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Amazon and FedEx are household names, but infrastructure must always mean roads and bridges?

CONTENTS

JESSE DAVIS Editor SHARA CLARK Managing Editor JACKSON BAKER, BRUCE VANWYNGARDEN Senior Editors TOBY SELLS Associate Editor CHRIS MCCOY Film and TV Editor ALEX GREENE Music Editor SAMUEL X. CICCI, MICHAEL DONAHUE, JON W. SPARKS Staff Writers ABIGAIL MORICI Copy Editor JULIE RAY Calendar Editor LORNA FIELD, RANDY HASPEL, RICHARD MURFF, FRANK MURTAUGH, MEGHAN STUTHARD Contributing Columnists AIMEE STIEGEMEYER, SHARON BROWN Grizzlies Reporters ANDREA FENISE Fashion Editor KENNETH NEILL Founding Publisher

OUR 1683RD ISSUE 05.27.21 Last week, with little time to spare, I scrapped a perfectly serviceable column intended for this space. Inspired by a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline and a “crack” in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, my debut editor’s column was almost about infrastructure — more specifically, it was almost about expanding our definition of infrastructure. Little did I know that just as I was switching gears to write an entirely different kind of column, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee was using a stop in Memphis to review bridge repairs as an excuse to take jabs at President Joe Biden and Congress for taking the time to ponder “the definition of infrastructure.” Boy, was I kicking myself when I saw that. Had I stuck with my original column topic, I would have looked like a genius, like I had somehow foreseen Lee’s statement, which was released just after our print deadline. But we had already gone to press, so there was nothing that could be done. Luckily, it looks like we’ll be debating the definition of infrastructure for a while, so this is still topical a week later. What, exactly, is wrong with pondering the definition of infrastructure? Perhaps Gov. Lee has forgotten that language is fluid; it changes over time to reflect the needs of a changing society. And the country (and Memphis) has changed since the bridge in question was built. It’s worth noting that construction on the Hernando DeSoto Bridge was completed in 1973. That’s two years after Fred Smith bought Arkansas Aviation Sales and founded FedEx, but years before FedEx would be used as a verb meaning “to ship something quickly” (an example of changing language), or before its headquarters would be moved to Memphis. How many FedEx trucks cross that bridge going to and from Memphis International Airport these days? In other, more recent shipping developments, Amazon is planning two new facilities for the region — one in Byhalia and one in North Memphis. I’m sure they’ll add to the load as well. I don’t mean to suggest that any of these businesses are the root cause of the bridge crack. Plenty of average citizens cross the bridge every day as well. My point is that the bridge is older than entire industries. We’re so quick to accept new terms when they’re consumer goods, so why are we so loath to update the lexicon when we’re talking about something everyone can use? Amazon and FedEx are household names, but infrastructure must always mean roads and bridges? It’s time to think outside the box, and in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention, we have a pretty clear example of just how wrong things can go when we ignore potential threats. A pandemic response team isn’t a superfluous expense because we might not need it next year. Bridge and road and utility upkeep are all vital. Cybersecurity, in our interconnected and increasingly digital world, damn sure counts as essential; if a ransomware attack can cripple the East Coast’s oil distribution, shouldn’t cybersecurity be infrastructure? Cost is an issue, of course, but think of all this as national defense if it helps the pill go down more smoothly. We don’t want to be taken by surprise by climate change, or the next coronavirus, or a more sophisticated and long-reaching cyber attack. As a society, we’re really only as healthy as our least-protected members. There are practical reasons to ensure everyone has access to basic services and protections. Some people might want to debate my use of the word “basic.” They have trouble imagining the internet and elder or child care as infrastructure. But have you ever tried to apply for a job in the 21st century without an internet connection? If you get the job, what do you do with your kids? We need working social structures as much as we need bridges and roads. We need N E WS & O P I N I O N access to intangible but vital services like THE FLY-BY - 4 the internet. Reimagining our definitions NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 POLITICS - 8 means taking a hard look at an uncertain COVER STORY future, and uncertainty is frightening. “THE NEW NORMAL” What will the world look like once we’ve BY CHRIS MCCOY - 10 reimagined it? How will we bring it into WE RECOMMEND - 14 existence? And after all that work, will we MUSIC - 15 just have to do it again every generation? CALENDAR - 16 We’ll have to cross that bridge when SPIRITS - 19 we come to it. For now, let’s ponder this TV - 20 together. C LAS S I F I E D S - 21 Jesse Davis LAST WORD - 23 jesse@memphisflyer.com

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THE

fly-by

MEMernet A roundup of Memphis on the World Wide Web. TH E PAST The City of West Memphis Facebook page threw it way back last week to around 1971 when construction was underway of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge. It opened to vehicle traffic in 1973 and cost $57 million (about $256 million in today’s money). POSTED TO FACEBOOK BY THE CITY OF WEST MEMPHIS

TH E P R ES E NT Reddit user u/ HellooNewmann posted a photo showing crews at work fixing the Hernando DeSoto Bridge with “big plates” and a “ton of bolts.”

May 27-June 2, 2021

POSTED TO REDDIT BY U/HELLOONEWMANN

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FAC E B O O K MAR GAR ITA A Normal Station member of the Buy Nothing Facebook group gave away a frozen margarita from El Mezcal last week. “It’s fresh, and keeping cold in the freezer, opened just for pic,” reads the post. “I’m a regular for to-go orders, and my buddy so kindly gifted me a to-go margarita, couldn’t say, ‘No, thank you.’ But I can’t do tequila.” The margarita was claimed and picked up. POSTED TO FACEBOOK IN THE BUY NOTHING MIDTOWN/DOWNTOWN GROUP

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Questions, Answers + Attitude Edited by Toby Sells

W E E K T H AT W A S By Flyer staff

A Veto, the Bridge, & a Solar Farm Moves on “critical race theory” bill, bridge repair moves ahead, and a $140M project for Facebook. VETO P US H E D FO R R AC E TH EO RY B I LL Tennessee Senate Democrats urged Governor Bill Lee to veto a bill that would prohibit Tennessee teachers from teaching critical race theory. The theory has been around for decades. Its most basic tenet is that racism exists and whites benefit from it. Lawmakers here passed legislation that would ban teaching explicit elements of critical race theory, including the idea that “this state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist.” Senate Democrats said in a letter to Lee last week that the legislation is “misguided” and “will FACEBOOK cause our state harm and aggravate problems that already exist in public education.” Rendering of Facebook’s planned $800 million data center “Reckoning with the history of slavery, white supremacy, Jim Crow, and racism is essential not only to fully educate our students, but also for our future,” The statement then notes Biden’s plan doesn’t give enough reads the letter signed by six Senate Democrats, including money for building and fixing roads or doesn’t give any money three from Memphis. for such projects at all. The legislation, for one thing, lets modern whites off the A contract for emergency bridge repair was awarded to hook for slavery. But it goes beyond race and includes sex as Omaha, Nebraska-based Kiewit Infrastructure Group. TDOT well. For example, teachers would not be able to say “an indisaid the repair plan will be performed in two phases and traffic vidual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently will not be allowed on the bridge until they are both complete. privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.” FAC E B O O K S O LAR FAR M The legislation would, however, call the existing system a A $140 million solar farm is headed to a spot near Millington “meritocracy,” in which a person should not feel “discomfort, that will power, among other things, an $800 million data guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely center for Facebook in Gallatin, Tennessee. because of the individual’s race or sex.” The solar farm is a project from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Facebook, and RWE Renewables. The solar LE E US ES B R I D G E TO S WI P E AT D E M S facility will cover about 1,200-1,400 acres and generate 150 Tennessee Governor Bill Lee used his Memphis trip to review megawatts, equivalent to 399,600 solar panels. Facebook will work on the still-closed Hernando DeSoto Bridge and to make use 110 megawatts of the plant’s power. couched, partisan swipes at Democrats. The project will generate more than $12 million in propIn a statement issued before a scheduled press briefing last erty tax revenue, create more than 150 construction jobs, and week, Lee took tame jabs at Congress and President Joe Biden’s employ two to four full-time staffers for operations and mainAmerican Rescue Plan and American Jobs Plan. tenance. The facility is expected to come online in late 2023, “While Congress ponders the definition of infrastructure, pending environmental reviews. Visit the News Blog at memphisflyer.com for fuller versions of we call upon the federal government to prioritize the safety of these stories and more local news. actual roads and bridges,” Lee said in the statement.


