Memphis Flyer 5/16/2024

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MICHAEL DONAHUE Let the Good Times Grill EXPERIENCE MEMPHIS GARDENS P15 • OPERA MEMPHIS’ LA BOHÈME P16 • THE HOT WING KING P24 OUR 1838TH ISSUE • 05.16.24 • FREE The Flyer eats barbecue ahead of a barbecue-intensive weekend.
Eddie “Bossman” Patterson
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SHARA CLARK Editor-in-Chief


Managing Editor



Associate Editor



Film and TV Editor

ALEX GREENE Music Editor



Contributing Columnists


KENNETH NEILL Founding Publisher


Senior Art Director


Advertising Art Director

NEIL WILLIAMS Graphic Designer


Advertising Director Emeritus



Warehouse and Delivery Manager


THE MEMPHIS FLYER is published weekly by Contemporary Media, Inc., P.O. Box 1738, Memphis, TN 38101 Phone: (901) 521-9000 Fax: (901) 521-0129



Chief Executive O cer


Controller/Circulation Manager

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Chief Operating Officer

KRISTIN PAWLOWSKI Digital Services Director


Circulation and Accounting Assistant

Bloomin’ e Experience Memphis Gardens walk will explore 270 gardens.



Let the Good Times Grill e Flyer eats barbecue ahead of a barbecueintensive weekend.


The Hot Wing King e Memphis-centric Katori Hall production has heart, humor, and redemption.



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THE fly-by

MEM ernet

Memphis on the internet.


Cosmic forces painted the skies around Memphis with the dazzling colors of the northern lights over the weekend.

“I actually gasped when I went outside and saw the pink hue in the sky between Arlington and Millington,” tweeted Jason L.


e Memphis Zoo wished a happy Mother’s Day on X with this photo of mom Wendy and her new calf, Fitz, born last month. To all moms, the zoo said, “Keep being fabulous.”


e whole “post a picture that says you’re from Memphis” thing is still making the rounds on X. Argo Memphis wasn’t playing with the meme above, but it certainly quali es.


Questions, Answers + Attitude

Crime, a Cop Shooting, &


Stats say crime rose last year, TBI investigates an o cer-involved killing, and an altered photo.


e local crime rate — including major violent crime, property crime, and juvenile crime — saw an overall increase in 2023 compared to 2022, according to the latest data from the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission (MSCCC).

e group said Memphis has “a lot of positive momentum” in terms of tourism, Tom Lee Park, the construction of the Memphis Art Museum, and more. However, they said in order to propel this “momentum” forward, the area needs to “get a handle on our unacceptably high crime rate.”

“We saw some encouraging signs during the latter part of 2023,” MSCCC said. “For the entire year, though, crime rates in almost all major categories moved in the wrong direction compared to 2022.”

Overall crime in Memphis and Shelby County increased from 2022 to 2023, with the city of Memphis reporting 19,962 reported incidents in 2023, compared to 18,554 in 2022. Shelby County reported 15,380 crimes in 2023, and 14,509 in 2022.


e Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is reviewing a fatal, o cer-involved shooting in North Memphis last week.

TBI said 39-year-old Freeman Sherman Jr. was in an upstairs bedroom armed with several knives. He swung a knife at two o cers, causing one of them to fall down the ight of steps. e second o cer red at Sherman, killing him.

e stabbing victim su ered critical wounds and remained

Michael Detroit

hospitalized as of press time. e o cer who fell sustained nonlife-threatening injuries. e TBI did not release the names of the o cers involved in the incident.


Michael Detroit, executive producer at Playhouse on the Square, will be honored with the Eugart Yerian Award for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Ostrander Awards for local theater. Detroit started at Playhouse when he came to Memphis in 1989. He’s been an actor (stage, lm, television, commercials), director, singer, costumer, choreographer, professor, creator of the Uni ed Professional eatre Auditions (UPTA), civic activist, and more.

Detroit now manages $15 million in capital assets, a $3.3 million annual budget, an endowment of more than $7 million, and 40 full- and part-time employees, including hundreds of contract actors, designers, and directors.


Destructive winds, very large hail, and strong tornadoes were predicted for Memphis last week.

e storm knocked out power to about 5,000 in Memphis but caused no major damage. A tornado did touch down in Benton County in West Tennessee. e storm killed two in East Tennessee.


A viral photo of the RiverBeat Music Festival’s crowd was conrmed to have been edited, event organizers said.

e photo, now deleted, was posted to the event’s social media page featuring elements users speculated to be “altered with AI.”

“We had no knowledge that this photographer altered the image until it was brought to our attention,” organizers Forward Momentum said in a statement. “We will not be working with [the photographer] going forward, and the image has been removed from all our social media channels.”

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

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Refunds, Booting, & ‘Zaza’

Changes ahead for air travel, parking, and “gas station heroin.”

New rules will change air travel, mandating refunds for ights and eliminating hidden airline fees. In addition, new laws could come soon to limit fees for booting cars in parking lots, and restrictions on “zaza” or “gas station heroin.”

New airline rules

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued nal rules to require airlines to give passengers a prompt, automatic cash refund for canceled and signi cantly delayed ights, instead of travel vouchers or credits. e idea was proposed, in part, by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), as a ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

e new rules were part of Cohen’s Cash Refunds for Flight Cancellations Act and Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act. e legislation would also protect consumers from “ridiculous” or hidden fees on certain services, though USDOT has not yet ruled on the idea.


“Unfortunately, our current laws do not provide legal recourse to punish parking enforcers engaged in certain nefarious practices. is bill targets those bad actors and protects Tennessee vehicle owners.” e bill would require booting be done only if a licensed parking attendant is present in a commercial parking lot. Boots would also have to be removed within 45 minutes of a driver’s call. e legislation would also ensure that vehicle owners are properly noti ed if their vehicle is being towed, sold, or demolished by a towing company. Also, if the towing process has begun, but the vehicle hasn’t le the parking area, the bill requires towing companies to release vehicles to the owner for a fee of no more than $100.

“ ese passenger protections are long overdue,” said Cohen. “When airlines are responsible for ight delays or cancellations, or do not provide the services that their customers pay for, passengers should be made whole, not tied to airline vouchers or travel credits. I have also heard from many travelers about their frustrations with hidden fees for checked bags, seat assignments, and ight change and cancellation fees that far exceed the costs to provide these services.”

New rules for booting and towing cars

In Tennessee, a bill is headed for Gov. Bill Lee’s desk that would prohibit unlicensed individuals from booting vehicles and cap the fee to remove a boot at $75. e legislation was sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin). It also proposes new rules for towing and parking.

“ is legislation will protect vehicle owners in Tennessee from bad actors seeking to pro t o of immobilizing and con scating vehicles,” said Johnson. “I’ve received complaints from many constituents who have had to go through unreasonably long and expensive processes to regain control of their vehicles which were unfairly immobilized or towed.

Getting “gas station heroin” out of gas stations

Another piece of federal legislation would ban the sale of tianeptine — sometimes called “zaza” or “gas station heroin” — at retail stores, like gas stations. e proposal is from Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey), who said the drug is causing an uptick in calls to poison control centers and emergency room visits. America’s Poison Control Centers said 391 tianeptine cases were reported nationwide last year.

Tianeptine is most commonly used for treating anxiety and depression. However, the drug has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sometimes the drug is abused to create a euphoric, opioid-like e ect. A common tianeptine brand is called “Neptune’s Fix.”

“It’s clear that these harmful tianeptinecontaining products pose a serious threat to consumers and are jeopardizing the health of our communities, particularly our kids,” Pallone said in a statement. “ ese dangerous products do not belong on store shelves, which is why I’m introducing a bill today to empower FDA to prohibit the marketing of ‘gas station heroin’ to protect consumers.”

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The Crime Beat

Former Police Director Buddy Chapman’s new memoir sheds light on the problem.

As the Greater Memphis community continues to try to sort out whether it is in the grip of a crime wave or whether, as a recent Crime Commission report indicates, crime statistics are actually on the wane, the subject continues to dominate local attention.

One matter that has remained more or less on the back burner is that of Mayor Paul Young’s proposed director of public safety, a pending position (sometimes referred to in administrative ranks, somewhat less reassuringly, as “public safety advisor”).

Young suggested the new o ce back in January a er the city council declined to endorse his pro ered reappointment of C.J. Davis as police chief, and the new mayor, in response, fell back on the expedient of keeping Davis on as interim chief.

From the beginning, it was uncertain whether the proposed directorship was to be a fundamentally new concept or a retooling of a dormant position. Compounding the confusion was the fact that, at some hard-to-pinpoint period in the administration of former Mayor Jim Strickland, the existing title of police director had somehow morphed back into that of police chief, a development making Davis’ currently impermanent position seem all the more tenuous.

administration of former Mayor Wyeth Chandler (1972-1982), and it coincided with conditions that were not unlike those of our present moment.

Mayor Young’s apparent intention with his new directorship is to establish a wide-ranging civilian control over police authority, and that was the mission also of Chapman, who had to ght a protracted battle with the good-old-boy regime of then-Police Chief Bill Crumby to achieve, nally, a workable dominance over local lawenforcement policy.

As Chapman writes in his book, and as he related to an appreciative audience in a book-signing and reading at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on Monday night, the issues he had to deal with were very like our own these days.

But now the suggestion comes from administration sources that the task of lling the new position — however it is to be titled and whatever its scope — is in the “latter” stages and may be just around the corner, with a narrowing down of prospects by mid-June and a likely appointment by July 1st, in time for the new scal year.

Meanwhile, coincidentally and maybe usefully, the individual most identified in Memphis history with the erstwhile rank of police director, E. Winslow “Buddy” Chapman, has published his memoir, under the title of Call Me Director: Memoir of a Police Reformer . Chapman’s service at the helm of city law enforcement came during the

ey included instances of police brutality, racism in the MPD ranks, severe nancial shortages and understa ng, and the imperatives of federal supervision. He also had to face down and survive simultaneous police and re strikes in the crisis year of 1978.

What he strove to impose as an alternative to established practices was a form of what we would call today community policing. And, as he ended his tenure and resumed civilian status, he founded the local CrimeStoppers organization, which he ran as director until recently when he turned the reins over to David Wayne Brown, the co-author and collaborator of his memoir.

e book grapples with the conundrum of nding the right balance between carrot and stick in law enforcement — same as Mayor Young and his soon-to-be public safety director will shortly face — and is well worth their reading and ours.

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PHOTO: JACKSON BAKER Emcee Otis Sanford, Buddy Chapman, and David Wayne Brown at Brooks book-reading event
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Information Overload

We are riding a chaotic chariot of change.

“Covid met January 6th. They slept together and gave birth to the antiChrist of anger, fear, distrust, disinformation, and trauma that plagues America to this day.”

That was an X/Tweet on my timeline last week. I hope it was written by a human and not a bot because it reflects a very human feeling I’ve been trying to get my head around. I think we’re in the midst of one of the most disordered eras in the history of this country, comparable to our great wars, our Great Depression, our presidential assassinations.

Stewart concert in Brazil. Boo! Fake news! Then video appeared of Trump speaking to a small crowd, possibly near the end of his speech. No way, said his supporters. It was “AI-generated and put out by Antifa.” Or something.

