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OUR 1664TH ISSUE 01.14.21
January 14-20, 2021
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Twitter was Trump’s hammer and everything was a nail.
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OUR 1664TH ISSUE 01.14.21 It’s so nice when we finally get a slow news week. I mean, except for the whole “Let’s instigate a mob attack on the nation’s Capitol to go after Congress members and senators and get five people killed and build a gallows so we can hang Vice President Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi” thing. Which was almost a week ago. So. I want to talk about social media. It’s hard to imagine the Trump presidency playing out as it did (or even happening) without Twitter. No one has ever used a social medium more effectively than Donald Trump. Twitter was his hammer and everything was a nail. He utilized it to communicate directly with his base, to tap into and spur their anger, their frustrations, and the racism that still infects so many of them. Via his tweets, Trump demonized Muslims, Mexicans, and Blacks. He tweeted warnings of “caravans.” He tweeted no-fly bans. He tweeted outsized fears of immigrant gangs. He tweet-fired cabinet members. He amplified white supremacists and QAnon conspiracists by retweeting them. He tweeted about his wall, about being cheated out of the Nobel Peace Prize. Trump also used Twitter for “diplomacy,” tweeting derisively about “Little Rocket Man” and leaders of Canada, France, Iran, and Germany. He tweeted threats of war. And Trump used Twitter to offer helpful criticism about television shows and networks; from SNL to OANN to Fox to CBS to CNN, Trump had an opinion to tweet. And, of course, Trump used Twitter to misinform Americans about COVID, over and over again. You name it, Trump tweeted about it. Now it’s finished. Twitter has muted Trump, banning him from the platform that he could reasonably argue he helped build into what it is today. Many of Trump’s supporters are calling Twitter’s decision an assault on free speech. It is not. A private company has the right to refuse service. Twitter’s move is more like a bar kicking out a drunk who’s chasing off other customers. Or a bakery refusing to create a cake for a gay wedding, if you prefer. Many Trump supporters got another shock when the right-wing social media platform Parler was effectively disabled by Google, Apple, and Amazon. And the shocks may keep coming. It was revealed on Monday that Parler’s entire trove of user data has been hacked and stored, to what end we still don’t know. Social media works by collecting our data and selling it, and they’ve got a lot of it on all of us. So do cell phone companies, which came as a shock to many of the “patriots” who ransacked the Capitol last week. Turns out the building has a massive cell phone infrastructure, one that can (and will) be used to determine what cell phones were in and around the area, and who they were communicating with. Using that data, law enforcement officers pulled many rioters off their return flights last week by tracking their cell phones, much to the Trumpers’ shock and dismay. (The hashtag #noflylist on Twitter and Facebook has compiled a number of videos of these folks being hustled off planes and out of airports, in case you’re needing a quick dollop of schadenfreude.) It’s still astonishing to me that so many people apparently thought they could break into a federal building, destroy public and personal property, attack the police, take selfies of it all, and then just hop on a plane and head back home with no consequences. Sorry, folks, if you had your cell phone with you in the Capitol last week … well, oops. And according to what limited geographic cell phone data has been released thus far, quite a number of folks in Shelby and Crittendon Counties should be expecting a call from law enforcement soon. Meanwhile, members of Congress were given a briefing Monday about numerous plots and demonstrations still being planned for Washington, D.C., in coming days. The FBI is also warning of demonstrations of one kind or another for state capitals around the country. Whether the takedown of Parler and the arrests of what will N E WS & O P I N I O N soon be hundreds of Capitol terrorists THE FLY-BY - 4 will impact these nefarious plans is NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 anyone’s guess. POLITICS - 8 FINANCIAL FEATURE - 11 In any event, with another COVER STORY impeachment in the works and the “WE’VE GOT A SHOT” Biden inauguration still to come, BY TOBY SELLS - 12 the week ahead looks to be another SPORTS -15 challenging one for all of us living in WE RECOMMEND - 16 these turbulent and not-so-United MUSIC - 17 States. Buckle in. Stay safe. We’ll get CALENDAR - 18 FOOD - 19 through this. The current wave of FILM - 20 madness is surely cresting. Bruce VanWyngarden C L AS S I F I E D S - 21 LAST WORD - 23 firstname.lastname@example.org
W E E K T H AT W A S By Flyer staff
Gangs, Vaccines, & COVID-19
S U BTLE M E M P H I S
Gangs grow and get younger, shots are on the way, and the virus surges on.
F I NALLY? “This is your reminder that even after yesterday’s riots, Gov. Bill Lee has still not recognized Joe Biden as PresidentElect,” reads a Thursday Facebook post from Future 901, the progressive political group in West Tennessee. Lee did not publicly do this until Friday, when he said he’d been working with the Biden transition team. Flip to our “Capitol Responses” story in this issue for more local responses to last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
January 14-20, 2021
Edited by Toby Sells
A roundup of Memphis on the World Wide Web.
On TikTok, @whosdorii explained (yes, in June, but it’s still great) the difference in Memphis and the rest of the state. For her, it’s as subtle as the slightly different bass riffs from Queen’s “Under Pressure” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” Check it out. It’ll make sense.
Questions, Answers + Attitude
GAR F I E LD. YE P. Bartlett-area Nextdoor user Belinda Gottshall has been slowly parting with an impressive collection of Garfield memorabilia. Since early December, she’s listed for sale a Garfield Boy Scout bank ($20), Garfield and Friends Beanie Babies ($70), Garfield cookie jar ($80), Garfield glass bank ($10), Garfield piggy bank ($50), a Garfielddressed-as-a-McDonald’s-manager plush toy ($30), and a Garfield doll dressed as a fan of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin ($50).
C OVI D -1 9 N U M B E R S Monday: new, 344; total, 70,142; deaths, 925 Tuesday: new, 390; total, 70,532; deaths, 945 Wednesday: new, 583; total, 71,115; deaths, 953 Thursday: new, 613; total, 71,728; deaths, 984 Friday: new, 898; total, 72,626; deaths, 1,003 Saturday: new, 552; total, 73,178; deaths, 1,016 Sunday: new, 639; total, 73,817; deaths, 1,024 N EW LEAD E R The Community Legal Center (CLC) announced Jerri Green will serve as interim executive director upon the retirement of the current director, Anne Mathes. The CLC provides legal services to those at risk or with limited financial means.
Clockwise from top left: Shelby County Health Department nurse Janice Stahl receives vaccine; Memphis Tigers game postponed
C OVI D TI M EO UT A Memphis Tigers basketball game at UCF was postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases and the ensuing contact tracing of student-athletes. GAN G TH R EAT Around 13,400 gang members are on record in Memphis, according to a Memphis Police Department (MPD) update to the Memphis City Council last week. Police officials said there are also countless more juvenile gang members who face little to no penalty for their criminal actions. VAC C I N E TO O L State officials launched a new tool last week to help residents gauge when they might be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The tool follows vaccine distribution phasing set out in the state’s vaccine plan. The new digital tool asks a series of questions (similar to any online questionnaire or poll) to place residents in their phase and give them an idea of when they can get the virus vaccination. LEG E N D AR R ESTS Operation LeGend, the controversial federal surge of money and agents sent to Memphis to combat violent crime, ended recently and yielded more arrests here than any of the seven other cities where it was deployed. The operation here yielded 266 arrests, the seizure of 210 firearms, and thousands of grams of illegal drugs. B LO C K E R B I LL A bill filed in the Tennessee General Assembly would remove local say-so on whether or not first responders would have to
live in the city in which they work. The bill filed by state Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) was presented as a public safety bill that would allow “Tennessee to recruit talent from a much larger pool.” However, it would also remove local control of the issue, one which city leaders here have grappled with for months. C LOS E D O N C OVI D -19 Last week, eight businesses were closed for two weeks by the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) on violations of the newest COVID-19 health directive. The businesses included Incredible Pizza on Germantown Parkway and three hookah bars. VAC C I N E S U P P LY Last Wednesday, Shelby County was running out of COVID-19 vaccine doses (having used or promised its original allotment of 12,000) and leaders here were not sure when they’d get more. By Friday, state leaders promised the county would get 8,900 doses each week in January. CAP ITO L C HAR G ES In response to the violence at the U.S. Capitol last week, U.S. Attorney General Michael Dunavant announced that his office and the Memphis Field Division Office of the FBI would investigate and charge any potential violations of federal law. C IVI L R I G HTS P I O N E E R PAS S ES Dr. Miriam DeCosta-Willis, a trailblazing activist, distinguished academic, and prolific author died Thursday at her home. She was 86. For fuller versions of these stories and more local news visit The News Blog at memphisflyer.com.
