Sunday, November 18, 2018

Indie Film Fest, Grilled Cheese Fest, Adapt-A-Door and more!

Posted By on Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 2:10 PM

Here's a scene with Bailey Inman and me from Joshua Cannon's film, "Waikiki Beach." I play a TV reporter in my first movie role. The movie premiered at this year's Indie Memphis Film Festival. - JOSHUA CANNON
  • Joshua Cannon
  • Here's a scene with Bailey Inman and me from Joshua Cannon's film, "Waikiki Beach." I play a TV reporter in my first movie role. The movie premiered at this year's Indie Memphis Film Festival.

I’m proud to say I made my film debut at the recent Indie Memphis Film Festival playing a TV reporter in Waikiki Beach, a film directed by my colleague Joshua Cannon.

I had one line, which I didn’t screw up. I thought I did a good job, but I didn’t see a slew of movie directors waiting to sign me to another movie after the film was shown at the Halloran Centre during the festival.

I loved the movie, which Cannon describes as a “drama comedy.”

This year’s Indie Memphis Festival was outstanding, says Indie Memphis executive director Ryan Watt. “I feel like it’s our best year ever based on the films and the response we’re getting from everybody,” he says. “Just through our surveys from the audience and the feedback. We did an audience survey. Four hundred people replied. It was our third year to do it and I would say it was our best feedback.”

Counting every type of film, including music videos and shorts, Watt says there were 275 movies shown. “Which is the most we’ve ever had.”

Austin Barringer and J. M. Stodola, whose movie trailer,  "Bumble," was in the Indie Memphis Film Festival. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Austin Barringer and J. M. Stodola, whose movie trailer, "Bumble," was in the Indie Memphis Film Festival.


Jonathan Clarke, Sakura Horiuchi, Robert Stodola, Hibah Siddiqui at Indie Memphis filmmakers after party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jonathan Clarke, Sakura Horiuchi, Robert Stodola, Hibah Siddiqui at Indie Memphis filmmakers after party.

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Van Duren, Vicki Lovelace, Wade Jackson and Diana and Jody Stephens at a showing of "Waiting: The Van Duren Story" at Malco Ridgeway. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Van Duren, Vicki Lovelace, Wade Jackson and Diana and Jody Stephens at a showing of "Waiting: The Van Duren Story" at Malco Ridgeway.

I really loved Waiting: The Van Duren Story, a documentary about Memphis singer/songwriter/musician Van Duren. It won the Audience Award for Best Hometowner Feature this year. It’s a must see if you haven’t already seen it. I did a feature story on Van Duren a couple of years ago. He told me a documentary was being made on him, but he couldn’t talk about it.

I enjoyed meeting the Australian directors Wade Jackson and Greg Cary at the festival’s filmmaker’s after party, which was held November 5th at Tad’s Indoor Trailer Park.

Wade, who stayed a while after Cary left Memphis, got up and played guitar during Van Duren’s regular Thursday night gig at Mortimer’s.

Greg Cary and Wade Jackson at the Indie Memphis filmmakers after party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Greg Cary and Wade Jackson at the Indie Memphis filmmakers after party.

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Jack Gould and Claire O'Connell sample some grilled cheese at the Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jack Gould and Claire O'Connell sample some grilled cheese at the Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival.

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I love grilled cheese sandwiches. My mother used to make killer ones on an electric toaster oven, which she procured after saving Top Value or Green stamps. She’d dot each sandwich with four tabs of butter before she put the sandwiches in the toaster. That’s all she ever used that oven for, as I recall.

All this is a long way of saying I’m a fan of Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival. This year’s event was held November 4th in front of the Hi-Tone.

One of the most arresting booths was the Mempops booth, which was manned by children.

“This is their third year to help,” says Mempops owner/founder Chris Taylor. “We got tired of doing it. (We said,) ‘You’ll take over. You do it.’” Manning the booth were the Taylor kids — Caroline and Harry — and their friends Anna Ratton, Anna Lauritzen-Wright, and Sarah Kate Ratton.


They grilled the sandwiches on an electric flat top, Taylor says.

He’s a Grilled Cheese Festival veteran. “We’ve been doing this since they’ve been doing it. It’s a block from my house, so it makes it easier.”

Bram Bors Koefoed won this year’s grilled cheese eating contest. He won a toaster and a pair of socks dotted with a pattern of little grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Bram Bors Koefoed won a toaster and a pair of socks in the grilled cheese eating contest at the Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival. With him is Brian "Skinny" McCabe. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bram Bors Koefoed won a toaster and a pair of socks in the grilled cheese eating contest at the Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival. With him is Brian "Skinny" McCabe.
Young people manned the Mempops grilled cheese booth. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Young people manned the Mempops grilled cheese booth.

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Cole Ellis at Wine & Dine. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cole Ellis at Wine & Dine.

Cole Ellis, owner of Delta Meat Market in Cleveland, Miss., was one of the chefs participating in this year’s Wine & Dine fundraiser, which was held at Tower Center atop Clark Tower. The benefit was for Special Olympics Greater Memphis.

“I thought it was great,” Ellis said.

And, he says, “I’ve done a lot of those type events and it’s always nice to do stuff like that that involves my family. Lisa’s my second cousin.”

He was referring to Special Olympics Greater Memphis executive director Lisa Taylor.

I was crazy about the cuisine Ellis served. I ate several dishes. He made a carrot toast with smoked pulled Springer Mountain chicken from Georgia and smoked onion marmalade. “We use pecan wood in our smoking process. An indigenous tree in our area.”

Getting back to that carrot toast. “I made our carrot cake recipe and then baked it into logs and made it into a French toast. Instead of an egg batter I infused it with flavors I would normally use for carrot cake.”

I wish I had some right now. I also wish I could have made it to the restaurant on its fifth birthday. But Ellis says they're postponing the birthday party and having a big Christmas party. “We’re going to do steaks for the original price for when we opened and a few other odds and ends. Frogmore stew — a shrimp boil with corn and potatoes. Basically, we’re

going to have a big party.” 

Wine & Dine - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Wine & Dine
Wine & Dine - MICHAE DONAHUE
  • Michae Donahue
  • Wine & Dine
Matthew Sheppard and Taylor Story at Wine & Dine - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Matthew Sheppard and Taylor Story at Wine & Dine

Brian Thurmond at Wine & Dine. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Brian Thurmond at Wine & Dine.

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Charles Harris and Breslin Perry at LeMoyne-Owen President's Gala - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Charles Harris and Breslin Perry at LeMoyne-Owen President's Gala

The big news at LeMoyne-Owen’s President’s Gala, held November 10th at Memphis Cook Convention Center, was the $250,000 donation from the Shelby County Commission. County Commissioners Mickell Lowery and Willie Brooks made the presentation to the school's president Andrea Lewis Miller and board of trustees chair J. W. Gibson. The money will be used for scholarships and other things.

The gala, which drew about 700, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the merger of LeMoyne College with Owen College.

The Garry Goin Band and the LeMoyne-Owen Concert Choir performed. Dinner included chicken roulade with sweet potato medallions and New York cheesecake with raspberry coulis.

Not everyone was a LeMoyne-Owen, LeMoyne or Owen alumn; Perrin Crews, who attended with his wife, Jill, wore a pair of purple and gold - LeMoyne-Owen's school colors - socks. "I may not be an alumn, but I'm here to support the school," he says.

          

Crafts & Drafts - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Crafts & Drafts

 

Grady Ferguson and Crystal Brown at Memphis Tequila Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Grady Ferguson and Crystal Brown at Memphis Tequila Festival

The two recent Memphis Flyer events — Memphis Tequila Fest and Crafts & Drafts —were big successes.

Guests tasted and learned about 30 exotic tequilas at Memphis Tequila Fest, which was held October 19th at Overton Square. Among the brands included at the event were Casamigos, Maestro Dobel, and Tres Papalote Mezcal. A mariachi band, face painting, cigars, and cuisine from Babalu, Laura’s Kitchen, and Regina’s Cajun Kitchen rounded out the festival.

About 950 people attended. Proceeds benefited Volunteer Memphis.

Crafts & Drafts, which was held Nov. 10, featured 85 local artisan and craft vendors in front of the Crosstown Concourse. About 3,000 people attended. Proceeds benefited Crosstown Arts.


Memphis Tequila Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Memphis Tequila Festival
Memphis Tequila Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Memphis Tequila Festival

Crafts & Drafts - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Crafts & Drafts

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Midtown Halloween party - on Halloween. Plus Burger Fest, RiverArtsFest and more!

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 3:42 PM

People dress  like me on Halloween, so I know what Dracula, Frankenstein, Spiderman and Spongebob must feel like on Oct. 31. This year, Coliseum Coalition president Roy Barnes .dressed as me and he and filmmaker Mike McCarthy passed out candy on McCarthy's porch on Halloween. - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • People dress like me on Halloween, so I know what Dracula, Frankenstein, Spiderman and Spongebob must feel like on Oct. 31. This year, Coliseum Coalition president Roy Barnes .dressed as me and he and filmmaker Mike McCarthy passed out candy on McCarthy's porch on Halloween.

I wondered if anybody still celebrated Halloween with a party on Halloween. Not the weekend closest to Halloween, but on Halloween.

So, on a whim, I asked some costume-clad revelers leaving Kroger at Union when I was in there October 27th if they knew of a Halloween party taking place on October 31st.

Sarah Thompson said residents at University of Tennessee were having a party on Halloween night in Midtown. I asked if I could cover it. She texted a few days later and said the host would love for me to attend.

On a dark and stormy night, I parked near the house. The party was at the home of Travis Kauffman and Jill Palchinsky. Spooky lights and headstones graced the front yard.

Palchinksy said she and Kauffman and most of the other guests were pediatricians.

“We’re not pediatricians,” Kauffman told Palchinksy. “Because you’re a maid and I’m a bellhop.”

He explained their costumes to me. “We’re Disney-themed characters. I’m the bellhop from the House of Terror. She’s the maid from the Haunted Mansion.”