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The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Thursday, October 4, 2018

Crossword ACROSS 1 Classic video game hero a.k.a. the Blue Bomber 8 Word after “be” or “end” 11 Light lunch choice 14 Seeing someone, say 15 Like the services of many financial planners 18 Class that doesn’t require in-person attendance 19 Place in 1861 news, for short 20 Abbr. on a college entrance sign 21 Neighbor of N.Z. 22 ’Fore 23 Temporary, as a store 26 “Let’s go to the next one” 28 Dorm V.I.P.s 29 Genre for Panic! at the Disco 30 Pinker, say

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34 Place for pilots 36 Dorm V.I.P. 37 Like zombies 38 Program for reducing litter on highways 40 Lines screenwriters didn’t write

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69 Common fish in aquaculture 44 Ignore, with “out” 70 Number 2 or 6 46 Ride taken for a 71 Playwright spin? Thomas who predated 48 Bother Shakespeare 51 Real stunner 72 Educational toy 52 It borders B.C. with a spinning arrow 53 Magic, on scoreboards 54 Movie camera settings

DOWN 1 Trim, in a way

56 Casey who voiced Shaggy

2 Phoenix-toAlbuquerque dir.

58 Pot leaves? 59 Some brewery offerings, in brief 60 Regain hit points, in video games

ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE U S D A

64 Popular browser extension … or a literal description of four black squares in this puzzle

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50 Event that looks like its first letter? 51 Put in the trash 42 Sainted English 55 Lip-smacking historian 57 Bloom who wrote “The Closing of 43 Roast the American 45 Doing grown-up Mind” things, in modern 61 Actress Falco lingo 63 People whom it’s 47 Endearingly helpful to know awkward, in slang 65 Black ___ 48 Easily angered 66 Secretive org. sort 67 King Arthur’s foster brother 49 Colored body part 39 Put ___ on (limit) 41 Ancient mother goddess

Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 7,000 past puzzles, nytimes.com/crosswords ($39.95 a year). Read about and comment on each puzzle: nytimes.com/wordplay.

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CITY REPORTER By Flyer staff

2 Locations: 4763 Poplar at Colonial • 767-6743 | 12061 Hwy 64 • 867-2283 DanWestOnline.com

Federal officials seized 42 rare Mexican box turtles recently in three shipments passing from Central America to Asia through the Memphis Port of Entry. Since their seizure, the turtles have been cared for at the Memphis Zoo. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents became suspicious of a large cardboard box labeled “gifts” on March 24th. Those agents called in a wildlife inspector from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for physical inspections of the live animals and identified them as Mexican box turtles.

The seizure sends “a message to criminals that their business is not welcome here.” The box contained baby formula cans lined with aluminum foil. Inside the cans were white athletic socks, and inside those were the turtles, each wrapped in duct tape. The first shipment of 20 turtles was bound for Asia, officials said. On April 2nd, agents seized a box described as “spare parts for hydraulic pumps” in shipping documents. Inside, they found 16 turtles wrapped in socks and duct tape and hidden in four coffee cans. The cans were sealed but had holes poked in the top for ventilation. On April 20th, another box labeled “spare parts for sewing machines” was seized. Inside, agents found more turtles wrapped in duct tape, stuffed into

PHOTO COURTESY OF MEMPHIS ZOO

The turtles were shipped in coffee cans and cans of baby formula. socks, and shoved inside ventilated baby formula cans. “When they arrived, they were dehydrated and underweight from the holding and shipping conditions,” said Chris Baker, assistant curator of the Memphis Zoo. “Once they conclude treatment and become stable, they will be distributed to [Association of Zoos and Aquariums] partner zoos with expertise in caring for the species.” Officials said the smugglers purposely poached breeding male and female turtles. Some of the females were carrying eggs. One female dropped an egg in transit due to the “stressful and inhumane way they were smuggled.” That egg could not be saved. But Memphis Zoo is currently caring for another egg. Officials said they weren’t sure where the smugglers caught the turtles, so they cannot be returned to their original homes. For now, the 40 remaining turtles will stay at the Memphis Zoo. No prosecutions were made in this case, but officials announced the seizure to send “a message to criminals that their business is not welcome here.” “Wildlife trafficking is a serious crime that impacts imperiled species across the world,” said Edward Grace, assistant director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.


7

NEWS & OPINION

m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m


POLITICS By Jackson Baker

Pinching the Penny It’s mind-blowing, the difference a cent makes on the county tax rate.

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How well would most of us be doing if, say, we were lucky enough to have an annual salary of $229,000? Pretty dang well, right? And the fact is, there are lots of people, even in our proverbially poor county, who are doing that well or better. But for most of us? Nah, we wish! I cite that particular figure — almost a quarter of a million dollars, note — because it’s the hypothetical amount of revenue brought into the county coffers by the final digit of the state-certified tax rate for Shelby County. One five-hundredth of a nickel. Let’s put that in numerals. $0.001. The Shelby County Commission is about to adopt a tax rate, and the number the county commission has been conjuring up, to equate to the demands of its budget projected so far, is $3.451. The tax rate is calibrated as a portion of the assessed value of real property. Take a house whose appraised value is $100,000. The assessed value is reckoned at 25 percent of that — so that, for the hypothetical $100,000 home in question, a tax rate of, say, $3.45 would be multiplied by $25,000 (which is one-fourth of $100,000, right?), and that sum would be divided by 100. The property in question would command a tax payment of $862.50. Now, that’s for a tax rate of $3.45. If the tax rate were $3.46, the tax owed would be $865. Not much difference there for the individual taxpayer owning such a modest place. But the difference for the county overall between a rate of $3.45 and one of $3.46 is — make sure you’re sitting down — no less than $2,292,999 — two and a quarter million. A nice piece of change, that is, and, as the county commission’s budget

