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OUR 1671ST ISSUE 03.04.21 In case you were ever worried about the GOP-dominated state government of Tennessee not having the best interests of its citizens at heart, you can relax. Our boys are on the case, battling against the vast, nefarious invasion of transgender young people into high school sports, standing firm against college basketballers who kneel for the National Anthem, and, of course, battling for the right of every Tennessean to pack a gun pretty much anywhere. The truth is that this sort of legislation is just performative. Its only purpose being to stir up outrage among the mouth-breathing masses. “Dang it! We cain’t have boys competin’ against girls in softball!” Right. Because that happens so often. So the legislators propose a bill that ignores all protocols and legal ramifications of the issue and just mandates that transgendered folks conform to their birth genitalia, no matter what. The Olympics and other sports organizations have rules involving testosterone levels for athletes, and other regulations that ensure fair competition, but those were ignored in favor of further inciting brocephus prejudices with a law that is very unlikely to stand up in court. Legislators are also planning to tackle the vital issue of East Tennessee State’s men’s basketball team kneeling for the National Anthem on state property. Look for some overtly unconstitutional legislative foofawfery soon. Never mind that the First Amendment right to protest and free speech is every bit as sacred and protected as, well, the Second Amendment “right” to openly carry a gun into Costco. Speaking of … If any of these guys ever has the nerve to say “Blue Lives Matter” again, they should be, well, arrested. Open carry laws are opposed by almost every major law-enforcement organization, by district attorneys groups, and by around 80 percent of American voters in recent polls. But Governor Bill Lee and his yahoo posse are more interested in pleasing the NRA and the 20 percent of the population that thinks gun regulations are a violation of the Second Amendment, even though most of them couldn’t spell “amendment” if you spotted them the vowels. Then there was the egregious piling on by several Republicans of the Shelby County Health Department in the wake of the discovery of 2,400 expired or wasted COVID vaccine doses. Eighth District Congressman David Kustoff, for example, was shocked and outraged and demanded an investigation into this chicanery. This is the same clown who backed Donald Trump’s ignorant and deadly approach to the pandemic for 11 months and who appeared, sans mask, slavishly praising Fearless Leader at rallies. He also voted to overturn the results of a free election after a mob violently demanding the same thing trashed the capitol building where he works, but yes, do demand an investigation into those who are trying, however imperfectly, to save people’s lives. Lee also weighed in with his concerns, as did several other Republicans. Where was this concern when much smaller (and whiter) Knox County “lost” more than 1,000 doses earlier in February? Look, there is no denying that Shelby County screwed up some aspects of the vaccine roll-out, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that this scenario is being replicated all over the country. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told NBC News earlier this month: “This kind of thing [having to throw away] vaccines is pretty rampant. I have personally heard stories like this from dozens of physician friends in a variety of different states. Hundreds, if not thousands, of doses are getting tossed across the country every day. It’s unbelievable.” COVID-19 vaccines have a short shelf life once they are thawed out for use, Jha said. And because of federal N E WS & O P I N I O N and state mandates, many hospitals and THE FLY-BY - 4 other healthcare providers would rather NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 POLITICS - 8 risk a dose going bad than give it to COVER STORY somebody who isn’t scheduled to get a “TRAFFIC ALERT!” shot. BY TOBY SELLS - 10 So yeah, we’ve had some issues with WE RECOMMEND - 14 vaccine distribution, but so have a lot of MUSIC - 15 places. More than 120,000 people have CALENDAR - 16 been vaccinated in Shelby County, so it’s FOOD - 18 SPIRITS - 19 not all bad. It’s fair to point out mistakes, FILM - 20 but let’s keep the performative politics out of it. C LAS S I F I E D S - 21 LAST WORD - 23 Bruce VanWyngarden firstname.lastname@example.org
MEMernet A roundup of Memphis on the World Wide Web. S I G N O F TH E TI M ES Something about a guy loading bottled water into a truck amid snow and ice that seems so long ago.
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B LAC K LO D G E SAVE D Black Lodge — the video store, concert venue, and arcade — reached its fundraising goal on Indiegogo last week. The effort was to “pay our rent until we can get to the other side of [COVID-19].” As of press time, more than 480 supporters donated $27,909.
March 4-10, 2021
S WE ET If you know Memphis Redditor B1gR1g’s love of King Cobra, you know this is a big deal.
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Pipeline, MLGW, & Vaccine Controversy Byhalia Connection pipeline got pushback, the water boil was lifted, and vaccine issues boiled over. P I P E LI N E P US H U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) urged President Joe Biden last week to rescind a federal permit for the Byhalia Connection pipeline. The pipeline project won approval from two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices (Memphis and Vicksburg) recently to build a 49-mile crude-oil line from Memphis to Marshall County, Mississippi. The project has faced major opposition from environmental groups, as the line would be built across a well field that connects to the Memphis Sand Aquifer, the source of Memphis’ famously pure drinking water. The project has broader opposition from groups who say the line would be built through predominantly Black neighborhoods. Cohen pointed at both of these arguments in his letter to the Biden administration.
CENTER FOR APPLIED EARTH SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH
This illustration shows the potential for contamination of the aquifer.
C E LE B S AN D TH E P I P E LI N E Celebrities lent their voices to the opposition of the Byhalia Connection pipeline project last week. Some of the biggest names to tweet against the project included actors Danny Glover, Giancarlo Esposito, Jane Fonda, Piper Perabo, and Tim Guinee. Former Vice President Al Gore also asked “Memphians and fellow Tennesseans” to “stand together against the Byhalia pipeline.” WATE R F I X Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) won its battle last week against the havoc wreaked by the worst winter weather seen in the Mid-South for decades. Late last week, the utility lifted the water boil advisory it had issued nearly a week before, allowing Memphians to, once again, drink water straight from the tap. Freezing temperatures broke water pipes and mains throughout MLGW’s service area. Leaking water reduced water pressure across the system, and officials worried it could allow contaminants to get into the water. However, the advisory was a precautionary move, and MLGW officials said they never found any contaminants in the water.
VAC C I N E C O NTR OVE R SY Shelby County Health Department director Alisa Haushalter resigned last week after state health officials pulled the department from the COVID-19 vaccine distribution chain. The removal came as Tennessee Department of Health officials investigated Shelby County’s vaccine distribution program, which had been widely panned as problematic and inefficient. State officials said the health department had to throw away thousands of doses of the vaccine and alleged that a vaccine volunteer at the Pipkin Building stole vaccines. The city of Memphis will now lead the distribution program here. Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris reported Haushalter’s resignation to the Shelby County Commission on Friday. EV E N M O R E P I P E L I N E A Memphis City Council committee pushed votes regarding the Byhalia Connection pipeline project last week pending a meeting with its attorney on the matter. Council attorney Allan Wade said the city’s authority to move on the act was “constrained by federal and state law.” He said he’s heard from those opposing the pipeline and what they ask is “quite frankly out of what authority we have.” Visit the News Blog at memphisflyer.com for fuller versions of these stories and more local news.
