OUR 1716TH ISSUE 01.13.22
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Here’s our look at four of the Bluff City’s sweetest spots to pick up a donut.
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OUR 1716TH ISSUE 01.13.22
JERRY D. SWIFT Advertising Director Emeritus KELLI DEWITT, CHIP GOOGE, HAILEY THOMAS Senior Account Executives MICHELLE MUSOLF Account Executive ROBBIE FRENCH Warehouse and Delivery Manager JANICE GRISSOM ELLISON, KAREN MILAM, DON MYNATT, TAMMY NASH, RANDY ROTZ, LEWIS TAYLOR, WILLIAM WIDEMAN Distribution 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 memphisflyer.com CONTEMPORARY MEDIA, INC. ANNA TRAVERSE FOGLE Chief Executive Officer LYNN SPARAGOWSKI Controller/Circulation Manager JEFFREY GOLDBERG Chief Revenue Officer MARGIE NEAL Chief Operating Officer KRISTIN PAWLOWSKI Digital Services Director MARIAH MCCABE Circulation and Accounting Assistant KALENA MATTHEWS Marketing Coordinator
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JESSE DAVIS Editor SHARA CLARK Managing Editor JACKSON BAKER, BRUCE VANWYNGARDEN Senior Editors TOBY SELLS Associate Editor CHRIS MCCOY Film and TV Editor ALEX GREENE Music Editor SAMUEL X. CICCI, MICHAEL DONAHUE, JON W. SPARKS Staff Writers ABIGAIL MORICI Copy Editor, Calendar Editor LORNA FIELD, RANDY HASPEL, RICHARD MURFF, FRANK MURTAUGH, MEGHAN STUTHARD Contributing Columnists AIMEE STIEGEMEYER, SHARON BROWN Grizzlies Reporters ANDREA FENISE Fashion Editor KENNETH NEILL Founding Publisher
I’ll tell you this story as it was told to me. Years ago, my dad was digging a hole in the front yard so he could plant a tree. His neighbor, a man named Ben who I remember as being perpetually clad in overalls and a gray T-shirt, pulled up in his pickup truck, rolled down his window, and said, “What are you up to?” “You’re looking at it.” Ben threw open the truck’s passenger-side door and said, “Get in.” Our old neighbor took my dad to donate blood. Apparently it was something Ben did with regularity, every eight weeks or so, as the guidelines go. That was how my dad learned he was O-, the universal donor. That was why the refrigerator in my childhood home was covered in Lifeblood magnets. I’m O- too, so I donate with regularity. The phlebotomists tell me that donating a double-red is better, easier to transport, especially with my blood type, so I can’t go quite as often as Ben. But I do make a point of showing up whenever they call to remind me I’m eligible again. I don’t write this to pat myself on the back — donating is quite literally the easiest thing I can do for my community. Heck, I do it lying down! I bring this up because the Red Cross just announced that they are “experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants.” With the Omicron variant spreading rapidly, blood supplies at a historic low, and nurses and doctors fleeing the overstrained PHOTO: JESSE DAVIS healthcare system, now would be a horrible time to wreck your car, have a heart attack, or have your appendix burst. Drive safely, folks. It seems to me that now would be a good time for the Food and Drug Administration to revise their guidelines about the three-month deferral for donations by men who have sex with men. But that’s not up to me. The best I can do is donate when they call me, and take whatever steps I can not to prolong this pandemic. (You knew I was going to mention the pandemic, right?) Because, according to the Red Cross, the pandemic has placed quite a strain on their donor recruitment efforts. Young people at high school and college blood drives make up a large percentage of donors, and it’s hard to pull the blood-mobile up to a virtual classroom. As the Red Cross reports on its website, there has been a 62 percent drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors accounted for approximately 25 percent of donors in 2019, but accounted for just 10 percent during the pandemic. What’s more, there has been a 10 percent drop in donations overall since March 2020. So yes, I can and do donate when Vitalant’s number pops up on my phone, but my double-red donation is, pardon the pun, a drop in the bucket. Just as my choice to get vaccinated and boosted and to continue to wear a mask in public is hardly going to end the pandemic. While I encourage anyone who is eligible to go donate blood — or to get vaccinated if you haven’t yet — I also recognize the need for a larger organizing framework to guide solutions to these problems. Or at least to address the pandemic, which will, in a roundabout way, help solve the blood shortage. There will always be bad actors, people who resist restrictions designed to help the community. So the question is, do we cater N E WS & O P I N I O N to them, or do we do what’s necessary to THE FLY-BY - 4 protect the people who need our help? Put it NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 another way, if you’re of the mind that Covid POLITICS - 8 will always be with us, will be endemic, do FINANCIAL FEATURE - 9 you think the current state of things is a AT LARGE - 11 COVER STORY livable status quo? “DONUT LOOK UP” Am I calling on my individual readers to BY FLYER STAFF - 12 consider possible solutions for a structural WE RECOMMEND - 16 problem? Why, yes, it does appear that way. MUSIC - 17 Do I recognize the irony in that? CALENDAR - 18 FOOD - 19 Also yes. FILM - 20 Jesse Davis C LAS S I F I E D S - 22 email@example.com
MEMernet Memphis on the internet. “ONLY IN MEMPHIS” This Picasso of profanity peeled paint from the walls in a November TikTok video filmed in a Memphis McDonald’s drive-through. We can’t print much of the tirade and for us that’s saying something. But here’s one good insult, “you garbage- POSTED TO TIKTOK BY KINGGEO_IAM can-BurgerKing-McDonald’s-eatin’-ass bitch.” DOLPHTUBE
January 13-19, 2022
POSTED TO YOUTUBE BY GUCCI MANE
YouTubers focused on last week’s arrest warrant for Justin Johnson (aka Straight Drop) for the shooting death of Memphis rapper Young Dolph. Poetik Flakko said he called Johnson’s involvement weeks ago. Hookah Anonymous opined another Memphis rapper (who we won’t name here) was involved and now seems nervous. Kmoney and Kp, from IDENTIKAL, said 300 were arrested over the weekend to force cooperation with the investigation. Meanwhile, the video to Gucci Mane’s tribute, “Long Live Dolph,” has been viewed nearly 9 million times in two weeks. ANOTHER DIMENSION One Nextdoor poster recently asked where in town to find a “non-dimensional church,” in a hilarious typo. To Nextdoor’s credit, it took days and dozens of comments before anyone corrected it.
