Memphis Flyer 3/21/2024

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Tennessee Republicans and the double-edged art of political subversion.

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OUR 1830TH ISSUE 03.21.24

It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate, this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak

Sometimes I stop on my neighborhood walks to caress the moss carpeting the arm of a mighty magnolia that reaches toward the sidewalk. As spring approaches (which, as I write this, o cially begins today), the buds and blossoms intoxicate my senses — the sweet smell of blooming dogwoods and the bright hues of newly owering gardens speckling the way. One might consider these moments something like prayer — a pause to appreciate things o en missed in the hurriedness of human life.

Last week, I noted the many dandelions and clover patches dotting the edges of the walkways on my route. I’ve never been too good at nding four-leaf clovers, but occasionally I’ll stop and scan for one. A er passing several over the course of a mile, a particular patch called to me and broke my stride. I took a few steps back to get a closer look, and as soon as my gaze focused on the clovers, there it was — a four-leaf! But then, wait — another, and another, and another. It felt like I’d hit the jackpot. Moving my eyes and ngers along the pu s of green, it seemed every other clover was a lucky one. I plucked until I hit seven. I’m not sure why, but that was the number. Although I knew in my gut there were more; I’d leave those for someone else who took the time to look down. It lled me with warmth, perhaps something like a response to prayer, a sign in the silence that I was on my right path that day.

Yesterday, as the temperature dropped before what I hope was the last frost of the season, I saw from my porch a mama squirrel carrying her baby in her mouth. Mama scurried quickly across a lattice portion of my side fence, with baby curled in a ball hanging by the scru of its neck. I assume she was transporting the wee one to a safer or warmer nest, as I read they’re known to relocate. Her acrobatics were impressive, toting a baby a third of her size as she jumped down, ran, and leaped to the top of the wooden fence across the yard, tight-roping the height of it and only stopping every few feet to secure baby in her grip. Having never seen such a thing in my decades on Earth, a warm feeling washed over me watching this gentle moment unfold. A representation of love and protection, nature and nurture.









MUSIC - 15






FOOD - 24




FILM - 28




Once the squirrels disappeared from view, I let my own furry creatures outside to play. My dogs Frances and Steve enjoy sunbathing on these longer days, and happily munching away at the creeping ivy, sni ng the tiny blue violets, or rolling around in the now lush grass.

I’ve never been too good at praying, and elaborate words may escape me most days. But I do see the beauty in the weeds and stones, in the moss and magnolias. And witnessing this rebirth — this voice of spring — is something like prayer.

Shara Clark


Editor-in-Chief ABIGAIL
PHOTOS: SHARA CLARK e signs of spring as spotted on a recent walk
National Newspaper Association Association of Alternative Newsmedia

THE fly-by

MEM ernet

Memphis on the internet.


WWE brought Smackdown to town last week and Memphis Memphises pretty hard where wrestling is concerned, especially when Dwayne e Rock Johnson is involved. Johnson’s in-character musical performance at the event poked fun at Ja Morant, according to CBS Sports.

“You’re simply an embarrassment, son,” Johnson sang of a rival. “Just like Ja Morant when he’s waving a gun (I love you Ja).”

Johnson also did an in-store event at the Wolfchase Target, where he talked about his new skin care products.




It’s “peak tulip” time at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, reported Reddit user BandidoCoyote. e garden is free. So, hit it up if you need an extra shot of spring.

Questions, Answers + Attitude


Rittenhouse, Soulsville, & Pawsitive Training

A controversial event, a new health hub, and training dogs while incarcerated.


e announcement of a controversial guest’s appearance on the University of Memphis’ campus caused an uproar on social media last week, with many saying that they intend to protest the event.

e University of Memphis’ chapter of Turning Point USA announced it will be hosting “ e Rittenhouse Recap,” featuring Kyle Rittenhouse on March 20th.

“Join us at e University of Memphis as Kyle Rittenhouse speaks about the importance of the Second Amendment, and the lies of BLM [Black Lives Matter],” the event page says.

Rittenhouse gained notoriety in 2020, when at the age of 17 he shot three men — killing two — in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during civil rights protests. He was acquitted in November 2021, after claiming self-defense.

Not everyone was upset about Rittenhouse’s appearance. Some expressed excitement and applauded the conservative group for its plans to host him on campus. “I signed up. Excited to see him!!!” a user named Jim Prudhomme commented on Facebook.


is summer, residents in the Soulsville community will be able to access convenient and a ordable healthcare thanks to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), the Soulsville Foundation, and the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation.

e UTHSC Health Hub: Soulsville will open this summer in a temporary location, while the permanent space at 870 East McLemore Avenue is being renovated. UTHSC o cials say the primary care facility will take a “neighborhood approach to healthcare” and serve adults and children.

Residents will be able to access health coaching, school nursing serving three community schools, and youth intervention services. Mental health counseling will also be available a er the program’s second year.

e health hub will also o er screening for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and social needs. Individual and group health coaching for tobacco cessation and diabetes prevention and self-management will be available.


Community organizations are partnering to build relationships between incarcerated women and shelter dogs through an intensive training program.

e Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County, Shelby

Kyle Rittenhouse’s scheduled appearance at U of M stirs controversy; UTHSC Health Hub to open in Soulsville; Pawsitive Training Program helps inmates and pets alike.

County Division of Corrections, and Allegiance Canine recently announced the launch of the Pawsitive Training Program designed to emphasize the positive impact on both parties.

e program takes cues from a 2021 University of Washington study that found that programs like these help incarcerated people and pets alike.

“ e programs enhance inmates’ social and emotional IQ, accountability, and sense of responsibility, and the trained dogs may nd their forever homes quicker,” said Dominique Winfrey-McKinnie, deputy administrator of Shelby County O ce of Reentry. “It’s a beautiful exchange of empathy and understanding that transforms both hearts and minds.”

Winfrey-McKinnie said this is an “innovative and creative” initiative for Shelby County as it enhances the inmate population through rehabilitation programs. She notes that the Division of Corrections has done a “phenomenal” job with programs for women; however, much of the training focuses on “hard skill” trades such as operating forkli s, welding, and barbering. Visit the News Blog at memphis for fuller versions of these stories and more local news.

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New Paths, Old Forest

The Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) provided a “very early look” of the proposed new trails at Overton Park last week.

O cials said it would probably be several months before the trail opens to the public as they have to pull invasive plants and cut the trails.

In 2023, the conservancy and the Memphis Zoo worked together on a solution regarding parking on the Greensward. Historically, the zoo has used 12 acres of the Greensward for over ow parking. However, last year the zoo agreed to return this land to free public parkland under the conservancy’s management.

“ e acreage, which was once slated to be home to a new zoo exhibit space, has been behind a chain-link fence for years, disconnected from the 126 acres that the conservancy began managing in 2012,” the conservancy said in a statement.

gi to the people of Memphis.”

Sullivan said they hope to preserve and steward the space for future generations. She added that the preservation also improves the park experience from all directions.

“If we were not to have gotten this particular tract of forest back then [the] viewshed from across the Greensward would have been compromised,” Sullivan said. “We would have potentially been looking at the backside of an exhibit or parking lot. We are especially grateful to the zoo that they saw the bene t of preserving this tract of land and the conservation value. We have a lot of opportunities to work together to research [and] study what’s back here and how to preserve it for future generations.”

“As we prepare to remove the fence, the conservancy has enlisted a professional trail designer to create a new path that links up to the existing Old Forest trail system, maximizes views, and traverses the varied topography of the space.”

OPC hosted a walking press conference last week, inviting media to be among the rst to go behind the fence.

e conservancy’s executive director Tina Sullivan and director of operations Eric Bridges hosted a walk on the proposed trail to share their expected plans for opening the space.

During the preview, Sullivan homed in on the natural beauty of the area as well as how carefully they’re going about planning and designing the trail system. e conservancy is putting a heavy focus on enhancing the innate characteristics such as log placement and sycamores.

“A place like this is so important in an urban area like Memphis,” Sullivan said. “To get another dozen acres of this kind of habitat and this kind of deep, immersive, nature experience for Memphians — it’s such a joy. It’s such a

Bridges said they will soon start the process of invasive removal, and as a part of their grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a team from Nashville will begin the process of an initial reduction.

“It’s not a one and done,” Bridges said. “ e goal is whenever you remove something you create a growing space. Something was there and something’s going to ll that space. It’s really critical that you guide the next invasive.”

Bridges added it will be their “test ground” for an ecological restoration strategy.

“We’re good at the removal business. Now we’re going to get into the restoration business, which is that next step,” Bridges said.

is restoration process will likely include replanting, seeding, and “guiding the forest,” as Bridges put it.

6 March 21-27, 2024 open now
SUE: The T. rex Experience was organized by the Field Museum and is part of the Griffin Dinosaur Experience, made possible by generous support from Kenneth C. Griffin. Overton Park Conservancy gives a sneak peek at the Old Forest section that’s been fenced in for years.
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Dean Strickland?

e news is out that Jim Strickland — recently the two-term mayor of Memphis and before that a member of the city council — is the prime candidate to become the next dean of law at the University of Memphis.

ere are those who would see that outcome, the appointment of a nonacademic, as something strange, or at the very least, untypical. To disabuse themselves of that notion, they should think no further than the name of the institution Strickland would accede to the head of — the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

e eponymous Humphreys, though, strictly speaking, no academic, achieved his early renown as the head football coach of Memphis State College in the prewar years of 1939-41. He later served as the school’s athletic director. Still later, Humphreys would become president of Memphis State itself, which under his leadership would become the supercharged multi-disciplinary University of Memphis.

1982 to become a judge had a Memphis mayor clearly done that.

Chandler’s successor, Dick Hackett, was defeated for reelection in 1991 by Willie Herenton, who in his turn was elected ve times before bowing to various pressures and resigning in the middle of his h term. (“Retired” is how Herenton put it, and arguably he too departed voluntarily, though, to say the least, his tenure had become shaky.)

Next up was Mayor AC Wharton, who served from 2009 until he was upset by Strickland in the election of 2015.

Hence, and quite appropriately, his name graces the university’s school of law, which for years led all degree-granting schools of law in Tennessee in the important metric of the percentage of its graduates passing the bar exam, but now, reportedly, has fallen somewhat o that mark.