When he got out of character, Kauffman said they all love children - obviously - and they have lots of trick-or-treaters.

This is the third year they’ve held the Halloween party, he said.

I took a photo of their great-looking front yard, got in my car and drove off - only to find out I had a flat. That was my Halloween surprise. Three nails in the tire. I called my insurance company and they sent Mow Decher with Flash Roadside Service to change my tire. Wearing a Halloween costume, Decher put on the donut.

I rounded out the evening by watching the second episode of “Chilling Adventures of 

Sabrina,” gratified people still celebrate Halloween on Halloween.

Jill Palchinsky and Travis Kauffman - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jill Palchinsky and Travis Kauffman
Mow Decher of Flash Roadside Service wore a Halloween costume while she worked on Oct. 31. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Mow Decher of Flash Roadside Service wore a Halloween costume while she worked on Oct. 31.

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Meat Me in Memphis - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Meat Me in Memphis

Meat Me in Memphis is an event I look forward to each year. It’s not your average party.

It’s the sole fundraising event for the Monogram Loves Kids Foundation, which was created as part of the commitment by Monogram Food Solutions to give back to the community.

Area chefs served dishes made from one Monogram Foods product as well as signature items from their restaurants.

Silent and live auctions were included. Entertainment was by the extremely talented members of Sound Fuzion from University of Memphis.

This year’s event was October 25th at The Columns. The Memphis grant recipients included Girls Inc., Palmer Home for Children, Memphis Child Advocacy Center, and Church Health.

Over the last seven years of Meat Me in Memphis events, almost 90 percent of all funds went directly to the charities selected by the team members.

And, according to Monogram Foods communications coordinator Alix de Witt, this year’s event was a success: “We had about 700 attendees and we raised over $60,000.”


ASBEE Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • ASBEE Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival

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I’ve been a judge many times at the ASBEE Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival at Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth Congregation. This year I judged the brisket. I had a blast, as usual.

Apparently, this year’s event, which included Kosher dill pickle eating contests, set records. It was held October 21th.

They had a record number of barbecue teams, says Martha Wagerman, chair of the judging tent. They had 40 this year. “That’s more than normal,” she says. “Usually, it’s around the 35 mark.”

And, says Wagerman, former executive of Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth women’s congregation, “As far as guest visitors there, my understanding is that it was one of the biggest crowds they ever had. They said something about 6,000 or 7,000.”

ASBEE Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • ASBEE Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival
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Pat Kerr Tigrett and her guests watched the bridge lighting from her penthouse. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Pat Kerr Tigrett and her guests watched the bridge lighting from her penthouse.

Pat Kerr Tigrett held a soiree at her downtown penthouse apartment to watch the unveiling of the new lights on the Hernando de Soto Bridge.

The invitation to the October 27th soiree read, “Please come to cocktails at sunset! To celebrate the bridge and its exciting new look.”

And, it read, “Ol’ Man River got lit - (for the first time) - 32 years ago creating a bright, welcoming iconic bridge for our great river city. This memorable evening was co-chaired by Henry Turley and Pat Kerr Tigrett.”

It was her idea to light up the bridge more than three decades ago, Tigrett says.

“It was,” Tigrett says. “I was living in London and all the bridges were lit beautifully. And Paris and all over Europe. And they’re so pretty. And that ‘M’ bridge was built in ‘73, the year John (Burton Tigrett) and I married.’”

She thought: “This is ridiculous. The only lights on the bridge at night - it was so black and dark - were the Memphians returning at 11 from the racetrack. That was it.”

Tigrett says she said to then city mayor Dick Hackett, “We really need to put some lights on the bridge.”

She also mentioned it to then state senator Jim Sasser one evening when he was visiting at her penthouse. “He walked out on the patio and he was talking about the expanse of the river and the view. It really is spectacular and it changes every day.”

Tigrett said they really ought to have lights on the bridge.

She says Sasser told her, “You know, I believe this will be a menace to aviation if we do not light this bridge.”

“He was teasing,” Tigrett says.

Hackett told Tigrett the next day, “OK. Are you ready to be in charge of this?”

He said, “Henry Turley is going to help you.”

Asked what she thought of the new, colorful LED lights on the bridge, Tigrett says, “I like this, really. They have a lot of energy and excitement about them. I just love the whole thing. I particularly like the way that they’ve left the lights where the original lights were. So, when it isn’t in colors and doing things and celebrating holidays or whatever it is - football or basketball wins - it reverts back to the simplistic, sort of charming lights like it’s been for 32 years.

“They invited me to come down to see the early rendering of it. I said, ‘I have one request."

She wanted them to put the LED lights in the same places they put the old sodium vapor lights.

They originally sold 1,000 lights at $200 a piece, Tigrett says. A plaque near the escalator at Mud Island River Park lists the names of those donors, she says. “ A couple wrote the sweetest letter to me saying, ‘I cannot thank you enough. We come down every night and sit in Tom Lee Park where it’s very peaceful and watch our son’s light come on.’”

When they began replacing the old lights with new ones, Pat asked if she could have the old ones. “What I want to do is to have something for all the people and give them back their light.”

Tigrett treated guests to a colorfuly-lit buffet to match the colorfully lit Hernando de Soto bridge. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Tigrett treated guests to a colorfuly-lit buffet to match the colorfully lit Hernando de Soto bridge.
A colorful sunset preceded the colorful Hernando de Soto bridge "unveiling." - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • A colorful sunset preceded the colorful Hernando de Soto bridge "unveiling."
RiverArtsFest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • RiverArtsFest
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Pittsburgh-based artist Matthew Naftzger was impressed with this year’s revamped RiverArtsFest. Instead of scattered about on South Main and its side streets, this year’s event lined up the booths side-by-side on both sides of North Riverside Drive.

“It lets the show be the show,” says Naftzger, whose paintings were for sale. "People get to fully experience the show for itself. Instead of looking at six booths and going, ‘Oh, let’s go to a restaurant,’ I felt it became a more enveloping experience - the show and the river.”

RiverArtsFest creative director/scholarships coordinator Chuck Mitchell says, “I think it went great with the new location. I’m not sure yet if it’s a record. Everybody loved it. We hated to lose our community we had grown with - South Main - all those years, but with hotel construction and trolley construction, we lost 50 or 60 booths and really had to move somewhere.”

Artists were pleased with the new location, he says. “It didn’t hurt we had great weather both days.”

RiverArtsFest will be at the same location next year, Mitchell says. After that? “We’re going to evaluate and see.”

Jeremy Klubeck and Matthew Naftzger at RiverArtsFest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jeremy Klubeck and Matthew Naftzger at RiverArtsFest

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Jeff Ayers at Burger Fest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jeff Ayers at Burger Fest

The slider eating contest at this year’s Burger Fest, which was held October 27th at Tiger Lane, was a bit different. Memphis area high school coaches were the contestants.

Chris Clark, assistant coach at Germantown High School, was the contest winner.

Mayor Jim Strickland and Slider-eating champion Chris Clark at Burger Fest. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Mayor Jim Strickland and Slider-eating champion Chris Clark at Burger Fest.
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Lexi Perkins - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Lexi Perkins

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Members of Kappa Sigma fraternity from University of Memphis held its "Autumn Leaves" fundraiser for St. Jude's Up Till Dawn. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Members of Kappa Sigma fraternity from University of Memphis held its "Autumn Leaves" fundraiser for St. Jude's Up Till Dawn.

Bayley Shields, president of Kappa Sigma fraternity at University of Memphis, loves pumpkin latte and “pretty much anything pumpkin,” he says. “Anything harvest theme.”


And, he says, “I’m all about Fall.”

So, it was fitting that Kappa Sigma’s fundraiser, which was held October 26th at Pimento’s, was titled “Autumn Leaves.”

It featured artwork by Lexi Perkins, Cheeto Ryan and Kyle Owens.

Proceeds from the event went to St. Jude Up Till Dawn, says Doug McClew, Kappa grand master of ceremonies.

Cheeto Ryan - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cheeto Ryan


Kyle Owens - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Kyle Owens

       

Friday, October 26, 2018

Art on Fire and more!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2018 at 3:10 PM

FRANK CHIN
  • Frank Chin

If getting your photo taken with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies isn’t enough to get you fired up in a good way, Art on Fire also included a giant bonfire and fire dancers, who twirled fire-lit torches and breathed fire.

Art on Fire, which was held Oct. 20, is the annual fundraiser at Dixon Gallery and Gardens. This year’s event drew more than 1,200.

The ground was damp after rain. Cory Weldon had on boots, but, he said, “It’s starting to get to my socks right now.”

The weather was pleasantly chilly. But there was fire water; guests warmed up with the appropriately named Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire. They also downed brews from Ghost River Brewing Co.

Area restaurants and food purveyors provided the cuisine.

Fire is synonymous with heat, so watching members of the Memphis Fire Tribe perform with their dancing flames was enough to warm up just about anybody.

Musical entertainment was by Blackwater Trio and Mighty Souls Brass Band.

Art on Fire also included a silent auction and the Hot Off the Wall Art Sale, which featured paintings, prints, and photography by emerging and internationally-known artists.

Proceeds from the event support Dixon's education outreach program.


Art on Fire - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Art on Fire




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Cooper-Young Beerfest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cooper-Young Beerfest


The words to that old song, “Downtown,” easily could apply to Cooper-Young Beerfest: “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go - Downtown. When you've got worries all the noise and the hurry seem to help. I know. Downtown.”

Just substitute “Beerfest” for “Downtown.” This, to me, is one of the most fun events of the year. There’s a lot of noise and a lot of hurry as a lot of people rush to the next beer station to sample another brew.

A total of 1,075 tickets were sold to the sellout event, says Sheree Stubblefield with Cooper-Young Community Association. This year’s event, which was held Oct. 20 at Midtown Autowerks, featured 37 vendors plus two home brews, she says.

