Memphis Flyer 5/2/2024

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THE MEMPHIS FLYER is published weekly by Contemporary Media, Inc., P.O. Box 1738, Memphis, TN 38101

Phone: (901) 521-9000

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Editor’s note: Other writers may occasionally share this space.

I’ve been sitting on this story for a bit, just waiting for a chance to work it into a column. at time has come, my friends. It’s the tale of one Reginald Cook, 26, who allegedly attempted to rob a Shell convenience store on Elvis Presley Boulevard — three times — on the night of April 14th.

e o cial Memphis Police Department report states that Cook went into the station around 2 a.m. and demanded money from the clerk. e clerk told police that Cook kept reaching into his clothing, indicating that he had a weapon. e clerk didn’t buy the ruse and told Cook to scram.

A few minutes later, Cook returned, again demanding money and again reaching into his clothes as though he might have a weapon. And again, the clerk was having none of it and told Cook to leave the store. is is where the story takes a turn.

At 3:05 a.m., Cook returned once again to the scene of his Kabuki Krimes. Only this time he had a live, ve-foot-long snake wrapped around his neck. Emboldened, he shouted, “Gimme all your money or I’ll unleash my attack snake, you bastard!!!” Or words to that e ect, one presumes.

By this time, the clerk was getting boa-ed by the whole thing and pulled out a handgun, taking Cook and his slithery sidekick into custody.

Only in Memphis (or maybe Florida). Seriously, Cook has to be one of the dumbest crooks of all time. Who did he think he was going to fool? Anyone could see that snake was unarmed. Heh.

e cops soon arrived and hauled Cook o to jail, charging him with attempted robbery and a reptile dysfunction. A er letting the snake make one phone coil, the police let him slide on his own recognizance, mainly because they were unable to get cu s on him.

Speaking of dumb crooks and animals … How about South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, the evil creep who outed herself in her own book last week as a puppy killer. And a goat killer. And god knows what else, at this point.

Noem’s book — No Going Back: e Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward — will be published next month, but obtained an advance copy and revealed the literal money shot: Noem shot and killed her 14-month-old dog, Cricket, because she was “untrainable.”

In her book, Noem describes taking Cricket, a wirehaired pointer, on a pheasant hunt with older dogs, hoping they would calm the young dog down. It didn’t work. Noem writes that Cricket was “going out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life” and “ruining the hunt.” Little did Cricket know it would be the last “time of her life.”

On the way home, Noem writes that she stopped at a farm and Cricket got out of her truck and killed some of the farmer’s chickens. Noem writes that Cricket was “the picture of pure joy” during her spree. “I hated that dog,” Noem says, adding that Cricket had proved herself “untrainable” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog.” So, when Noem got home, she led the unsuspecting (and probably still joyful) Cricket to a gravel pit and shot her. As one does, apparently, when one is a “farmer” from South Dakota. Or Hell.

en, since Kristi was already in a killin’ state of mind, she went and got a goat that “smelled of urine” and had “knocked her kids down and ruined their clothes,” and executed it, as well. She had to go back to her truck and get another shell, she writes, since she only wounded the goat with the rst shot.

Noem is angling to be Donald Trump’s running mate. She’s fond of posting pictures of herself with dead animals: bears, elk, deer, pheasant. I doubt that she posed with her dead pup but I wouldn’t be shocked. Noem says that she included the animal assassination story in her book to show her willingness to do “anything di cult, messy, and ugly” if it needs to be done. So far, she’s had plastic surgery, dental implants, and an a air with former Trump operative Corey Lewandowski, so she’s three-for-three. Kristi Noem is scum.

Bruce VanWyngarden brucev@memphis

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MEM ernet

Memphis on the internet.


State House

Majority Leader Rep. William Lamberth

celebrated the end of this year’s legislative session with the above photo. (Sine die is Latin for, basically, the end of a meeting with no scheduled return date.)

“It has been and continues to be a phenomenal honor to serve you,” he tweeted.

Most of the comments were not kind. “Pig,” wrote one. “You know no honor,” tweeted another. “You served no one but dark money and big business,” another commented.


“ e European mind cannot comprehend how much history and culture is just in Memphis,” tweeted Mr. Sound Dobad.

is image has been oating around the MEMernet recently. e story is that in 1949 a woman was dropping o lm to be developed and had one frame le on her roll. She saw a boy on the sidewalk, asked him to pose with his bike, and took his picture. at boy was … Elvis (mind-blown emoji here).

Questions, Answers + Attitude


Vouchers, Armed Teachers, & Buc-ee’s

Gov.’s education deal dead, guns in the classroom, and Beaver Nuggets headed to Fayette County.


In the end, the gulf between competing school voucher bills in Tennessee’s legislature was just too wide to cross.

Gov. Bill Lee acknowledged last week that his push to create a universal school voucher program — which had been on the ropes for more than a month — was dead for the year a er Republican leaders in the Tennessee House and Senate were unable to break through disagreements about testing and funding.

e Republican governor vowed to return with another plan next year and added that he’s disappointed for families “who will have to wait yet another year for the freedom to choose the right education for their child.”


Protesters screamed “blood on your hands!”, then lay down on the oor of the Tennessee State Capitol as if they were victims of gun violence, a er lawmakers passed legislation Tuesday to let some teachers and sta carry guns at school.

In between, House Speaker Cameron Sexton paused business in the House of Representatives and ordered state troopers to clear the spectator gallery of protesters.

e 68-28 vote came one year a er an intruder shot and killed three children and three adults at a Nashville school, prompting mass protests by gun control advocates and ongoing calls for tighter gun laws.

But instead of restricting gun access in one of America’s most gun-friendly states, the GOP-controlled legislature is sending Republican Gov. Bill Lee a bill that would expand it.


Buc-ee’s is promised to land in Fayette County soon.

News of the gas station/restaurant/store/jerky bar/cleanbathroom haven/not-a-truck-stop/roadside phenomenon came from state Sen. Page Walley (R-Savannah). e location is slated to be at I-40’s exit 28 in Galloway.


With Gov. Bill Lee’s signature, Tennessee last week became

the rst state in the nation to establish the right of adults who claim moral or religious objections to LGBTQ identity to foster and adopt LGBTQ kids.

In the days since the law became e ective, the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) has shelved a 10-year-old policy that said children in state custody must receive care that “promotes dignity and respect for all children/youth and families inclusive of their gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.” New guidelines are set to come soon.

e law’s passage has raised alarms among advocates for LGBTQ youth in Tennessee and elsewhere, who say it upends a central principle of child welfare systems: prioritizing the best interest of a child. Instead, they say, the law gives greater weight to a prospective parent’s religious and moral beliefs over the need of a child for a loving, safe, and supportive home.


e Tennessee House defeated a controversial antireparations bill last week. e bill would have stopped counties from looking into reparations and disbursing money to those whose family members were enslaved. e legislation was sponsored by Sen. Brent Taylor (R-Memphis) and Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge).

Tennessee Lookout and Chalkbeat Tennessee contributed to this report.

Visit the News Blog at memphis for fuller versions of these stories and more local news.

4 May 2-8, 2024
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Death for Child Rapists

Opponents question motives behind new legislation adding the death penalty to child rape sentences.

GOP lawmakers still want to kill child rapists in Tennessee and while laws to do it passed both the state House and Senate, death penalty opponents question motives behind the legislation.

If the governor signs the bill, adults over the age of 18 could face the death penalty if they rape a child under the age of 12. However, judges could also levy lesser punishments to those convicted.

e legislation was sponsored by two powerful lawmakers: House Majority Leader Rep. William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin).

e House version of the bill passed last Tuesday. e Senate version passed earlier this month.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court said a similar idea from Louisiana was “not proportional punishment for the crime of child rape.” In a Tennesseean op-ed published last Monday, Johnson said he sponsored the legislation “in an e ort to challenge the 2008 Supreme Court ruling.” at part rang a sour note for Tennesseeans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP) which said the statement shows “what this bill is really about.”

wherever it appears in current law and replaces it with “an o ense punishable by death.” is would add child rape this year. But it seems to crack the door open for lawmakers to add other o enses in the future.

For now, though, Johnson and Lamberth are focused on child rapists, whom Johnson called “monsters” in his op-ed.