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NEWS & OPINION
It’s our reality right now. But it won’t be if we do what it takes to beat COVID-19. Vaccines are coming, but until enough of us are vaccinated, we all still need to wear our masks, stay at least six feet from others, and avoid indoor social gatherings. The more we slow the spread, the faster we’ll return to normal hellos … and fewer goodbyes.
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This shouldn’t be how we say hello...or goodbye.
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59 Like a diet that 1 2$9.9 Memphis City Council reallocated allows only million offats the city’s remaining CARES Act funding last week, but some and protein disagreed on a residency 13 requirement for some business owners. 60 Creative Ththoughts e Trump administration issued an 16 extension on the funding, which was 61 Bear’s home supposed to end December 2020, to the end of 2021. So, the city has more time 19 62 Posts, as a letter to distribute the money to businesses, first responders, education, and more. 63 What children Shirley Ford, chief financial 22 officer the city of Memphis, asked to should for be, and approve reallocation not heard, they of that $9.9 million. say Some of this money would be used for testing 31 32 64 High trains inand administering the Chicago COVID-19 vaccine, 22
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CITY REPORTER By Christen Hill
42 Word on a wine label
January 14-20, 2021
PAY IT FORWARD & GET PAID
who lived outside Memphis. Jones wanted to keep it that way in the 14grant-making. current round of This would mean that business owners who live in Shelby County 17 would receive a fraction of the funding that those who live in Memphis would. Shelby County received its own CARES 20 Act funding for which other business owners can apply. Council member Chase Carlisle said this logic sounded “arbitrary.” “The idea is to keep businesses 27 28 29 open … it’s like we’re gonna punish someone because 33 34 they don’t live here,” Carlisle said. while $2 million “This program 36 37isn’t would go to hazard enriching somebody, pay for level one it’s literally allowing employees from them40 to keep their 39 January through doors open so they March. can employ people 42 43 in Memphis.” An additional $1.2 million Jones rebutted, “I would be set for a was not elected by 45 46 47 stabilization grant anybody outside of for 78 business the city of Memphis. applications that So my first priority 51 53 includes some will always be52 — restaurants and and I will never other small make any apologies 54 55 56 57for — businesses. She also for advocating asked for approval Memphis.” for $1 million to Council member 59 60 be added for an Michalyn Easteremergency relief Thomas supported program to be Jones, noting it was a 62 63 the allocated through move to continue the vendor of process the council council members’ had already approved. choice. Council member Dr. PUZZLE BY ANDREA CARLA MICHAELS “We approved Jeff Warren worried it AND M $500,000 of the may hurt businesses CARES Act funding and that “what was that was allocated good for us then may to businesses that not be good for us may be located now.” in Memphis but their owners reside “It just makes sense to give it to outside of the city,” said council them because we don’t have data … member Martavius Jones. “Of this $1.2 if that’s 40 percent of people living million and of the 78 applicants, are outside of Memphis or 5 percent,” there any restrictions as to where the Warren said. “But we do know that business owner lives?” they’re employing Memphians who are Ken Moody, special assistant to paying taxes.” Mayor Jim Strickland, said the grant The committee voted against was for anyone who owned a business Jones’ grant-making procedure and in the city of Memphis, no matter the full council approved the overall where they live. The previous CARES reallocation of the $9.9 million in Act allocation to businesses limited CARES Act funding.
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47 Wild shoppi expedition 48 A+ or C–
CITY SPEAKS By Memphians online
Capitol Responses TYLER MERBLER | WIKIMEDIA | CREATIVE COMMONS
Locals voiced concern online as terrorists attacked the U.S. Capitol.
A Very Tasteful Food Blog white privilege” people see a thing right now. Please don’t tell me. Just ponder to you and yours. — Jamey Hatley via Twitter • Imagine the name calling and dead bodies on the [Capitol] if these were people of color. — Harold B. Collins via Twitter • Thinking [about] my friends being arrested for standing in a street during a protest. Thinking [about] when I’ve been encircled by cops during a protest. Thinking about the last time a cop put his hands on me during a protest. And watching white supremacists escorted through the Capitol. — Commissioner Tami Sawyer via Twitter • Safely in my office. Masked and got out. Trump is an enemy of America.; This is now a third-world country led by a tin-pot dictator.; Russia, if you are reading this, come and take your President home! — Rep. Steve Cohen via Twitter • LIVID. The entitlement. The hate. The ignorance. There better be swift condemnation from GOP elected officials everywhere. These are your people. This is why I’m fearful when I drive past a car with a Confederate flag on it. Or, why I hate walking past the bust of [Nathan Bedford Forrest] in the [Tennessee State Capitol building]. — Sen. Raumesh Akbari via Twitter • If you supported Trump, you directly enabled this. We need to say so. Ditto if you tried to straddle the middle. If it takes shame to wake this country up, it takes shame. He and his power wielders never kept secret what they intended and what they believed in from 2015 to today. — J. Dylan Sandifer via Twitter.
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• A group that looks like me would have never made it into the Chambers. — Rep. Torrey Harris via Twitter • What are we going to do? There’s literally tens of them! — U/Imallvol7 via Reddit on the small Stop the Steal protest at Poplar and Perkins • As the world watches and our @SCSK12Unified students witness what is happening on the U.S. Capitol, we must teach the importance of CIVILITY and uphold DEMOCRACY. We are STRONGER together in this UNITED States of America. We will keep the FAITH for brighter days ahead. — Dr. Joris M. Ray, Shelby County Schools Superintendent, via Twitter • This episode leading to the series finale of the Trump Presidency reality show is just ridiculous … this is scripted reality on another scale. — Cardell Orrin via Twitter • Fellow journalists, especially newsroom gatekeepers: We have a shot at endangering trust among our vast audience by resisting the urge to call today’s #capitolhill terrorists, anarchists, and rioters “protestors.” — Deborah Douglas via Twitter • The same people protesting and destroying DC were the same people mad about looting at the local Target. — Tequila Johnson via Twitter • Copy editor weighing in. These people are not protestors; they’re terrorists. Use the right word. — Jesse Davis via Twitter • I wonder if any of the “I don’t have
Tear gas outside the United States Capitol, 2021
NEWS & OPINION
Here, we have collected just some of the social media responses from locals who watched Trump-incited insurrectionists storm the U.S. Capitol, kill two police officers, and destroy and loot offices and the Capitol grounds.
POLITICS By Jackson Baker
Corker Back in the Spotlight Former senator resumes criticism of Trump, eyes political future.
January 14-20, 2021
facing a particular crisis. “Republicans are going to have to have a real debate about who they are going to be,” Corker told CNBC, in another interview. “The Republican Party has been a party of adults, and people who make tough decisions. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case in recent times. … We created such divisiveness that’s going to be very hard to overcome, and I hope that Republicans will never ever return to that type of leadership.” Corker, who served for several years as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also was critical of Trump’s foreign policy while taking part in an international forum of the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore, Malaysia. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement, nixed by Trump, that would have bound the United States with several Asian nations, was a “missed opportunity” for the U.S. to “put a lot of pressure” on China, Corker maintained, saying such an agreement would still “be a significant step forward if the Biden administration can figure out a way” to revive it.
Former Senator Bob Corker
“Obviously, politics got ahold of the issue in 2016, and it was a missed opportunity for our country to really put a lot of pressure against some of the things that China was doing, and to have an alliance that would have made a significant difference.” Corker, who chose not to run for re-election in 2018 and whose seat was won by former Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, has not excluded the possibility of another run for office. There has been some speculation that he has been considering a future race for governor, an office he aspired to before his election to the Senate.