chair Edmund Ford Jr. pointed out to his colleagues on Monday at the advice of county trustee Regina Newman, the county cannot bill or collect on the extra millennial digit in the figure of $3.451, the hypothetical rate projected so far. It must go up to a figure rounding off at $3.46 or go down to $3.45. Going up to a rate of $3.46 would generate for the county the previously mentioned additional amount of $2,229,999. But it would mean (shhhhhh!) raising taxes, technically. The alternative would be to go down by a millennial digit to $3.45, which might mean sacrificing a proposed roster position or two or three. That’s the pending choice for county commission members that Ford presented to them at Monday’s meeting, as the commission contemplated the choices it will have to make by its projected budget deadline of Monday, June 7th. Either way, taxpayers will note that anti“windfall” provisions of the state-certified rate, based on the most recent countywide property appraisal, call for a reduction in the current tax rate, which is $4.05. You can call that progress. • The Shelby County Commission completed action begun in committee sessions last Wednesday, formalizing by a vote of 11-0 its request that Governor Bill Lee repudiate recently passed legislation prohibiting the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools. The body also adopted amendments from Commissioner Mick Wright noting a “lack of clarity” in the bill in distinguishing between rejecting racism and ignoring the fact of it, as the bill seems to call for. Monday was the last commission meeting attended by Carolyn Watkins as administrator of Shelby County Government’s equal opportunity compliance program. Watkins was recently appointed by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to fill the city judgeship left vacant by the death of Teresa Jones. She is being succeeded in her county position by Shep Wilbun. Both Watkins and Wilbun were formally honored by the commission on Monday, as was Sheriff Floyd Bonner, by joint proclamation of the commission and Mayor Lee Harris.

MONTYLAWTON | DREAMSTIME.COM


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COVER STORY BY CHRIS MCCOY

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS PROP STY LING AND HAND MODELI N G: AARO N B RAME

The New Normal As vaccines enable a return to normal for some, we examine what changes might be here to stay.

T

May 27-June 2, 2021

he COVID-19 pandemic is not over. The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center, which has been tracking the spread of the disease for more than a year, reports that 165 million people have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 worldwide; 3.4 million people have died from the disease. The United States has both the most cases, with just over 33 million, and the most deaths, with 588,548. In Shelby County, roughly one in 10 people have been infected, and 1,644 people have died. The development of COVID vaccines and a massive government push to get “shots in arms” has blunted the spread of the disease. In real-world conditions, mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna have been found to reduce an individual’s chance of infection by more than 90 percent. A two-shot dose virtually eliminates the possibility of hospitalization and death. Vaccine development has been a science success story, but we’re not out of the woods yet. It’s unlikely COVID will 10 ever go away entirely. The virus will go from pandemic to endemic, with flu-like

regional outbreaks recurring every year. It will take time to vaccinate the world. Early fears about new virus variants able to evade vaccine-generated antibodies have not materialized, but most experts believe it’s just a matter of time before a new mutation makes a vaccine booster shot necessary. As restrictions ease with the falling case numbers, the country seems to be crawling back to normal. Interviews with Memphians from different fields impacted by the pandemic reveal how this new normal will be different from the old.

Dining In/Out

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amera Patterson, owner of Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe in the Edge District, was just getting her business off the ground when the pandemic hit. “In February of 2020, we saw such great success, having just relocated from Cooper-Young,” she says. “We were right in the middle of Black Restaurant Week, and we were expecting for that to catapult us to new heights. As you could imagine, we were kind of sucker-

punched in March.” Instead of managing new growth, Patterson found herself facing no good options. “We had to make the really hard call of do we close, or do we do what we ended up doing, which is strictly going to-go?” The constantly changing health directives made closing the dining room the logical choice. “I didn’t want the yo-yo: You can open but you can only have six people. You can open but you JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Tamera Patterson

can only have 20 people. I felt like the inconsistency for a customer would be much more detrimental than what was happening.” Eric Vernon of The Bar-B-Q Shop agrees that dine-out business was the only play available but says a good restaurant is about more than just the food. “At The Bar-B-Q Shop, you come in, you sit down, you stay overtime, and the staff gets to know you. So a lot of what we did was cut right off the bat. We don’t just sell food, you know. It’s an atmosphere thing. I think we went into a little bit of panic mode. I couldn’t worry about atmosphere; I just had to get the food out. So within a three-week, maybe four-week process, we did what normally takes a year to develop. We had to come up with an online system for people to pick up, and we had to do a delivery system, and we had to figure out how to get all these systems to ring up in our kitchen.” Steve Voss faced the same challenge across the nine Huey’s locations. “We hit the streets as quickly as possible to figure out, how are we going to get food out to our guests efficiently and timely while


Huey’s maintaining the quality? So we went straight into curbside.”

C

ustomers liked picking up food to eat at home, but the learning curve was steep, says Vernon. “We went from people placing orders for ribs and a couple of sandwiches to-go to doing full family orders. People don’t get that it takes longer for us to bag up an order for a family than it does to get it to the table. We had never done to-go orders for seven or eight people, every other time the phone rang. We had people calling to say they’re outside. Well, we’ve got a front door and a back door, so we’re running out to the front, they’re not there, so then we’re running out back!” Restaurateurs got a crash course in the delivery business. “We’ve had people approach us in the past, wanting us to venture into that area,” Voss says. “We’ve developed some systems with DoorDash and ChowNow, and now it is a tremendous part of our business, but it’s really hard to execute well. It’s like having a whole other department in the building.” Take-out wasn’t just for restaurants. “We had to shut down the taproom, which was a major source of revenue for our business,” says Crosstown Brewing Company owner Will Goodwin. “But JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Crosstown Brewing Company

Out of the Office

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or millions of office workers, 2020 meant taking meetings in your Zoom shirt and sweatpants. Kirk Johnson is the founder and executive partner of Vaco, a consulting and staffing firm specializing in technology, finance, accounting, supply chain, and logistics. He says many businesses who were dipping their toes in remote-work technology found themselves shoved into the deep end. “I think a lot of them were just slow to adapt, but now that it’s been proven that people can work remotely and be very effective, companies have been forced to say, ‘Gosh, this does work, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be more flexible because it makes people more productive when they can do the things they need to do for their family and also get their job done and done well.’” Just before the pandemic, Memphian Audra Watt started a new job as vice president of a medical device company based in Lebanon, Tennessee. “I lead a marketing organization of individuals all over the country, and we’re a global organization, so we interact with people all over the world,” she says. “We have a lot of folks that already worked remotely. I’d never really worked with remote

employees. I’d always been with people, who reported to me and my bosses, in the office. So I was like, this is going to be weird. I had no idea it was going to be the new normal. A month into my new job, everybody started working from home. I was shocked at how productive everybody was! It was like, well, we don’t actually need to all be together. Our productivity just skyrocketed to the point where I was telling people, ‘Hey, you don’t need to work nights and weekends.’” The experience was an eye-opener. “I don’t see a reason to go back to the office in the full-time capacity we had in the past,” she says. As vaccinations decrease the danger of an office outbreak, a new hybrid model is likely to take hold. “There’s a very handson element to what I do, with product development and product management,” says Watt. “Being able to touch and feel, and look at prototypes, and talk to people on the line is super critical. But I don’t do that every day. If I look back at my time in the office, a lot of it was spent on the phone. … I think one of the most compelling things I realized is how much time I spent traveling to get to in-person meetings, which probably could have been accomplished virtually.”