“Child rape is the most disgraceful, indefensible act one can commit, leaving lasting emotional and psychological wounds on its victims,” he wrote. “As a legislator, and more importantly, as a human being, our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable comes rst.”

However, the notion of upending the Supreme Court ruling was on Lamberth’s mind even as he presented the House version of the bill earlier this year. He vowed then to ght for its implementation in court. He noted that in 2008 the court’s ruling came because “not enough states had this type of penalty on the books.”

“Bottom line: is bill is about overturning Supreme Court precedent and not about protecting our children,” reads an email newsletter sent from the group last Tuesday. “If protecting kids was the priority, then lawmakers would listen to the child service providers who continue to publicly share their concerns that this legislation will only chill the reporting of this crime since 90 percent of o enders are family or friends of the child. It will also trap children in decades of capital litigation that will only serve to re-traumatize them, particularly if they have to testify over and over again.”

“We’ve seen other decisions by the Supreme Court overturned,” Lamberth said. “I believe this particular makeup of the court leans more towards states’ rights.”

Death penalty executions remain on hold in Tennessee a er a scathing report in December 2022 found numerous problems with the state’s execution protocols.

Such legislation is on-brand for the GOP’s tough-on-crime platform. Conservative lawmakers believe the threat of death is equal to some crimes and their laws may make some reconsider their actions. But the bill could also open a big door for lawmakers down the road.

Current law says a “defendant guilty of rst degree murder” must get a sentencing hearing in which they’ll get the death penalty, a life sentence, or a life sentence without the possibility of parole. is GOP bill removes “ rst degree murder”

Two death penalty bills failed in the legislature last year. One would have added ring squads to the state’s options for executions. Another would have brought more transparency to the execution process.

One death penalty bill passed last year. It gave the attorney general control over post-conviction proceedings in capital cases, rather than the local district attorneys. at bill was ruled unconstitutional in July by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan.

6 May 2-8, 2024
PHOTO: MARIA OSWALT | UNSPLASH e bill is headed to the governor’s desk.
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‘All Hands on Deck’

DA Mulroy and county o cials strive for a meeting of minds on the crime problem.

How much of the current sense that Memphis and Shelby County are threatened by a crime tsunami is a matter of perception, and how much is based on fact? at was one of the issues focused on during a summit in Bartlett last week in which DA Steve Mulroy and o cials and other representatives of the outer county confronted both each other and the fear that things are getting out of control.

e roundtable meeting, hosted by Bank of Bartlett president Harold Byrd, was held last ursday at the Bartlett campus of the College of Applied Technology (TCAT). ere was a palpable sense of urgency to the event, conducted in the immediate a ermath of the shooting death of MPD Ofcer Joseph McKinney and a lethal re- ght at an Orange Mound block party.

positive one, and we all pray that the trend goes down, but the absolute level of crime is still unacceptable, right?”

ere was general agreement on the point and on other aspects of the moment, including the e ect of rising crime concerns on retarding economic progress and the contention of Millington Chamber of Commerce o cial Terry Roland that Memphis was the only Tennessee city to lose population last year. “We’re the stopping point,” Roland said, suggesting that Shelby County’s outer communities were a major factor in restraining even more dramatic population loss.

Mulroy took the opportunity to outline to the group various emergency crimecontrol procedures that his o ce was undertaking, and he cited a new report from the Shelby County Crime Commission showing that crime statistics had actually receded during the last quarter of 2023 and the rst quarter of 2024.

Among others, Mayor Mike Wissman of Arlington was skeptical. “What you give us sounds good on paper. … But we’re not seeing that. I mean, every time we turn on the TV, the rst ve stories are all crime. And most of them [involve] repeat o enders. … It all sounds great. But we’re not seeing results. It’s very frustrating.”

Mayor Stan Joyner of Collierville also disputed “all the talk that crime is down,” suggesting that newly released repeat o enders were beating arresting o cers back home from court to renew their illegal activities.

“I share your frustration,” Mulroy said, noting that violent crime had been building steadily for a decade in Shelby County before he took o ce. “I will tell you this, it’s absolutely the case that I nd what’s going on right now unacceptable. And I’m trying to do everything that I can to bend that curve.”

As for the apparently reassuring crime statistics, Mulroy said, “ ey may be true, but they’ve gone down from an unacceptably high level. And so the trend may be a

Said Mulroy: “I get it that we want to avoid the vicious cycle of, you know, crime perception leading to less investment leading to less prosperity, leading to more poverty into more crime. We de nitely do not want to get in that vicious cycle, which is why we need an all hands on deck approach. … I totally agree that we need to stop pointing ngers, and we need to start joining hands. And we need to show a uni ed front to the state. You know, let’s gure out what it is we want from the state on a consensus basis and then try to go get it.”

Bartlett Chamber of Commerce president John readgill made an e ort to put the crime problem in a more general context: “We’re in fairly good company, y’all. We’re ranked in the top 10 as far as violent crime, but we’re in there with St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Baltimore. ere’s a lot of cities out there that have the same issues we have. We’re not the only ones. I’m a native of Nashville. And I can guarantee you folks in Nashville think they have too much crime.”

All in all, that was the import of last week’s meeting, that crime was everybody’s problem and, locally and even statewide, communities were in this together.

8 May 2-8, 2024
PHOTO: JACKSON BAKER DA Mulroy with Bartlett Mayor David Parsons and Millington Chamber director Terry Roland
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Division of Exceptional Children and Health Services



Child Find is a statewide e ort by the State Department of Education and the Department of Rehabilitation Services to locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities from birth to 21. Memphis Shelby County Schools Department of Exceptional Children and Health Services works closely with the community service agencies, parents, and local education agencies to locate and identify children with disabilities.


• A health or a medical disorder interferes with the child’s development and or learning.

• A child seems to have di culty seeing or hearing.

• A child appears to have social, emotional, or behavioral di culties that a ect his/her ability to learn or interact with others.

• A child has a diagnosed progressive or degenerative condition that will eventually interfere with the child’s ability to learn.

• A child seems to have di culty understanding directions like other children that are his/her age.

• Family or friends do not understand a child’s speech.


Children may be referred by any of the following:

• Parents/legal guardians

• Other family members

• Physicians

• School Personnel

• Childcare providers

• Community Agencies

• TEIS sta


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More Than Money

Five non-monetary things to consider when planning for retirement.

s you plan for retirement, it’s important to focus on having enough assets to live the life you want. Money and assets are just tools we use to express personal values and highlight what we view as important.

In the years leading up to retirement (or at any stage of life), be sure to focus on the things that will bring you joy, meaning, and fulfillment throughout the next chapter of life.


You may have scrimped, saved, and invested your entire adult life to prepare for retirement, but what does it matter if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy your golden years? As you plan for your financial future, don’t forget to take care of your physical health.

Not only can a healthy lifestyle lead to a more fulfilling retirement but it can also help lower your retirement healthcare expenses and free up more money for enjoyable experiences. As an added potential benefit, your fitness journey may even lead to new hobbies as you transition into your retirement years.


It can be difficult to transition from the workforce, where you’re constantly surrounded by people, to a relatively solitary life. Social isolation can lead to multiple emotional and healthrelated issues, including depression, anxiety, and dementia. Even if you have a spouse to keep you company, you may benefit from spending time with friends outside your home.

In the years leading up to retirement, it’s important to start developing friendships with others. Consider seeking companionship through common interests. Perhaps you enjoy golfing, volunteering, or painting. Make an effort to connect with other people you encounter in these settings, and work to build some friendships prior to retiring.


Speaking of interests, retirees often find fulfillment by participating in hobbies. Have you always wanted to take up golf? Write a book? Try your hand at pickleball? Learn to throw a ceramic pot? Retirement is the time to do it! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try something new. As you begin to explore new hobbies, try lots of new things and experiences — but don’t be afraid to quit quickly and try something new!


Few retirees are done pursuing their goals after they leave the workforce. In fact, those who are most satisfied in retirement continue to have a clear sense of purpose in their lives — a mission that guides their actions. While it’s important to relax and have fun in retirement, it’s also important to find a sense of purpose and continue finding meaning in your daily life.

You may find purpose by continuing to work in retirement. Or perhaps you’re driven to volunteer with an organization that’s near and dear to your heart. Maybe your purpose comes from spending time with loved ones, caring for relatives, or teaching your grandchildren special skills.