• Steve Mulroy, the author and University of Memphis law professor who served two terms as a county commissioner and made a race for county mayor in 2014, became by his own description a “grunt” in the recent U.S. Senate runoff campaigns in Georgia. Mulroy spent two weeks in northwestern Georgia as an on-call assistant in the “curing” of imperfectly completed voter registration forms from Democratic applicants. The victories in Georgia of Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff brought the Democrats in the U.S. Senate to 50-50 parity with the Republicans, giving them technical majority-party status, inasmuch as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will preside over the Senate and serve as a potential tiebreaker. • The state Democratic Executive Committee will participate in an online meeting Saturday to select a new state party chairman to succeed Mary Mancini, who is retiring from the office. Christy Pruitt Hayes, a human resources professional from Nashville, has assisted in the process by organizing a pre-selection process consisting of interviews with the prospective chairs, submitting them to questionnaires, and establishing some general criteria. There are 10 candidates: Theryn Bond of Memphis, a well-known activist who served as campaign manager last year for state Representative Torrey Harris; London Lamar, a state representative from Memphis; former Memphian Hendrell Remus, now serving as director of emergency affairs for Tennessee State University; Kate Craig, chair of the Washington County Democratic Party; Chris Finley, two-time candidate for Congress in the 6th District; Jane George, a former state Senate candidate; Robin Kimbrough Hayes of Nashville, former candidate for the U.S Senate; Frank Hundley of Nashville, formerly campaign manager for state Senator Heidi Campbell; Civil Miller Watkins, chair of the Fayette County Board of Education; and Wade Munday of Nashville, member of the Democratic National Committee. The Democrats’ state legislative caucuses also recently held elections for officers. The six-member caucus unanimously voted to keep state Senator Jeff Yarbro as minority leader
and state Senator Raumesh Akbari as caucus chair. The House Democrats elected Nashville state Representative Vincent Dixie as caucus chair, succeeding Nashville Representative Mike Stewart, who decided not to seek the post again. • One of the most animated recent meetings of the Shelby County Commission occurred in December when scores of affected Memphians, including restaurant workers and gym owners, filled up the auditorium of the Vasco Smith County Building and voiced pleas for the loosening of then newly reimposed restrictions on commercial operations due to a COVID-19 resurgence. The administration of County Mayor Lee Harris and a commission majority acted on those pleas Monday by approving by a vote of eight to five a resolution to transfer a sum of $2.5 million from the county’s fund balance to provide emergency grants of $1,000 each to relieve the economic situations of the affected personnel. The action was one of several that involved the process of reorienting the funding by county government and was decided along party lines, with the commission’s five Republicans offering objections of one kind or another. There was a spirited — and unresolved — debate on the issues of whether the $2.5 million derived from state funds or from a previously uncommitted portion of the county reserve. In any event, Michael Thompson, the county’s newly appointed budget manager, said the outlay would bring the county’s fund balance down to the level of $74 million. Two other matters tied into what has become a fundamental debate on the commission about the funding process. In one action, the administration proposed to deliver in the near future the details of a new cash-management policy. In another, the commission voted to transfer $300,000 from Sheriff ’s Department funds to the County Attorney’s office to handle what was described as pending “complex litigation” involving a wrongful death suit. Commissioner Van Turner conveyed the startling fact to his fellow commissioners that 40 percent of county law enforcement officers have declined to submit to vaccination in a process inaugurated by the Health Department.
Not everybody thinks he’s entitled to do so, but former Tennessee Senator Bob Corker is making a point of saying “I told you so” about the potentially ill consequences of Donald Trump’s presidency, now on life support as a bipartisan coalition seeks to terminate it less than a week before it’s scheduled to expire. In several formats and forums, Corker is issuing reminders that he was one of the first Republican public officials to utter serious criticism of the president, whom he now refers to as a “tin-pot dictator.” There were a number of such occasions, but the best remembered — by Trump and others — was in 2017, in the aftermath of Trump’s handling of several events, including a disturbance at Charlottesville, Virginia, involving white supremacists. Speaking to reporters in his hometown of Chattanooga, Corker declared that the White House under Trump had become an “adult daycare,” needful of help from more conscientious members of the administration to “separate our country from chaos.” He questioned the president’s steadiness and scheduled a hearing to consider limiting the president’s power to use nuclear weapons. Up until then, the senator had maintained workable relations with Trump and, early on, had even been considered by the president for the office of secretary of state. From that point on, however, Corker would become one of several Republicans subject to attack by presidential tweets. “Nobody’s perfect. You don’t ever have all of the information. But I think I’ve been validated,” said Corker in an interview with the periodical Politico. “My observations about his character and his conduct certainly have been validated, unfortunately, with people’s lives being lost. And our country appears to be run by a tin-pot dictator to people around the world. “Enough is enough. He knows he’s lost,” said Corker, who added that any further effort by Trump and his acolytes to deny the presidential victory by Democrat Joe Biden would seriously “undermine” the two-party 8 system and the country itself. As for his own party, Corker saw it
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January 14-20, 2021
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The Memphis Flyer tells you what you need to know in good times and in tough times. That’s what we’ve done since 1989, and not even 2020 could stop us. So, as we enter this new year, resolve to support the free, independent local paper that’s always here for you. Even a little helps a lot.
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F I N A N C I A L F E AT U R E B y T i m E l l i s
The Six Fs
Some financial New Year’s resolutions.
The last “F” — finance — can go in many directions. Let me outline some of my financial New Year’s resolutions that may also fit into yours. I will save at least 10 percent of my income to a 401(k) plan. A 10 percent to 15 percent retirement savings target should put you on a path to be able to retire and maintain a similar lifestyle in retirement. Employersponsored retirement plans like a 401(k) or 403(b) are among the most convenient, efficient savings vehicles available to investors. The payroll deduction feature makes saving, as well as investment, automatic. There is preferential tax treatment whether you make traditional pre-tax contributions or Roth after-tax contributions. Last, employers will often offer matching contributions that provide an immediate return on your investment
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I will maintain at least three months’ worth of living expenses in a savings account as an emergency cash fund. The fund can cover expenses in the event of job loss.
by simply participating in the retirement plan. I will maintain at least three months’ worth of living expenses in a savings account as an emergency cash fund. The emergency fund can cover expenses in the event of job loss or income reduction. The coronavirus pandemic drove home the importance of these safety nets. Even though the CARES Act and subsequent laws provided expanded unemployment insurance and some direct aid, nothing was assured, nor will it be in the future. The rule of thumb is to maintain three months’ worth of living expenses in a savings account if you are in a dual income household (i.e., both spouses are working) or six months’ worth if only one spouse works and/or income is highly variable. I will contribute to 529 plan accounts for my children’s college savings. College can be expensive. How expensive? The current estimated annual full cost of attendance at the University of Memphis is $26,386. To fully fund those college costs, you would need to invest approximately $333 per month from birth through their first year of college. Just the direct costs — tuition, fees, and books — are still $11,512 annually, necessitating savings of $145 per month. Make a savings plan that integrates with your personal savings and open a 529 plan account to earmark and invest the funds. 529 plan accounts offer potential tax-free investment growth if funds are used for qualified education expenses. I will review my home mortgage to potentially refinance. Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. If you have no plans to move in the near term, refinancing can create significant savings. On a $200,000 mortgage balance, the difference between a 4 percent and 3 percent fixed rate over 30 years is approximately $111 per month or $40,400 over the life of the loan. Of course, refinancing costs and the remaining term of the mortgage must be taken into consideration. I will blow some of my finances on another “F” resolution — fun. A beach vacation sounds nice after being cooped up. Happy New Year! Tim Ellis, CPA/PFS, CFP, is senior investment strategist and wealth strategist for Waddell & Associates.
NEWS & OPINION
he start of a new year strikes me as an inherently optimistic time. There is the afterglow of the holiday season, celebration with friends (during pre-coronavirus times), time for reflection on the previous year, and then turning over a new leaf in a new year. This sentiment is especially true moving on from the extra burdens of 2020. There are also the rituals like the traditional Southern New Year’s Day meal to bring wealth and prosperity. It will be the only time this year that I eat collard greens. Collard greens represent the color of money, and my food preferences should not come between us. Another ritual is the formulation of New Year’s resolutions. This year, I am focusing on the six “Fs” of life — family, friends, fun, fitness, faith, and finance. If you thought you did not have any Fs left to give after last year, you may be wrong.
How fast can the COVID vaccine get us back to normal? COVER STORY BY TOBY SELLS
January 14-20, 2021
ack to “normal” could take a year, if nothing else changes in Shelby County. COVID-19 vaccines are just now beginning to move us forward through the dark tunnel of death, illness, and disruption that we’ve been trapped in for 10 months. While there’s hope — make no mistake — it’s a long, long tunnel. That was the takeaway from public health officials in Shelby County last week. Vaccines are scarce, their delivery is unpredictable, and it will take a long time to get the medicine into the arms of enough people here to get us to the point where we can even fantasize about throwing our masks away. If things stay the same, that could take a year, according to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. Only two vaccines are currently approved for use in the United States: one from Pfizer-BioNTech and another from Moderna, each requiring two doses. Tennessee now expects to get 90,000 collective doses of the vaccines each month. At that rate, immunizing enough of Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents to gain herd immunity would take a year, Harris explained during a public briefing last week from the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force. But he added that some “game 12 changers” are on the horizon. New vaccines could become available. Some
existing vaccines may be approved that would require only a single dose, essentially doubling supply. None of that is concrete yet, Harris said last week, but it gave him hope: “So there is light at the end of the tunnel; there are reasons to be hopeful, and we are working really hard to get this done. But we do need to recognize, this tunnel is long and it is likely to have twists along the way. It will require all of us to make adjustments.” What kind of adjustments? Consider that for a good portion of last week, Shelby County officials weren’t sure when they’d even get more vaccine. Their initial 12,000 doses had run out and they simply had no idea when they’d get more. The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) confirmed late Friday that Shelby County could expect 8,900 each week for the month of January. The health
Tennessee has been allotted 462,650 doses of the vaccines. As of Sunday, 197,000 people had received a shot.
department would administer 4,000 doses each week, with the remainder going to the county’s hospitals. In a news release issued Friday, the health department announced it had opened appointments for those in priority groups to get the vaccine this month. Another announcement followed about an hour later stating all appointments had been filled. The vaccine rollout has been bumpy, lurching, and uneven. But it’s early yet and Shelby Countians will certainly have to adjust their expectations. To calibrate, dial back to March 23rd, 2020, when just 93 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the entire county (the figure is higher than 80,000 today). Potential positive tests were screened first to assure they were eligible for testing by a state-run lab. As we know now, testing is widely available — just hop in your car and go — and “anyone who thinks they need a test should get one,” according to the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD). Today’s testing availability surely would have seemed a marvel to Shelby Countians back in March. Perhaps the same will be true for vaccinations in the near future.