Questions, Answers + Attitude Edited by Toby Sells
CITY REPORTER B y To b y S e l l s
Mississippi Mosque Judge: officials rejected construction plans on anti-Muslim bias. A new mosque can be built in Horn Lake, PHOTO: ACLU Mississippi, after a new consent decree forced leaders there to approve plans for its construction. Horn Lake planning board members and town aldermen denied the application to build Abraham House of God last year, claiming the building did not have an adequate sprinkler system. Those who sought permission to build the mosque said the decision was due to anti-Muslim bias. In November, Drawing of the front entry of Abraham House of God, plaintiffs — Abraham House the mosque proposed for Horn Lake of God and Cemetery, Inc.; MR Property, LLC; Riyadh Elkhayyat; and Maher Abuirshaid — sued Horn Lake’s planning plan “because they’re Muslims.” commission, its board of aldermen, and City Mayor Allen Rather than challenging Mills’ decision, Horn Lake officials Latimer. The group claimed city leaders discriminated against nullified their denial of the project and agreed to approve the project on the basis of religion, in violation of their rights it by February 8th and to act upon any further permits or under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. applications for the project without delay. The city of Horn Lake also has to pay $25,000 to the developer, MR Property, to cover costs associated with appealing the decision to the town council and to the state. The city will also have to pay all attorneys’ fees and court costs. “We are heartened and relieved that we are able to move ahead with our plans for a mosque in Horn Lake, which will provide a critical local house of worship for my family and U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mills agreed, saying that other Muslims in the community to gather and practice our their allegations were proven factually correct, they show faith freely and without discrimination,” said Elkhayyat, co“strong allegations of religious discrimination.” founder of the Abraham House of God mosque. The ACLU said zoning proceedings held by Horn Lake’s If built, the mosque will be the only one in DeSoto County. Planning Commission and Board of Aldermen were “filled Elkhayyat and Abuirshaid say they and their families now have with anti-Muslim sentiment.” After rejecting the mosque’s to travel to Memphis to worship communally. site plan, then-Alderman John Jones defended the rejection Under the terms of the consent decree, the federal district by claiming that the plaintiffs’ “religion says they can lie or do court will retain jurisdiction over the matter for five years to anything to the Jews or gentiles because we’re not Muslims.” ensure no further discrimination against the mosque. Alderman Charlie Roberts subsequently admitted that the city had “stepped over the line” and had only rejected the site Visit the News Blog at memphisflyer.com for more local news.
“We are heartened and relieved that we are able to move ahead with our plans for a mosque in Horn Lake …”
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P E R F O R M I N G L I V E a t C R O S S TOW N A R T S
The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Saturday, November 10, 2018
Edited by Will Shortz
Crossword ACROSS 1 6
17 18 19 21 22
Took out First-ever comedian to appear on the cover of Time (1960) Singer with the 2017 #1 R&B album “Ctrl” Data storage sites Cookie for the calorieconscious ___ number Like some pans Me-first attitude Surprised salutation Org. in 2007’s “Charlie Wilson’s War” Make rent “Time for me to shine”
27 28 30
34 38 40 41 44 46 47 49
Hungarian-born mathematician Paul Does some yard work Embedded Verb repeated throughout Exodus 20 Largest sesamoid bone in the body Moving What finger wags indicate University near Penn Grinding away R.E.M. show? Slew Word on a red stamp, perhaps Muscle used in dip exercises, informally Standards
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE A P S E
N E T S
D R A M
S C A T
T A L I
S C H M O
C L E A R
O P E N S O U R C E
W E R E O I W I N K L E B R E E C A D L A G W A G E O N E G R T D A K E R E D E R T A R N E D B S L A E W I T E I N T S G E N
F L A S H M O B C L I C H E
F E D A O L
M I N D M E L D
S E T A R E C O R D
I T O L D Y O U S O
P O A C A L H T R I E W I N R A L T
T A N E Y
E L Y S E
I S O N
N E N E
B A G S
A L S O
Requiring a lot of work
Prone to sarcasm
Mahi-mahi, by another name
Alternative to online dating
Regurgitate, as a baby would
Penn, e.g.: Abbr.
1), 2), 3), etc.
33 38 42
It may be under pressure during an emergency
Brings to a boil
PUZZLE BY LEWIS DEAN HYATT
What isn’t legal for copying: Abbr.
Lionel Richie’s “You ___”
It made a big splash in 2001
Remove from the ground
“Well, whaddya know!”
Assembly line pioneer
Woman’s name that rhymes with a part of the world Inverse of giga-
Lead-in to tourism or terrorism
Goes with Mr. All Right?
They’re not in the script
Broke down for careful analysis
“Now you’re talking!”
Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 7,000 past puzzles, nytimes.com/crosswords ($39.95 a year). Read about and comment on each puzzle: nytimes.com/wordplay.
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Federal cannabis reform may pave the way for Tennessee.
Green on the Horizon
Oscarwinning 1974 documentary about the Vietnam War
Some tragic ends, for short
Counterpart of pizzicato, in music
C A N N A B E AT B y To b y S e l l s
Cannabis reform in Tennessee can’t clear one big hurdle, but that hurdle has a shot at being removed this year. Lawmakers here haven’t been able to pull the trigger on reform, as so many other states have, because the drug is listed on the federal government’s Schedule I. This puts cannabis on the same list as heroin, LSD, meth, and peyote. This designation seems to scare the bejeezus out of Tennessee lawmakers for fear the feds might begin cannabis enforcement once again. It does seem the state is moving toward reform. The Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission began its work late last year, hammering out some details of what such a program here might look like. However, the bill that created that group states clearly that Tennessee will not move forward with any cannabis reform until the federal government removes the drug from the Schedule I. However, there is a cannabis bill already filed for the Tennessee General Assembly’s next regular session. In July, state Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) filed legislation that, if approved, would ask Tennesseans what they think about legalizing marijuana with a nonbinding poll question in 2022 elections. The bill, though, was panned by many as doing too little for any actual reform. “This is the type of bill you introduce when you don’t have the courage, as a legislator or a party, to just do what’s right,” tweeted state Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) at the time. But Congress cracked the door on reform last year, offering some hope of
CREDIT: TOBY SELLS
Only three states have no cannabis reform at all. removing that federal hurdle on reforms here. In September, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove the drug from the controlled substances list, expunge nonviolent cannabis convictions, and more. While this move has support from Democrats, a Republican effort was announced in November. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) filed the States Reform Act. The bill would remove cannabis from the Schedule I and provide states a framework for reform working with their unique laws. “The States Reform Act takes special care to keep Americans and their children safe while ending federal interference with state cannabis laws,” Mace said at the time. In April, Virginia became the first state in the South to legalize cannabis for all adult use, medical or recreational. The new law sets the path for legal cannabis sales to begin there in 2024. Also, New Hampshire lawmakers approved recreational cannabis reform earlier this year. In Europe, Malta lawmakers turned heads when they legalized cannabis with nationwide legislation, becoming the first European Union country to do so. German lawmakers promised cannabis legalization in December after such proposals had been blocked for years.
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Shelby County Department of Housing Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Action Plan and HOME-American Rescue Plan (ARP) Needs Public Hearing Shelby County Department of Housing (SCDH) will hold a public hearing to discuss Shelby County housing and community development needs in preparation for the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Action Plan (HUD Program Year 2021, Annual Planning Year 4 (AP4)) on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 5:30 pm and provide both inperson and virtual attendance options. In Person Attendance Option: Shelby County Code Enforcement, Training Room, 6465 Mullins Station Road Memphis, TN 38134. Attendees should enter the Code Enforcement Building through the Training Room entrance; upon walking up to the building, attendees will need to follow the signage that leads to the Training Room. Virtual Attendance Option: A virtual option to join is also provided, and participants can join the meeting with a computer, tablet, or smartphone at https://www.gotomeet.me/DanaSjostrom or dialing in from a phone +1 (224) 5013412, Access Code 169-900-933 at the above noted meeting time. If you plan to attend the public hearing and have special needs, please contact the Department of Housing at (901) 222-7600 by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 27, 2022 and we will work to accommodate you. Resident input and public participation are strongly encouraged.
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The consolidated planning process for FY 2020-2024 serves as the framework for a community-wide dialogue to identify housing and community development priorities that align and focus funding from the Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula block grant programs Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program. The FY 2022 Annual Action Plan establishes within this broader Consolidated Plan (FY 2020-2024) the basis for the use of entitlement funds for the period of July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023. The primary purpose of this hearing is to receive comments on community development needs in order to consider them in the FY 2022 Annual Action Plan. Shelby County anticipates receiving level funding for the upcoming program year. Shelby County expects to submit the Annual Plan for FY 2022 to HUD on or before May 15, 2022 following a 30-day review and comment period.
