Memphis Flyer 01/05/2023

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Contributing Columnists


ANDREA FENISE Fashion Editor

KENNETH NEILL Founding Publisher

CARRIE BEASLEY Senior Art Director


Advertising Art Director NEIL WILLIAMS Graphic Designer


Advertising Director Emeritus KELLI DEWITT, CHIP GOOGE, HAILEY THOMAS Senior Account Executives

MICHELLE MUSOLF Account Executive


Warehouse Facilitator


THE MEMPHIS FLYER is published weekly by Contemporary Media, Inc., P.O. Box 1738, Memphis, TN 38101 Phone: (901) 521-9000 Fax: (901) 521-0129

Happy New Year, all, and welcome to 2023! Did y’all eat your black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day? I made a big pot of collards and cabbage, a pan of cornbread, and a pile of peas in hopes of ushering in some luck and money, although when I think back on literally every other year I’ve done this as an adult, I can’t recall any particular instance where it might have made a measurable di erence. “Remember that one time I won $10 on a scratch-o ? Had to be those peas!” said no one, ever.

Regardless, each year will have its highs and lows, and luck — good or otherwise. I’m not so sure how much a plate of food will alter that. is go-round, I even followed the “don’t do laundry on January 1st” rule, although I read somewhere a few days ago that it’s actually supposed to be the last Friday of the previous year and the rst Friday of the new year that are avoided. Oops, I guess. Will someone I love die because I washed my clothes on the wrong day? Gosh, I hope not. What happens if I don’t eat my greens on the right day? To me, all these superstitions merely add to the stresses and expectations we place on ourselves when we turn the page on our calendars.

“New year, new me!” people proclaim.

ere’s nothing wrong with setting resolutions and xing your sights on goals. In fact, data exists to explain why it’s healthy to do so. A quick search shows that, among other things, re ecting on the prior year and aiming for changes and/or planning to drop bad habits and create good ones gives us inspiration, hope, and a sense of responsibility as we face our next rotation around the sun. But I think it’s important to be realistic and honest with ourselves — and not to burden our brains with all the things we think we’ve been doing “wrong” in the last year or so.

In this rst issue back a er the holiday break, we’ve always done some variation of a “New Year, New Me” cover story — wherein we ponder ways in which we can better ourselves with physical activity, staying hydrated, reading more, drinking less, putting down our cell phones, discarding clutter, all that stu we say we’re gonna do but o en abandon a er the rst week or two. is time, our sta put a little less emphasis on the “new me” part and focused on ways in which we can more fully embrace our city — by further exploring interests, picking up new hobbies (or dusting o old ones), or stepping a little outside of our comfort zones (or living rooms or favorite bars or zip codes) — and discover parts of Memphis we may not have known existed. And perhaps in the process uncover parts of ourselves that have been hidden or dormant, to reinvigorate and renew our lives in ways large or small.




Now that we’re past the holiday pressures — to buy this, do that, go there — let’s resolve to ease into whatever it is we want to achieve in 2023. (A study done by the University of Scranton says only 8 percent of folks follow through with resolutions anyhow, so why not set the bar a little lower and go up from there?) Of course, I’d like to be in better shape, to lose some of the weight I gained last year, see my friends and family more, etc. But I won’t promise myself that I’ll keep a daily journal or meticulously ll out and follow a weekly planner or count calories at every meal. I will, though, reiterate the suggestion I o ered in my last editor’s column of 2022: Be gentle on yourself. Goals are good. Self-discipline is great. But don’t let a lack thereof push you into a state of self-loathing or unrest. Take it one step at a time. ere’s no starting gun signaling the beginning of a new race, and there’s no nish line at the end of a certain month. You can be the same “you” you were last year if you want (we actually love you just the way you are). And you can begin anew any day or time you wish.


Shara Clark shara@memphis

PHOTO: BEHNAM NOROUZI | UNSPLASH day is a good day to start anew. SHARA
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OUR 1767TH ISSUE 01.05.23

THE fly-by



Memphis on the internet.


Questions, Answers + Attitude

Bouncing Back

Memphis economy rebounds from Covid, posts jobs record.

e Memphis economy grew by roughly 8 percent from 2020 to 2021, bouncing back from a Covid de cit, and a new jobs report set a regional record.

is week, the city mourned the passing of Gangsta Boo, Lola Chantrelle Mitchell. e Memphis rapper was an original member of ree 6 Ma a.

“Everybody in Memphis pulling out their one pic they got with Gangsta Boo,” tweeted Joshua McLane. “What’s beautiful is how many people have one to post.”


e Federal Reserve’s new regional gross domestic product (GDP) data show snapshots of the Memphis-area economy in three scenarios: a “normal” economy in 2019, the Covid contraction of 2020, and last year’s bounce back. Memphis’ economy grew a bit more than 1 percent in 2019, in what the Fed deemed “normal.” It fell more than three points to -2.5 percent in 2020. It then rose to 5.9 percent in 2021. ese gures include areas of northern Mississippi and western Arkansas.

“We were more than a little gobsmacked to have Joel Coen and Frances McDormand wander in yesterday to do a little shopping,” Burke’s Books said on Facebook last week.


e Fed said nearly 95 percent of metros experienced economic growth last year. e median growth was 5.1 percent.

e Nashville MSA (including Murfreesboro and Franklin) led the state in growth at a rate of more than 12 percent. Knoxville came next at more than 8 percent, and Chattanooga was third with a growth rate of about 7 percent. However, the Fed warned against comparisons.

“Regardless of the year, it’s clear that there are large differences in economic conditions among MSAs,” the Federal Reserve said in a post on its website. “ ese di erences can stem from variation in industry composition, among other factors. And this variation across the country is important to keep in mind when looking at national averages of economic data.”

a long way but have more work to do, especially when it comes to making job training better, faster, and more accessible to every single person in Memphis.”

e hospitality and leisure industry led the region’s job growth in November, ending the month with a total of 66,855 jobs, a 7.9 percent increase compared to November 2021. e nancial activities industry followed with a bump of 7.8 percent bump in jobs, and the business services industry came in third with an increase of 6.47 percent. e Chamber said the long-stagnant education and health industry saw a 4 percent increase in jobs year over year.

Meanwhile, a er a year of steady growth, the construction industry saw an expected contraction as temperatures cooled in November, resulting in about 1 percent fewer jobs in the industry than in October.

e MSA ended November with 13,600 more jobs (about 2 percent) than it had pre-pandemic in February 2020.

With the public’s help online, Millington police nabbed Amanda Rodriguez just before Christmas for shopli ing. “ is woman came to Walmart with the intentions of having a surf and turf Sunday dinner, for free!” reads the post. “She took the items (steaks and crab legs) to the clothing section and bagged them up then proceeded out the door without paying.”

Growth in the Memphis economy is showing in its employment numbers. e Greater Memphis Chamber said the area added 2,700 jobs in November, setting a regional record of 671,500 jobs here. is puts the Chamber on pace to hit its goal of adding 50,000 in Memphis by the end of 2030.

“Greater Memphis has more people on payroll than ever before, and our businesses are still telling us they can’t hire people fast enough,” said Chamber president and CEO Ted Townsend. “ ese historic job numbers tell me we’ve come

“Greater Memphis is feeling many of the same economic pressures other cities are facing, but our resilient job growth shows the strength of our local economy,” said Tecora Murray, executive director of the Chamber’s data and analytics arm, the Center for Economic Competitiveness. “It’s encouraging that two of our essential sectors — hospitality and leisure, and education and health — are again adding jobs in the Memphis MSA, and we expect that trend to continue into 2023.”

e Chamber last June announced its goal of adding 50,000 jobs as part of its Prosper Memphis 2030 strategic growth plan. Half of those jobs should go to minorities, according to the plan.

4 January 5-11, 2023
“Greater Memphis has more people on payroll than ever before.”
PHOTO: JOSHUA J. COTTEN | UNSPLASH e Greater Memphis Chamber said the area added 2,700 jobs in November, setting a regional record of 671,500 jobs here.


Thanks to apps such as TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, the city of Memphis is at our ngertips.

While travel guides have existed prior to the phenomena of social media, things such as reels, carousel posts, and three-minute videos have changed the way that we experience Blu City.

Long gone are the days where tourists, and even Memphis natives, would rely on Google searches and Yelp! reviews in hopes of receiving recommendations and honest thoughts on the places they hoped to try. Instead, a nightly scroll on your “For You Page” can lead you to a brutally honest review of the restaurant behind an aesthetically pleasing (and usually strategically placed) in uencer post. Or it can lead you to the perfect hidden gem, making your feed the envy of all your closest friends and followers.

“We eating, we getting drunk, getting drunk, getting drunk, getting drunker,” said omas. “So I was like, ‘I’m nna do this voice-over and I’m nna just scream throughout this whole thing.’ So we are in the car driving, and I’m just screaming. I didn’t think that post was going to just go crazy, but that’s what happened.”

e comments section of omas’ videos are lled with users saying that her fun and authentic reviews have prompted them to try restaurants such as Moondance Grill and Gracie’s Kitchen, and products such as Chef Flavas’ “stu ed shrimp egg rolls.”

Unapologetically Memphis’ (@unapologeticallymemphis) social media handle speaks for itself. With content ranging from local news, restaurant reviews, events, and viral videos, it seems inevitable that 81.4K followers use this as the premier source for all things Memphis.

Marques Cook initially started the page in 2019 in hopes of shedding a more positive light on the city. He also sought to educate users on Memphis history and things that they may not know about di erent neighborhoods.

“ at’s when it really took o , it kind of went crazy,” Cook said.