Where We Are Now
Vaccines currently flow from two manufacturers to the U.S. government, to the state, and, then, to the various health
departments and hospitals in counties across the state. So far, the U.S. has ordered 400 million doses of the vaccine — 200 million from Moderna and 200 million from Pfizer. The country will need at least 655 million total doses to vaccinate more than 328 million American citizens twice. As of Sunday, January 10th, The Washington Post reported that 6.7 million people had been vaccinated in the U.S. Around 22.1 million vaccine doses had been distributed with 24.1 million more scheduled for delivery this week, all of it designated to vaccinate the 97.4 million Americans (healthcare workers, first responders, the elderly) prioritized to get the vaccine first. The rollout’s reality so far has been well behind the Trump administration’s stated goal to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of 2020. Tennessee has been allotted 462,650 doses of the vaccines. As of Sunday, 197,000 people had received a shot, covering roughly 3.4 percent of the people prioritized to get the vaccine and about 2.9 percent of the state’s population. The Post said 463,000 more doses were slated for delivery to Tennessee this week. Shelby County got about 12,000 doses of the state’s first allotment. In the first seven days, healthcare workers here administered doses to 9,500 people. The rest were to be given out this week. Some doses of the vaccine became available as
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We’ve Got a Shot
ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
A Vaccination Workforce
Let’s say Shelby County suddenly had 1.3 million doses, enough to vaccinate everyone in the county twice. Overcoming that barrier comes with its own barrier. Who will administer all those shots? “There is no cavalry coming,” says Dr. Scott Strome, executive dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). “It’s just not there.” Strome explains that flu vaccines, for example, are routinely given at doctors’ offices, drug store chains like Walgreens and CVS, hospitals, and elsewhere. But that’s not the case for the COVID-19 vaccine, specifically the one from Pfizer, which must be stored at a very cold temperature. It comes with a host of specific regulations in order to be able store it and deliver it to patients. Few places are equipped to meet those requirements, certainly not a parking-lot, pop-up type of location like those used with the flu vaccine. For now, administering the vaccine is limited to those places with medical staff and proper storage facilities. So, no matter how much we get, Strome says, it’ll have to squeeze through a bottleneck of basic human resources: “You’re going to have to build a workforce to actually vaccinate people.” Strome says UTHSC, the professional healthcare schools in the area, and other local leaders here are working to do just that. They’re teaming up to train, organize, and mobilize healthcare students, to turn them into a vaccination workforce. We’ve seen this move from Strome before. He led healthcare students to open one of the first drive-through testing stations at the Mid-South Fairgrounds in March. Back then, he said that the pandemic had interrupted the education of UTHSC’s 700 students and that testing “is their way to give back to the community.”
New Shots, New Doses
Even if Shelby County did have an adequate vaccination team, it doesn’t have 1.3 million doses, not even close. With the promised 8,900 doses for the next three weeks and the original 12,000, we’d be able to vaccinate about 6 percent of Shelby County’s population, about 39,000 of the 656,000 we’d need for herd immunity. But there are some possible game-changers on the horizon. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told the Associated
Press (AP) last month that to have enough vaccine to cover up to 85 percent of the population — his projection for herd immunity — “you’re going to need more than two companies” making approved vaccine doses. That is happening. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that as of January 6th, 235 vaccines were in development across the globe. Sixty-three of those were in clinical development (human trials) and 172 were in preclinical stages. The Trump administration promised AstraZeneca’s vaccine would be ready by October 2020 and that 300 million doses (at a cost of $1.3 billion) would be available by January under Operation Warp Speed. That vaccine candidate has not made it through the U.S. approval system but was approved in the U.K. (Officials now say the vaccine might not be ready for American arms until April.)
drugs did, and “then we would have one more vaccine that can become part of what is being offered to individuals around the world,” Gaur says. “It’s a daunting task to provide a vaccine and provide a vaccine quickly, such that one can truncate the trajectory of infections that are there.” If proved effective, the J&J vaccine, Gaur says, would “be a very good valueadd” to drugs already on the market. The reason is simply because it would take only one dose. Achieving that would remove patient volume from the vaccine line, and the complexity of getting patients to come in twice. A single-dose vaccine was something that Mayor Harris mentioned in his remarks last week. “It’s possible that one of those companies may get approval for a single-dose vaccine. It is conceivable — theoretically — that if that happened, that we may be able to cut our vaccination
Dr. Aditya Gaur
The AP said the “next big vaccine news” may come from Johnson & Johnson (J&J), aiming for a one-dose vaccine with help from Memphis. In November, UTHSC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital offered a testing site for J&J’s Phase 3 clinical trial. Of the global trial’s nearly 45,000-person sample (all 18 and older), 300 of them were tested in Memphis. Enrollment in the trial has closed, says Dr. Aditya Gaur of St. Jude’s infectious diseases department, and participants here are getting routine check-ups, looking for any COVID-19 infections. Results of the trial will be driven by the number of infections, Gaur says, but they could come as soon as a month or two. Gaur notes the overall study will last two years. Before then, the vaccine could receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), just as the Pfizer and Moderna
process in half.” While the world waits for more medicines to make it through government approvals, some are looking to stretch what we already have for a wider spread of vaccines. British health officials surprised many public leaders and public health professionals around the world recently when they announced that they would delay the second dose of the vaccine in favor of inoculating more people with a single dose, first. The British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) issued a statement on December 31st to note the shift in strategy. Those countries (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland) will now vaccinate as many people as possible with the first dose of the vaccine, rather than give two doses to high-priority groups, like healthcare workers and the elderly.
“In terms of protecting priority groups, a model where we can vaccinate twice the number of people in the next two to three months is obviously much more preferable in public health terms than one where we vaccinate half the number but with only slightly greater protection,” reads the letter. Current protocols approved in the U.S. call for an interval of 21 days between the first and second dose of the PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. For the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days between the first and second dose. U.K. health officials said their review of late-stage, drug-trial results led them to believe it would be okay to wait around three months between the first dose and the second. They said the first dose of the vaccine is “very important for duration of protection” while “the additional increase of vaccine efficacy from the second dose is likely to be modest.” They noted that the “great majority of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of the vaccine.” The move met skepticism from health officials in other countries. On January 4th, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a letter that any changes to approved vaccine protocols is “premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence.” Hahn said drug-trial patients who did not get the second dose within three or four weeks weren’t followed closely enough and the FDA could not conclude anything definitive yet about patients getting just one dose. “If people do not truly know how protective a vaccine is, there is the potential for harm because they may assume that they are fully protected when they are not, and, accordingly, alter their behavior to take unnecessary risks,” Hahn said in the letter. Similar skepticism on the U.K. move has come from scientists and doctors in Great Britain and in the World Health Organization, all of whom expressed concerns about the science. The U.S. is reviewing another dosing maneuver that would get the vaccine into more Americans more quickly. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are studying the Moderna vaccine to learn whether a half dose would be as effective as a whole dose. If so, the move could double the supply and make the vaccine more widely available. While a December 17th review of the protocol seemed promising, the FDA’s Hahn, again, did not support it. “We know that some of these discussions about changing the dosing schedule or dose are based on a belief that changing the dose or dosing schedule can help get more vaccine to the public faster,” Hahn said in a statement. “However, making such changes that are not supported by adequate scientific evidence may ultimately be counterproductive to public health.” continued on page 14
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
people missed their appointment times — enough so that the health department temporarily opened access to those in lesser priority categories, including those over age 75 and funeral home workers. This practice ended last week as the rest of the doses were given to those in nursing homes or other congregant living settings.
continued from page 13 The incoming Biden administration, however, appears to be on board with Britain’s one-dose strategy. Presidentelect Joe Biden said last Friday that he aimed to release nearly every available dose of the coronavirus vaccine when he takes office, a break with the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half of U.S. vaccine production to ensure second doses are available.