It can be helpful to write down your purpose and view each action through the lens of “does this help me move toward my purpose or away from it?” You might be surprised how many decisions you make out of inertia or neglect and not in pursuit of your purpose!


Practicing gratitude can have a big impact on both your physical and emotional health. The benefits of gratitude include:

• Lower stress

• Improved sleep

• Lower blood pressure

• A stronger immune system

• An improved ability to identify and regulate emotions

• Higher emotional intelligence

• More positive feelings

• Better connections with others

To find more fulfillment in retirement, make an effort to regularly reflect on the people and things you’re grateful for. Be grateful for small things, such as the sun shining on your face, as well as big things, like the birth of a new grandchild. Taking time to recognize and appreciate the things that bring you joy can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life at any stage in your journey. 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 firms providing comprehensive wealth management services to ensure all elements of a client’s financial life are working together, including investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management. For more information or to request a free, no-obligation consultation, visit

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“It must be something in the water” is a phrase you o en hear when the subject of Memphis music arises. It resonates because the beats, bards, and blues springing from this city for over a century have a mysterious power matched only by the majesty of the Big Muddy itself, our sounds evolving over time like a river in its banks, their shape-shi ing ows connecting north and south, east and west, old and new alike. Setting a music festival on the Mississippi’s banks was the stroke of genius that de ned the Beale Street Music Festival (BSMF) for decades. Now a new player is keeping it there, and it’s called RiverBeat.

Spring: A Time for Music

A kind of imperative informed the founding of RiverBeat Music Festival

in its infancy — the feeling that, regardless of the promoters or the festival’s name, when spring comes to Memphis, some kind of music must be made at the water’s edge. So when Kevin Grothe, vice president of sponsorships for the nonpro t Memphis in May, announced last October in an email to media outlets that “the Board of Directors has made the very di cult decision to suspend the Beale Street Music Festival in 2024,” many felt a powerful sense of loss.

ere was even some bitterness evident in the announcement, as James L. Holt, Memphis in May president

and CEO, noted that, as well as losing nearly three and a half million dollars due to low attendance in 2023, BSMF was being sued for $1.4 million in property damages by the Memphis River Parks Partnership. “With a pending lawsuit and the event now unwelcomed in the new Tom Lee Park, future Beale Street Music Festivals will face fundamental challenges,” he wrote.

But the Memphis River Parks Partnership (MRPP) clearly wasn’t


opposed to music by the river in principle. Within days, MRPP president Carol Coletta had announced that Forward Momentum, the private company behind the Mempho Music Festival and Mempho Presents, would be taking the reins. “With its successful track record and deep nancial strength, Forward Momentum was a great t for a signature music event in Memphis,” she said.

Indeed, as Mempho Presents spokesman Je Bransford says today, the MRPP actively sought out the company, which by then had a presumably successful track record with the Mempho Music Festival every October since 2017, as well as growing success in promoting one-o shows through the year. “We were approached to ll the gap in springtime and we jumped at the opportunity to do it,” he notes.

And “jumped” is the right word, as the Mempho team had only a few scant months to book the open weekend in May. “We’ve been dealing with a

12 May 2-8, 2024

very compressed timetable to get year one o the ground,” Bransford says, but he is clearly proud of what they accomplished. e lineup has “a little wider demo[graphic] compared to what we’ve traditionally done at Mempho. at means more urban, more pop, and more country types of things that typically we have not done as much of.”

Now, with headliners like Odesza, the Fugees, and Jelly Roll topping the bill at Tom Lee Park each night, May 3rd through May 5th, it seems Mempho Presents has pulled o the impossible in a very short time, with the momentum of over four decades’ worth of gatherings by the river maintained and only growing.

Take Us to the River, Boo

One noticeable di erence between RiverBeat and the BSMF is the lack of focus on the blues. e Blues Tent, once a xture in the older festival due to its roots on Beale Street, is no more. And yet, as if to compensate, the city’s legacy of R&B and soul music is more present than ever. As Grammy-winning producer/engineer Boo Mitchell notes, that can be summed up in just ve words: “Take Me to the River.” at’s the title of the 1974 Al Green hit produced by Boo’s dad, Willie Mitchell, of course, but since 2014 it’s also served as a catch-all title for projects in lm, music production, and education that are deeply connected to Memphis music history. It started as the brainchild of North Mississippi Allstar Cody Dickinson and director Martin Shore, who wanted to connect the legendary blues and soul musicians of Memphis with younger artists. e resulting lm documented the in-studio creative collaborations between Mavis Staples, Snoop Dogg, Al Kapone, Frayser Boy, Yo Gotti, Lil’ P-Nut, Otis Clay, Bobby Rush, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Charles “Skip” Pitts, and William Bell, all underpinned by the Hi Rhythm Section, who had played on the original Hi Records hit from which

the lm took its title.

Take Me to the River, the lm, then grew into a franchise of sorts, leading to years of touring, a similar lm pairing classic New Orleans players with younger artists, and an educational curriculum developed with the Berklee College of Music. Now a third lm, Take Me to the River: London, is in the works. Yet for Boo Mitchell, nothing can top the initial epiphany he had when the original lm was made. “ at movie changed my life,” he says. “I started working on the lm around 2011, about a year a er Pop [Willie] had passed away, and I didn’t really have any of my own [production] credits up until that point. And then my whole my career changed. e lm gave me a chance to show people what I was, what I could do.”

Now, 10 years on, Mitchell is especially proud to bring the Take Me to the River Live band to the RiverBeat stage, tying together multiple threads of Memphis music history. While technically not the headliners, their performance on Friday is arguably the heart and soul of the entire festival.

In part, that’s because of artists who died since the lm was made, singers Otis Clay and Bobby Bland and guitarists Skip Pitts and Teenie Hodges. e latter, brother to fellow Hi Rhythm players Charles and Leroy “Flic” Hodges, was critical to their unique sound and le some big shoes to ll. Yet Mitchell feels they’ve bounced back by adding someone from the younger generation.

“Now,” says Mitchell, “Hi Rhythm features Lina Beach, who is

o cially lling in the Teenie Hodges guitar spot. e band has adopted her as their sister. She’s the o cial guitarist and she’s also an artist. So she’ll be opening with Hi Rhythm because she’s working on an album at Royal [Studios] that I’m producing.” at alone keeps the current touring band true to the lm’s original mission of connecting generations, yet Take Me to the River Live will feature more legends than just Hi Rhythm (which also includes Archie “Hubbie” Turner and Steve Potts). “We’ll also have local hero Jerome Chism, who sings three nights a week at B.B. King’s Blues Club and is a really incredible performer,” Mitchell says. “ en next, Eric Gales. And then Carla omas, and lastly, the great William Bell.”

Hearing these virtuosos, including Gales’ stunning guitar work, plus originals by Beach and the classic hits associated with omas and Bell, just as dusk settles in on the Mississippi River, will surely be a charmed moment in Memphis musical history that may never be repeated.

The Memphis Flex

Yet Mitchell is excited about far more than just his own band’s performance. Because of his deep absorption in local music history, he can see Memphis refracted through most of the acts featured at RiverBeat. He rattles o the many acts who developed in Memphis only to achieve national recognition: e Band Camino, 8Ball & MJG, Al Kapone, Talibah Sa ya, Lawrence Matthews, Marcella Simien, the Lucky 7 Brass Band, Qemist, Mark Edgar Stuart, Salo Pallini, Bailey Bigger, Dirty Streets, and Southern Avenue. e latter, Mitchell notes, are the latest in a long history of Memphis success stories who have worked at Royal Studios. “ ey were in the studio the day before yesterday,” he says. “I recorded and mixed their new album. I mean, this is going to be a nextlevel record. And they’ve got a crazy tour coming up, opening for Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.” Festivals like RiverBeat, Mitchell notes, are the perfect training grounds for local bands like Southern Avenue to level up. “Putting local artists on big stages is so huge.” at’s always been in Mempho’s brief, and RiverBeat will be no di erent. e curated acts reach across generations and state lines alike, from the world-touring Don Bryant, who once wrote songs for Hi Records, then found success later in life fronting classic soul a cionados e Bo-Keys, to Rodd Bland’s tribute to his father, Bobby “Blue” Bland, to Mississippi acts who’ve long been associated with

continued on page 14

PHOTO: CALEB SUGGS Lina Beach PHOTO: RONNIE BOOZE Original Hi Rhythm members PHOTO: DJ RAMPAGE Kid Maestro with Lauryn Hill PHOTO: COURTESY MEMPHO PRESENTS Eric Gales

Memphis like Charlie Musselwhite, Kenny Brown, The Wilkins Sisters (who once backed up the late Rev. John Wilkins), and Jimbo Mathus. Looking at it this way, putting all this regional talent in front of thousands of music fans this weekend might be considered quite a flex for Memphis and the MidSouth. And no other festival compares to it in that sense.

