters are predicting unseasonably cool temperatures in the upper 70s — perfect weather for having fun.

"It's like throwing a party for 65,000 people," Myers says. "I love it."

Cooper-Young Festival, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, September 15th. For more info, vist the festival web site,

--Michael Flanagan


Friday, September 14, 2007

West Memphis Three on TV

Posted on Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 4:00 AM

While it's not exactly Law & Order's "ripped from the headlines" approach, it looks like the CBS show Cold Case will be basing a future episode on the 1993 West Memphis murders of three young boys.

Maureen Ryan, television critic for the Chicago Tribune notes the resemblance between the Cold Case plot and the West Memphis case, which resulted in the conviction of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin, also known as the West Memphis Three. The murders and subsequent trials have been the subject of two documentaries and several books. The West Memphis Three have become something of a cause celebre among well-known musicians and many others who believe Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin were wrongly convicted.

The Cold Case episode, scheduled to air on September 23rd, is called "Thrill Kill" and will follow the investigation of a 1994 case of two "seemingly nihilistic" teens who were convicted of murdering three 10-year-old boys.

The episode will also feature eight songs by Nirvana.

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Go Wild

Posted on Fri, Sep 14, 2007 at 4:00 AM

On Saturday, September 15th, the Memphis Zoo will close to the public at 3 p.m. to prepare for what promoters like to call "the best party in town," "a hair-raising good time," and the biggest fund-raiser of the year.

It's the annual Zoo Rendezvous, where members of the Memphis Zoological Society pay $200 a ticket to sample food and liquid refreshment from more than 80 local restaurants and bars, including Big Foot, Amerigo, Texas de Brazil, Bari Ristorante, the Melting Pot, and Tsunami. Guests will groove to The Disxtraxshuns/Funk de Ville, The Kathryn Stallins Band, the Bouffants, Doc Shots, and other musicians. Besides all that, they'll be offered the "Ultimate Tailgating Experience," courtesy of Jim N Nick's Bar-B-Q.

Sounds like a swell time -- if you're a zoo member. If not, you can sign up, and join the party next year. Call 333-6757 or go to

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Art Wars: Fisk U. vs. O'Keefe Museum

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Art wars between the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Nashville's Fisk University have ended with the museum withdrawing a lawsuit demanding that Fisk give the museum the Alfred Stieglitz collection. O'Keeffe donated the collection -- named for her husband -- to Fisk in 1949. The most recognizable piece from the collection is O'Keeffe's Radiator Building -- Night, New York. The collection also includes works by Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, and Marsden Hartley.

Fisk has since fallen on hard financial times. With the collection as one of its major assets, university president Hazel O'Leary proposed to sell two of its pieces in 2005. The O'Keeffe Museum sued, arguing that the sale would violate the rules of the donation.

O'Keeffe wrote in a 1949 New York Times editorial that the institution could sell whatever pieces it did not have use for after 25 years.

The Crystal Bridges Museum, under construction in Bentonville, Arkansas with Wal-Mart money, is said to have made a $30 million offer to split exhibition rights for the collection.

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August in September: Memphis Pays Tribute to Playwright Wilson

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Later this month, a performance by Tony Award-winning actor Charles Dutton will kick off a five-day celebration in honor of the venerated playwright August Wilson.

The August Wilson Celebration begins September 19th. For three days, Wilson admirers will be able to attend lectures, readings and discussions, even a bus tour to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

The event is presented by the Mike Curb Institute at Rhodes College with additional support from the University of Memphis and the Hattiloo Theatre. The celebration will come to a close with a party hosted by the Zora Lounge (next door to the Hattiloo Theatre on Marshall) Saturday night, September 22nd.

Tickets are free for Dutton's performance in the McCallum Ballroom in the Bryan Campus Life Center at Rhodes and are available now. The Clarksdale bus tour is $40 and by reservation only.

For more, check out Chris Davis' article in this week's Flyer.

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