Friday, December 12, 2008

Learn to Entertain ... Or Be Entertained This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Throwing a holiday party? We can't all be Martha Stewarts, but you can get pretty close with the free tips provided at Whole Foods' Giving and Entertaining Workshop Saturday morning. The in-store event features inexpensive gift ideas, an edible gift demo, entertaining tips, and free samples. The workshop runs from noon to 3 p.m.

Shopping local doesn't apply only to produce. Give back to fellow Memphians by purchasing signed copies of books by local authors Joseph M. Cooper Sr., Bryan Davis, Perre Magness, John Pritchard, and Andre Bruce Ward. The authors will be on hand at Davis-Kidd's Home for the Holidays book event on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Who knew you could help animals and drink beer at the same time? At the Barks and Brews Beer Tasting, you'll sample winter beers and raise funds for the DeSoto Animal Rescue Society. Since the group will also be hosting a pet adoption at the event, you could even go home with a new furry friend. Barks and Brews runs from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Carriage Manor off DeSoto Road in Byhalia, Mississippi.

Don't stop there. If you want to continue helping animals, learn how to take the next step at a Vegetarianism Lecture at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library. Food Awareness founder Vaughan Dewar will present a slide show of facts and figures on how giving up meat can help your health, the environment, and factory-farmed animals. The lecture begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

As we head into 2009, things are already starting to look a lot like 1929. But don't fret over the economy. Learn to quell that stress level with songs that helped folks get through the tough economic times in the 1930s. Michael Lasser talks about the music of the Great Depression in a lecture at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens on Sunday at 2 p.m.

For more calendar events, check out the Memphis Flyer's searchable online calendar.

Facing Financial Peril, Lambuth University Looking for Way out of Crunch

Posted on Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The economic crunch hasn't just snarled up media careers, financial institutions, and the future of the American automobile industry. It has put in jeopardy academic institutions as well. Responding on Friday to a rumor that Lambuth University of Jackson, Tennessee, was planning to close its doors, Alicia Miller, an information officer for the school, said, in effect, that reports of Lambuth's death had been greatly exaggerated but confirmed that “some changes” would be made to deal with growing financial pressures.

"We're still in the business of educating students, and we'll proceed with the spring term as usual," said Miller, who went further and indicated that some currently vacant administrative positions at the university, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, would be filled. But she suggested that the school's new interim president, Dr. Jerry Israel, who took up his position only last week, had some major restructuring in mind.

The Jackson Sun, in a lengthy article published last Sunday, quoted Israel as saying he was "focused on budget, personnel, recruitment and retention, creating a senior management team and taking recommendations from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools."

The newspaper reported that the United Methodist Church Memphis Conference held an emergency meeting Saturday to deal with the university's economic woes and announced a fundraising drive to help Lambuth meet an $800,000 shortfall. Board of trustees chairwoman Mary Cay Koen told the Sun , "the university has never had a spending problem, but a historic revenue issue" and that "the $800,000 will help the university make it to the end of the semester and into the next."

There were 815 students enrolled at Lambuth during the fall semester, including many from Memphis.

--Jackson Baker

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pauly Shore at Comedy, TN This Weekend

Posted on Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Comedian Pauly Shore has been in and out of the public eye throughout the past couple decades, first "wiezing" his way into our lives in the late ’80s as a quirky, wild MTV VJ, hosting Totally Pauly and a slew of spring break parties. He made a handful of popular (and a couple not-so-popular) movies in the ’90s and then left the scene until the release of his 2003 star-studded comeback movie, the "mockumentary" Pauly Shore is Dead.

Shore will be performing his stand-up act at Comedy, TN December 12th and 13th, two shows each night, at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m.

The Flyer recently spoke with Shore via telephone, and here’s what we talked about.

-- by Shara Clark

Flyer: What was it like growing up in your mom's club, the Comedy Store?

Shore: It was like Boogie Nights. I was just like any other kid, you know. I think the fact that I haven't been in and out of rehab and the fact that I still have my brain in my head is a pretty good testament to myself and the choices I've made since.