Surprising Connections, and Making Memphis Proud

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that some of the other major names on the bill have deep Memphis connections. Mitchell vividly recalls his first encounter with Sacred Steel virtuoso Robert Randolph a decade ago. “I cut a record with him under the band name The Word, which is when Robert Randolph, the North Mississippi Allstars, and John Medeski got together. My aunt cooked for them during the sessions and they ended up naming the album Soul Food ,” Mitchell laughs.

in the Fugees’ RiverBeat show. “Right before this particular tour started,” he recalls, “they found the DAT tapes for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album. So we got to really break down the original stems in the live show. It was really cool.”

Now he’s living the dream of working with one of the most influential and creative hip-hop groups of all time. “My first time meeting the rest of the Fugees,” he says, “it just became immediately clear why they worked. They were so intensely creative and powerful. Their energy, simply being in the same space working on the same thing, was palpable. And it was inspiring to see how different they are as people.”

Another local tie-in, and perhaps the most consequential, is with festival headliners the Fugees. When the Memphis Flyer recently profiled producer Kid Maestro, who’s been a standout member of the Unapologetic collective for years, he revealed his enviable side gig as playback engineer for Ms. Lauryn Hill. Hill, of course, first gained prominence as the cofounder of the Fugees, with Wyclef Jean and Pras. When their second album, The Score, blew up in 1996, she became the first woman to win a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, then went on as a solo artist to craft one of the best-selling albums in history, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Hill has resumed performing in recent years, including extensive touring last year to celebrate Miseducation’s 25th anniversary. Along for the ride has been Kid Maestro, who, as playback engineer just offstage, is essentially a member of the band. Not often acknowledged, playback engineers are critical players in hip-hop performances.

“Ms. Hill’s needs are very unique in terms of playback engineering,” he says. “You’ve got to be super fast, paying attention, and when she puts her hand up to mute, you’ve got to be ready to stop with the band. Otherwise, if the band stops but there’s a beat playing in the background, it just doesn’t have that impact.”

He even interacted with hip-hop history on a very deep level with Hill, preparing him for his upcoming role

Other Memphis artists will be thrilling to the Fugees as well, albeit from the audience, or possibly backstage. Talibah Safiya makes it clear that they had a profound impact on her life and her art. “I grew up listening to them. Lauryn Hill has been a huge influence, as somebody who could both rap and sing so well. I don’t think we’d had anybody able to do both of those things at her level. And to be able to stand next to these men who are such incredible lyricists and rappers, the combination of them really has guided my understanding of blending genres, for sure. To be able to be on the same stage as the Fugees, I’m incredibly honored.”

As Boo Mitchell noted, sharing the stage with such stellar talent is a boon to any artist and will only help foster the local scene all the more. It’s part of what makes RiverBeat unique, and don’t be surprised if the city’s up-and-coming artists rise to the occasion and blow your socks off. “This RiverBeat festival is going to be something that Memphians are going to be proud of,” says Mitchell. “There’s never been anything like this in Memphis. There’s even going to be a Ferris wheel at the top of the hill! It’s going to be next-level.”

14 May 2-8, 2024
Providing boutique business and legal services to the arts, entertainment, and music community in Memphis and far beyond for over 35 years Bruce S. Newman. Attorney. CPA 1726 Madison Avenue. Memphis, TN 38104 (901) 272-9471 •
THERE’S EVEN GOING TO BE A FERRIS WHEEL! ” “ open THRU MAY 12 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.
continued from page 13

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We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews


Almost a third of U.S. adults have at least one tattoo, according to a 2023 Pew Research Center survey. at’s up by about 10 percent from 2012 and 17 percent from 2006. And while the popularity of tattoos certainly seems to be on the rise, their stigma declining, it’s more than a trend. It’s a visual art form, it’s a medium for storytelling, it’s an innately human activity, say the curators of the exhibit “Becoming More Myself: Reclamation rough Tattoo Art,” on display at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (AMUM).

Vanessa Waites, a local tattoo artist who earned her master’s in applied anthropology in 2023 from U of M, and current anthropology graduate student Caroline Warner collaborated on this exhibition with the hope to give the practice of tattooing “some institutional respect by putting it in an art museum,” Warner says, but more importantly to connect with the community, those tattooed and not.

For the show, 18 volunteer, mostly local participants shared their tattoo stories with the curators — their stories o en exploring themes of gender, body image, and trauma; their tattoos o ering a sense of bodily autonomy, a sense of “physical, psychological, and social transformation and self-acceptance.” “Tattoos,” says one participant, “are a reclamation of how I choose to show up in the world unapologetically.”

In a way, Waites says, “tattoos straddle this really interesting place between being intensely personal, but also for public consumption.” It can be a reminder for the individual of what they’ve overcome — like tattoos covering self-harm scars — or a visual act of resistance — like one participant whose thigh tattoos have given her the con dence to wear shorts a er years of insecurity. “My thighs are beautiful,” she says. “Tattoos are beautiful. Look at it or don’t look at it. I don’t care anymore because I want to see it.”

And, in “Becoming More Myself,” that’s what all these participants want — to be seen — for their tattoos to be seen and for their stories to be seen, the two intrinsically linked. e gallery space, in turn, becomes a space for vulnerability, bodies and personal truths laid bare. “As we had people come through the exhibition,” Warner says, “a erwards, I heard a lot of feedback of like, ‘Yeah, I got it. I connected with that person, this has changed my perspective, I understand, I’m glad I saw that.’” at was the point all along, Warner says. “ ese are your lawyers and your bartenders and your library clerks. ese are the people directly in your community as you’re walking through here. We’re hoping that people would be feeling more connected and feeling more aware of what it means to be Memphis.”

AMUM is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.


VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES May 2nd - 8th

May the Fourth Be With You Black Lodge, 405 N. Cleveland, Saturday, May 4, 2:45 p.m.-3 a.m. Join Black Lodge for a Star Wars tripleheader during the day, then costume up for an all-night Star Wars Cantina Dance Party later that night where you’ll enjoy an evening of cosplay, DJs, dancing, lightsaber duels, themed food and drinks, artist vendors, and more. You’ll never nd a more wretched hive of scum and villainy!

Here’s what will be screening: Solo: A Star Wars Story at 2:45 p.m., Revenge of the Sith at 5 p.m., and Rogue One at 7:30 p.m. Screenings are free to see.

e Sabacc tournament, the famed Star Wars card game, starts at 7 p.m. as does the lightsaber dueling competition with Memphis Armored Fight Club. Winners get prizes.

e dance party kicks o at 9:30 p.m. and is $10 to attend.

Beer Miles Bene ting Spay

Memphis & All 4s Rescue League Crosstown Concourse, 1350 Concourse Avenue, Sunday, May 5, 10 a.m., $40 Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and Global Cafe has the pawfect plan for you: a beer mile bene tting Spay Memphis and All 4s Rescue League.

Here’s how it works: Drink a beer, run a quarter mile, drink a beer, run a quarter mile, drink a beer, run a quarter mile, drink a beer, and run a quarter mile. at’s four beers and one mile of running, walking, waddling, or crawling.

Costumes welcome; outrageous costumes encouraged.

You must be 21 or older to participate. IDs will be checked. Registration includes four beers and a coupon for a free Juan Margarita ($10 value). Register at yedzm6f2.

Libration 2024 with the Memphis Library Foundation Wiseacre Brewing Company, 2784 Broad, Sunday, May 5, 2-5 p.m., $30/early bird admission for one; $50/early bird admission for two

Join the Memphis Library Foundation in an afternoon at Wiseacre celebrating your local libraries. Bring the family, friends, and the dog! Tickets only need to be purchased for those age 21 and up. (Guests under age 21 get in free.)

Tickets cover entry to the tent, live music from Turnstyles, and a free beer or a premade cocktail. There will be free activities for the kids, games for the family, and fun giveaways. All ticket proceeds go back to supporting the Memphis Public Libraries.

