The excitement surrounding the statue of Johnny Cash sculpted by Mike McCarthy brought back memories of the two times I saw Cash in person. On one of those occasions I “interviewed” him - as in ask him a few questions for a story.
Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, were in Memphis in 1986 as special guests at a dinner for a Jewish women’s organization, as I recall. I covered the event and wore a tuxedo. I remember Cash was friendly. My favorite souvenir from that night was a photo taken backstage by Michael McMullan. It’s sort of a bizarre gathering: Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Mayor Bill Morris, and me. Everybody is turned in a different direction like we’re all cardboard cutouts. I’m talking to Kristofferson. That year, Cash, Jennings and Kristofferson - three members of the Highwaymen - starred in the movie, Stagecoach.
I also saw Cash in concert one year at the Mid-South Fair when the event still was in Memphis. Music was featured during intermission, if I remember correctly, during the rodeo. They wheeled a trailer/stage with Cash and his band onto the grounds. It was very cool.
Another memory of Cash is a recent one. During the Grand Auction, part of the Memphis Wine + Food Series at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, I was impressed by a striking portrait of Cash that was included in the live auction.
The artist, Charlie Hanavich, and his wife, Helen, attended the event. I didn’t get to talk at length about the portrait at the time, so I recently called Atlanta-born Hanavich, who now lives in Miami, to find out more about his acrylic-on-canvas painting.
When someone with Brooks talked to him about doing a painting, Hanavich says he “immediately thought of Johnny Cash.”
Cash is “not originally from Memphis,” Hanavich says. “Outside of Memphis. Dyess, Arkansas. But people kind of relate Memphis to him.”
The man in black was a perfect subject, Hanavich says. “I love rock-and-roll characters who have lived. Keith Richard is a favorite subject. This raw, leather look. Johnny has a little bit of that about him, too.”
He describes Cash as a “badass subject. I think it’s his look. And people can relate to that. You can make of it what you want. What he’s pondering. Put yourself in his shoes.”
In the painting, Cash “has this trance about him. He’s in deep thought. And you can capture that all in his profile. His chin is resting on his hand. His cigarette has ash on it half an inch long. Who knows what he was thinking?”
Hanavich only has been painting full time for three years. “I’m self taught. I was in finance for 10 years and learned to paint on nights and weekends based on my pure passion of loving art.”
For 12 years, he said, he was “behind a cubicle 14 hours a day and just took the plunge: ‘Screw this. I’m going to start painting.’”
Hanavich was asked to do another portrait for next year’s Grand Auction, but he hasn’t decided who he’s going to paint. “I’m still thinking about it,” he says.
Clay Markley released his full-length music video to his song, “Kill Me,” Sept. 9 on Facebook and YouTube. It dropped "on all social media outlets,” Markley says.
He released his single, “Kill Me,” worldwide Aug. 18 at Radio Memphis.
“[It’s] a world-wide internet radio station,” Markley says. “Their mission is to broadcast Memphis music globally.”
Before the song was played Markley was interviewed by Radio Memphis’s Ric Chetter and Diana Fryer. Markley invited friends to the release, which turned into a party. “There’s food and drink and everything and all my favorite people. It’s really cool. It’s like a birthday.”
And, he says, “You put so much work into something for so long and that day you’re working toward is so far out of sight. And when that day finally comes and all your work is finally released, it’s such a rewarding feeling and a great sense of accomplishment.”
“Kill Me” is about “a guy who’s chasing after a girl that he can’t have. It’s about loving something you can’t have. Wanting something you can’t get.”
Markley wrote, recorded and produced the track in his home studio. Jason Gillespie edited, mixed, and mastered it. Markley also shot the video and did his own promotion.
“After all these years being in different bands and being on a label, he’s now “learning what not to do. It’s like throwing noodles at the wall. Just see what sticks.”
The song now can be heard on Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes.