January 14-20, 2021
The Vaccine’s the Thing
So there is hope for change on the horizon. Mass vaccine plans and other fresh ideas are out there. We’ve come a long way since last March. But we live in a county that just surpassed 1,000 COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, and reports of deaths are rising day to day. The weekly average of positive tests has also risen sharply. Hospitals are jammed. The number of active cases — the number of people known to have COVID-19 in the county — usually hovers around 7,000, a figure that had been at 2,000 in October. Health officials announced last week that COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in 2020, just below heart disease and cancer. Even so, Shelby County is doing far better (on a per capita basis) than most of Tennessee, a testament that city and county leaders were right to take aggressive positions early on. The COVID-19 holy trinity — masks, hand washing, and social distancing — has been preached to residents here time and time again, in speeches, in commercials, in briefings, and on flyers, ads, internet memes, and by politicians, athletes, and celebrity chefs. Has it helped? Probably. But precise data on the effectiveness of the campaign is difficult to determine. Capacity at gyms has been cut to 50 percent, including staff. Bars are closed. The capacity at restaurants has been cut to 25 percent, and customers must be six feet apart. Even while restaurants remain open, SCHD Health Officer Bruce Randolph says “just because something is legally permitted does not mean that it is medically advisable.” A new Stay-At-Home order won’t lift until January 22nd, and it hasn’t — so far — changed any key COVID-19 figures in the county. Randolph says data from the change wasn’t expected until this week and, so, “the jury’s still out” on whether Stay At Home has worked this time. With new data, Randolph says a further lockdown order may be needed. Limits on large groups have also been a bedrock of any health directive issued to ease human contact in Shelby County. At various times, gathering sizes in the county have been limited to 50 people, and even down to 10 on occasion. Daily Memphian reporter Jane Roberts asked Randolph last week what else was left for the health department to do — after closing businesses, preaching hygiene, and ordering people
to stay home. People must “become more responsible and more compliant. We were doing things to educate and reinforce. … but the bottom line is that people themselves must do the right thing,” Randolph told Roberts. “We shouldn’t have to just completely shut everything down in order to get you to do that right thing.” Asking people to “do that right thing” clearly did not work particularly well in Shelby County over the past few weeks. David Sweat, the health department’s Chief of Epidemiology, says his office was able to track a “sort of normal pattern of people’s behaviors” from March to mid-November. But all bets were off with the three “super spreader events” of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
Normal won’t happen until 70 percent of the county’s population can be vaccinated. “That’s three waves of a behavior change in a population that have a tendency to supercharge the epidemic,” Sweat says. “The impact of that may make it harder to see the impact of a vaccine because we’re not in a normal [virus] distribution pattern right now.” Normal won’t happen, Sweat says, until 70 percent of the county’s population — or 655,000 people — can be vaccinated. With the current vaccine supply, getting there could take a year. Before then, though, we could see the impact of the vaccine in decreasing case or transmission rates. Sweat says he’s not sure how many people would need to be vaccinated before we could come to that tipping point. But Sweat hopes prioritizing healthcare workers, nursing home residents, and vulnerable populations (like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) will begin to bend down the county’s death rate. “That is absolutely the purpose of targeting and prioritizing those folks,” he says. “There is a lot of evidence that if people — even if they aren’t in those groups — do get COVID and they’ve been vaccinated, that their illness is far less severe, they’re much less likely to go to the hospital, and [the virus is] much less likely to kill them.” And that’s a start. That’s where we are. The bottom line is that the vaccine may be the only thing that will ultimately begin to move Shelby County through the dark tunnel toward the light of normalcy. How fast we get there is still the big question.
Games and Goons Sports are supposed to be a distraction. It’s not working.
ports have been hard to properly cheer for almost a year now. Our favorite teams and athletes are finding ways to compete, to create memories for us, despite a pandemic in which almost two million people worldwide have now died. We saw Major League Baseball squeeze a season into two months, baseballs clearing fences but into empty seats, players crossing the plate after a home run to cheers only from their teammates. The country is revved up these days — like every January — for the NFL playoffs, but we still see virtually empty stadiums as 21st century gladiators do what we love them to do: clash and crash. But after January 6th? Good lord, does “clash and crash” now mean, yes, insurrection at our nation’s Capitol? How does sports fill its “distraction” role when we’re choosing to distract from what could be the dissolution of democracy? A Grizzlies game is always welcome this time of year, even if background to the evening chores, or muted for the sake of dinner conversation. But after January 6th? Are we really going to fret over two missing stars — and the Grizzlies really miss Ja and Jaren — while the
legislative branch of our government is discussing the level of madness in the executive branch? Most of last weekend, I utilized the last-channel button on my remote, bouncing between football and CNN’s updates on the status of President Donald J. Trump. Where was he? How would he choose to communicate with Twitter having silenced him? Would he lower the White House’s flag to half staff in honor of fallen Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick? Would he face removal via the Constitution’s 25th Amendment? Would he face a second impeachment? Who is Taylor Heinicke and what the hell is he doing competing with Tom Brady? It’s a mad world, somewhat literally, here in the early stages of America’s 2021. The growing divide between those of us who adhere to science and facts and those (many) who choose to ignore them resulted in this country’s first outright coup attempt, one orchestrated and encouraged by the American president. Right there in public, though behind a pane of bulletproof glass. In a time when we are not allowed to gather in stadiums or arenas to cheer our favorite football and basketball teams, thousands gathered — not many in protective masks, you may have noticed — to destroy. The contact tracing from January 6th’s
attack is going to reach a lot of morgues, I’m afraid. Insurrection in the time of coronavirus is a social cocktail mixed by Lucifer himself. The Founding Fathers — Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, you know the names — are popular among so-called “patriots,” the type who will chant “Hang Mike Pence!” as they breach Capitol security. It’s almost quaint now to consider that sedition — conduct in opposition to government authority — was once a hanging offense. Had the American Revolution failed, it’s often noted by historians, Washington, Jefferson, and friends would likely have ended up dangling from a rope in front of British officers. Here, almost 250 years later, there will be no hanging of those responsible for January 6th. The question remains if there will be any consequences for the man most responsible for the seditious act. I share all these thoughts because fear and anxiety (for Democracy, an experiment I’ve come to love) has reduced my rooting interest (for the teams I love) to its lowest level of my lifetime. Will the St. Louis Cardinals find a bat to improve their anemic offense in 2021? (If they don’t, no glass will be broken.) Might the Memphis Tigers find their way to some version of an NCAA tournament come March? (If they don’t, no gas will be sprayed.) No, I find myself merely rooting for peace — and significantly, a return to health — for my fellow man, both here in America and abroad. I also hope to see the day when, yes, the Cardinals’ run production is my most significant concern. At least for that day. It would be a new time for our planet, and quite welcome for all of us who occupy it.
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
S P O R TS B y Fr a n k M u r t a u g h
steppin’ out (& stayin’ in)
We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews
We Saw You. with
This coming January 15th, Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 92 years old. Though his life was tragically cut short, his legacy lives on through service for others and the community. “Doctor King said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?’” says Andrea Hill, director of Volunteer Memphis. “MLK Days of Service asks people to ‘Care Like King’ and volunteer to help themselves MLK Days of Service and their communities through service.” volunteers Those who would like to participate in MLK Days of Service can choose to volunteer during this King birthday week in a myriad of ways through a plethora of organizations. Visit the Volunteer Memphis website for a listing of available opportunities. Everything from outdoor cleanups to virtual webinars designed to educate people on financial literacy, leadership skills, and much more will be available to honor King’s legacy. Last year, volunteers completed more than 5,000 hours of service across 10 Mid-South counties for MLK Days of Service. This year, our community can lead the way to exceed that number. If service is beneath you, leadership is beyond you. King was a great leader because of his dedication to serving others. “Everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service,” said King. “You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” It’s time for us all to be great and care like King. CARE LIKE KING: MLK DAYS OF SERVICE, CHOOSE YOUR VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY ONLINE FROM VOLUNTEER MEMPHIS, VOLUNTEERMEMPHIS.ORG, THURSDAY-MONDAY, JAN. 14-18.
January 14-20, 2021
VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES January 14th - 20th
The Starry Road to Freedom: Reflections of Frederick Douglass Online from Elmwood Cemetery, elmwoodcemetery.org, Thursday, Jan. 14, 6 p.m., $15 Memphis actor Phil Darius Wallace performs a one-man show about the life of abolitionist, statesman, writer, and orator Frederick Douglass. First Day Hike T.O. Fuller State Park, 1500 Mitchell, Saturday, Jan. 16, 8:30 a.m.-noon, free Ranger Jessica Gossett will meet participants at the park’s visitors center for a winter adventure along the Discovery Loop trail. The hike will be approximately 4.5 miles, through the Chickasaw Bluffs, hardwood forests, and wetlands and past the archaeological site, Chucalissa.