Could Strickland, who lobbied for the job, be the right man to lead the law school into its next period of achievement and growth?

Consider that he owns a Juris Doctor degree from the law school and currently serves as an adjunct professor there. And though, like any politician, he has his detractors, his service at the helm of Memphis city government was deemed satisfactory enough by his constituents to gain him two full terms and to generate the momentum for a referendum which, had it passed, would have enabled a third.

Consider, further, that Strickland is the rst Memphis mayor in almost half a century to leave that o ce altogether on his own terms. Not since the late Wyeth Chandler resigned the o ce in

To be sure, Strickland, who once served as chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party, was formally censured by that party this year on account of his support for the political campaigns of assorted Republicans, but, all things considered, his exercising of bipartisan options as a nonpartisan o cial probably boosted his stock rather than diminished it.

e case for a Strickland appointment was further forti ed surely by a study sent to all faculty members by David Russomanno, the university’s provost for academic a airs.

e document, “Non-Traditional Law Deans: eir Experiences and ose of the Law Schools that Hired em” by one Timothy Fisher, underscored the striking number of such appointees and their successes in o ce.

It all remains to be seen.

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Money Scripts

The word “money” can bring up negative emotions and feelings for many people. In fact, money is the most cited factor that negatively a ects U.S. adults’ mental health. erefore, it’s important for us to re ect on our relationship with money, which can impact our nancial decisions and relationships.

Many of our subconscious beliefs and attitudes toward money are developed in early childhood from our parents, environment, and socioeconomic status. For example, some children are taught that you should always save your money and try to not spend it. In other households, money is taboo and not discussed at all. Children may experience that when money is brought up it o en leads to their parents arguing and creates tension.

“Financial ash points” also have a signi cant impact and are traumatic or emotional life events associated with money that drive our nancial behaviors. For example, growing up in poverty and having uncertainty where your next meal would come from, having a parent lose their job and/or house, or parents getting divorced can make an impact on our nancial beliefs as an adult.

Mental health professionals have studied the psychology of money and categorized these nancial beliefs into several “money scripts.” ere are four main money scripts: money avoidance, money worship, money status, and money vigilance.

Money avoidance is the belief that money is bad or that you don’t deserve money. Individuals with this belief o en experience feelings of fear, guilt, disgust, or anxiety toward money. For some people, it may be di cult to accept gi s from others due to feelings of guilt. is negative association with money can create the belief that rich people are greedy.

Money worship is the belief that money is associated with freedom and the solution to all their problems. It’s the viewpoint that the more money you have,

the better your life will always be. Money worshippers o en seek ful llment from buying more stu , which can result in compulsive spending habits and never feeling satis ed.

Money status is the belief that selfworth is directly tied to net worth or nancial status. ere’s o en a competitive nature to this belief, which can result in overspending to appear as being “better o ” than others. Even though research has illustrated being too concerned about nancial status has been associated with lower levels of well-being, increased anxiety, and unhappiness.

Money vigilance is the belief that money should be saved, not spent. Individuals with this money script o en experience excessive wariness or anxiety about their nancial future, which o en prevents them from enjoying the bene ts and experiences money can provide.

ey tend to be discreet and private about their nancial status and hold the beliefs that you should work hard to earn money and people shouldn’t be given “ nancial handouts.”

ere are notable limitations to money scripts theory, just like other humancategorizing theories such as attachment theory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. While there are only four main categories studied, humans are complex, and we don’t all fall into one “box” or belief system. However, this theory provides a great framework to start re ecting on your attitude toward money and why you hold certain subconscious beliefs. is re ection can help you begin to change any mindset that may not serve you well nancially and/or emotionally.

If you choose to evaluate and re ect on your own money script beliefs, it’s important to practice mindfulness. Negative emotions such as shame, guilt, and anxiety may come up during this process. Mindfulness is the concentrated e ort to simply observe emotions rather than judging and reacting to them. ese emotions can become a great learning experience for things holding us back that can later help us make better nancial decisions.

Gene Gard, CFA, CFP, CFT-I, is a Partner and Private Wealth Manager with Creative Planning. Creative Planning is one of the nation’s largest Registered Investment Advisory rms providing comprehensive wealth management services to ensure all elements of a client’s nancial life are working together, including investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management. For more information or to request a free, no-obligation consultation, visit

Understanding our beliefs toward money.
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Tennessee Republicans and the double-edged art of political subversion.

Tennessee Republicans cannot stand the federal government telling them what to do — especially when a Democrat’s in the White House — but they do love telling Tennessee’s biggest cities what to do.

Republicans cry “overreach,” in general, when the feds “impose” rules that “overrule the will of the people of Tennessee.” (All of those quoted words came from just one statement on abortion from Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, who yells “overreach!” the loudest.) But they call it “preemption” when they do it to Memphis and Nashville — their favorite targets — leaving big-city locals to bemoan that same overreach.

When punching up at the federal government, Tennessee conservatives send angry letters to the president lamenting rules they have to follow to get big “seductive” tax dollars. But they don’t often win much in this process.

When they punch down at cities, the power struggle really comes down to rural conservatives exerting whatever influence they have to temper (squash) the sometimes “woke” ideas of urban progressives. They have a lot of power to do this, as state law does, usually, preempt local law.

So, Republicans do what they want in the Tennessee General Assembly and say, “See you in court,” because cities

don’t typically give up their authority without a legal fist fight. (This happens so much state Democrats say Republicans pass lawsuits, not laws.)

But cities lose these fights often. Some of that is thanks to the powerful state AG’s office, who gets in the ring for state conservatives. That office has even more punching power with a brand-new $2.25 million, 10-member unit. It force-feeds conservative priorities in Tennessee cities and blocks D.C.’s liberal agenda.

Here’s an example of this double-edged subversion: Skrmetti, the Republican AG, cried “overreach” when a 2022 USDA rule said LGTBQ kids had to have access to lunch at school. But when Memphis and Nashville tried to decriminalize cannabis in 2016, a state Republican said, “You just can’t have cities creating their own criminal code, willy-nilly.”

Same coin. Two sides. Yes, state law rules most times, but the premise of the argument is the same. State citizens and city locals know what’s best for them and pick their leaders accordingly. Then, an outsider who, maybe, doesn’t share their values, swoops in to make locals comply with theirs. It’s like, “Hi, you don’t know me but you’re doing it wrong and are going to do it my way.”

In this game, Memphis has been on the ropes at the legislature this year. State Republicans want to take away some

of the power from the Shelby County district attorney. They want to remove a Memphis City Council decision on when Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers make traffic stops. They also wanted to dilute local control of the Memphis-Shelby County School (MSCS) board with members appointed by the governor. But they decided against it. Details on many of these and some from the past are below.

Republicans cry “overreach,” but they call it “preemption” when they do it to Memphis and Nashville.

Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers have looked up, wondering if they could really cut ties with the federal government. They took a serious, hard look at giving up $1 billion in federal education funding for state schools. They wanted to do it “the Tennessee way.” Left to guess what that meant, many concluded they hoped to eschew national discrimination protections for LGBTQ students.

This year, a state Republican hopes

to establish state sovereignty. He wants to draw a clear line between state and fed powers and to install a committee to watch that line. It’s not a new idea, but it’s always had “don’t tread on me” vibes.

The road from Memphis City Hall, to the State Capitol, to Congress and the White House is littered with complaints (usually court papers) about political subversion. All the hollering and legal fights along the way have to leave voters wondering, who’s got the power?

District Attorney Power Battle

A legal battle over who has the power to decide on some death penalty cases has been waged since Republicans passed a bill here last year.

That bill stripped local control of postconviction proceedings from local district attorneys and gave it to Skrmetti, the state AG. In Memphis, the bill seemed largely aimed at Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy, with some concerned he may be lenient for those facing the death penalty.

“This sudden move appears to be a response to the choices of voters in both Davidson County and Shelby County, who elected prosecutors to support more restorative and less punitive policies,” Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said at the time.

Larry McKay, who received two death

10 March 21-27, 2024

sentences for the murders of two store clerks in Shelby County in 1981, requested a court review of previously unexamined evidence in his case. Despite the new law, McKay’s attorney sought to disqualify Skremtti’s o ce from reviewing the case because he was not elected.

His attorney argued the new law infringes on the responsibilities of local district attorneys. e big changes made in the legislation also violated the state constitution, the attorney said.

Mulroy agreed.

“ e newly enacted statute is an unconstitutional e ort to divest and diminish the authority granted to Tennessee’s district attorneys general by the Tennessee Constitution,” Mulroy said at the time. “ e new statute violates the voting rights of such voters because it strips material discretion from district attorneys, who are elected by the quali ed voters of the judicial district.”

But state attorneys did not agree.

“ e General Assembly was entitled to take that statuary power away from the district attorneys and give it to the Attorney General in capital cases,” reads the court document. “ ey have done just that and their mandate must be followed.”

But in July Shelby County Judge Paula Skahan ruled the Republican legislation did violate the state constitution. New arguments on the case were heard by the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals earlier this month. No ruling was issued as of press time. However, an appeal of that ruling seems inevitable, likely pushing the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Pretextual Stops

State Republicans are actively trying to undermine a unanimous decision of the Memphis City Council to stop police from pulling over motorists for minor things like a broken taillight, a loose bumper, and more.

“And if there are people that have problems with what state law is, then maybe they should change state law instead of enacting local ordinances that are in con ict with state law.”

is council move came three months a er MPD o cers beat and killed Tyre Nichols, who was stopped for a minor tra c infraction. e local law is called the Driving Equality Act in Honor of Tyre Nichols.

Council members said police time could be better spent, that the stops expose more people to the criminal justice system, and, as in the Nichols’ case, could be dangerous. e stops also disproportionately a ect Black people, who make up about 64 percent of Memphis’ population but receive 74 percent of its tra c tickets, according to Decarcerate Memphis.

e council’s decision made national headlines. But it found no favor with Republican lawmakers.

Rep. John Gillespie (R-Bartlett) introduced a controversial bill this year that would end that practice and reestablish state control over local decisions on criminal justice.