Jazmine omas (@keepingupwithjazzz) is a food and review in uencer on TikTok. omas’ pro le is composed of Memphis hidden gems and restaurant reviews. While content like this isn’t anything new on the platform, it can be argued that omas’ locally curated content — mixed with a charisma only found in Memphis creators — keeps Memphians and her 20,000 followers coming back for more.

One of omas’ viral videos is a review of e Liquor Store, which omas distinguishes as “not your hood liquor store,” located on 2655 Broad Ave. e video has more than 292,000 likes, and in 10 seconds, omas shares her and her friend Rachel’s experience at the local diner.

“I did a couple of news posts, and people would comment on it. Like if you look in the comment section it’s kind of like people get a chance to voice their opinion on what’s going on in the city. Everybody looks for the comment section now.”

With such a large following though, it can be a lot to carry on a content creator’s shoulder to stay true to the brand, even when headlines give reasons not to love Memphis.

In the a ermath of the Ezekiel Kelly shooting spree, Cook said that he received a message from a user asking if he was still “unapologetically Memphis.”

“It doesn’t make a di erence what happens, I’m still going to love Memphis the same,” said Cook.

PHOTO: @KEEPINGUPWITHJAZZZ AND @UNAPOLOGETICALLYMEMPHIS Memphis online creators introduce the city to the world.


Starting the New Year

State Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-29), who has had several star turns since her election to the state House in 2013, including prominent speaking roles at two consecutive national Democratic conventions, begins the new year with two fresh accomplishments.

Early in December, Akbari was elected vice president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Later in the month, she was elected minority leader by her fellow Senate Democrats to succeed state Sen. Je Yarbro of Nashville.

Other Memphis legislators also advanced in both organizations. State representatives Antonio Parkinson (D-98) and Torrey Harris (D-91) were elected to the National Black Caucus executive committee, and London Lamar of Memphis (D-33), a former state representative, was named the Democrats’ caucus chair in the state Senate.

Akbari’s accession to the Democrats’ top state Senate leadership post complements the re-election of Memphis state Rep. Karen Camper (D-87) as the party’s leader in the House, where another Memphian, state Rep. Larry Miller (D-88), was named leader pro tempore for the Democrats.

• An important deadline is looming for the growing cast of hopefuls who aspire to succeed the term-limited Jim Strickland as mayor of Memphis in this year’s city election. January 15th is the prescribed date for candidates to le their rst nancial reports, and the results will constitute a true test of who is likely to make the long haul to the October election and who is not.

With this in mind, and with their recognition that the holiday season was making its own nancial demands of their possible support bases, several of the candidates made it a point to hold fundraisers in the week or so before Christmas.

On the 11th, Van Turner, the former county commissioner and local NAACP head, was the bene ciary of a $100-a-head fundraiser. On the 15th, one was held for state Rep. Karen Camper, the Democrats’ state House leader. e hosts’ invitation speci ed that all donations were welcome, but $1,000 was more or less pinpointed as

the top dollar.

A more ambitious ask of $1,600, the personal max, was suggested for attendees at an a air for Downtown Memphis Commission CEO/President Paul Young on the 18th, and two days later, on the 20th, Shelby County Sheri Floyd Bonner was the bene ciary of yet another event, with $1,000 as the recommended donation.

Meanwhile, well-heeled businessman and former County Commissioner J.W. Gibson, who brings a pre-existing bankroll of his own, weighed in with the announcement that he would be a likely candidate.

e aforementioned January date will allow all the foregoing and other possible candidates to make an estimate of where each of them stands in the nancial sweepstakes. A lot of money will be raised and spent in the mayoral election, but the supply of funding is ultimately limited, and a strong showing early is a good way to shake more dollars loose later on and to discourage one’s rivals.

For purposes of comparison, on January 15, 2015, then incumbent Mayor AC Wharton reported $201,000, and City Councilman Strickland, who would later triumph in a multi-candidate race, was right on Wharton’s heels with reported receipts of $181,000.

• e so-called “3 Gs” schools — Germantown High School, Germantown Elementary, and Germantown Middle School — saw their status transformed again a decade a er they became part of the Memphis Shelby County Schools system. A complicated nine-year timeline, returning the elementary and middle schools to the Germantown system and allowing MSCS the right to sell the high school as part of a plan to build a new high school in Cordova, was approved by the four entities involved — Germantown Schools, MSCS, the city of Germantown, and the Shelby County Commission, with the only real dissension occurring on the latter body, which voted 8-5 to approve the arrangement.

“Shame on us,” declared County Commissioner Britney ornton, a nay-voter. e real mover in the deal was the Tennessee General Assembly, whose Republican supermajority, in obvious solidarity with Germantown, had passed a law requiring the re-transfer by year’s end.

6 January 5-11, 2023 JANUARY 14 • 7:30PM ORPHEUM-MEMPHIS.COM
Some adjustments are being made in several spheres. POLITICS By Jackson Baker PHOTO: SENATOR RAUMESH AKBARI | FACEBOOK
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Raumesh Akbari

Title Trail?

The Memphis Tigers are competing in their 10th season as members of the American Athletic Conference. ey have yet to win a league championship, with neither a regular-season title nor the postseason tournament. ( e Tigers have twice lost in the tournament nal.) What kind of chances do the 2022-23 Tigers have for ending this drought, for earning the program’s rst conference crown since they were Conference USA champs in 2013? With mighty Houston setting the pace, Memphis can’t a ord more than four losses among their 18 league games. Even three defeats might be too many to top the Cougars, so Sunday’s loss at Tulane didn’t help. But there are three factors that, if blended properly, could result in a rst-place nish for Memphis.

• Senior motivation. No fewer than 10 Tiger seniors are competing for playing time, for coach Penny Hardaway’s trust as he distributes a total of 200 player minutes each game. Half of these players are h-year seniors, now midway through their nal college rodeo. For

this group of Tigers … this is it. ere’s no building for a 2024 run. ere’s no more time for development, for learning where they best t, for establishing rapport with teammates. ere’s something to be said for desperation when it comes to chasing a championship.

Hardaway has been starting a pair of point guards: Alex Lomax and Kendric Davis (both h-year seniors). It’s intentional, and as much for the leadership intangible as the skill sets Lomax and Davis bring. Memphis is 11-4 and has four SEC notches on its belt, but has yet to crack the Top 25. Lomax and Davis see this, as do each of their senior brethren. e search for national attention — “respect” is the word used in front of cameras — remains a motivator for Hardaway’s leaders. “Add DeAndre [Williams],” says Hardaway, “and that’s three guys who understand time, possession, the moment.

ey work through adversity. ey’re connected, so that makes it even better.”

• Solid jaw. e Tigers have yet to lose consecutive games. Halfway through the season, Memphis has

shown it can take a punch. e Tulane loss may reveal more than any other blow the Tigers absorb this winter. Not only do they need to avoid a second loss in a row (Saturday against East Carolina), but they need to build a winning streak if they hope to threaten Houston atop the AAC. e comeback victory over USF last week to open conference play may be the calling card Hardaway utilizes in the weeks ahead as his team hopes to climb in both the standings and the national conversation. “Early in a game, you know you can come back,” says Hardaway. “But late in the game? Can you stay calm enough under the pressure? e best players, they stay rm

and calm in chaos. ey don’t panic.”

• at guy. Championship teams have “that guy,” the player everyone in the arena knows will have the ball at winning time. Kendric Davis is that player for these Memphis Tigers. Atop the AAC in both scoring (20.4 points per game) and assists (6.1), Davis is well on his way to a second straight league Player of the Year award. With the Tigers down 10 with 10 minutes to play against USF, Davis took over. He drained a three-pointer, stole the ball in the USF backcourt and converted a layup, then fed a lob to Williams for a thunderous dunk. He was playing in a zone the other nine players couldn’t reach, and it was enough for the Tigers to escape an ugly home loss. “He’s a closer,” says Hardaway. “ at’s the blessing of having him on your team. You know he has that type of run in him. He puts the work in. He was getting down during the [USF] game, and I told him, ‘You’re a killer. Don’t forget that. It’s what you do.’ He was looking for his moment and it came.”

PHOTO: LARRY KUZNIEWSKI Kendric Davis and Penny Hardaway SPORTS By Frank Murtaugh Can the Memphis Tigers earn their rst AAC crown?

New Year, New

There’s a whole new Memphis out there. It waits for you just outside your everyday routine, somewhere just a few streets away from those four or ve places that comprise a personal rut you might not know even exists.

Routines are ne; humans thrive on them. But their comfort can shield you from having a bigger, fuller Memphis experience. For example, if you’ve ever talked with your bartender about the new-colored urinal cakes at your favorite watering hole’s de-watering hole, it might be time to try that new place you heard about at work.

Memphis is a big place with something for just about anyone. is year (in lieu of piling on with New Year health tips and habit breakers), we want to help you — encourage you — to go out and rediscover this amazing city we call home.

Here, our writers did just that. ey opened their eyes a bit wider, went hunting Memphis (and sometimes beyond) for that niche thing they love, tuned into that vibration here, discovered that whole new Memphis, and will carry it with them into 2023. — Toby Sells

Disc Golfin’

College was the last time I laid hands on a disc golf disc. I only bought some discs back then because my buddy was crazy about the sport, he wanted me to go with him, and I wanted to drink beers outside.

I thought it was silly. Grown men throwing Frisbees into a basket. Frrrp. Please. And I was scolded for calling

it a “Frisbee” (some copyright dispute, I was told) and for “not taking it seriously.” Well, I played a few times that one summer, drank some beers, quit when I lost two discs ($20!) in a pond, and relegated my other discs to a box in the attic.