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ike most teachers, John Rash, assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, spent the last year and a half teaching remotely. “I would say it went pretty well for certain areas,” he says. “There were definitely some areas where it was not as good as in person, but there’re some areas that actually worked better. … I have one class I teach nearly every semester with a hundred students in it. It’s just not possible to address their questions and individual concerns during class time. A lot of those things that might take two or three back-and-forth emails, now, we can jump on Zoom and get it settled in four or five minutes. I feel like I’ve had a lot more contact with students over the past year than I did previously, just because of that accessibility that’s available through Zoom.” Johnson says some form of remote work is here to stay. “The question is going to be, what is the best model for each individual company and each individual person? I think both are going to have to be flexible. Those companies that are just saying, ‘No, we’re going back eight-to-five, five days a week,’ will have a hard time recruiting people. And I think those people who are dogmatic and say, ‘I will only work remotely,’ will not find themselves in the best company or the

best position. There’s going to be some kind of a compromise on both sides.”

The Show Must Go On

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my LaVere and Will Sexton were touring in support of two new albums when COVID shut the country down. “We had gigs just falling away off the calendar,” LaVere says. “We had one big one left in Brooklyn, and it canceled because they shut the city down.” On the terrifying drive back to Memphis, they stocked up on rice and beans and prepared to hunker down indefinitely. “What will become of us? Is this the end of mankind?”

JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Amy LaVere LaVere and Sexton were among the first Memphis musicians to try streaming shows as an alternative to live gigs. “We just had to figure out a way to try to make a living, but it didn’t really work,” she says. “For the first couple of months, we were doing one a week, and people were very, very generous and sweet to us. It helped us get back on our feet. But then, it just became so saturated, and there were so many people doing what we were doing, that we really just kept at it to keep our craft up. It was a thing to do every week to just not lose your mind.” Eventually, LaVere and Sexton started playing private, socially distanced shows in their driveway. “I hated the livestream so much,” she says. “It’s really difficult to perform to nobody.”

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ac Ives says the pandemic accelerated changes at Goner Records. “We were already working on a website and converting everything over to a more functional, online way to sell records. We’ve been living in the ’90s for the majority of our lifetime as a company online, and for a while that was fun and it worked. But we went ahead and launched continued on page 12

COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

JUSTIN FOX BURKS

people kept coming, and we made beers available in six-packs. I remember having a stack of beer sitting in the middle of the taproom, and we had a skeleton crew taking pre-orders and running beer out the door to people in cars.” Goodwin says pandemic-era liquor law changes saved his business. “Beer is kind of hung up in this antiquated, threetier system where there’s a manufacturer, there’s a distributor, and there’s a retailer.” The pandemic proved direct sales from brewery to customer is “a new business model that could be sustained. We’re still doing deliveries on Mondays and Tuesdays from the brewery. I’ve got one guy that orders a mixed case of beer every Monday. He’s done it for a year and a half.” Vernon says his dining room is filling back up, and the take-out business is bustling. After having to cut his staff in half, re-hiring is proving difficult. “Drive down Madison, and there’s a help wanted sign in every restaurant.” The new normal will likely include both curbside service and increased delivery options, says Voss. “We’ve been very fortunate to have great managers and tremendous support from the community and our wage employees to navigate all this. It’s been a heck of a ride, and we’re still battling every day.”

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continued from page 11 the site we had been working on about a month before it was ready. That was our lifeline.” Applying for a PPP loan and emergency grants forced Ives to reexamine long-standing assumptions. “The grants made us pull a bunch of different numbers and look at things differently,” Ives says. “My biggest takeaway from all of this is that it forced everybody to get way more creative, and way more flexible with how their business works. “We were pushing people online to shop, but we also started thinking, if there are no shows, how can we get these records out when the bands can’t tour with them? How do you put stuff in front of people? Our solution was Goner TV.” Goner had already been livestreaming their annual Gonerfest weekends, but after participating in a streaming festival over Memorial Day weekend 2020, Ives says they realized the bi-weekly show needed to be more than music. “The idea was sort of like the public-access cable shows we used to pass around on VHS tapes,” he says. “People would do all kinds of crazy stuff.” Filmed on phones and laptops and streaming on Twitch and YouTube, the typical Goner TV episode includes live performances, music videos, comedy, drag queen tarot card readings, puppet shows, and even cooking and cocktail demonstrations. “We recognized that the power of all of this was that there were all these other talented people around who wanted to try to do stuff together. And it really did kind of bring that community back together. We’d get done with these things and be like, ‘Wow, how’d we pull that off?’”

May 27-June 2, 2021

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VACCINATE YOUR FAMILY. #Imm un izeT N

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n August 2020, Gretchen McLennon became the CEO of Ballet Memphis. “I think from a strategic standpoint, it made coming into leadership a little more compelling because all the rules go out the window in a global pandemic,” she says. “Dorothy Gunther Pugh left a wonderful legacy. Ballet is a very traditional art form, but it’s time to pivot, and the world was in the midst of a pivot. We just didn’t know where we were going.” With grants and a PPP loan keeping dancers on staff, Ballet Memphis started streaming shows as an outreach, including an elaborate holiday production of The Nutcracker. “We had to be thoughtful about the moment in time we were in,” she says. “We successfully filmed over the course of two weeks, but we had to do daily testing

of the crew in our professional company and all the staff that was going to be on set. … We wanted that to be a gift to the city of Memphis.” Learning a new medium was difficult, but rewarding, McLennon says. “Of the six virtual pieces we did last year, one or two of them are just okay, one of them was weird, and three were magnificent.” Held last October, the 2020 Indie Memphis Film Festival was a hybrid of drive-in screenings and streaming offerings. “It was a huge success, without a doubt,” says Director of Artist Development Joseph Carr. “There was no existing infrastructure because no one was doing this prior to the pandemic. It was actually very frowned upon in the film festival world to have films online. Everybody kind of stepped up and rallied around each other in the community and really created a sense that we can all learn from each other. It brought a lot of the festivals much closer together.” Carr says the virtual format allowed Indie Memphis to expand its audience. “We had filmmakers from as far away as South Korea and Jerusalem, but also we had audiences from those regions. That is impossible to get in any other way.” Melanie Addington is one of very few people who have led two film festivals during the pandemic. The 2020 Oxford Film Festival was one of the first to go virtual, and by the time 2021 rolled around, the winter wave had subsided enough to allow for some limited inperson and outdoor screenings. “It was, for so many people, literally the first time they’ve been around other people again. And so all those awkward postvaccine conversations. Like, do we hug? We don’t know what to do with each other anymore when we’re physically in the same space.” Addington just accepted a new position as director of the Tallgrass Film Festival in Kansas, which means she will be throwing her third pandemic-era festival this fall. “A lot of us have learned there’s a larger market out there who can’t just drop everything for five days and watch a hundred movies. It’s going to allow for a bigger audience.” McLennon says Ballet Memphis has a full, in-person season planned next year and sees a future for streaming shows. “In our virtual content, we can be more exploratory at low-risk to see, does it resonate? Does it work?” LaVere sees signs of life in the live music world. “Who knows what the future will hold in the winter, but we’re full steam ahead right now. My calendar is filling up. It seems like every day, the phone is ringing with a new show.”