What comedians were you inspired by?

Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a comedian?

Probably when I went downstairs to a smoke-filled room around 3 a.m. and told my mom to shut up because I had school in the morning, and everyone laughed. They didn't take me seriously.

With all the ups and downs in your career, was there any point in time when you considered a different career path?

No. Comedy is one of those things -- you don't choose it; it chooses you. I think the true artists are the ones who do it no matter what.

A while ago I talked to John Travolta, and I basically asked him, "When things weren't happening for you, what did you do?" He says, "I just kept doing the same thing. Whether you're in front of a camera or not, you still act and do comedy."

With Pauly Shore is Dead, what essentially were you aiming to accomplish?

First of all, it was therapy. It was kind of letting go of the past and opening up to the future. Also, every time someone in this business is predominantly out there and they're big and then they're not, people immediately think something bad happened to them. So to poke fun at that, I wanted to do a make-believe story of what I wanted people to think happened to me.

I know that Pauly Shore is Dead was satirical, but do you really regret the fact that you’re known as the 'Wiezel'? Ultimately, it made you a household name all over the world.

It's definitely good and bad. It's good because people know me, and they smile when they see me, but it's bad because I'm typecast. But I'm not giving up. Before MTV and before any of my movies, I was just acting. And I think I'm a really good actor, too.

What else have you been working on?

I have Adopted. It's an 80-minute "mockumentary," sort of like Borat, where I go to South Africa looking for a child to adopt. That should be out next year.

I read that you're interested in playing a dramatic character. What sort of film are you thinking?

I think a romantic comedy would be good; kind of like a mature version of my other movies. Also I'd like to play a bad guy, like an asshole boss or something.

You're on a stand-up tour now. Do you prefer stand-up or film?

I like it all.

What sort of material is in your act?

I talk about my career, my movies, and everything that's going on in the world. I mean, the economy -- obviously, you've got to talk about that. That's the funniest subject of them all. It's all about relating to the people, and then after that you can take them on a ride.

I heard you were a vegetarian. Is that true?

No. I love steak once in a while, just very rarely. I need my protein. I’ve got to stock up, you know.

So are you going to munch on some Memphis barbecue while you're here?

Oh, I don't know. I'm kind of sketchy on barbecue right now. Like, the whole ribs and shit, it's kind of hardcore.

Anything else I need to know?

No. Just tell people to come see me. I don't make it to Memphis very often.

Wolf River Harbor: What's That Smell?

Posted on Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The strange, smelly substance that darkened the Wolf River Harbor recently was apparently not an oil slick.

The unpleasant change in the harbor north of downtown was noticed by kayaker Elmore Holmes and others who use the waterway and the Mississippi River for recreation.

"Whatever happened happened a while before I noticed it," Holmes said. "Basically, the water is just black at the north end of the harbor."

He said it looked like an oil slick but smelled more like raw sewage. Last weekend, Holmes noticed a "bathtub ring" along the shoreline after the water level dropped. It appeared to contain a grain-like material.

"I then remembered a boater friend telling me a month or so ago that he saw workers at the Bunge plant dumping large quantities of a grain-like substance in the harbor," Holmes wrote in an e-mail to city officials and river users.

"I'm not sure how such a thing would turn the water black, but too much of anything can be harmful to a body of water," said Holmes, a woodworker who frequently uses the river for kayaking and canoeing.

Bunge Corp., located on North Second Street, is one of the commercial users of the harbor that is shared by barges and pleasure boats launched from Mud Island. The residential area of Mud Island backs up to the harbor, which has been littered with trash from storm sewer runoff. At low water, trash, odors, and pollutants are especially apparent.

Read the rest of John Branston's story here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Calling All Hotties

Posted on Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Just a reminder ... We're currently soliciting nominations for our annual Hotties issue, beginning now and running until mid- to late-January.

Nominating someone -- or yourself, if you prefer -- is easy.