Many, many years later, I found myself at a park with a disc golf course last fall in Roanoke, Virginia. I saw folks throwing and it looked more fun than scrolling Reddit while my kids hit the playground. I approached a player, curious to know if I could buy discs somewhere close. e guy opened his bag, pulled out two discs, handed them to me, and said, “It’s a fun game. You should play.”

Of course I told him I couldn’t take them, but he insisted and walked away before I could protest any further. I was and remain gobsmacked. My family and I played, and the a ernoon sparkled with this brand-new way to spend time together.

ank you, kind stranger. Sincerely.

Back in Memphis, I immediately dug my old discs out of the attic and started digging on the internet. I was so happy to nd that the city is rich with great courses, all of them just waiting for me to explore.

e sport has taken me o my beaten path (work, home, Boscos, Memphis Made) to Kennedy Park in Raleigh, Sea Isle, down in the hollers at the

in for nearly 15 years.

Disc golf has become my cardio, my mental health medicine, my vitamin D source, my cure for doom-scrolling, and my outlet to beat the winter blues. It’s given me a reason to connect more with my buddy from college and to even shop at Outdoors Inc.

Disc golf hasn’t changed my life, but it has made changes to my life. ey’re good changes, too, including the way I see and enjoy my city. — TS

Shopping at M-Town Market

I listen to a lot of old music. We can blame it on my Glee obsession, but you’ll likely hear me listening to Elton John’s take on “Pinball Wizard” on repeat in my car while wearing a shirt featuring the Rocket Man himself (bought brand-new from Urban Out tters).

Graphic tees have long been a staple in my wardrobe, and while I can usually nd what I am looking for online, these are o en pieces manufactured this year, which lack the authenticity and nostalgia that make the item worth loving. I had long been a fan of thri store nds such as Gilmore Girls box sets and old books, but I never had luck nding any cool and curated pieces. However, it turns out that I was just looking in the wrong places. Instead of focusing on big-name thri stores, I learned that I could shi my focus to local vintage accounts on Instagram.

I found Grind City Vintage on Instagram, late in 2022. e store specializes in vintage clothing and shoes, and uses Instagram and Instagram stories as a way to conduct business. While Grind City Vintage is a business of its own, the owner, Jay Williams, also operates the M-Town Market with Studio 901. e market is hosted at least four times a year by 20-50 vendors, and shoppers can nd vintage shoes and clothing.

8 January 5-11, 2023
Shelby Forest, Shelby Farms, and to the All Veterans Golfplex tucked away o Airways surrounded by warehouses and factories. It has shown me around a town I’ve lived

“Our focus is vintage sneakers, and fashion as well,” said Williams. “Streetwear, stu like that where it’s a lot of dope brands and local vendors that have done really well at our events but also have their own following.”

Williams also said that he and his team pride themselves on giving local vendors and brands an opportunity to put their brand out there, which he said makes them stand out from other markets.

Put on Your Pointe Shoes

I took my rst ballet class this September — well, not my rst ballet class ever. I dabbled in the art form when I was a wee one, before I could tie my own shoelaces or knew how to carry the one when adding big numbers. I also retired from the art form when I was a wee one. (At that point, I could tie my shoelaces and add big numbers.) I couldn’t tell you why I stopped going to class; I just did. I also couldn’t tell you what made me sign up for a beginners’ class this September at Ballet Memphis; I just did. Was it a need to relive my former glory days? A need to move my eversedentary body? A need simply to leave the house? All of the above?

Regardless, I went, seemingly just because, sans leotard or tights or ballet shoes, and danced in my socks. And I went back, week a er week, in socks. I learned pique and rond de jambe (which I thought was spelled Ron de Jon until now) and tendu (which I’ve been mispronouncing “fondue” in my mind), and surprisingly, I’m nowhere near being en pointe. I kid, I kid; there’s not a chance in this lifetime that I’ll ever be en pointe, but for someone who’s a teensy bit of a perfectionist, being bad or, even worse, mediocre at something is a bit outside of my comfort zone. And boy, oh boy, is it freeing just to have that permission not to be good, to try and to fail, to feel a bit silly. It’s fun and challenging, physically and mentally, and every now and then, I get to feel like a graceful ballerina, and who doesn’t want to feel like a graceful ballerina, just because?

Never too Late to Take a Swing at It

Decades ago — just how many I’m almost ashamed to say — I invested a not inconsiderable portion of a payday in the purchase of a brand-new set of golf clubs: all the irons and woods that one should have, plus a nice leather bag to carry them in. At the time, I had played just enough golf to think that if I ever learned to hit a ball o the ground cleanly, with either iron or wood, I might be halfway good. (I could drive o a tee fairly well.) Beginning at the age of 13, I had played only sporadically over the years, and I assumed that, armed with my new tools, I’d be out on the links fairly o en.

For shame! I have never used those clubs, never played another round. e

bag, burgeoning with all those shiny, still gleaming implements, has sat in various closets and garages ever since. e bag and clubs have functioned as an ornament of sorts, an aide to wishful thinking about what I still resolved to get out there some day and do.

Twice recently I have called up my friend and former Arkansas Gazette colleague Ernest Dumas over in Little Rock and been informed by his wife

walking would both serve as admirable therapeutics as I seek to regain at least a facsimile of my erstwhile energy and stamina. New year? New me? In a word: Fore! — Jackson Baker

Get Out!

in Alabama. Swim and ski on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. Shop Chicago’s Magni cent Mile. Visit the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Elaine that he was out playing golf. I’ve been around a while, but Dumas is even older. He’s pushing 90, in fact, and when I nally got him on the phone, he informed me that his goal, which he’s managed to achieve once or twice, has been to shoot his age.

Basically, he took up the game upon retirement, and it now lls a fair share of his days. As a sport, golf is famously short on kinetics but long on fresh air and, even if one uses a cart, walking.

As it happens, I was in the hospital for a spell of late, and fresh air and

Remember back in the dark days of 2020, when you were stuck inside your place while diseases ravaged the land? You vowed that, when all this is over, you would visit all the places that you wanted to go, but couldn’t. Well guess what? Now is the time to make good on that vow. Covid is still around, but you’re all vaxxed up and, when necessary, masked up. Gas prices have fallen from their Ukraine War peak. Amtrak just got a big funding boost. And the Memphis International Airport has that new terminal smell. (Don’t forget to take a sel e with Tommy Kha’s banned self-portrait as Elvis.) It’s time to get out of town, if only for a little while.

One of the great things about Memphis is its location in the middle of the continent. A day’s drive can get you to the Great Lakes, the Gulf Coast, Dollywood, or Dallas. Go on a hike at Dismals Canyon

Go to a New Orleans Saints game in the Superdome. Follow Taylor Swi ’s concert tour. Go where you want to go. Stay as long as you can. Have fun. Expand your consciousness. You’ll nd things you love about your destination, and things you miss about Memphis. As the old saying goes, it is only through travel that you come to know your home for the rst time. — Chris McCoy

Contain Multitudes, Music Lovers!

If any sector in Memphis is prone to trap people in self-imposed silos, it’s the music community. Perhaps it’s because we internalize music so deeply that our very identity becomes bound up in it. “And now you nd you t this identikit completely,” sang Elvis Costello many decades ago, and that concept rings true today, as we embrace our respective identikits in dance clubs or concert halls. And that’s ne, as far as it goes; we all need to nd our tribe, our people. But don’t sleep on the city’s musical diversity while you’re doing so. Stepping outside of your comfort zone might just be the wake-up call you needed.

Meanwhile, plenty of music creators have been breaking down the boundaries for some time now. Blueshi Ensemble, classical players from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, have collaborated with artists as diverse as Don Li ed and Mark Edgar Stuart. Recent supergroup Salo Pallini specializes in what they call “Progressive Latin Space Country” on their upcoming album. Al Kapone is forging a new path that combines rap with heavy, heavy blues. e Unapologetic collective, who take pride in their o eat hip-hop, are just as proud of this year’s Nobody Really Makes Love Anymore by Aaron James, a straight-up emo tour de force. And then there’s MonoNeon, master of funk, jazz, gospel, indie rock … and the kitchen-sink sounds of George Clinton.

As Cory Branan recently told Glide Magazine, “Why limit myself to a certain genre? Whatever a song wants to wear is ne with me.” Maybe fans just need to catch up with the performers. “If I had to stand there and play acoustic singersongwriter music all the time,” says Branan, “I’d be bored out of my mind.”

Game Somewhere Else!

Rather than slide into the mind-numbing antics of reality TV or the thinkingperson’s prestige series, my preferred method of unwinding a er work is to toss down my coat and briefcase and re up the ol’ Switch, PS5, or PC, and enjoy my evening as anonymous online 13-yearolds scream obscenities into voice chat and teabag my digital avatar’s lifeless,

— Alex Greene PHOTO (TOP): LAURA JEAN HOCKING Before his travels, Chris McCoy visits Tommy Kha’s banned selfportrait as Elvis at the Memphis International Airport. PHOTO (BELOW): FENDER
continued on page 10
MonoNeon, master of many sounds


Saturday, January 21 at 7:30pm Sunday, January 22 at 2:30pm Cannon Center for the Performing Arts Tickets Now On Sale - Order Yours Today! 901.537.2500

pixelated corpse.

It’s all in good fun, but despite advanced technology that allows players to connect with others from all over the world, gaming — whether it be board, card, or video — is always more fun playing in person. A er all, if you can’t look into your friend’s eyes as you crush them piece by piece, and watch as their joy and enthusiasm slowly tilt toward shock, exasperation, and, most sweetly, utter dejection, then what’s the point? Luckily, if you know where to look, there are ready-made communities of gaming a cionados that will help you break out of the hobby’s somewhat solitary shell.