“We’re simply saying a state law that’s been on the books for decades is what we’re going by here,” Gillespie told Tennessee Lookout earlier this month.

He initially cooled on the matter, promising to pause his bill for further review a er Nichols’ parents spoke at a press conference.

“I am just appalled by what Republicans are trying to do in this state,” Nichols’ father, Rodney Wells, said at the event.

Gillespie promised Nichols’ family he’d hold the bill but surprised many earlier this month when he brought it to the House oor for a vote, which it won. Some said Gillespie acted in bad faith. State Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) said he straight-up lied to Nichols’ family and subverted local power to boot.

“You, as a person who lives in Shelby County, seek to undo the will of the people of Memphis and Shelby County,” Pearson said on the House oor. “ e Wells family spoke with him brie y; he told them this bill wouldn’t come up until probably next ursday.”

e Senate approved the bill last ursday. It now heads to Gov. Lee for signature.

MSCS School Board

State Republicans want to control schools here, too.

Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis), chair

Six school board members for Memphis-Shelby County Schools met with three state lawmakers representing Memphis on Feb. 14, 2024, at the state Capitol. eir agenda included pending legislation from Rep. Mark White and Sen. Brent Taylor, both Republicans, to authorize Gov. Bill Lee to appoint additional members to the board.

of the House Education Committee, led a bill earlier this year that would add six governor-appointed members (read: more Republican in uence) to the MSCS board. When he led the legislation, he said he was unimpressed with the slate of those vying for the district’s superintendent job and concerned about students falling behind state standards on reading and math.

“I’m very concerned about the district’s direction, and I just can’t sit back any longer,” White told Chalkbeat Tennessee. “I think we’re at a critical juncture.”

However, MSCS board chair Althea Greene said at the time that White’s proposal was unnecessary.

“We may have had some challenges, but more interference from the General Assembly is not warranted at this time,” she said. “We have to stop experimenting

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with our children.”

Since then, the MSCS board chose Marie Feagins as the district’s superintendent and she got to work early, before her contract was supposed to start. Also, White paused his bill earlier this month to give board members a chance to submit an improvement plan. White said the plan should show how they’ll improve on literacy, truancy, graduation rates, teacher recruitment, underutilized school buildings, and a backlog of building maintenance needs, among other things, according to Chalkbeat.

While it’s the newest move in state “overreach” into schools here, it’s hardly the rst. State Republicans once seized dozens of schools in Memphis and Nashville as laboratories for what they called “Achievement School Districts.” A er more than a decade, these schools only angered locals, showed abysmal student performance, and now seem to be on their way out.


For six weeks back in 2016, Memphis City Council members debated a move that would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis in the city.

Hundreds were (and are) arrested each year on simple possession charges, and most of those arrested were (and are) Black. Council members didn’t want cannabis legalization; they wanted to steer folks away from the criminal justice system. ey hoped to keep them out of jail and avoid a criminal record, which could hurt their chances at housing, employment, and more.

e city council — even though some had reservations about it — said yes to this. So did the Nashville Metropolitan Council. State Republicans said no.

Upon their return to the Capitol in 2017, they got to work ensuring their control over local decisions on the matter. A bill to strip this control easily won support in the legislature and was signed by then-Gov. Bill Haslam, who said he acted on the will of state lawmakers.

“You just can’t have cities creating their own criminal code, willy-nilly,” Rep. William Lamberth (R-Cottontown), the bill’s House sponsor, told e Tennessean at the time.

en-Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued an opinion that said, basically, cities can’t make laws that preempt state law. With that, Memphis resumed regular enforcement of cannabis laws.

Ranked Choice Voting

In two elections — 2008 and 2018 — Memphians chose how they wanted to pick their politicians, but they never got a chance to use it. State Republicans said no.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) would have allowed voters here to rank candi-

dates on a ballot, doing away with the need for run-o elections that always see lower voter turnout. It was new and di erent but voters here “decided, over and over again, to give it a try,” reads a Commercial Appeal op-ed from 2022 by Mark Luttrell, former Shelby County mayor, and Erika Sugarmon, now a Shelby County commissioner.

However, state Republicans then-Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Rep. Nathan Vaughan (R-Collierville) led a bill to upend the voters’ decision for good with a bill to end RCV in Tennessee. Kelsey said it was about voter clarity. Opponents said it was about more.

“If the bill passes, it will disrespect Memphis voters, make a mockery of local control,” Luttrell and Sugarmon said in the op-ed.

In the end, the state won. e bill passed and RCV was banned, with added support and sponsorship of Memphis Democrats Rep. Joe Towns Jr. and the late Rep. Barbara Cooper.

State Sovereignty

“So, you hoe in your little garden and stay out of our garden,” said Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport).

He was explaining to the House Public Service Committee last year how the country’s founders designed the separation of powers between the state and the federal governments, how it was supposed to work, anyway.

But federal government agencies — not elected o cials — issue rules pushed on to “we, the people,” he said. ey tear families apart. ey split marriages. ey end lifelong friendships, he said. ey bring bankruptcy and suicide. He gave no more details than that. But he was sick of it and said the bill he brought would x it.

Senate State and Local Government Committee. Conservatives worried “nulli cation” could also nullify big federal tax dollars.

at 1995 bill demanded, “ e federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, e ective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers.” Another Republican sovereignty bill later would have voided the powers of any representative of the United Nations once they entered the state.

One in 2014 (that was signed by the governor) simply expressed the state’s sovereignty to set educational standards. A 2016 bill said the feds “seduce” states to go along with their new rules with federal funds they treat as grants, not as tax funds for the state. Another in 2013 would have formed a committee to see what nancial and legal troubles could be in store for Tennessee if it scaled back or quit the “state’s participation in the various federal programs.”

Ten years later, this idea is back. e “Tennessee State Sovereignty Act of 2024” would form a 10-person committee to watch and see if any federal rule violates the Tennessee State Constitution. If it does, “it is the duty of both the residents of this state and the General Assembly to resist.”

Now, if that don’t say “don’t tread on me” …

In the Senate, the bill was deferred until near the end of session (usually meaning they’ll get to it if they can). A House review of the idea was slated for this week, a er press time.

Education Funding

Sovereignty bills rarely go anywhere but in talking points for reelection campaigns.

tion programs and activities that get federal money. e Biden administration has promised an update to these that could strengthen protections for LGTBQ students.

Tennessee has passed more antiLGBTQ laws than any other state, according to the Human Rights Campaign. e week of March 4th alone, 18 such bills were before state lawmakers and targeted diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; made it easier to ban books; and attempted to legalize discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

State Republicans have passed bills to mandate transgender students only play on sports teams that match their gender at birth. ey have mandated which bathrooms trans people have to use (a decision struck down by a federal judge). ey’ve allowed teachers to go unpunished if they refuse to use pronouns that students identify with. ey’ve wanted certain books with LGBTQ themes banned at school. ey’ve wanted LGBTQ, especially gender identity, issues banned from discussion in sex-ed classes. is list goes on and on.

However, the precise motive for looking into cutting those federal education dollars was never stated. Some said it was always good to review the relationship between nation and state. In the end, Republicans spent a lot of time and money to research the idea but set it aside. ey took the federal money and the strings attached anyway. But taking it so seriously was maybe that “don’t tread on me snake” just shaking its rattle.

“Deep in my Soul”

Separation of powers is a doubled-edge sword. It’s that cartoon drawing of a big sh eating a small sh that is getting eaten by the even bigger sh. It’s a “layer cake” form of federalism.

When some Republicans here aren’t busy in committee or court, rending control from local governments, they like to think about state sovereignty.

ey want to defend Tennessee from the feds, especially when a Democrat is in the White House. ey want to know what the exact rules are and to tell D.C. “don’t tread on me.”

Since at least 1995, bills like these have been led here and there in the state legislature. ere’s a new one pending now. In them, “sovereignty” sometimes sounds like a preamble to “secession.”

Hulsey’s bill didn’t go that far. He really wanted to set out a way to nullify D.C. rules he didn’t like. Lee’s o ce was against it, though. Senate Republicans were, too. e idea failed to even get a review in the Republican-packed

However, last year high-ranking Republicans took state sovereignty a step beyond rattling a saber. ey announced a bold plan to have a serious look at if and how Tennessee could cut ties with the feds and their $1 billion in education funding. If it did, Tennessee would have been the rst state in history to decline such funds.

“We as a state can lead the nation once again in telling the federal government that they can keep their money and we’ll just do things the Tennessee way,” House Speaker Rep. Cameron Sexton said at an event in February last year.

He didn’t outline what the “Tennessee way” entailed, though he complained about testing mandates and strings attached to funding. Many said the big federal string Republicans wanted to cut was the one attached to Title IX mandates. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in educa-

Call it what you will, but it’s clear locals want to make their own decisions. For Hulsey, the Republican talking about who tends whose garden, the idea runs deep.

“I stood up on that House oor over there a few weeks ago and we raised our hand, and we swore to 7 million people in this state, we swore not that we would rake in all the federal money we could get,” Hulsey told committee members. “We swore that we would always defend the inalienable rights of Tennessee people by defending and upholding the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Tennessee.

“We should not be for sale. I want to tell you that deep in my soul, I have a conviction that is deep-seated. I believe that if state legislatures in this country do not stand up and hold the federal government to obey the Constitution of the United States, we could very easily lose this republic.”

12 March 21-27, 2024
PHOTO: CAPITOL | TN.GOV House Speaker Rep. Cameron Sexton

steppin’ out

We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews

Geek Out

If you identify as a geek, nerd, gamer, cosplayer, or anything of that ilk, you’d best head out to the MidSouthCon, where you’ll be in paradise. Over the course of three days, guests will enjoy gaming, panels, meet-and-greets, workshops, vendors, an art show, and more.

“MidSouthCon is the single largest gaming event that will happen [in the region],” says Denise Hager, head of gaming and marketing. “It runs like a mini Comic Con.” Begun in 1982, MidSouthCon initially focused on science- ction literature, but since then, Hager says, “it’s become a little bit of everything that’s kind of fandom and geekdom.”

is year’s MidSouthCon expects to have more than 500 board games available for play in the dedicated game room, open 24 hours a day the entirety of the con. ere will be ra es, play-to-win games, and tournaments, some of which will be hosted by gaming guests of honor Kristin and Andy Looney, owners of game company Looney Labs.