So how many people came to hear Trump speak? Pick a number. There’s “proof” of everything, so everything is meaningless. And maybe that’s the point: Flood the zone with so much conflicting information that none of it can be trusted, that it all can be discounted.


We are riding a chaotic chariot of change with no idea of where or when it stops. We have come to a place where we can’t even agree that the sky is above us, that day follows night. Facts are fungible. Everyone is entitled to their own facts because you can “prove” anything. Politics and religion have become intertwined and irresolutely tribal. Disinformation is the currency of the realm, a bloated ratatouille of content — true, false, and irrelevant — that overloads our brains. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, X, Truth Social, even such presumably benign sites as Nextdoor have become infiltrated with the madness of our political discourse. Every commenter is a pundit or a cynic or an expert … on everything. Crime is everywhere. Democrats are pedophiles. Trump shits his pants. Biden can’t walk. Trump has dementia. Be very afraid. Be very confused.

Former President Trump’s rally in New Jersey last Saturday provides a perfect template for what I’m talking about. Prior to the event, Trump touted that there would be 80,000 people there, so that number became the focal point. When Trump began speaking, pictures from Trump supporters, mostly taken from the stage area or from the crowd, were cited as evidence that Trump had drawn at least 100,000 people. “Let’s see Biden draw a crowd like this!” they said.

Then photos from anti-Trumpers appeared that purported to show a much smaller crowd. Next came photos of a full Michigan football stadium and of a Taylor Swift concert. “This is what 100,000 people looks like,” said these posters. “Compare this to photos of Trump’s pathetic rally. Hah!”

Not to be outdone, an aerial photo of 400,000 people appeared under the headline: “Trump Draws Massive Crowd to New Jersey Rally.” Roger Stone and lots of other Trump supporters retweeted it. But the picture turned out to be an aerial shot of a 1994 Rod

How did we go from a country that elected a centrist African American 12 years ago to one that actually appears capable of reelecting an amoral, foulmouthed, self-absorbed misogynist who took away women’s bodily autonomy, stole federal classified documents (and probably sold them), slept with porn stars, botched the handling of a pandemic that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, and, oh yeah, tried to overturn a presidential election?

What. The. Hell?

Americans have had no downtime in the past eight years, no room to reflect.

Normally when a time of upheaval is over, a country will celebrate. There are parades, a coming-together, a time of kumbaya. Americans have had no downtime in the past eight years, no room to reflect — just unrelenting chaos. The Covid pandemic continued implacably, even as the 2020 political campaign unfolded. People were still dying by the thousands, while two major party candidates debated and campaigned in the midst of it. Remember the masked appearances and debates? Even masks and vaccines became political. So exhausting.

Then the election happened and Trump lost (really), and as most predicted, he claimed it was all rigged. Phony Venezuelan voting machines! Mule teams! Crooked election workers! A minute later and it was January 6th, and we all watched an attempted insurrection in real time. It’s all been too much. Too many bad actors, too many alternate facts that created an information overload, one that allowed a man with no moral core to attain the highest office in the land. And to possibly do it again.

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Teaching Philanthropy

Ways to get children interested in giving.

Cultivating the virtue of charitable giving in your children is an endeavor that’s never too early to start. e following tips can help you pass along your philanthropic values to the next generation.

1. Lead by example.

One of the best ways to instill values in your children is by modeling them. Talk to your children about the causes you support with both your money and time. Don’t worry about bragging; instead, be honest about what you do and the impact your actions have on the lives of others. It’s important that your children know how much you do for others.

churches, hospitals, etc. Volunteering alongside your kids can be a great way to get them excited about helping others. However, even younger children have an opportunity to help others. Consider taking your child to help a neighbor with a small job, such as raking leaves or shoveling a driveway. You can also encourage young children to “pay it forward” by doing something nice for someone else each time someone does something nice for them.

4. Help your children develop their own charitable goals. Talk with your children about their values and what’s important to them, then nd opportunities for them to make an impact. Maybe your son loves reading and wants to share his joy by starting a book drive. Or perhaps your daughter has dreams of someday becoming a veterinarian and would like to walk dogs at your local shelter. Your kids will be more motivated to support causes that are important to them.

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Talk with your children about their values and what’s important to them.

2. Involve your children in charitable decisions.

Make giving to charity a family event by involving your children in charitable decisions. If you have a budget for charitable donations, give your kids a say in how to allocate a portion of the funds. Websites such as Charities Aid Foundation and Charity Navigator can help you discover a wide range of charitable organizations that align with your children’s passions, values, and interests.

3. Volunteer together.

Once they’re older, your children can volunteer with you at organizations such as food pantries, animal shelters,

5. Encourage your children to donate their own money.

One e ective way to teach children the importance of giving to others is by implementing a “three-bucket” strategy. Consider o ering your kids an age-appropriate allowance and teaching them to separate it into three categories — save, spend, and give. Not only does this practice teach your children that a portion of their money should be used to help others when possible but it also helps them learn the importance of saving for the future.

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Let the Good Times Grill

The Flyer eats barbecue ahead of a barbecue-intensive weekend.

ay means barbecue in Memphis. It’s like something comes over this city. is year we have two whole barbecue festivals on the same weekend: Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the new SmokeSlam. (How will Memphis eat so much barbecue?) Our food writer Michael Donahue pro led two barbecue joints in his food column this week: Pollard’s Bar-BQue and Jimbo’s Brickhouse BBQ (see page 25). He rarely ever does a doublefeature, but the barbecue got to him, it pulled at him. (How did he eat so much barbecue?) And then the writers at the Flyer simultaneously started craving barbecue — like some sort of supernatural phenomenon — and all they could think about was barbecue, barbecue, barbecue. Or is it barbeque? BBQ? Barb-que? Our editors argued; tears were shed. Barbecue was expensed, for the sake of journalism. We had to capitalize on this madness and make a whole barbecue issue. We had no choice; we had to share what we learned. So please read about the barbecue places and dishes that have made us go mad with gluttony. Join us, won’t you?

Arnold’s Smokehouse

Located in the Castalia Heights neighborhood, a few blocks behind the Kellogg’s plant, Arnold’s Smokehouse is o the beaten path, but well worth the e ort to nd. It’s in a non-pretentious building, hard by some railroad tracks, making it clear Arnold’s isn’t about atmosphere; it’s all about the food. And the food is very good.

e owners are sister and brother Ivy and Shanon Arnold, and they have each created their own extensive menu.

Ivy’s is vegan, and features creative smoked ingredients including jackfruit, cauli ower, mushrooms, grilled veggies, tomatoes, greens, pasta, gumbo, and, of course, tofu. Shanon’s menu is more traditional and meat-friendly. Both are stellar and varied, with some ambitious and unexpected o erings. But this story is about barbecue, so we went the more traditional route.

We started with the cauli ower pu s and green beans as sides, and went with the pulled pork sandwich and pulled pork fajitas as our main dishes. Everything was superb. In fact, I’d rank both the sandwich and the fajitas as among the best I’ve eaten in my 30 years here in Barbecue-Ville. Seriously delicious food, y’all.

A little logistical advice: Because of the varied menu, I suspect, our wait time was around 30 minutes a er ordering. It wasn’t unpleasant. We chatted with Willie Arnold, the father

of the owners, and some of the patrons and watched an episode of Martin, but next time, I’ll probably call in our order ahead of time or use DoorDash. However you do it, you’d be wise to give Arnold’s Smokehouse a try.

— Bruce VanWyngarden 2019 East Person Avenue, 901-922-5950

Payne’s BBQ Tacos at Molly’s La Casita

Most of the other restaurants in this story are devoted to barbecue. Molly’s La Casita is not. It’s a Midtown staple, long known for its hearty Tex-Mex fare, including some of the best refried beans you will ever experience. One of the newest additions to the menus ts into the Memphis barbecue story. It’s a collaboration between two Memphis culinary institutions.

“We bought the restaurant about

three years ago,” says Jessica Cornell, owner of Molly’s La Casita. “We were just ordering our pork through one of the vendors. I was like, we’re in Memphis. We have so many barbecue options that are made locally. We should try to do something with a local restaurant. Ron Payne is a regular customer. He comes in here once a week and I approached him and asked him what he thought about us using his barbecue pork for our tacos. He thought it was a great idea. So now that’s what we do. It goes in the pork tacos and our pork tamales.”

e Payne’s Pork Tacos di er from the classic pork tacos only in the protein. e dinner portion is two tacos, served with so tortilla or crunchy shell, with a sprinkling of onion and cilantro. e shredded, slow cooked pork barbecue elevates the dish way beyond the average taco. It’s a match made on Madison Avenue, which is kind of ironic, given that Molly’s original location was on Lamar Avenue, just around the corner from Payne’s.

“Everyone loves them,” says Cornell. “We sell out of the pork all the time. Every time he [Ron Payne] comes, he has to bring us more pork.”

— Chris McCoy 2006 Madison Avenue, 901-726-1873

Bossman Pit Stop

Eddie “Bossman” Patterson’s logo is “Come Get Lost in the Sauce.” It’s on the back of the T-shirts for his Bossman Pit Stop.

And that’s easy to do. I recently tried one of Patterson’s pork barbecue sandwiches for the rst time. ere’s so much going on with those delectable avors. I asked him if it had bu alo sauce in it. He says no. He uses Cattle-

12 May 16-22, 2024

men’s barbecue sauce as a base and then adds his own ingredients.

A native of Tunica, Mississippi, who grew up in Memphis, Patterson tells me he learned how to barbecue from his mother and grandmother. He also learned barbecuing when he worked at the old Papa Chuck’s BBQ on Getwell

Street. Papa Chuck’s later moved to the Airways location, which Patterson bought a year a er the owner died.

e NBA player Antonio Burks gave him his nickname 19 years ago, Patterson says. “He said I was ‘the boss’ in barbecue. He called me ‘ e Bossman.’”

ey both attended Booker T. Washing-

The shredded, slow cooked pork barbecue elevates the dish way beyond the average taco.

ton High School, he says. Patterson says he barbecues every day. He goes to bed at 4 a.m, takes his grandson to school the next morning, and then at some point starts barbecuing. “I barbecue for eight hours, put it to the side, and let it do its own thing.” e secret to good barbecue? “Cook it slow in its own juices.”

Patterson, who also does catering for businesses and events and also operates a food truck, says he eats barbecue every day. “I have to test it to make it right.”

His wife, Patricia, isn’t too happy with him not getting enough sleep, Patterson says. “She’s the ‘Bosslady.’”

— Michael Donahue 2251 Airways Boulevard, 901-743-5426

BBQ Tofu Nachos

at RP Tracks

I’ll be honest with y’all because that’s what journalism is all about: honesty. I wasn’t looking forward to this issue because I don’t eat meat; therefore, I don’t eat barbecue. So I was planning on playing hooky and just not writing anything for this cover story — not because I’m a slacker but because I’m picky (I swear I’m not just saying that to keep my job). But then I remembered that I once heard that RP Tracks had BBQ Tofu Nachos, and I eat tofu and I eat tortilla chips. Have I eaten them together? No, but, hey, I have a job to do.