My favorite “discovery” has been Board to Beers, an elusive setup that convinces me to travel beyond the East Parkway line for a social call. Memphis’ rst board game bar is a delight, home to owner Taylor Herndon’s collection of 400+ eclectic board games, some of which will leave players both entertained and scratching their heads. We tried out one fan-operated game that involved plucking sushi ingredients out of the air with chopsticks. Another, called Icecool, involved icking penguins around a little board. at fact that you can curve and jump the penguins led to many out-of-board shenanigans, and some throbbing ngernails.

On the digital side of things, I ock to Nerd Alert in Cooper-Young, where I can almost guarantee some hustler is sitting on the Street Fighter II machine, waiting to grind me into dust before I can even get a hit in, and delivering a beatdown so bad that it feels like I’m actually getting kicked in the face by Chun-Li. But on a friendlier note, there’s always some rando available to help you tag-team the original Mario Bros. and rack up a high score. I may never get their name, but for one night, anyone can make a new friend.

And, of course, a shout-out to Black Lodge, which has its own board game rental plan and plenty of other competitive programming like the armored ght club. ( at’s out of the question for me, but it sure is fun to watch.) Gaming doesn’t always have to be a solitary endeavor; in fact, there are plenty of places around town that will welcome new players with open arms.

Say Thank You. To Everyone

Not a day shall pass this year without my o ering up a heartfelt thank you. I say thanks to scads of people all the time, but it’s o en perfunctory, sometimes begrudged, occasionally sarcastic. I’m perfectly happy to maintain my current level of loving snideness, but I nd myself now — running heedlessly into 2023 — to be in great need of snark-free gestures.

Just as one utters grace before meals (for those who still perform that quaint ritual), I’m thinking how ful lling it would be to take a few moments during the day to shine a light when Providence smiles.

Of course, it requires some real thought. It’s never worked for me to make a list a couple of days before anksgiving of the nice people and good fortune I’ve encountered. I’m too busy with preparations for holiday stu and stu ng to add in a few dollops of gratitude for a year’s worth of good deeds.

How much better, then, to make it part of the quotidian routine along with eating, cleaning, meditating, exercising … well, I guess I can target those last two items for future resolutions.

Anyway, my intention will be to think well and truly of the people and institutions and energy going on all about and give them recognition. My list, which was too much ignored over Turkey Day, includes, for example, kudos to the artists who have made Concourse B at MEM a splendid gallery, and to the UrbanArt Commission that wrangled the project. In fact, just in the area of ne arts alone, we can have gratitude for what’s being done at Crosstown Concourse, the Metal Museum, the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the Brooks (present and future), and in Orange Mound.

We live in a place that deserves all manner of thanks and respect. Great water, thrilling sports, sublime music, perfect water, natural wonders, caring people … well, you get the idea. And amen. — Jon W. Sparks

10 January 5-11, 2023
21 the
conductor Christopher Ward, conductor Annelle Gregory, violin STILL Serenade MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto SCHUMANN Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish”
— Samuel
X. Cicci
continued from page 9 PHOTO: MICHAEL DONAHUE Get hustled at Nerd Alert’s arcade.
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In the Cards

When Emily Guenther, also known as Reverend Omma to her Wiccan congregation, opened e Broom Closet over 10 years ago, she thought of it as a fantasy coming true. “I had spent six or seven years working in advertising,” she says. “It felt very inconsequential, like anybody could do it. It wasn’t feeding my soul, but it paid the bills. … I had this fantasy that like one day I might actually get to retire. And once I did, I would then spend my retirement working at a little store selling herbs to people — that was just this weird kind of daydream that kind of helped me get through the day sometimes.”

But a er a rough year with her mother’s passing and losing that advertising job, her husband Stephen urged her to bring her metaphysical store to fruition, and now 10 years later, that store is going strong, o ering solace to its customers and selling spiritual supplies from sage for cleansing to gemstones for manifesting. “We strive to serve the spiritual needs of the community,” Guenther says. “We try to cater to everyone regardless of their beliefs or practices, and just help people, talk to them, answer questions, help them nd the thing that they need if they don’t know what they’re looking for.”

As such, one of the services e Broom Closet o ers is tarot reading — fortune-telling that uses a deck of 78 pictorial cards. Anyone can read tarot, Guenther says, as long as they understand the meanings of the cards and can embrace their intuition, but having someone else read your tarot can o er insights that you might not have to come otherwise. “ e thing about tarot,” she says, “is that because we’re all di erent … we lter through our life experiences and the way that we live our lives. And so if I needed a reading and let’s say I came to you and I know what the cards mean, you’re going to say it or explain it or lter it through your experience in a way that I needed to hear it.”

In a way, it’s like therapy, with someone guiding you through confronting and coping with the uncontrollable — like love or money, two things Guenther says she gets asked about the most.

To kick o the new year, the Broom Closet is hosting a special night of tarot reading for those looking to check in on speci c situations in their life and nd guidance. Participants will be able to choose from 15-minute tarot readings for $20, 30-minute readings for $40, and 60-minute readings for $70. Readings will be done on a rst-come- rst-served basis, with no appointments necessary.

To keep up with other event o erings, like workshops and sound baths, at e Broom Closet, follow them on Facebook (@ e Broom Closet - Memphis) or Instagram (@ the_broom_closet).


Meet the Author: Caroline Brooks DuBois

Novel, Saturday, January 7, 2:15 p.m.

Caroline Brooks DuBois visits Novel to celebrate the release of her middle-grade novel, written in verse, An Ode to a Nobody, in which a devastating tornado tears apart more than just houses, leaving a 13-year-old girl to rebuild herself.

Prior to the reading, at 1 p.m., DuBois will offer an interactive writing workshop for aspiring young writers and young-at-heart writers, who should bring their own writing materials and be prepared for collaborative activities, guided brainstorming, writing, and sharing at comfortable levels for all in attendance!

The workshop is free to attend, but seats are limited, so register at

e Making of ELVIS Movie Exhibition”

Graceland Exhibition Center, opening Sunday, January 8

The exhibition, opening on Elvis’ birthday, will look at the beginning of the creative process for Baz Luhrmann’s celebrated film and follow it through its journey to the big screen, taking the story from paper to film. Alton Mason (Little Richard) from the film will be joining in the opening.

Highlights of the exhibition will include behind-the-scenes videos of the making of the film, plus handwritten notes, drafts of scripts, storyboards, and more. Props from the film, set pieces, and costumes and accessories worn by the cast will also be on display.

The exhibition will be on display through September 4th.

“Lynda Watson: Looking Back” Metal Museum, on display through January 29

The Metal Museum’s 2022 Master Metalsmith is Lynda Watson. The series honors artists, who have at least 20 years of experience in the field of fine metal work and who are known for educating and innovating.

Watson, whose wanderlust has taken her to places around the world, documents those global journeys, personal experiences, and life transitions through her art, weaving together narrative and nostalgia. Many of the works displayed recount her adventures across the country and abroad.

Her work incorporates materials such as metal, felt, and charcoal in addition to found objects, creating a detailed 3D scrapbook of her memories.

12 January 5-11, 2023
VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES January 5th - 11th
PHOTO: ABIGAIL MORICI 2166 Central Ave. Memphis TN 38104 resolve to attend more live music in 2023 january 21st GA-20 february 23rd Jackie Venson february 24th Anders Osborne april 27th Ray Wylie hubbard
Emily Guenther

Adventures in the Land of the Blues

Anthropologists are thrice-born,” my old instructor in the discipline, T.O. Beidelman, once asserted in a lecture. He had us all captivated with his tales of fieldwork among the Dinka in the Sudan. “First, we are born into our own culture. Secondly, we enter the cultures we study as children, and gradually are born as social beings in that community. And thirdly, we are reborn when we return to our own culture, seeing it with fresh eyes.”

Those words have echoed in my mind while reading a stunning new collection of field notes from the ’60s by two graduate students — one of anthropology, the other of folklore/ ethnomusicology — in the blues communities of Mississippi and Louisiana. Going Up the Country: Adventures in Blues Fieldwork in the 1960s (Univ. Press of Mississippi) evokes all the excitement of discovery, of being reborn into another culture, that only a person putting their life and time on the line can feel as they aim for complete immersion. And it’s especially gripping for Memphisbased music lovers, as one of the authors is David Evans, onetime director (and founder) of the ethnomusicology program at what is now called the University of Memphis.

His time at the university is highly regarded among blues aficionados, for he not only studied the form but also performed it (often with the legendary Jessie Mae Hemphill) and produced it, running the small High Water Records label with Richard Ranta, which released many singles and a few albums by lesser-known artists in the ’70s and ’80s. Now retired, he’s still a performer and an appreciator of the blues. Yet all he accomplished at the University of Memphis is but an afterthought in this work, which focuses on earlier chapters of Evans’ life. But he wasn’t alone then.

“It was co-authored with my friend

at the time, Marina Bokelman,” Evans explains, noting that Bokelman passed away in May of last year at the age of 80. This book is a fitting tribute to the magnificent work the two did over a half century ago. “We focus on the fieldwork that we did in 1966-67,” Evans adds. “It’s based on the field notes that we took as we did the work. Each day we’d write the notes, describing what we did, our encounters with artists and others. And then there are some other chapters providing background on that, discussing fieldwork, and a little bit about our lives before and after that period.”

obscure but no less important musicians, as well as blues legends, including Robert Pete Williams, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Babe Stovall, Reverend Ruben Lacy, and Jack Owens.