“Now I’m going to start recording other people, too,” Markley says. “Start recording some really good music. Get other people involved and just releasing a ton of music and Memphis talent. The focus has been on me for so long. Now I’m going to start spreading it out and getting some other artists out there who are talented.”
He currently is working with Brittany Patriss on her “Memphis electronic dance music project,” he says. He will release “Crypto,” which he and Patriss wrote together.
Two popular Memphis bartenders - Adam Hawk and Vincent Hale - will be shaking it up in new locales, which aren’t bars.
Hawk, a longtime bartender at Slider Inn, moved to Milwaukee to teach at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Hawk, who says he tended bar at Slider Inn since “day one,” was at Memphis College of Art for 10 years. He taught metal smithing, sculpture, digital and foundation classes.
He was known for his drink “The Grownup,” he says. “It was actually a drink I made up while working at The Cove - The Ginger,” he says. “And then when I moved over here I started making it.”
Hawk used to make drinks for the cooks after he got off work. He made The Ginger for a cook and “didn’t tell him the name. And he said, ‘Oh, this is a very grown-up-tasting drink.’”
The name “The Grownup” stuck. It’s made with Jameson Irish whiskey, ginger beer, bitters, and fresh lemons.
Award-winning bartender Hale retired at Bari Ristorante. He’s now a real estate agent at Crye-Leike Realtors in Quail Hollow.
Hale, who was at Bari Ristorante for four years, was in the restaurant industry for 17 years. He’s a former winner of the people’s choice award at Mix-Odyssey - the Volunteer Odyssey fund-raiser - and placed three times as Best Bartender in the Memphis Flyer’s Best of Memphis contest.
He enjoyed working in Dodici - Bari’s upstairs bar - where he had one-on-ones with customers so he could create just the right drink for them. “I came up with and I wrote around 100 cocktails in the four years I was with Bari and all are unique to me,” he says.
Hale, who said he’s a “very cautious person,” didn’t just jump into real estate. “I kind of rode around, went to the office, did some research, really dug into it and played the role of what my day would look like. And I loved it. I was surprised I loved it so much.”
As for bartending, he says, “You can’t beat the buzz you get working at relationships, getting to know people, having conversations.”
But, he says, he felt “time ticking. I didn’t have much longer in the industry before i would have to make a change. So, hesitantly and cautiously, I ended up making the change. So far, so good. I feel really good about it.”
Hale fans will get to see him behind the bar again at Bari. Sept. 21, to be exact. “I’m going back to work a Friday shift,” he says.
Another bartender asked Hale if he’d work for him and Hale agreed.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art executive director Emily Ballew Neff stood by a sign that read, “What do YOU want your art museum to say about your city?”
Brooks was one of more than 150 local organizations and businesses that took part in Exposure, a free celebration of all things Memphis, which was held Aug. 31 at AutoZone Park.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 people attended the free event where representatives from the various groups welcomed visitors to their stations so they could tell them a thing or two about what they do.
Entertainment included the Beale Street Flippers who enthralled visitors with their leaps and bounds.
This year’s Shelby Residential and Vocational Services (SRVS) “Sparkling Nights” auction, food and wine tasting gala set a record for the total amount raised, which was $224,395, says SRVS director of public relations Anthony Hicks.
More than 700 attended the event, which was held Aug. 11 at the Hilton Memphis. “It was a stellar night of food, fun and entertainment on behalf of people with disabilities,” Hicks says.
“Sparkling Nights is SRVS' largest fundraiser of the year. And since its inception in 1999, the event has raised more than $2 million to support SRVS programs, including children’s services, residential supports and employment. SRVS is the state’s largest provider of services for people with disabilities and provides services to more than 1,600 annually.”
Seventeen area restaurants provided food samples, 22 wineries and one brewery provided drinks and the live and silent auctions included 100 items.
Each year, an original painting by a local artist is in the auction. This year’s painting, Just Go to Your Mother, was by contemporary folk artist Chris Archer.