16 May 2-8, 2024
PHOTO: CHUCK WILSON Tattoo by Waites

Almost Famous

A roo op party with Almost Famous. ursday, May 2, 7 p.m.


DJ Flame

Saturday, May 4, 9 p.m.


DJ MarceauxMarceaux

An eclectic blend of electronic soundscapes and rave-friendly techno. Friday, May 3, 9 p.m.


Live at the Tracks:

Madaline Collins

With delicious food o erings, specialty drinks, and local cra beer. ursday, May 2, 6:30 p.m.


May The 4th Be With You: The Music Of Star Wars

As performed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Saturday, May 4, 2:30 p.m.


Super Freak: The Rick James Story

James’ turbulent lifestyle is brought to life in this musical extravaganza. Saturday, May 4, 3 p.m.


AFTER DARK: Live Music Schedule May 2 - 8

Brenna With Bandshee, Livid Noise, Hindsight Hero, and SACRED.

Friday, May 3, 7 p.m.

Food Truck Garden Party

Live music from Josh Cosby and Jeremy Stan ll. Wednesday, May 8, 5-8 p.m.


All Your Sins With Lenax and Murderachi. Saturday, May 4, 8 p.m. HI TONE

Almost Elton John & The RocketMen

Pianist/vocalist Jerred Price and his band. Friday, May 3, 7 p.m.



Friday, May 3, 10:30 p.m.


Ben Abney & The Hurts With Brennan Whalen. Saturday, May 4, 9 p.m.


Ben Nichols and Rick Steff (of Lucero)

Two legends from Lucero are teaming up to play a very special performance. Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m.



Cinco de Mayo at Overton Square

Traditional Mexican dancers, music by Alexis White and Mariachi Guadalajara, and a presentation by Cazateatro. Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m.


Cousin Curtiss

Rock Americana with a soulful drip. ursday, May 2, 8 p.m.; Friday, May 3, 10 p.m.


Debbie Jamison Band Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m.


Devil Train

ursday, May 2, 7 p.m.


Elevation Memphis: A Tina Turner Tribute Saturday, May 4, 5 p.m.


Emo Nite with Melissa Marie (Millionaires) Saturday, May 4, 9 p.m.


Fender Staxx

With Xero Hour, Sick Serenity, and Lost Soul. Sunday, May 5, 8 p.m.


Gavin DeGraw

$46. Tuesday, May 7, 8 p.m.


Goodbye June with Moon Fever ursday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.


Grace Askew with Mario Monterosso

Also featuring Mando Saenz. Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m. B-SIDE

Jim Snidero and The Ted Ludwig Trio DownBeat magazine says Snidero has “incredible prowess and tender musicality.”

Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 p.m.


Johnnie Taylor’s Heavenly 90th Birthday Celebration

Celebrating the singer’s life, legacy, and music on what would have been his 90th birthday. Sunday, May 5, 1 p.m.


Lucky 7 Brass Band

Some of the baddest of the bad musicians in Memphis. Saturday, May 4, 9 p.m.


Memphis Mojo

Sunday, May 5, 7 p.m.


Palm Ghosts & Bellhead: 2024 Tour

Dystopia Productions Presents: Palm Ghosts & Bellhead with DJs Evonech and Graveyard

Gloria. $15. Friday, May 3, 9 p.m. BLACK LODGE

Robert Traxler

With Pyrrhic Vic and Revenge Body. Wednesday, May 8, 8 p.m.


Roxi Love

Specializing in pop, country, classic rock, oldies, R & B, funk, reggae, hip-hop, and rap. Wednesday, May 8, 6 p.m.



With Grape and R.E.C.

(Jonesboro). Friday, May 3, 9 p.m.


The Alex Upton Quintet Memphis-based saxophonist Alex Upton plays original straight ahead jazz compositions. Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. THE GREEN ROOM AT CROSSTOWN ARTS

The CRYPT: Friends & Fishnets

Friday, May 3, 9 p.m. HI TONE

The Ephinjis With Mystic Light Casino, TV Yellow. $10. Sunday, May 5, 8 p.m.


Water From Your Eyes With Friko and Cloudland Canyon. Monday, May 6, 8 p.m. GROWLERS

Wyndrider With Sunweight and Deaf Revival. ursday, May 2, 8 p.m. HI TONE

Dylan LeBlanc With Ryan Culwell. ursday, May 2, 8 p.m.



Friday, May 3, 8 p.m.


William Tyler & Luke Schneider

Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m.


18 May 2-8, 2024
PHOTO: GRAHAM BURKS Cloudland Canyon


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


Art & Fashion: Runway at the Museum

Showcasing Memphis’ rising design talent, with more than 30 fashion designers and wearable art creators. $35. Friday, May 3, 6 p.m.


Rural Route Spring Open Studio Tour

Two intriguing art environments and two amazing ne art and pottery- lled studios. Friday, May 3, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, May 5, noon-5 p.m.



Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Bite By Bite

e poet and essayist explores the way food and drink evoke our associations and remembrances. Saturday, May 4, 2 p.m.


Cold War Country with author Joseph M. Thompson

Featuring Cold War Country: How Nashville’s Music Row and the Pentagon Created the Sound of American Patriotism. ursday, May 2, 7 p.m.




One of the nation’s hottest comedians and impressionists. $22.50-$60. Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.; Sunday, May 5, 8 p.m.



World of Plants Family Day

Discover how di erent cultures use plants through a variety of hands-on activities. Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


by Will Shortz No. 0218


1 Fortuneteller’s deck

6 Flabbergasted 10 Material for a rock climber’s harness

Collective bargaining side 15 ___ Hari (W.W. I spy)

16 Follow orders 17 “Sleep well!”

19 Actress Hathaway of “The Devil Wears Prada”

20 Australia’s unofficial national bird

21 Work from Keats or Shelley

22 Nut used to make marzipan

24 Content that has already been shared, as on a Reddit forum

27 Coastal county of England

28 Billy Idol hit that starts “Hey little sister, what have you done?”

32 Bullfighters’ entrance march

35 Stroke gently

Crankcase fluid


___ Enterprise

Secret ___ (metaphoric key to success) 41 Pal of Harry and Hermione 42 Corporate money V.I.P. 43 Henrik ___, “Hedda Gabler” playwright

Vegetarian spaghetti topper

49 Chicken holders

50 Bears witness (to)

54 Austin Powers, vis-à-vis James Bond

56 ___-Caps (candy)

57 Stocking stuffer?

58 Elderly

59 Graduation garb … or what the compound answers to 17-, 28- and 44-Across represent?

63 Birch or beech

64 Astronaut Shepard

65 Elements of a roll call

66 Minute or hour marker on a clock

67 Fey of comedy

68 iPhone maker

1 One doing piano repair

2 Japanese cartoon art genre

3 Assemble, as equipment

4 Cry of delight

5 Big bang maker

6 Surrounded by

7 $15/hour, maybe

8 Biblical verb suffix

9 Collection of figures for a statistical analysis

10 Meandered

11 Very annoying

12 Quaker William

13 Took a gander at

18 “Me? Never!”

23 ’60s hallucinogenic

25 “Never in the field of human conflict was so much ___ by so many to so few”: Churchill

Slipper or sandal

Females in wool

Last name of a trio of


Ruby Bridges-Hall will engage with young readers and their families by reading and signing her book at the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival.


Drink a Beer, Save a River

Every drink you enjoy will directly support protecting and preserving the Wolf River. Friday, May 3, 6-10 p.m.


Libration 2024 with the Memphis Library Foundation e Memphis Library Foundation is hosting an a ernoon of beer, games, and literacy to support local library branches. Bring the whole family. Only 21+ need to purchase tickets. $30/admission for 1 person (early bird), $50/admission for 2 people (early bird). Sunday, May 5, 2-5 p.m.


The Big Squeeze Food Truck Festival in The Grove at GPAC

Six food trucks, Memphis Jones on the DWAM Stage, free admission, and tons of fun. Saturday, May 4, 5-7:30 p.m.



May the Fourth Be With You ree lms, a Sabacc tournament, light saber dueling, and a dance party. Saturday, May 4, 2 p.m.