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steppin’ out (& stayin’ in)

We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews

Tap into EDM

By Julie Ray

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, born May 25, 1878, changed America after the first televised interracial dance with Shirley Temple in the 1935 film The Little Colonel. In his honor, National Tap Dance Day is May 25th. Shim-sham into the 21st century, and the Hot Foot Honeys (HFH) tap dance company is not only living up to the mission of the preservation, promotion, and performance of rhythm tap; the Honeys are embracing innovation. “Katie [McIntyre] saw the Dorrance Dance company perform with electronic tapboards, and decided that not only was she going to do it, she was going to make the boards herself,” says Hot Foot Honeys’ artistic director Marianne Bell about her fellow company member. McIntyre collaborated with Nicholas Van Young of Dorrance Dance and contacted Ableton, the German software company that creates the sounds of maracas, sitars, percussion, chimes, and other instruments emitted from the boards. The platforms were built and, when tapped, make a sound in unison: tap — rattle, tap — brrring, tap — pop. Bell says that the boards can even be programmed to make animal sounds. Tap — quack might get a laugh, but the Honeys say it’s a great teaching tool for kids. Videographer Eric Swartz filmed the Honeys’ first foray into musical composition while dancing at various Memphis locations, including the Levitt Shell, Brooks Museum, Black Lodge, and the Mississippi River. Bell, McIntyre, and fellow company members Danielle Pierce, Sara Sims, Brooke Jerome, Amber Dawson, and Emily Voogd will each do a piece using choreography by Nico Rubio and in collaboration with experimental pop musician Ben Ricketts.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HOT FOOT HONEYS

Katie McIntyre introduced electronic tap boards to “improvography,” a structured form of improvisation.

OFF THE SCUFF, ONLINE FROM HOT FOOT HONEYS, HOTFOOTHONEYS.COM, THURSDAY, MAY 27-SUNDAY, MAY 30, $10-$20.

May 27-June 2, 2021

VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES May 27th - June 2nd

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901.726.5725 momentumnonprofit.org 14

We help Mid-South nonprofits succeed.

Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party Landers Center, 4560 Venture, Southaven, MS, Thursday, May 27, 7 p.m., Friday, May 28, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 29, 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 30, 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and Monday, May 31, noon and 4:30 p.m., $23-$88 Join Mickey and friends for worldclass skating, high-flying acrobatics, and unexpected stunts. Great American River Expo and Run Expo held at Cannon Center, 255 N. Main, Friday, May 28, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and run will start at Beale Street, Saturday, May 29, 8 a.m., $45-$70 GAR registrants can pick up their packet and goodies from vendors at the expo before running.

Memorial Day Flag Placement Event West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 4000 Forest Hill Irene, Saturday, May 29, 8 a.m., free Place flags upon the headstones to honor and remember those who have served our country and protected our freedoms. Tombs: A Mausoleum Tour of Elmwood Cemetery Elmwood Cemetery, 824 S. Dudley, Saturday, May 29, noon, $20 Learn about the art, architecture, and history of the mausoleums found at historic Elmwood Cemetery.

Pride Week: Live and In Color 2.0 Various locations, visit midsouthpride. org for event schedule, Sunday, May 30-Sunday, June 6, free-$25 Featuring virtual and live events including Pride on Wheels caravan, Drag N Drive, and virtual Pride and in Color 2.0. Timothy: The Movie Malco Wolfchase Galleria, 2766 N. Germantown, Wednesday, June 2, 7-9 p.m., $20 Short film screening plus raffle, Q&A session, and meet and greet with the cast and director benefiting The Paige, Inc. to support LGBTQIA+ people of color in the Greater Memphis area.


MUSIC By Alex Greene

PHOTO BY DEBI LEDOUX

Daryl Stephens, Brian Costner, and Joey Killingsworth

Heirs of the Dog Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre’s riffs raise money and awareness.

Did you ever dream you’d get Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton on there? No! That was a surprise. But on each charity album, we try to get one member of the original band we’re doing a tribute to. And getting Neil Fallon was a big shocker. I’ve been a Clutch fan forever, so when he got on board, that was a whole other ball game right there.

The roster is impressive. You also recruited J.D. Pinkus of Butthole Surfers and Luther Dickinson. And there’s a cameo by Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers. He had helped us before on the Black Oak Arkansas record. Then I sent our version of “Love Hurts,” which features Eddie’s vocals and Eric Lewis’ steel guitar, to Ruyter, and she was like, “I never cared for that song much, but I love that steel. And I love Eddie. Ask him about me singing a duet with him.” Eddie just said, “Fuck yeah!” It’s got a little Gram/Emmylou thing going on. Sounds like they’re a little hungover. And Eric Lewis knocked his part out of the park. The album’s profits will go to the FSHD Society for research into facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, which took the life of Jonelle Spicer in 2018. Tell me about her. She was a big Memphis music supporter, and so motivational. She would always come out to the shows. We’d been buddies with her and her partner Rudy [Forster] for a while. He was in Blackbone back in the day. So I told Rudy, “Let’s do this record in her honor. And Rudy, we gotta get you playing on here, man.” It’s all about helping Jonelle and the spirit of her.

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m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

Memphis Flyer: What does Nazareth mean to you?

Joey Killingsworth: When I was 13 or 14, my cousin played me Hair of the Dog and Alice Cooper’s greatest hits. And both of those really stuck. One night, I had had a couple of margaritas, then came home and had a beer. I heard a Nazareth song on the radio, and I immediately called [coproducer] Dik Ledoux and said, “Hey, man, I’ve got an idea. We’ll do Hair of the Dog all the way through!” So we went to his studio and knocked out all the basic tracks in one day back in 2019. Then we started getting the guests. Once I get one guest locked in, we’ve got a record. Fast forward a couple of months, I was talking to Ruyter Suys of Nashville Pussy about it. She said, “I’m in, and Blaine [Cartwright, also of Nashville Pussy] calls ‘Hair of the Dog.’ He wants that song.” So I called up Dik and said, “We got two guests, we got an album!”

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Hearing Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre rock a heavy groove, you might feel compelled to exclaim, “Righteous!” And for once this assessment would be spot-on. For these purveyors of Southern rock laced with metal and a dollop of punk have combined righteousness with their pounding riffs for some time now. In fact, it’s their specialty. The core trio, led by founder Joey “Joecephus” Killingsworth with Brian Costner on bass and Daryl Stephens on drums, has excelled at the tribute album, wherein the works of a beloved artist or band are recut with a 21st century urgency and celebrity cameos, with the profits earmarked for charity. Previous star-studded outings have included Mutants of the Monster: A Tribute to Black Oak Arkansas and Five Minutes to Live: A Tribute to Johnny Cash. Now they’ve dropped what may be their best tribute yet, Heirs of the Dog: A Tribute to Nazareth (Saustex Records). This time, they focus their tribute spotlight on one album in particular, the iconic Hair of the Dog, recreated track by track and bursting with cameos that read like a Who’s Who of heavy alt-rock. Recently, Joecephus filled me in on the details.