The event is a fundraiser for the Cooper-Young Community Association. Mark Morrison, the association’s president and Beerfest organizing committee chair, said, “This was our biggest in terms of number of breweries that came and the number of tickets that we sold. We’ve been pretty cautious, I would say, in growing. We don’t want it to be too crowded and lines getting too long. This is our ninth year and we’ve slowly gotten to this point. We heard nothing but good things from attendees. And brewers like to come to our event. Which makes it easier for us when we call them to invite them next year.”

So, what makes this event so much fun? “There are several ways we’ve differentiated ourselves when we started. It’s paid off well. There are so many beer festivals.”

Selling a limited number of tickets is No. 1, Morrison says. “We’re not trying to just make money here. We want it to be a good experience. Most people would agree there are hardly any lines at our event. Of, if there are, they’re pretty short. Unlike others where you stand in line all night and wait for the next shot of beer.

“Another thing that sets us apart is we require any of the breweries coming to send an employee of the brewery. We provide volunteers to help them, but we require them to send an employee so there is somebody here who knows about the beer they’re pouring, knows about the brewery. Many times it’s the brewer himself or herself.”

Finally, he said, “We’re focusing on our region of the country. We don’t invite brewers from California, for example. We want to focus on our area and, really, it’s more about quality than quantity, in general.”

Cooper-Young Beerfest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cooper-Young Beerfest



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Graham Winchester and Justinedword at Lamplighter Lounge. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Graham Winchester and Justinedword at Lamplighter Lounge.

Graham Winchester released his single, “Prisoner of Love,” just in time for Halloween.

“It’s supposed to be a Halloween song,” Winchester says. “I released it as a Halloween single. I did it early - October 5 - because Christmas is celebrated all month long. Lots of people I know like Halloween more than any other holiday.”

Graham and his band, Winchester & the Ammunition, performed the song at the Lamplighter Lounge.

The song doesn’t mention black cats, witches, and skeletons, but it's got other scary stuff. “It’s Halloween in the sense that it’s got all the imagery. It doesn’t say anything about Halloween, but it makes the metaphor of being in a dungeon in a castle with the trees and the wolves and all that, but it’s a metaphor for being a slave to somebody in a relationship.”

Winchester wrote and recorded the song himself. “I released it under the band’s name, but I did the songs all late at night by myself. It was mastered by Jacob Church.”

The drums and piano were done at American Studios. Winchester “added everything on top of it in the middle of night at home.”

What time? “Probably midnight ‘till 3 in the morning.”

Midnight. The witching hour. Very Halloween appropriate.

Winchester released the song in conjunction with an art show by Justinedwords.

“It was a collaboration in a way,” Winchester says. “We just wanted to use his artwork to create a different kind of vibe for the Halloween song release. We wanted to cover all the walls of the Lamplighter with his art so when you walk in it’s an attention grabber. A different atmosphere there that night to go along with the Halloween theme. A lot of his art is psychedelic and surreal. I liked the idea of having his art in there the night I was doing a Halloween song. It kind of helped that Halloween atmosphere.”

Justinedwords describes his work as “colorful word spirals that intersect in spontaneous places.”

Calligraphy formed a big part of this process, he says. “Many of the word choices are dictated by their glyphs and curvatures. Most of the works are on paper, but they’re mixed media collage. So, it can be ink, acrylic, sometimes oil. Usually it’s pen that I use.”

His work is very spontaneous, Justinedwords says. “It’s process-oriented art. So, I’ll be doodling freehand. Usually with a calligraphy pen. A parallel pen. It’s a pen that uses cartridges. You don’t have to dip it like most pens. The line width is dictated by the angle width of the way you hold the tip of the pen. The pen looks like a little razor.

“When I first started doing this I was more focused on poetry. I’d write poetry with calligraphy. When I say ‘calligraphy,’ I wasn’t doing it as a strict, by-the-book calligraphy. I was making up fonts and making things look frilly. Really a lot of curls. A lot of things that would curl around. And I usually would use a circular pattern, which is still evident in my work.”

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Sally Jones Heinz, Rev. Dr. Dorothy S. Wells, Norma J. Oliver, Lucia Crenshaw, - Sehrish Siddiqui - STEVE ROBERTS
  • Steve Roberts
  • Sally Jones Heinz, Rev. Dr. Dorothy S. Wells, Norma J. Oliver, Lucia Crenshaw,Sehrish Siddiqui

MIFA celebrated its 50th anniversary with a “Golden Gala,’ which was held
Oct. 11 at the Hilton Memphis.

A total of 650 people attended the event, which included a seated dinner and music by the Jim Spake Quartet and The Soul Shockers.

The main speakers were MIFA president and CEO Sally Jones Heinz and MIFA board chair and St. George’s Episcopal Church rector Rev. Dr. Dorothy Sanders Wells.

The event included an announcement of MIFA’s anniversary gift to Memphis: MIFA Center for Community, an interactive website, which will be devoted to volunteer service. It will connect volunteers with engagement opportunities and feature educational material, training tools, and advocacy resources related to seniors, poverty, homelessness and interfaith for families, individuals, and faith groups.



Brian Brenner (son); Taylor Brenner (Grand Daughter), Henry Brenner, Frank Gattuso at Gala Celebration. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Brian Brenner (son); Taylor Brenner (Grand Daughter), Henry Brenner, Frank Gattuso at Gala Celebration.

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Ave Maria supporters were honored at the “Gala Celebration” presented by The Ave Maria Foundation and Wings of Ave Maria. The event was held Sept. 30 at TPC Southwind.

“Our Gala Dinner is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize and thank our honorees - Dave and Donna Nelson, Dr. Bob and Bea Wilson, and Henry Brenner who have been involved with Ave Maria as donors, family members, board members, and volunteers for many years,“ says Ave Maria Home executive director Frank Gattuso.

The recipients “have given generously of their time, talent, and treasure and are truly helping to make our community a better place for seniors to live and thrive.”


Friday, October 19, 2018

Science of Wine and more!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 2:52 PM

Science of Wine celebrated its fourth anniversary at the Memphis Pink Palace. - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • Science of Wine celebrated its fourth anniversary at the Memphis Pink Palace.

I’m very glad Jonathan Magallanes didn’t make black bean tostadas at the fourth annual Science of Wine, which was held Oct. 12th  at Memphis Pink Palace Museum.

I’m sure it would have tasted terrific, but the pineapple guacamole tostada he served instead was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

“We were going to make black tostadas,” says Magallanes, who owns Las Tortugas restaurant. “And since pomegranates are just now in season, maybe do a new style of black bean tostada and maybe a little green salsa and cheese. But folks at Pink Palace were worried about using a propane burner to heat the dish.”

Magallanes told them it was no problem. “But this is two days before the event. So I came back and told my wife. And I was so frustrated. I really thought this was going to be a great dish.”

He told his wife, Lauren, “I think we’re going to do a tostada with avocado. Something simple.”

“My wife said, ‘Well, it better be delicious and not too simple because this is a great event.”

She reminded him of the pineapple guacamole tostada he once made for her. So, he made that and added fresh basil, cotija cheese, and pomegranate seeds. “As a chef you always have to have a plan B.”

This time, plan B was better than plan A, Magallanes says. The tostadas were extremely popular. “Some people came back four times.”

I was one of those people who ate four of the tostadas. I sort of hung around the food station asking for more. I loved the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds and the pineapple mixed with the savory ingredients.

I heard lots of accolades. One woman said she’d never eaten at Las Tortugas, but since eating his pineapple-guacamole tostada, she was going to visit the restaurant.

“It was slow going for a while," Magallanes says. "And then we were doing them non-stop for about an hour. It ended up being great because I think it was easier to serve those. It was just as delicious and looked really pretty. It had a lot of color.”

So, is the pineapple guacamole tostada going on the Las Tortugas menu? “I think so." he said. "When you have that kind of reaction I think it’d be wise to consider offering it on the menu.”

What would you drink with a pineapple guacamole tostada? “(It’s) lush, creamy, tropical, juicy. And that pairs perfectly with champagne.”

About 500 attended Science of Wine, where guests sipped wine, talked to wine experts and attended mini-lectures and wine-themed activities.

A total of $28,000 was raised. The money goes to the museum’s education department.

Jonathan Magallanes at Science of Wine - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jonathan Magallanes at Science of Wine

..............


Ruben Webber and Haki  at Legends are Born in October Birthday Bash - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Ruben Webber and Haki at Legends are Born in October Birthday Bash



Ruben Webber, owner of The Wing Factory, celebrated his birthday with a “Legends are Born in October Birthday Bash.”

This wasn’t just a few people gathering around and wishing Webber well. This was 100 people at a party, which was held Oct. 12 in a tent in front of The Wing Factory on Park with the street closed between Bruce and Philadelphia.

Guests paid $20, but 15 percent of the proceeds went to Melrose High School.

“I feel the need in the community,” Webber says. “The kids need supplies. The kids need football jerseys, basketball jerseys. They need washers and dryers at the school. It was on my heart to go meet their needs.”

Webber didn’t even go to Melrose; he went to Hamilton High School. “I’m in the Orange Mound community and Melrose and Orange Mound actually support my business. Melrose and Orange Mound combined together actually made Wing Factory. We plan on making it an annual event.”

On Nov. 5, The Wing Factory will have been in business 14 years, Webber says.

His famous fare wasn’t included among the party food offerings. “We didn’t serve wings. We served chicken salad, chicken Alfredo, meatballs. Stuff like that.”

The cake, a “Versace and Gucci cake combined,” bore the Versace and Gucci logos. “The cake was matching my outfit,” says Webber, who had on brown Gucci shoes with a floral design, Gucci jeans and long-sleeved Gucci shirt.

His buddy, Haki, also celebrated his birthday at the party. He wore Versace shoes, shirt and Versace accessories.