Monster Jam

Athletes and their 12,000-pound trucks in competitions of speed and skill. $26. Friday, May 3, 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, 1 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m.; Sunday, May 5, 2 p.m. LANDERS CENTER

Ruby Bridges Reading Festival

With book giveaways, children’s activities, and storytelling from children’s book authors. Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Spring Flicker Fest 2024 With live music from the Lucky 7 Brass Band. Saturday, May 4, 11 a.m.



A Monster Calls

irteen-year-old Conor’s mum’s is very sick and she’s not getting any better. en one night, a comes walking. $20-$25. Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 5, 2 p.m.


Blues in the Night e soul of the blues wails out full and strong in Blues in the Night, a scorching, Tony-nominated musical. rough May 5.


Steel Magnolias e bond among a group of Southern women shows as they deal with the good fortune and tragedy that comes to them. rough May 12.


Your Arm’s Too Short To Box With God

Based on the Gospel of Matthew, Your Arm’s Too Short To Box With God is an uplifting musical with gospel-inspired music and inspiring storytelling. Through May 19.



Pawing Through History Tour: Animal Symbols at Elmwood Cemetery

Animal symbols at Elmwood Cemetery, now on tour. $20. Saturday, May 4, 10:30 a.m.-noon. ELMWOOD CEMETERY

20 May 2-8, 2024
29 British racing town that lent its name to a kind of salt 30 Pleasant 31 Country/pop singer Campbell 32
brothers 34 Protection at the beach 38 Crafts in a “close encounter of the third kind” 39 Riverbank deposit 40 Partner of ready and willing 42 “Monkey see, monkey do” type 45 Like some sweatshirts and cobras 46 Item of fishing gear 47 Fruit that’s peeled 48 Zillions 51 Crush with the foot, with “on” 52 Low-tech hair dryer 53 Touch, taste or sight 54 Hiker’s route 55 Home of the Taj Mahal 56 Length of a bridge 60 Rumble in the Jungle champ 61 Crime lab material 62 Space between two teeth, e.g. PUZZLE BY LESLIE ROGERS AND ANDREA CARLA MICHAELS Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 7,000 past puzzles, ($39.95 a year). Read about and comment on each puzzle: ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE 12345678910111213 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 2223 24 2526 27 28 29 3031 323334 35 36 37 38 3940 41 42 43 44 4546 4748 49 50 515253 5455 56 57 58 5960 6162 63 64 65 66 67 68 THEAMISHSHAPE HOTLANTASCALAR ANOINTEDTALONS WONSERGOBOTS SRSCANCELSTEW MAROONEDOXO SCOOPSMINOTAUR YANNICEEMESAS BRIANENOPICKLE IPOGROUPONS LANGATTILAAFT CREASESETBOA ICICLESTARWARS LINKEDPIXIECUT LOGOSFLEXTIME 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 25, 2019 Edited
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upcoming events 2024

• 5/2-5 – Bones Fest XXVIII

• 5/11 – Clarksdale Caravan Music Festival

• 5.18 – Women In Blues Festival

• 5/24-25 – Ground Zero Blues Club Anniversary

• 5/25 – Deak’s Harmonica Block Party

• 5/26 – Bad Apple Blues Festival

• 6/14-16 – Birthplace of American Music Festival

• 8/9-11 – Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Fest

• 8/9-11 – Cat Head Anniversary

• 8/31 – Red’s Old Timers Blues Fest

• 9/13-14 – Mighty Roots Music Festival

• 10/9-12 – King Biscuit Blues Festival (Helena, Arkansas)

• 10/13 – Clarksdale Super Blues Sunday

• 10/13 – Pinetop Perkins Homecoming

• 10/17-20 – Deep Blues Fest

• 10/ 17-19 – Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival

• 10/24-27 – Hambone Festival

• 10/25-26 – Cruz’n The Crossroads Car & Truck Show

• 12/31 – Clarksdale’s New Year’s Eve Weekend 2025

• 1/24-26 – Clarksdale Film & Music Festival

• 4/10-13 – Juke Joint Festival & Related Events

MUSEUMS • LOCAL TOURS • HISTORY MARKERS • CANOE TRIPS ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER In Mississippi, we’re just 75 miles South of Memphis. Download the app!

Our annual Courage 5K is a fun race for all ages. All proceeds benefit cancer research & bio-marker testing at Baptist Cancer Center. Register using the link below for the race and get information about being a sponsor on our home page.

22 May 2-8, 2024
sponsored by at
Shelby Farms Park

From Shoes to Chef

Ben Chavez is hitting his stride at Terrace.

When he was 6 years old, Ben Chavez used metal squares, circles, and triangles to create art in Montessori school. When he was 40, he used square and oval atbread to create his “Barbecue Burnt End” and “Mediterranean” atbreads at Terrace at the River Inn restaurant.

Whether it’s numbers, objects, art, or food, Chavez, who is chef de cuisine with the River Inn property in Harbor Town, has always been good at combining “ingredients.”

His stepfather was the cook in the family because Chavez’s mother worked long hours as a server in a restaurant. Chavez didn’t want to be a chef, but he liked to observe the cooking process. He liked to “see how it started and how it ended.”

He became more fascinated with cooking a er his grandmother, who had Mexican roots, moved in with them and began making tortillas from scratch and other culinary items. “I saw a whole di erent side of cooking.”

a design on the shoe.”

Chavez, who also painted his own designs on shoes, sold them for $200 and up.

His wife then discovered some of his old recipes. “She had been cleaning the house or whatever and found a bunch of old notebooks I had dating back into my 20s. I had been writing down recipes or writing down food I had liked and enjoyed or experienced.”

Looking up online culinary schools he could attend, Chavez’s wife discovered the online Auguste Esco er School of Culinary Arts. Chavez said he’d give it a shot. “And then sort of ran with it.”

In 2021, they moved to Ripley, Tennessee, to live in a house his dad had just rehabbed. Chavez applied and got a job cooking “just very Southern old school” fare at the Old Town Hall & Cafe in Covington, Tennessee. “I worked there for free for the rst 90 days.”

But, he adds, “I was getting my foot in the door.”

He created “secret dinners” at the restaurant a er it closed at night. He sold tickets to the three- or four-course dinners, but he wouldn’t reveal beforehand what the menu consisted of. “I had a lot of fun. at was me learning the cra .”

Chavez, who worked in telecommunication jobs, didn’t get into cooking until he was 30. “ at’s when I was sort of guring out how to cook.”

His parents gave him a Crock-Pot. “I didn’t know what to use it for.”

He came up with chili a er he went online to nd out what he could cook in it. “A er looking at a bunch of di erent cooks’ recipes, I arrived at my own.”

Chavez learned to cook by “trial and error.” Like “trying to cook a steak correctly. Cooking a pork chop right. Buying what was cheap and guring out how to cook it.”

A er he got furloughed from his job as merchandising coordinator for Levi Strauss during Covid, Chavez began painting and customizing shoes. “You put cold water in a bucket, spray paint the water, dip the shoe in, and it would create

A er Old Town Hall, Chavez moved to e Cellar Restaurant and Prohibition Bar next door. From there, he went to Brownsville, Tennessee’s Serendipity Bar & Grill, where he “moved the menu forward. Made some changes.” He was working at Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen & Bar at Horseshoe Casino when he landed a job at Paulette’s, which includes Terrace, also located in the River Inn.

Shortly a er he landed the job, Chavez and food and beverage manager Daniel Clark went to work changing the Terrace menu. Instead of serving steaks, Chavez suggested they concentrate on “good food that came relatively quickly and could be shared.”

ey kept the cheese balls, French fries, and beef and lamb sliders, but they went to atbread pizzas, which were faster and less heavy. Chavez created the Barbecue Burnt End Flatbread and Mediterranean Flatbread. “We just add the ingredients and build it like a pizza.”

Summing up his culinary career so far, Chavez, who now lives in Memphis, says, “I’m very shocked I was able to move this forward this fast.”

But, he adds, “You force yourself to rise to the occasion.”

368 Perkins Ext. ♦ Memphis, TN 38117 ♦ 901.767.6872 Sun- urs 11a-9p ♦ Fri-Sat 11a-10p
Enjoy Our Spacious Patio or visit us online to order your catering or family meal at
– Thurmeisha White, Youth Villages employee
24 May 2-8, 2024
where you belong.
adaptable, focused, resilient
It takes a
to find just
Is this you? The right path feels less like a job and more like a calling. Is this you?
national reach
Join Youth Villages to find a family and a forever career. Work for families and become part of one.
love helping youth and I love what I do.
isn’t work to me. This is a passion.”
Doesn’t shy away from hard work with a powerful payo . Is this you? A company with
that feels
That’s Youth Villages.