Just email with your nominee's name, a little bit about them, a way to get in touch with them such as their phone number and email address, as well as, and this is very important, a picture. Of them.

We're not trying to be all superficial, but the issue is called The Hottie Issue after all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

D.A.'s Office Shuts Down Pure Passion

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced Tuesday that the D.A.'s Office and the West Tennessee Violent Crime and Drug Task Force closed as a public nuisance an adult entertainment club on East Brooks Road that was the focus of a nearly four month undercover investigation into illegal drug sales.

The owners of Pure Passion, located at 1849 East Brooks Road, have been ordered to appear before Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter on Friday, December 12.

Gibbons said his office filed a nuisance petition against Pure Passion in response to the number of complaints that illegal narcotics, particularly marijuana, were readily available, being sold, and being used inside the club. Those complaints led to an undercover operation conducted by the Drug Task Force that started in August and ended earlier this month. The Bartlett Police Department, a member agency of the Drug Task Force, assisted with the investigation by assigning an officer to go undercover.

"This investigation revealed a clear pattern of criminal activity being allowed to occur inside Pure Passion, and frankly, the combination of drug sales and other crimes reported here is putting the public at risk," Gibbons said.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mississippi Claims Memphis Is Stealing Its Water

Posted on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The State of Mississippi claims Memphis Light Gas & Water has stolen billions of gallons of water from it by siphoning from a subterranean reservoir under Desoto County and is appealing U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson’s earlier dismissal of its suit against the City of Memphis. "Mississippi doesn't own this groundwater. They can say it 31 times, but that doesn't make it so," answered Leo Bearman, attorney for the city of Memphis. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has the case, which was filed Wednesday.

Mississippi’s lawsuit against Memphis and MLGW seeks compensation for water taken since 1985 and estimates the value lost at $1 billion. The suit further says Memphis' pumps have created a "cone of depression" in the aquifer which flows under three states – Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Get Your Holiday Shopping Done This Weekend

Posted on Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Eek! Only 20 shopping days left until Christmas! Hit up these local art sales and shopping expos and put some gifts under that tree.

Got a baby boomer mom or stereotypical gay man on the shopping list? Purchase a photo of Bob Mackie's Cher doll standing in front of the Eiffel Tower tonight at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. "The Cher Show" features Hugh Busby's photographs of his Cher doll posing in front of tourist spots around the world and even a few in Memphis (think Cher in front of the Lorraine Motel). The show opens tonight from 6 to 9 p.m.

If fancy, overpriced art is out of your budget, never fear. The Made In Memphis Arts Collective features affordable local arts and crafts by Alex Smythe, Alisa Botto, Angela Goza, Carolyn Olivia Dodson-King (who makes awesome vintage-like aprons), and lots of others. The show starts at 6 p.m. tonight at 2238 Central Avenue and runs through 9 p.m.

Tour one of Midtown's oldest 'hoods and purchase local art during the Evergreen Art Walk on Saturday and Sunday. Work by Martha Kelly, Elmore Holmes, Joan Kelly, and Linda Turpin will be on display in two homes in the Evergreen Historic District. The walk runs from noon to 5 p.m. on both days. For more information (like locations), call 725-9165 or 278-1216.

Go east this weekend for the Rural Route Art Studio Tour, an annual self-guided driving tour of art studios in rural Shelby County. Pick up paintings, sculpture, and pottery at four locations and you'll get a bonus behind-the-scenes look into the workspace of some local artists. Included on the tour are the Deborah Fagan Carpenter Studio (4881 Canada), the Lugar Bronze Foundry (11379 Hwy. 64), the Agnes Stark Studio (12675 Donelson), and Eads Gallery (12370 Washington). Tours run Friday through Sunday.

Double your money at Subsidium's Carrousel of Shoppes, an annual fund-raiser expo benefiting the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. Over 100 merchants will be offering all sorts of gift items, like candles, clothing, antiques, handbags, jewelry, and art work. The expo runs until 6 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

For more weekend ideas, check out the Flyer's online searchable calendar.