                                                       QUICK PIX

Tancie Lewis and Harm Thomas at Gibson's Donuts. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Tancie Lewis and Harm Thomas at Gibson's Donuts.
Sea Sea Battle at Gibson's Donuts. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Sea Sea Battle at Gibson's Donuts.
Carter Lane and Kasey Hill at Sakura on Poplar. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Carter Lane and Kasey Hill at Sakura on Poplar.
Seen at Freddy's  Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: Shawn Tillman, Felicia Tillman, Jamie Tillman, Jennifer Lantrip and Jacob Lantrip. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Seen at Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: Shawn Tillman, Felicia Tillman, Jamie Tillman, Jennifer Lantrip and Jacob Lantrip.
McCheyne and Saxton  "Kidd" on Front near Union. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • McCheyne and Saxton "Kidd" on Front near Union.
Cornelius Meadows on Union near Main - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cornelius Meadows on Union near Main
                                                     

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mempho Fest rocks

Posted By on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 at 4:12 PM

Kirah Ply and Ian Danchenko at Mempho Fest - MICHIAEL DONAHUE
  • Michiael Donahue
  • Kirah Ply and Ian Danchenko at Mempho Fest

I visited Mempho Fest for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 7.

I loved it.

I think Aaron Glazer summed up the two-day festival the best: “You’ve been coming to Shelby Farms your whole life and you’ve never had this vibe.”

The weather was beautiful. The people were beautiful. The music was beautiful. The food was beautiful.

I ran into Vince Black and John Grillo shortly after I arrived. Black wore a T-shirt with the words “I Am Proof Aliens Exist.” Grillo wore a stuffed toy chimpanzee on his back.

Black was barefooted. “You’ve got to feel the Earth, dude,” he says. “You can’t have the foot prisons on. My feet will be cut up and dirty after this, but it’s worth it.”

More than 15,000 people walked about the grounds along with Black and Grillo at Mempho Fest, which began Oct. 6.

I ran into Mempho Fest founder Diego Winegardner at the Flyer’s Best of Memphis party a few days before the festival and asked him about the event.

“Mempho Fest is in our second year,” he says. “We did our inaugural year last year. It was a great success so we’re going to build on that. We have bigger programming, bigger artists, more production. We have camping for the first time - probably the most notable add-on from last year.”

The festival features local as well as nationally known acts. “We’re trying to support as much of the Memphis and local talent as we can. Create a platform for them, but also bring the hottest artists of today.”

So, why did Winegardner choose Memphis as the site for a music festival? “That’s easy. Memphis is the birthplace of blues, soul, and rock-and-roll. To me, Memphis is as important to the history of American music as Washington, D.C., is to the founding of this great nation."

It’s important for today’s kids and “kids of the future to understand that history. To me, it

really matters a lot. It’s an opportunity for us to retell that Memphis story and that rich legacy to a broader audience, to the rest of the country.”

And, he says, “We’re just trying to add a chapter of our own to this great story.”

Diego Winegardner at Mempho Fest. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Diego Winegardner at Mempho Fest.
..............

Kenny Wayne Alexander. Julien de Casablanca and  Emily Ballew Neff. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Kenny Wayne Alexander. Julien de Casablanca and Emily Ballew Neff.

Following an outdoor party with food trucks and music, Julien de Casabianca completed his “Brooks Outside: Outings Project” installation on the facade of Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Brooks Outside, a curatorial program launched in conjunction with the museum’s 2016 centennial, consists of a series of outdoor installations, which are made to enliven the museum’s grounds.

Casabianca’s installation consisted of paper that was wheat pasted to the wall.

Brooks director of education/Brooks Outings curator Kathy Dumlao explains the process: “A ‘character’ from a work of art from our collection was selected, photographed, blown up in photoshop and printed on regular copy paper. (Casabianca used) wheat paste, applied to the wall first, then sticks the paper to the paste and wheat pastes over top of it. The ‘character’ that’s pasted to the facade of the Brooks is a portrait of our founder, Bessie Vance Brooks, by the American artist Katherine “Kate” Carl.”

The circa 1890 “Portrait of Bessie Vance" is an oil on canvas.

.........

Hampton Sides at this Novel book signing/talk. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Hampton Sides at this Novel book signing/talk.

I was impressed with the book talk by Hampton Sides as well as the jam-packed crowd that showed up that evening at Novel. Sides gave a lively talk about his new Korean War epic, On Desperate Ground, at the event, which was held Oct. 7.

I wondered how many people were there and if that was a record at Novel.

“We had about 200,” says Kat Leache at Novel. “And the record actually belongs to Rick Bragg ("The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table").

But, she said, "Hampton's is definitely the second most."


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Gonerfest, Best of Memphis party, and more!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 3:01 PM

In addition to hearing great music, Gonerfest is a chance to see old friends. In my case, I ran into filmmaker Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury, chef Brett Shaggy Duffee from New Orleans and, in the background, musician Abe White, who now lives in New Orleans. - ANNE SCOTT BARRETT
  • Anne Scott Barrett
  • In addition to hearing great music, Gonerfest is a chance to see old friends. In my case, I ran into filmmaker Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury, chef Brett Shaggy Duffee from New Orleans and, in the background, musician Abe White, who now lives in New Orleans.

Anne Scott Barrett probably spoke for many Gonerfest fans when she said, “This is my Easter. This is my Christmas. This is my holiday.”

Barrett, who was at the Afternoon Blowout Sept. 29 at Murphy’s, is a Gonerfest regular. “This is my fifth year to do this,” she says.

Murphy’s was jam-packed. Bands performed on stages inside and outside.

More than 40 different acts performed at this year’s event — Gonerfest 15 — that began September 26th and ended September 30th, says Eric Friedl, who co-founded Goner Records with Zac Ives.

“I think it was a more diverse festival in terms of having hip-hop and different types of artists playing," Friedl says. "And it was probably the best received I can remember."



Eric Friedl and Zac Ives at the Afternoon Blowout. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eric Friedl and Zac Ives at the Afternoon Blowout.


A Weirdo from Memphis at the Afternoon Blowout. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • A Weirdo from Memphis at the Afternoon Blowout.
Pat Kerr Tigrett at the Best of Memphis party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Pat Kerr Tigrett at the Best of Memphis party.

…………...


Pat Kerr Tigrett wore a Memphis Flyer T-shirt to the Best of Memphis party, which was held September 26th on Mud Island. This is the annual event where Best of Memphis winners in  various categories are honored.

“I’ve been a part of the Flyer since it was first developed,” Tigrett says. “I love it. I think it’s just great. It’s informational, but it’s also a bit of a twist in many ways.”

Dale Watson was the headliner at the event that featured music by McKenna Bray, the 30 Days of Opera performers from Opera Memphis, and a performance by the Collage Dance Collective.

More than 2,000 people attended the event.

Dale Watson and Celine Lee at the Best of Memphis party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Dale Watson and Celine Lee at the Best of Memphis party.
Anna Campbell and Zach Sloyan represented Gibson's Donuts (Best Donut Shop) at the Best of Memphis party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Anna Campbell and Zach Sloyan represented Gibson's Donuts (Best Donut Shop) at the Best of Memphis party.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

David Parks at the Best of Memphis party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • David Parks at the Best of Memphis party.

Best of Memphis bartender meets Best of Memphis restaurant.

Veteran Memphis bartender David Parks is now a bartender at Restaurant Iris, which was voted Best of Memphis Best Restaurant and Best Fine Dining, is owned by Best of Memphis Best Chef Kelly English.

Parks, who attended the Best of Memphis party, says, “I’m excited about it. The wine list is great. Larin Culp has done a great job with the cocktail list. Very small inventory of liquor but it’s all carefully chosen.”

Says English: “There are a few people in town that don’t need a resume in an interview. And Parks is in that handful of people. He immediately makes any team stronger and we are exuberant to get to see him everyday. He and Larin will make a formidable team and I could not be more thrilled for them and our guests.”




………………...

Andy Cates and Eric Barnes at the Daily Memphian launch party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Andy Cates and Eric Barnes at the Daily Memphian launch party.

Guests sipped beer from commemorative Fireside Ale cans bearing the name “Daily Memphian” at the online daily newspaper’s launch party, which was held September 28th in the courtyard at Overton Square.

Daily Memphian staff was introduced, Memphis Grizzlies’ Grizzline Drummers performed, and Gary Goin G3 provided the music.

“It was a great event that seemed to speak to the desire people have for another news source in Memphis,” says editor/publisher Eric Barnes. “We had more than 500 people show up to celebrate local news. That’s amazing.”



………

Kappa Sigma fraternity art show at Pimento's - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Kappa Sigma fraternity art show at Pimento's



Kappa Sigma fraternity at University of Memphis raised $1,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital at its art show, which was held September 26th at Pimento’s Kitchen + Market.

Kappa Sigma member Doug McClew is an intern at Jordan Enterprises, where he is executive assistant to CEO Trey Jordan. Jordan Enterprises owns Pimento’s Kitchen + Market as well as Holiday Deli & Ham.

“Through my involvement with Kappa Sigma as grand master of ceremonies and a member of the executive board, I was able to get us partnered with St. Jude and Up Till Dawn at University of Memphis," MCclew said. "It’s a student-lead organization They orchestrate a series of fundraiser events for St. Jude.”

The four artists represented were jazz pianist Tim Stanek, photographer Ally Perkins, and painters Steven Heard and Kyle Owens.

“Tim was at his piano and we set aside some part of the restaurant to display the paintings and photographs. And Steven brought a guitar that he painted.”

The event was the first of a weekly artist showcase McClew has planned at Pimento’s.

“Right now we’re working with Visible Music College to expand our artist showcase program.”

The next St. Jude fundraiser will be on October 26th at Pimento’s.

McClew also is the drummer in Jordan Pierce Music.

Penny Hardaway painting by Steven Heard at Kappa Sigma art show. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Penny Hardaway painting by Steven Heard at Kappa Sigma art show.

………….

Southern Heritage Classic - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Southern Heritage Classic


Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland hosted the Southern Heritage Classic “Classic VIP Party,” which was held September 6th in the Heritage Ballroom at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown.

Representatives from Jackson State University and Tennessee State University attended.

The purpose of the party was “to bring everybody together to get a kickoff for the weekend,” says founder Fred Jones.