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Crossword ACROSS 64-/65-Across work of 1995 7 64-/65-Across work of 1996 13 King of Belgium during W.W. II 15 Rolled fare 16 “As You Like It” hero 17 First coeducational college in the U.S. 18 64-/65-Across work of 1990 20 Revivalists, for short? 21 Geometric figure 22 Annoyances in some free apps 23 Quietly understood 27 Winter air 30 Up in the air, for short 33 Hoot 1
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March 4-10, 2021
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Transparency Suit Memphis journalist sues city for footage of “Taser Face.”
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A Memphis journalist is suing the city of Memphis for access to body-camera footage from a Memphis Police Department (MPD) officer. Newspaper veteran Marc Perrusquia teamed with the nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) in the suit filed Monday, February 22nd, in Shelby County Chancery Court. In the suit, Perrusquia claims the city’s refusal to release the footage violates the Tennessee Public Records Act. “The city of Memphis’ refusal to release the body-cam footage requested by our client raises serious transparency concerns,” said Paul McAdoo, the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative attorney in Tennessee. “Public access to police body-cam footage is a crucial aspect of police accountability.” Perrusquia, who leads the Institute of Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis, first asked for the body-cam footage in July 2020, according to the RCFP. He sought footage from three separate incidents of alleged use of excessive force by MPD officer Colin Berryhill. The officer earned the nickname “Taser Face” for multiple uses of his electroshock Taser gun, according to Perrusquia’s July 2020 story about Berryhill in The Daily Memphian. The suit said MPD investigated Berryhill’s use of his Taser on three occasions between May 2018 and April 2019 and whether it violated policies against the excessive or unnecessary use of force. City leaders denied Perrusquia’s request for the footage because “no responsive records exist at this time due to an administrative investigation.” According to the RCFP, this came despite the fact that the city said in a publicly released case summary that the investigation had been closed. McAdoo, Perrusquia’s attorney, wrote to the city’s chief legal counsel, Jennifer Sink, requesting the body-cam footage, the RCFP said. Sink said in a phone call that the records were exempt from
disclosure because an internal MPD investigation could lead to criminal charges against Berryhill. Perrusquia’s legal argument is that there is no exemption for such administrative investigations and no body-camera-specific exemption applies. The suit also charges that since there’s no pending criminal action against the officer, the records aren’t exempt under state law.
The ofﬁcer earned the nickname “Taser Face” for multiple uses of his electroshock Taser gun.
Marc Perrusquia As to why MPD has body cameras in the first place, the suit points to the MPD policy and procedures manual. In it, MPD says body cameras give “further clarity and transparency to the examination of police related events” and have “the potential to improve community relations by providing an objective record that can be used to confirm valid allegations, while providing an unbiased record that may assist in disproving false allegations.” “But such clarity and transparency may only be achieved if [body camera] footage is available to the public,” reads the suit.
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Tense Shelby County Commission meeting previews next year’s election divide. Not that it is, or should be, the most significant fact to emerge from last week’s COVID-19 debacle in Shelby County, but, all the same, it’s a fact: The 2022 county election has begun, with the sides being chosen and the weapons weighed. Much of that became obvious at a special called meeting of the Shelby County Commission on Friday, February 26th, when the 13 commissioners were given a chance to interrogate County Mayor Lee Harris regarding the Tennessee Department of Health’s charges of mismanagement of COVID-19 vaccination by the Shelby County Health Department, resulting in TDH’s yanking responsibility for allocating vaccines locally and reassigning that function to the city of Memphis. In the course of two hours of tense and sometimes volatile questioning of Harris, who remained in his upstairs office and appeared virtually via webinar, the commissioners, most of whom were seated in their regular chamber seats in the auditorium of the Vasco Smith County Building, cleaved unmistakably along partisan lines. Four of the body’s five Republicans — Mick Wright, David Bradford, Amber Mills, and Mark Billingsley — directly challenged the county administration, with Bradford, Mills, and Billingsley questioning the leadership of Harris, a Democrat, and Wright demanding an accounting from Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter, who was absent from the session and, in fact, had, as Harris announced at the meeting, tendered her resignation that very day. Harris — who declined, as he said, to engage in “navel-gazing”— kept a solemn mien as he stressed the need to “remediate” the situation, going forward, and fielded inquiries about the imbroglio and its details, including spoilage and subsequent wastage of an alleged 2,500 doses of Pfizer vaccine, the purported stockpiling of some 30,000 doses, unauthorized vaccination of children, possible theft of vaccine
from the Pipkin vaccination site, and much more. There were references in state documents to a “power struggle” between the county and Memphis city government over vaccine administration. Harris denied knowledge of any such development, but Billingsley reinforced that meme by lengthily extolling what he portrayed as Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s filling a void with a display of “leadership.” Bllingsley, a former commission chairman, is widely regarded as being a likely GOP candidate in 2022 to oppose Harris’ re-election. Another Republican known to be considering a race for county mayor next year is the wellconnected Frank Colvett Jr., the current chairman of the Memphis City Council.
The current crisis will eventually be resolved or it won’t, but it has offered a preview of a partisan divide. In normal circumstances, partisan differences on the county commission are not hard and fast, and allegiances are formed across party lines. (So are antagonisms: One of Harris’ persistent critics is Democratic member Edmund Ford Jr., who chimed in his discontent Friday along with the aforementioned Republicans.) But there was a drawing together on the Democratic side as well; Democratic Commissioners Van Turner and Reginald Milton rose to Harris’ defense on Friday with expressions of praise for his conduct of the mayoral office. Turner even seemed to imply that the state’s action reflected a bias of Republican state government against Shelby County as a “step-child,” and noted that equivalent vaccine mishaps in Knox County had largely escaped censure by the TDH. The current crisis will eventually be resolved or it won’t, but in the meantime it has offered a preview of a partisan divide, which may partially heal over but is bound to become more pronounced the closer we come to election year 2022.
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that have, in the past, separated our bracket into very basic beer categories — light, dark, IPA, and seasonal. This year the beers commingled — stouts vs. IPAs, for example — and one match-up even found two Meddlesome beers pitted against one another. The final round featured 201 Hoplar seeking a four-peat against Traffic, with Traffic emerging as the winner in a round that had more than 770 votes. The Memphis Flyer Beer Bracket had more than 17,000 votes this year from nearly 20 states, though most votes came from Midtown Memphis. All told, the contest had three times as many voters this year compared to 2020.
a broader view of beer styles and trends outside the city. In the ensuing years, more local breweries opened and began to can their beers. With a six-pack, unlike with a growler, there is no fear of the beer losing freshness. More local canned craft came on the market — including seasonals and the occasional one-off. No longer was the growler the go-to option for fresh, local beer. Then, COVID-19 hit. (You knew we’d have to mention COVID, right?) That growler that used to be so socially shareable, became kinda … not. “The craft beer package has always been very strong, but it’s even stronger
Death of the Growler
A Memphis beer era ended in late January as the Madison Growler and Bottle Shop closed its growler-filling station inside Madison’s Cash Saver. Two beer trends were responsible, according to Taylor James, vice president of sales and merchandising for Castle Retail Group, the company that owns Cash Saver. Both of them involve growlers. That stumpy little glass jug (which you fill, drink, rinse, and bring back for a refill) sort of symbolized Memphis’ formal baptism into the local craft beer scene back in 2013. That year, lines for growler fills were long at the then newly opened Madison Growler. Growlers were one of the few ways to drink new or seasonal beers from the three new Memphis breweries that opened that year — Wiseacre, High Cotton, and Memphis Made. Madison Growler also had taps for breweries in other markets, including Nashville and St. Louis, giving Memphis
right now during a pandemic where people aren’t hanging out with folks,” James said in January. “The growler is a very sociable package. You get one. You share it with your friends. We’re not really doing that right now.” The beer business is a trend business, James said, and the Madison Growler rode the wave for a long time. Beer lovers shouldn’t worry, though; the gates of Cash Saver’s heavenly beer aisle will remain open and stocked with enough brands and styles to keep any craft beer fan busy. It’ll just be renamed the Madison Bottle Shop.