The core of the book is an evocative tour through the lives of blues and gospel singers, with a level of detail and attention to both the music and their lives rivaling any blues study before or since. The co-authors’ notes and photographs take the reader into the midst of memorable encounters with many

It was all part of the authors’ studies in the fledgling folklore and mythology program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where they began dating. There was clearly an intellectual as well as a romantic bond there, and the scholarly standards of the field notes are high. But this is also an adventure story of sorts, as the young couple describes searches for musicians, recording situations, social and family dynamics of musicians, and race relations, not to mention the practical, ethical, and logistical problems of doing fieldwork. The book features over one hundred documentary photographs that depict the field recording sessions and the activities, lives, and living conditions of the artists and their families. As you read along, you’ll want to listen to any recordings of the artists that you can get your hands on. While the field adventures are gripping, so too is the milieu of the young scholars in Los Angeles at the time, living in Topanga Canyon, and playing host to a young Al Wilson, with whom Evans performed previously in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Evans describes introducing Wilson to Tommy Johnson’s “Canned Heat Blues,” and we read of Wilson founding the famous group named after that 1928 record. With this section, occupying nearly the first hundred pages of the book, and the “after the field” biographical essays detailing the authors’ lives after splitting up and pursuing their respective passions, this book is a glowing portrait of two insatiably curious souls, a fitting memoir of two lives well-lived.

“We had some real adventures,” reflects Evans. “They’re all in the book.”

This book is a glowing portrait of two insatiably curious souls.
Two souls — Marina Bokelman and David Evans — guide readers through the landscape of ’60s blues and gospel music in Going Up the Country.

AFTER DARK: Live Music Schedule January 5 - 11

The Shotgunbillys ursday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m.


Doc Ballard

Celebrate Elvis’ birthday with some favorite Elvis songs as well as various hits from classic country and oldies artists. Sunday, Jan. 8, noon.


Eric Hughes

ursday, Jan. 5, 7-11 p.m.


Naomi Taylor Saturday, Jan. 7, 3:15 p.m.


Rodell McCord Sunday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m.


Trevor Berryhill Saturday, Jan. 7, noon.


19 Stone

Playing the best of AC/DC. Friday, Jan. 6, 8 p.m.


Fleetwood Mac Tribute

LANDSLIDE: A Memphis Tribute to Fleetwood Mac will perform the timeless rockand-roll songs of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Christine McVie. Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 p.m.


Almost Elton John & the Rocketmen

Friday, Jan. 6, 10 p.m.


Carlos Ecos Band Friday, Jan. 6, 6 p.m.


Deep Roots Sunday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m.


Emo Nite WSG with Aaron Gillespie $20-$16. Saturday, Jan. 7, 9 p.m.



Featuring HEELS, Mishka Shubaly, and Jake Flores. $10. Friday, Jan. 6, 8:15 p.m.


Joe Restivo with Guests Saturday, Jan. 7, 11 a.m.


Joe Restivo Sunday, Jan. 8, 11 a.m.


Joybomb, Symptoms, Wagoneer, Yesterday’s Trash Saturday, Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m.


Lance & Madison Saturday, Jan. 7, 2 p.m.


Memphis Knights Big Band Monday, Jan. 9, 6 p.m.


Memphis Soul Remedy

Saturday, Jan. 7, 6 p.m.


Metal Mayhem

Performances by Kill Command, Smoke Signals, Burn the Witch, Ten Crowns, East of Eden, Anemoia, and Lachance. $20. Friday, Jan. 6, 4:30-11 p.m.


Mista Treez Dirty 30

With special guests Nasty Nardo, Tom Skeemask, Z-Dogg, Byg Kurse, Cody CraZee, Lauren Badazz, BmG of Southside Syndicate, NxVx, Mr.Kliksta, KLR, and DJ BlackGold. $10. Saturday, Jan.

7, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.


Paid Showcase

An independent artist showcase with performances from GettinPaid J, Lil Hott, Zae HD, KP Huncho, and other surprise guests. Hosted by Grandpa Willy and BBJ from the Savages. $25-$45. Friday, Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.-midnight


Royal Blues Band Jam Tuesday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m.


Six Feet Thunder Saturday, Jan. 7, 10 p.m.


Slaughter Creek, The Doubted, Kill Command, Aversive Control $10. Saturday, Jan. 7, 10 p.m.


The Return of the Dan Montgomery 3+2 For the rst time in over three years(!), the DM3+2 (Dan Montgomery, Robert Mache, Candace Mache, James Cunningham, and Tom Arndt) will be hitting the boards again. Friday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m.

Triple Annie Sunday, Jan. 8, 3:30 p.m.


Turnt Sunday, Jan. 8, 2-5 p.m.


Vamachara, Momentum, 2 Live and Die $14. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 8 p.m.


Amber McCain Duo at Mississippi Ale House Friday, Jan. 6, 7-10 p.m.


Elvis Birthday Pops Concert

Musician and singer Terry Mike Je rey and his band join members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for a special birthday salute featuring music from all facets of Elvis’ amazing career. Friday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m.


Finley Watkins - Elvis Tribute

Finley Watkins is a 14-yearold musician from Bernie, MO. He pays a tribute to Elvis and many others as well as his own music. $10. Saturday, Jan. 7, 4 p.m.


One Night In Memphis e number-one tribute to Presley, Perkins, Lewis, and Cash. Saturday, Jan. 7, 9 p.m. GOLD STRIKE CASINO

Ted Torres

Ted Torres’ portrayal of the King of Rock-and-Roll is one of the top tributes in the world! $15. Saturday, Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m.


Clean Slate Saturday, Jan. 7, 7-11 p.m.

14 January 5-11, 2023

CALENDAR of EVENTS: January 5 - 11


“Community Art Gallery: Southern Buildings”

This series of small-scale watercolor paintings by artist David Rawlinson gives new life to abandoned buildings and homes found in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Through March 4.

“Cry Now”

Exhibition of work by Jesse Butcher. Through Jan. 21.

“Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet”

Exhibition dedicated to children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak’s set designs and clever costumes.

Through Jan. 8.

“Emily Ozier: Marisol’s Dress”

Emily Ozier’s series of paintings based on her mother’s experience as a refugee fleeing Cuba in the 1950s. Through Jan. 8.


An immersive experience bringing visitors into the world of renter evictions its impact on the family and community. Through Jan. 21.

“Fall 2022 BFA Exhibition”

Featuring works by graduating seniors in the department of visual and performing arts. Through Feb. 5.


“Fun and Games” Exhibition of work by John McIntire. Through Jan. 21.

“Looking Back” Exhibition of Lynda Watson’s work that incorporates materials such as metal, felt, and

charcoal, in addition to found objects, creating a detailed 3D scrapbook of her memories.

Through Jan. 29.


“Mending in a State of Abundance”

Exhibition of work by Katrina Perdue exploring the emotional and physical labor of repair, offering an alternative response to the modern realities of material excess.

Through March 5.


“Mending Things” Exhibition of Kelly S. Williams’ small tondos and diptychs. Through Feb. 11.


Rotunda Projects: Monika Grzymala Come explore this site-specific work made for Memphis at the Brooks! Through Jan. 9.


“Simple Pleasures: The Art of Doris Lee” Rediscover one of the most

popular figurative artists in American art history. Through Jan. 15.


“Sons and Daughters” Exhibition of Anne Siems’ work featuring tattooed figures centered around the growing children of friends and family who have all been deeply affected by mental health conditions. Through Feb. 11.


“Summer in Shanghai” A three-part video series of reflections and meditations during the hottest time of the year in China’s biggest city. Through March 5.


“The Making of ELVIS Movie Exhibition” Exhibition looking at the beginning of the creative process for Baz Luhrmann’s film and following it through its journey to the big screen. Sunday, Jan. 8-Sept. 4.


“Those Who Hold Dominion Here” Exhibition of work by Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo takes inspiration from serpents in Incan mythology and Southern snakes. Through March 5.


“Tripping Through Your Orbit”

Exhibition of large abstract paintings by Amy Hutcheson. Through Jan. 9.



Incognito Art Auction

Over 100 of the Mid-South’s beloved artists are creating a collection of original, unsigned works … incognito! Artwork will be on view in person with online bidding. Monday, Jan. 9-Jan. 27.


Send the date, time, place, cost, info, phone number, a brief description, and photos — two weeks in advance — to


earlier in the day for young and young-at-heart writers. Saturday, Jan. 7, 2:15-3 p.m.



Feathers in Watercolor

Learn to draw and paint realistic feathers using various watercolor techniques with instructor Jennalyn Speer. $60-$75. Monday, Jan. 9, noon-4 p.m.


Friday Dance/Viernes de Danza

Start your weekend with an hour of Spanish language dance instruction with company artist Oscar Fernandez. $5. Friday, Jan. 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Seed Cleaning Workshop

Participants will assist in processing locally collected seeds of plants native to the MidSouth region. Learn how to process seeds of various types and package them properly. Saturday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Maurice Sendak Through the Lens of Opera: A Tour with Ben Smith

Ben Smith will guide guests through the “Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet” exhibition with his experiences in the opera industry. Free. Sunday, Jan. 8, 2-3 p.m.


The lecture series features presentations by local artists, scholars, and Dixon staff sharing their knowledge on a variety of topics. Wednesday, Jan. 11, noon-1 p.m.



Meet the Author: Ode to a Nobody Novel welcomes Caroline Brooks Dubois to celebrate the release of Ode to A Nobody. She will also host an interactive writing workshop



Comedy Open Mic

This is where new comedians come to learn the ropes, good comedians come to try out new material that’s not quite there yet, and where bad comedians come to do what they do. Free. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 8:30 p.m.


Rodney Perry

Perry calls Atlanta home when he’s not traveling the country to sold-out audiences or hosting his highly popular online radio show, Rodney Perry Live $40. Friday, Jan. 6-Jan. 8.