Unfortunately, there was no kickoff at the football game this year because there was no game. “The game was cancelled for the first time,” Jones says. “The weather killed us. We couldn’t do it this year. Everything happened but the game.”

But, he says, “Almost immediately people started talking about next year.”

And, he adds, “Next year is our 30th anniversary. Right now we’re just going through the process of refunds.”



………..

Green Dot reception. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Green Dot reception.

California-based Green Dot Public Schools launched its Tennessee Ambassador Program at a reception, held September 5th at Mollie Fontaine Lounge.

Green Dot ambassador Cecilia Walker hosted the event, which featured Marcella & Her Lovers, Lucky 7 Brass Band, Ashton Riker, and Ziggy Mack.

Green Dot, which has five schools in Memphis, provides opportunities for students by implementing innovative learning tools and building supportive administrations.


…………...

Bratfest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Bratfest


“Bratfest” had nothing to do with naughty children. It had to do with bratwurst.

Leaves weren’t falling and the temperature wasn’t chilly, but guests enjoyed German cuisine as if it was October. The event was held August 29th at Calvary Episcopal Church.

“Bratfest is Calvary Episcopal Church’s annual kickoff event to begin the Fall Wednesday night dinners and classes for all ages,” says Calvary director of communications Robyn Mauldin Banks. “It’s a fun night of enjoying German food, great music, and learning about the formation offerings at the church ranging from yoga to a class on faith and politics in preparation for the midterm elections.”


In addition to bratwurst, guests dined on potato salad, local beer, root beer, and frozen treats.

The event was “a festive night of celebration.”


……………….

100 Women Who Care - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • 100 Women Who Care


DeNeuville Learning Center was selected as the nonprofit to receive funds from 100 Women Who Care at a meeting, held September 18th at Madonna Learning Center. It received $17,500.

The organization nominates, selects, and funds a variety of nonprofits. Members meet three times a year to listen to presentations of representatives. They then vote. The non-profit that receives the most votes receives a check for $100 from each member.

“We’ve obviously surpassed the 100 members,” said board member Madelyn Gray.

DeNeuville, Through the Roof Pediatric Therapy, and the Girl Scouts Heart of the South were the three nonprofits nominated to receive funds.

Lori Jones represented DeNeuville.


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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rainy Zoo Rendezvous

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 4:22 PM

Rainy night at Zoo Rendezvous - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Rainy night at Zoo Rendezvous

This year's Zoo Rendezvous could have been called "Zoo RAINdezvous." I've never seen so many people with umbrellas partying outside during a downpour. With thunder. And lightning.

"Strut Your Stuff" was this year's theme. Guests did just that - in the rain.

If I remember correctly, it rained at the first Zoo Rendezvous 35 years ago at the Memphis Zoo. I covered it. And I don’t believe the turnout was spectacular.

Well, it also rained at this year’s Zoo Rendezvous, which was held Sept. 8. And it still drew 2,500 people - and probably about that many umbrellas.

“This is the very first time we have had such torrential rains on my watch,” says Memphis Zoo director of events Tim Dalfiume. “This is my 12th one. The situation is if it rains the day of, the sun and the stars have aligned and it always clears up for Zoo Rendezvous.”

This year “it was torrential at its very best.”

That 2,500 attendance number is only 1,000 short of how many people usually show up for the event, Dalfiume says. “They had umbrellas, ponchos.”

For me, Zoo Rendezvous is that first big party after school begins and the pre-holidays fund-raisers really kick in. “I think Zoo Rendezvous has a great way of kicking off the fall season in Memphis,”  Dalfiume says. “It kicks of football season.”

It doesn’t matter if it rains. “People are excited about it regardless.”

And, Dalfiume says, “I thought the bands were all spectacular. And people at the end of the night were dancing all over the courtyard. They were dancing in the fountain. People had a ball. And at that point in time you just say, ‘To heck with it.’ And you let Mother Nature do her thing and don’t let it dampen your enthusiasm for a great party.”

I saw Spencer Gruber as a I was leaving and told him he was "soaking wet." He said, "That's the theme of the night."

"Only in Memphis everyone can have a good time in the rain," said County Commissioner Mark Billingsley.

A total of $400,000 was raised at the event, which is the zoo's largest fund-raiser. The

money will go for "research, conservation, and animal care," Dalfiume says.


Al Kapone and Oona Mitchell Bean at Zoo Rendezvous - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Al Kapone and Oona Mitchell Bean at Zoo Rendezvous
Drs. Purvisha and Dharmesh Patel at Zoo Rendezvous - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Drs. Purvisha and Dharmesh Patel at Zoo Rendezvous
 

                                                          QUICK PIX
Harold Ford, Judge Bernice Donald and Virginia Wilson at Little Tea Shop. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Harold Ford, Judge Bernice Donald and Virginia Wilson at Little Tea Shop.
                                                     
Erica Grant and Louise Page at Growlers. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Erica Grant and Louise Page at Growlers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Cooper-Young Festival

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 4:54 PM

GrrlPunch Magazine had a booth at the Cooper-Young Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • GrrlPunch Magazine had a booth at the Cooper-Young Festival

I WALK when I'm at the Cooper-Young Festival. I rarely sit down. So, this year, for three hours I walked - beginning at Young and McLean around 4 p.m. and continuing up and down Cooper until I ended up back at my car after 7 p.m.

But I had nothing on Cooper-Young Business Association executive director Tamara Cook.

“I walked 26 miles between 4 in the morning and 8:00 (p.m.),” she says. “I went to bed Saturday at 10 and woke up at 3 in the afternoon. I was so exhausted.”

About 120,000 attended this year’s event, which was held September 15th, Cook says. They were “just a little lower” than last year. “We had an early crowd. At 10, the streets were packed. I think the heat just got everybody. By 4:30 p.m., we were seeing holes in the crowd, which we normally don’t see.”

There were a lot of children at the festival, she says. “We had a lot of kids this year. I noticed that. We had a nice, family crowd.”

But, Cook says, “Every art dealer I talked to said they were selling like hot cakes.”

As for the food vendors, she says, “Nobody was eating. Everybody was drinking lemonade, water, smoothies. Everybody had some kind of liquid in their hands.”

It was hot, but, she says, “At least we didn’t have any rain. R-A-I-N.”

She found a wallet that belonged to man who lived in West Chapel, Florida. They found the man later that night on Facebook and sent him a private message. “We were texting back and forth. I said, ‘I found your wallet with your credit cards.’ He said, ‘Just shred it.’ I said, ‘I’ll mail it to you. You’ll need it. I’m going to put it in between a festival T-shirt and mail it.'"

The man obviously is a Cooper-Young Festival fan. He said, “We come every year.”

Cooper-Young Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cooper-Young Festival


Cooper-Young Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cooper-Young Festival

Cooper-Young Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cooper-Young Festival


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Coltrane Duckworth plays Chinese drums in front of Mulan Bistro. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Coltrane Duckworth plays Chinese drums in front of Mulan Bistro.

img_0549.jpg

Budding Ringo Starrs, John Bonhams, Ginger Bakers?

If you ever wanted to play drums in front of a crowd, this year’s Cooper-Young Festival was your chance. You could have played in front of some 120,000 people.


All you had to do was ask Coltrane Duckworth if you could borrow his drumsticks.

Duckworth, guitarist in Aquarian Blood, braved the heat between 2 and 8 p.m., playing Chinese drums in front of Mulan Asian Bistro.


“They do it every year,” he said. “I was just doing my part. I was just kind of in charge and trying to get people who wanted to play. Try to give everybody a chance. Some people volunteered and I asked some people.”


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        QUICK PIX
Dylan Giddens at Felicia Suzanne's. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Dylan Giddens at Felicia Suzanne's.
Billy and Hannah Orgel at Union and Front. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Billy and Hannah Orgel at Union and Front.
Jack Frost Da Blowman and Money Money at a Mississippi convenience store. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jack Frost Da Blowman and Money Money at a Mississippi convenience store.
Justin Von Stein and Courtney Diebold at Gibson's Donuts.
  • Justin Von Stein and Courtney Diebold at Gibson's Donuts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

On Johnny Cash; plus Sparkling Nights. Clay Markley, Dreamgivers' Gala and more

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 4:36 PM

A darker-haired Michael Donahue "backstage" at The Peabody in 1986 with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Mayor Bill Morris. - MICHAEL MCMULLAN
  • Michael McMullan
  • A darker-haired Michael Donahue "backstage" at The Peabody in 1986 with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Mayor Bill Morris.

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.

Charlie Hanavich, with his wife, Helen, and his Johnny Cash portrait at The Grand Auction.
  • Charlie Hanavich, with his wife, Helen, and his Johnny Cash portrait at The Grand Auction.
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Clay Markley at his "Kill Me" listening party - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Clay Markley at his "Kill Me" listening party
Diana Fryer, Ric Chetter and Clay Markley at Markley's "Kill Me" listening party - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Diana Fryer, Ric Chetter and Clay Markley at Markley's "Kill Me" listening party

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.


Adam Hawk - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Adam Hawk
Vincent Hale - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Vincent Hale


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.

Adam Hawk fans dressed like he usually does at Hawk's last night as a bartender at Slider Inn. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Adam Hawk fans dressed like he usually does at Hawk's last night as a bartender at Slider Inn.

………




Andria Lisle and Emily Ballew Neff at Exposure - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Andria Lisle and Emily Ballew Neff at Exposure

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.

..........

Sparkling Nights - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Sparkling Nights


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.


...........
Msgr. Peter Buchignani at Highland Hundred football kickoff party, - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Msgr. Peter Buchignani at Highland Hundred football kickoff party,

Mike Norvell at Highland Hundred football kickoff party, - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Mike Norvell at Highland Hundred football kickoff party,


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.

Paw Prints Party - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Paw Prints Party
Paw Prints Party - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Paw Prints Party

…….


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.


Veronica Hayes and Al Kapone at Tennessee State Museum reception - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Veronica Hayes and Al Kapone at Tennessee State Museum reception

………..

Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell at the Tennessee State Museum reception - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell at the Tennessee State Museum reception

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 and his daughter, Lauren, at Dreamgivers' Gala - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Dr. Rice Drewry and his daughter, Lauren, at Dreamgivers' Gala

Diane Hight at Dreamgivers' Gala - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Diane Hight at Dreamgivers' Gala

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 

Dreamgivers' Gala - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Dreamgivers' Gala

Normandy.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Meatballs at Monroe Ave. Fest. And a look back at pumpkin pie.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 4:57 PM

Michael Donahue's one and hopefully only competitive power eating contest, in Oct. 2013. He won first prize - $250. - KAREN PULFER FOCHT
  • Karen Pulfer Focht
  • Michael Donahue's one and hopefully only competitive power eating contest, in Oct. 2013. He won first prize - $250.
Brett Healey, a bonafide power eater, wins first place  - again - in the meatball eating contest at Madison Ave. Fest. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Brett Healey, a bonafide power eater, wins first place - again - in the meatball eating contest at Madison Ave. Fest.

I can write with authority about competitive eating contests because I won a pumpkin pie eating contest five years ago. All I had to do was eat the entire pie. But I did it and I won $250. After that, I officially retired from competitive eating contests.

But, on the other hand, take Brett Healey. He won his consecutive Grandma’s Meatball Eating Contest at the Monroe Ave. Festival, which was held Aug. 19th on Monroe between Front and Main. The festival also includes the Breakaway 5K. The entire event is presented by Bardog Tavern.

Healey doesn’t just win meatball eating contests; I’ve documented him devouring pizzas and hamburgers. He’s so amazing he’s earned the nickname “The Brranimal.” No one gave me a nickname.

This year, Healey consumed 40 meatballs in 9 minutes and 38 seconds. He beat his record from last year: 13 minutes and 14 seconds.

“Going in I had a pretty good idea I was going to win,” Healey says.

And, he adds, “I’ve become a better eater over the last six months.”

His 26th restaurant strategy was eating a six-pound empanada. “I ate it all. I did that in mid-July. Like 17 minutes, 50 seconds.”

To keep in shape for his food workouts, Healey consumes “huge amounts of fruits, vegetables, water. Working out a lot. You just keep working at it and you get a little bit better every week.”

This year’s meatball contest was “pretty incredible and scary at the same time. Last year, I felt pretty full afterward. I was a little out of breath. I had to strut around town and take it easy.”

This year, he was full, but, he said, “If push came to shove and I had to do 50 meatballs, that wouldn’t be a problem.”

Bardog owner Aldo Dean and his wife, Caroline Dean. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bardog owner Aldo Dean and his wife, Caroline Dean.
Ramon Vazquez during his shift at the Dunk Tank at Monroe Ave. Festival - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Ramon Vazquez during his shift at the Dunk Tank at Monroe Ave. Festival

……….

Robert Fairchild at Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000 - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Robert Fairchild at Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000
Elizabeth Rast - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Elizabeth Rast
Davey Mann at Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000 - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Davey Mann at Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000
Chris Dicskon with "Distorted." - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Chris Dicskon with "Distorted."
Dylan Gattuso and Coltrane Duckworth at Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000 - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Dylan Gattuso and Coltrane Duckworth at Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000

It’s a few miles or so from Brooks Museum of Art and Dixon Gallery and Gardens, but Fort Douglass also is getting in the art exhibit game.

Fort Douglass is the home of Robert Fairchild, Coltrane Duckworth, Dylan Gattuso,  Matthew Obar, and Rori Tyrell. Fort Douglass: Art Salon 3000 was held Aug. 18th.

It was Fairchild’s idea to begin holding art exhibits, which are coupled with live music. “I was in a painting class with my professor Jed Jackson and he was giving us a lecture about starting an art scene here in Memphis instead of moving to New York,” Fairchild says. “I think it was two years ago. He gave us this inspirational speech in class and I said, ‘I can do this.’ I ended up contacting everybody I knew from University of Memphis, Rhodes, MCA (Memphis College of Art) and then we started the first one.”

The idea was to “let people know what’s going on with the young artists of Memphis.”

Music has always been an important part of the art salons, Fairchild says. “We used it as a way to promote my buddies’ bands.”

Performing at the event were Wine Witch, Sky King, and Dylan Gattuso and his band. Franklin Wallace was the deejay.

The event is a “huge group effort.”

Fairchild, a studio art major with a focus in painting at the University of Memphis, included some of his paintings in the show. “I really focus on figure painting and documenting my generation and my experiences in life and sharing it with other people.”

As for his painting style, Fairchild prefers realism over abstract painting. “Putting a contemporary twist with these bizarre millennial scenarios is really an enjoyable thing for me to do.”

………….

Guests gathered for a pre-party at Night at the Theatre - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Guests gathered for a pre-party at Night at the Theatre

A total of $16,000 was raised at the annual Night at the Theatre for the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, said the center’s communications and grants manager Beryl Wight.

The theater was Playhouse on the Square, where guests saw a performance of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

The pre-performance party included live music by The Memphis Flyer’s own Alex Greene on piano, heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and an entertainment-themed silent auction.

The event was sponsored by the Jerry and Nina Patton Family Foundation. Proceeds benefit the children at the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.

..............


Great Wine Performances - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Great Wine Performances


“Thinking Cap” should have been part of the dress code for The Great Wine Performances, which was held Aug. 14th at Playhouse on the Square. Wine stations featured actors whose costume and makeup were hints to upcoming performances at the theater. Each mystery portrayal was paired with wine.


……….

Ernie and Ethele Hilliard at Courage Through Cancer kickoff party at The Brass Door. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Ernie and Ethele Hilliard at Courage Through Cancer kickoff party at The Brass Door.

Guests gathered for the Courage Through Cancer kickoff party, which was held Aug. 9th at The Brass Door. New and former honorees attended the event, which raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


The organization is composed of people who share their experiences with others who are fighting cancer.


This year’s Courage Through Cancer event will be Nov. 9th at Minglewood Hall.

Singer Joyce Cobb will be the recipient of this year’s Courage Through Cancer Gerry Finney Musical Courage Award.



…………...

Lynn and Ernie Mellor - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Lynn and Ernie Mellor

About 225 people turned out for a viewing party to watch Hog Wild BBQ and A Moveable Feast Catering owner/pit master Ernie Mellor on Food Network’s Chopped: Grill Masters Aug. 14th at Ducks Unlimited headquarters.

“I got nudged out in the dessert round,’ Mellor says. “The dessert round is the final round.”

Asked to sum up what it was like to be on the show, Mellor says, “Crazy. It is a cool show. Not for the light hearted or if you can’t think on your feet. It’s fast and furious. Everything is under a time clock. But it was a great experience. It was cool, fun, nerve wracking. Gut wrenching almost.”

                                                  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

It's Elvis 7s Rugby Time! Plus Memphis Film Prize, "Mystery Train," Deborah Cunningham

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 3:15 PM

I'd put the "blues" in "Memphis Blues" if I really played for that rugby team. I was just play acting at the annual Elvis 7s rugby tournament.' - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • I'd put the "blues" in "Memphis Blues" if I really played for that rugby team. I was just play acting at the annual Elvis 7s rugby tournament.'
An over-sized rugby ball didn't help. I am dressed correctly, though. - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • An over-sized rugby ball didn't help. I am dressed correctly, though.
Guess which one probably isn't really a rugby player. - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • Guess which one probably isn't really a rugby player.

August Stevens was the winner of this year’s Mr. Sideburns contest. The bushy-chopped Stevens sang his rendition of “Blue Christmas.’

Say what?

Those who aren’t familiar with the annual Elvis 7s rugby tournament don’t know the event includes a Mr. Sideburns contest. Players from Memphis and the local area and from around the country grow beards and then shave them before the tournament so they can enter the contest. The player with the most audience response is the winner.

This is one of my all-time favorite events. It’s one of a kind.

The main attraction at Elvis 7s, of course, is the rugby. Men’s and women’s teams compete. The games are played against a “soundtrack” of recordings of Elvis songs. Periodically, an announcer asks Elvis trivia questions. It’s the unofficial kickoff to Elvis tribute week.

But getting back to August. He’s a member of the Memphis Blues rugby team. He’s a two-time Mr. Sideburns winner. He earned his first title Aug. 12, 2016. He sang “Blue Christmas.”

Asked how he felt having two wins, Stevens says, "After last time I was pretty sure it was the peak of my whole life, but, yes, I got two humps such as the camel. And it's definitely downhill after this."

August Stevens was the winner of the Mr. Sideburns contest at the Elvis 7s rugby tournament. With him are Damon "Flash" Boyce and John Elmore. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • August Stevens was the winner of the Mr. Sideburns contest at the Elvis 7s rugby tournament. With him are Damon "Flash" Boyce and John Elmore.
..........


Memphis Film Prize first-place winner Kevin Brooks, left,  with Ivon and Eyan Wuchina and Memphis Flyer's Chris McCoy at one of the screenings at Malco Studio on the Square - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Memphis Film Prize first-place winner Kevin Brooks, left, with Ivon and Eyan Wuchina and Memphis Flyer's Chris McCoy at one of the screenings at Malco Studio on the Square


....and at the "Mystery Train" 30-year-reunion. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • ....and at the "Mystery Train" 30-year-reunion.

It was great running into Kevin Brooks Aug. 3rd during screenings of movies at the annual Memphis Film Prize at Malco’s Studio on the Square. Neither of us knew he was going to be the first-place winner of the event.

“Last Day,” which Brooks directed, is about how a young man and his wife deal with the news that he’s facing sentencing for a crime he didn’t commit. Ricky D. Smith played the father and Rosalyn R. Ross, the mother.

The win netted Brooks $10,000.

Filmmakers from across the country were invited to make a five-to-15 minute-long film that’s shot in Shelby County, Tennessee and compete for the $10,000 prize. The top 10 films submitted were screened for audiences and judges in August. The winner was chosen based on voting from both audiences and judges.