Other guests of honor include Elizabeth Bear, award-winning science- ction and fantasy author; Memphis’ own Sheree Renée omas, award-winning and New York Times-bestselling writer and editor of e Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; Paul and Michael Bielaczyc, artists and founders of Aradani Studios; Stephanie Osborn, veteran of more than 20 years in civilian/military space programs; and Randall Pass, longtime MidSouthCon volunteer and xture of the Southern science- ction fandom.

is year’s con also will feature live podcast recordings with Geek Tank Radio and Didn’t Hate It Movie Podcast, Hager points out. “We haven’t done [live podcasts] before.”

Hager’s personally looking forward to being part of the “Silently Screaming Inside” panel. “It’s a conversation about anxiety, depression, and fandom,” she says. “How you can stand in a crowd and feel alone, and then you come to places like the con and you nd people that feel like that too, and maybe you’re not so alone.”

Other highlights of the con include a designated sensory-friendly space for those who need to decompress from the goings-on of the convention, plus the Masquerade costume contest, the annual screening of e Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “lots of opportunities to meet the guests and meet people that are in the industry or work for NASA, or our award-winning artists or cosplayers. If you have a fandom out there from Doctor Who to Superman, you’ll nd it there. And if you don’t, tell us about it; maybe we can do something with that.”

More information and a full schedule of events can be found at A portion of the proceeds will bene t Literacy Mid-South.


Spring Fling

Red Barn at Agricenter International, 7777 Walnut Grove, Friday-Saturday, March 22-23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free e Memphis Area Master Gardeners present a free educational garden event and 2,000-plus plant sale. Featured events include seminars with regional and local experts, hands-on demonstrations, a gardening photo exhibit, a mini ea-market with gently used garden items, and much more. A Kid’s Corner on Saturday o ers children’s activities, and food trucks will o er cuisine.

“People Are People”

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar, opens Friday, March 22 e Brooks’ new exhibit honors famed American designer Christian Siriano’s electrifying contributions to fashion and draws from his extensive archive.

Cherry Blossom Picnic

Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry Road, Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free with admission

Celebrate spring with a hanami, or Cherry Blossom Picnic. Enjoy lunch from one of the Asian-inspired food trucks, take a guided tour through the Japanese Garden, listen to 901 Taiko, and participate in traditional cra s and games during one of the most beautiful times at the garden.

Metal Petals & Healing Roots

Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum, Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., free

e Metal Museum presents a oneday event where artists from the Metal Museum, Moore Tech, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis will be creating art from the disassembled gun parts which were collected during the Guns to Gardens event at Evergreen Presby-

terian Church on February 24th.

Museum admission is free and open to all. ere will be live music, a food truck, free hands-on activities, a paid copper rose activity, and booths from local nurseries, garden groups, and organizations. ere will be a talk about the art being made at 1 p.m.

An exhibition of the artwork made at this event will be open at the Evergreen Presbyterian Church from April 6th to April 20th.

Pints, Poses, & Pups

Grind City Brewing Company, 76 Waterworks, Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m., $25

Grind City hosts a puppy yoga class in collaboration with Happy Tails Canine Rescue to raise money for their rescue and hopefully to get some pups adopted. Sign up at

14 March 21-27, 2024
VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES March 21st - 27th


Few musicians are as familiar around town as the indefatigable Graham Winchester, the drummer/multi-instrumentalist who plays with the Sheiks, Jack Oblivian, Turnstyles, Devil Train, the MD’s, and a few others. Along the way, he founded Blast Habit Records with Lori McStay and her late husband, Jared, and is now producing other artists — like Cheyenne Marrs — in his home studio. Yet that last achievement, ironically enough, was only made possible by the quarantine years of Covid, when Winchester was forced to relax the furious pace of his gigging schedule and delve into himself more, writing and recording songs entirely on his own. Now the product of that time is emerging as an LP, Nobody Waters the Flowers, on Red Curtain Records, and Winchester’s gearing up for a record release show at Bar DKDC on March 22nd.

tious months that followed it, from 2020-2021.

e album has been available on streaming platforms since December of 2022, and, given the album’s provenance, it’s understandable that he was impatient to get it out in the world well before it could exist on vinyl. For this record is a document of another time, the lockdown prompted by Covid and those trepida-

“I think that in the isolation of the shutdown era of the pandemic, anything I was writing was for me. I didn’t even know if there was going to be a future of playing on stage with my friends anytime soon,” Winchester says now. “ e songs came from an intimate, personal place and most of them were written and recorded between 2020 and 2021. And a lot of them come out of a place of self-re ection, and re ection about the world we live in. Not being able to be busy made me meditate and think about my own life more.”

Song titles like “Quietly,” “Coming Down,” and “I’ll Be Sad With You” evoke Winchester’s frame of mind at the time.

“It was a necessary slowdown for me, personally,” he says. “Obviously, I wish there was no Covid and no isolation, but I made the most of it, I guess.”

Indeed, many families untouched by Covid directly found more quality time during lockdown, and the Winchesters were no di erent. “ ere’s a song on the album called ‘From the Start’ that I’m singing directly to my children. And that was inspired from being around my boys all day every day for the rst time. Since they’d been born, I’d spent any waking moment I could with them, but I’m a busy guy, a busy dad. To be able to just sit in the backyard on a picnic blanket with my sons brought us so much closer to each other.”

Other songs are not as bound to Winchester’s own life, but spring from his penchant for the pure cra of writing. “‘Nobody Waters the Flowers’ is more of a story song,” Winchester says. “ at’s me trying to get into that old country music storytelling zone. ‘Can’t You See?’ as well — sort of like e Band’s approach, or even Creedence Clearwater Revival’s.”

While the album does include the odd garage stomper like “Lab Rat,” listeners who largely associate Winchester with the amped-up sounds of Jack Oblivian or Turnstyles may be in for a surprise. Yet he’s actually been cultivating his quieter side for some time now, o en leading songwriter nights at Bar DKDC. e way Winchester tells it, the less raucous approach is really at the core of his compositional style.

“I’ll usually even write Turnstyles songs on the acoustic in sort of a folky way,” he says. “And then I’ll bring it to Seth [Moody] and go, ‘I need help rocking this up.’ So we might put a more aggressive beat on it, he puts his distorted, Jaguar guitar surf-ness on it, and then it becomes this rock song. But when I approach songwriting I think, ‘Is this a song that can be played in any style? Do the lyrics and the chords stand up on their own, to where anybody can adapt it?’ I’m not a huge ri songwriter. I like to start with melodies and chords. And a lot of times I’m writing on piano. I’m really coming at it from a songwriting standpoint, where the song can be taken any kind of way.”

MUSIC By Alex Greene Graham Winchester releases his contemplative pandemic album on vinyl.
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AFTER DARK: Live Music Schedule March 21 - 27

Emery & The Almost:

The Weak’s End & Southern Weather

Doug MacLeod

Saturday, March 23, 6 p.m.


Memphis Mojo

Saturday, March 23, 9 p.m.


Memphis Symphony Orchestra Masterworks

Series - Pink Floyd & The Planets

Psychedelic tunes and enchanting melodies. Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.


John Williams & the A440 Band

ursday, March 21, 8 p.m.


Memphis Symphony Orchestra Masterworks

Series - Pink Floyd & The Planets

Psychedelic tunes and enchanting melodies. Sunday, March 24, 2:30 p.m.


5 Fridays of Jazz: Gary


Friday, March 22, 6:30-8 p.m.


Album Listening Event:

Reigning Sound, Rolling Stones, the Replacements

Saturday, March 23, 1-4 p.m.


Amber & Josh

Saturday, March 23, 1 p.m.


Art Edmaiston with Ra

Kalam Bob Moses

$15. Friday, March 22, 7 p.m.



Friday, March 22, 6 p.m.


Buddy Albert Nemenz

Tuesday, March 26, 6 p.m.


Celebrating the life of Jason Owens

With Hedgecreep, e Writer/ e Signal, Pressed Fugitive, Droids. Sunday, March 24, 6 p.m.



Saturday, March 23, 9 p.m.


David Collins

Tuesday, March 26, 9 p.m.


With Bad Luck. Saturday, March 23, 6 p.m.


Graham Winchester Record Release, with Joybomb, Turnstyles

Friday, March 22, 9 p.m.


Hope Clayburn

Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.


JB Whalen

Sunday, March 24, 10 p.m.


Kurt Vile & the Violators

Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.


Larry Fleet ursday, March 21, 8 p.m.


Left Unsung, Reed Brake Band

Saturday, March 23, 9:30 p.m.


Live at the Lamp Brunch Jam

Ethan Vaughn, Madaline Collins, Minnesota Mike, John Wilkerson. Saturday, March 23, 1 p.m.


Lucky 7 Brass Band

Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.


Optic Sink, Hartle Road

Friday, March 22, 9 p.m.


Pump Action, The Hypocrites, After Hours

Sunday, March 24, 8 p.m.


Pure Guava

Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.


Savage Master with Screamer

Wednesday, March 27, 8 p.m.


Luna Nova Music Spring Concert Chamber music for ute, guitar, and clarinet. Monday, March 25, 7-8 p.m.


Memphis Soul Remedy

Saturday, March 23, 6 p.m.


Mothcat EP Release, with Little Baby Tendencies

Saturday, March 23, 9 p.m.


Mudshow Album Release

Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m.


Nita Strauss with StarBenders, Diamante

Sunday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.


Strictly Jazz: The Music of Sarah Vaughan & Ella Fitzgerald

Tonya Dyson pays tribute to two music legends. $20. Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.


Twin Soul

Friday, March 22, 10 p.m.


Women in Memphis Music Presents Foster Falls and Joyce Howard

Wednesday, March 27, 8 p.m.


A.J. Croce

$29.50. Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.


Dale Hollow with Rachel Maxann

Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m.


Hunter Peebles and The Moonlighters with Kitty Dearing

Friday, March 22, 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 23, 8 p.m.;

Sunday, March 24, 8 p.m.