This year was completely different for the beer bracket — and not just for COVID-19 reasons. We could not do some of our live events, of course. But this year we welcomed three new Memphis breweries into the contest — Beale Street, Grind City, and Hampline. Memphis hasn’t had that many new breweries open at the same time since 2013. To get beers from nine breweries into a 32-slot bracket took some imagination. This year, each brewery selected three beers for definitive (and random) seeding. (I literally pulled the match-ups out of a hat.) They also submitted an additional beer to be possibly pulled for our wild-card match-up. Gone were our four bracket divisions
So Trendy Talking with James about this in January got me thinking about beer trends. Why are fanny packs back? Nobody knows (maybe). Why was everyone drinking sours and goses that one summer? Nobody knows (maybe). Turns out, I’m as trendy as an insecure teenager when it comes to beer. I drank all the sours and goses I could find that
one summer. I still love hard seltzers (but more on that later). I fan-boyed all the hazy IPAs for a stretch. I really only dabble in dark stuff, but if you tell me there’s some must-try, bourbon-barrelaged mushroom stout, I’m ready with a snifter in hand. So I wanted to know what beer everyone would be drinking this summer. What beer trends have come and gone? What beer trends have been seen in other cities that haven’t yet made it to Memphis? For answers, I went to the place where I knew Memphis beer drinkers hang out (especially in a pandemic): the Memphis Beer Drinkers Facebook group. Right off the bat, two members of the group told me they came to Memphis from other places and, once they had a look around the craft beer scene, felt like they’d gone back in time. “I moved out here from Colorado in 2020 and it’s been really interesting watching the local beer trends here,” said group member Emily De Wett. “I felt like I had hit ‘rewind.’” It was the same story from group member Jalyn Ann. “After moving here two years ago from Iowa, I felt like I, too, hit a rewind,” Ann said. “The Memphis market is highly saturated with pilsners, lagers, light beers, which, yes, is a good thing for super-hot Memphis days. I feel like the market is missing a lot of the complexity and boldness of beers that I was accustomed to in Iowa (imperial stouts and sours with bold, creative flavors).” C-pher Bacon Mantia, an admin for the Memphis Beer Drinkers group, said Memphis is, indeed, “back a few steps from the rest of the country.” For example, the beer selection in the Boston area, where he lived for a time, was quite different from the beers found here. Some of this, at least, goes to a bigger question about the maturity and size of the Memphis craft beer scene. Thanks to three new recently opened breweries — Hampline, Beale Street, and Grind City — Memphis now has nine craft breweries. Nashville has north of 30. This isn’t to stir up any old Memphis/ Nashville rivalry; Nashville is just the closest, most-comparable city. Why the disparity? For this question, I turned to James. He’s worked for a craft brewery outside Memphis. He also has a high-level view of the situation as he orders beers for his company’s stores. His answer was simple: “You take a Nashville or a [Washington, D.C.] or Seattle or Portland,” James says. “Why do they continued on page 13
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
rosstown Brewing Company’s Traffic IPA is the best craft beer in Memphis according to the more than 1,600 voters of the Memphis Flyer’s 2021 Beer Bracket Challenge, sponsored by Wolf River Popcorn Co., Young Avenue Deli, and Farm Burger. This marks the first time Crosstown Brewing has won our challenge. Their win unseats Meddlesome Brewing Company’s 201 Hoplar’s three-year reign atop the Flyer’s annual beer bracket contest. Clark Ortkiese, who co-founded and owns Crosstown Brewing with Will Goodwin, says the daily objectives of running a brewery can be interesting and sometimes not. He says the beer bracket is fun, though, and the victory is exciting. “It’s a people’s victory,” Ortkiese says. “It’s not people from ivory towers. It’s just regular people around town. It means an awful lot.” Traffic was born before Crosstown Brewing was a company. Ortkiese says he and Goodwin were home brewers and found themselves gravitating to a lot of beers coming from southern California. The classic West Coast IPA is typically bitter by definition, with flavors of pine and resin. The two loved the style but wanted to turn down the volume on that bitterness. Traffic is about “that hop flavor, the aroma, and those tropical fruits; there’s some mango and passion fruit. We had the idea of that beer going for a long time,” Ortkiese says. Crosstown Brewing’s head brewer, Stephen Tate, tasted Traffic even before he worked for the company. Ortkiese says Tate later put his stamp on it when he brewed Traffic commercially and “really improved it and gave us the beer we have today.”
[NOTICE OF INTENT TO REQUEST RELEASE OF FUNDS]
SHELBY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING
March 4-10, 2021
1075 Mullins Station Rd., Memphis, TN 38134 Anita Tate, 901-222-7600 On or about March 19, 2021 the Shelby County Department of Housing will submit a request to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the release of the LeadBased Paint Hazard Control Grant Program (LBPHC) as authorized by Section 1011 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, 42 U.S.C. 4852) and funding is provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, approved December 20, 2019 (Public Law 116-94), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2019, approved February 15, 2019, (Public Law 116-16). The Healthy Homes Supplemental funding is authorized under Section 502 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970 (12 U.S.C. 1701z-2), with funding approved by the same Appropriations Acts, for the following multi-year program/ project: Shelby-County-LeadSafe-and-Healthy-HomesProgram for the purpose of lead hazard control in owner occupied homes, rental properties, and reclaimed homes with children under six years of age in Shelby County Tennessee. The Shelby County Department of Housing is requesting the release of $3,443,959 in Lead Hazard Control Grant program funds, $700,000 in HUD Healthy Homes Supplemental Funding, and $685,882.90 in local match for the period of 1/4/2021 through 7/3/2024. The proposed hazard control activities to be funded under this/these program(s) is/are 12
categorically excluded from the National Environmental Policy Act requirements, but subject to compliance with some of the environmental laws and authorities listed at § 58.5 of 24 CFR Part 58. In accordance with §58.15, a tiered review process has been structured, whereby some environmental laws and authorities have been reviewed and studied for the intended target area(s) listed above. Other applicable environmental laws and authorities will be complied with, when individual projects are ripe for review. Specifically, the target area(s) has/have been studied and compliance with the following laws and authorities has been achieved in this Tier 1 review: Coastal Barrier Resources, Air Quality, Coastal Zone Management, Endangered Species, Explosive and Flammable Hazards, Farmlands Protection, Noise Abatement and Control, Sole Source Aquifers, Wetlands Protection, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Environmental Justice. Site-specific environmental reviews will include compliance with the following environmental laws and authorities for proposed projects funded under the program(s) listed above: Airport Hazards, National Flood Insurance Program, Contamination and Toxic Substances, Floodplain Management, and Historic Preservation. Should individual aggregate projects exceed the threshold for categorical exclusion detailed at §58.35(a), an Environmental Assessment will be completed and a separate Finding of No Significant Impact and Request for Release of Funds published. Copies of the compliance documentation worksheets are available at the address below.
