OUR 1745TH ISSUE 08.04.22
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OUR 1745TH ISSUE 08.04.22 I am building a typewriter. Those who know me are aware of my interest in typing machines as I have collected a few over the years, including a century-old Underwood No. 3 and an even older Wellington No. 2. I also acquired one of the earliest Underwood electrics that is both ugly and far too heavy for one dilettante to pick up. None of them work, but the allure is impossible to resist. My parents got me a portable (all italic type for some odd reason) that I pecked on until I took a proper touch-typing class in high school. I had decent speed and somewhat less decent accuracy. No matter, I typed papers for school — slowly as they had to be perfectly done, including two spaces after periods, precise indents, no strikeovers and no Liquid Paper. No time for keggers in college. We were tough kids for a reason. Later on, I would master the glorious IBM Selectric with its distinctive golf-ball shaped typing element. I was getting into typefaces and fonts by then and collecting replica pages from Gutenberg Bibles. But even as Gutenberg’s press changed the habits of monkish calligraphers, computers turned typewriters into relics and doorstops. Good for collecting and sentiment, not so much for conducting business instantaneously and worldwide. You can still find small enclaves of typewriters in town. Burke’s Book Store is something of a petting zoo for hunters and peckers, with a variety of machines that amaze children who have never seen such things. My latest typing machine project came in the form of a gift for Father’s Day. I have taken over the dining room table with the 2,079 tiny pieces of plastic that will soon become a Lego Typewriter. What, you say? A real, working Lego typewriter? Oh, don’t be silly. It doesn’t actually type, but it’s not about hammering out a breaking news story on deadline. That’s what Typewriter under construction the Mac is for, even with its cursed butterfly keyboard. The Lego is about the design, the construction, the feel of a splendidly engineered, um, toy. Yes, that’s what it is — it’s a Lego after all. But it’s incredibly cool. All those little pieces snapping together into an intricate assembly and I get to preside over how it all comes together. This is a project that is beautifully designed. The pieces fit together flawlessly and the 260-page instruction manual is an example of how to beautifully and clearly explain a how-to. There is much to be said for showing it off as well. My half-assembled project was recently observed by some visiting teenagers who were in our house because their mother required it. They were bored and prepared to be even more bored as the visit went on — until they laid eyes on the work in progress. They were impressed, which is a difficult achievement with that demographic. In fact, everyone of any age who sees it experiences some level of astonishment. It’s certainly not about my skill — I just follow instructions — but it’s the realization that the fundamental connectivity that is characteristic of Legos can be so cleverly realized. One part fits neatly into another, and after a while, all those thousands of tiny plastic bits come together into something that pretty much makes you want to smile. And so, because this is a letter from an editor and we’re expected to discourse on serious things, I am compelled to make a serious connection. This being election week in Memphis, we can make an imperfect comparison to the importance of voting. Nobody is required to vote, but for those who do, it’s part of being on the team that shapes our society. This particular Shelby County cycle has a ballot that has around 2,079 choices, and you would be well advised to take an instruction manual, or perhaps just a cheat sheet, with you into the voting booth. It gets you into the game and gives you a say in how it should play out. (Let’s start with having a better way of choosing judges, shall we?) But you can’t construct your assembly without getting familiar with the parts, the process, and what you want to be the end result. Whether building a toy typewriter NEWS & OPINION or choosing who you want to run a govTHE FLY-BY - 4 ernment, you are required to work at it. NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 Take the time. Filter out the theatPOLITICS - 8 rical outrages from this side or that. AT LARGE - 9 Beware the power hungry who smile VIEWPOINT -10 too much. Determine who really wants COVER STORY “THE VINYL COUNTDOWN” to make our government more responBY ALEX GREENE - 12 sive. Reward competence. Make sure the WE RECOMMEND - 15 pieces fit together. CALENDAR - 16 And take pride in your achievement. FOOD - 19 Jon W. Sparks FILM - 20 The Memphis Flyer is now seeking canCL ASSIFIEDS - 22 didates for its editor position. Send your LAST WORD - 23 resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
S TAT E WAT C H By Hawa Ceesay
Free to Be Natural
CROWN Act allows natural hairstyles in Tennessee workplaces.