Persons wishing to comment on the FY 2022 Annual Action Plan (AP4) or HOME-ARP Allocation Plan may do so by writing to Dana Sjostrom via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or written comment to Shelby County Department of Housing, 1075 Mullins Station Road, Memphis, TN 38134. Shelby County will schedule an additional public hearing in April 2022 to present the draft Annual Action Plan for FY 2022 for public comment before it is submitted to HUD. For additional information contact the Department of Housing at 901-222-7600 or TTY at 901-222-2300. The Shelby County Department of Housing does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. Equal opportunity/equal access provider. Para mas información en Español, por favor llame Dana Sjostrom al 901-222-7601.
Scott Walkup, Administrator Shelby County Department of Housing
Lee Harris Mayor
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The hearing will also provide an update on current activities under the CDBG and HOME Programs, information on Section 3 contracting opportunities, and will provide information on other programs operated by SCDH.
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Shelby County Department of Housing is also preparing an Allocation Plan to utilize HOME American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds intended to assist individuals and households that are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, and address the needs of other vulnerable populations. SCDH will provide an update on this process and gather input on community needs that can be addressed with eligible activities outlined in the HOME-ARP notice CPD-21-10 published September 2021.
January 13-19, 2022
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Call the Shelby County Health Department at 901-222-9263, A, B, C’s of Safe Sleep Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib. THIS PROJECT IS FUNDED UNDER A GRANT CONTRACT WITH THE STATE OF TENNESSEE
POLITICS By Jackson Baker
Gerrymandering Shelby The state legislature will likely vote this week for new political districts favoring Republicans. Within the week, a newly reconvened General Assembly will consider new district lines for the state House of Representatives, the state Senate, and the state’s congressional
delegation. As of this writing, only the outlines of the proposed new House have been revealed, though the same general principles will doubtless hold for the Senate and congressional seats. To go by the legislative Republicans’ previously released House map, the boundary lines of districts are not geopolitical; that is, they do not reflect obvious community clusters and contiguous territories as such. They are political only in the electoral sense. They represent an effort to maximize the power of the GOP supermajority at the expense of the opposition, Democrats. They zig and zag across community lines, splitting ethnically cohesive population areas as deemed necessary to accomplish that purpose. In other words, they are gerrymandered. The word “gerrymander” derives from the name of one Elbridge Gerry, who, according to Wikipedia’s account, “as Governor of Massachusetts in 1812, signed a bill that created a partisan district in the Boston area that was compared to the shape of a mythological salamander.” Several of the GOP’s proposed new House districts in Shelby County run west to east and have an arguable resemblance to the shape of a salamander. (See illustration.) The root fact of the next House delegation from Shelby County is that it will number 13 members, as against the current 14. In one sense, the change is accounted for by the proposed transfer of House District 90, currently represented by freshman Democrat Torrey Harris, to Middle Tennessee. Harris’ abode is now in District 91, represented by fellow Democrat London Lamar. That the county was to lose one of its existing representatives was made inevitable by the continuing shift of population density from West to Middle
Tennessee, as revealed by the 2020 census. But, whereas the Shelby County population in the decade of the 2020s will be measurably more African-American than that of the previous decade — an estimated 54.3 percent as of now, compared to the earlier 51.2 percent — the ratio of Democratic districts to Republican ones seems certain to be less rather than greater. This is despite the fact of the welldocumented proclivity of Shelby County’s Black population to vote Democratic rather than Republican. In other words, the GOP legislative supermajority, whose votes will determine the final district lines, will ensure that Shelby County’s majority party, the Democrats, will bear the sacrifice of the lost House seat, not the minority Republicans. This is the opposite situation from that, say, of the newly reapportioned 13-member Shelby County Commission, where the existing Democratic majority of eight voted in favor of a new map likely to increase the number of Democrats to nine. Like they say, politics is politics.
PHOTO: TENNESSEE STATE GOVERNMENT
The proposed new House District 93, one of several salamander-shaped ones. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ordains that the number of “minority majority” (i.e., Black) districts cannot be reduced within a specific area. Accordingly, the number of such districts in Shelby County, nine, will be the same, though one of the nine will be the reapportioned District 96, represented now by a white candidate, Democrat Dwayne Thompson. Black Shelby County residents will have gained a slim population majority in the new district, though the popular Thompson has good chances for re-election as the county’s only white Democrat in the House. Regardless of how that turns out, there will be one fewer House Democrat from Shelby County, and very possibly one fewer Black Democrat. The Democrats will very likely turn to the courts for potential redress.
FINANCE By Gene Gard
Snow much fun!
New Year, New Budget Resolving to make better financial decisions for 2022? Let these three tips help guide you.
Think about spending. Markets are uncertain and always seem the most uncertain now. In retrospect, everything has always worked out okay in the past, but will this time be different? As investment professionals, we spend a lot of time and effort building the best portfolios we can for PHOTO: VISUAL STORIES || MICHEILE | UNSPLASH our investors, but we Invest in 2022. don’t know the future, either. If you’re concerned about the future, the one thing you have absolute control over is to spend less. If you’re really concerned about the future, spend a lot less! This has two powerful effects. For one, less If you have a specific need for cash spending allows you to more quickly build soon, like an upcoming down payment up savings and investments, which give a or college expense, it can make sense to margin of safety for future needs. Building hold cash. However, if you’re holding a fulfilling life with less spending means in cash just because you’re hesitant about the worst case you can be more resilient to uncertainty with no specific spending a job loss, unexpected health event, or other needs in the near future, you probably financial shock. In the best case, it means should consider putting that money to you can retire or downshift your career work. Big cash positions are eroded by sooner than you planned. Investments are inflation and can’t enjoy the long-term just one small part of a successful financial power of compounding. plan, and spending discipline can have a much more dramatic effect on your future Be skeptical. than any other factor. Gene Gard is Chief Investment Officer at I enjoy a good conspiracy theory, but I Telarray, a Memphis-based wealth manwork hard to differentiate what might be agement firm that helps families navigate possible from what might be probable. In investment, tax, estate, and retirement decithe last year, I’ve seen an unprecedented sions. Ask him your question at number of people make major life email@example.com or sign up for sions (financial and otherwise) on what I might charitably call questionable theories. the next free online seminar on the Events tab at telarrayadvisors.com. Keep in mind that the modern informa-
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Watch out for cash. With 2021’s inflation uptick and the low interest rates in bank accounts and CDs, there’s almost never been a worse time to hold cash. A cash position is losing 5-6 percent of purchasing power every year at this rate, so stashing cash isn’t as defensive as it might seem. While the stock market might seem due for a correction (and in fact one might be right around the corner), putting money in a diversified portfolio is still the best way to fight inflation and hopefully achieve some real returns.
tion industry is extremely good at getting us hooked on information that connects with our biases and fears. Increasingly, the selective presentation of facts can appeal to our worst instincts. Yes, our national discourse and politics seem unusually polarized right now. However, there are countless things that are going very right in our world. Markets move up and down and politicians come and go, and staying the course in a diversified portfolio is the best way to navigate toward a secure financial future.
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NEWS & OPINION
his time of year is always busy with new beginnings and new ideas. Resolutions sometimes stick but always give a good chance to think about the future. Here are three ideas for 2022 to help keep your finances running smoothly.