An Environmental Review Record (ERR) that documents the environmental determinations for this project, and more fully describes the tiered review process cited above, is on file at Shelby County Department of Housing / 1075 Mullins Station Rd / Memphis, TN 38134 and may be examined or copied weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 4:30p.m. PUBLIC COMMENTS Any individual, group, or agency may submit written comments on the ERR to the Shelby County Department of Housing / 1075 Mullins Station Rd / Memphis, TN 38134. All comments received by March 19, 2021 will be considered by Shelby County Department of Housing prior to authorizing submission of a Request for Release of Funds and Environmental Certification to HUD. RELEASE OF FUNDS The Shelby County Department of Housing certifies to HUD that Lee Harris in his official capacity as Mayor of Shelby County consents to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts if an action is brought to enforce responsibilities in relation to the environmental review process and that these responsibilities have been satisfied. HUD’s approval of the certification satisfies its responsibilities under NEPA and related laws and authorities, and allows the Shelby County Department of Housing to utilize federal funds and implement the Program.
OBJECTIONS TO RELEASE OF FUNDS HUD will consider objections to its release of funds and the Shelby County Department of Housing certification for a period of fifteen days following either the anticipated submission date (cited above) or HUD’s actual receipt of the request (whichever is later) only if the objections are on one of the following bases: (a) that the Certification was not executed by the Certifying Officer of the Shelby County Department of Housing (b) the Shelby County Department of Housing has omitted a step or failed to make a decision or finding required by HUD regulations at 24 CFR Part 58; (c) the Shelby County Department of Housing has committed funds or incurred costs not authorized by 24 CFR Part 58 before approval of a release of funds by HUD; (d) another Federal agency acting pursuant to 40 CFR Part 1504 has submitted a written finding that the project is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of environmental quality. Objections must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the required procedures (24 CFR Part 58), and may be addressed to HUD and sent to the email address as follows: Karen M. Griego, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, Program Environmental Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development LeadRegulations@HUD.GOV Potential objectors may contact HUD directly to verify the actual last day of the objection/comment period. Lee Harris Mayor, Shelby County
have more craft beer or local breweries? They have more people. There’s just more people and, then, you have a larger demographic of craft drinkers.” The size of the market determines a lot, James says, when it comes to craft beer. It determines what beer brands and styles he can offer at his stores. Market size may also influence how bold local brewers will be to offer up something different, when they know it’s their IPA that keeps the lights on.
So, what will Memphis craft beer fans be drinking this summer? The one thing all the people I talked to for this story agreed on is that the haze craze will continue. Hazy IPAs of nearly every flavor now line the shelves wherever finer beers are sold. The soft, juicy, fruity New England IPAs are a bit easier on the palate than their bitter, aggressive West Coast counterparts. According to the Independent Craft Brewers Association’s annual survey, this makes hazy IPAs more desirable to female and younger drinkers, and that’s “a recipe for continued growth.” Heads nodded on the haze craze when I questioned the beer people at Joe’s Wines & Liquors — associate Emily De Wett (yes, the same one), general manager Sisco Larson, and manager and beer buyer Chris Schirmer. De Wett calls them the “super hazy boys.” In another trend with staying power, James, from Cash Saver, says we’ll again be crushing cans of seltzer around the pool this summer. “Seltzer is not a trend,” he says. “Seltzer is a way of life.” The market segment for those light, bubbly, fruity drinks will only get more developed, James says. Expect more regional and national varieties of seltzers soon and expect the market for them to get bigger. Schirmer, from Joe’s, says he’s seeing non-alcoholic beers on the trend horizon, too. For that, he reckons pandemic homesteading may have made some drinkers more health-conscious, plus a Dry January that perhaps spilled into Dry February. But it may be, too, that people just want to drink more beer. “My assistant, Jake, made a good point,” Schirmer says. “Sometimes he wants to start drinking when it’s a nice day like this at 3 in the afternoon. But you don’t want to be asleep by 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., right?” Non-alcoholic (NA) beers have been around a long time. (Anyone fancy an O’Doul’s?) But beer companies are
brewing more flavorful NAs these days. Niche craft breweries like Bauhaus, Athletic, and Surreal focus specifically on NAs. But bigger breweries are headed to the space, too. Watch shelves soon for the IPNA (non-alcoholic IPA) from Lagunitas. James says the trend could aid those who want to drink but not consume alcohol for myriad reasons. “Craft beer has become such a part of everyone’s social life that those people can easily feel left out,” he says. The Joe’s crew says they’re seeing beer/ wine crossovers all over the place, too. Ciders are hitting hard, maybe drawing in some wine drinkers. Pet Nat (short for Pétillant Naturel), a sparkling wine, is selling well, and is a way some beer drinkers are crossing over into wine. India Pale Lagers are “flying off the shelves,” Schirmer says. Larson says he’s starting to see low-alcohol farmhousestyle beers (like a saison) make a comeback. These trends, they say, are cyclical and come back in a way that’s like “what’s old is new again.” One trend De Wett and I are both glad has not made it to Memphis is lactose. It’s, basically, milk added to beer to make it creamier and sweeter. “Thank goodness,” she says. “I feel like I can really appreciate the hazy IPA because now we’re not doing, like, a strawberry milkshake IPA every other day.” One trend De Wett hopes makes it to Memphis is more ownership diversity in the craft beer scene. Beale Street Brewing is the city’s first Black-owned brewery. The brewery and its moves, like the collaboration with 8Ball and MJG, have “brought a new type of beer customer into our store that we didn’t have before,” Larson says. A grassroots effort to diversify the craft beer crowd is underway in Nashville. The Black Beer Experience is a Facebook group and a social club with events like panel discussions focused on inclusion in craft. COVID-19 has kept De Wett out of the city’s many taprooms, she says. So she’s not exactly sure about the demographic makeup of their customers. But she knows Memphis is a majority Black city and that most American breweries are owned and run by white people, a fact backed up by survey results from the Brewers Association. De Wett says a group like The Black Beer Experience could bring more Black customers to local breweries. “Black people love craft beer, too, and I think sometimes breweries are missing that,” she says. “It’s not intentional. It’s because there’s literally no representation in the brewery. So it’s like, how can we see that change?”