So I moseyed on down to RP Tracks — which, no, isn’t a barbecue joint, I’ve been informed, but it’s a place where this non-barbecue-eater can eat some barbecue, so deal with it. To my surprise, the menu has quite a few barbecue tofu options — the nachos plus a quesadilla and a sandwich — so I had choices for barbecue which, normally, I don’t. And that was kinda nice (and

they have other barbecue meat, but I don’t care about that).

I stuck with the nachos for my visit, and they did not disappoint. ey came topped with cheese (good), lettuce (good), jalapenos (I didn’t eat), and sour cream (good). I got the black bean chili on the side because, like I said, I’m picky and just don’t like black bean chili, but my boyfriend does and he gave it a thumbs-up. Now, for the pièce de résistance, the barbecue tofu — the rating? Pretty dang good. Cooked just right — not chewy, not mushy, perfect, dare I say. Since I’ve never had “real” barbecue, I can’t make any comparisons, but the avor was like barbecue chips, especially when you put it on a tortilla chip, which, duh, makes sense. ( at was an embarrassingly late-in-life epiphany for me.)

All in all, with this being my rst foray eating barbecue in Memphis, I’d say RP Tracks serves up a great vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian option. Try it. I did. And this picky eater liked it. — Abigail Morici 3547 Walker Avenue, 901-327-1471

Cozy Corner

When I dine at Cozy Corner, my longtime go-to barbecue sandwich joint, I think one thing: savory. While many of the slow-cooked meats around town have avor pro les leaning more towards a vinegary edge or a sweet edge, I feel that Cozy Corner approaches the great quality recognized by Japanese culture: umami Yes, there is a very subtle sweetness to their sauce, balanced with an equally subtle touch of vinegar, but those are mere elements in a whole that’s far greater than the sum of its parts.

continued on page 14

PHOTO (TOP): CHRIS MCCOY Payne’s BBQ Tacos at Molly’s La Casita PHOTO (LEFT): ABIGAIL MORICI BBQ Tofu Nachos at RP Tracks


That earthy, slow-roasted whole comes through in every delectable bite.

continued from page 13

at earthy, slow-roasted whole comes through in every delectable bite of a Cozy Corner barbecue sandwich, complemented with a bit of slaw, of course. Unlike many joints o ering pulled pork, the meat here is thinly

sliced, but the di erence in texture matters little to this diner. It’s the avor pro le that’s key. And that’s also true of Cozy Corner’s ribs.

Served (of course) with slices of the whitest of white breads, the meat on these ribs practically falls o the bone. Perhaps one key to that is the Chicago-

style smoking technique they use, with the coals placed a bit further from the grill. Starting the meat on the lowest rack and then progressively moving upward increases its time in that luscious smoky environment.

Aside from their classic ribs and sandwiches, Cozy Corner is also

On the Queue for the Weekend

Barbecue smoke plumed blue and beautiful (and mouth-watering) over Liberty Park Wednesday and another will rise ursday right on the river.

Two barbecue festivals do it low and slow this year in Memphis. e Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (WCBCC) opened to the public Wednesday. SmokeSlam, the brandnew festival, was slated to open doors at Tom Lee Park ursday a ernoon.

Everyone used to just call the WCBCC “Barbecue” or “Barbecue Fest.” Time will tell what shorthand or nickname will arise with two contests in town at the same time.

One thing is the same, though. Memphis in May has attracted some of the biggest, most-winning teams in barbecue. e roster shows Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q competing in shoulder. Barbecue celebrity Myron Mixon’s Jack’s Old South team will compete in whole hog. Sweet Swine O’ Mine is back cooking shoulder.

In all, Memphis in May boasts about 130 teams from 22 states and ve foreign countries. All of them compete in the traditional categories of ribs, shoulder, and hog, as well as hot wings, sauce, and “Any-

thing But Pork.” Winners will take home a share of $150,000 in prize money.

Down on the river, SmokeSlam’s threeday event promises a “fan- rst” experience. is means barbecue, of course, but also fans can shop the National Barbecue & Grilling Association (NBBQA) BBQ Bazaar, a central marketplace with a wide array of products from celebrity chefs and other curated goods. e marketplace will also feature live demos from big-name pitmasters like Carey Bringle, yron Mathews, Ray Sheehan, Melissa Cookston, and more.

Other high-pro le pitmasters will show their stu at the B&B Charcoal: Live Fire Extravaganza. is will feature demos and live- re samples from pros like Al Frugoni (Open Fire Cooking), Derek Wolf (Over the Fire Cooking), and others.

e biggest buzz around SmokeSlam in Memphis has been the music lineup. It includes Tone Loc, Young MC, War, e Bar-Kays, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Every night ends with a reworks show.

SmokeSlam attracted some heavy-hitting teams, too: 10 Bones BBQ from Nesbit, Memphis-loved caterers Hog Wild

BBQ, and Nashville’s barbecue-famous Peg Leg Porkers. In all, nearly 60 teams will compete. ey’re mostly from the Memphis region but the contest pulled in teams from South Carolina, Wisconsin, Arizona, and elsewhere.

SmokeSlam boasts the biggest purse in barbecue competition history. Teams will share $250,000 in prize money.

— Toby Sells

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Liberty Park, WednesdaySaturday, May 15-May 18, $15.00-$549,

SmokeSlam, Tom Lee Park, ursdaySaturday, May 16-May 18, $15.13-$544.74,

famous for their whole Cornish hens, whole chickens, and barbecued bologna sandwiches. But it’s at anksgiving that they really shine: My family always pre-orders a whole smoked turkey from them that never disappoints.

— Alex Greene 735 North Parkway, 901-527-9158

14 May 16-22, 2024
PHOTO (RIGHT): ALEX GREENE Cozy Corner PHOTO (BELOW): MEMPHIS IN MAY VIA FACEBOOK e Memphis in World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest returns to Liberty Park.

steppin’ out

We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews


America’s largest garden walk with over 300 gardens takes place every summer in Bu alo, New York, bringing in more than 60,000 visitors from all over the U.S., Canada, and beyond. Kim Halyak, co-chair of the Cooper-Young Garden Club, wants Memphis to be the Bu alo of the South. “I want people to say I’m tired to go to Bu alo,” she says. “I’m going to Memphis.”

And Halyak’s goal isn’t too ambitious, it seems. Already, this year’s Experience Memphis Gardens citywide garden walk, which Halyak helped organized, will be the largest garden walk in the South at some 270 green spaces in neighborhoods across the Mid-South. e walk, which kicks o on Saturday, May 18th, with the annual Cooper-Young Garden Walk, will span over six weeks through June 30th, on ursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

“Nine years ago, we started [the Cooper-Young Garden Walk] with only 23 gardens,” explains Halyak. “At the time that we were only a one-day event, but we have really grown. And then last year we decided to go citywide, so we reached out to the city and said, ‘Hey, show us your gardens.’ And there were people from neighborhoods all over Memphis [who volunteered] — Colonial Acres, Berclair, Central Gardens, Frayser, Raleigh, High Point Terrace, I mean all over.”

e tour will showcase a wide range of spaces — beginner gardens, highly manicured lawns, farms, community gardens, nurseries, vegetable gardens, and so on. “We have a tour of Ounce of Hope’s aquaponic farm,” Halyak says. “We have a Master Gardener garden tour. We have gardens in Raleigh that we’ve never had [on our tour]. We have Cancer Survivors Park, and, I have to tell you, I’ve lived here 40-some years and I had never been there before. So what we really want to do is say to people: ‘You live in Memphis, go explore Memphis, go see what Memphis has to o er.’ … I really do want people to fall back in love with Memphis.”

e walk, in a way, is an incentive to beautify the city, Halyak adds. “Everybody gets aware of, hey, we have company coming. ey just go crazy with excitement, and you cannot believe the community [that comes with that]. People have gotten to know their neighbors. … I don’t want to reinvent the wheel and I want us to make Memphis better. So this year, we’re giving away $10,000 to the neighborhoods that were on the walk last year. And when this walk is over, then I hope to give $20,000 away to the neighborhoods that were on the walk for beauti cation projects.”

Tickets for the Experience Memphis Gardens walk can be purchased at the Cooper-Young Gazebo on the day of the CooperYoung Garden Walk sponsored by Urban Earth (May 18th-May 19th), at Urban Earth, at Ounce of Hope, at the Women’s Exchange, and online at, where you can nd a full schedule and more information.


VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES May 16th - 22nd

STAX: Soulsville U.S.A. Preview Crosstown eater, 1350 Crosstown Avenue, Friday, May 17, 7 p.m., $20 Join director Jamila Wignot in person for a preview of the rst episode of the new HBO docuseries STAX: Soulsville U.S.A., followed by a panel discussion with Wignot and key participants.

A er the lm and post- lm discussion, please join HBO, Crosstown Arts, and Indie Memphis for a reception for all ticket-holders. e post- lm reception will be held in the Crosstown Arts East Atrium (above the red staircase). Complimentary food and drinks will be provided.

STAX: Soulsville, U.S.A. tells the story of an underdog record label comprised of Black and white collaborators who ushered in the groundbreaking, industry-altering soul music of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, e Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, and many others.



Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar, Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free

Fans of comics, movies, anime, manga, video games, and pop culture in general will want to check out legendary comic creators Matt Wagner and Gene Ha and more than 50 local vendors selling art, comics, toys, prints, graphic novels, art supplies, knickknacks, and more at Memphis Public Libraries’ second annual Comic Con. e day will have: free graphic novels for the rst 200 in attendance (Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Heartstopper, Hilo, Nimona, and My Hero Academia, to name just a few), arts and cra s, children’s story time, face painting for the little ones, cosplay contest, trivia contest, Super Smash Bros. Tournament, a cosplay parade for all the little ones, and food trucks.

Uptown Arts Festival

Grind City Brewing Company, 76 Waterworks Avenue, Saturday, May 18, noon, free Grind City’s yard will transform into Uptown’s very own art festival. Local artists and businesses from and near the neighborhood will be selling food, goods, and highquality art. Experience the Uptown neighborhood, local artists, live music, games, demos, freebies, and beer.

City of Memphis’ 205th Birthday Celebration

Overton Square, 2783 Madison Avenue, Wednesday, May 22, 6 p.m., free

Overton Square is celebrating Memphis’ 205th birthday with a performance by jazz and blues artist Jeremy Shrader, an Elvis impersonator, plus a birthday balloon photo opp and Memphis-themed treats for sale at 17 Berkshire.



HEALTH SCIENCES PARK – MANASSES & UNION - FREE entertainment, food, and drinks.







SPONSORED BY Preserver Partners, DMC, MMDC, HTC, Edge District, Memphis Moms, Memphis Flyer, Old Dominick, & CNCT Design

MUSIC By Alex Greene

Puccini on Beale

Opera Memphis reimagines La Bohème.

f you’re an opera lover, you may think you know La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece about life in 19th-century Paris. A er all, it’s not only one of the mostperformed operas in the world, but the most popular work in the 68-year history of Opera Memphis. ink again.