About 1,300 people attended this year's event. “We doubled attendance from last year,"  said filmmaker liaison David Merrill. "All the Top Ten filmmakers told me that while they wanted to win, they were honored to be in our Top Ten. The running theme was that the filmmakers felt like they had been included in a ‘community’ of Memphis Film Prize filmmakers.”

I saw Brooks the next night at the 30th anniversary party for “Mystery Train,” the movie directed by Jim Jarmusch. The party was held at the Arcade restaurant. Guests included the great Carla Thomas and Grammy-award winner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell.

My memory of that Memphis filming was somehow getting Jarmusch on the phone one Sunday morning 30 years ago to ask him something for a story. If I remember correctly, I woke him up. That’s about all I remember.

The legendary Carla Thomas was among the guests at the "Mystery Train" anniversary party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • The legendary Carla Thomas was among the guests at the "Mystery Train" anniversary party.

I used to see the late Deborah Cunningham everywhere in Midtown back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. My memory is her whizzing around in her wheelchair at concerts and other events or just in Overton Square. I didn’t really know much about her, though, until I read up on her before The Memphis Center for Independent Living fourth annual Deborah Cunningham Access Awards.

I didn’t know 20 years ago Cunningham, a former executive director of The Memphis Center for Independent LIving, demanded access for people with disabilities in a Memphis lawsuit, “Deborah Cunningham and The United States of America vs. The Public Eye.” She filed the lawsuit because The Public Eye, a barbecue restaurant, had a step entrance.

She won.

So, what was served at the dinner this year? Barbecue. Catered from Leonard’s.

“The awards are another way to bring awareness to the community about how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go,” says the center’s executive director Sandi Klink.

One of the requirements of those chosen to receive an award? “The individual usually has stood out in some way as a person with a disability and as an advocate.”

Deborah Cunningham Access Awards - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Deborah Cunningham Access Awards
Hope Clayburn and Joyce Cobb performed at the Deborah Cunningham Access Awards - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Hope Clayburn and Joyce Cobb performed at the Deborah Cunningham Access Awards

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Priscilla Presley, Stuntarious Vol. III, The Lifter, 40 Watt Moon

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 2:07 PM

I had the pleasure of having my photo taken with Priscilla Presley the night she received the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Distinguished Citizen Award. - HAROLD GRAETER
  • Harold Graeter
  • I had the pleasure of having my photo taken with Priscilla Presley the night she received the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Distinguished Citizen Award.

Priscilla Presley’s visit to Memphis drew a crowd of almost 500 June 24th at the Hilton Memphis. She was here to accept the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Distinguished Citizen Award.

The event, along with the 24th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl Golf Classic (held June 25th at Ridgeway Country Club), and Liberty Bowl’s partnership with the College Playoff Foundation, raised a record amount of about $250,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

"I'm truly honored to be here," Presley told the audience. "I'm a bit taken aback by all the honors. And it's very hard for me to take that. But I'll do whatever I can to help Memphis. I now feel officially a Memphian with this honor."


Past recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Award include Danny Thomas, Frederick W. Smith, Kemmons Wilson, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Lou Holtz, Archie Manning, and Tim McCarver.


The 60th AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be at 2:45 p.m. Dec. 31 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and will feature teams from the SEC and Big 12.

.........


Maricus Windless - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Maricus Windless


Wearing a pair of knickers with long red-and-white-striped socks, Maricus Windless waited for customers in his golf cart.

No, he’s not a caddy. He and Donte Jones operate “The Lifter” shuttle service. It provides quick rides to local destinations, including restaurants, bars, sporting events, and concerts, to people in the Downtown area.

“We’re trying to revolutionize the way people commute Downtown,” Windless says.

People can call him at 901-GOLIFTS and he’ll take them where they want to go. “Each ride is two to three minutes anywhere in the Downtown area, including Sun Studios.”

If people just have a 30-minute lunch break, they “have the option to go further” with his service, he says. They don’t have to eat close to where they work or pay to park. They also can do emails and text on their phones will they ride. “It’s saving them time.”

His service also takes out “a lot of the guesswork” for tourists, he says. “I’m the first person they see for recommendations.”

They began with a soft opening last year, but went full-time during the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Windless says.

They now operate between 7 a.m. and 12 a.m. during the week and 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. on weekends.

And “The Lifter” is expanding. “We’ve already purchased two more carts.”

The knickers and red-and-white socks are part of his weekend outfit, which also includes a cap, a red and white polka dot bowtie and Chuck Taylors, Windless says. During the week he wears khakis and blue jeans, but everything else stays the same.

His headgear either will be a Memphis Redbirds or Memphis Grizzlies cap, Windless says. “I’m always going to be representing Memphis.”



………………….

IMAKEMADBEATS and PreauXX at the release of Stuntarious Vol. III at Railgarten. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • IMAKEMADBEATS and PreauXX at the release of Stuntarious Vol. III at Railgarten.

Unapologetic released “Stuntarious Vol. III” July 30th at Railgarten. It’s the third volume of a series of compilations dropped by Unapologetic every summer since 2016.

The EP features Cameron Bethany, IMAKEMADBEATS, AWFM, Kid Maestro, PreauXX, Aaron James, ISpeakWIthaFift, Idi Aah Que, MIIDAS, Blueprint, Mean Joe Scheme, R.U.D.Y., C Major, and Coldway.

“It went great,” says Unapologetic producer/founder IMAKEMADBEATS. “Some of the stuff we tried, we’d never tried before. It worked out very well.”

As for its meaning, “Stuntarious” is “a word we created,” he says.

Most of the material was recorded at Dirty Socks studio.


.......
Chip Googe performs with his band, 40 Watt Moon, at Lafayette's Music Room. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Chip Googe performs with his band, 40 Watt Moon, at Lafayette's Music Room.


My colleague, Memphis Flyer senior account executive Chip Googe, and his band 40 Watt Moon, have a show booked for August 10th at The Blue Monkey on Madison.

I’d recommend going. I saw his show June 12th at Lafayette’s Music Room.

“The best way to describe us is power pop,” Googe says.

The band performed music from its first album, August in Grace, which was released in 2006. The group currently is recording its next album at Young Avenue Sound and American Recording Studios. That album is slated to be released in a few months.

In addition to Googe, who plays lead guitar and is background vocalist, are guitarist/lead vocalist Kevin Pusey; bass player/songwriter Michael Duncan; and drummer Vince Hood.


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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Big Wig Ball, Bumpus South Main, Feast on the Farm, Hole-In-One

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 3:46 PM

Too much competition at Big Wig Ball. - DON PERRY
  • Don Perry
  • Too much competition at Big Wig Ball.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. - DON PERRY
  • Don Perry
  • If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I love the Big Wig Ball because most of the guests look like me. They have big hair. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on whether I want to be the only hirsute one standing out in the crowd. This bunch had shocking pink, vibrant blue and golden yellow locks, which, unlike me, they can simply slip off when the event is over.

About 200 attended this year’s event, which was held June 22 at Annesdale Mansion, says event chair Keri Chapman. The Big Wig Ball benefits Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Asked what makes the Big Wig Ball stand out as a party, Chapman says it’s fun to dress up at “your typical cocktail or formal party,” but at the Big Wig Ball, guests “can pick the craziest wig they want to.”

The Big Wig Ball has the “formal aspect to it, but then you mix in the wig and it makes it a little bit crazier.”

This year’s event raised about $40,000 for Le Bonheur.

Music was provided by Jerred Price as Almost Elton John, Charvey Mac and DJ Justin Jaggers.



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Bumpus South Main Harley-Davidson held its first Bike Night Pre-Party June 27 at The Grotto, the space between the store at 525 South Main Street and Earnestine & Hazel’s.

Complimentary hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill and ice-cold beverages were served to guests who stopped by the store.

The store opened in May, says general manager Mike Marchky. They’re going to do the cookout pre-parties each Wednesday “throughout the riding season,” which is Sept. 26.

The store, which opened in May, sells men’s and women’s clothing, collectibles and gifts, but no Harley-Davidson motorcycles. But, Mike says, “If we’ve got somebody who wants to buy them, we’ll send them out to our store on Whitten Road in Collierville.”

The store will be serving complimentary beer and wine during Trolley Night on June 29. And, he said, “15 percent off select Harley-Davidson merch.”

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St. Louis Church Hole-in-One capped off a week of  golf, food and camraderie on June 23 - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • St. Louis Church Hole-in-One capped off a week of golf, food and camraderie on June 23


No one won the million dollar first prize at this year’s St, Louis Church Hole-in-One Summer Festival, which was held Father’s Day June 17 through June 23.

And no one won the car.

“But we had several people that won hole in ones,” says Joe Evangelisti, publicity chair with the St. Louis Church Men’s Club, which presents the annual event.

Each night, golfers were eligible to win cash prizes totaling $1,000. “If they were the first one of the night, they got $500. If they were second, they got $300. And if they were third, they got $200. So, there were several of those.”

They got a trip to the prize room when they made shots closest to the hole, Evangelisti says. “Lots of people made trips to the prize room every night. If you were in the one foot, three foot or five foot circle, you were eligible for prizes.”

Qualifying golfers participated in a shoot out for a car and the million dollar shootout.

The St. Louis Men’s Club Culinary Institute was again on hand with its famous barbecued pork and barbecued bologna sandwiches.

Proceeds benefit St. Louis youth programs.



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Cowboy boots, cowboy hats and jeans were more-than-acceptable attire at Feast on the Farm, which was held June 23 at Agricenter International.

The event, which was promoted as “country chic,” featured tastings from area food establishments.

All proceeds from the event supported Agricenter International, which is a non-profit dedicated to agricultural research, education and conservation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Herb O'Mell, Wine Down for BizTown, Frequent Flyer and More!

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 3:11 PM

Michael Donahue interviews Bono in 1987 at Sun Studios.  That's Donahue on the left. - TOM BUSLER
  • Tom Busler
  • Michael Donahue interviews Bono in 1987 at Sun Studios. That's Donahue on the left.