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
continued from page 11
steppin’ out (& stayin’ in)
We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews
By Julie Ray
This is the sixth year for Memphis Black Restaurant Week. The weeklong event encourages Black-owned businesses to offer dining deals that will bring in new customers and raise awareness. Eat. Empower. Engage. I already see some of my favorites on the list. I also see some local spots that are new to me. If you look through the list, you might find yourself in the same sauce of a situation. Be adventurous. Look through the list hungry, not hangry. Event coordinator Cynthia Daniels of Cynthia Daniels & Co. says that this year many restaurant specials will be ordered for curbside pick-up or through a delivery app. If you have an issue with delivery and you are hangry, you might be tempted to give the restaurant a bad rap. Instead, take up any delivery issues with the food delivery app. In addition, Daniels says that she knows the restaurant industry as a whole is in an upheaval right now. To keep the confusion to a COURTESY OF BALA’S BISTRO minimum, blackrestaurantweek.com will post location updates. Chicken Specialty from Bala’s Bistro “Every morning I’ll let you know who’s open that day and what time they’re open,” says Daniels. “It’ll be super easy. All you have to focus on is where you want to support and where you want to be eating.” On the list of offerings, you’ll find traditional soul food, barbecue, and fried chicken, alongside sophisticated fusions and African cuisine. Try them all and get a taste of what our Black-owned Memphis restaurants have to offer. MEMPHIS BLACK RESTAURANT WEEK, FOR PARTICIPATING LOCATIONS VISIT BLACKRESTAURANTWEEK.COM, STARTS SUNDAY, MAR. 7, AND CONTINUES THROUGH MAR. 13.
March 4-10, 2021
VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES March 4th - 10th
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901.726.5725 momentumnonprofit.org 14
We help Mid-South nonprofits succeed.
“Hawaii Sons of the Civil War” Online from Elmwood Cemetery, elmwoodcemetery.org, Thursday, Mar. 4, 6 p.m., $10 Freelance researcher, writer, and lecturer Nanette Naioma Napoleon focuses on the history and cultures of Hawaii with a fascinating perspective on the U.S. Civil War. Virtual CEO of the Year Award Event Online from Inside Memphis Business/Memphis magazine, memphismagazine.com, Thursday, Mar. 4, 11 a.m., free with registration Seven leaders of healthcare organizations in Memphis chosen by Inside Memphis Business and Memphis magazine will talk about their experiences in the past year during this webinar.
Celtic Crossing & Wiseacre Irish Pairing Celtic Crossing, 903 S. Cooper, and online at celticcrossingmemphis.com, Thursday, Mar. 4, 6-8 p.m., $55 At the pub or virtually via Zoom, DJ of Celtic Crossing and Davin and Kellan of Wiseacre host an intimate conversation about two new Wiseacre beers and two whiskeys. Arbor Day Celebration Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry, Friday, Mar. 5, 10 a.m., free Celebrates Memphis City Beautiful’s 90th anniversary and Plant the Town Red campaign. Featuring a reading of the mayor’s proclamation, tree planting demonstration, tree giveaway, and a tour of the trees at the garden.
Rosé All Day Fat Charlie’s Speakeasy, 107 Harbor Town Square, Friday, Mar. 5, 7-9 p.m., $35 Kick off rosé season with a showcase of Fat Charlie’s favorites and a meat and cheese pairing. Open House for “ALPHABETANICAL” David Lusk Gallery, 97 Tillman, Saturday, Mar. 6, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free Exhibition of a series of works consisting of 26 intricately stamped trees, using each letter of the alphabet, by John Salvest, who is known for his use of everyday objects.
A more classic horn section also appears. “We had the best of both worlds because we could bring in Marc Franklin on trumpet for some John Paul Keith’s latest captures the essential Memphis. tunes. And he also gave me some good advice: organ there, and it was When you put on Rhythm of the City, the new album by When you have two GEOFFREY BRENT SHREWSBURY funny how well they John Paul Keith on Italy’s Wild Honey label, you know saxes, cut the horns live John Paul Keith blended, the B3 and the just what city he’s talking about from the get-go. A twin with the band … because jet sound. [laughs] I also saxophone attack launches a driving bulldog beat that two saxes become part of use a lick there that Steve could be an outtake from some Hi Records sessions. the rhythm section.” Cropper does on ‘Pain in my Heart’ by Otis Redding. The background vocals, by Southern Avenue’s Tierinii The sound of a live-tracked band also pays off with There’s little Easter eggs like that all over the record.” and Tikyra Jackson, evoke the “blood harmony” that Keith’s guitar playing, some of the finest of his career. But Keith didn’t envision that approach when he only singing siblings can offer. The guitar stabs could “For most of the album,” says Keith, “the guitar is one began the record. “I became more conscious that it was be samples from an Albert King record. And yet, with performance, one take. It’s exactly what I would play if becoming a very Memphisy record, as it was progressKeith’s blue-eyed-soul everyman vocals front and cenwe were playing a gig.” ing. I didn’t set out to do that, but when I noticed that, ter, it still feels fresh. You’ve never heard all these Bluff And that is really where the heart of the city beats I decided to really lean into the idea. Of course, I was City elements in quite the same way before. loudest here. Over his 15 years in Memphis, Keith has already gonna have horns.” Indeed, a horn-heavy apThat impression is compounded on track three, “The become a fixture on the scene, and the record smartly proach was hardwired into both this album and Keith’s Sun’s Gonna Shine Again,” a soul shuffle full of airy, evokes those sweaty, blues- and Elvis-drenched nights. live set over the last two years or so, especially the lesswistful jazz chords, topped with the electric sitar sound “When I was cutting these at Scott Bomar’s studio,” often heard combination of two saxophones. pioneered by guitarist Reggie Young on American Keith notes, “he said, ‘I can really tell you’ve been play“I got the idea to do that from Hunt Sales. I saw Sound Studio hits like “Hooked on a Feeling.” By the ing at Graceland and Beale Street!’” time you hear the sound of a jet on the title track, you’re him play at Bar DKDC with a bunch of local guys, and Now, those touchstones have become fundamental he had two saxes. And I thought, ‘That’s so cool! Why well situated in a Memphis of the mind, reinvented in to Keith’s sound: “A handful of human beings playing didn’t I think of that?’ So I started hiring two sax playmyriad ways. live together, using their breath and their muscles and ers for my Beale Street gigs. And it’s real versatile. They “Once I decided that I was really gonna make a their brains. It’s magic. Like with the horns, I love the can cover the Stax sound and nobody really notices that Memphis record, I had so much fun doing that,” says fact that you have a different person assigned to each there’s no trumpet. But you can also do the Little RichKeith. “Like the airplane in the title track. That’s a Box note in a chord. That’s powerful! You can’t replicate that ard thing and stay in the rock-and-roll tone.” Tops reference. Al Gamble does kind of a swell on the with a computer.” MUSIC By Alex Greene
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Rhythm of the City
CALENDAR of EVENTS:
March 4 - 10
T H EAT E R
C O M E DY
E X POS/SA LES
Germantown Community Theatre
Chuckles Comedy Club
Billy Sorrells, $20-$40. Fri.Sun., Mar. 5-7, 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Biloxi Blues, while stationed at boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1943, Eugene Jerome learns life lessons. Become a package holder to take advantage of in-person performances. $70 for flex package. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m., and Sun., 2:30 p.m. Through March 7.
LECT U R E /S P EA K E R
37 S. COOPER (502-3486).
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).
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).
THEATREWORKS, 2085 MONROE (274-7139), CAZATEATRO.ORG.
Building Internships 101 Guide to hosting virtual and hybrid internships. Free with registration. Thurs., March 4, 10 a.m.