Secret Show Comedy

A fantastic lineup of local and touring comedians. Thursday, Jan. 5, 8-9:30 p.m.


Dishing it out at .com. A Very Tasteful Food Blog
On display at Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, “Evicted” explores the causes and consequences of housing insecurity through the eyes and voices of those who have experienced eviction.
on page 16


Amtgard, Morrighan’s Bluff - LARP

Morrighan’s Blu is the local chapter of Amtgard, a medieval/fantasy live action role-playing group. Saturday, Jan. 7, noon.

Clean Up In Washington Bottoms is partnering with e Works, Inc. on improving Washington Bottoms and will be removing trash, vines, and invasive shrubbery. Meet on Washington between McNeil and Watkins. Saturday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-noon.

Project Pop-up! (all ages)

Each month, participants explore a new part of the Dixon with an inspiring project for all ages. Supplies are provided. Free. Saturday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-noon.


Story Time

Enjoy stories, songs, art activities, and creative play that connect with Collierville history every Friday at the Morton Museum. Free. Friday, Jan. 6, 10:30 a.m.


Girls! Girls! Girls!

Enjoy Elvis on the big screen as he plays Ross Carpenter, a Hawaii-based shing guide and sailor who nds himself caught in a love triangle. Free. ursday, Jan. 5, 10 a.m.

Shin Ultraman (subtitled)

A delightful reimagining of one of Japan’s classic superheroes, full of cosmic twists, charismatic villains, and giant Kaiju. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m.

Where the Wild Things Are

A screening of Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild ings Are adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s story. Free. Saturday, Jan. 7, 2-4 p.m.


Hill and Dale 8 Miler is course, which is on roads and paved paths, will take you through the Hills and Dales and switchbacks of the great Meeman Shelby Forest State Park. Saturday, Jan. 7, 11 a.m.


Living Life Deliberately: Mindfulness Meditation in Daily Life is class focuses on how we can practice meditation in ways that foster our ability to live

deliberately, paying attention to what matters.

Free. Friday, Jan. 6, noon-12:30 p.m.


Lunchtime Meditations with Memphis Center for Mindful Living Make time for yourself each week and explore a variety of meditation practices designed to help you nd balance and reduce stress. Free. Friday, Jan. 6, noon-12:30 p.m.


MH3: Moonlight Trail

Join the Memphis area drinking club with a running problem. Friday, Jan. 6, 7-10 p.m.


Taijiquan with Milan Vigil Led by Milan Vigil, this Chinese martial art promotes relaxation, improves balance, and provides no-impact aerobic bene ts. Ages 16 and older. Saturday, Jan. 7, 10:30-11:30 a.m.


Known for largescale tondos, Kelly S. Williams focuses on signi cantly smaller pieces in “Mending ings.”

Yoga with Laura Gray McCann

Strengthen your yoga practice and enjoy the health bene ts of light exercise with a certi ed yoga instructor. If weather permits, yoga will take place in the gardens. ursday, Jan. 5, 6-6:45 p.m.



Reckless Driving Panel Discussion

An important panel discussion about the problem of reckless driving in the city. Wednesday, Jan. 11, 6:30 p.m.



Anime Blues Winterfest Remix 2023

All the fun of a full three-day anime convention packed into a single animeday! With cosplayers, cosplay contests, panels, exhibit hall, and marketplace. Saturday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.


Elvis Birthday Celebration

Elvis Presley’s Graceland will honor the King’s birthday with four days of concerts, movies, conversations, and more. ursday, Jan. 5-Jan. 8.


Sanctuary of Shadows ’80s DJ Night

An evening of dancing to your favorite alternative ’80s tunes! 21+. Saturday, Jan. 7, 9 p.m.



e rst comic/gaming/fantasy/cosplay convention of the year. Tons of gaming, vendors, panels, escape rooms, and more. Friday, Jan. 6-Jan. 8.


Twilight Tarot: A Night of Tarot Reading

Enjoy a special night of shopping and get a tarot reading to help you on your path for 2023, nd guidance in your life, or check in on speci c situations in your life. Friday, Jan. 6, 6-8 p.m.


901 Wrestling: Havoc vs. Mack

Scheduled to appear: 1819 Champion Don Montana, e Storm, Bobby Ford, T.I.P., Big Dave, Positive Lee, “Tip Toe” Wilson Shane Sho ner, Ken Dang, Dustin Anthony, Night Train, Chris Ward, and more. Saturday, Jan. 7, 7 p.m.


Memphis vs. East Carolina Saturday, Jan. 7, 1 p.m.


NBA Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs Monday, Jan. 9, 10 a.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m.


NBA Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz Sunday, Jan. 8, 5 p.m.


WWE Friday Night Smackdown Fans will have a chance to see some of their favorite Smackdown Superstars live, including Drew McIntyre, e New Day, e USOS, Liv Morgan, Sami Zayn, Natalya, Ricochet, Sheamus, Shinsuke Nakamura, and many more. $20. Friday, Jan. 6, 6:45 p.m. FEDEXFORUM

16 January 5-11, 2023
continued from page 15
ACROSS 1 Samsungversus-Apple and others 7 Regular at a fitness center 13 Returns 14 Gather dust 15 Containing neither meat nor dairy 16 Dietary claim on some potato chip bags 17 “Here’s one for you, smartypants” 19 Something cast in cleromancy 20 Not just sit there 21 Breaks, in a way 25 Rugged class 27 Source of illegal ivory, informally 30 Puts to bed, with “in” 31 One with a habit 32 Cash ___ (restaurant caveat) 33 New World songbird 34 Overhaul 35 Feminine suffix in Spanish names 36 Power cord? 37 Cut (down) 38 Take the more difficult path, metaphorically 41 Something made for one’s idols? 42 Ancient 43 Abbr. for an open slot 46 Dressing room attendant 49 “Don’t mention it” 52 Some kaffiyeh wearers 53 Went past 54 Company with a purple-andgreen asterisk in its logo 55 National tree of India 56 Clean, as a lab coat? DOWN 1 Horrify, in Hampshire 2 Pipe cleaner brand 3 Drub 4 Some 5 It flows from the Cottian Alps to the Adriatic 6 Lead-in to -scope 7 Lillian of silent films 8 Firm affirmation 9 Prayer book 10 Nutritional fig. 11 ___ set 12 Celebration in Ho Chi Minh City 14 Low-carb sandwich 16 Series of visits to colleges, maybe 18 Actor whose roles have included both a fictional and a real-life U.S. president 22 Person in a rush 23 Exercise done on a bench 24 Bishops’ gathering 25 One who bugs another person? 26 Ring result, for short 27 Raise 28 Halved, perhaps 29 Interweave, as hair 33 Kind of pass 34 Super Bowl LIII loser 36 Island near Krakatoa 37 Wage 39 Answer to the riddle “I form in an instant and last a lifetime. What am I?” 40 Rubbed out 43 Ebbing and flowing, say 44 Queen’s “We Will Rock You” vis-à-vis “We Are the Champions” 45 Totally lost 47 Sadiq ___, London mayor beginning in 2016 48 Neighborhood 49 ___ Hill (San Francisco neighborhood) 50 Eggs Florentine, once? 51 Son of, in Hebrew names PUZZLE BY ANDREW J. RIES Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 7,000 past puzzles, ($39.95 a year). Read about and comment on each puzzle: ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE 123456 789101112 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21222324 25 26 272829 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 434445 4647 48 495051 52 53 54 55 56 MASHACTSBOWIE OREOIDEAERICA MEATSCAMABNER SANDSHAKERSBEN ALASETSY BLAMEEIGNSTATE RUNNERLOOUNIX URNTABLOIDOBI CIAONUBROUSES EDBRIDGESINERT EGGOHONK AOLNMENTAGENCY BALTODOITMERE CHEERNICEPROW SUEDEARKSTOPS The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Friday, January 10, 2020


It’s Come to This

Brandy Bottone of Plano, Texas, who argued successfully in June that her unborn fetus qualified her to drive in the HOV lane, is now the namesake of House Bill 521 in Texas’ 2023 legislative session, MSN reported. The Brandy Bill, introduced by state Rep. Briscoe Cain, states that a pregnant driver “is entitled to use any HOV lane in the state.” Texas penal code stipulates that an unborn child is considered a person “at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.” If the Brandy Bill is signed into law, it will take effect in September. [MSN, 11/17/2022]

End of an Era

Coventry Club, a 46-acre campground in Milton, Vermont, that’s been a haven for nudists for almost 60 years, is closing at the end of the season, WCAXTV reported. “Our second day here, we fell in love with the place and the people,” said camper Gentle Bear. The owners are going to retire, and the land was sold to a family. Vermont’s unusual laws about nudity allow flashing the birthday suit in public — but you can’t take off your clothes in public. “This is the only place like this in the Northeast and maybe in the U.S.,” said Mark Ozenich, who first visited the park 20 years ago. Good times. [WCAX, 11/16/2022]

Bright Idea

Residents of the Capitol Hill area of Seattle took matters into their own hands after not getting any satisfaction from the city, KOMO-TV reported. Someone painted a crosswalk at the intersection of E. Olive Way and Harvard Avenue E., but on Nov. 16, the Seattle Department of Transportation removed the unauthorized stripes, saying, “Improperly painted crosswalks give a false sense of safety which puts pedestrians in danger. There are better ways for people to work with us.” David Seater, co-leader of Central Seattle Greenways, called it “frustrating” that the city can move so quickly to remove the rogue crosswalk but “it can take years if not decades or never, frankly, to get crosswalks and other safety improvements installed.” SDOT said it would evaluate the intersection to see how the unauthorized crossing might be replaced. [KOMO, 11/16/2022]


the Season

Archaeologists in Turkey believe they have found the tomb of the real St. Nicholas, People reported on Oct. 19. The grave was discovered beneath the floor of a 7th- or 8th-century church in the country’s Antalya province. St. Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration for our modern-day Santa Claus, allegedly served as bishop there. Scientists say the site will be protected and prepared for display. [People, 10/19/2022]

