Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Elvis 7's, Downtown National Night Out, Memphis Film Prize, Summerween, Fam Jam

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Mr. Sideburns 2017 contest winner Hal Struckman at Elvis 7s rugby tournament. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Mr. Sideburns 2017 contest winner Hal Struckman at Elvis 7s rugby tournament.

“All Shook Up” played in the background as rugby players competed in the Elvis 7s tournament Aug. 5 at USA Stadium in Millington.

Some players grew sideburns for the occasion. A few of them entered the Mr. Sideburns contest, where they showed off their chops and sang a bit of an Elvis song.

“This is the unofficial start to Elvis Week in Memphis,” said emcee Larry Magdovitz, who was dressed in a white jumpsuit and wore a pair of sunglasses the King would have envied.

Magdovitz described the event as “an all-day 32-team sevens rugby tournament we’ve been doing for several decades now.

“What makes it Elvis is the sheer love of Elvis that everyone shows. It requires you to grow sideburns if you want to compete in the sideburns contest.”

And, he said, “We listen to Elvis music all day long - from 8:00 until 7:00. And we just enjoy good camaraderie and a love of a nice man from Tupelo who touched all of our hearts.”

Out-of-town teams participated in the event, but player Chris Cobb probably traveled the farthest. A former Memphian, Chris now lives in Shenzhen, China. He said he traveled 1,200 miles - 16 hours on a plane - from China to Memphis.

Why? “It’s the best, most social rugby tournament in North America,” he said. “This is my first time back in two years. (I’ve been) living in China two years.”

He doesn’t have to worry about getting a group together to play rugby in China. “There’s over 1,000 rugby teams in Hong Kong. I play rugby in China. I play for the Shenzhen Dragons and the Hong Kong Valley.”

Hal Struckman won his second Mr. Sideburns title at the Elvis 7s. He sang “Suspicious Minds.” And, in a runoff with competitor Jason Mapp, he sang “Hound Dog.”

Struckman’s nickname is “Halvis.”

click to enlarge Greg Todd and Bridget Lee at Summerween. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Greg Todd and Bridget Lee at Summerween.


Halloween is about three months away, but guests celebrated a similar event Aug. 5 at The Bluff.


“Basically, it’s a concept for people to have fun in the summer,” said promoter/organizer Jack Simon. “And give them a reason to dress up. Everyone wants Halloween to be twice a year, so why not help them out with that?”

Costumes ranged from “rabbits to skeletons to just funny outfits in general,” Simon said. “I don’t think we had any Trumps this year.”

Entertainment was provided by DJ Ben Murray with drummer Zach Logan. Dude Called Rob also performed.

Summerween isn’t a new concept, said Simon. “We had it three years from 2012 to 2014.”

Why did he bring it back? “People just kept asking for it.”

click to enlarge Paul Morquecho, Shirley Morquecho, Rebecca Garcia and Kera Shane at Downtown National Night Out. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Paul Morquecho, Shirley Morquecho, Rebecca Garcia and Kera Shane at Downtown National Night Out.


People dined on Memphis cuisine, including Jack Pirtle’s fried chicken, Aldo’s pizza and Hog Wild barbecue, at Downtown National Night Out Aug. 1 at the Memphis Farmers Market pavilion at Central Station. About a dozen food services provided the fare for the event, said Marcy Siebert, president of Downtown

Neighborhood Association, which hosted the event along with the South Main Association, Blue Suede Brigade and the Memphis Police Department.

“National Night Out is sponsored by Neighborhood Watch,” Siebert said. “All Neighborhood Watches can have one. We choose to have a celebration for our Memphis Police Department and thank them for the job well done.”

They raised $615 for Police officer L. McCoy, whose apartment burned “a few nights before Downtown Night Out. We donated our proceeds to her.”

click to enlarge Gregory and Heidi Kallenberg at Memphis Film Prize after party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Gregory and Heidi Kallenberg at Memphis Film Prize after party.


Filmmakers didn’t show any nerves at the Memphis Film Prize 2017 after party, held Aug. 5 at Mollie Fontaine Lounge. The party was held after their movies were shown, but the evening before the winner of $10,000 cash was announced.

“We Go On,” directed by Matteo Servente, won the top award. The other winners were “The Game,” directed by Robb Rokk, and “Favorites,” directed by Tracy Facelli. The winners were announced at a brunch at The Arcade Restaurant.

The top three films will be screened at the Indie Memphis Film Festival, which will be held Nov. 1 through 6. Memphis Film Prize is not affiliated with the Indie Memphis Film Festival.

The Memphis Film Prize invites filmmakers from around the world to create a five to 15 minute short film. The only rule is that the film must be shot in Shelby County.

Gregory Kallenberg is founder and executive director of the Film Prize Foundation.

click to enlarge Julia Berger watches Jessi Dalton perform at Fam Jam - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Julia Berger watches Jessi Dalton perform at Fam Jam


Tuesday isn’t even hump day, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Railgarten at 2166 Central is holding its “Fam Jam” between 6 and 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. Live music will be featured each week.

“The idea behind it is to create a weekly event that has live music, but that also appeals to people’s kids,” said Martha Hample with Railgarten. “So, there’s stuff to do for the kids.”

They plan to feature bands that are “more kid centric,” she said. “And doing virgin drinks in the tiki bar. “Just a night adults can come and get out of the house and bring the kids.”

The Rusty Pieces played Aug. 1. The duo even captivated Julia Berger, 3, whose dad, Taylor Berger is one of the Railgarten partners. Taylor and his son, Andrew, 6, sat in the audience and watched an entranced Julia as she stood on stage and watched Jessi Dalton play guitar.

Elvis 7s from Michael Donahue on Vimeo.

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