From the Frontlines of COVID-19, online series that spotlights healthcare 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.
Due to the pandemic and current economic situation, Cazateatro’s budget has been affected. A storage unit will be closed and contents sold. Sat., March 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
3037 FOREST HILL-IRENE (453-7447).
Virtual CEO of the Year Award Event
A R TI S T R EC E PT I O N S
David Lusk Gallery
Open house for “ALPHABETANICAL,” exhibition of works utilizing only the stamp by John Salvest, known for his use of everyday objects. Sat., March 6, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 97 TILLMAN (767-3800).
Mid-South Artist Gallery
Opening reception for Connie Chavez, Sat., March 6, 2-4 p.m. 2945 SHELBY (409-8705).
OTH E R A R T HA P P E N I N G S
Open Registration for Apprenticeship at the Metal Museum
All materials for the Blacksmithing Apprenticeship are due by Friday, March 5, with award notification by March 19. The Foundry Apprenticeship deadline is Friday, March 12, with award notification by March 26. Through March 12.
March 4-10, 2021
PINK PALACE WWW.MEMPHISMUSEUMS.ORG
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.
“Organic Geometery” by Michael Barringer at L Ross Gallery, on view through Saturday, March 13th
L Ross Gallery
Artist Q&A with Harlan Butt, Marilyn da Silva, and Cozette Phillips
Order your book today benefiting local artists and journalism. $35. Ongoing.
Artists will discuss their careers, preferred techniques, and inspiration for their works featured in the “It Takes A Village” exhibition. Free with registration. Sat., March 6, 2-3 p.m. METAL MUSEUM, 374 METAL MUSEUM DR. (774-6380), METALMUSEUM.ORG.
Ceramic Silly Pots
Becky Zee will teach you the basics of pinch pot construction and how to add eyes, teeth, horns, hair, legs, or whatever else you want. $40 members, $50 nonmembers. Wed., March 10, 1-3 p.m. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN, 750 CHERRY (636-4100).
“Organic Geometery,” exhibition of new works by Michael Barringer. Through March 13. 5040 SANDERLIN (767-2200).
Memphis Flyer Coloring Book
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).
Pinch District Art on the Patio Artists’ Market First Sunday of every month, 2 p.m.
Seven leaders of healthcare organizations in Memphis chosen by Inside Memphis Business and Memphis magazine will talk about their experiences in the past year during this webinar. Free with registration. Thurs., March 4, 11 a.m. MEMPHISMAGAZINE.COM.
Freelance researcher, writer, and lecturer Nanette Naioma Napoleon focuses on the history and cultures of Hawaii with a fascinating perspective on the U.S. Civil War. $10. Thurs., March 4, 6 p.m. ELMWOOD CEMETERY, 824 S. DUDLEY (774-3212), ELMWOODCEMETERY.ORG.
Reader Meet Writer: Kate Clayborn
NOVEL, 387 PERKINS EXT. (922-5526), NOVELMEMPHIS.COM.
WOMAN’S EXCHANGE ART GALLERY, 88 RACINE (327-5681).
S PO R TS / F IT N ES S
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Milwaukee Bucks Thurs., March 4, 7 p.m. FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
Hawaii Sons of the Civil War
Author discusses Love at First: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances via Zoom. Free with registration. Thurs., March 4, 6 p.m.
Featuring a large selection of furniture, rugs, crystal, sterling silver, antiques, and other treasures benefiting the Woman’s Exchange of Memphis. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Through April 16.
Memphis Tigers vs. Houston Cougars Sat., March 6.
FEDEXFORUM, 191 BEALE.
Slow Your Roll Saturday Morning Meditation
Join mindfulness and meditation teacher Greg Graber’s meditation session in the Church Health Meditation Garden. No sign-up is required. Masks are a must. Saturdays, 9:30-10 a.m. Through Dec. 25. CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE, 1350 CONCOURSE.
Led by Milan Vigil, this Chinese martial art promotes relaxation, improves balance, and provides no-impact aerobic benefits. All levels welcome. Free. Sat., March 6, 10:30 a.m. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS, 4339 PARK (761-5250).
WESTY’S, 346 N. MAIN (543-3278).
DINOSAURS IN MOTION Exhibit Now Open sponsored by
CALENDAR: MARCH 4 - 10
$400,000 Drive Into Spring Combined livestream worship. Visit website for more information and livestream link. Sun., 11 a.m. IDLEWILDCHURCH.ORG.
Free Tax Prep
United Way of the Mid-South will prepare and file taxes for low- to moderate-income families. Walk-up or drivethrough locations available. Visit website for locations. Free. Through March 15. UNITED WAY OF THE MID-SOUTH, 1005 TILLMAN (433-4300), UWMIDSOUTH.ORG.
Memphis Area Beekeepers Meeting
Meetings will be conducted online. Visit website for more information. Second Monday of every month, 7 p.m. AGRICENTER INTERNATIONAL, 7777 WALNUT GROVE (757-7777), MEMPHISBEEKEEPERS.COM.
Weekly Zoom gathering for anyone 18+ who identifies as a member of the trans or GNC community. For login information, email ahauptman@ outmemphis.org. Tuesdays, 6 p.m. OUTMEMPHIS.ORG.
Lenten Preaching and Waffle Shop
Some speakers will participate via Calvary social media. In-person speakers will have advance sign-up. New this year, a lineup of local musicians. Waffle Shop will serve through pre-orders and take-out food, Wednesdays, Fridays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., & 5:15-6:15 p.m. Preaching series, 12:05-12:40 p.m. Through March 26. CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 102 N. SECOND (525-6602), CALVARYMEMPHIS.ORG.
Let’s Go to the Garden Daily spring break activities for the family. Free with admission. March 8-12. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN, 750 CHERRY (636-4100).
Registration Open for 2021-2022 Step Ahead Scholarship
Recognizing and providing financial support for promising young women from the greater Memphis community who are committed to public service in the areas of academic success and effective, responsible life planning. Through April 2.
S P EC IAL EVE N TS
Arbor Day Celebration
Tamieka’s Birthday Food Drive
Celebrates Memphis City Beautiful’s 90th anniversary and Plant the Town Red campaign with a reading of the mayor’s proclamation, tree-planting demonstration, tree giveaway, and a tour of the trees at MBG. Free. Fri., March 5, 10 a.m. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN, 750 CHERRY (636-4100).
Donations to the Mid-South Food Bank accepted at Divine Fitness, 4466 Elvis Presley. Drive by to drop off your donations, hear music, and have birthday cake. Sun., March 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. MIDSOUTHFOODBANK.HARNESSAPP. COM.
FOOD & DR I N K EVE N TS
A Butteriffic Grand Opening
Event will feature Pull Up Bartender, Maja Wings food
truck, local vendors, live entertainment, music, Grindhouse Coffee, and more. Sat., March 6, noon. MAKEDA’S COOKIES DOWNTOWN, 488 S. SECOND (745-2667).
Celtic Crossing and Wiseacre Irish Pairing
At the pub or virtually via Zoom, DJ of Celtic Crossing and Davin and Kellan of Wiseacre host an intimate conversation about two new Wiseacre beers and two whiskeys. $55. Thurs., March 4, 6-8 p.m. CELTIC CROSSING, 903 S. COOPER (274-5151), CELTICCROSSINGMEMPHIS.COM.