What Will Happen to Overton Square?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Memphis Heritage doesn't have a plan for preventing a potential demolition of Overton Square. But they have the plan for a plan, and that's a start.

June West, Heritage's executive director spoke to a roomful of Memphians who gathered at the organization's Madison Avenue headquarters Tuesday. They were there to discuss the future of Overton Square. West told them that her organization's recent forays into activism have taught her a valuable lesson.

"I don't want to be an obstructionist. I don't want to be in an adversarial position," she said. West said she wants developers to understand that although her group is dedicated to preservation, it's not opposed to progress.

"We want [developers] to know that we're to help them in any way we can,” She said. "We don't want to show up at the last minute and tell somebody they can't do something."

Overton Square, Midtown's storied entertainment district, is currently for sale by its owners, the Colorado-based Fisher Capital Partners Ltd. In spite of West's stated goal, she, like those who came out to listen and share their ideas, wants to prevent Associated Wholesale Grocers, a potential buyer, from knocking down the buildings along the south side of Madison and building a big-box grocery store in what is now a large parking lot.

Those buildings aren't protected. If somebody wants to demolish them there's nothing that can be done to stop it except public outcry," West said.

Associated Wholesale Grocers is a large retailer-owned company that builds a variety of large, concept stores such as Price Chopper, Price Mart, Apple Market, Sun Fresh, Ca$h $aver, Alps, and Thriftway.

The crowd of about 30 people was thick with architects, as well as area residents and business owners who were interested in discovering better ways to redevelop the square that don't involve demolishing the 1920s-1930s era buildings, or bringing big box retailers, and a "Union Avenue aesthetic" to Madison and Cooper. Although the square has had problems attracting and maintaining new tenants, several area mainstays continue to thrive. Paulette's, Yosemite Sam's, Side Street Bar and Grill, Bosco's, Bayou Bar and Grill, Le Chardonnay, and Malco's Studio on the Square all do solid business. Playhouse on the Square, Memphis' only professional resident theater, is in the process of building a $10-milion performance space at the corner of Cooper and Union that will also host performances by Ballet Memphis and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

"This will bring an additional 40,000 to 50,000 people to the square every year," said Playhouse founder Jackie Nichols, who is also concerned with the fate of the French Quarter Inn, a once nice, now-dilapidated hotel on the northeast corner of Madison and Cooper. Nichols used to fill the hotel to capacity for a week during United Professional Theatre Auditions, a hugely successful national casting call for professional actors founded and hosted by Playhouse on the Square. Nichols stopped using the hotel a few years back, because it wasn't being kept up.

Ray Brown, an architect and Heritage board member who moderated Tuesday's discussion, approached the preservation effort from a dispassionate, realistic position. "We assume these buildings need to be saved," he said. "But should they be saved? That kind of thing can be done very well, and it can be done poorly."

Brown is planning a 4-day charette (planning session) that will bring together community members, area stakeholders, architects, designers, and policy experts, who will develop a plan to physically and financially re-imagine the square. Brown, who described the unique (for Memphis) urban space as an "extended neighborhood center," said that it had to be a plan that will work in the current environment, and that will attract money to the area.

"A year ago, somebody might have suggested building out condos as part of a mixed use development," Brown said, acknowledging how quickly conventional wisdom regarding development can change. "Now, that's probably not a good idea. Maybe we should include apartments in the plan ... I don't know."

For more information on how to get involved with Memphis Heritage's efforts to improve and preserve the character of Overton Square visit

-- Chris Davis

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MCS Overage Academies to Begin in January

Posted on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Early in his tenure, Memphis City Schools deputy superintendent of academic operations Irving Hamer identified one overarching problem plaguing the district.

In August, Hamer told the school board that by 12th grade, 22 percent of the district's students -- more than a fifth -- are overage for their grade level.