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January 13-19, 2022
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4/7/21 8:42 AM
AT L A R G E B y B r u c e Va n W y n g a r d e n
A couple of people looked up, no doubt mentally rolling their eyes and thinking, “Why is this idiot broadcasting gibberish in the waiting room?” (If they spoke French, they were probably wondering, “Why does that guy drink three liters of water each day?”) But I digress. Again. I whispered “Sorry!” to the room and clicked off my phone. Then the receptionist said, “Is that Duolingo?” “Yes,” I admitted. “Pretty addictive, isn’t it?” “Oui.” And it truly is. Nearly two years ago, I intended to retire as full-time editor of this paper, then Covid hit, and I stuck around for another year or so. But one of my “retirement” resolutions was to learn French, so I went ahead and started back
in April of 2020. My wife’s family is French and I wanted to be able to do more than ask where the restrooms were the next time we went over there. Little did I realize that I was creating a monster. I’ve now had a French lesson every day for almost two years. How do you say “OCD” in French? I could tell you, mon ami. The Duolingo program I’m using has perfected ways to keep you coming back. It rewards you with points for finishing lessons, and for “streaks,” i.e. the number of days in a row you go without missing a lesson. There are “double point” opportunities, which is when you can really score. Also, you are automatically entered into “leagues” with weekly point standings, and you can discuss answers with other Duolinguists in the chatty (and catty) forums. My current streak is 597 days. I can’t imagine the glory that will be mine in three more days. So many points! My Diamond League competitors are going to be miffed. Tough merde, losers. It hasn’t been all vin et roses. Some days I spend an hour or more on my lessons. Other days, not so much. There have been times when life has intervened, where I’ve spent the day fishing or camping or working or driving across the country, and not been able to squeeze in a session. But there I am, in the dark, in bed, knocking out a quick silent lesson before midnight to keep the streak alive. You could call me the Lou Gehrig of Duolingo, except there are thousands of us, many of whom have longer streaks than I do. This stuff is addictive. So, does it work? I would say yes. I’ve learned to read French pretty well, and I can think my way through most things I want to say in French, albeit slower than I’d like. When I hear my wife talking on the phone to her mother, I understand much more than I used to, but I still miss a lot. They talk too fast. I don’t think there’s any substitute for immersion into a culture where you’re forced to use the native language to communicate. So I may have to go to France and stay for a while to check out that theory. Someday, peut-être. I’m also working under the premise that the more I exercise my aging brain the longer it will keep working well. Learning a language makes me think, makes me have to remember things. Like wearing sunscreen when I go outside.
NEWS & OPINION
o I’m sitting in the dermatologist’s office, waiting to get little pieces of skin removed from my face and shoulders. I’m of a generation that thought iodine and baby oil made a great “sun tan lotion,” a greasy potion that would give you that rosy-brown sheen favored by surfers and lifeguards. Sadly, even though I was a teenage lifeguard and spent hours in the sun every day, I could never achieve the desired bronze glow, just freckles. Now, several decades later, I have to go in once a year to have brown spots frozen off my skin. I like to think of them as little dead surfers. But I digress. Oh wait, actually, that whole paragraph up there was a digression. See, while I was sitting in the waiting room I’d decided to sneak in a little French lesson on my phone. Except I forgot to turn it to silent mode and before I could do anything, it squawked, “Je bois trois litres d’eau chaque jour.”
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
The perils and pleasures of Duolingo.
PHOTO: NEIRFY | DREAMSTIME.COM
Donut Look Up January 13-19, 2022
COVER STORY BY FLYER STAFF
Here’s our look at four of the Bluff City’s sweetest spots to pick up a donut.
ow are those New Year’s resolutions panning out, fam? If you’re still going strong, more power to you. If you’re ready to return to your wicked ways but just need a little push, well, how about some sugar for breakfast? For this story on some of the Bluff City’s finest fare, we turned to the people behind the pastries to find out their secrets to such sweet, sugary success. Go on — you deserve a donut. BLUES CITY DONUTS “I hate baking,” Rueal Braden says, “with a passion. I went to L’Ecole culinary school. I did good on the savory; on the baking side, I struggled a little bit. So when I graduated I knew I was never going to do baking.” But two years ago, Braden opened the first Black-owned donut shop in Memphis, Blues City Donuts. “I hadn’t made any donuts before this. I trained for a week before I was released to the world as they say.” Braden was working as a sous chef at the Nike warehouse when his cousin, who
initially owned the shop, asked him to check on some of the kitchen’s equipment. “He called me two days later and asked me if I wanted the donut shop. At the time, I was real comfortable at Nike. I was in line to become the executive chef,” he says. “He gave me two days to decide. I always wanted a business before I turned 50, so I just made the leap. And here I am with a donut shop and I actually love making donuts.” Despite hating baking, Braden has found donut-making to be an opportunity for experimentation. “We don’t have the average donut. We have very different flavors,” he says. “I try to think outside the box.” He’s used candy, champagne, cereal, s’mores, and cotton candy in his creations, but Braden has not abandoned his savory side and continues to introduce unexpected savory flavors to his creations. “We do a sandwich called the Chicken Bismark. It’s a fried chicken breast dipped in Memphis honey gold, served between a Bismark donut.” But the most elaborate donut just might be the Ain’t It Mane Surf and Turf — lobster and
steak served on a donut. “When I got the donut shop, I knew I had to do something different to bring customers out that way,” Braden says, and come they have, from bloggers and foodies to “people who never thought of having steak and lobster on a donut.” For Braden, that support has been one of the most surprising parts of running Blues City Donuts. “I get support from Bartlett, Arlington, Memphis, Mississippi,” he says. “People come from all over to come to Blues City.” Even so, a few weeks ago, he posted an update to Instagram and Facebook confessing that he was contemplating closing his donut shop. “I mean inflation is kicking our butt, rent is up, ingredients prices [are] skyrocketing overnight it seems, and who knows what Covid got in store for us,” he wrote. “And in walks a customer with her nieces and she’s taking them on a field trip telling them about Blues City Donuts and how we are the only Black-owned donut shop in Memphis and they were so excited. When I told her what I was going to do, she
GIBSON’S DONUTS Rev. Al Green comes to Gibson’s Donuts often, says owner Don DeWeese. He buys two “old fashioneds,” DeWeese says. That just goes to show, DeWeese muses, that you never know who you’re going to bump into when you’re at Gibson’s buying one of some 40 flavors of donuts, which range from a glazed donut to a more elaborate maple bacon donut. “I do know that Z-Bo loved caramel.” And Zach Randolph, aka Z-Bo, is one of the “biggest tippers ever at Gibson’s.” That’s $100 a pop. But, DeWeese says, “We appreciate celebrities coming in and we don’t bother them.” The success and fame of Gibson’s is like a jigsaw puzzle, DeWeese says. “There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle. One of the biggest is quality. The second part of the puzzle is service. The third is the atmosphere or what we create here. And another is the location, location, and location. And plenty of parking.” When he bought Gibson’s from Lowell Gibson September 1, 1996, DeWeese owned DeWeese Construction Company. DeWeese, his wife Rita, and Britton DeWeese, one of their four sons, “used to go in there three or four days a week and eat donuts. I got to know Mr. Gibson.” When Gibson decided to sell the business, Don bought it for his 26-year-old son, Blair, to run. When Blair decided the donut business wasn’t for him, Rita ran the business. Then Don took over. Don still works at the shop five days a week. Britton, who was an avid snowboarder, moved back from Colorado and began working at the shop. “The Donut Shop That Never Sleeps,” Britton’s storybook about Gibson’s, is available at the store. “Lowell Gibson once said, ‘You have two businesses here. You have a manufacturing shop and you have a retail shop. If you make a bad donut, you will go out of business. On the other hand, you can make the best donut in the country and if you have horrible service, you also will go out of business.’” He said, “You have to be good at both of them.” As for their donuts, Don says, “We use a little more yeast than most donut shops. That makes our donuts a little lighter and
airier. Every bag of donuts [mix] has the recipe on it. And every donut shop has that same recipe on the bag of mix. We just do a few things differently. We let the donuts rise three times where most donut shops let them rise once or twice. That makes them
product is absolutely number one. But the show that we put on is the big piece of the puzzle.” That show turned into an extravaganza in June 2016 when Drew Holcomb of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors performed at
PHOTO: JESSE DAVIS
Blues City Donuts owner Rueal Braden and his daughter
PHOTO: DON DEWEESE
Drew Holcomb’s impromptu performance at Gibson’s airier and lighter. “We also have an antique glazer that you cannot find anymore, and we glaze our donuts on both sides. That keeps the freshness in so the bottom doesn’t get dry like [it does at] every other donut shop in America.” And, Don says, “The quality of the
Gibson’s. “One of his agents or somebody in his posse called the store and said he’s going to play at the Levitt Shell and that he grew up in Memphis eating our donuts. He’d like to bring 12 of his friends there and buy them all donuts.” But after Don got more than one phone call to get to the store that night, he arrived to find 500 or so people had shown up to see Holcomb. The store and the parking lot were packed. “Britton is on the roof throwing donuts,” he remembers.