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CALENDAR of EVENTS:

May 27 - June 2

Send the date, time, place, cost, info, phone number, a brief description, and photos — two weeks in advance — to calendar@memphisflyer.com or P.O. Box 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS, ONGOING WEEKLY EVENTS WILL APPEAR IN THE FLYER’S ONLINE CALENDAR ONLY.

The Orchestra Unplugged at the Halloran Centre, Thursday, May 27th, and Friday, May 28th

OPERA

LECT U R E /S P EA K E R

“Opera Speed-Runs” Series by Jake Stamatis

Real Talk with the Rabbis

T H EAT E R

OPERA MEMPHIS, 6745 WOLF RIVER (257-3100).

Each month, a local rabbi will help us find meaning in our chaotic world in a conversation about current issues through a Jewish lens. Free. First Tuesday of every month, noon. Through July 6.

DAN C E

MEMPHIS JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER, 6560 POPLAR (761-0810), JCCMEMPHIS.ORG.

Tales of Hoffman on YouTube by Handorf Company artist. Free. Ongoing.

Hattiloo Theatre

In Real Life, an ambitious Black woman pursues her dreams in New York City. From struggling actress to a Tony Award nomination, harsh realities are balanced by the unusual and comforting characters that touch her life. $150 for four seats. Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m., and Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Through June 20.

Off the Scuff

Explores the Honeys’ seasonlong focus on the art of tap dance improvisation. $10-$20. Through May 30, 8 p.m. HOTFOOTHONEYS.COM.

C O M E DY

37 S. COOPER (502-3486).

Kudzu Playhouse Virtual

Join Kudzu social media for donation-based classes, games, scholarship opportunities, and more. Download the app for more fun theater activities and information. Ongoing. KUDZUPLAYERS.COM.

The Orpheum

Orpheum Virtual Engagement, join Orpheum staff, artists, and students for activities, interviews, and more on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Visit website for more information. Ongoing. 203 S. MAIN (525-3000).

Playhouse on the Square

The Taming, political farce by Lauren Gunderson inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. A beauty pageant contestant aims to revolutionize the structure of American government. playhouseonthesquare. org. $25. Fri., Sat., 7 p.m., and Sun., 2 p.m. Through May 30.

Theatre Memphis

Thursdays on the Plaza, enjoy the atmosphere of the Menke Sculpture Garden during a variety of events from blues to trivia. Cash bar with wine and craft beer, as well as a nosh or two. Free-$5. Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Through July 15. 630 PERKINS EXT. (682-8323).

Chuckles Comedy Club

Eddie Griffin, $42-$65. Fri.-Sun., May 28-30, 7 p.m., 9: 30 p.m. 1770 DEXTER.

The Comedy Junt

Comedian Anfra, $25-$35. Sat.Sun., May 29-30, 8 p.m. 4330 AMERICAN WAY (249-4052).

TO U R S

Bicycle Tour of Elmwood Cemetery Bike through the past during a history tour. $10. Sat., 2 p.m. Through May 29. ELMWOOD CEMETERY, 824 S. DUDLEY (774-3212).

Tombs: A Mausoleum Tour of Elmwood Cemetery

Learn about the art, architecture, and history of the mausoleums found at historic Elmwood Cemetery. $20. Sat., May 29, noon. ELMWOOD CEMETERY, 824 S. DUDLEY (774-3212).

66 S. COOPER (726-4656).

Memphis Museum of Science & History

May 27-June 2, 2021

WWW.MEMPHISMUSEUMS.ORG

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NEW EXHIBIT NOW OPEN


C A L E N D A R : M AY 2 7 - J U N E 2

WOODRUFF-FONTAINE HOUSE, 680 ADAMS (526-1469), WOODRUFFFONTAINE.ORG.

M E ETI NGS

Live at the Tracks

As We Are

Featuring local music. Free. Thurs., 6:30-9:30 p.m. Through May 27. CENTRAL STATION, 545 S. MAIN.

Memphis Reggae Sunday E X POS/ SALES

Plant Sale

Thousands of plants predominantly native to the Mid-South including milkweeds, coneflowers, and a variety of shade plants will be available via online and on-site shopping. Through May 29. LICHTERMAN NATURE CENTER, 5992 QUINCE (767-7322), MEMPHISMUSEUMS.ORG.

Small Business Shopping Expo

Sat., May 29, 9 a.m., and Sun., May 30, 10 a.m. Shop the best and most diverse selections under one roof. $2. Sat., May 29, 9 a.m., and Sun., May 30, 10 a.m. LANDERS CENTER, 4560 VENTURE, SOUTHAVEN, MS (662-280-9120), LANDERSCENTER.COM.

Spring Plant Sale Through May 28.

MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN, 750 CHERRY (636-4100).

Featuring live reggae, Jamaican jerk chicken, bull-riding contest, limbo competition, and more for Memorial Day weekend. $10. Sun., May 30, 3 p.m.

A social support group for trans/gnc people of color over the age of 18. The group meets second and fourth Thursday of every month via Zoom, 6 p.m. OUTMEMPHIS: THE LGBTQ CENTER OF THE MID-SOUTH, 892 S. COOPER (278-6422), OUTMEMPHIS.ORG.

BRINSON’S, 341 MADISON (524-0104).

S P E C IA L E V E N TS

Pride Week: Live and In Color 2.0

Community Garden Day in Orange Mound

Featuring virtual and live events including Pride on Wheels caravan, Drag N Drive, and virtual Pride and in Color 2.0. Free-$25. Sun., May 30-June 6. VARIOUS LOCATIONS, SEE MIDSOUTHPRIDE.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Calling all volunteers to 2514 Park Avenue for a community service opportunity to meet other people, learn from expert gardeners, and reap the harvest from your labor. Sun., May 30, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. JUICEORANGEMOUND.ORG.

S P O R TS / F I TN ES S

Great American River Run

From the banks of the Mississippi River to the streets of Downtown Memphis, enjoy in-course entertainment, postrace party, and more. $45-$70. Sat., May 29. BEALE STREET, DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS (529-0999), MEMPHISINMAY.ORG.

Community Garden Workday

Everyone is invited to stop by and help with the community garden. Wednesdays, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. EPIPHANY COMMUNITY GARDEN, CORNER OF BRAY STATION AND WOLF RIVER, EPIPHANYLU.ORG.

Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party

Join Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends on adventures filled with world-class skating, high-flying acrobatics, and

unexpected stunts. $23-$88. Thurs., May 27, 7 p.m., Fri., May 28, 3 and 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 29, 10:30 a.m., 3 and 7:30 p.m., Sun., May 30, 1 and 5:30 p.m., and Mon., May 31, 12 and 4:30 p.m. LANDERS CENTER, 4560 VENTURE, SOUTHAVEN, MS (662-280-9120), LANDERSCENTER.COM.

headstones at the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. Sat., May 29, 8 a.m. WEST TENNESSEE STATE VETERANS CEMETERY, 4000 FOREST HILL IRENE (874-5017).

“Red Dresses”

Bring in a feral cat. Drop off is 7:30-8:30 a.m. Pick-up is 4:305:00 p.m. the same afternoon. $10. Fri., May 28.