Artist Talk for “Tributaries: Ben Dory” Online from Metal Museum, metalmuseum.org, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2-3:30 p.m., free with registration Artist will discuss and demonstrate his latest body of work paying homage to traditional granulation, an ancient and intricate technique of fusing primarily gold spheres. 2021 MLK Day Parade Online from teamsterslocal667.org, Monday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m., free Join Teamsters Local 667 and guest speakers to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Dream of A King Online from Elmwood Cemetery, elmwoodcemetery.org, Monday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m., $15 One-man show highlighting the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through characters that influenced his life. Features performances of song, dance, poetry, and speeches. Novel at Home: An Online Cocktail Party with Elizabeth Passarella & Sid Evans Online from novelmemphis.com, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m., free with registration The author discusses and launches Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York in conversation with the editor in chief at Southern Living and Coastal Living, via Zoom.
By Julie Ray
MUSIC By Alex Greene
Ethan Healy; (below) Healy and Ali Abu-Khraybeh
out all of her parts and the writing in a week, and wrote a really beautiful verse, all from Stockholm, where she lives. She made that song what it is today.” All in all, it’s in keeping with the new direction Healy mapped out for his latest work. “It’s definitely more expansive, in terms of the soundscape. It’s a lot prettier, for sure. I honestly treated the album like an escape, more than I ever have before with music. I was trying to depict these really lush and ethereal soundscapes. There’s a theme of fear avoidance present throughout the entire thing, and I wanted to underscore that or punctuate it with these pretty scenes.”
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and close your eyes, you can almost imagine the room it was recorded in. I was hovering over Ali’s shoulder with the microphone, so it sounds just like you’re sitting in front of the piano Ali was playing.” The tones of a slightly clunky upright piano are a welcome flavor in his music, which largely takes its cue from the hip-hop and R&B world. Healy is often called a “rapper,” and he pulls it off credibly, but the new album features more melodic singing and nonelectronic instruments. “We used the same microphone for the classical guitar in the second verse, too,” he adds. “You can hear the picking on the strings; it’s almost like an ASMR recording, in that it almost tingles your brain.” But surely the most gripping nod to traditional melodic elements is brought by the track’s featured vocalist, Thea Gustafsson, of the band Becky and the Birds. Her often stratospheric singing is downright otherworldly. “She created almost a waterfall of harmonies,” Healy says. “I feel like a sliver of Minnie Ripperton’s soul was reincarnated into Thea. Words can’t describe how special she is. She’s just an artist through to the marrow. She knocked
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
t wasn’t so long ago that Memphis native Ethan Healy, aka Healy, made a trip with his bandmate Ali Abu-Khraybeh to Joshua Tree National Park on a songwriting retreat. Having had notable success with his 2017 album, Subluxe, including almost 52 million streams of the single “Reckless,” it’s safe to say that the pressure to deliver was on. “We did a summer tour in 2018 with about 20 shows. Then, in 2019, I played Memphis in May. But after that I just really wanted to hunker down and put some of these songs into a longer-form project,” Healy says. Beyond that, he wanted to both build on his success and explore new textures and styles. “My friend Andrew Fleming from Memphis introduced me to Beach House as I was coming out of my last album cycle, and I fell back on dream pop, synthdriven stuff like them. And I accessed some more singer/songwriter, Laurel Canyon energies. Like Crosby, Stills and Nash. Trying to get in touch with those kinds of feelings.” So, although his new album, Tungsten, dropping via Braintrust/RCA Records this Wednesday, has plenty of carefully crafted synthetic sounds, beats, and samples, like his debut, one thing jumped out for Healy and Ali when they walked into their rental at Joshua Tree — that perfectly dovetailed with his new sonic direction. “We walked in the door and there was an upright piano there, and we looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s start writing a song.’” What came out of that became the latest single from the new album, “Back on the Fence,” which was released last month. In fact, the very piano they encountered is in the track, giving it a homey, youare-there quality, captured right in the moment of the song’s creation. “I had a melody that I had been singing on the way there. And Ali and I wrote the piano melody around it, and we worked into the night until we realized we hadn’t eaten dinner,” he laughs. That he captured that sound so well is partly due to his fondness for field recordings, another common sonic element in his work. “I have a 3D binaural microphone that’s shaped like human ears. So when you listen to music recorded with it in headphones,
Lush, ethereal soundscapes and an old piano.
CALENDAR of EVENTS:
January 14 - 20
T H EAT E R
TO U R S
Metal Museum Audio Tour
The Starry Road to Freedom: Reflections of Frederick Douglass, one-man show on the life of abolitionist, statesman, writer, and orator Frederick Douglass as performed by Memphis actor Phil Darius Wallace. elmwoodcemetery.org. $15. Thurs., Jan. 14, 6 p.m. The Dream of A King, one man show traveling through the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through characters that influenced his life as well as song, dance, poetry, and speeches. elmwoodcemetery.org. $15. Mon., Jan. 18, 6 p.m.
Explore the newly updated Sculpture Garden and accompanying audio tour while adhering to safe social distancing. PWYC. Ongoing, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wit, a renowned professor of English spent years studying and teaching the sonnets of John Donne. Diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer she comes to reassess her life and her work. Jan. 15-31. 3037 FOREST HILL-IRENE (453-7447).
January 14-20, 2021
A Holiday Cabaret, celebrate the season with a perfect blend of music, jokes, and stories to get you in the mood for the holidays. hattiloo.org. Free. Ongoing, 7 p.m. Sarafina!, past production about human rights in the 21st century, written by Mbongeni Ngema. Ongoing. God’s Trombone, enjoy the original production of inspirational sermons by African-American preachers reimagined as poetry, reverberating with the musicality of spirituals. Free. Ongoing. From the Frontlines of COVID-19, online series that spotlights health care workers who share emotional insight of their critical work as they care for those who have been impacted by the virus. hattiloo.org. Free. Ongoing. Iola’s Southern Fields, enjoy an online past performance drawn from the writings of Ida B. Wells. Free. Ongoing. 37 S. COOPER (502-3486).
66 S. COOPER (726-4656).
Online on Stage, a Theatre Memphis Facebook group that serves as a clearinghouse for performers wanting to share their talents. Featuring storytime, readings, or performance art. Ongoing. 630 PERKINS EXT. (682-8323).
A R TI S T R EC E P TI O N S
Artist Talk for “Tributaries: Ben Dory,” artist will discuss and demonstrate his latest body of work paying homage to traditional granulation, an ancient and intricate technique of fusing primarily gold spheres. metalmuseum.org. Free with registration. Sun., Jan. 17, 2-3:30 p.m. 374 METAL MUSEUM DR. (774-6380).
Kudzu Playhouse Virtual, join Kudzu social media for donation based classes, games, scholarship opportunities, and more. Download the app for more fun theater activities and information. Ongoing. P.O. BOX 47 (888-429-7871).
Orpheum Virtual Engagement, join Orpheum staff, artists, and students for activities, interviews, and more on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Visit website for more information. Ongoing. 203 S. MAIN (525-3000).
Playhouse on the Square Playhouse on the Square
OTH E R A R T HA P P E N I N G S
Encourages visitors to contemplate real-life issues by drawing comparisons to themes in art led by local Memphians. Free. Wed., Jan. 20, 6 p.m. MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART, 1934 POPLAR (544-6209).
Memphis Flyer Coloring Book
Order your book today benefiting local artists and journalism. $35. Ongoing. MEMPHISMAGAZINESTORE.COM.
Metal Museum Online
Peruse the art and craft of fine metalwork digitally. Featuring past gallery talks from previous exhibitions, interviews with artists, and demonstrations including “Beauty in the Boundary,” the Museum’s exhibition of gates and railings. Free. Ongoing. METAL MUSEUM, 374 METAL MUSEUM DR. (774-6380).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s New British Galleries: An Exclusive Virtual Tour with Dr. Wolf Burchard
Join Decorative Arts Trust and Brooks Museum for a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s New British Galleries with Dr. Wolf Burchard via Zoom. Free with registration. Sat., Jan. 16, 10:30 a.m.
B O O KS I G N I N G S
Novel at Home: Elizabeth Passarella and Sid Evans
Author discusses and launches Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York in conversation with guest, editor in chief at Southern Living and Coastal Living via Zoom. Free with registration. Tues., Jan. 19, 7 p.m. NOVEL, 387 PERKINS EXT. (9225526), NOVELMEMPHIS.COM.