Open the Book

Your favorite local booksellers share their recommendations on what to read.


e’re back with another roundup of your favorite booksellers’ favorite books of the month or the week or maybe the day — you know they’re always reading so getting them to choose just one book (okay, maybe two or three) to recommend is a feat. See what they have to say below.

There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension, Hanif Abdurraqib

“This week was my first time reading the work of the celebrated author Hanif Abdurraquib, beloved son of Columbus, Ohio. This book is a treasure trove of longing, hope, and the author’s personal quest to define what really makes a place ‘home.’ Abdurraquib once described his love for Columbus, Ohio, like this: ‘I’m not in love with the bridges. I’m in love with the people. The people are the architecture of the place.’ As a Memphian consuming this mind-bending and beautiful book in three days, I could relate. His affection for his gritty hometown will resonate with many local readers who see the soul of a city as more than just a skyline.” — Angie Doherty, Novel

Doppelgänger: A Trip Into the Mirror World, Naomi Klein

“Naomi Klein’s Doppelgänger: A Trip Into the Mirror World navigates our polarized society with sensitivity and depth.

Orleans (one of my favorite cities) centered around a spirited young woman who joins a sisterhood. This story highlights the sisterhood and community of Black women whose efforts played a significant role in the Civil War.”

— Jasmine Settles, Cafe Noir

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, James McBride

“A mystery of master storytelling. Questioning faith and newly discovered skeleton bones. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community — heaven and earth — that sustain us.” — Jasmine Settles, Cafe Noir

Another Word for Love, Carvell Wallace

“Keep an eye out for the release on May 14th. ‘To return, to be made whole again. This is another word for love,’ writes Carvell Wallace. In Another Word for Love, Wallace excavates layers of his own history, situated in the struggles and beauty of growing up Black and queer in America.” — Jasmine Settles, Cafe Noir

Using the mix-up between herself and former third-wave feminist turned farright darling Naomi Wolf as a launching point, Klein delves into contentious topics such as vaccines, climate change, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. The narrative is both captivating and witty, weaving together personal and cultural anecdotes of mistaken identity. Klein’s analysis compellingly argues for acknowledging our collective responsibility in today’s dysfunctional political climate and striving to enact positive change. This book is a must-read, skillfully combining scholarship and storytelling.”

— Alexandra Farmer, Novel

The American Daughters, Maurice Carlos Ruffin

“It is a historical novel based in New

Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring, Brad Gooch

“I typically am a 99 percent fiction reader but lately have been immersed in reading about art and artists (both fiction and nonfiction). I am currently reading the new biography of Keith Haring by Brad Gooch, Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring. It’s a wonderful overview of his short time in the art world as well as a vivid snapshot of New York City in the 1980s. I am also reading the Keith Haring Journals, which adds an extra layer to his life and art. A bit of trivia I learned: Haring’s father attended the Aviation Electronic Technician School in Memphis in 1957, where he stayed for six months. The high point of his stay was spotting Elvis joyriding around town in his white Lincoln.” — Cheryl Mesler, Burke’s Book Store

All books mentioned can be purchased at the respective bookstore locations. For even more recommendations, visit for a fuller version of this article.

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): The world’s record for jumping rope in six inches of mud is held by an Aries. Are you surprised? I’m not. So is the world’s record for consecutive wallops administered to a plastic inflatable punching doll. Other top accomplishments performed by Aries people: longest distance walking on one’s hands; number of curse words uttered in two minutes; and most push-ups with three bulldogs sitting on one’s back. As impressive as these feats are, I hope you will channel your drive for excellence in more constructive directions during the coming weeks. Astrologically speaking, you are primed to be a star wherever you focus your ambition on high-minded goals. Be as intense as you want to be while having maximum fun giving your best gifts.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In accordance with astrological omens, I recommend you enjoy a celebratory purge sometime soon. You could call it a Cleansing Jubilee, or a Gleeful Festival of Purification, or a Jamboree of Cathartic Healing. This would be a fun holiday that lasted for at least a day and maybe as long as two weeks. During this liberating revel, you would discard anything associated with histories you want to stop repeating. You’d get rid of garbage and excess. You may even thrive by jettisoning perfectly good stuff that you no longer have any use for.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Graduation day will soon arrive. Congrats, Cancerian! You have mostly excelled in navigating through a labyrinthine system that once upon a time discombobulated you. With panache and skill, you have wrangled chaos into submission and gathered a useful set of resources. So are you ready to welcome your big rewards? Prepared to collect your graduation presents? I hope so. Don’t allow lingering fears of success to cheat you out of your well-deserved harvest. Don’t let shyness prevent you from beaming like a champion in the winner’s circle. PS: I encourage you to meditate on the likelihood that your new bounty will transform your life almost as much as did your struggle to earn it.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Ritualist and author Sobonfu Somé was born in Burkina Faso but spent many years teaching around the world. According to her philosophy, we should periodically ask ourselves two questions: 1. “What masks have been imposed on us by our culture and loved ones?” 2. “What masks have we chosen for ourselves to wear?” According to my astrological projections, the coming months will be an excellent time for you to ruminate on these inquiries — and take action in response. Are you willing to remove your disguises to reveal the hidden or unappreciated beauty that lies beneath? Can you visualize how your life may change if you will intensify your

devotion to expressing your deepest, most authentic self?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If human culture were organized according to my principles, there would be over eight billion religions — one for every person alive. Eight billion altars. Eight billion saviors. If anyone wanted to enlist priestesses, gurus, and other spiritual intermediaries to help them out in their worship, they would be encouraged. And we would all borrow beliefs and rituals from each other. There would be an extensive trade of clues and tricks about the art of achieving ecstatic union with the Great Mystery. I bring this up, Virgo, because the coming weeks will be an ideal time for you to craft your own personalized and idiosyncratic religious path.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Hidden agendas and simmering secrets will soon leak into view. Intimate mysteries will become even more intimate and more mysterious. Questions that have been half-suppressed will become pressing and productive. Can you handle this much intrigue, Libra? Are you willing to wander through the amazing maze of emotional teases to gather clues about the provocative riddles? I think you will have the poise and grace to do these things. If I’m right, you can expect deep revelations to appear and long-lost connections to re-emerge. Intriguing new connections are also possible. Be on high alert for subtle revelations and nuanced intuitions.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It’s fun and easy to love people for their magnificent qualities and the pleasure you feel when they’re nice to you. What’s more challenging is to love the way they disappoint you. Now pause a moment and make sure you register what I just said. I didn’t assert that you should love them even if they disappoint you. Rather, I invited you to love them BECAUSE they disappoint you. In other words, use your disappointment to expand your understanding of who they really are, and thereby develop a more inclusive and realistic love for them. Regard your disappointment as an opportunity to deepen your compassion — and as a motivation to become wiser and more patient. (PS: In general, now is a time when so-called “negative” feelings can lead to creative breakthroughs and a deepening of love.)

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I assure you that you don’t need “allies” who encourage you to indulge in delusions or excesses. Nor do I recommend that you seek counsel from people who think you’re perfect. But you could benefit from colleagues who offer you judicious feedback. Do you know any respectful and perceptive observers who can provide advice about possible course corrections

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):

I don’t casually invoke the terms “marvels,” “splendors,” and “miracles.”