Lina Beach with Ramona Martinez and Wyly Bigger

Wednesday, March 27, 7 p.m.


Souled Out

Saturday, March 23, 4-8 p.m.


The ShotGunBillys

Friday, March 22, 9 p.m.; Saturday, March 23, 9 p.m.


ZZ Top & Lynyrd

Skynyrd: The Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour

With special guest Black Stone Cherry. $55. Saturday, March 23, 7 p.m.


Alexis Grace

$20-$30. Sunday, March 24, 7 p.m.


PHOTO: COURTESY GRACELAND LIVE A.J. Croce presents Croce Plays Croce.

“People Are People” is

honors famed American designer Christian Siriano’s electrifying contributions to fashion. Friday, March 22-Aug. 4. MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

“School of Ool: Whose Views Ooze


An exhibition of new work by multimedia artist Coe Lapossy. rough March 22.



Richard Wright Literary Awards

Celebrating and awarding local authors in various categories. ursday, March 21, 5 p.m. BENJAMIN L. HOOKS CENTRAL LIBRARY


Circling IRL: a zine workshop

A morning of zine-making and conversation $25. Saturday, March 23, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Exclusive Wheel Throwing Series with Sarah Stobbe

A di erent kind of spin class. $150. Saturday, March 23-Wednesday, March 27, 1-3 p.m.


Living Air Plant Wreath Workshop Design and create a wreath showcasing a collection of airplants. $43. Saturday, March 23, 2 p.m.


MOMIX Master Class

An advanced-level master class with MOMIX dancer Jade Primicias. Saturday, March 23, 10:30 a.m.-noon.


Seasonal Blooms of Memphis: Floral Arranging Workshop with Midtown Bramble & Bloom

An enchanting oral arranging workshop. Sunday, March 24, 2 a.m.-4 p.m.


Spring Bulb Centerpiece Workshop

Make your own living centerpiece for your spring table. Saturday, March 23, 2 p.m.



Joe Fernandez

With Lamon and Nat Rhodes. $10/early-bird, $15/day of. Friday, March 22, 9-10:30 p.m.


Kountry Wayne: The King of Hearts Tour

$38.50-$78.50. Sunday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.


Tony Rock

$25. ursday, March 21, 7:30 p.m.



Feed the Homeless: Benefit for Kitchen & the Cross ird Annual Kitchen & Cross Bene t with Midnite Train from Memphis, Headband, 901 ROX, 5 for the Kill, Boneyard, and Backstreet Crawler. Sunday, March 24, 3-10 p.m.


Volunteer Day

A volunteer project at Overton Park. 14+. Sunday, March 24, 1 p.m.


World Water Day Service Project

Volunteer in the pollution prevention cleanup along the Wolf River Harbor and the Wolf River Greenway at Mud Island. Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m.



15 Went after

16 Sheep-related

17 Where


19 Squiggly mark in “piñata”



23 Some






The B.I.G. (Believe in Girls) Event Girls participate in hands-on robotics and other exciting activities, and learn about diverse STEM careers. Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m.




Festivities will include a bunny hop race, relay egg race, musical oats, and a pool noodle ring toss. Saturday, March 23, 1 p.m.


Jurassic Quest

Walk with a larger-than-life dinosaur herd with your friends and family as Jurassic Quest roars through Memphis. Friday, March 22, noon.


Overton Square Easter Egg Hunt

Spring into Overton Square for our second annual Easter Egg Hunt! Free. Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.



Experimental dance group, MOMIX, stages ALICE at GPAC on Saturday.



A special 40th anniversary screening of the original horror comedy blockbuster from 1984. ursday, March 21, 7 p.m.


Indie Memphis: Last Things

Evolution and extinction from the point of view of rocks. $12. Wednesday, March 27, 7 p.m.


Movies & Mixers: Caddyshack

Screen the lm with a pre-show trivia event hosted by Black Lodge. Saturday, March 23, 5:30 p.m.


The Tenant

In Paris, isolated Eastern European émigré Trelkovsky rents an apartment whose inhabitants regard him with suspicion and even outright hostility. $5. ursday, March 21, 6:30 p.m.


continued on page 20












Like the voice of someone who’s stuffed up
[Guests must provide their drinks]
caucuses are held
first presidential
“Crossing my fingers!”
Earl ___ tea
2001 Tom Cruise thriller
from the airport,
Leave out 25 James who sang “At Last”
Nickname for former N.B.A. star Darryl Dawkins
“Star Wars” princess
Maya who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Diamond pattern 38 Suffix with different or confident
“Chill out!”
Connected PC system
Ready to assemble, as a home
Reef predator
Flowy hair
Amy Adams or Emma Stone, hairwise
Keep it ___ (be honest)
Sound from a ghost
“What a shame”
Kind of ice cream suggested by the starts of 21-, 27and 47-Across 62 Swear
Largest city in South Florida
Japanese dog breed
how great I did!”
65 “Look
67 Enticed
68 Kill, as a dragon
Sits for a photo
Venue often named for its sponsor
Makeshift knife
Japanese noodle
Patron for sailors
Friendly response to “Do you mind?” 7 Hertz rival 8 ___ Road, route for Marco Polo 9 “Still …” 10 Director Spike 11 Beginning of the universe 12 Days of ___ 13 One with a debt 14 Large inlets 22 Rapper ___ Wayne 23 Maneuver upon missing a GPS instruction 26 Take out of the freezer 27 Video excerpts 28 Symbol on a valentine 29 Floating fuel carrier 30 Race official 31 Rear-___ (auto accident) 32 “The Times They Are a-Changin’” singer 33 African antelope 34 Opera singer Fleming 39 Made the sound of a crow 40 Group that inspired “Mamma Mia!” 41 The first modern one was held in Athens in 1896 44 Off in the distance 46 Nickname 48 Pacific weather phenomenon 49 Unfortunate crowd reaction to a performer 50 [I don’t know the words to this part] 53 College entrance exams 54 Egg-shaped 55 Mr. Pibb or Dr Pepper 57 Has a nosh 58 French female friend 59 Ocean motion 60 Heaps 61 Nickname for grandma 63 It may include the words “You are here” PUZZLE BY HOWARD BARKIN Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 7,000 past puzzles,
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE 1234567891011121314 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 2526 272829 3031 323334 35 36 37 38 3940 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 4950 51 52 535455 565758 596061 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 IDBRACELETEDIT BOOKREVIEWNINE ARTOODETOODADA NRAMENTOOTIE KINDACMONRAG STYEBAYONETING SCULPTEDABS DESSERTCASE TORCHRELAYS WHATALOSEREROS HEFLESSBLAST INAREAFLYTWA FIVEGOLDENBEAR FLOEUDONNOODLE SERFESPYAWARDS The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Monday, March 18, 2019 Edited by Will Shortz No. 0211 Crossword CALENDAR of EVENTS: March 21 - 27 Send the date, time, place, cost, info, phone number, a brief description, and photos — two weeks in advance — to DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS, ONGOING WEEKLY EVENTS WILL APPEAR IN THE FLYER’S ONLINE CALENDAR ONLY. FOR COMPREHENSIVE EVENT LISTINGS, SCAN OUR QR CODE BELOW OR VISIT EVENTS.MEMPHISFLYER.COM/CAL ART AND SPECIAL EXHIBITS ($39.95 a year). Read about and comment on each puzzle:



APRIL 6 / 7:30 P.M.

With songs like KISS ME — DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER — THERE SHE GOES, Leigh Nash’s delicate voice brought her alternative Christian band “Sixpence None the Richer” to worldwide acclaim. Next she established a solo career, singing alongside musicians like Tanya Tucker, Ruby Amanfu & Vince Gill. Don’t miss Leigh Nash live in concert…only at BPACC.

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continued from page 19

Wings Over Water 3D

Michael Keaton narrates this breathtaking film that soars above the clouds and takes you on an amazing journey to the heart of the prairie wetlands. Thursday, March 21-March 27, 11 a.m.



Memphis Black Restaurant Week

Memphis Black Restaurant Week is an opportunity for Black-owned restaurants to offer dining deals to bring in new customers and raise awareness.

Planned Parenthood Tennessee and North Mississippi is back. $25. Tuesday, March 26, 7-10 p.m.


Arthur Trace - The Artful Deceiver

One of the most creative acts in the world of magic today.

$39.50. Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.


La Calisto

Opera Memphis presents a baroque masterpiece of love, lust, vengeance, and … astronomy. Friday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m.


this weekend.

zlies. $15. Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m.


Memphis Hustle vs. Stockton Kings

See the G-League Affiliate of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. $15. Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m.


Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers


Sunday, March 17-March 23.



Goat Yoga

Relax your body and mind while surrounded by little goats. $25, $5/yoga mat rental.

Saturday, March 23, 1-5 p.m.


Guided Nature Walk

Join a Lichterman nature center naturalist on a themed guided walk. Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Mid South Trans Nation presents “Transparency”

This show is all about celebrating trans advocacy throughout the decades.

Saturday, March 23, 9 p.m.



Exceptional inventiveness and physical beauty. $25.

Saturday, March 23, 8-9 p.m.



Cherry Blossom Picnic

Wednesday, March 27, 7 p.m.



Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

This jukebox musical takes you on a journey that realistically documents Carole King’s rise to fame and superstar status as a songwriter and performer. Through March 30.


POTUS POTUS delves into the world of politics, power, and presidency. Through April 14.


Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network Mental Health Breakfast

Featuring critically acclaimed actor, director, and mental health advocate Sean Astin. $50.

Thursday, March 21, 8 a.m.


Enjoy lunch from Asianinspired food trucks, take a guided tour through the Japanese Garden, listen to 901 Taiko, and more. Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Lamplighter Bazaar



Succession explores the world of Black theater through the actions of Steve Harrison.

Through March 24.


You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

The Resilience: Combatting Police Violence through Policy and Public Safety Symposium that examines the historical connections of systemic racial violence to find solutions for today’s challenges. $50. Friday, March 22, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.



14th Annual Memphis


The 14th Annual Memphis Monologues benefiting

A wonderful market full of local goods handmade and waiting for you. Sunday, March 24, 2-6 p.m.


Memphis International

Auto Show

Hundreds of the newest cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs will cruise into Memphis for an automotive utopia. Free.