In January, the district plans to begin MCS Prep Academy, a program for students 14 years old and older who are at least one year overage for their grade. In its initial stages, the academy will take 200 students from each region of the district.

To read more, visit Mary Cashiola's In the Bluff blog.

Scripps to Sell the "Rocky Mountain News"

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 4:00 AM

E.W. Scripps, the parent company of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, is putting one of its largest newspapers on the block. From the Rocky Mountain News website:

The Rocky Mountain News, Colorado's oldest newspaper, has been put up for sale by its parent company.

Citing worsening financial conditions and an expected loss at the paper of roughly $15 million this year, the E.W. Scripps Co. said it would seek a possible buyer in the next 30 days.

Scripps CEO Rich Boehne, who took the helm of the company in July, made the announcement to the newsroom this morning. He told the editorial staff the decision "would have been unthinkable just a few months ago."

Like newspapers through the nation, the Rocky has suffered from a weak advertising market and as readers increasingly turn to the Internet to get their news. Scripps last month told Wall Street that it had eliminated 400 jobs across its newspaper division and suspended its dividend in the face of advertising weakness.

More here. Read the Flyer's most recent story on the CA here.

District Attorney to Seek Death Penalty Against Lester Street Killer

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Thursday morning, a state grand jury indicted Jessie Dotson for the murders of four adults and two children found dead in a home on Lester Street in March. Three other children in the house were found alive, but in critical condition. All of the victims were either shot or stabbed.

Dotson, one of the victim's brothers, was identified by one of the surviving children. Now district attorney Bill Gibbons is seeking the death penalty, which he calls "pretty extraordinary."

In a news release, Gibbons outlined the justification for seeking the death penalty under state law: 1) the murders were committed against victims under 12 years of age; 2) Dotson was previously convicted of second-degree murder in 1994; 3) Dotson created the risk of death to two or more people besides the murder victims; 4) the murders were heinous and involved torture or serious physical abuse; 5) the murders were committed for the purpose of avoiding a lawful arrest; 6) the murders were knowingly committed when the defendant; 7) the defendant committed mass murder. -- Bianca Phillips

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lee's Legal Bills Denied

Posted on Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The City Council's MLGW committee voted down a resolution approving the release of more than $426K in legal bills for former MLGW head Joseph Lee this afternoon.

The full council already voted against the measure in October, but then the minutes of that meeting were pulled after chairman Myron Lowery suggested a compromise of a lesser amount.

"[MLGW] President [Jerry] Collins has been working with Mr. Lee and his attorneys to work out a different or the same compromise and they have been unsuccessful," councilperson Barbara Swearengen Ware told the MLGW committee she chairs.

"We have the option to approve this or deny it. If it is denied, then we could possibly spend a lot more in attorney fees, because it will go to court."

For more, visit Mary Cashiola's In The Bluff blog.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bring on the Hotness

Posted on Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is right around the corner. Then there's New Year's, MLK, and Valentine's Day.

They'll be here sooner than you think.

We mention this because our annual Hotties issue also coincides each year with Valentine's Day.

We're currently soliciting nominations for the issue, beginning now and running until mid- to late-January.

Please email with your nominee's name, a little bit about them, a way to get in touch with them such as their phone number and email address, as well as, and this is very important, a picture. Of them.

We're not trying to be all superficial, but the issue is called The Hottie Issue after all.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Do Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 4:00 AM

From JustJared at buzznet: Justin Timberlake and actress girlfriend Jessica Biel enjoyed dinner with his family on Saturday (November 29) in his hometown of Memphis.

Mr. J.T.'s mother Lynn Harless and his stepdad Paul were seen making a stop at a local art gallery. Justin and Paul must get along well–they both wore William Rast jeans (his fashion line)!

Later on, Justin and Jessica were seen taking her pitbull Tina out for a little play time at a local park. At one point, Justin lay down in the leaves and Jessica snapped a photo of him.

For more, including 47 photos, go here. Editor's note: Looks like Tom Lee Park to us, and maybe the Jay Etkin Gallery. What do you think?

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