Holcomb performed a mini show for the crowd. “He started up on the roof, but the people couldn’t hear it and he came down and got on top of the SUV.” — Michael Donahue Gibson’s Donuts is located at 760 Mt. Moriah Road. (901) 682-8200 DONUT MAN When he moved from Cambodia to Massachusetts to attend college in 1997, Vanchann Kroch (rhymes with “coach”) probably did not see himself as a donut entrepreneur. “I worked in construction all my life, actually,” he says. “And I still do it sometimes, but now I’m in the donut business.” That’s an understatement. Since he took the helm at the Donut Man shop on Austin Peay Highway five years ago, he’s steadily grown the customer base and now has a second location in Bartlett. “Since we opened, we picked up a lot of customers,” he says. “We come to the shop every day at 12:30 in the morning and we’re open every day from 3:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. We have great customers who come in every day to get donuts and coffee, and besides that we have breakfast sandwiches. Like ham, bacon, or turkey with egg and cheese on a croissant. We also have a smoked sausage that is wrapped in croissant bread. Everything we serve, we make in-house.” While other breakfast items do a brisk business, the donuts are the main attraction. “We have our own recipe that’s different from other places, and a lot of different flavors and fillings — probably about 50 to 60 flavors in the case every day. Our biggest sellers are glazed and chocolate.” Those flavors keep customers coming back, and have even earned Donut Man some regular large-scale clients. “In addition to walk-in customers, we also do wholesale,” he says. “We deliver to three or four gas stations, and we have regular customers like the Sheraton Hotel, who order a lot of donuts whenever they have a convention. And Hope Church on Walnut Grove has a big order every Sunday.” But humans cannot live on donuts alone — we must also have coffee. It’s a subject Kroch takes very seriously. “I drink a lot of coffee and I haven’t found any that’s better than ours,” he says. “It’s John Conti Coffee from Kentucky. Our customers just love it.” Most importantly for Kroch, the business has a personal dimension that brings more than just donuts into his life. “The previous owner was also Cambodian, and he liked my family, sold the shop to us, and taught us how to make the donuts. It took us about a month to learn everything from him. After that, we took over. And I like this business because I can stay home with my family more.” — Alex Greene continued on page 14
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
told me [that] God gave this to us, that we can’t stop now. And it seemed like everyone started coming and I sold out.” “I try to keep my customers informed and be transparent when we’re struggling,” Braden says. “We treat everyone like family because we’re family-owned and family-run. We just want you to come give us a try.” — Abigail Morici Blues City Donuts is located at 5735 Raleigh Lagrange. (901) 266-5152
Donut Man is located at 6525 Memphis Arlington Road, and Donut Man Bakery, 3224 Austin Peay Highway. (901) 388-9500
a Full Price Adult Ticket with Promo Code
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THEATRE MEMPHIS presents “OUR TOWN” By THORNTON WILDER • Directed by KELL CHRISTIE • Sponsored by INTERNATIONAL PAPER Media Sponsors WKNO 91.1FM, MEMPHIS FLYER and THE BEST TIMES
PHOTO: VANCHANN KROCH
Donut Man Vanchann Kroch has 50-60 flavors of donuts ready daily.
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January 13-19, 2022
continued from page 13
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MIDTOWN DONUTS They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why not commemorate that old adage by scarfing down as many sweet circles of dough as possible? If anyone’s New Year’s resolution is to eat way more sweets, then Midtown Donuts is a great place to start. The shop’s Union Avenue location is hallowed ground for bakedgood aficionados, with the site formerly the home of Donald’s Donuts. While Donald’s is no more, Midtown Donuts owner Ly Touch has revitalized the space and put his own unique stamp on the business since taking over in early 2019. The big donut sign is still there, a beacon for hungry Memphians with a sweet tooth. Inside, Touch starts his routine at 3 a.m., showing up early to bake for several hours and open the doors for early birds at 4 a.m. And he’s
no stranger to the donut business: A few of his relatives run Howard’s Donuts over on Summer Avenue and showed him the ropes when he struck out on his own. All that is to say, Touch knows a thing or two about making donuts. I popped in on a rainy Sunday morning, and the smell of freshly baked sweetness was enough to elevate any gloomy mood. The shelves are fully stocked with a variety of treats every morning, making it a tough decision whether grabbing a single or a dozen. Luckily, the staff is more than happy to walk indecisive customers through some of the local favorites. One of the top sellers, I was told, is the blueberry, a strong fruity flavor balanced out by a smooth sugary glaze. The crumb cake is also popular, the Midtown version combining plenty of bright and intriguing sweet flavors. But don’t overlook the rest: simple glazed donuts, chocolate with bright sprinkles, lemon cake donuts, chocolate eclairs, shaved coconut, your basic fried donuts, or really anything else that a donut lover might want (my favorite so far are the Oreos, with the chocolate cookie tops crumbled over a white glaze). Take ’em to go, or take a beat outside on the patio and watch morning traffic zoom by. But Touch wanted to make Midtown Donuts more than just a donut shop. If one member of the party isn’t into sweets, or you need to make a quick stop, there are other options too, like a variety of savory sandwiches and snacks, salads, and coffee. It truly is a one-stop shop for a morning commute, and somehow manages to be a quiet, sugary oasis on a busy section of Union right across from the bustling Kroger. — Samuel X. Cicci Midtown Donuts is located at 1776 Union Avenue. (901) 347-2020 PHOTO: SAMUEL X. CICCI
From blueberry to lemon cake donuts, Midtown Donuts has it all.
CORDOVA I N T E R N A T I O N A L
THE BEST PRICES
Open everyday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 1150 N. Germantown Parkway, Cordova, TN 38016 901.417.8407 •
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
in PRODUCE, MEAT and SEAFOOD in the Mid-South!
Live music at
steppin’ out (& stayin’ in)
We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews january 13th - 7:00pm T Jarrod Bonta
january 14th - 7:00pm The Soul Rebels
1/13 - 7pm
T Jarrod Bonta
1/14 - 7pm
The Soul Rebels
1/15 - 7pm
Memphis All Stars
1/20 - 7pm
1/21 - 7pm
The Blue Dreamers
1/22 - 7pm
January 13-19, 2022
1/27 - 7pm
1/28 - 9pm
Eric Gales Album Release party with special guest Joe Bonamossa and MonoNeon
1/29 - 7pm Spank!