The late Herb “Herbie" O’Mell was responsible for the biggest scoop of my career so far. He told me Bono and U2 were going to record at Sun Studios. This was Nov. 29, 1987.

Like many others, I was a big fan of the genial O’Mell, who was a music promoter and manager. He always asked me, “How’s Little Red?” — referring to my old red Toyota Tacoma truck. I’m also a fan of O’Mell’s wife, Laura, and their son, Michael.

I ran into O’Mell near Beale Street while I was on my lunch break that November day. I was working at The Commercial Appeal at the time. O’Mell told me U2 would be at Sun Studios.

I somehow got into Sun’s waiting room late that afternoon.There were other people there. We could hear U2 performing in another room.

After a while, U2’s road manager came in. He asked us if anything was going on in Memphis that night, which was a Tuesday. I told him Linda Gail Lewis, Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister, was performing on Beale Street.

He thought that was so intriguing he brought me to Bono and said, “Tell him what you just told me.”

I told Bono about Linda Gail. Then Bono began to expound on Memphis, why he loved it and what he thought about Memphis music. I turned on my tape recorder, which I had with me, and got a great interview. Bono talked almost non-stop.

My story was on the front page the next day. Tom Busler, who was at the CA at the time, took the photos. He also took one of me, which he gave to me, showing me interviewing Bono. It was on my desk at home for years.

U2 cut three songs, which were featured on their Rattle and Hum album and their U2: Rattle and Hum documentary film, over a four-day period.

As far as I know, I was the only reporter at Sun Studios that evening. No other news organization was there. This was a dream come true. This was my story.

And I got the scoop because of the kindness of the great Herbie O’Mell, who died last week at the age of 82.



………...

Scotty Remmer and Mallory Tyler and Tyler Bertram and Leighanna Folger at  Wine Down for BizTown - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Scotty Remmer and Mallory Tyler and Tyler Bertram and Leighanna Folger at Wine Down for BizTown

Raise your glasses. Wine Town for BizTown was a success. About 100 attended the fund-raiser, a new event for Junior Achievement of Memphis. It was held June 15th at Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South at 307 Madison Avenue.

This is how it worked: Teams of one, two, or three people brought three bottles of wine to the party. Two of the bottles were blind tasted and voted on by guests. The remaining bottle was set aside as the winning wine owner’s grand prize.

The event also included a silent auction, food, prizes, and giveaways.

Proceeds benefit K-12 students throughout the Mid-South who participate in Junior Achievement’s educational programs.

“I could not be more proud,” says the organization’s president/CEO Larry Colbert. “And that’s the honest to God’s truth.”

The event was “extremely successful,” Colbert says. “For a first-time event, it’s one of the best things we’ve done. It’s a great seed we’ve planted. Everybody who was there indicated they wanted to return. It was nothing but fun.”

And, he said, “We had a number of people who even sponsored kids for our program.”

The event was held throughout “JA BizTown,” which Colbert says, “is a replica of a real city with 15 different businesses. It’s a curriculum-based program for fifth graders. For kids learning how to run their own business, learning how to run their own city, learning how elections work. They’re introduced to banking for the first time for most of them. And they’re taught how to manage their own banking accounts.”

During the party, those businesses included wine at their storefronts. “All 15 businesses had multiple bottles of wine for the blind judgings. People went through with their sipping glass and sipped and voted.”

..............

Asked what she thought of the Memphis Literary Festival, held June 15 and 16 in the Edge district, co-founder Jamey Hatley said, "It was wonderful. I was overwhelmed." The festival included an all-day street fair, a dinner at the Hisbiscus Salon and an after-party at Premiere Palace Ballroom. With her is Kelly English. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Asked what she thought of the Memphis Literary Festival, held June 15 and 16 in the Edge district, co-founder Jamey Hatley said, "It was wonderful. I was overwhelmed." The festival included an all-day street fair, a dinner at the Hisbiscus Salon and an after-party at Premiere Palace Ballroom. With her is Kelly English.
Iris LeFluer was among the guests at the LGBT  Legend Awards ceremony, held June 17th at The Haven. The annual event recognizes those who put so much hard work into the art form of female impersonation. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Iris LeFluer was among the guests at the LGBT Legend Awards ceremony, held June 17th at The Haven. The annual event recognizes those who put so much hard work into the art form of female impersonation.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Caps, Ties, Spaghetti Gravy, and Margaritas

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 3:39 PM

John McIntire custom made a cap for We Saw You - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • John McIntire custom made a cap for We Saw You
John McIntire and his caps of many colors. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • John McIntire and his caps of many colors.

Many of John McIntire’s heavy marble sculptures can be found in museums.

Some of his recent creations could be found on your head.

McIntire has been drawing colorful pictures on caps. They’re just cheap caps he buys at dollar stores, but the whimsical artwork is fabulous. He makes them when he gets inspired and, usually, gives them away.

This all began when McIntire began drawing on a cap while waiting for some friends. “I found a Scripto pen, one of those permanent ink (pens), and I started sketching on a hat that already had something on it,” McIntire says. “I went in the house and I found some colors. And then I went to the Dollar Tree and they had more colors.”

He draws cartoon-looking people and creatures on the caps for the most part.

Taking one of the caps, he says, “This guy is fishing. This is for a fisherman. And the fish are playing a joke on him. They hooked the hook on the back of his collar. And the fish are laughing at him.”

Describing another fishing cap, McIntire says, “This is a guy looking for the fish and he doesn’t realize he’s standing on the fish.”

One cap is an homage to the late bluesman, Furry Lewis. “This is ‘Blues in Heaven.’ This is like Furry Lewis in heaven.”

“Plants Revolt” is a “lady running out of the garden and the plants are angry. They’ve got pissed off faces. And there’s a snail.”

One he describes as “elaborately done. My take-off on Rubens. Lightning bolts and people descending into hell.”

He quickly executes his drawings, McIntire says. And, he says, “I never know when I’m going to get inspired to do another one.”

People want him to draw his pictures on other pieces of apparel, McIntire says. “They want me to do T-shirts now. I don’t want to do T-shirts. In the ’60s and ’70s I did T-shirts for Burkle’s Bakery, the Blues Foundation. They sold instantly.”

He doesn’t have many of the shirts left. “I found a kid wearing one of my T-shirts. He was riding a tricycle. And it was from this blues festival in the Shell. I offered to buy it from him. And he said, ‘Well, it’s my big brother’s.’ And he said, ‘He’d kill me if I sell it.’ I said, ‘I’ll give you $25.’ And he said, ‘Nope.’ And me and my buddy went up to $50.That was a lot of money back then.”

The kid refused to give it to McIntire. “He pedaled off with my shirt.”


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Sleep Out Louies grand opening - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Sleep Out Louies grand opening

I’ve always had a special fondness for Sleep Out Louies. One reason is because I can tell this story:

The bar/restaurant had just opened. I was working at the old Memphis Press-Scimitar — the afternoon newspaper — at the time. I just got back from lunch and I said, “I’ve just been to Sleep Out Louies.

My colleague Jill Piper said, “You fell asleep at Huey’s?”

It’s great to have Sleep Out Louies back again. I went to the opening party, which was held May 22nd at its new location in Peabody Place.

One thing I noticed was the absence of framed neckties.

I asked marketing director Molly Prather what’s up with the ties, which were a staple at Sleep Out Louies when it was on Union.

“The ties are coming back,” she says. “We had quite a few people at the grand opening give us ties they were wearing or brought back ties that were originally framed.”

They plan to hang the ties. “Tie hanging parties. A happy hour party. Give them some appetizers and stuff like that. They get to hang it up and celebrate.”

Maybe someone “won a big case or got a promotion,” Prather says. "To mark the occasion, they hang their tie on the wall.”

People visited the old Sleep Out Louies after work. “Every single day they came in for happy hour. It’s just a way for us to show our appreciation for the hard work they were doing during the day and coming in and hanging out.”

So, where are those ties? “Some of the folks who came in knew we were closing down and asked for their tie back.”

Some ties were moved to the Mesquite Chop House in Southaven, where “a lot of those ties are hanging on the wall.”

Molly said Sleep Out Louies president Preston Lamm told her they had about 200 ties at the old Sleep Out Louies. They belonged to “a lot of stakeholders downtown who had a passion and love for the city. They were all on a mission to bring downtown back to respectability. And it wasn’t always just ties. Ladies had scarves. Some folks brought in a pen that maybe they used to close a big deal.”

And they celebrated.

A quote on the wall where new and old ties will be hung reads, “One day, I shucked off my tie, kicked off my wing-tips and quit. I’d rather sleep out in the cold than work another day like this.”

Sleep Out Louies is a place where people can “come in, loosen their ties, enjoy a cocktail and some oysters and just shrug off the stresses of the day,” Prather said.

So far, the “new ties” at Sleep Out Louies are from Bernard Lansky, Jim Norwell, Jim Beck, Rico Jackson, and Aubrey Howard.

“Tie one on” has a new meaning at Sleep Out Louies.


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Jerry Lawler and Larry Raspberry at Memphis Italian Fest. Raspberry and his High Steppers performed at the event. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Jerry Lawler and Larry Raspberry at Memphis Italian Fest. Raspberry and his High Steppers performed at the event.

I again got to be a judge again at the Memphis Italian Festival. I look forward to this each year. I remember judging spaghetti sauce back when the festival first began. It might have been the very first one. The judges sat in the cafeteria, as I recall, and they brought us cups of spaghetti.

The judges now gather in a tent on the grounds on the final morning of the festival. We’re read the rules of judging. This year, the roster of judges included noted Memphians, including Ron Childers, Kevin Kane, Dave Woloshin, and Brother Chris Englert from Christian Brothers High School.

Each judge was given the names of three booths to visit. Everyone I encountered at the booths were very gracious. They served a bowl of spaghetti gravy to me. A couple of the booths also served meatballs. I asked for seconds at each booth, which meant I ate six bowls of spaghetti gravy by 1 p.m. that day.

I returned to the judge’s tent, turned in my sheet with the scores and then I drove home and drank club soda.

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