When Opera Memphis presents its latest version of La Bohème at the Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center this Friday and Saturday, you’d best discard any preconceptions before the curtains rise. For, while the music will be performed as the classic score dictates, complete with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the mise-en-scène will be both unfamiliar and, for Memphians, eerily familiar. Rather than being set in bohemian Paris in the 1830s, this version unfolds on Beale Street, circa 1915.

“I wish I could take credit for this inception of it,” says stage director Dennis Whitehead Darling, “but it’s actually the brainchild of [Opera Memphis general director] Ned Canty. It’s been a pet project of his for many years, and the original idea came from a book that Ned read called Beale Street Dynasty.”

Nearly anyone with an interest in our city’s history knows that book well, subtitled Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis, wherein Preston Lauterbach vividly evokes the bustling urban milieu, both creative and destructive, that made Beale Street ground zero for Black America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “Because Paris in the 1830s was a place where artists and musicians and philosophers and writers came together, it was a cultural center for its time. And the same thing was happening here in Memphis. I think that’s what sparked the idea for setting La Bohème on Beale Street,” says Darling.

Indeed, the similarities between the two cities of di erent eras were so profound that the original opera slotted neatly into the new setting. “Originally, we were going to write something new, or Ned was, but we moved away from that and have kept most of the original text the same,” says Darling.

As conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson points out, that maintains the integrity of Puccini’s original vision. “Audience members who are uent in Italian may realize that a couple of things have changed,” she says, “but for the most part, we’ve done this without actually changing the text, which the singers have grown up learning for years and years in the Italian language. Of course, Puccini’s music is

so tied to the language, so in order to avoid changing too many actual words, and making sure they stand with the music, there are just a couple of word changes, and some of those are simply within the subtitles.”

Meanwhile, the stage set is similarly subtle. “We’re doing something a little bit more abstract,” says Darling, “using projection screens. It’s minimal but e ective. With projections, we’ve layered photos of di erent buildings and businesses that were part of Beale. Reimagining this in a very minimal way is always challenging, but things that are challenging also allow you to be more creative — o entimes the things you nd challenging are actually opportunities.”

And yet in one regard, there will be plenty of striking visuals, as Darling points out. “We have beautiful costume designs by Jennifer Gillette. at’s been the icing on the cake as we enter tech week because we initially created this show without seeing all of our visual elements. We didn’t have the projections, lighting, or costumes until much later. And it’s always amazing when I see these actors wear their costumes. Another level of character development happens almost immediately, where they just embody these characters, wearing these costumes that Jennifer has designed. ey really transform our modern day actors and singers into these period characters.”


Jeri Lynne Johnson

ILLUSTRATION (BELOW): COURTESY OPERA MEMPHIS Sketches for costume designs by Jennifer Gillette capture Beale Street, circa 1915.

e impact of that visual element is deep, as Johnson points out, addressing a whole culture that’s so o en rendered invisible. “I’ve done world premieres for the Santa Fe Opera and for the Chicago Opera eater that had a predominantly African-American casts, having canonical works reimagined with African Americans in the roles. But what makes this particular production so interest-

ing is, it isn’t just the casting, it is really transplanting that bohemian lifestyle into a uniquely Memphian historical period on Beale Street. e setting and the cast together really give you a sense of African-American life at that time. It adds an element of questioning what art is, and who makes art, where moral judgments are embedded into the aesthetic ones.”

16 May 16-22, 2024
PHOTO (TOP): ANDREA ZUCKER Dennis Whitehead Darling

DJ Spinna

DJ Spinna is an anomaly with an obsessively extensive vinyl library. Saturday, May 18, 11 p.m.-3 a.m.


Eric Hughes

ursday, May 16, 7 p.m.


Flic’s Pics Band

Friday, May 17, 4 p.m.



Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.



Friday, May 17, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.


Jeremy Pinnell

Saturday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.


Songwriter Salon Workshop with Bobby Whitlock

Cossitt’s Songwriters Salon Workshop Series kicks o with the legendary Memphis singer-songwriter. Monday, May 20, 6 p.m.


T. Jarrod Bonta Trio

Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m.


5 for the Kill

Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.


Formerly Known As Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m.


AFTER DARK: Live Music Schedule May 16 - 22

Dreamfest Weekend 13

Dozens of bands kick

Alexis Jade and the Gemstones

Wednesday, May 22, 6 p.m.



Saturday, May 18, 9 p.m.


Augustana - Something Beautiful Tour

With Verygently. Friday, May 17, 8 p.m. GROWLERS

Be You, Bravely OutMemphis bene t with music by Rose-A, Anna Rose Baker, River Williams, Nazthemoon, and HYM. $10.

Saturday, May 18, 2 p.m.



Sunday, May 19, 7 p.m.


Blvck Hippie Basketball Camp Album Listening Event

Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m.


Bob & Anglea

Monday, May 20, 6 p.m.


Boomtown Saints e next “it” duo in country music. Friday, May 17, 7 p.m.


Coco & the Hitmen

With Cheyenne Mars, Yesse

Yavis. Saturday, May 18, 9 p.m.


Dan Montgomery Friday, May 17, 7 p.m.


Devil Train

ursday, May 16, 10 p.m.


o the 2024 Orion Free Concert Series. Visit for details. Friday, May 17-May 19, 5 p.m.


General Labor

With Robert Traxler. Friday, May 17, 9 p.m.


Gored Embrace

With Selenoplexia, Incineration [Small RoomDownstairs]. Wednesday, May 22, 8 p.m.


Green Jelly

ursday, May 16, 8 p.m.



With Ben Ricketts, e Ellie Badge [Small RoomDownstairs]. ursday, May 16, 8 p.m.


Indigo Avenue Friday, May 17, 10 p.m.


Jazz in the Galleries: Saturday Series e Memphis Jazz Workshop presents good jazz and great times in the galleries at the Brooks. Saturday, May 18, noon-2 p.m.


J.D. Westmoreland Band

Monday, May 20, 10 p.m.


Johnny and The Seagulls Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m.


Joselyn & The Sweet Compression Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.


Lunar Journey Tuesday, May 21, 10 p.m.


Melanfolly Saturday, May 18, 6 p.m. GROWLERS

Melinda Forrest & the Sport Luxury Trim Band

With Hewer of Caves Friday, May 17, 9 p.m.


Mississippi Moon Festival Showcase

Eleven musicians performing acoustic Americana music.

ursday, May 16, 7:30 p.m.


Rice Drewry Collective Saturday, May 18, 5 p.m.


Sgt. Splendor feat. Eric McFadden and Kate Vargas

Saturday, May 18, 10 p.m.


The Nu Lithium With Grimmstalker [Small Room-Downstairs]. Tuesday, May 21, 8 p.m.


T-Lo & The Pharaohs Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m.


TX2 - The Festival Tour With e Funeral Portait, RobenX. Tuesday, May 21, 7:30 p.m.


Vibes: Reggae vs. Reggaeton With DJ DY3 and Mala Leche. Saturday, May 18, 9 p.m. GROWLERS

Wednesday Night Karaoke

Wednesday, May 22, 5 p.m.


Wizards Is Crazy With Slatedump, O.Y.B. [Small Room-Downstairs]. Saturday, May 18, 9 p.m. HI TONE

Christopher Paul Stelling ursday, May 16, 7 p.m.


Dan Bern

Wednesday, May 22, 8 p.m.


Jad Tariq Band

Sunday, May 19, 6 p.m.


The Fabulous DooVays

Sunday, May 19, 6 p.m.


Acoustic Soul with Josh Threlkeld

Free Happy Hour in e Grove with live music from Josh relkeld and Friends.

Friday, May 17, 5 p.m.


Concerts in The Grove — Almost Elton John and the Rocketmen

Enjoy music, food trucks, and corn hole, all in the beautiful, park-like setting of the TruGreen Lawn. $7. ursday, May 16. 6:30-8 p.m.


Earl “The Pearl” Banks

Music by the Lake with Earl “ e Pearl” Banks and Memphis Funk-N-Horns. Friday, May 17, 6 p.m.


Jumaane Smith: Louis! Louis! Louis! Acclaimed jazz trumpeter celebrates Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, and Louis Jordan. $20/general admission. Saturday, May 18, 8-9:30 p.m.


PHOTO: COCO CARMEL Bobby Whitlock PHOTO: SETH MOODY CoCo & the Hitmen
18 May 16-22, 2024 C M Y CM MY CY CMY K May 2 LATG MECH flyer copy.pdf 1 5/13/24 12:59 PM

CALENDAR of EVENTS: May 16 - 22


AAPI Student Art Competition Art Show

On display are the winning artwork from Memphis and Shelby County K-12 students. Let these works of art be not just a reflection, but a celebration, of the rich mosaic of AAPI voices and experiences. Through May 26.


“Branching Out”

Discover intricate connections between students, teachers, and casting communities, which branch out much like a family tree. Through Sept. 8.


CBU: 2024 Spring BFA


Thesis exhibition for graduating seniors in the department of visual arts at Christian Brothers University. Through June 30.


“China Blues: The World of Blue and White Ceramics”

The collection includes a range of objects from the Ming and Qing dynasties in a wide array of materials, including beautifully carved jades, paintings, textiles, and ceramics. Through May 31.


“Everyday People: Snapshots of The Black Experience”

A photography exhibition showcasing Memphis artist Eric Echols’ photo collection of 20th-century African Americans. Through July 14.


George Bougher“Timeless Time”

Paintings focused on the storytelling element in the artist’s work. rough May 29.



Bruce Brainard is well known for meditative, allegorical landscapes of in nite skies, elds, and oceans. rough June 1.


“It’s All Relative”

Sicilian/Puerto Rican postsurrealist sculptor Morgan Lugo uses permanent materials, such as bronze, to speak to the lasting effects of past experiences. Through July 7.


“Made in Dixon | Hecho en Dixon”

“Made in Dixon” features artwork from more than 300 program participants of all ages, diverse cultural backgrounds, and interests. rough June 2.


Maritza DavilaIrizarry:

“Homage to the Human Heart”

Maritza DavilaIrizarry’s large format accordionstyle book she created using printmaking techniques honed over decades embodies an homage to all of the people who have crossed paths with the artist. Through May 31.


“Memphis 2024”

Experience visual art in various genres and media from artists across Memphis. Through June 30. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

“No Place Like Home”

Perspectives, techniques, and themes from queer artists in the metals community. Through June 2.


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


“People Are People”

This exhibition honors famed American designer Christian Siriano’s electrifying contributions to fashion. Drawn from his extensive archive, the exhibition features bold creations from Siriano’s decade-plus career that celebrate self-expression for every body at every age. Through Aug. 4.


“Reminiscence”: A Painting Series A journey through time in Amanda Willoughby’s rst public exhibition. ursday, May 16-May 28. COSSITT LIBRARY

Rivertown Artists Spring Fling Exhibition

Works by Shirlee Clark, Babs Feibelman, Jane Fulmer, Sharon Grinspan, Meg Jones, Vicki Less, Mary K. VanGieson, Elizabeth Williams, and Renee Wilson.

Thursday, May 16-May 30.




“Progression” This show features works encapsulating a diverse range of subjects, from enigmatic figures set within interior spaces to boldly painted still lifes and abstract landscapes. Through July 7.