Friday, March 22-March 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.



Memphis Hustle vs. Cleveland Charge

See the G-League Affiliate of the NBA’s Memphis Griz -

Join Charlie Brown and his friends as they navigate the ups and downs of growing up. Through April 13.


Zanna Don’t: A Musical Fairy Tale

Set in a colorful high school in Heartsville, USA, Zanna Don’t is an upbeat campy musical comedy that takes place in a fictional world where being homosexual is the norm and heterosexual is taboo. $28.52. Through March 24.


PHOTO: COURTESY MBG Memphis Botanic Garden’s Cherry Blossom Picnic returns
21 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EVENT SPECIALS Diamond Solitaires $2999 Gigantic Diamond Solitaires Your Choice of Shapes Set in a 14k White Gold Mounting Diamond Stud Earrings Huge $1799 Gigantic $2799 Massive $4199 Enormous $4999 Special Financing Find the Perfect Piece That You Will Cherish Forever. Ready to “Pop the Question”? • King Has Something for Any Budget • Huge Selection of Engagement Rings in All Styles! • Huge Selection of Loose Lab Diamonds in All Shapes and Sizes • Custom Design the Perfect Engagement Ring as Perfect as Your Love Story! LAURELWOOD 4 568 POPLAR AVE (901) 767-KING KINGFINEJEWELRY.COM KING Fine Jewelry & Furs HUGE SELECTION Diamond Bracelets, Diamond Tennis Necklaces, Diamond Earrings, Diamond Pendants — LAB-GROWN — DIAMOND EVENT Where Value and Exceptional Quality Come Together. MARCH 21–23 Thursday 3pm–7pm • Friday 10am–5pm • Saturday 10am–3pm SHELBY COUNTY ATOD SUMMIT AP R I L 26 s t, 2 0 2 4 THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS UC BALLROOM R E GISTER O N EV E NTBRIT E WHO SHOULD ATTEND 6 C O NT IN U IN G EDU CATI O N H OUR S O F F E R E D Alcohol kills on average 95,000 Americans every year. Tobacco related deaths average 480,000 per year. Once again, meth is back on the scene in full force and taking over US cities. Even recreational drug use is more dangerous than ever. Hear from local experts about current data and find out what we can do to help prevent unnecessary ATOD re ated deaths. Students, Teachers Therapists, School Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists Peer Specialists, Addiction & Mental Hea th Professionals, Treatment Centers, Churches, Outreach Ministries, Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Law Enforcement, Judges, Media Representatives, Individuals In Recovery & Families This p r oj e ct s f un ded un d e r a G ra nt Cont ra ct with th e St a t e of T e nne ssee De p ar t me nt of Ment a l H ea lth an d Sub s t a nc e Abus e Se r vic e s
22 March 21-27, 2024

We Saw You.


If you’ve wondered why something you eat pairs perfectly with a particular wine, you can nd out at Science of Wine, the annual fundraiser at Memphis Museum of Science & History (MoSH).

About 400 people attended the event, which was held March 8th. Eighteen food purveyors participated.

Usually, about 600 people attend, says MoSH special events coordinator John Mullikin. “We had to limit the number of ticket sales,” he says. “Only because of Sue.”

Sue is the full-scale cast in MoSH’s current “SUE: e T-rex Experience” exhibit. Sue takes up three rooms.

e VIP area featured fare from Erling Jensen: e Restaurant, e Grecian Gourmet Kitchen, Pete & Sam’s, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and e Blue Room Restaurant.

Guests paired duck and amarena tartlets from Erling Jensen’s with a 2018 Rockmere cabernet, and learned from a poster at the booth: “ e wine boasts red and black fruit to marry well with the cherry tartlet, while having so tannin and enough acidity to support the richness of the duck.” Jensen has participated in all eight of the Science of Wine events.

PHOTOS: MICHAEL DONAHUE above: (le to right) Mary Sisson and Jordan Buchanan; Justin Parker; Dr. Rosie Richmond and Gerry Dupree below: (le to right) Melanie Hill and Tiquan Pryor; Anthony Mendoza; Jeanie Gundlach and Steve Conley  bottom row: (le to right) Haley Lyerly and Robby Cowan; Eddie, Ana, and John Osadzinski

April 12 - 14

It’s All Greek

Those still bemoaning the closing of the Grecian Gourmet Taverna on South Main can rejoice. ey can still get all those popular Greek dishes in frozen or packaged form online or in grocery stores through Grecian Gourmet Kitchen.

ey began selling their Greek fare about nine years ago at the St. Jude Farmers Market, says Grecian Gourmet Kitchen president/CEO Corinne Knight. “We sold our classic humus, feta dip, pita chips, and all your Greek dishes — spanakopita, pastitsio, and moussaka,” she says.

Her dad’s (Frank Sousoulas) side of the family is Greek, so they have “all these bulk recipes” from Easter, Christmas, and birthday family gatherings that drew 69 to 80 people to their home. “All of these recipes are a combination of [ones from] my grandmother, great aunts, and a lot of the ladies at the church. My mom and my grandmother took a lot of pieces of di erent recipes they liked and they made them their own.”

ey sold at all of the farmers markets for about two years before they opened their restaurant in spring 2018. Grecian Gourmet Taverna, which was owned by Knight, her mother Jo Beth Graves, and Knight’s stepfather Je Watkins, was “very popular,” she says. “We were very busy pretty much up until Covid. During Covid we really transitioned to a lot of corporate catering. And you didn’t have consistent foot tra c Downtown anymore.”

ey began focusing on retail and preparing large-scale catering items, including box lunches for 300 people. ALSAC/ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital asked them to begin serving their food on the St. Jude campus. “I realized that shiing to corporate catering would give us a much better work-life balance as well as just be far more cost-e cient to do.”

Instead of renewing their lease on South Main, they closed the restaurant in December 2022 and in February 2023 opened their Grecian Gourmet Kitchen manufacturing/shipping center in Bartlett.

ey’re considering opening the center as a grab-and-go at some point, but, for now, they’re “building out corporate catering and not having customers come in. … Everything that is in the grocery stores is made there, as well.”

In addition to catering one week a month at St. Jude’s Kaye Cafe, Grecian Gourmet Kitchen frozen foods and other items are sold at Cordelia’s Market, Superlo Foods on Spottswood Avenue, High Point Grocery, South Point Grocery, Buster’s Liquors & Wines, Buster’s Butcher, Curb Side Casseroles, Katie’s

Kitchen, and Oh Grate!

Pita chips, dips, and pasta salads are their most popular items, Knight says. eir gyro and rice bowl bars, which can serve 60 to 80 people, are popular corporate catering items. “ e gyro bar is pita bread and a protein of lamb, chicken, or vegetables, and it has onions, lettuce, tzatziki, and everything to build your own gyro.” e rice bowl bar includes garlic rice, sautéed vegetables, and choice of protein along with the extras that go on the gyros.

As for new website o erings, Knight says, “We’ve added Greek chicken pot pie — kotopita. It’s Greek baked chicken, onion, celery, and white wine in a béchamel and baked between lo.”

ey also added a “gluten-free vegan pasta salad and gluten-free vegetarian pastitsio.” e latter includes gluten-free noodles, egg, and butter. “And the sauce is eggplant, tomato, red wine, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a gluten-free béchamel.”

Items can be ordered at

ey are currently testing their chickpea salad at Cordelia’s Market. “It’s chickpeas, red onions, bell pepper, feta, and tomato tossed in our vinaigrette.”

And they’re trying to gure out how to o er other items, including a gluten-free spanakopita and gluten-free moussaka.

ey’ve talked about opening another restaurant, but that’s something she’d consider when her children are a lot older, Knight says. “Because my oldest pretty much grew up at farmers markets and restaurants. While fun, it’s not great for a kid to only see their mom at work.”

Her husband Caleb is a re ghter, she says. “A lot of days he was at work and our eldest was having to come to work with me. … I know people really like our food, but I want to be able to hang with our kids a little bit more before we do that.”

24 March 21-27, 2024
PHOTO: MICHAEL DONAHUE Corinne Knight at recent Science of Wine event at Museum of Science & History Grecian Gourmet Kitchen’s online/retail business keeps restaurant’s fare alive.

Spring Renewal

Tuesday was the spring equinox which means that no matter what the weather is doing, it is ofcially spring. Each season brings us the wonders of nature and reasons to celebrate. But spring excites us in a way that the other seasons o en don’t.

e spring equinox brings us ofcially into the light half of the year. Between the summer and winter solstices, the sun begins setting earlier and earlier every day and the nights get longer. During the dark half of the year, we may nd ourselves spending more time at home or being more introspective. e light half, which slowly begins right a er winter solstice, encourages us to shi our focus back to the physical world, including the physical body, literal or metaphorical fertility, and the pleasures of food, nature, and friends.

things we’ve been putting o .

We can also work with the energy of spring to begin planning our goals for the year. Spring is thought of as the beginning of the year by some people. We know the calendar marks it as January 1st, but energetically things do not begin to move until closer to spring. In many alternative spiritual traditions, spring is when we begin to metaphorically plant our seeds for the year. Working with the natural energy of the world, if we begin planning and putting things into action now, those plans will grow more fruitful and closer to completion as the weather warms, the sun spends more time in the sky, and the plants and trees around us come back to life and grow.

e spring equinox is a day of balance, with the daylight and nighttime hours being roughly 12 hours each. Aside from the extra sunshine, spring brings us hope and renewal. Some of the feeling of hope comes from our bodies absorbing sunlight, which affects our serotonin levels. But spiritually and emotionally, spring brings us optimism and the sense of better days to come. When the weather is nice, and the sun is shining, it is easier to believe that things will turn out well because we feel happier and more hopeful. A er the darkness of winter, spring makes us feel like the world has been renewed and us with it.

We can harness this energy to help us in our lives. If we can focus the restless energy we o en feel in spring, we can use it to manifest our goals and nish projects. It can be the source of motivation to help us get moving again a er the slump of winter and tackle those

You don’t need anything to begin to plant your metaphorical seeds for the year, but many of us like to have physical reminders to keep us focused on the work. And doing an action symbolically can help convince our subconscious that we are working toward and are going to accomplish our goals. If you enjoy having a physical exercise to do to help remind you of your goals, there are many things you can do. Two of the more common activities to do in spring to help focus your manifestations involve planting seeds and making eggs.