Reader Meet Writer: David Zucchino
Author discusses Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy via Zoom. Free with registration. Thurs., Jan. 14, 6 p.m. NOVEL, 387 PERKINS EXT. (9225526), NOVELMEMPHIS.COM.
MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART, 1934 POPLAR (544-6209).
L E CT U R E / S P E A K E R
C O M E DY
Cemetery Work: “How Cleaning Monuments Brought Me Joy”
The Comedy Junt
The Rated R Comedy Showcase, comedy infused with hip-hop and R&B. A tribute to Memphis comedy and music. $20. Fri.-Sat., Jan. 15-16,. 4330 AMERICAN WAY (249-4052).
PO E T RY / S PO K E N WOR D
Spillit Workshop: “Resolved”
Five-week course via Zoom will work participants through the stages of developing their stories. All leading to a Spillit showcase where the stories will debut. spillitmemphis.org. $300 course fee. Wednesdays, 6 p.m. Through Feb. 10. SPILLITMEMPHIS.ORG.
Enter Elmwood Cemetery, where Sheena was introduced to stone cleaning. What began as volunteer work for her has become a passion. Hear her journey during the pandemic and some history that she’s uncovered. $10. Fri., Jan. 15, 6 p.m. ELMWOOD CEMETERY, 824 S. DUDLEY (774-3212), ELMWOODCEMETERY.ORG.
“Natural Resources Conservation”
Mike Hansbrough, area resource biologist, will speak on topic via Zoom. Free. Wed., Jan. 20, noon. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS, 4339 PARK (761-5250), DIXON.ORG.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers Wed., Jan. 20, 9 p.m.
FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
Envision Core Essentials Class
at Home, a series of digital content through POTS website and social media platforms. View past performances, engage in quizzes, enjoy digital playwriting, and more. Free. Ongoing.
FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
Tours for Very Small Groups
S PO R TS / F IT N ES S
The Starry Road to Freedom, Elmwood Cemetery, Thursday, Jan. 14th, at 6 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 18, 4 p.m.
Memphis Tigers vs. SMU Mustangs
ELMWOOD CEMETERY, 824 S. DUDLEY (774-3212).
Germantown Community Theatre
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Phoenix Suns
METAL MUSEUM, 374 METAL MUSEUM DR. (774-6380).
Elmwood Cemetery’s staff is ready to take you and your very small group on a tour around the grounds in groups of 9. Masks required. $5. Ongoing, 10 a.m.
824 S. DUDLEY (774-3212).
Send the date, time, place, cost, info, phone number, a brief description, and photos — two weeks in advance — to email@example.com or P.O. Box 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS, ONGOING WEEKLY EVENTS WILL APPEAR IN THE FLYER’S ONLINE CALENDAR ONLY.
All-bodyweight, socially distant, high-energy workout accommodating all levels. Get moving safely. Free. Tuesdays, 5:30-6 p.m. Through Jan. 26. MEMPHIS PARK (FOURTH BLUFF), FRONT AND MADISON (521-8117), ENVISION.FIT.
First Day Hike
Ranger Jessica Gossett will meet participants at the park visitor center for a winter adventure along the Discovery Loop trail. Free with registration. Sat., Jan. 16, 8:30 a.m.-noon. T.O. FULLER STATE PARK, 1500 MITCHELL (543-7581), TNSTATEPARKS.ORG.
Intro to Kundalini Yoga with Amy Gray
Attend in-person or virtually to awaken your higher self, balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, and purify the blood to bring balance to the body, mind, and soul. $20-$25. Fri., Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m. DELTA GROOVE YOGA, 2091 MADISON, DELTAGROOVEYOGA.COM.
Kroc Center Online Fitness Classes
Classes will be offered free and online. From mediation and yoga to boot camp and kickboxing, find the right class for you. Free. Ongoing. THE SALVATION ARMY KROC CENTER, 800 E. PARKWAY S. (729-8007).
Martin Luther King Jr. Ride
Members of Major Taylor Memphis and Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club can join ride and visit local historical civil rights locations. Free for members, $40 nonmembers. Mon., Jan. 18, 10 a.m. MHBC CLUBHOUSE, 397 CUMBERLAND, MEMPHISHIGHTAILERS.COM.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Fri., Jan. 15, 7 p.m.
FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Philadelphia 76ers Sat., Jan. 16, 7 p.m.
FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
Thurs., Jan. 14, 8 p.m.
M E ETI N G S
Churches from the Presbytery of the MidSouth: Sunday Worship Livestream
Combined livestream worship. Visit website for more information and livestream link. Sun., 11 a.m. IDLEWILDCHURCH.ORG.
Weekly Zoom gathering for anyone 18+ who identifies as a member of the trans or GNC community. For login information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tuesdays, 6 p.m. OUTMEMPHIS.ORG.
S P EC IA L EVE NTS
2021 MLK Day Parade
Join Teamsters Local 667 and guest speakers to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free. Mon., Jan. 18, 11 a.m. TEAMSTERSLOCAL667.ORG.
Care Like King: MLK Days of Service
A volunteer event where Volunteer Memphis invites everyone to serve their communities and make them a better place. Visit website for a list of opportunities to Care Like King. Thur.-Mon., Jan. 14-18. VOLUNTEER MEMPHIS, 22 NORTH FRONT, SUITE 780 (523-2425), VOLUNTEERMEMPHIS.ORG.
FO O D & D R I N K EVE NTS
Science of Beer Pick 6
Pick up a card from participating breweries or download from the museum website. Visit breweries and get your card stamped to enjoy free museum admission between January 16 and February 28. Through Feb. 28. MEMPHIS PINK PALACE MUSEUM, 3050 CENTRAL (636-2362), MEMPHISMUSEUMS.ORG.
Virtual Cooking Classes with Kelly English
Cook with Chef Kelly English of Restaurant Iris, Second Line, and Fino’s during this four-class for one lump sum special event via Zoom. $100. Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Through Jan. 26. IRISETC.COM.
FOOD By Michael Donahue
Rule the Roost
Hen House Wine Bar set to open soon in East Memphis.
Enter for a chance to win one of three prizes: A six month membership to the YMCA or one of two personal training packages. QUIZ 1: JAN 11 - 16
QUIZ 2: JAN 18 - 23
QUIZ 3: JAN 25 - 31
For more information visit memphismagazine.com/get-healthy
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
COURTESY HEN HOUSE WINE BAR
ichaela Dockery menu. “I basically know everybody at wants you to Home Depot by now.” feel at home The restaurant, manned by executive at Hen House chef Matthew Schweizer, will serve a full Wine Bar, a new menu. “When we first decided to do this, restaurant slated we were only going to have cheese boards, to open at the end of January at 679 South charcuterie, dessert, things like that.” Mendenhall Road. Now, she says, “Me being from And she means literally at home. California and my husband, Dee, The 2,700-square-foot restaurant, growing up here, I wanted to marry the which she owns with her husband, Dr. two backgrounds. So we have a lot of a Dee Dockery, is “an extension of our Southern California type of vibe with our living room,” Michaela says. “We love food and kind of elevated Southern. And to host. We love to cook for our friends it’s really married beautifully.” and family. I love to wine them, put Friends and family have raved about drinks in their hands. And this is an their shrimp and grits. “I’ve eaten shrimp extension of what we do at home. and grits in about every spot in New “It’s an Orleans and experience nothing has more than topped what anything. Matt has done. I You’re walking dream about it.” in a place Their where you’re signature Hen going to be House chicken well taken care sandwich of, wined and is another dined. You feel favorite. “It’s a Dee and Michaela Dockery that intimate really nice-sized experience piece of brined where you are the focus when you walk chicken served on brioche.” in. The space is upscale, but we wanted Schweizer’s white sauce tops the a relaxed environment. And that’s what chicken. “It’s a pretty big meal in itself and you’re getting. You’re getting top food it’s absolutely delicious.” and drinks, but you’re getting them in a The wine cellar will include Flocking relaxed environment.” Fabulous rosé, sauvignon blanc, and a red The restaurant is furnished with blend. Michaela collaborated on the wines couches, comfortable chairs, and low with a California winemaker. coffee tables. Bartender Tony Nguyen created a Describing the Bubble Room, a variety of cocktails, including the Hound special room for before- or after-dinner Dog, a bourbon drink he describes as drinks or special occasions, Michaela “a boozy whiskey-forward cocktail that says, “When I walk into that room it is slightly nutty with orange and soft feels like I am in my own ‘girl cave.’ It’s caramel notes.” just really moody.” Nguyen created a special cocktail as a Instead of “stock the bar,” Michaela surprise for Dee, who is an interventional asked guests to “stock the wall” in the spine physician at Campbell Clinic. Bubble Room. “Friends and family have Nguyen describes the drink as “an been bringing prints to put on that wall.” Amaro-forward cocktail with slight apple The Bubble Room backs up to notes and a little salinity on the palate and the wine cellar, so that wall, which is faint licorice notes that dance with bright glass, is dubbed the Sparkling Wall, lemon aromas on the nose.” because guests can see the labels on the The drink, Coach Rex, was named champagne bottles. after Dee’s dad, the late Memphis State On another wall hangs a floral design University football coach Rex Dockery. by Anna Katherine Colomb of TCB Co. Hen House Wine Bar was slated to “I told her I love rainbows. I love muted open in October, but the date had to colors. I love all-natural, organic outdoor be pushed back because of COVID-19 materials. So she created this stunning restrictions. kind of muted rainbow of dried flowers Michaela can’t wait for food and drink and leaves and branches on that wall.” lovers to roost at Hen House Wine Bar. Michaela and Dee enlarged the “I feel like a zombie, but it’s good. That kitchen to accommodate the growing means we’re working hard.”