“Sow”: Works by Emily Leonard

Emily Leonard is known for sublime representations of landscapes and wildlife. Through June 8.


“The Artistic Touch” Exhibit featuring artists Carol Caughley, Sheila Bentley, Joe Umphress and Barbara Hicks Taylor

Artists of all levels can practice and increase their skills drawing the human form. $10-$15. Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.-noon.


Meet the Artists Reception

e artists behind several of the Dixon’s current exhibits will be on hand. ursday, May 16, 6 p.m.


Munch and Learn Presentations by local artists, scholars, and Dixon staff sharing their knowledge on a variety of topics. Wednesday, May 22, noon-1 p.m.


Paint & Picnic at Overton Park

Paint a ower pot while enjoying the beautiful Overton Park formal gardens. Saturday, May 18, 2-4 p.m.


“Understory” Opening Reception

New paintings by Alicja Trout. Sunday, May 19, 2-6 p.m.




An Evening with Matt Wagner and Gene Ha

Join Memphis Library Foundation for its second installment of “An Evening with” this year. Meet esteemed comic book author Matt Wagner and illustrator Gene Ha while supporting Memphis libraries. $42/ admission for one, $74/ admission for two. Friday, May 17, 6-8 p.m.


Bridgerton Book Club and Tea Party

Celebrate the newest season of Bridgerton and the book on which it’s based, Romancing Mister Bridgerton Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m.


Creative Aging Studio Course: Exploring Black American Poetry

English enthusiast and educator Aaron Brame guides both experienced and reluctant writers through this popular poetry workshop, which gives participants many opportunities to write individually and collaboratively. Free. Thursday, May 16, 11 a.m.


Environmental Justice Book Club

Join an intergenerational book club of eco-enthusiasts. Meet every three weeks to have discussions surrounding climate justice and learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Saturday, May 18, 2-4 p.m.


Hazel Ro

e author celebrates the release of her new novel, Now Or Never. Tuesday, May 21, 6 p.m.


James E. Cherry

The author celebrates his newest collection of poetry, Between Chance and Mercy Thursday, May 16, 6 p.m.


The Southern Literary Salon Series: The Bible of Barbara Kingsolver Curated and directed by Stephanie Shine. Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m.



A Collage to Remember

Join Arrow Creative for a collage workshop you won’t forget! $35/general admission. Saturday, May 18, 1-4 p.m.


Digital Photography

“101” Workshop

Learn photography from a professional photographer in this hands-on workshop. Free. Saturday, May 18, 8:30 a.m.-noon.


Hobby Kick-Start:

Writing Magical Stories

Join fantasy author, poet, and editor Jasper Joyner for a class about writing magical realism.

$25. ursday, May 16, 6 p.m.


Lightroom Classic

Processing Made Easy

Learn how to edit your images like a pro. Free. Saturday, May 18, 1-4:30 p.m.


Lunchtime Meditations

Looking for something relaxing to do to clear your mind and improve your overall health? Head to the Dixon for our free meditation sessions every Friday. Friday, May 17, noon-12:45 p.m.


Mental Health Check In

Take a step towards prioritizing your mental well-being in a safe, supportive environment. Whether you’re seeking guidance, resources, or simply want connection and tools, this is for you. Free. Saturday, May 18, 2-3:30 p.m.


PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST Keith Lewis, O Chão do Nosso Lar. 2010. From “No Place Like Home,” presented by Metal Museum guest curator Andrew ornton.


Spark your curiosity with guided nature journaling.

Tuesday, May 21, 4-5 p.m. OVERTON PARK

Free Sana Yoga at Comeback Coffee

Find your glow and fuel your soul. is all-levels Flow class will surely leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Free. Tuesday, May 21, 11-11:45 a.m. COMEBACK COFFEE

Sunday Argentine Tango Mini-Lesson & Practica

Mariallan and James will be conducting a short tango class directed at beginning dancers (5:30-6:15 p.m.), followed by a guided practica (6:15-7:30 p.m.). $15/lesson and practica, $10/practica. Sunday, May 19, 5:30 p.m.


Yes& Improv Workshop Blu City Liars hosts this free, no-commitment workshop on the rst and third Monday of each month. Monday, May 20, 6-7 p.m. THEATREWORKS


Comedy Open Mic

Hosted by John Miller. $10. Tuesday, May 21, 8 p.m. HI TONE

Don “DC” Curry Named “Comedian Of e Year” by the BET network. $27.50-$50. Friday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. | Friday, May 17, 10 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 10 p.m. | Sunday, May 19, 8 p.m. CHUCKLES COMEDY HOUSE

Saturday Night Showcase This underground comedy

continued on page 20


show, hosted by Tylon Monger, boasts a diverse and interesting lineup each week that cracks smiles, shakes heads, and causes uproarious laughter. $15. Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m.


You Look Like May 2024

A monthly showcase of spite, a battle of bitchery, a competition of OH HELL NO. $10/advance, $15/at the door day of show. Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m.



Blossoming Beauties: Celebrating Single Moms

Join McFarland Community Center for a free, fun-filled event to celebrate single moms in recognition of Mother’s Day. Saturday, May 18, 3-5 p.m.


Free East Memphis Networking Event powered by Rockstar Connect

An unforgettable evening of connection and opportunity.

Thursday, May 16, 5-7 a.m.



Ballroom Dance Showcase

Professional-amateur and professional ballroom dance show routines. Free admission and general social dancing. Friday, May 17, 6-8 p.m.


Line Dancing with Q Line dancing lessons. 21+.

Tuesday, May 21, 6-9 p.m.


Overton Square Dance Party: Disney

A free dance party in Chimes Square. Friday, May 17, 7 p.m. OVERTON SQUARE


The ’Vous: A Memphis Story, about Memphis institution The Rendevous


Swing for Spring

New beginner swing dance series. Try just one type or learn all four. $80/general admission. Tuesday, May 21, 6-7 p.m.


Tay Tay Dance Party

Two hours of non-stop Taylor music featuring DJ Swiftie. Thursday, May 16, 7-9 p.m.



Memphis Orchid Society Annual Show and Sale

See orchid exhibits and shop for orchids from regional vendors. Friday, May 17, 1-5 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 10

a.m.-5 p.m. | Sunday, May 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.



Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour

Blippi is coming to the Orpheum Theatre. Your little one will dance, sing, and learn with Blippi and special guest Meekah. Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m. THE ORPHEUM

Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South’s JA Inspire, presented by RWE

JA Inspire is an immersive program that includes a threeday, hands-on career expo for eighth grade students.

Tuesday, May 14-16, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


Kaleidoscope Club (ages 5-9)

Each week, participants will enjoy an art or horticulture project that sparks creativity and critical thinking. Wednesday, May 22, 4 p.m.


Mini Masters (ages 2-4)

Introduce your little ones to the arts and nature with crafts, movement, and more. Free, $8. Tuesday, May 21, 10:3011:15 a.m.


Story Time

Enjoy stories, songs, art activities, and creative play that connect with Collierville history. Friday, May 17, 10:30 a.m.



Story Time at Novel Recommended for children


Amanda Willoughby debuts her work with “Reminiscence,” where every brushstroke narrates a memory.

up to 5 years, Story Time at Novel includes songs and stories, featuring brand-new books in addition to well-loved favorites. Saturday, May 18, 10:30 a.m. | Wednesday, May 22, 10:30 a.m. NOVEL


Comic Con

Make sure you attend Memphis Public Libraries’ second annual free Comic Con. Check out legendary comic creators Matt Wagner and Gene Ha and more than 50 local vendors selling art, comics, toys, prints, graphic novels, art supplies, knick-knacks, and more. Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.



Castle in the Sky

1986 Japanese animated fantasy adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m.


Endless Poetry

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s intensely personal story of his years as a poet in Chile in the 1940s. Thursday, May 16, 7 p.m.


Indie Memphis Screening: The People’s Joker

Indie Memphis presents a screening of the trans comingof-age “Joker” origin story parody, featuring a superherosized cast of celebrated comedic talent. Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m.


Time Warp Drive-In: Weird Realms - Surreal Fantasy Films of the 1980s

Screening Flash Gordon, The Dark Crystal, and Legend. $25/ carload. Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m.



Canoes + Cocktails

A guided sunset paddle on the lake followed by specialty cocktails provided by Old Dominick, snacks from Cheffie’s, yard games, and music. Friday, May 17, 7 p.m.


Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market

A weekly outdoor market featuring local farmers (no resellers), artisans, and live music. Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.


Food Truck Fridays

Marnie: 60th

Anniversary Screening Hitchcock’s campy 1964 thriller about Baltimore’s best-dressed, most intellectual kleptomaniac. $15. Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m.


Movies in the Park: Wonka

A chocolate-themed movie experience with plenty of chocolate treats. Saturday, May 18, 5:30 p.m.


Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

1984 Japanese animated post-apocalyptic fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Tuesday, May 21, 7 p.m.


North By Northwest 65th anniversary screening of Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m.


Overton Square Movie Series: Dream Girls

A free screening. Blankets and folding chairs welcome. Thursday, May 16, 6 p.m.


STAX: Soulsville U.S.A.


Join director Jamila Wignot in person for a preview of the first episode of the new HBO docuseries STAX: Soulsville

U.S.A., followed by a panel discussion with Wignot and key participants. Friday, May 17, 7 p.m.


The ’Vous: A Memphis Story

Documentary on Memphis barbecue institution The Rendezvous, with Q&A and tasting. Friday, May 17, 7 p.m.


Grab a bite from a local food truck and enjoy lunch in the beautiful Dixon gardens. Friday, May 17, 11:30 a.m.1:30 p.m.


Memphis Farmers Market

A weekly outdoor market featuring local farmers and artisans, live music, and fun activities. Saturday, May 18, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.



Body Balance

A new generative yoga class that will improve your mind, your body and your life. Free. Thursday, May 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m.


Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre workouts. Thursday, May 16, 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday, May 21, 9:30 a.m.


Goat Yoga in the Park

A free, relaxing afternoon of yoga and cute goats. Saturday, May 18, 1 p.m.


Slow Your Roll | Saturday Morning Meditation

A serene start to your Saturday with some morning mindfulness, led by the experienced mindfulness educator Greg Graber. Free. Saturday, May 18, 8-8:30 a.m.


Taijiquan with Milan Vigil

Led by Milan Vigil, this Chinese martial art promotes relaxation, improves balance, and provides no-impact aerobic benefits. Ages 16 and older. Free. Saturday, May 18, 10:30-11:30 a.m.


The Tingey Painting with Parkinsons Program

A free art therapy program that supports people living

20 May 16-22, 2024
continued from page 19

with Parkinson’s. Wednesday, May 22, 10 a.m.


Twilight Yoga & Pilates

Join the Shell each Monday for a full body burn during rotating yoga and Pilates classes at the historic Overton Park Shell. Free. Monday, May 20, 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Wednesday Walks

A casual stroll around the Old Forest. No agenda, just a chance to meet new people and get a walk in. Where: Rainbow Lake Playground Kiosk. Wednesday, May 22, 4-5 p.m.



Strengthen your yoga practice and enjoy the health benefits of light exercise with yoga instructors Laura Gray McCann. Free. Thursday, May 16, 6-6:45 p.m.