It’s a Mystery

On a sheep farm in the Inner Mongolia region of China, a strange phenomenon has been caught on surveillance video, Oddity Central reported. Starting on Nov. 4 and lasting more than two weeks, dozens of sheep were seen walking clockwise in a large circle. Other animals could be seen staring at the circle from outside it or standing motionless in the middle of it. Only sheep from one pen (out of 34) were acting strangely, according to Ms. Miao, the owner. Some viewers of the video theorized that the sheep are suffering from listeriosis, or “circles disease,” but that condition usually causes a rapid death. [Oddity Central, 11/18/2022]

Fish Story

Bluewater Lakes in Champagne, France, is the home of The Carrot, a hybrid leather carp and koi fish that was released into the fishing lake 20 years ago and has been eluding fishers ever since, the Daily Mail reported. That is, until Nov. 3, when Andy Hackett, from Worcestershire, England, landed the 67-pound beauty. Hackett spent about 25 minutes hauling in The Carrot. “I always knew The Carrot was in there but never thought I would catch it,” Hackett said. He released the famous fish back into the lake and celebrated with a cup of tea. [Daily Mail, 11/21/2022]

Send your weird news items with subject line WEIRD NEWS to WeirdNewsTips@ News of the Weird is now a podcast on all major platforms! Visit to find out more.


© 2023 Andrews McMeel Syndication. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


ARIES (March 21-April 19): “My life was the best omelet you could make with a chain saw,” observed flamboyant author Thomas McGuane. That’s a witty way to encapsulate his tumultuous destiny. There have been a few moments in 2022 when you might have been tempted to invoke a similar metaphor about your own evolving story. But the good news is that your most recent chain saw-made omelet is finished and ready to eat. I think you’ll find its taste is savory. And I believe it will nourish you for a long time. (Soon it will be time to start your next omelet, maybe without using the chain saw this time!)

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): After meticulous research of 2023’s astrological omens, I have come to a radical conclusion: You should tell the people who care for you that you’d like to be called by new pet names. I think you need to intensify their ability and willingness to view you as a sublime creature worthy of adoration. I don’t necessarily recommend you use old standbys like “cutie,” “honey,” “darling,” or “angel.” I’m more in favor of unique and charismatic versions, something like “Jubilee” or “Zestie” or “Fantasmo” or “Yowie-Wowie.” Have fun coming up with pet names that you are very fond of. The more, the better.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If I could choose some fun and useful projects for you to master in 2023, they would include the following: 1. Be in constant competition with yourself to outdo past accomplishments. But at the same time, be extra compassionate toward yourself. 2. Borrow and steal other people’s good ideas and use them with even better results than they would use them. 3. Acquire an emerald or two, or wear jewelry that features emeralds. 4. Increase your awareness of and appreciation for birds. 5. Don’t be attracted to folks who aren’t good for you just because they are unusual or interesting. 6. Upgrade your flirting so it’s even more nuanced and amusing, while at the same time you make sure it never violates anyone’s boundaries.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): When she was young, Carolyn Forché was a conventional poet focused on family and childhood. But she transformed. Relocating to El Salvador during its civil war, she began to write about political trauma. Next, she lived in Lebanon during its civil war. She witnessed firsthand the tribulations of military violence and the imprisonment of activists. Her creative work increasingly illuminated questions of social justice. At age 72, she is now a renowned human rights advocate. In bringing her to your attention, I don’t mean to suggest that you engage in an equally dramatic selfreinvention. But in 2023, I do recommend drawing on her as an inspirational role model. You will have great potential to

discover deeper aspects of your life’s purpose — and enhance your understanding of how to offer your best gifts.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Are the characters in Carlos Castañeda’s books on shamanism fictional or real? It doesn’t matter to me. I love the wisdom of his alleged teacher, Don Juan Matus. He said, “Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.” Don Juan’s advice is perfect for you in the coming nine months, Leo. I hope you will tape a copy of his words on your bathroom mirror and read it at least once a week.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Teacher and author Byron Katie claims, “The voice within is what I’m married to. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from.” I happen to know that she has also been married for many years to a writer named Stephen Mitchell. So she has no problem being wed to both Mitchell and her inner voice. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to propose marriage to your own inner voice. The coming year will be a fabulous time to deepen your relationship with this crucial source of useful and sacred revelation.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche offered advice that is perfect for you in 2023. It’s strenuous. It’s demanding and daunting. If you take it to heart, you will have to perform little miracles you may not yet have the confidence to try. But I have faith in you, Libra. That’s why I don’t hesitate to provide you with Nietzsche’s rant: “No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): How might you transform the effects of the limitations you’ve been dealing with? What could you do to make it work in your favor as 2023 unfolds? I encourage you to think about these question with daring and audacity. The more moxie you summon, the greater your luck will be in making the magic happen. Here’s another riddle to wrestle with: What surrender or sacrifice could you initiate that might lead in unforeseen ways to a plucky breakthrough? I have a sense that’s what will transpire as you weave your way through the coming months in quest of surprising opportunities.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “I’m homesick all the time,” writes author Sarah Addison Allen. “I just don’t know where home is. There’s this promise of happiness out there. I know it. I even feel it sometimes. But it’s like chasing the moon. Just when I think I have it, it disappears into the horizon.” If you have ever felt pangs like hers, Capricorn, I predict they will fade in 2023. That’s because I expect you will clearly identify the feeling of home you want — and thereby make it possible to find and create the place, the land, and the community where you will experience a resounding peace and stability.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian singer Tina Turner confided, “My greatest beauty secret is being happy with myself.” I hope you will experiment with that formula in 2023. I believe the coming months will potentially be a time when you will be happier with yourself than you have ever been before — more at peace with your unique destiny, more accepting of your unripe qualities, more in love with your depths, and more committed to treating yourself with utmost care and respect. Therefore, if Tina Turner is accurate, 2023 will also be a year when your beauty will be ascendant.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Storyteller Michael Meade tells us, “The ship is always off course. Anybody who sails knows that. Sailing is being off-course and correcting. That gives a sense of what life is about.” I interpret Meade’s words to mean that we are never in a perfect groove heading directly towards our goal. We are constantly deviating from the path we might wish we could follow with unfailing accuracy. That’s not a bug in the system; it’s a feature. And as long as we obsess on the idea that we’re not where we should be, we are distracted from doing our real work. And the real work? The ceaseless corrections. I hope you will regard what I’m saying here as one of your core meditations in 2023, Aquarius.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A Chinese proverb tells us, “Great souls have wills. Feeble souls have wishes.” I guess that’s true in an abstract way. But in practical terms, most of us are a mix of both great and feeble. We have a modicum of willpower and a bundle of wishes. In 2023, though, you Pisceans could make dramatic moves to strengthen your willpower as you shed wimpy wishes. In my psychic vision of your destiny, I see you feeding metaphorical iron supplements to your resolve and determination.

18 January 5-11, 2023

Top of His Game

Becoming executive chef of IBIS restaurant is the peak of Jake Behnke’s career. It’s sort of like reaching the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Behnke did that, too.

His culinary climb began when he was 16. “Basically, I was fucking up real bad in high school,” says Behnke, 30. “My dad told me, ‘You’re going to learn to study, or you’re going to go to work.’”

Behnke chose work. He walked to the old e Grove Grill, where he met thensous chef Ryan Trimm. “I told him I’d work for free and I’d learn the job.”

He dressed for success that day. “I was wearing khakis and a sweater. Loafers.”

Behnke got the job. e next week, he showed up to work wearing “ripped up shorts” and purple Converse high-tops. Trimm asked him, “What happened to the kid I hired?”

He began as a dishwasher, but he loved everything about the kitchen. “It was art and it was math and it was chemistry. It was all my favorite subjects rolled into one career.”

So, Behnke enrolled in the cooking course under Betty Hall at Kingsbury Career & Technology Center. e two-year course was part of the Future Business Leaders of America program. “I graduated at the top of my class.”

As a result of taking the course, Behnke got on the line at e Grove Grill and began his cooking career.

Behnke later worked at other restaurants, including Interim and the old Sweet Grass and Southward Fare & Libations, before leaving Memphis to study at Chef Academy in Terni, Italy. He discovered it “was cheaper to move to Italy and go to school” than to attend a culinary school in Memphis.

e course was in Italian, so Behnke took notes phonetically. He’d then “go home and type it into Google Translate.”

Italy was heaven. “I fell in love 10 times a day. With women, art, food. With the culture. Really and truly, Italy is a chef’s paradise. ey source most things from the region they live in.”

Also, he learned, “In order to cook good food, don’t complicate it. You want

to taste each ingredient in a dish. It just proved that good food is simple and it’s local.”

Returning to Memphis, Behnke worked at Acre, Restaurant Iris, and was the catering chef for Iris owner Kelly English. Behnke also was one of the chefs at an assisted living center. “We took the menu from frozen and canned to fresh.”

Behnke, who learned about IBIS from the restaurant’s operations manger Patrick Gilbert, describes the restaurant as “eclectic.” Which he likes. “It kind of gives me free rein to do whatever I want in the kitchen. And it de nitely suits my personality type. I’m an eclectic person.”

His current menu includes Greek lamb meatballs and spicy chorizo stew. Future

items could be “anything from a craw sh tartlet to ugali chicha — an African spinach, basically — and curry.”