FILM By Chris McCoy
The Greatest Regina King brings together four legends in One Night in Miami.
January 14-20, 2021
ne of my all-time favorite plays is Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. The 1998 Tony Award winner tries to untangle the mysteries of a night in 1941 when German physicist Werner Heisenberg visited his mentor Niels Bohr at his home in the Danish capital. Bohr and Heisenberg had worked together to deduce the rules of quantum physics (known as the “Copenhagen model”), but now Heisenberg had a new boss, Adolf Hitler, who wanted an atomic bomb. After a dinner prepared by Bohr’s wife, Margarethe, Bohr and Heisenberg went for a walk in the garden. But instead of wandering for hours, as they often did while working on difficult problems, they quickly returned to the house. Heisenberg thanked Margarethe and showed himself out. Soon after, the Bohrs fled Nazi-occupied Denmark in the middle of the night. They made their way to America, where Niels Bohr worked on the Manhattan Project. Meanwhile, Heisenberg became the head of the Nazi bomb project, which never even came close to producing a working weapon. Neither man ever revealed what they talked about that night. Did Heisenberg try to recruit Bohr for the Nazi bomb project? Was he there to ask his
old mentor to check his math? Or did he carry a warning to Bohr? The three people present went to their graves keeping the secret. Frayn’s play explores the possibilities, with the ghosts of the three people present reliving all the different interpretations of the events. Kemp Powers’ 2013 play, One Night in Miami, tries something similar. On February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to claim the heavyweight boxing title. In the crowd that night were Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. After the fight, instead of hitting the legendary Miami party circuit, the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali retreated to Malcolm X’s hotel room, where they were later joined by Cooke and Brown. It was an unprecedented gathering of Black talent, and the weightiness of the evening was not apparent at the time. No one knows what they really talked about, but Powers’ script imagines an evening that is equal parts celebratory and foreboding. Actress Regina King chose to adapt One Night in Miami for her directorial debut after winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk. King’s first task was casting four of the most recognizable people in 20th-century history. It’s
Sam Cooke, Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, and Jim Brown walk into a hotel — (l-r) Leslie Odom Jr., Eli Goree, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Aldis Hodge star in Regina King’s One Night in Miami. hard to say who had the hardest job. Kingsley Ben-Adir, who recently played Barack Obama in The Comey Rule, portrays Malcolm X — which means he’s in the shadow of Denzel Washington’s astounding performance in Spike Lee’s biopic. Ballers’ Eli Goree is Ali, a role that even the likes of Will Smith couldn’t pull off convincingly. Aldis Hodge, MC Ren from Straight Outta Compton, plays Jim Brown, a man considered by some to be the greatest player in NFL history and who went on to a 50-year career in film and television. As Sam Cooke, Leslie Odom Jr. at least has the advantage of a great singing voice, since he originated the role of Aaron Burr in Hamilton on Broadway. Crafting these performances to perfection is clearly where King’s head is at — and rightly so. All four of her leads turn out to be stellar. Goree’s Ali is, improbably, the
Tiger Blue Tiger Blue
The Flyer’s THE FLYER’S MEMPHIS BLOG
MeMphis www.memphisflyer.com/blogs/TigerBlue/ Tiger Blog
FILM By Chris McCoy
best of the bunch. He can both deliver the legendary bombast and reveal a thoughtful vulnerability in private. BenAdir’s Malcolm X is on the receiving end of most of that vulnerability. In Powers’ script, Malcolm X is the most morally ambivalent character, who intends to use the publicity surrounding his friend’s historic championship to launch his schism with the Nation of Islam. But it is Malcolm who convinces Sam Cooke to stop devoting his talent to sappy love songs and push socially conscious works like “A Change is Gonna Come.” One Night in Miami lacks Copenhagen’s experimental streak, but it functions beautifully as a four-handed character sketch of some of the most important Black men of the 20th century. (It’s
undoubtedly more entertaining — when I saw Copenhagen performed live, half the audience left during intermission.) King’s cameras pace restlessly around the room, finding framing that keeps all four actors in view, as they would appear onstage. This is a film that carefully doles out close-ups, and more directors should heed King’s example. The film loses momentum when the group breaks up, and each character gets a little exposition designed to educate the audience on their historical importance. But when the four legends are together in the same room, One Night in Miami crackles with the fire of life. One Night in Miami Now playing Multiple locations
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Apples to Oranges
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
I’ve heard a lot of folks compare the heinous acts that took place in the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday to the demonstrations of the Black Lives Matter movement. Scrolling through my social media feeds and speaking to my friends and family, the number one thing I’ve heard is, “If they’d have been Black storming the Capitol … ” The consensus is that if those who stormed the U.S. Capitol in the name of a “revolution” were Black, or any other color than white, for that matter, the breach would not have been successful — and the situation would have ended very differently. This assertion didn’t sit well with me at all. And that’s simply because social activism and acts of terrorism are not the same, period. Black people wouldn’t have stormed the Capitol building — and trashed it — because the fight of the BLM movement is centered around justice, not spite or pettiness. (And our mommas taught us better than that.) Before coming to the Memphis Flyer in December, I spent 10 years calling Washington, D.C., my home. I watched as my Black Lives Matter precious city was torn apart after the murder of George Floyd. protest I’ve seen the city’s culture be gentrified into a shadow of itself. It was devastating to walk around Farragut Park or 14th Street and see businesses boarded up for months. But what happened Wednesday in Washington, I could have never fathomed. What you must understand is that D.C. is a city that’s accustomed to spirited, even angry, protests. But the comparison of BLM to the display of white supremacy last week — Nazi and Confederate flags everywhere — is just disrespectful. The fight for justice is a long, arduous journey that involves tact and patience and courage. None of that was on display last week. If you want to compare storming the Capitol to anything, compare it to when white Americans beat and brutalized Black people for registering to vote. Or when they bombed buses and churches for the sole purpose of maintaining Jim Crow. You can even compare it to when Southern states seceded from the Union to preserve whites’ right to own slaves. President Trump has cultivated and encouraged a breeding ground for white supremacy for years, and to compare this recent chaotic and pointless invasion of the Capitol to protests against a man getting murdered by cops on tape is ridiculous. We watched George Floyd call out for his mother as he lost his life. The price he paid, along with so many others, is worth protesting. Parading Confederate flags and Nazi paraphernalia into the nation’s Capitol to support a president trying to overturn the will of the people is not comparable. I acknowledge, as my friends say, that Black people wouldn’t have made it up the Capitol steps without guns being drawn on them, at the least. But this is different. Our history has taught African Americans not to test the bounds of the police unless we are ready to die. Having been born and raised in Memphis, I’ve witnessed the inherent distrust of whites by my elders. I’ve seen people afraid to look white people in the eye. I know the stories of how Black men can feel like they are an endangered species. This is not what our forefathers envisioned for our nation. Democrats were very disappointed when Trump took office in 2016. They wept and cried out in rage, yet they accepted the election results, participated in an orderly transition of power, and then responded politically. Now we are watching our democracy unravel. The only way to mitigate this is to do something about it, immediately. Yes, we want the government to prosecute the rioters to the fullest extent of the law, but the power is with the people. It always has been. It’s time for us to take back our country. (I’m talking to you Midtowners with BLM signs in your front yard.) Enough of well-meaning intentions. It’s time to speak up when you hear the disgraceful things that we Black people know are being said behind our backs — no matter where you hear it. If you care at all, start small. Advocate for the people who are marginalized time and time again in your presence. Because none of this is simply a matter of party loyalty or politics as usual. Trump supporters trying to overthrow a free and fair election by trashing the Capitol is not the same as protesting injustice against Black people. One of these things is traitorous. One is not. Christen Hill is a Flyer staff writer.
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Stop comparing the Capitol insurgents to Black Lives Matter activists.
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