Yoga in the Park

Stretch, strengthen, and unwind after your work day with a yoga class. Free. Thursday, May 16, 5:30-6:15 p.m.


Yoga on the River

Join us for Yoga on the River as Candace guides your yoga journey along the mighty Mississippi. Free. Tuesday, May 21, 6-7 p.m.



Dance your cares away at the Overton Park Shell with a dynamic, weekly Zumba workout that fuses together Latin and international music and movement. Free. Tuesday, May 21, 5:30-6:30 p.m.



La Bohème

Opera Memphis presents Puccini’s timeless classic of youth, love, and freedom in a brandnew setting: old Beale Street. Friday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.


Monday Night Poetry Set by Perform901

An immersive celebration of the written word, where the beauty of language comes alive. Monday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.


Rainbow Rumble: Vampires Vs. Werewolves

With hosts Moth Moth Moth and Vivica Vanity. $15. Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.


Spunk: Three Tales by Zora Neale Hurston

A dazzlingly entertaining dramatization of three stories by the celebrated Black iconoclast, Zora Neale Hurston, using narration, dramatization, puppetry, dance and musical interludes. Wednesday, May 22, 7 p.m.


Tri-State Miss Black Universe


Sunday, May 19, 7 p.m.



Beale Street Brass Note for Bobby Whitlock

The legendary keyboard player and songwriter, who worked with George Harrison and Eric Clapton, receives a brass note on Beale. Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m.



901 Wrestling Hyped Up

901 Wrestling Championship Title match with “Live Wire” Bobby Ford vs. “The Star of the Show” Andy Mack. $11, $68. Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m.


Courage 5K: The Gina Hollenbeck

Memorial Run

A run on the Hyde Lake Trail. Saturday, May 18, 9 a.m.


Memphis Redbirds

Versus the Gwinett Stripers. Thursday, May 16, 11 a.m. | Friday, May 17, 7 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. | Sunday, May 19, 1 p.m.


Open Water Swim Clinics

Get tips, advice, and training from professional swim and triathlon coaches. Sunday, May 19, 6:30 a.m.


Paddle the Greenway

Paddle on a 20-acre lake situated along mile nine of the Wolf River Greenway trail. Sunday, May 19, 9 a.m.-noon.


Race: FedEx Family House 5k

A run on the Hyde Lake Trail. Sunday, May 19, 2:30 p.m.


Volunteer Ranch Horse Association

The premier place to show ranch and cow horses east of the Mississippi River. Friday, May 17-May 19.



A Monster Calls

Thirteen-year-old Conor’s mum’s is very sick and she’s not getting any better. Then one night, at seven minutes past midnight, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. $25/ adult tickets, $20/students and seniors. Friday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. | Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m.


GCT presents Merry Men: A Maid Marian Comedy

What if Maid Marian took matters into her own hands? $10/students, $15/adults. Friday, May 17, 7:30-8:30 p.m. | Saturday, May 18, 7:30-8:30 p.m.


The Hot Wing King

Katori Hall’s searing new comedy, The Hot Wing King follows a group of friends as they prepare for the “Hot Wang Festival” in Memphis. As Cordell and his beau Dwayne embark on their journey to win the “crown,” they find their way through their personal struggles and relationships, figuring out the true meaning of community. Through June 2.



1 “Not so!” 8 Modifier for “film” or “pinot” 12 *Instructions for premade dinner rolls

14 *Noble couple

15 With 4-Down, each year

16 Election day in the U.S.: Abbr. 17 Workplaces for scrub nurses, for short

18 Wrestling combos

21 Come through in the ___

24 Completely mistaken

25 With 38-Across, hex that’s hard to shake

26 Cotton gin inventor Whitney

27 Have the wheel

28 Holier-___-thou

30 Partiality

31 *Latin American side dish that combines two food staples

34 *Title pair in a 2004-07 Nickelodeon sitcom

Practically an eternity

See 25-Across

Set aside for later

Bath tissue layer

Earth Day’s mo.

Word of caution

Items scattered on bridal paths

Almond-flavored liqueur 50 Cool, in dated slang

51 Ancient kingdom in modern-day Jordan

52 Sn, to chemists

53 *Eponymous founders of a Massachusettsbased firearms manufacturer

58 *Duo of magicians who are the longest-running headliners in Las Vegas history

59 Bit of pond scum

60 Mark ___, longtime game show partner of Bill Todman

1 Rankle 2 Sock tip 3 Try to hit, as a fly 4 See 15-Across

Fills a cargo hold 6 Unaffiliated voters: Abbr.

7 URL ending associated with the beginnings of the answers to the six starred clues

8 P.M. who inspired a 1960s jacket

9 Trilogy of tragedies by Aeschylus 10 I.C.U. drippers 11 Hi-___ monitor 12 Enter to steal from

Upbraid 14 Gave out hands 15 School support grps.

19 Shakes one’s booty 20 Unnervingly strange 21 Positive

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. Thursday, May 16-Sunday, May 19.



Haunted Pub Crawl

Visit three local bars for ghost stories, dark history, and tales of the paranormal. Friday, May 17, 7:30-10 p.m.


The Last Word: Epitaphs of Elmwood Cemetery

Join Elmwood Cemetery for a uniquely Memphis tour where we explore the fascinating stories behind the epitaphs of those laid to rest here. Discover the rich history and intriguing tales of the individuals who shaped our community. $20/general admission. Sunday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.-noon.


The Original Memphis Brew Bus

The Memphis Brew Bus is a Saturday afternoon trip into the amazing Memphis craft brewing scene. Visit three local breweries for tours, talks with the brewers, and of course beer. $59. Saturday, May 18, 2-5:30 p.m.


kind of attitude 22 Extended family 23 Sound of contemptuous disapproval 25 Hootenanny instrument 28 Barbershop quartet voice 29 Pilgrimage to Mecca 30 “Act like you’re supposed to!” 32 Sleeps in a tent, say 33 Rigel or Spica, by spectral type 34 Johnny of 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” 35 Part to play 36 “Can I get you ___?” 40 Casino patron 41 Language of 15-Across 4-Down 42 School founded by Henry VI 44 ___ male 45 Caravan animals 47 Insurance giant based in Hartford 48 Supplement 49 Cut the lawn 51 Prefix meaning “within” 53 Employer of a masseur 54 Brooks with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards 55 “Brokeback Mountain” director Lee 56 ___-pitch softball 57 One of 100 in D.C.: Abbr.
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 1234567891011 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1920 21 2223 24 25 26 27 2829 30 3132 33 343536 37 38 39404142 43 44 45 46 47 4849 50 51 52 5354 55 5657 58 59 60 CAPEDCALLBRAT OVINEOMITREDO COLDSOBBEROHOK AWESUREAWARE DIETARYFIBBER MRSOLDE ADAPTGOYAADAY TOBEORNOTTOBE MISCRATSTITAN USEDMEN CHINESECABAGE REMIXAMATLAP ALSOWEWASROBED BLEUOWESALOOF SOTSWEDSYAWNS The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Wednesday, March 27, 2019
22 May 16-22, 2024 jazz takes a youthful turn MON • JUN 3 • 7:30 PM Cannon Center for the Performing Arts CULTURALCAFE.ORG get your tickets at CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? 119 S. Main St. - Downtown Memphis • Hours: M-F 3pm - 3am, Sat & Sun 11am - 3am NOMINATE US! 2024 Nominations happening now through June 5 at Best Bar & Best Karaoke MUSIC WEDNESDAY JUNE 12 THE GREEN ROOM CROSSTOWN ARTS CROSSTOWNARTS ORG DOORS 7:00 PM / SHOW 7:30 PM 1350 CONCOURSE AVE $20 ADV | $25 DOOR MODERN MASTERS JAZZ SERIES ULYSSES OWENS and THE TED LUDWIG TRIO

We Saw You.


You could call them “RiverBeatniks.” ey were the more than 30,000 people who attended the inaugural RiverBeat Music Festival May 3rd, 4th, and 5th in Tom Lee Park.

ey braved periodic raindrops and o en warm temps to see and hear performers, including Stax great Carla omas, Al Kapone, the Wilkins Sisters, Southern Avenue, Killer Mike, and Lawrence Matthews. All some music lovers needed was a blanket and a comfortable spot to kick o their shoes and experience 50 performers on ve stages.

“We scanned in over 30,000 over three days,” says RiverBeat producer Je Bransford. “Ten-thousand a night.”

How did he think RiverBeat went? “Spectacular. We couldn’t be happier. e feedback we got from both patrons and artists has been overwhelming.”

And will RiverBeat return next year? “One-hundred percent,” Bransford says. No doubt about it. “We’re already planning.”

above: (le to right) Russ ompson and Katherine Terry; Matthew Burdine and Daniel Bonds below: (le to right) Ariyanna Beecher and Miles Robinson; Jackson Hendrix, Gabrielle Du e, Nakita Spencer, Lawrence Matthews bottom row: (le to right) Kristin Leach and Haggard Collins; Emily and Will Carter


The Hot Wing King

e Memphis-centric Katori Hall production has heart, humor, and redemption.

It’s di cult to imagine a more Memphis-centric theater outing than the opening night of e Circuit Playhouse’s production of e Hot Wing King — written by Memphis native Katori Hall, performed by a cast of six Memphis residents, set in Memphis, and attended by none other than the mayor of Memphis.

If the audience’s response is anything to go by, this show’s success could be described not by a traditional two thumbs-up, but rather by a rapid- re volley of nger snaps. e Hot Wing King serves up not only an o en-hilarious look at the bonds and squabbles of a found family, but also a refreshing, unapologetic depiction of gay Black men comfortably presenting a full range of everything non-toxic masculinity can be.

is play has a bit of a sitcomlike feel to it, right down to Andrew Mannion’s scene design of a slightly upscale lived-in Memphis house. e play opens in the kitchen and we stay there for almost the entirety of the show, but you’ll nd no complaints here as the set dressing was beautifully homey.

e Hot Wing King follows Cordell, a St. Louis native who recently relocated to Memphis to move in with his boyfriend, Dwayne. eir cohabitation seems like it’s o to a rocky start despite their obvious a ection and deep feeling for one another. Cordell, who is currently looking for a job, seems to be rubbed the wrong way by the idea of being supported by another person. us, he pours himself obsessively into his hobby, trying to win the annual Memphis “Hot Wang Festival.”

Much of the play’s two-and-a-halfhour runtime is taken up with the intricacies of the cooking, prepping, marinating, etc. of the wings by the couple and their two close friends, but the real meat in this production lies in the struggle of the characters’ internal battles of guilt and accountability, and of the external con icts that subsequently stem from within.