2 1 6 6 C e n t r a l Av e . Memphis TN 38104
A Group Function
By Abigail Morici
A few years ago, eight local writers who knew each other through writers groups and events — Xia L. Cox, Rikki Boyce, April Jones, Rae Harding, Daniel Reece, Justin Siebert, Susan Hopson, and Kathryn Skinner — came up with the idea to collaborate on an anthology of short stories, all of them set in Memphis. Out of this concept came Malfunction Junction, 15 stories covering a range of genres, from horror to romance and pretty much everything in between. “Hopefully, there’s something for everyone,” says one of authors, Justin Siebert. “The stories are unrelated to each other, except for the fact that they all take place in Memphis and the surrounding areas, and all deal with some sort of junction in life, whether that’s a literal road junction or a metaphorical junction in someone’s journey.” Siebert has written two stories for the collection: “First Day of Practice” and “Forever and Ever in Both Directions.” The first follows a high school student, recently injured and new to using a wheelchair, as he witnesses his first wheelchair basketball game. “I personally use a wheelchair,” Siebert says. “I was injured in a car wreck when I was 9. It’s not autobiographical, but I incorporated a lot of the feelings and emotions of being newly injured and attending an adaptive sports event for the first time and just seeing that there are other people with disabilities who have normal productive lives and are competing in sports.” “The main character is somebody that I made up,” he continues. “But a lot of the characters actually play on the Memphis Rollin’ Grizzlies basketball team. I play on the team. There’s a group of us that travel and compete.” Siebert’s other story also taps into his personal life. This story of three adopted siblings, who meet a magical creature while traveling along the Greenline, channels the writer’s own reflections on his fears and anxieties of going through the adoption process with his wife. Siebert and his fellow writers will be at Novel this Saturday. Contributor Daniel Reece will moderate a panel discussion, and a book signing will follow. Malfunction Junction is available to purchase at Novel or novelmemphis.com. MALFUNCTION JUNCTION: MEET THE AUTHORS, NOVEL, 387 PERKINS, SATURDAY, JANUARY 15TH, 2 P.M.
VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES January 13th - 19th Science of Beer Museum of Science & History, 3050 Central, Fri., Jan. 14, 6:30-9 p.m., $50 This event allows guests to sample a variety of beers from some of the best breweries in the region alongside special items from some of the best Memphis restaurants. Along with the brews, there will be educational information on everything from carbonation to climate change and how it all affects the brewing process. 2nd Annual Rainbow Dash 5k Shelby Farms Park, 6903 Great View, Sat., Jan. 15, 11 a.m., $30-$35 It’s not just a race; there will be food trucks, games, vendors, and music! Presented by Mid-South Pride, the event will be in-person and virtual. Everyone who enters will receive a finisher medal, bib, and shirt.
Memphis Street Names: A History Presentation Elmwood Cemetery, 824 S. Dudley, Sat., Jan. 15, 1-2 p.m., $20 An indoor presentation at Elmwood wherein the deep history of some of this city’s most well-traveled roads will be revealed. Iris Chamber Players at the Dixon The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, 4339 Park, Sat., Jan. 15, 7 p.m., $25 Iris Artist Fellows Pedro Maia (violin) and Gabriel Hightower (cello) will be joined by Christina Lai (piano) and Mark Allen Jr. (clarinet) for an evening of chamber music at the Winegardner Auditorium at Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Program includes works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Ingolf Dahl, Pixinguinha, Carlos Simon, and Peter Schickele.
King Day: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry, Mon., Jan. 17, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The event will showcase Dr. King’s work, the history of how the national holiday came to be, as well as how the museum has celebrated the holiday in years past. The museum is open for extended hours, and King Day admission will be free for all guests, thanks to the support of FedEx. Guests are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to support the Mid-South Food Bank, and they are also encouraged to consider giving blood to support the Vitalant Blood Drive. The museum will collaborate with organizations to offer voter education, empowerment, and registration, as well as Covid vaccines and testing on-site.
MUSIC By Alex Greene
A Weirdo From Memphis Unapologetic singer teaches us how to Sellmore.
“You’ve got to ﬁnd humor in this stuff, man. There’s a very ﬁne line between humor and that crazy Joker laugh …” — AWFM
GEOFF TATE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF EMPIRE
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6 • 7PM MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7 • 7PM
T. GRAHAM BROWN Wednesday
FEBRUARY 9 7PM
to get by. “I have to DoorDash for a lot of my income. And if you’re driving everywhere, dropping off food, you have no choice but to be where bad things happen. So I’ve seen death. I’ve been robbed of a whole car. And your eyes develop differently to see things. Like, ‘A’ight, I’m not going to go down that street. I see what this setup is.’ Things I never saw or knew about, sitting in a cubicle at International Paper.” On the track “Broke,” he rhymes, “Money fucked up so I guess I gotta move shit/If I can’t sell it for you, got some partners that could do it/Above the speed limit n*gga I ain’t never cruisin’/So what are you doing AWFM, mane, I’m movin’.” A similar vibe permeates the rest of the album, over dread beatscapes produced by Unapologetic mainstays C maJor or Kid Maestro. And yet AWFM’s wit gives the dark milieu a humorous twist. “Y’all better
PHOTO: CATHERINE ELIZABETH PATTON
A Weirdo from Memphis, aka AWFM, in his signature pink bunny ears. leave me alone or I’m gonna motherf*ckin spazz!” he sings on the album closer, and it comes off as a winning tactic. Reflecting on his pandemic life, he notes, “You’ve got to find humor in this stuff, man. There’s a very fine line between humor and that crazy Joker laugh, where you go stand on the edge of a building. You’ve just got to laugh and say, ‘Okay, I took a loss today.’” Ultimately, AWFM appreciates how his pandemic experiences have informed his art. “I don’t regret any of this happening,” he says. “It’s been torture, but I don’t regret it. All of this misery just made me start crapping out great music effortlessly. Because so much of it isn’t fantasy. And that gave birth to Sellmore.”
Thursday February 17 7 pm
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27 | 7 pm
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
CODY CANADA AND THE DEPARTED
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
s a member of the Unapologetic collective, A Weirdo From Memphis, aka AWFM, typically recognized in his natural environment by his pink bunny ears, stays busy. The camaraderie of the group often spurs individual members to greater heights. “We all compete against each other,” says AWFM, “so that’s always fun. We’ve got a group text where we’ll say, ‘Yo, I just accomplished this,’ or ‘I just did that.’ And it keeps us all focused.” In this way, new material is always being created. But AWFM’s latest mixtape, Sellmore, was never on the agenda. “Sellmore wasn’t supposed to exist,” AWFM confesses. Over the course of 2020-21, “I was just cooking with C maJor because he was the most available at the time. And I wouldn’t even rock with what we were recording while we were making it. I would just drive home in silence thinking, ‘I’ve got to get better. I haven’t been in front of the microphone long enough.’ And then one day C maJor hit me up and said, ‘All this stuff is crazy! This is like an album.’ So I listened back with a stranger’s ear because I’d forgotten what I’d written. And I was like, ‘Yo, this might actually be something, man!’” It’s an unexpected genesis for an album that hangs together so well, but that coherence may just be a measure of this era’s ubiquitously dire circumstances. Certainly for AWFM, the pandemic has been fraught with struggle, all the more stark because, on its cusp, he was poised to take his art to the next level. “I quit my job January 25, 2020,” he recalls. A tour with MonoNeon, sponsored by Red Bull, was in the works, and leaving his job was the first step toward that goal. “We all went out to dinner and we toasted. MAD [IMAKEMADBEATS] was like, ‘I’m really proud of you for making this move. I know it’s going to be really successful, and it’s going to be hard, and confusing at times, but we’ve built an organization so you won’t have as hard a time as I did, trying to make that transition.’ Because MAD rose from being an unpaid intern to being one of the top engineers at Quad Studios in New York. And right as he was arriving at crazy success, the recession happened.” Similarly, as AWFM prepared to launch a tour, the coronavirus struck. Jobless, he turned to the grind, driven by one goal: Sellmore. He was hustling any skill he could
CALENDAR of EVENTS:
January 13 - 19
ART AN D S P EC I A L E X H I B ITS
Paintings of local Memphis landmarks by artist J. M. Croy on display during the Theatre Memphis production of Our Town. Friday, Jan. 14-Jan. 30. THEATRE MEMPHIS
“Selected Works: Hooks Bros. Photographic Archives” Exhibition of Hooks Bros. photos. Through Jan. 31. BENJAMIN L. HOOKS CENTRAL LIBRARY
“Something for Everyone”
Photos by Becky Ross McRae. Through Jan. 31. WKNO.ORG
For MLK Days of Service, volunteers can choose from a list of opportunities to strengthen communities across the Mid-South.