If you want to literally plant your metaphorical seeds, you will need a container, dirt, water, seeds, and/ or paper. Put your dirt or soil in the container. Hold the seeds in your hands and think about the things you want to accomplish. Put those thoughts into the seeds and then bury them in the soil. If you want, you can also write down your goals and bury the paper in with the seeds or set it under the container. If you like the imagery of eggs, you can make your own version of a dyed egg. Boil your eggs and dye them a color that best corresponds to your needs. You can also draw or paint symbols or a rmations on the egg to support your intention.

We have a whole year ahead of us. Let us use it wisely and for good. Happy manifesting this spring!

Emily Guenther is a co-owner of e Broom Closet metaphysical shop. She is a Memphis native, professional tarot reader, ordained Pagan clergy, and dog mom.

Thank you for being a loyal reader of the Memphis Flyer and We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Our goal is to tell stories that inform, entertain, and enlighten — and to make every issue of the Flyer a great one.

We invite our readers to complete a short survey. By completing the survey, you’ll be entered for a chance to win two tickets to the Memphis Flyer Margarita Festival!

Harness the season’s energy for planting seeds.

Very Senior Year

Memphis Scene Winter Photo Contest

driver — who was apparently “late for an appointment” — damaged several graves before attempting to flee on foot. Unsuccessfully. [Fox 5, 2/20/2024]

Animal Antics

Sponsored by

It’s never too late to graduate, and Fred Allen Smalls of Georgetown, South Carolina, is proof. Smalls took the stage at Georgetown High School on Feb. 4, the day before his 106th birthday, to receive an honorary diploma at a ceremony that came to fruition largely due to the efforts of his granddaughter. Smalls completed eighth grade in the 1930s and moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a janitor and held several other jobs before beginning a career with the District of Columbia, eventually retiring during the John F. Kennedy administration. WPDE ABC 15 reported that the diploma was “something he’s wished for most of his life.” And the diploma wasn’t the first time Smalls made recent news: In 2023, ABC News recognized him as the oldest Philadelphia Eagles fan. [ABC15, 2/20/2024]

Sticky Situation

A coyote that found itself in an ironic predicament in mid-January has the Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) and the Wildlife in Need Center (WINC) of Waukesha County, Wisconsin, to thank for its rescue — maybe with a little help from above? WDJT in Milwaukee reported that the coyote had gotten its head stuck inside a hollow statue of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, while chasing a rabbit. The coyote was spotted dragging the statue and working to free itself, but by the next day, the animal was exhausted and still trapped. HAWS located the coyote and transported it to WINC, where it was freed, treated for minor injuries, and given the nickname “Frannie.” [WDJT CBS 58, 2/12/2024]

Cemetery Shortcut

In the immortal words of Shaggy, “It wasn’t me.” The Lavonia (Georgia) Police Department wants residents to know that a chaotic scene in a local graveyard Feb. 20 had nothing to do with them. “In case you saw or heard the law enforcement commotion,” reads a post on the department’s Facebook page, “well, it wasn’t us.” The commotion in question? Deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in neighboring South Carolina had chased a reckless driver across state lines and into the Lavonia City Burgess Cemetery, reports FOX 5 Atlanta. The

• Caterina Sevares of Florida had a late-night craving for tacos on Feb. 13, so she did what many of us have probably done: She placed a DoorDash order and hopped in the shower while waiting for her food to be delivered. But when she opened the door to retrieve the Talkin’ Tacos delivery, Fox 35 reported that she was met by three masked bandits — a trio of raccoons who got to her meal first, eating everything but the tortillas. Sevares began to film the carnage but retreated once the raccoons started engaging — one stood up on its hind legs while the other two stared her down. “Once they started hissing, I shut the door so fast. I was like, ‘They can have the carne asada, it’s fine,’” Sevares said. Talkin’ Tacos caught wind of the bandits’ antics after Sevares’ story went viral on TikTok, and sent her a gift card for her troubles. [FOX 35, 2/14/2024]

• Elsewhere in Florida, bears ransacked a woman’s car — on Valentine’s Day, no less. Cassidy Simoes’ boyfriend left chocolates in the front seat of her car the night before, intending to give them to her the next day. But NBC2 reported that at about 3:30 on Valentine’s morning, the couple woke to find the car in bad shape: “Basically, the whole door panel, I can’t even open the door at all or roll the windows down, nothing,” Simoes said. No word on if the chocolates were replaced. [NBC2, 2/14/24]

Bright Idea

On Feb. 19, neighbors in an apartment building in Wejherowo, Poland, became alarmed as a 19-year-old man tried to lead a full-grown horse up the stairs to his third-floor home, Radio Gdansk reported. Police were called to the building and determined that the mare, worth about $3,800, had been stolen. She was returned to the owner, and the horse thief was charged with theft; he faces five years in prison. [Radio Gdansk, 2/21/2024]

26 March 21-27, 2024
© 2024 Andrews McMeel Syndication. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
the editors
at Andrews
Winner photos will be in the May issue of MemphisMagazine. For more details, visit: MemphisSceneWinter24 Share your favorite Memphis Photos with us! Winner receives ... a two nights’ stay at a downtown hotel, tickets to Sun Studio, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, & MORE!
Vote today! Mar. 16-31

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Taurus artist Salvador Dali was prone to exaggerate for dramatic effect. We should remember that as we read his quote: “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: Rationalize them; understand them thoroughly.” While that eccentric advice may not always be 100 percent accurate or useful, I think it will be true and helpful for you in the coming weeks. Have maximum fun making sacred mistakes, Taurus! Learn all you can from them. Use them to improve your life.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The professional fun advisors here at Free Will Astrology International Headquarters have concluded that your Party Hardy Potential Rating for the coming weeks is 9.8 (out of 10). In fact, this may be the Party Hardy Phase of the Year for you. You could gather the benefits of maximum revelry and conviviality with minimal side effects. Here’s a meditation to get you in the right mood: Imagine mixing business and pleasure with such panache that they blend into a gleeful, fruitful synergy.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian author and psychotherapist Virginia Satir (1916–1988) was renowned as the “Mother of Family Therapy.” Her research led her to conclude, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” That 12-hug recommendation seems daunting to achieve, but I hope you will strive for it in the coming weeks. You are in a phase when maximum growth is possible — and pushing to the frontiers of hugging will help you activate the full potential. (PS: Don’t force anyone to hug you. Make sure it’s consensual.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Have you been genuinely amazed anytime recently? Have you done something truly amazing? If not, it’s time to play catch-up. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you need and deserve exciting adventures that boggle your soul in all the best ways. You should be wandering out on the frontiers and tracking down provocative mysteries. You could grow even smarter than you already are if you expose yourself to challenges that will amaze you and inspire you to be amazing.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I invite you to perform a magic spell that will help prepare you for the rich, slippery soul work you have ahead of you. I’ll offer a suggestion, but feel free to compose your own ritual. First, go outside where it’s raining or misting, or find a waterfall. Stand with your legs apart and arms spread out as you turn your face up toward the falling moisture. As you drink it

in, tell yourself you will be extra fluid and flowing in the coming weeks. Promise yourself you will stimulate and treasure succulent feelings. You will cultivate the sensation that everything you need is streaming in your direction.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You are gliding into the climax of your re-education about togetherness, intimacy, and collaboration. The lessons you’ve been learning have deepened your reservoir of wisdom about the nature of love. And in the coming weeks, even further teachings will arrive; even more openings and invitations will be available. You will be offered the chance to earn what could in effect be a master’s degree in relationships. It’ll be challenging work, but rewarding and interesting. Do as best as you can. Don’t demand perfection from yourself or anyone else.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Now is not a favorable phase to gamble on unknown entities. Nor should you allow seemingly well-meaning people to transgress your boundaries. Another Big No: Don’t heed the advice of fear-mongers or nagging scolds, whether they’re inside or outside your head. On the other hand, dear Scorpio, the coming weeks will be an excellent time for the following actions. 1. Phase out attachments to alliances and love interests that have exhausted their possibilities. 2. Seek the necessary resources to transform or outgrow a frustrating fact about your life. 3. Name truths that other people seem intent on ignoring and avoiding. 4. Conjure simple, small, slow, practical magic to make simple, small, slow, practical progress.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Falling in love is fun! It’s also exciting, enriching, inspiring, transformative, world-shaking, and educational. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could keep falling in love anew three or four times a year for as long as we live? We might always be our best selves, showing our most creative and generous sides, continually expanding our power to express our soulful intelligence. Alas, it’s not practical or realistic to always be falling in love with another new person. Here’s a possible alternative: What if we enlarged our understanding of what we could fall in love with? Maybe we would become perpetually infatuated with brilliant teachings, magical places, high adventures, and great art and music. The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to cultivate this skill.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I’m perplexed by spiritual teachers who fanatically preach the doctrine that we should BE HERE NOW as much as possible. Living with full enjoyment in the present moment is a valuable practice,

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I suspect you will soon have far more beginners’ luck than you ever thought possible. For best results — to generate even more wildly abundant torrents of good luck — you could adopt what Zen Buddhists called “beginner’s mind.” That means gazing upon everyone and everything as if encountering it for the first time. Here are other qualities I expect to be flowing freely through you in the coming weeks: spontaneity, curiosity, innocence, candor, and unpredictability. To the degree that you cultivate these states, you will invite even more beginner’s luck into your life.

but dismissing or demeaning the past is shortsighted. Our lives are forged from our histories. We should revere the stories we are made of, visit them regularly, and keep learning from them. Keep this in mind, Capricorn. It’s an excellent time to heal your memories and to be healed by them. Cultivate deep gratitude for your past as you give the old days all your love. Enjoy this quote from novelist Gregory Maguire: “Memory is part of the present. It builds us up inside; it knits our bones to our muscles and keeps our heart pumping. It is memory that reminds our bodies to work, and memory that reminds our spirits to work, too: it keeps us who we are.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Controversial author William S. Burroughs was a rough, tough troublemaker. But he had some wisdom that will soon be extra useful for you. He said that love is the best natural painkiller available. I bring this to your attention not because I believe you will experience more pain than the rest of us in the coming months. Rather, I am predicting you will have extra power to alleviate your pain — especially when you raise your capacity to give and receive love.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The planet Saturn entered Pisces in March 2023 and won’t depart for good until February 2026. Is that a bad thing or good thing for you Pisceans? Some astrologers might say you are in a challenging time when you must make cutbacks and take on increased responsibility. I have a different perspective. I believe this is a phase when you can get closer than ever before to knowing exactly what you want and how to accomplish what you want. In my view, you are being called to shed secondary wishes that distract you from your life’s central goals. I see this period as a homecoming — your invitation to glide into robust alignment with your soul’s code.