One such major con ict arises when Dwayne’s nephew EJ and EJ’s father TJ make unexpected appearances in the middle of the festival prep. Sixteenyear-old EJ is in need of a place to stay, and as his mother, Dwayne’s sister, died a er being restrained by police (police that Dwayne had called for a welfare check) almost exactly two years ago, it’s understandable why Dwayne wants to take EJ in. At least, it’s understandable to the audience. Cordell, on the

PHOTOS: SEAN MOORE e play opens in the kitchen and stays there for almost the entirety of the show.

other hand, is still struggling with his discordant relationship with his own adult children, who don’t know that he divorced their mother in order to pursue a relationship with Dwayne. e situation is messy, yet it has an air of familiarity to it that most audience members will probably be able to relate to. Anyone who has been through great loss will understand that though everyday events and emotions are a necessity for navigating daily life, the pain is never too far away. While the dialogue occasionally dri s into somewhat unrealistically poetic expressions of this sort of grief and pain, the cast carries it o well. e jump between comedic hijinks and somber self-re ection doesn’t feel quite as stark as it could, when the actors are performing with such open honesty.

What makes this play truly special and important is the matter-of-fact presentation of queer Black men who are completely at ease with their sexuality. As a straight white woman, I can only imagine what it would mean to see that kind of representation onstage to a person struggling with their own sexual identity. What I especially appreciated was Katori Hall’s method of revealing the characters’

struggles a er we had been introduced to their con dence. Again, I have only imagination and empathy to go o of here, but I think seeing these characters being their full authentic selves would be inspiring to young queer people; to see that they, too, overcame struggles to get to that point could only be

incredibly validating. When it comes to serving up quality theater, e Hot Wing King has everything to o er: heart, saucy exchanges, slapstick comedy, and even redemption.

e Hot Wing King runs at e Circuit Playhouse through June 2nd.

24 May 16-22, 2024
THEATER By Coco June

A Tale of Two Barbecue Joints

Pollard’s Bar-B-Que and Jimbo’s Brickhouse BBQ serve up tasty and tender eats.

Tony Pollard preferred throwing the pigskin to selling the pig skin.

Pollard, a running back with the Tennessee Titans, is the son of Tarrance Pollard, owner of Pollard’s Bar-B-Que at 4560 Elvis Presley Boulevard. He worked at Pollard’s one summer, but he preferred playing football to working in a restaurant, says his aunt, Denise Plunkett, who was working behind the counter the a ernoon I visited. It was my rst visit to Pollard’s, although I’ve driven by it many times.

Tony was dra ed by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2019 National Football League dra . Recalling a statement he made when he was in the third grade, Plunkett says, “He told his mom he was going to be in the NFL one day.”

A poster featuring a picture of Tony clutching a football and the words “Home of Tony Pollard” hangs on the wall near another poster that reads, “Featured on Food Network.” e restaurant was featured on Restaurant: Impossible, Plunkett says.

Tarrance tells me he worked at other barbecue restaurants, including Gridley’s Bar-B-Q and A&R Bar-B-Que, before opening his own place in 1996.

When I ask Plunkett what sets their barbecue apart from other places, she says, “It’s absolutely amazing. It’s tasty. It’s tender. You have to be careful not to bite your nger o .”

She’s noticed children who usually don’t like barbecue “really eat this.” ey give her “two thumbs-up.”

I sit at the counter, which has a countertop covered with sheet music that has been enclosed. Songs include “Walking in Memphis” and “Love Me Tender.” e latter could apply to my jumbo Pollard’s barbecue sandwich.

Denise Plunkett noticed children who usually don’t like barbecue “really eat this.”

Like the kids, I’ll also give the twothumbs-up recommendation for this delicious sandwich. I could have bitten o my nger or one of my thumbs.

I also ask Terrance what sets his barbecue apart. “Love and time,” he says. Next, I travel to a barbecue restaurant I’ve also passed many times,

but never stopped to go inside. at changes when I walk in the door to order a jumbo barbecue sandwich at Jimbo’s Brickhouse BBQ at 8600 MS-178 in Byhalia, Mississippi.

First of all, a Jimbo’s jumbo is just gigantic.

“Knock a dent in it and tell me what you think,” says owner Jimbo Dalton.

It is fabulous. As are the wet ribs Dalton brings to the table for me to try.

ey are delectable. Some of the best ribs I’ve ever eaten. So tender. ey also serve dry ribs.

“We just cook slow with wood the country way.”

Dalton says he’s self-taught when it comes to barbecuing. “Burning up meat till I got it right.”

is all began when he barbecued at his house when he was a teenager.

People (about 200) then began gathering at his house on weekends for his barbecue. It turned into a party. “We’d oat a keg. Listen to music.”

And, he says, “I know a lot of people and a lot of people know me.”

People began ordering barbecue. ey’d come to the house to pick it up.

Dalton then got a food trailer, which he operated for six years.

He and his late wife, Lisa, began their brick-and-mortar restaurant, which was the brick-and-mortar office for the old brick factory that was in Byhalia.

Dalton is constantly adding to the building. He’s built patios and just

about four weeks ago built the bar on the front patio. “All built with hard work, sweat, and blood.”

He serves barbecue pork, chicken, brisket, ribs, as well as other food items, including hamburgers and salads. Dalton introduces me to his fellow pitmasters Brandy McNeese and Toni Whitt. e gigantic cooker is in a separate area.

e walls in a small room up front are covered with signatures of Brickhouse visitors from all over.

Dalton features live music and karaoke at Jimbo’s Brickhouse, which is open Wednesday through Sunday.

And, hopefully, those karaoke singers will occasionally belt out the Commodores song, “Brick House.”

PHOTOS: MICHAEL DONAHUE Pollard’s Bar-B-Que owner Tarrance Pollard rst started his own restaurant in 1996. Jimbo’s Brickhouse BBQ in Byhalia, Mississippi, features pitmasters Brandy McNeese, Jimbo Dalton, and Toni Whitt.


hile Tupelo, Mississippi, celebrates its favorite native son throughout the year, the city rolls out the blue suede carpet each June during the Tupelo Elvis Festival. Held June 6-9, 2024, the festival honors the legacy of Elvis Presley and his immense impact on popular culture in the city where it all began.

The celebration kicks into high gear June 6 with the “Becoming Experience” Youth Day & Competition at the Elvis Presley Birthplace. A showcase featuring over 26 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contestants and the “Welcome Back to Tupelo” concert round out Thursday’s events, followed by the Tupelo Elvis Festival After Party at the Silver Moon Club.

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition begins June 7 at the Cadence Bank Arena with festival host Tom Brown and the Tributes in Concert band. Festival participants are invited to Food Truck Friday featuring Tupelo’s delicious food truck fare and a special Stax Museum of American Soul Music Pop-Up experience featuring the Stax Soul Mobile. Other events on Friday include the “Behind the Jumpsuits” Conversations event that delves into the stories of those individuals who keep Elvis’ memory

alive, and the “From Tupelo with Love” concert.

Elvis Tribute Artist Meet & Greets take over Downtown Tupelo on June 8. Visit various downtown retailers and meet the Tribute Artists! Tupelo Hardware Company, where Gladys Presley purchased Elvis’ first guitar, holds a reenactment of the famous purchase and guitars are still sold there today. The Stax Museum Soul Mobile makes another appearance Saturday with music, giveaways, and fun for the entire family.

With over 200 restaurants in Tupelo, planning your next meal is as much fun as the festival revelry. Eat like the king with a visit to Tupelo’s oldest restaurant, Johnnie’s Drive-In, where Elvis liked to eat. Sit in the Elvis booth inside or enjoy carhop service at this operating drive-in. Make sure to try the doughburger, a North Mississippi delicacy!

Tupelo Elvis Festival is the perfect excuse to visit the city where anything is possible. With over 2,200 accommodating hotel rooms, you are sure to get a great night’s sleep after a full day of festival fun! To learn more about the events or to purchase tickets, please visit www. or call (662) 841-6598. Plan your trip by visiting and imagine what you can do here!

26 May 16-22, 2024
sponsored content Elvis Festival Concert © TUPELO ELVIS FESTIVAL Johnnies Doughburger © TUPELO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
This article is brought to you by the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association 662.841.6598 |

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Polish-born author Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) didn’t begin to speak English until he was 21 years old. At 25, his writing in that language was still stiff and stilted. Yet during the next 40-plus years, he employed his adopted tongue to write 19 novels, numerous short stories, and several other books. Today he is regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language. You may not embark on an equally spectacular growth period in the coming months, Aries. But you do have extra power to begin mastering a skill or subject that could ultimately be crucial to your life story. Be inspired by Conrad’s magnificent accomplishments.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When I lived in San Francisco in 1995, thieves stole my Chevy Malibu. It was during the celebratory mayhem that swept the city following the local football team’s Super Bowl victory. Cops miraculously recovered my car, but it had been irrevocably damaged in one specific way: It could no longer drive in reverse. Since I couldn’t afford a new vehicle, I kept it for the next two years, carefully avoiding situations when I would need to go backward. It was a perfect metaphor for my life in those days. Now I’m suggesting you consider adopting it for yours. From what I can discern, there will be no turning around anytime soon. Don’t look back. Onward to the future!

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian basketball coach Tara VanDerveer is in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She won more games than anyone else in the sport. Here’s one aspect of her approach to coaching. She says that the greatest players “have a screw loose” — and she regards that as a very good thing. I take her to mean that the superstars are eccentric, zealous, unruly, and daring. They don’t conform to normal theories about how to succeed. They have a wild originality and a fanatical drive for excellence. If you might ever be interested in exploring the possible advantages of having a screw loose for the sake of your ambitions, the coming months will be one of the best times ever.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Am I one of your father figures, uncle figures, or brother figures? I hope so! I have worked hard to purge the toxic aspects of masculinity that I inherited from my culture. And I have diligently and gleefully cultivated the most beautiful aspects of masculinity. Plus, my feminist principles have been ripening and growing stronger for many years. With that as our background, I encourage you to spend the coming weeks upgrading your own relationship to the masculine archetype, no matter which of the 77 genders you might be. I see this as an excellent time for you to take practical

measures to get the very best male influences in your life.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Now that your mind, your heart, and your world have opened wider than you imagined possible, try to anticipate how they might close down if you’re not always as bold and brave as you have been in recent months. Then sign a contract with yourself, promising that you will not permit your mind, your heart, and your world to shrink or narrow. If you proactively heal your fears before they break out, maybe they won’t break out. (PS: I will acknowledge that there may eventually be a bit of contraction you should allow to fully integrate the changes — but only a bit.)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I would love you to cultivate connections with characters who can give you shimmery secrets and scintillating stories you need to hear. In my astrological opinion, you are in a phase when you require more fascination, amazement, and intrigue than usual. If love and sex are included in the exchange, so much the better — but they are not mandatory elements in your assignment. The main thing is this: For the sake of your mental, physical, and spiritual health, you must get your limitations dissolved, your understanding of reality enriched, and your vision of the future expanded.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio writer Andrew Solomon made a very Scorpionic comment when he wrote, “We all have our darkness, and the trick is making something exalted of it.” Of all the signs of the zodiac, you have the greatest potential to accomplish this heroic transmutation — and to do it with panache, artistry, and even tenderness. I trust you are ready for another few rounds of your mysterious specialty. The people in your life would benefit from it almost as much as you.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you been nursing the hope that someday you will retrain your loved ones? That you will change them in ways that make them act more sensibly? That you will convince them to shed qualities you don’t like and keep just the good parts? If so, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to drop this fantasy. In its place, I advise you to go through whatever mental gymnastics are necessary as you come to accept and love them exactly as they are. If you can manage that, there will be a bonus development: You will be more inclined to accept and love yourself exactly as you are.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I brazenly predict that in the next 11 months, you will get closer than ever before to doing your dream job. Because of your clear