Memphis Black Restaurant Week
Featuring 21 Black-owned restaurants with 75 amazing meals to choose from for a whole week. March 7-13. BLACKRESTAURANTWEEK.COM.
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FOOD By Shara Clark
You Butter Believe It Tamika Heard bakes out on her own.
Transform your life Transform your life and our city. and our city.
amika Heard has been in the family business for years, having first started working at the Makeda’s Cookies store on Airways Boulevard in 2003. But now, she’s ready to start a venture of her own — the Butteriffic Bakery & Cafe. Makeda’s opened in 1999, named in honor of Makeda Hill, who lost her battle to leukemia at age 6. Heard’s parents, Pamela and Maurice Hill, took over the Find year-round business in 2002. Find year-round Heard had been working as a youth minopportunities to serve. opportunities to serve. ister for 10 years before joining the Makeda’s about hunger, poverty, and team. “The program I was in, the grant moremore about poverty, and hunger, phased out, so I really needed a job,” she homelessness in our community. homelessness in our community. says. “My mom was like, ‘I can only pay you See how you can help See how you can$4 an help hour,’ and because I had my savings support high-impact programs. from the other position, I was like, ‘Okay, support high-impact programs. help the family business — I can do it.” Visit community.mifa.org She spent her first years at Makeda’s Visit community.mifa.orglearning the ropes. “I had to work my way up to the baking and the forking and all of that,” Heard says. “I could only wrap cookies and ring up customers the first two years. Then my mom showed me how to make cookies and the proper way to package and serve them.” In 2005, Heard moved to the Raleigh LaGrange location, where she took on more responsibility. “They let me pretty much run that store,” she says. After about four years there, Heard “got the bright idea” to open her own Makeda’s in Midtown. “It didn’t do well at all. I jumped the gun,” she says. “But after I failed miserably, my parents let me come back.” She went to run the Makeda’s in the Hickory Ridge Mall, where she stayed from 2011 to 2014. Then, she left the family business altogether and went to work for Nike. But, as it turned out, a corporate atmosphere wasn’t for her. “I hate punching the clock … working for other people,” she says. The Hills received MEMshop approval for the Downtown Makeda’s location in 2015. The program creates partnerships to make use of vacant storefronts while building up local businesses and offers rental assistance, marketing services, and more. “We were making like $25-$50 a day [Downtown], and I was like, ‘Mom, let me come back and I’ll boost these sales and make you guys more visible,’” Heard says. “We’re still here today; definitely boosted the sales, and more visible to the point where I want to stay here and see what we can bring to this location even more.”
March 4-10, 2021
A Very Tasteful Food Blog Dishing it out at .com.
The rebranding of the location at 488 S. Second comes as the Hills move bulk production of Makeda’s cookies from there to a large warehouse to focus on distribution and service more grocery stores. “We got the contract for 350 more Kroger stores,” Heard says. “I already knew I wasn’t going to go to the warehouse. I’m not being defiant; I have to see customers. I would be miserable in the warehouse. I gotta be in the community.” Will Heard’s Butteriffic Bakery & Cafe still serve the classics the community has grown to love — including the famous homemade butter cookies? “You butter believe it!” she says. “I’m actually going to amp up the butteriffic experience a little bit. But that’s a surprise.”
Tamika Heard The cafe will serve coffee, including Ugly Mug’s Butter Moon. Heard’s goal is to become a barista, but for now they’ll start with basic coffee and slowly roll into cappuccinos and a more robust drink menu. Plans also include adding glutenfree, keto-friendly, and vegan items, as well as muffins, egg muffins, new pie flavors, and more. “My parents just do cookies, and I understand that. That’s how they’ve grown,” she says. “This has to happen so I can grow. Under my parents, I’ll always be in my comfort zone, and there is no growth to be had in a comfort zone.” The grand opening celebration for the Butteriffic Bakery & Cafe will be Saturday, March 6th, at 488 S. Second. The event will feature a sidewalk sale with local vendors, food trucks, Memphis Grindhouse Coffee, and live music in Army Park. For more info, find “A Butteriffic Grand Opening” on Facebook.
S P I R ITS By Richard Murff
The Negroni So it was then that I found myself drinking what, if social media is to be believed, must be the trendiest cocktail in the known universe. According to the Drinks International website, it’s been the second most popular cocktail in the world for five years running, with an Instagram hashtag of over half a million posts. It does make a pretty picture. A book dedicated to that single drink has just come out. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Negroni. Ehhh … it’s all right. It’s popular at any rate. According to legend, an Italian count (of course) Camillo Negroni was sitting at the Bar Casoni in Florence, drinking an Americano — made with vermouth, Campari, and club soda — and he decided that he needed something un pó
stronger. I reckon the count was having a bad day, so he asked the bartender to swap out the club soda for gin. I’ve met a few countesses over the course of my career, and the last one I had lunch with didn’t appear capable of having a bad day. You never can tell. Well, it’s a great story and also a good make-it-at-home cocktail because you really can’t mess up the construction: equal parts gin, sweet (or red) vermouth, Campari, and garnish with either an orange or lemon peel. That’s it. Honestly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Normally if I’d made a drink with so much global hype and it came out tasting like this, I’d have assumed I’d just done it wrong. But you really can’t screw it up. This is just the way a Negroni tastes. It’s hard to explain, especially for someone who’s never had much vermouth rosso or Campari. Although I’m an old hand with gin. Despite looking like a liquified Jolly Rancher, the Campari is actually pretty bitter. Not viciously so, but it was the first thing that hit me. Littlebit took a snort and handed it back to me, shaking her head. For her part, what Mrs. M picked up was the sweetness of the vermouth russo, and she isn’t wrong either. Perhaps those dueling elements may be that secret to the Negroni’s phenomenal success — other than the fact that Instagram is largely an atomic bandwagon. The Negroni’s combination of bitter and sweet can be refreshing, and being as light as it is, it lingers on the palate well. Without the use of simple syrup, what sweetness that it has doesn’t cling. I’ll admit that sometimes I just can’t tell why some things are popular, but the Negroni certainly is, and I can only hope that it’s not just a social media bandwagon at work here. Like Game of Thrones, I can see the appeal even if I’m not into it. Being a professional, I waited for the visions of Switzerland to melt away and transform completely into a 70-degree spring day — about 30 hours — and had another after making ice from boiled water. Again, it was the bitterness that jumped out, but once you know exactly what the hell you are in for, it lacks that slap of betrayal that the first one gives you.
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t’s anyone’s guess which sort of isolation triggers more drinking — pandemics or the morte blanco that hit the other week and blew out all out the water mains (ahem, manes). Still, fluffy snow lacks the element of fear of a first-rate plague, so it’s a different kind of drinking. I sat at my desk ghostwriting a comedy, looking out my window at the soft, muffled landscape and pretending that I was writing my own damn comedy in some place like Gstaad. Granted, it would have had to have been a very flat part of Gstaad, but if you are going to sit around visualizing some swank ski resort during a travel ban, you’d better start drinking like it.