Exhibition at the Beaver Lake or Chickasaw Trail of red dresses to honor the thousands of indigenous women and girls that go missing, are murdered, or are victims of violence every year. Through May 31.

SPAY MEMPHIS, 3787 SUMMER (324-3202).

SHELBY FARMS PARK, 500 N. PINE LAKE (767-PARK).

Firefly Drive-In

The Sundress Soirée

Feral Fridays

Visit with a local entomologist to discover the many species in the area, and enjoy a s’more around the campfire. $10. Fri., May 28, 7 p.m. PINECREST CAMP AND RETREAT CENTER, 21430 TN-57 (878-1247).

Marley Reggae Party

Don’t worry about a thing at this jammin’ reggae party featuring Chinese Connection Dub Embassy. Sun., May 30, 8 p.m. LAFAYETTE’S MUSIC ROOM, 2119 MADISON (207-5097).

Memorial Day Flag Placement Event

Honoring and remembering those who have served before us, as we place flags upon the

FO O D & D R I N K EVE NTS

Vegan & Vino

Meet vegan chef Derek Richardson (Vegan D) as he presents the finest vegan cuisine paired with some great wine. $81. Sat., May 29, 3 p.m. FAT CHARLIE’S SPEAKEASY, 107 HARBOR TOWN SQUARE (896-5484).

Wooden Brew’galoo: MidSouth Derby and Ales Derby car racing. Bring your new cars, former cars, or just come to watch and drink. Outlaw races after regular races. Free to race. Sat., May 29, 7 p.m.

Party featuring two bars, three levels, two DJs, and a mature adult party atmosphere. 25+ $40. Sun., May 30, 6-10 p.m.

WISEACRE BREWERY, 2783 BROAD, DERBYANDALES.COM.

MEMPHIS RIVERBOATS, 45 S. RIVERSIDE (527-2628).

Anime Night: Your Name and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Orchestra Unplugged: Memphis, Music, and Martin Luther King

Explore the iconic music of Memphis while commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King and his dedication to the movement. $37.50. Thurs., May 27, 7:30-9 p.m., and Fri., May 28, 7:30-9 p.m. THE HALLORAN CENTRE, 225 S. MAIN (525-3000).

F I LM

Anime night returns with a double feature. Free. Fri., May 28, 7:45 p.m. BLACK LODGE, 405 N. CLEVELAND (272-7744).

Timothy:The Movie

Benefiting The Paige, Inc. to support LGBTQIA+ people of color in the Greater Memphis area. $20. Wed., June 2, 7-9 p.m. MALCO WOLFCHASE GALLERIA, 2766 N. GERMANTOWN (681-2020), THEPAIGE.ORG.

m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

$15. Fridays-Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Through June 30.

F ES TI VA LS

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Woodruff-Fontaine Mansion Tours

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Tune into the Memphis Flyer Radio podcast!

May 27-June 2, 2021

A weekly podcast from the pages and people of the Memphis Flyer. Available wherever you stream your podcasts!

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Join us at the 1st annual

S P I R ITS By Richard Murff

Bluff City Balloon Jamboree

Sweetens Cove Drew Holcomb’s blended whiskey wrecks clichés. The color is a medium amber, the nose rich caramel and butterscotch. Jimbo — something of a foodie — found some bananas Foster. After he mentioned it, I caught it as well. This business of picking up aspects of a whiskey only after the first one to speak up mentions it is just one of those things. You could hold tastings in strict silence to get a wider array of impressions, but what’s the fun in that? That’s just a hair too close to drinking alone. Don’t drink alone.

The taste, while excellent, was not as hot as you’d expect for the 102 proof we were drinking. A couple of drops of water opened it up to something that was strangely light without turning loose of its richness. There was something of old wood to it — not anything like the smoke of Islay scotches — but almost the way that the library stacks smell. And yet the deep caramel and butterscotch lingered on. At the risk of sounding like I’m moonlighting for a greeting card outfit, this stuff just dances across the tongue. In my notes, that phrase is in quotes, although I can’t remember which one of us said it. I’ll take the blame. The finish is long and balanced: warm, not harsh. Sweetens Cove is a great whiskey. More than that, it’s part of a larger trend of which I’m a big fan: the blended whiskeys. Don’t misunderstand me, a single barrel, provided that it’s the right one, is a thing of beauty. These producers focused on blending different whiskeys, again, providing that they are the right ones, open up a new brief for a master blender to experiment. And that opens up a whole new world of profiles for the brown water fan to play with. Now, go out and play.

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m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

The finish is long and balanced: warm, not harsh. Sweetens Cove is a great whiskey.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Y

es, the infinitely talented and likable Drew Holcomb has waded into the very premium whiskey game as part of the ownership group bringing you Sweetens Cove. And yes, there is a long, sweaty history between country and folk music and corn likker, but this stuff isn’t exactly moonshine. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors aren’t exactly a country act, but a refined blend of folk and rock. Sweetens Cove is a refined blend of whiskey. While we’re wrecking clichés, Sweetens Cove isn’t named after some outlaw hideout down in the holler either, but a pilgrimage golf course outside Chattanooga that, without a clubhouse, still manages to attract golfers from around the country. A fact that would have made more of an impression were I not too much of a spaz to appreciate the sport. Holcomb told me that he was introduced to both whiskey (or at least the good stuff) and golf during the same semester abroad in Scotland. He was a student at the University of Tennessee, on a scholarship endowed by Peyton Manning — another owner of the new whiskey producer. Another cliché that’s getting busted with each bottle is that the distiller is the only one who can produce a fine whiskey. Sweetens Cove takes five select whiskeys from Tennessee and Kentucky distilleries and marries them under the expert eye of their master blender, Marianne Eaves. If you’d like to meet the lady, well, I haven’t got her home number, but she’s featured in Neat: The Story of Bourbon on Hulu. Despite the star-studded ownership group, to hear Holcomb tell it, she’s the real star of the show. The price tag for this stuff is around $230. I’m a notorious skinflint, so my shock is less strictly financial and more about the principle of the thing. Your reflexes may vary. At any rate, that price tag was more than my handlers at the Flyer were willing to spot, so I had to track down a friend, one Jimbo Lattimore, who was willing to share a snort of the stuff.

TheBluffCityBalloonJamboree.com

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TV By Chris McCoy

One for the Heads Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. makes Patton Oswalt the comedy antihero we need.