WMC-TV news anchor Joe Birch was emcee and WMC-TV chief meteorologist Ron Childers was auctioneer.
Music was from Tiger City Entertainment.
Monsignor Peter Buchignani set the mood during his invocation before dinner at the Highland Hundred football kickoff party, which was held Aug. 17 at Memphis Botanic Garden.
“Now, Lord, it’s time to get practical,” he said. “Last year, our mighty Tigers began the season by facing the fearsome Bruin. The bear is a mighty beast yet returned home having been declawed.
“This year, the Tigers again begin the season having to battle a bear. But we are confident for we know that when this battle is over, these new bears will return home and change their name to ‘Cubs.’”
Tigers head football coach Mike Norvell was special guest at the event, which drew more than 300 people.
Put those paws together and give a round of applause to The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County.
“We sold out this year’s Paw Prints Party with 350 guests and raised an estimated $140,000,” says Suzanne Ray, the society’s director of marketing and development. “This year’s gala was the largest and most successful one in over 10 years. With the help of Ron Childers as our host, an enthusiastic Board of Directors that gained seven new members this year and a host committee led by Kathy [Ferguson, Paw Prints event chair], we exceeded our expectations in raising funds for our mission of rescuing animals suffering from cruelty and neglect and of giving them a second chance at life.”
The party, held Aug. 18 at Memphis Botanic Garden, included live and silent auctions, an open bar, seated dinner and music for dancing by Twin Soul.
Pat Kerr Tigrett entertained 150 guests at her Downtown penthouse at a party to honor the new Tennessee State Museum, which opens Oct. 4 in Nashville.
The event included Memphis music luminaries, including Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, who entertained guests as he played Tigrett’s blue grand piano.
Dr. Rice Drewry sang and performed his song, “When They Were Young,” at the Dreamgivers’ Gala, which was held Aug. 25 at the Hilton Memphis.
Asked how the song originated, Drewry says. “It came about in 2011,” Drewry says. “That was my introduction to Forever Young (Senior Veterans). They were having trips to take World War II vets back to Washington, D.C., for the World War II memorial.”
Drewry and his four sisters accompanied their dad, Bill Drewry, 92, on the trip. His dad was a B24 tail gunner over Europe. “It was really kind of a powerful moment when you saw all these guys walking around the World War II memorial.
“They had their own little ceremony at the World War II memorial where an active duty soldier came out and played ‘Taps’ as the sun was starting to go down. The song came out of that. You could see some of the wistfulness in their eyes as they were thinking about their fallen comrades and that kind of thing. That was one of those songs that almost wrote itself. It came out pretty quick.”
And, he says, “A lot of visiting folks from other countries would be out there. We had people from France and Belgium that were visiting. And they were hugging these guys’ necks and crying and thanking them for saving their country. It was really a powerful moment.”
Drewry and his wife, Theresa, an emergency room nurse at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, went on several Forever Young trips. “As the medical team,” he says. “We accompanied them to Normandy. These guys were treated as rock stars over there. They were signing autographs. Everywhere they went they were stopped and thanked.”
After that, Drewry took some photos from his previous trips and put together a slideshow. “And had the song recorded with my buddy Jack Holder. He put a nice little piano on it and recorded me with acoustic guitar. We kept it pretty simple.”
Forever Young Senior Veterans founder/president Diane Hight began playing a DVD of the slide show and the song on the screens of buses on trips. “It was very well received. A lot of veterans thanked me for the song. A couple said they wanted it played at their funeral. And I actually have played it for at least one passing veteran’s funeral.”
Drewry who plays with a band a couple of times a month will perform at 12:15 p.m. Sept. 15 on the main stage at the Cooper-Young Festival.
“Feel the Freedom” was the theme of this year’s Dreamgivers’ Gala. The event honored D-Day/Normandy veterans and raised funds to send them back for the 75th anniversary of
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