Ugali chicha comes from his travels in Africa. “ e church I go to does mission trips to Africa every other year.”

He was 22 when he rst climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. “When I reached the top of ‘Kily’ I was so emotionally destroyed already from just mustering up all I could to get to the top.”

Behnke continues to march to his own drum as far as kitchen attire. “I wear Dickies 874 pants. I wear New Balance black tube socks. And then I wear SAS Guardians, an orthopedic shoe.” But no chef jacket. “I prefer a black button-down prep shirt.”

And he sports a perfectly-curled handlebar mustache. “All my life I’ve been a baby face. Clean cut. Shaven. I kind of went mountain man. Part of it was when I was going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa last year. It’s really fucking cold on that mountain. So, I thought, ‘I’ll put a little extra hair on my body.’”

IBIS is at 314 South Main St.

By Michael Donahue IBIS chef Jake Behnke loves the eclectic.
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t took George Miller 18 years to shepherd Mad Max: Fury Road from pre-production to release. He went down blind technological alleys; wrote, produced, and then canceled an anime version; and went through multiple Maxes and Furiosas. But the false starts and revisions paid o — Fury Road was the best lm of the 2010s, and arguably the greatest action movie of all time.

James Cameron’s been cooking his sequel to 2009’s Avatar for 13 years. e Way of Water was originally scheduled to bow in the summer of 2014, but underwater motion capture photography, which had never been attempted before, turned out to be much harder than the director anticipated. en came the pandemic.

Miller used his time to re ne Fury Road down to its essence, assembling a stripped-down hot rod of a lm that goes full throttle for two hours. e years of delay had the opposite e ect on Cameron. His original idea for an Avatar trilogy expanded into a pentalogy, and TWOW is a bladder-bursting 192 minutes long — comparable to the running time of Lord of the Rings: e Return of the King but with fewer endings.

We return to Pandora to nd that just about the same amount of time has passed there as in real life. Jake (Sam Worthington), the runaway space marine, has married Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña) and now permanently inhabits his blue Na’vi body. He’s the chief of the tribe, and they’re raising quite a brood: two sons, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and their daughter Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss). ey’re also raising Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), the Na’vi daughter of the avatar of the late Dr. Grace Augustine (also Sigourney). Who Kiri’s father is, or how any of that works, biologically speaking, is le a mystery for future installments. In the midst of all the techno-wizardry, using

mo-cap to empower Sigourney Weaver to play her own teenage daughter turns out to be Cameron’s greatest stroke of genius. e strangest member of the mixed Sully clan is Spider (Jack Champion), the biological son of Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), Jake’s former commanding o cer who died during Avatar’s nal

battle. Spider was abandoned on Pandora a er the humans withdrew and was adopted by the Sullys.

But Col. Quaritch’s story isn’t over. e Resource Development Administration (RDA) backed up his consciousness as a way of preventing the loss of institutional knowledge. e powers that be implanted

e Way of Water is truly epic in a way few lms have ever been.

his mind into a Na’vi clone. When the RDA returns to Pandora in force, clone Col. Quaritch is sent on a mission to hunt down the traitor Sully and terminate him with extreme prejudice.

Had TWOW been released on time in 2014, the last decade at the movies would look very di erent. It’s quite possible the 3D revolution Avatar inspired wouldn’t have zzled in the mid-teens. Cameron understands the technology better than anyone. Instead of just throwing things at the screen for cheap shocks, he uses 3D to add depth to scenes. Cameron’s goal is to be immersive. And with TWOW, “immersive” becomes literal. e director’s other obsession besides lmmaking is scuba diving, and one gets the impression that he would be perfectly content to jettison all of this annoying story and just take

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A er a 13-year wait, James Cameron returns to Pandora with Avatar: e Way of Water
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us on a 3D swim with space whales — and I’d watch it.

The Sully family meets the space whales, who are called “tulkuns,” when they flee for the coast to hide among the Metkayina, or “Reef People.” Na’vi who are aqua-green instead of turquoise, the Reef People are led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet), who, like many female Na’vi in this film, is what I like to call “skinny-pregnant.”

Cameron’s ambition for his story is to become the Tolkien of the screenplay format, with Avatar as The Hobbit. Instead of Tolkien’s high European fantasy, Cameron’s idiom is the “hard” science fiction of the 1950s, with a sprinkling of New Wave influence (primarily from Ursula Le Guin, whose A Wizard of Earthsea provides inspiration for The Way of Water’s archi-

pelago setting). Cameron’s gender politics blind spots and gung-ho militarism reflect the limitations of his chosen genre. On the other hand, TWOW is an anti-colonialist work, The Last of the Mohicans as ecoscience-fiction. Even though he’s a hero to his adoptive world, Sully and his kids are stuck between cultures. The human colonists are mostly craven xenophobes, but even the enlightened Na’vi carry their own prejudices.

TWOW is big, unwieldy, and sometimes clunky. But it is also truly epic in a way very few films have ever been. After a long wait, James Cameron finally delivers the goods.

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If We Lose the Oak Court Mall

Could it house White Station High School?

When it was announced that the Oak Court Mall was to be auctioned in December, I was saddened but not surprised. Malls in general have been on a slow death march for years, and every shooting at Oak Court has made it more of a ghost town than it already was. No amount of marketing lipstick was ever going to return it to its former beauty-queen status. And if not repurposed, it will be torn down like the Mall of Memphis and others throughout the country. Amazon has destroyed the retail landscape, and the pandemic helped to make o ce space less necessary, so those two adaptive reuse options are o the table.

Whatever will replace the mall is guaranteed to harm the environment. Massive amounts of pollutants spewing into the air as it’s razed, thousands of truckloads to remove the debris, causing gallons and gallons of diesel to be emitted, and a land ll devoted to what is an unnecessary exercise in demolishing a perfectly good building. And it is almost certain that anything resembling green space will be destroyed in the name of increased density.

What I am proposing would save Oak Court and create prime real estate that developers would rush to buy: Move White Station High School to the mall and tear its campus down for residential use. is solution would allow both entities to reach their highest and best use.

If not repurposed, the Oak Court Mall will be torn down, causing environmental harm.

As a bonus, developing the WSHS campus would not run afoul of the usual neighborhood association concerns related to height, density, and tra c. at’s because on its west are two high-rise apartment buildings; on its south, commercial development and a church; and on the north, Pecan Grove Condominiums. I’m certain there isn’t a single developer who would miss the endless rounds of neighborhood meetings that delay their projects.

Pecan Grove residents would have few concerns if a thoughtful con guration were created along their southern perimeter. Examples could include things such as making the main entrance run along the northern edge where the parking lot is now, and locating a dog walking area there. In other words, no tall buildings towering over their homes. On the east where the current football practice eld lies might make a good location for green space, a pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, etc., so that the owners in Wellington and the lone house behind the eastern edge of the property could be assured of the same privacy as residents of Pecan Grove.

As for tra c, I can attest that having once picked up my own children from WSHS, there will be no grieving by the residents at the Embassy, who would love not having tra c blocked twice a day for 180 days of the year, not counting baseball and basketball games.

What I am not suggesting is another zero lot development or one of single-family homes. What I am envisioning is a Lexington-style complex that would answer the need for onestory homes that o er a garage. If one wants to downsize and remain in East Memphis, there are few options. Zero lot homes might reduce yard maintenance, but there are still gutters to be cleaned, trim to be painted, and stairs to be climbed. Yes, there are plenty of condominiums available, but almost none with garages. And since many of the developments are two stories, you’re back to the stair question.

Downsizing at my stage in life, however, doesn’t mean living in 1,200 square feet and two bedrooms. So I’m hoping that were it to be developed, more square feet would be part of the plan

Many questions remain about the existing anchors of the mall, but there are plenty of adaptations elsewhere in the country that could be used as models. Perhaps the upper parking deck adjacent to Dillard’s could be resurfaced for a baseball eld, while the area closest to the tracks, if there were room, could be turned into a football stadium where games could actually be played on campus, with no residents to be bothered by lights. And unlike the current site, there is ample parking for students and faculty. e existing food court could function as a cafeteria, and since the mall interior is already green, gray, and white, no loss of school identity would occur.

And with the ubiquity of school shootings, proper design decisions could make the existing mall virtually impregnable.

So here’s to preserving the mall. And building my old-age dream home.

Ruth Ogles Johnson is an occasional contributor to the Flyer

By Ruth Ogles Johnson
ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES 21,000 sq ft. 100 + booths • 5855 Summer Ave. (corner of Summer and Sycamore View ) exit 12 off I-40 | 901.213.9343 Mon-Sat 10a-6p | Sun 1p-6p Coco & Lola’s Midtown Lingerie Spice Up Date Night! ALL SIZES SMALL – 3X!! New Styles at IG/FB/TW @CocoandLolas Memphis’ Top Lingerie Shop 710 S. Cox | Mon-Sat 11:30-7:00 GO GLOBAL! Advertise Online* Mobile Phone * Distribution call us @ (877)-879-9XM7 MAKE YOUR CLOSET HAPPY, MANE. VISIT US AT GRINDCITYDESIGNS.COM/MEMPHISFLYER/ TO PLACE AN ORDER. New/Used LPs, 45s & CDs. 2152 Young Ave - 901-722-0095 Voted Flyer’s Best of Memphis Since 2004 We Open at Noon. We Buy Records! Petey is a friendly,
guy with
to give. This
dog who enjoys
on the
TO ADOPT PETEY, VISIT: adoption-application-form MEET PETEY!
lots of love
goofy boy
always put a smile on
face. Petey
make a wonderful family
both cuddling