S

May 27-June 2, 2021

upervillains — they’re just like us! They’re insecure. They struggle with work-life balance. Their kids are a handful. They can focus their thoughts into deadly energy beams. Okay, the last part probably doesn’t apply to you (and if it does, please don’t call me), but it does apply to M.O.D.O.K. Marvel Comics has been creating and assimilating heroes and villains since 1939, and M.O.D.O.K. is … certainly one of them. You can be excused if you’ve never heard of him. He was created in 1967, the period known as Marvel’s Silver Age, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a foil for Captain America. George Tarleton, a technician at shady tech company Advanced Idea Mechanics, was injected with mutagens designed to increase his mental capacity, transforming him into the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. The drugs grew his cranium and shrank his body, so he is forced to live in an armored hover-chair of his own design. He immediately used his superior intellect to take over A.I.M. and launch various schemes for world conquest, which must be thwarted by whatever Marvel superhero is in need of a punching bag at the moment. While it produced some of the most eye-popping

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art comics have ever seen, Marvel’s Silver Age is so called because it wasn’t a Golden Age. To call M.O.D.O.K. a C-list character is being generous. He kind of made sense in the psychedelic ’60s when drawn by super-genius artist Jack Kirby, but he never really got past his innate ridiculousness. On nerd culture website IGN’s list of the “100 Greatest Villains of All Time,” M.O.D.O.K. was No. 100. At least he made the list! But it’s like he built this army of atomic super-soldiers for nothing. In other words, M.O.D.O.K. is perfect for comedy, and in this dark age where no Marvel IP can long go unexploited, Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum have given him the perfect vehicle: a sitcom. It’s not the first time the Marvel juggernaut has crushed the hoariest of TV genres; WandaVision married the blockbuster and I Love Lucy to fine results. But M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu gives the Silver Age the slapstick treatment it deserves, thanks largely to Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the stop motion animation house behind Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken. Seth Green’s evergreen comedy was created to put his action figure collection into surreal and hilarious situations. It has evolved into a weekly visual tour de force that pushes the limits of the oldest animated form. M.O.D.O.K. takes these skills to the next

Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing — M.O.D.O.K. (voiced by Patton Oswalt) makes use of Marvel’s Silver Age-era silliness. level, incorporating motion capture performances and even the occasional live action shot into the mix. Oswalt stars as our floating-head antihero, and the comedian takes to it like he was born to play the part. M.O.D.O.K.’s bulging intellect is overshadowed by his Trumpian vanity. When yet another extremely expensive battle with the Avengers ends in failure, he learns A.I.M. is broke. After a night of clubbing and flattery by tech CEO Austin Van Der Sleet (Beck Bennett), he agrees to sell the company to tech giant GRUMBL. Playing second fiddle inside the organization he conquered with his mind doesn’t sit well with the most self-involved brain in the multiverse — especially when they replace his torture chamber with a day care center. As the season progresses, his schemes to regain control lead to escalating super-science conflict with his work frenemy Monica (Wendi McLendon-Covey). He steadily loses status until he’s only head of the mail room. Meanwhile, at home, M.O.D.O.K.’s wife Jodie (Aimee Garcia) is a mommy blogger whose new book


TV By Chris McCoy

Calling all Margarita Lovers! Sample from the city’s best margarita-makers, vote on your favorite, and we'll crown an audience winner at the end of this best ‘rita fest! This festival is guaranteed to be awesome squared, rimmed with salt, and served up chill! This is a 21+ event.

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m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

out-loud moments in every 22-minute episode. It also helps that Oswalt’s reputation brings in a slew of high-powered guest voices, such as Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Fillion, Jon Hamm, Chris Parnell, Alan Tudyk, and Bill Hader. The biggest attraction is the stunning animation. If you’ve been sleeping on films like the magnificent Kubo and the Two Strings, you’ll be shocked at how stop motion has progressed in the digital age. If everything has to be Marvel, I ask for more like this, please. Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is streaming on Hulu.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Jodify Your Life is climbing the bestseller charts. M.O.D.O.K.’s jealousy tears the family apart leaving daughter Melissa (Melissa Fumero) and son Lou (Ben Schwartz) stuck in the middle. Making comedy out of burdening comic book characters with real-life emotions and failings isn’t a new concept. The stamp of The Venture Bros. can be seen frequently in the dysfunctional families of obsessed heroes and villains, such as when M.O.D.O.K. is thrown out of the hip villains-only nightclub, The Soho Lair. The writing is archly funny, delivering a couple of authentic laugh-

memphis flyer | memphisflyer.com

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THE LAST WORD By Maya Smith

A New Day

THE LAST WORD

When I say I’m from Memphis, I say it with pride. I used to shy away from revealing my hometown but not anymore. You know the giddy feeling you get when you’ve been out of town for a while, and you land in Memphis? I PHOTO BY MAYA SMITH feel that now, sitting on Otherlands’ patio as I’m writing this. We must work to make Memphis a There are two men sitting across from me. I don’t think they know each place we can all be proud to claim. other, but one is telling the other about his new porch extension and the other is nodding politely as he sips his coffee. He offers the occasional “how much did that cost?” or “wow, man.” I wonder on any given day how many random conversations like this happen around the city. The friendly conversations that strangers share are just one thing that I miss when I’m away. I’ve been living in Washington, D.C., for almost a year now. I moved there for grad school and not a day goes by that I don’t miss my city. The longer I’m gone, the more I appreciate being a Memphian. When some people think of Memphis, they might think of the crime rate or a random First 48 episode they saw once. Or some might think of Graceland or even Ja Morant. But for me, Memphis is more than its problems, a tourist spot, or our franchise basketball player. It’s a special place. It’s a mecca of culture. It’s a town of relentless people who wear their passion on their sleeves. Maybe it’s the city’s history and the trials and tribulations people here have had to overcome. From the sanitation workers’ strike to the library sitins, Memphians have always given their all when it matters and in the face of injustice. The unwavering work, along with the blood, sweat, and tears of the Memphians that came before us was not in vain. My cousin, who is based in Wisconsin, recently came to visit and was awed by the sheer diversity and integration of the city. As we sat at Jerry’s eating our supreme sno-cones, she noticed a young Black man and an older white woman having a conversation. He asked about her dog, and she told him all about him (perhaps more than he cared to know). “Wow. Y’all really intermigle here,” my cousin commented. “I love this.” Her comment caught me off guard. Maybe because I’ve lived here my whole life, I’m used to it. But it’s true. Memphians are different. We are unique. We have a special kind of heart and soul. The way that Memphians support and root for each other is unmatched. The way we stand up for those in need here in Memphis and beyond is unparalleled. I first noticed it when activists took the bridge in 2016, and more recently with the protest against Asian-American hate and the rally in solidarity with Palestinians. From the artists and musicians to the activists and the community leaders, Memphis is full of grit-and-grinders making their mark on the city and making change where needed. I believe we are basking in the dawn of a new day. High noon has not yet come, but we are well on the way. Memphis still has its issues. But it also has the potential to be a city of hope and a beacon of light for the rest of the state, if not the country. And now is not the time to be complacent or settle for a “good” city. It’s the time to keep moving forward until the sun is peeking in the sky for every person in this city. Until every child has the opportunity to receive an adequate education and a fair chance at success, we have work to do. Until the unhoused are safe and secure in a home, we have work to do. Until every Memphian is treated fairly by the police, we have work to do. Until every Memphian is prospering, we have work to do. In the meantime, I will hold my head up high, stick my chest in the air, and proclaim I’m from Memphis. I am Memphis AF and proud of it. Maya Smith is a D.C.-based reporter and former Flyer staff writer.

m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

Memphis is on the rise, but until we all prosper, there’s work to do.

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Profile for Contemporary Media

Memphis Flyer - 05/27/2021  

THE NEW NORMAL - As vaccines enable a return to normal for some, we examine what changes might be here to stay. Hot Foot Honeys M.O.D.O.K....

Memphis Flyer - 05/27/2021  

THE NEW NORMAL - As vaccines enable a return to normal for some, we examine what changes might be here to stay. Hot Foot Honeys M.O.D.O.K....

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