F I LM
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
COM M U N ITY
Care Like King: MLK Days of Service
Volunteer to impact the MidSouth. Thursday, Jan. 13-Jan. 17.
A Novel Book Club: The Song of Achilles
Join your pals at Novel on Zoom to talk about The Song of Achilles. Wednesday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m. NOVELMEMPHIS.COM
Thursday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m.
Crosstown Arthouse presents Walking Tall
Buford Pusser’s journey from bear wrestler to crime crusader. $5. Thursday, Jan. 13, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
T H EAT E R
Thornton Wilder’s immortal tale of love and marriage, death and daily life. Friday, Jan. 14Jan. 30.
FOOD AN D DR I N K
Science of Beer
Sample beers from some of the best breweries in the region. $50. Friday, Jan. 14, 6:30-9 p.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY
B O O K EV E N TS
Send the date, time, place, cost, info, phone number, a brief description, and photos — two weeks in advance — to firstname.lastname@example.org. DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS, ONGOING WEEKLY EVENTS WILL APPEAR IN THE FLYER’S ONLINE CALENDAR ONLY. FOR COMPREHENSIVE EVENTS LISTING, VISIT EVENTS.MEMPHISFLYER.COM/CAL.
H EA LTH A N D F IT N E S S
Race for Reconciliation
A 5k run/walk event to show the dream for unity is alive. Monday, Jan. 17, 8 p.m. AUTOZONE PARK
S P E C IA L E V E N TS
King Day: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
The event will showcase Dr. King’s work and the history of how the national holiday came to be. Monday, Jan. 17, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM
Memphis Street Names: A History Presentation
The deep history of some of this city’s most well-traveled roads will be revealed. $20. Saturday, Jan. 15, 1-2 p.m. ELMWOOD CEMETERY
The Goodbye Levee
S PO R TS
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Chicago Bulls Monday, Jan. 17, 2:30 p.m. FEDEXFORUM
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks
A devastating diagnosis compels Celeste Banks to invite the audience into her confidence as she hosts a “Goodbye Party.” Friday, Jan. 14-Jan. 30. PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE
Friday, Jan. 14, 9 p.m. FEDEXFORUM
The Science of Beer
January 13-19, 2022
Tap into a keg full of fun & learning Jan 14, 2022
FOOD By Michael Donahue
Run With the Big Dawg Tyrone Clements’ hot dog business was a blessing.
Show Sponsors: Gene & Carol Katz Playhouse Super Sponsor: Dr. Thomas Ratliff
Jan 14th - 30th
www.playhouseonthesquare.org Help us continue to reach the neighbors who need us most.
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W/ PURCHASE OF ONE 2PC DARK DINNER & 2 MED DRINKS. WITH THIS COUPON. EXPIRES 3/31/22.
Dine In & Drive Thru 3571 Lamar Ave. 2520 Mt. Moriah Drive Thru / Carry Out 1217 S. Bellevue 4349 Elvis Presley 811 S. Highland 2484 Jackson Ave. 1370 Poplar Ave. • 890 Thomas NO PHOTOCOPIES ACCEPTED!
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yrone Clements never dreamed He said, ‘The Lord told me this building he’d be known as “Big Dawg.” belonged to you.’ I said, ‘If the Lord said it, Clements, 44, owner of Big then I accept it.’ I’m a true believer that God Dawgs Memphis LLC restauworks in mysterious ways. rant, got interested in selling hot dogs while “He said, ‘Let me get with my attorney working in field nursing at Methodist and we’ll go ahead and deed this thing over Hospice. to you.’ I had to come up with some money, “I met a guy in Whitehaven named but he basically gave me the building.” Jimmy,” Clements says. “He had a hot dog Clements had prayed for a building the stand. I used to drive through there in same size. And he prayed, “I want four deep between patients. I’d stop and grab a couple fryers. I want a nice stove.” of hot dogs.” “When I unlocked the door to this They began talking about the busibuilding, everything I prayed for was ness. Clements said, “That’s not my thing.” right there. I’m not exaggerating. God had Jimmy responded, “You’ll enjoy peace of already set it up. And it was just like I asked mind and make money at the same time.” for. When I unlocked the door, I had tears “I need peace of mind,” Clements said. in my eyes.” “Let’s do it.” Clements opened during the pandemic. Jimmy gave him tips on what kind of “I’m there to open this place up and the hot dogs to sell, what world shut down. But I brand. Clements paid trust God. He said it be$5,000 or $6,000 for a cart longs to me, so it is what online. He never received it is. He didn’t bring me it from the company, this far to fail.” which he says was a fake. Clements says busi“They did good at screwness is now going great. ing me on that deal. That He also sells hot wings, was money I was trying fish, barbecue, and hamto invest in my son’s burgers, including his Big future.” Burger. For the dogs, he He then told his steams Nathan’s hot dogs, cousin Lew Winston, which have “a better who owned Lew’s Blue texture. Do not boil it. It’s Note Bar & Grill on Beale going to take the flavor Street, “I’m trying to get out of it.” a hot dog cart.” Winston His specialty dogs inresponded, “I’ve had one clude the Big Dawg with PHOTO: O’NEKA CLEMENTS back there behind the chili, cheese, jalapeño Tyrone Clements received restaurant forever. [Have] the Best Food Entrepreneur peppers, pulled pork, not used it. You want to mustard, and slaw. award from Frayser buy that?” “I even do a chili Community Development Clements sold hot cheese with hot dog Corporation last month. dogs as a hobby “corner soup-like thing, like a to corner” before moving to Beale. He and Beanie Weenie. It has cheese, sour cream, his son, Tyrone Clements Jr., took the cart and onions with a hot dog chopped up.” to birthday parties and other events. Clements hopes to open more Big His first restaurant, Big Dawgs Food, Dawgs Memphis locations. He uses his cart Fun, & Games, was on Austin Peay for events but wants to start setting it up Highway, but it was too far away from his again in different places. customer base. This past Thanksgiving, Clements While making his Methodist Hospice served “giveaway food” — about 125 free rounds, Clements kept looking at a buildmeat-and-three meals to the community — ing on Thomas Street. He asked the owner at his restaurant. if he wanted to rent it, but the man said he “The reason I did it was it was God’s gift wanted to sell it. to do it,” Clements says. “And it was a blessThey talked for two weeks before the ing to be a blessing to somebody else.” Big Dawgs Memphis LLC is at 3057 Thomas man asked him to come by his house. “He Street; (901) 729-6513. set me down in front of all this paperwork.