We help Mid-South nonprofits succeed. DO GOOD. BETTER. 901.726.5725

Be Gay, Do Crimes

I’m a sucker for a good lm noir, or even a mediocre lm noir that pushes all the right buttons. Director Rose Glass’ new ick, Love Lies Bleeding, has got my number. Glass, whose rst lm for A24 was the psychological horror Saint Maud, has studied the classics, and it shows. But Love Lies Bleeding is a neo-noir that uses the form as a jumping-o point, rather than being shackled to the past.

When we rst meet Lou (Kristen Stewart), she is shackled to her past. She’s working at a gym in small town Texas, somewhere near the Mexican border. Much of her job entails bailing out a toilet that is perpetually clogged by the pumped up patrons. Some of that foul bowel activity may be the side e ects of the black market steroids she slings on the side. e year is 1989, so it’s not a great time for Lou to be an out lesbian in Texas. en Jackie (Katy O’Brian) walks in.

Love Lies Bleeding is a neo-noir that uses the form as a jumping-off point.

Jackie is an aspiring bodybuilder from Oklahoma, who happens to be currently homeless. In one great early shot, she does pull-ups on a pipe under a bridge while trucks rumble by overhead. She gets a job at the local shooting range by showing the manager J.J. (Dave Franco) a good time in the park-

ing lot of the club. Before she even has a place to stay, she uses the money to join Lou’s gym. Jackie’s ultimate goal is to compete in a bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas, and from the looks of her extremely stacked body, she’s got a shot at a trophy.

Lou certainly notices Jackie’s assets, and a er the two of them run o some alpha males who aren’t bright enough to realize they’re barking up the wrong tree, they fall into bed together. Glass has a lot of fun shooting the sex scenes, bathing these two unconventional beauties in blue light like an erotic thriller from the 1980s. Over a morning-a er omelette, Jackie admits she doesn’t have a place to stay and asks if she can crash on the couch. Lou makes clear that’s not where she’ll be sleeping.

Another 1980s trash cinema trick Glass has down pat is the training

Katy O’Brian

montage set to pop music. I’m sure they would have loved to have had “Eye of the Tiger” play while pushing in on Jackie’s ripping muscles, but Clint Mansell’s pulsing electronic score gets the point across nicely. Jackie’s single-minded pursuit of physical perfection gets a boost when Lou introduces her to steroids. Unfortunately, this new chemical enhancement proves destabilizing to Jackie’s already fragile psyche. Glass uses ashes of psychedelia to draw us into her deteriorating mental state. e gun range where Jackie works just happens to be owned by Lou’s estranged father Lou Sr. (Ed Harris) who, it turns out, is us-

ing the range as a front for his gunrunning operation, supplying weapons to Colombian drug cartels. ere’s always an element of Greek tragedy in a good lm noir, where the characters carry their doom in them, just adjacent to their strength. Lou Sr. teaching a woman in the throes of spiraling steroidal psychosis to use a gun certainly quali es. Lou’s cut the old man off, but she keeps in touch with her older sister Beth (Jena Malone), who is being brutally abused by her husband J.J., the amorous gun range manager. When J.J. puts Beth in the hospital, and Lou finds out about Jackie’s prior carnal knowledge of J.J., the pressure becomes too much, and Jackie lashes out. The repercussions of her violence spread through this small town in true noir fashion, with framing, counterframing, bushwhacking, and betrayal around every corner.

Glass’ direction is con dent and occasionally daring, and her two leads sizzle o the screen. e ending swerves hard toward the magical in a way I’m still not sure I’m on board with. Film noir is outwardly cynical, but the greats, like Out of the Past, always have a romantic core — even if the re of love ultimately consumes the lovers. Compared to the corrupt world of Love Lies Bleeding, Lou and Jackie’s toxic relationship looks downright healthy.

Love Lies Bleeding is now playing at Malco Collierville, Paradiso, Stage, and Wo chase cinemas.

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Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian’s romance turns deadly in Love Lies Bleeding and Kristen Stewart sizzle o the screen in their portrayal of a toxic relationship.

Our critic picks the best films in theaters.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Following up on Ghostbusters: Afterlife, this one reunites Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, and Carrie Coon as the Spengler family who leave Oklahoma to return to the old firehouse HQ in NYC. They arrive just in time to battle a new supernatural threat that will freeze the world with fear.

Kung Fu Panda 4

Jack Black is back as Po, the Dragon Warrior who is ready to ascend to a higher plane of existence, according to his master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). He takes on a new sidekick Zhen the fox (Awkwafina) to help defeat Chameleon (Viola Davis), the shape-shifting sorceress, and her army of lizards.


Sydney Sweeney stars as Cecilia, a nun sent to a new convent where something is clearly amiss. When she becomes pregnant, although still a virgin, Father Sal Tedeschi (Alvaro Morte) reveals that the real purpose of this convent is to breed a new Jesus from cloned tissue recovered from one of the nails that pierced the savior’s flesh. What could possibly go wrong?

Dune: Part Two

Half a billion dollars worth of Frank Herbert fans can’t be wrong! Paul (Timothée Chalamet) fights against his fate alongside his lover Chani (Zendaya) as they battle the Harkonnens’ occupation of Dune, led by the psychotic Feyd (Austin Butler). Denis Villeneuve’s sand wormy sequel is the best sci-fi film since Mad Max: Fury Road.

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The Votes That Count

People power will always win, but it has to be exercised.

In the U.S. there are elections because of our Constitution. ere is political bantering over everything, including whether the U.S. is much of a democracy or not. But, make no mistake, starting from the Declaration of Independence, when omas Je erson wrote, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,” the vote has always been important, and who, what, when, where, why, and how people vote has always been controversial.

ere is no shortage of questions about electoral politics. Speaking with a friend recently I heard about a plot to steal the election by allowing immigrants to vote. It struck me that such claims are both unremarkable (complaints about immigrants and illegal immigrants voting being commonplace, with Trump and others making them since 2016) and ignorant of history. Alien su rage — the voting of noncitizens — was the norm for most of the country for a long time, even predating the establishment of the U.S. It was common practice from 1704 to 1926 (when it was banned state-by-state) and was not explicitly prohibited by U.S. law until the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. It was not addressed in the U.S. Constitution. State laws for non-federal elections still vary, and there are states where aliens can vote for local and state o ces and referenda.

Recent cases about whether states can remove Trump from the ballot are another example. Just as electoral politics changed in the 1920s, a er World War I, politics changed following the Civil War. e current arguments being made to keep Trump o the ballot use rules put in place to prevent leaders of the Confederacy from attempting to return to elected o ce or hold power in the public trust. ey could not be trusted to honor sworn oaths.

It is not some liberal conspiracy: six Colorado voters — four Republicans and two una liated — brought the lawsuit. e lead plainti was 91-year-old Republican Norma Anderson, who says, “Our democracy is too precious to let a Donald Trump be president and destroy it.” It is easy to forget that the case Trump v. Anderson was a test of legal principles. Does the Constitution (the 14th Amendment, Section 3 in this case) mean what it appears to say, or can legal experts manipulate the language and obfuscate it out of practical application?

e challenge is real. On the one hand we have legal requirements that must balance competing values and principles. On the other we have clear interests and desires, and people regularly disagree about what they want. Ideally, we would be able to trust in due process, but the Supreme Court is now stacked. A quick review of cases like Dred Scott v. Sandford, Bowers v. Hardwick, Plessy v. Ferguson, Buck v. Bell, and Korematsu v. United States showcases the appalling willingness of the Supreme Court to allow the prejudicial restriction of rights and freedoms, depending upon the makeup of the court at those times.

Why should anyone expect fair judicial review from justices who’ve lied about things like reproductive rights?

e presidential election is a practice unlike any other. Candidates ultimately compete for electors in an electoral college — which means the candidate who wins the popular national vote may not win the election (e.g., Hillary Clinton beating Trump in 2016 by some 2.8 million votes but losing the Electoral College vote, plus four others who lost the popular vote but won an election thanks to the Electoral College: John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and George W. Bush). In most of the rest of our democracy, we have a principle of equality; Reynolds v. Sims held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment includes “one-person, one-vote.” But the president is not chosen by the popular vote; George W. Bush and Donald Trump both lost the popular vote but managed to become president.

More and more I wonder whose votes count? If you rate voter importance by the attention candidates give them, for example, you discover a hyper-focus on swing states. It is easy to track campaign stops and advertising spending, and it makes sense that candidates spend their time trying to earn the votes of voters that will make the most di erence. It is predictable: the closer the polling, the more attention the geography will receive. But safe states receive no campaign attention at all (in 2020 there were 33 safe states).

It is winner-take-all, and it is good to be a winner. I just fear that this all further drives the polarization that is tearing our social fabric apart.

ere are many voicing legitimate grievances and fears over a candidate who has declared an interest in being a dictator. It is worth remembering that when We the People disagree, we can petition the government and force change. If we decide that we want all our votes counted, we can demand su rage. If we decide we want all our votes counted equally, we can demand an end to the Electoral College. If we want to keep insurrectionists o the ballot, we can demand Congress enforce the Fourteenth Amendment.

People power will always win. But it has to be exercised, not simply le on the table for others to grab.

Wim Laven, Ph.D., syndicated by PeaceVoice, teaches courses in political science and con ict resolution.

PHOTO: MARIA DRYFHOUT | DREAMSTIME.COM We the People can bring about change.
LAST WORD By Wim Laven
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