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
A two-part examination of the cocktail of the moment.
TV By Chris McCoy
Too Many Cooks The MCU assumes its final form with WandaVision.
March 4-10, 2021
orrect me if I’m wrong — and I’m sure someone will — but I think WandaVision holds the Marvel record for most elapsed screen time until someone gets punched. In the course of 23 films and eight TV series, the problems of superheroes and their discontents are always ultimately solved by scrapping. (I haven’t seen everything, but I’m guessing there’s a lot of punching in Iron Fist.) That’s to be expected from stories about characters who, as Vision (Paul Bettany) points out, dress like Mexican wrestlers. But for years, the “blam!” and “pow!” that are allegedly the genre’s biggest selling point have been the least interesting part of Marvel movies. How many action sequences do you remember from The Avengers? But you remember when the triumphant heroes went for shawarma. WandaVision, the Disney+ miniseries that reaches its climax on Friday, March 5th, is the most creative thing to happen to superheroes since Into the Spider-Verse. Its real genius is leaving out the punchy parts that I’ve been tuning out since Vision was born in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The love story of magically powered former Hydra operative Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision, the $3 billion vibranium synthoid of Tony Stark’s
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AI butler J.A.R.V.I.S. and rogue superbot Ultron, was mostly there to provide some pathos when Vision sacrificed himself to save half the universe. But despite the fact that Vision died (twice, thanks to the magic of time travel), when WandaVision kicks off, he and Wanda are living in a quaint house in a quiet New Jersey suburb. Their living room looks just like The Dick Van Dyke Show, right down to the black and white. The superpower couple tries to keep up appearances as normal, 1950s-style humans, even as their words are interrupted by a laugh track of mysterious origin. The “real people trapped in a TV show” setup is nothing new — remember Raul Julia’s breakthrough performance in 1984’s Overdrawn at the Memory Bank? (No? Just me?) WandaVision’s first three episodes see our heroic domestics trying to figure out what, exactly, is going on as they cycle through a survey of sitcom history, from I Love Lucy to The Honeymooners to the thematically appropriate I Dream of Jeannie. Then, as the world fills with color and the clothes become a lot less buttoned down, Wanda is pregnant with twins and their house looks like The Brady Bunch. As the twins grow up supernaturally quickly, we transition to the 1980s. In the show’s most delicious meta moment, episode 5 takes on Full House, the show that made Elizabeth Olsen’s sisters, Mary Kate and Ashley,
Elizabeth Olsen (left) and Paul Bettany use TV Land tropes to unpack trauma in WandaVision; (below) Olsen and Bettany, an “unusual couple” into child stars. Meanwhile, there’s a parallel story developing in a more recognizable version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) is one of billions of people who return from Thanos-induced oblivion to find a world transformed. She reports for duty at secret super-agency S.W.O.R.D. and is immediately thrust into the twin mysteries of the violent disappearances of Wanda and what was left of Vision, and a small town in New Jersey that has been cut off from the outside world by a dome of energy. By the time the narrative threads meet and the first punch is thrown in episode 6 “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” the real world and the meta world have become hopelessly intertwined — and we haven’t even gotten to the musical number yet. WandaVision is at its best when it plays like the legendary Adult Swim short “Too Many Cooks” with an unlimited budget. Showrunner Jac Schaeffer delights in subverting basic tropes of both classic TV and Marvel superhero movies. The most important scene in the entire show, when Vision confronts Wanda with the knowledge that she created the sitcom world with her magic, plays
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EMPLOYMENT heroes, WandaVision’s popularity points to the staying power of the MCU, and Disney’s continued market domination, as the film world tries to get back on its feet. In some ways, the show is Marvel in its final form. The MCU has looked more like serial TV than discrete films for a long time, and the show’s cheeky writing makes a running joke out of Marvel’s tendency to hijack unrelated genres and slap a superhero in them. Marvel the infinitely pliable is the perfect vessel for Disney the insatiable devourer. WandaVision streams on Disney+.
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THE LAST WORD By Art Boone
All Things Being Equal Like the internet, we may evolve into a species of our worst qualities. Tech has given voice to anyone who can log into venues like Twitter, Facebook, or even the Flyer website — myself a case in point. This is where the egalitarian rubber hits the road, whether it’s Arab Spring, the January D.C. insurrection, any number of Kardashians, Greta Thunberg, Donald Trump — or a window curtain brushing over a keyboard. Once upon a time (by cracky) one had to pass an editor’s desk and the printer’s mama to have an opinion published. Now with a keystroke, your opinion and anyone else’s is sent to infinite outlets to be read by infinite people. The D.C. insurrectionists may be of no more worth than lunchtime porn, but if people are logging in multiple times a day to understand their imagined body politic, then follow the money. Somebody is. But are all citizens in a free society due equal attention, or at least the right to not be blocked from expressing their opinion? Why don’t we want to know what the guy sitting next to us in traffic is thinking? In the information age, there’s a profit both in cacophony and control. Social media — providing news, opinion, porn, and ads — gave a knee to the head of an already down newspaper business, once an agreed-upon source of information to most of the population, a standard such as it was, a template for debatelike interactions. But who works as a town crier anymore? Today, it’s like every window along the loosened cobblestone streets is opened at once and we are showered with points of view and can no more address one drop of rain as the next. (That’s where all those thumbs up icons come in handy.) We had provocative pamphlets in the past, but only so much pocket space to contain the news, coupons, notes to self, and things we were too ashamed to drop on the public sidewalk. Oddly enough today, even with a handy delete button, we still keep way more of that shit than we should. Why do we need to know what everyone else is thinking? Not just opposing opinions (seldom actually) but endless posts agreeing with us, opinions formed in history classes taught by football coaches and their assistants, or by advance-degreed teachers rooted to their 20-year-old dissertations, or by a link that has to be true because it was on that website I like. That guy paused in traffic next to us may be thinking about something really boring to almost any online community, and six months later we could meet at the snack machine at a rest stop and maybe share a Mountain Dew moment. To this old man, opinion has outpaced thought and we reap the whirlwind. I take no personal blame for this, and profit to a degree, but I had hoped things would hang together longer, at least till I die. I might let myself think that the recent Capitol riots are a harbinger and not the storm, but that would depress the hell out of me. If I were dumber and younger, I might riot myself. So I have given some thought as to how all us pre-techies can survive such rapid change. My first instinct is to shut the fuck up and lay low. Drive an old truck, live in the country, pay cash at the grocery. Hell, I’ve never felt calmer being able to go out in public wearing a mask and shades. So it’s not all bad news. We could ensconce into our own particular holler, stay offline, and never have to talk to the Hatfields or the McCoys or anyone else. Or perhaps we can just agree that all this is not going to get any better. There is no YouTube channel to instruct us on how to stem or fix this glut of information. The barbarians are on either side of the gate now, each and every one with a homepage sharing supportive links — some motivated by murders by the state; others by the state forcing them to wear masks. They have met at the gate’s collapse and unwillingly, inevitably mingle. Now what? Like the internet, we may evolve into a species of our worst qualities. Art Boone lives in Mississippi and has opinions.
The barbarians are on either side of the gate now, each and every one with a homepage sharing supportive links.
THE LAST WORD
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