FILM By Chris McCoy
In the Valley Paul Thomas Anderson looks to his California childhood with Licorice Pizza.
January 13-19, 2022
he San Fernando Valley is a storied location in film history. Located on the other side of the ridge where the Hollywood sign greets visitors, it’s where you’ll find Mulholland Drive, Universal Studios, and North Hollywood High School, which educated people like Chuck Jones, John Williams, and Susan Sontag. Director Paul Thomas Anderson grew up in Studio City, the Valley neighborhood that sprung up around CBS’s facilities in the 1950s; his father Ernie hosted late night horror films on local television. Anderson’s breakout film, Boogie Nights, revolved around one of the Valley’s most prolific exports — pornography. The follow-up Magnolia applied Robert Altman’s kaleidoscopic storytelling approach to the surreal mix of inhabitants the Valley attracts. Licorice Pizza, Anderson’s latest, is named for a now-defunct record store which was a Valley landmark in the 1970s. It’s loosely based on stories Anderson heard from Gary Goetzman, a film producer and Valley raconteur. When we first meet Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), he’s a child actor with a bustling career in commercials and a co-starring slot in a regular variety show with Lucy Doolittle (Christine Ebersole), a not-verydisguised stand-in for Lucille Ball. But at 15, Gary is
getting long in the tooth for a child actor, and he knows it. As he’s searching for a new hustle, he finds Alana Kane (Alana Haim), a 25-year-old photographer’s assistant, coordinating high school picture day. From the get-go, we see Gary’s almost supernatural charm in action, as he brazenly hits on Alana in front of the entire freshman class. Naturally, Alana dismisses him as just a kid. But later that evening, for reasons she doesn’t understand, she finds herself meeting Gary for dinner at his favorite restaurant, an industry hangout called Tail O’ The Cock. When Gary decides to pivot from acting to selling waterbeds, Alana is along for the ride. The world they navigate together as a prickly pair of partners combines the tarnished glamor of Hollywood with teenage high jinks and street-level hucksterism. Anderson’s greatest strength has always been character development, and Licorice Pizza is a prime example. Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, plays Gary as a force of nature. He has an unerring business sense (his mother actually works for him) and projects self-confidence beyond his years. Hoffman lets Gary’s secret teenage insecurities leak
Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman (above) play a prickly pair who navigate strange encounters, like one with Jon Peters, played by Bradley Cooper (below). out around the edges just enough to keep him human. Haim, a real-life rock star and first-time actor, convincingly plays Alana as a sheltered young adult who has yet to escape her conservative Jewish home life. She thrills to the adventures Gary takes her on, while brushing off his occasional clumsy advance. Together, they drift from one strange encounter to another. Sean Penn and Tom Waits have memorable cameos as an actor-director combo who spontaneously decide to recreate a flaming motorcycle stunt on a golf course while boozing at the Cock. Later, Gary and Alana narrowly escape death at the hands of Jon Peters (a scarily intense Bradley Cooper), a real-life hairdresser turned film producer whose biggest claim to fame was dating Barbara Streisand. The director of Boogie Nights is no stranger to
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FILM By Chris McCoy problematic sexual relationships, but there are no porn-y vibes here. Anderson handles the 10-year gulf in his stars’ ages with a deft touch, using it to create a simmering background tension as his cinematography ravishes the sun-drenched SoCal suburbs. They keep it platonic, even though neither of them knows what the hell they’re doing together. As the film progresses, it becomes evident that they both fill in the gaps in the other’s personality. Even in the final act, when Gary pivots to opening a pinball arcade and Alana pursues a hunky politician, they profess
to hate each other but can’t quite bring themselves to make a clean break. The meandering Licorice Pizza lacks the gravitas of Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and can’t approach the spooky depths of Inherent Vice. But there’s something about this film’s Altmanesque alchemy that just feels good. In the sunny Valley of the 1970s, Gary would tell you, “If it feels good, go with it.” Licorice Pizza Now playing Multiple locations
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THE LAST WORD
I love — I truly love — the Memphis Grizzlies retiring Zach Randolph’s number 50 last month. The more I consider the hallowed “core four” era of Grizzlies history (2010-17), the more I consider Z-Bo the face of that seven-year run of playoff appearances. If Mike Conley was the heart of those teams, Marc Gasol the backbone, and Tony Allen the soul, Randolph was the muscle, the personification of “we don’t bluff.” The first Grizzly to earn All-NBA status (in 2011), Randolph is rightfully the first player in franchise history to have his number retired for posterity. And the night Z-Bo was honored at FedExForum — December 11th — was almost perfect. Even without current headliner Ja Morant, the Grizzlies made easy work of the Houston Rockets before the ceremony. With Randolph seated in a throne(!) and his family on a makeshift stage behind him, old friends Lionel Hollins and Marc Gasol joined the party to offer personal salutes. So did the man who brought Randolph to Memphis, former general manager Chris Wallace. When the unveiling finally arrived, it came with “Whoop That Trick” filling the arena. It may as well have been 2013, the Griz on their way to the Western Conference finals. It was almost perfect. But there’s the banner itself. I’ve spent a month trying to love it, to let it grow on me. It’s unconventional as far as retired numbers go, but Memphis specializes in unconventional. There was very little conventional about Zach Randolph, so surely this was the right way to salute him. Surely … I just can’t come around. Look at it again. A platinum album(?), with the number 50 centered on the disc. “Randolph” below … and nothing else. A retired jersey — the banner on which it appears — should not require an explanation, and Zach Randolph’s at FedExForum leaves blanks that must be filled. Most significantly, when did Randolph play for the Grizzlies? A retired number represents not just the athlete honored, but the athlete’s time in uniform: the The Zach Randolph tribute leaves blanks that must be filled. games, seasons, and achievements memorialized with the number and name. At the very least, “2009-17” needs to be added to Z-Bo’s banner. But let’s imagine FedExForum in 2042, 20 years from now. In walks a fan who — hold on to your headband — hasn’t heard the legend of Zach Randolph. He looks up at that banner for the first time … and wonders if a musical artist has been honored. (This will be a particular problem if similar “records” for Conley, Gasol, and Allen are eventually alongside Randolph’s banner.) Memphis is a music town and lots of concerts have been held at FEF. So who was/is “Randolph” … and what’s the significance of “50”? As painful as it might feel to Grit-and-Grind culture, a conventional banner saluting Zach Randolph is the way to go. A big, bold “50” in Beale Street Blue, on a white banner, with “Randolph” and “2009-17” prominent. Z-Bo was a professional basketball player (who happened to play in a town known for its music). Let’s not blur the impact he made with a platinum record, however shiny it may appear. I know the Grizzlies meant well in their design solution for a seminal moment in Memphis sports history. And for a single night of celebration, sure. Slap that shiny disc on a wall and give it the spotlight treatment. But long term? For posterity? And the template for future honored Grizzlies? Here’s hoping Z-Bo’s banner is reconsidered. I’ve been in the publishing business long enough to know that some designs are astray and when a concept can be corrected (and/or improved), it should be. The Memphis Grizzlies are professional sports in this town. They are what make the Bluff City big league. This means the details — large and small — matter more when it comes to the way the Grizzlies conduct business and present their brand. And the way they honor franchise greats. You could say this column is kicking a sleeping grizzly bear. Maybe it is. But as glorious as Zach Randolph’s name and number appear now in FedExForum, the salute can be even better. Some shots are missed. Ask Z-Bo about the value of a strong rebound. Frank Murtaugh is the managing editor of Memphis magazine. He writes the “From My Seat” and “Tiger Blue” sports columns for the Flyer.
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Should the Grizzlies consider a more traditional banner to honor Zach Randolph?
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