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):

Hypothetically, you could learn to give a stirring rendering of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 on a slide whistle. Or you could perform the “To be or not to be” soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet for an audience of pigeons that aren’t even paying attention. Theoretically, you could pour out your adoration to an unattainable celebrity or give a big tip to a waiter who provided mediocre service or do your finest singing at a karaoke bar with two people in the audience. But I hope you will offer your skills and gifts with more discernment and panache, Taurus — especially these days. Don’t offer yourself carelessly. Give your blessings only to people who deeply appreciate them.

intentions, your diligent pragmatism, and the Fates’ grace, life will present you with good opportunities to earn money by doing what you love and providing an excellent service to your fellow creatures. But I’m not necessarily saying everything will unfold with perfection. And I am a bit afraid that you will fail to capitalize on your chances by being too insistent on perfection. Please assuage my doubts, Capricorn! Welcome imperfect but interesting progress.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In his book Ambivalent Zen, Lawrence Shainberg mourns that even while meditating, his mind is always fleeing from the present moment — forever “lurching towards the future or clinging to the past.” I don’t agree that this is a terrible thing. In fact, it’s a consummately human characteristic. Why demonize and deride it? But I can also see the value of spending quality time in the here and now — enjoying each new unpredictable moment without compulsively referencing it to other times and places. I bring this up, Aquarius, because I believe that in the coming weeks, you can enjoy far more free time in the rich and resonant present than is normally possible for you. Make “BE HERE NOW” your gentle, relaxing battle cry.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Two-thirds of us claim to have had a paranormal encounter. One-fourth say they can telepathically sense other people’s emotions. One-fifth have had conversations with the spirits of the dead. As you might guess, the percentage of Pisceans in each category is higher than all the rest of the zodiac signs. And I suspect that number will be even more elevated than usual in the coming weeks. I hope you love spooky fun and uncanny mysteries and semi-miraculous epiphanies! Here they come.

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Monkey Business

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes continues the series’ winning streak.

When French writer Pierre Boulle wrote La Panéte des singes in 1963, it was meant as a wry commentary on human hubris. His most successful book to date was a war story which was adapted by director David Lean as e Bridge on the River Kwai. Boulle, who didn’t speak English, won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 1957. His novel, which was translated in the UK as Monkey Planet, became an unexpected hit in England, and was promptly optioned by 20th Century Fox. Boulle thought the book was un lmable, so he was shocked when Planet of the Apes became a huge hit in 1968. At the Academy Awards that year, Planet of the Apes beat 2001: A Space Odyssey for Best Costume Design. (Legend has it that many Academy voters chose PotA because they thought Kubrick had used real apes in 2001’s “Dawn of Man” sequence.)

Kingdom is a much more conventional sci-fi

adventure story.

e enduring vision of Boulle’s premise has echoed across the decades, with ve lms and two television series in the 20th century and, beginning with a Tim Burton-directed remake in 2001, for lms in this century. In this future world, the humans, who have lost the power of speech and reason, live in captivity and servitude to a society of primates. Gorillas are the warrior class, orangutans are the priestly class, and chimpanzees are scientists. e last three PotA lms, beginning

with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011, tell the story of how our world got that way. A medical test chimp named Caesar (Andy Serkis) is infected with an experimental virus, designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease, that increases his intelligence. But when the virus escapes from the lab, it has the opposite e ect on humans, and a global pandemic ensues which threatens the existence of humanity. Clover eld director Matt Reeves helmed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes, drawing a long and complex portrait of Caesar as a wise leader of his people — uh, apes — while a crippled humanity ghts for survival. Reeves evolved a patient, detailed style, which proved to be perfect for this version of PotA, but turned positively turgid when he took on the superhero genre in e Batman. Wes Ball of Maze Runner fame took over for the latest lm, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which picks up the story many generations a er the death of Caesar. Noa (Owen Teague) is the son of the chief of Eagle Clan, a group

of chimps who live in harmony with nature. When he leads an expedition to gather new falcon eggs to raise in the village aviary, he strays into the forbidden Valley Beyond. When he returns, he is followed by a group of masked gorillas armed with electric lances. Eagle Clan, having never seen electricity before, is quickly overwhelmed by the raiders and kidnapped for parts unknown. Noa escapes and sets out to nd his stolen tribe. Along the way, he meets Raka (Peter Macon), an orangutan who belongs to e Order of Caesar, a monastic order dedicated to their namesake’s two moral laws: Apes Together Strong, and Ape No Kill Ape. Together, they discover Mae (Freya Allan), a human who, they soon learn, can talk. ey track the mysterious raiders until they are ambushed on a bridge and dragged back to an armed camp on the shoreline. ere, Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand) is trying to break through a huge vault door set in the side of a sea cli . He believes there is game-changing human technology behind the door, and that

Mae knows how to open it. Kingdom is a much more conventional sci- adventure story than Reeves’ meditations on the responsibilities of leadership. Its sweeping vistas of Los Angeles in ruins make for some compelling cinema, and Ball knows how to concoct a good slam-bang action sequence. Unlike the old days of Roddy McDowall emoting behind a thick mask, these apes are all motion-capture CGI creations, which sometimes causes confusion, as Noa’s chimp brethren all kinda look alike. Teague’s Noa makes a serviceable and pleasingly vulnerable hero, but he can’t live up to the masterful mo-cap performance of Andy Serkis. Sure, it’s blander than its predecessors, but taken on its own terms, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes remains a fun summer blockbuster.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Now playing Multiple locations

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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a fun summer blockbuster.

Our critic picks the best films in theaters.


Young Elizabeth (Cailey Fleming) has an imaginary friend named Blossom (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) that only she can see. The catch is, she can also see other kids’ imaginary friends, including the ones their companions outgrew. Her neighbor Cal (Ryan Reynolds) has the same ability, and together they try to reunite the abandoned IFs with their former kids. This live action/ animated hybrid features a huge cast of voices, including Steve Carell, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Maya Rudolph, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, and, in his final role, the late Louis Gossett Jr.

I Saw the TV Glow

Jane Schoenbrun’s psychological horror

about teenage fandom is already being hailed as one of the best movies of the year. Owen (Justice Smith) bonds with Maddy (Brigette Lundy-Paine) over their mutual love for the YA series The Pink Opaque. Years later, with adulthood’s problems pressing down, Maddy reappears in Owen’s life, telling him they can escape into the fictional world of the show — but there’s a price to pay for permanent escape into TV land.

Back to Black

Marisa Abela stars in this biopic of singer Amy Winehouse, who scored major hits in the 2000s and set the record for the most Grammys won in one night. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson tries to separate the tabloid hype from the real person, who died in 2011 at age 27.

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War, Money, and Universities

Peaceful protest, violent response — that says it all.

Human politics — from global to local — remain mixed with hatred, dominance, and … well, dehumanization. We’ve organized ourselves across the planet around one primary principle: the existence of an enemy. e division between “us” and “them” can be based on anything: a di erence in race, language, culture — or simply opinion, which is beginning to happen on campuses across the country, as peaceful, intensely determined protesters, demanding their institutions divest from the Israeli war machine, face violent resistance from police and/or counter-protesters.

Yes, the peaceful protesters are interrupting the status quo — setting up encampments, even occupying university buildings. For instance, at Columbia University, students renamed the occupied Hamilton Hall, declaring its new name to be Hind’s Hall, a er Hind Rajab, a 6-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli armed forces, along with the rest of her family (and several aid workers), as they were eeing their home in Gaza. e point of the protests is, indeed, to change the world: to stop U.S., including university, support of the devastating “war” (i.e., carnage). ey’re not trying to eliminate an enemy but, rather, illuminate the situation — putting themselves on the line to do so.

Some of the responses to the protests are de nitely illuminating. A statement from UCLA’s Palestine Solidarity Encampment, for instance, noted: “ e life-threatening assault we face tonight is nothing less than a horrifying, despicable act of terror. For over seven hours, Zionist aggressors hurled gas canisters, sprayed pepper spray, & threw reworks and bricks into our encampment. ey broke our barriers repeatedly, clearly in an attempt to kill us.”

Furthermore, the account went on: “Campus safety le within minutes, external security the university hired for ‘backup’ watched, lmed, and laughed on the side as the immediate danger in icted upon us escalated. Law enforcement simply stood at the edge of the lawn and refused to budge as we screamed for their help. … e university would rather see us dead than divest.”

In other words, those damn students are the enemy. Even when the response to the protests isn’t outright violence, it’s o en rhetorically violent, such as GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee calling the protesters terrorists and declaring, “Any student who has promoted terrorism or engaged in terrorist acts on behalf of Hamas should be immediately added to the terrorist watch list and placed on the [Transportation Security Administration] No-Fly List.” is is utterly linear, minimalist thinking. Critics aren’t engaging in a debate on the nature (and necessity) of war, plunging, with the protesters, into a complex discussion of global politics, military industrialism, and the morality of killing. at’s too much trouble! ey’re simply calling the outraged protesters “the enemy” — just a bunch of terrorists, same as Hamas. And yeah, no doubt part of that good old axis of evil. is is the thinking the protesters are trying to disrupt! Alas, it’s also solidly part of the infrastructure of the status quo. Militarism is baked into the American core. When we’re not waging our own wars, we’re enabling various allies to do so.

As Heidi Peltier, writing at Brown University’s Costs of War Project, points out, regarding this country’s annual budget of nearly $2 trillion: “Almost half of the U.S. federal discretionary budget is allocated to the Department of Defense and more than half of the discretionary budget goes to ‘defense’ overall, which includes not only the DoD but also nuclear weapons programs within the Department of Energy and additional defense spending in other departments. … As a result, other elements and capacities of the U.S. government and civilian economy have been weakened, and military industries have gained political power. Decades of high levels of military spending have changed U.S. government and society — strengthening its ability to ght wars, while weakening its capacities to perform other core functions. Investments in infrastructure, healthcare, education, and emergency preparedness, for instance, have all su ered as military spending and industry have crowded them out.”

e campus protests around the country, at which, so far, more than 2,000 students have been arrested, primarily address the twisted irony of money. Universities have multi-billion-dollar endowments — donation money — which they then invest in the stock market, in various companies, including … well, yeah, weapons manufacturers, like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and many more. Oh, the mysterious, ironic ow of money!

At New York University, a spokesman informed protesting students that the university is not divesting from such companies because it needs to maximize its investment returns in order to “help the university ful l its research and educational mission.” You know, to bring truth and knowledge into the world — for the sake, among others, of the protesters themselves.

American college students are facing this irony head on — at a personal cost. But the cost, as they say, is minimal, compared to the one being paid by Palestinians, and by victims of war all around the world.

Robert Koehler (, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor. He is the author of Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, and his newly released album of recorded poetry and art work, Soul Fragments

PHOTO: WILLIAM MORGAN | DREAMSTIME.COM Pro-Palestinian encampment at Tulane University
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