Though I am a mystic, I also place a high value on rational thinking and skeptical proof. If someone tells me a marvel, splendor, or miracle has occurred, I will thoroughly analyze the evidence. Having said that, though, I want you to know that during the coming weeks, marvels, splendors, and miracles are far more likely than usual to occur in your vicinity — even more so if you have faith that they will. I will make a similar prediction about magnificence, sublimity, and resplendence. They are headed your way. Are you ready for blessed excess? For best results, welcome them all generously and share them lavishly.

you could make? If not, I will fill the role as best as I can. Here’s one suggestion: Consider phasing out a mild pleasure and a small goal so you can better pursue an extra fine pleasure and a major goal.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I invite you to take an inventory of what gives you pleasure, bliss, and rapture. It’s an excellent time to identify the thrills that you love most. When you have made a master list of the fun and games that enhance your intelligence and drive you half-wild with joy, devise a master plan to ensure you will experience them as much as you need to — not just in the coming weeks, but forever. As you do, experiment with this theory: By stimulating delight and glee, you boost your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Aquarian author Lewis Carroll said, “You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants some magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.” In my astrological opinion, this won’t be an operative theme for you in the coming weeks, Aquarius. I suspect you will be inclined to believe fervently in magic, which will ensure that you attract and create a magical solution to at least one of your problems — and probably more.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Which would you prefer in the coming weeks: lots of itches, prickles, twitches, and stings? Or, instead, lots of tingles, quivers, shimmers, and soothings? To ensure the latter types of experiences predominate, all you need to do is cultivate moods of surrender, relaxation, welcome, and forgiveness. You will be plagued with the aggravating sensations only if you resist, hinder, impede, and engage in combat. Your assignment is to explore new frontiers of elegant and graceful receptivity.

Rob Brezsny


Zendaya’s love is on the line in Challengers

There’s an old saying in Hollywood: Men like movies where things explode, women like movies where relationships explode. Well, ladies, Challengers is here to bring the boom.

I know this is the 2020s, Hollywood has always been sexist, and things are not nearly as binary as they once seemed. But we can all, as moviegoers, agree that we like to watch beautiful people doing stu . In the case of Challengers, “stu ” is tennis and sex.

Being Zendaya, she’s naturally irresistible to Art and Patrick.

e people involved are all beautiful to a point that challenges the anatomically possible. Take Josh O’Connor, who plays vowel-challenged

tennis pro Patrick Zweig. e sizzling 33-year-old has done so many crunches, his six pack abs have evolved into an eight pack. I know this because I counted his quivering abdominal bulges during the extended nude scene with his frenemy Art Donaldson, played by the alsonude Mike Faist. When Patrick corners Art in the sauna to confront and/or make peace before the championship match which serves as Challengers framing device, Art greets him with “Put your dick away.” But this is not that kind of movie.

Art and Patrick have been friends since they were 12 years old, when they were roommates at an elite tennis academy. e doubles partners are so completely obsessed with making it in professional tennis, they ignore the simmering sexual tension between them. But one person who can see it is

Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), the hot tennis phenom who catches Patrick’s eye, and also Art’s eye, as she demolishes an opponent on center court. When they approach her at the a er-party, she gives an impromptu lesson on the art of the game. One can not truly play tennis at the highest level until one can fully know their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. “Tennis is a relationship,” she says.

Being Zendaya, she’s naturally irresistible to Art and Patrick, who invite her back to their room without specifying who is expected to do what with whom. Tashi’s got an idea, best summed up as “Let’s you and him fuck.”

Zendaya is Tashi Duncan, tennis phenom who catches the eye of childhood frenemies.

A er the late night hotel scene devolves into ménage interruptus, Tashi declares that whoever wins the Junior Championship match between Art and Patrick gets her phone number.

When Art and Patrick next meet on the court, it’s not at the U.S. Open, but 13 years later at Phil’s Tire Town Challengers Tournament in New Rochelle, New York. It’s the bottom of the barrel in professional tennis, and

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that’s where Patrick lives now. More accurately, he lives in his Honda in the parking lot. Art is a major tennis champion on the comeback trail after shoulder surgery. He’s here to pad his win numbers by beating up on some chumps. That was Tashi’s idea. She’s his coach now, after suffering a gruesome, career-ending knee injury in college, as well as his wife and baby mama. Their three-way sexual obsession will come to a climax on the court.

That not-so-subtle pun is inspired by Luca Guadagnino. The Italian director never saw a phallic symbol he didn’t want to wave in your face, including rackets, strategically placed balls, and, in one homoerotic tour de force, churros. He’s banking on Zendaya’s star power to bring his film across the finish line

(to mix my sports metaphors), and she’s perfect at playing a terminally competitive obsessive who gets turned off when her lovers don’t want to talk tennis in bed.

Challengers is visually stylish with a throbbing Reznor/Ross score. Its biggest problem is that all three of its main characters are irredeemable jerks, so it’s hard to root for anyone in this love triangle. If Guadagnino’s purpose is to show how a life focused solely on competition is an empty existence, punctuated by hot but ultimately unsatisfying sex, then he wins game, set, and match.


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Summertime Is Calling

Baseball, live music, and gardening are on the agenda.

Hopefully you’ve been reading my articles for a while and you know that my kids are 15, 12, 12, and 10 years old. I desire for my teens to love this city as much as I do, so I intentionally plan out fun, safe, and engaging things for them to do. Now I know that school is still in session and summer is a full month away, but prior proper planning prevents a poor performance! e streets are calling our name! Here are a few of our summertime favorites that we can’t wait to get into.

Redbirds Game

I’ve met several Memphians who have never been to a Redbirds game. And I always ask them, “What are you waiting for?” ey usually shrug and reply, “I’m not a baseball person.” en I have to explain that the Redbirds games are so much more than that. Recently, my daughter’s school choir sang the national anthem at the start of the game. I watched the players warm up and had my proud-mommy moment. en I had the best time ever! ere is just something mesmerizing about chilling at a Redbirds game. Maybe it’s the hot sun, with an ice cold drink and a hot dog. Or maybe it’s the intermittent games and crowd engagement opportunities. Whatever the case, I will be there!

My favorite games are on ursday nights. My hubby says it’s because I can get $2 beers, but I promise it’s because of their throwback jerseys. Sundays are cool too because kids 12 and under can receive a free ice cream sandwich. ere are also nights where they have post-game reworks and where kids can run the bases. De nitely check out their promotions page. Pro-tips: 1. Bring a hat. 2. Bring a credit card: e stadium is cashless. 3. Got a purse or bag? Make sure it’s clear.

Overton Park Shell

As soon as school state assessments were over, I placed our picnic blankets, lawn chairs, mosquito spray, and incense in the trunk. I also tossed in a few empty water bottles and our picnic basket that has plates, napkins, and silverware. ose items will remain in my trunk for the entire summer and fall. I do all of this in preparation of one thing: the Overton Park Shell Orion Free Concert Series! e shows start at 7:30 p.m. on ursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting this month. On weekdays, this gives us enough time to pick the kids up from their a er-school activities, stop by the store for a few snackerdoodles, and score some perfect seats on the lawn. As the sun sets, I let the good music and cool vibes roll over me. I close my eyes and lay my head back. I don’t have a care in the world.

My kids have been to a variety of music genres that aren’t normally available to them through mainstream radio. rough this music, they learn acceptance and appreciation. is summer they plan to chill to the symphony, dance to Bodywerk, and regrow some roots to Talibah Sa ya, just to name a few. Although if I’m honest, we’ll probably attend about 14 shows.

Gardening with Everbloom Farmacy

Gardening has been in my family for generations. My grandmother was a gardener. My great-grandmother was a sharecropper. Her mother worked the elds during slavery. We can trace our roots all the way back to Ghana where we nurtured the land to provide nourishment for ourselves. While we can go to big box stores for our gardening needs, we prefer to build relationships with people who positively impact our community. Everbloom Farmacy, a nonpro t organization, is the perfect place to go if you want to start growing your own food but don’t know how. Need seeds? Need seedlings or soil? Need knowledge so your garden can thrive? Reach out to Everbloom!

Kenneth Anderson founded Everbloom Farmacy on his 21acre homestead. It promotes food production and food literacy to support urban homesteads and community and church gardens. While we don’t have the acreage for a homestead, Anderson has educated us on how we can make the most of the space that we have. We went to Everbloom and picked up sprouts of bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, cabbage, and several gallons of soil. is summer, Everbloom will o er culinary and medicinal herbs and a host of classes about growing your own food and canning for food preservation. Currently, they have almost 10,000 vegetable seedlings (grown by volunteers) for promoting at-home gardening as a community practice. Everbloom’s Community Nursery will also donate over 10,000 vegetable plants for fall gardens starting in September 2024.

Patricia Lockhart is a native Memphian who loves to read, write, cook, and eat. Her days are lled with laughter with her four kids and charming husband. By day, she’s a school librarian and writer, but by night … she’s asleep. @realworkwife @memphisismyboyfriend

PHOTOS: COURTESY PATRICIA LOCKHART Just a few of this author’s favorite summertime activities
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