Jamal Boddie recently launched a Kickstarter for a brand-new party game called You Can’t Say That: Memphis Mane Edition. “It’s basically the Memphis version of Taboo with hundreds of cards that celebrate the culture and history of our great city in a fun way for your friends and family,” reads a description of the game on Boddie’s YouTube channel. A player tries to get her teammates to guess Isaac Hayes, for example. But she can’t use words like “Shaft” or “Black Moses.” If she does, the other team can yell, “Naw Mane,” and takes the card and the points from the other team. “FULL OF HATRED”
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Memphis rapper NLE Choppa told VladTV that Memphis is “full of hatred” in a video posted last week when he was asked about growing up in the city. “It’s one of the most gruesome, unloving cities to be a part of,” he said. “But I just love it so much because I see the potential.” BART KNOWS
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The struggles of embracing natural hairstyles in the workplace has come to an end in Tennessee. This year, state lawmakers passed the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” The new law prohibits companies from discrimination based on an employee’s hairstyle. “For decades, Black hair has been unjustly policed as too ‘unprofessional’ or ‘unkempt’ for public spaces, such as classrooms and workplaces,” said Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), the sponsor of the CROWN Act bill. When the law passed here, Tennessee joined 15 U.S. states and the U.S. Virgin Islands in passing similar legislation. A CROWN Act bill was passed by the U.S. House in March and introduced in the Senate. The Senate bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee but has not seen action since March. Porsha Hernandez, a graduate of the University Memphis, said PHOTO: GOOD FACES | UNSPLASH she struggled with her natural hair. Sen. Raumesh Akbari: “No one should experience discrimination “It is actually sad because I because of the hair that grows out of their head.” first experienced this in middle [school] when I flat-ironed my hair and damaged it to fit in with because of the hair the other girls,” Hernandez said. “My hair was so frayed “They were like, ‘Is she that grows out of their that I had to cut it all off when I was at a comfortable age. gonna do her hair?’” head,” Akbari said. When I did the big chop, people used to think I was another Under the new she said. “My friends law, an employee gender sometimes or make fun of me, which hurt my selfesteem at first. But I realized I’m beautiful either way, with would tell them, ‘She may complain to or without hair.” the Department of is standing for the The CROWN Act was Hernandez’ platform last year Labor and Workforce when she sported her natural hair in a University of MemDevelopment if their CROWN Act.’” phis beauty pageant with the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. right to wear their hair During her talent performance, she presented a poem about naturally is violated. her natural hair and brought awareness to the importance Hernandez urges people to always embrace their natural hair. of embracing one’s hair. She remembers people seeing her “Woman or man, wear your hair because it defines you, natural hair and wondering if she planned to wear it during [whether] your hair defies gravity or plays along with it,” the pageant. Hernandez said. “Your hair is natural and natural cannot be “They were like, ‘Is she gonna do her hair?’” she said. “My threatened. It cannot be changed. It is who you are, so show friends would tell them, ‘She is standing for the CROWN Act.’” them you.” Hernandez was crowned Miss Delta Nu 2021. Hernandez is elated about the new law and believes “it When the law was signed by Governor Bill Lee this year, will expose all cultures to the ‘new’ natural. Akbari called it “a big day for any Tennessean who has ever “It will show them the authenticity of people and it will been told their hair looks unprofessional.” bring more respect in the workplace,” she said. “It will show “No one should ever have to experience discrimination them that not all shapes are the same.”
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Crossword ACROSS 28 One-named soccer great 1 Walk in the kiddie 31 Sis’s sibling pool 33 Expression 5 Org. for the Los of disgust in Angeles Sparks Valley Girl-speak and New York Liberty 39 Give the glad eye 40 Grp. to call to get 9 Minor fight a tow 14 Affordable 41 Site with a “Shop German car by category” button 15 Garden worker 42 Have surgery 16 “Star Trek” lieutenant who 47 Not worth a ___ speaks Swahili 48 One-named singer with the 17 Drops dead 1985 hit “Smooth 19 Tilts Operator” 20 Declare 49 Concorde, e.g., something for short completely 50 Ingested finished 53 Org. with the 22 Cain or Abel, to longtime leader Adam and Eve Wayne LaPierre 23 Tiny 55 QB’s mistake: Abbr. 24 “___ we can” (2008 campaign 57 Show up for negotiations slogan) … or a hint for 25 Self-proclaimed 20-, 33- and 42-Across greatest boxer
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE S T R I T H E M Y O G A L O C T I F L U V F I R E A N N L E E S R I A G E R C O S P T O Q U U S U R P E E R
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63 ___ Gay (W.W. II plane) 64 Act all hoity-toity 66 Indian princes 67 Felipe ___, first Dominican manager in M.L.B. history 68 Small construction unit? 69 Lose in a staring contest 70 Littlest in a litter 71 Sexual appetite
DOWN 1 Moo goo gai pan pan 2 Residents of a 1968 movie “planet” 3 Mosquito repellent brand 4 ___ Island, immigrants’ landing spot, once 5 Comment after an amazing fact is stated 6 ___ Scotia 7 Meat in a burger 8 → or ← 9 Chumps 10 Spiced tea from the East 11 Like some noses and egg yolks 12 Bandleader Shaw 13 Histories 18 Listerine competitor 21 McEntire known as “The Queen of Country” 25 Eagerly expectant 26 Italian body of water 27 Inuit shelter: Var.
Edited by Will Shortz 1
PUZZLE BY KATHY BLOOMER
29 Pinocchio, notably 30 Les ___-Unis 32 Request from a dentist 34 Clothing department with jackets and ties 35 [LOL] 36 Japanese sashes 37 Clods 38 No, in Moscow 43 “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you”
44 Currency unit worth a little more than a dollar 45 Delete from a manuscript 46 Longtime “S.N.L.” cast member Thompson 50 Sour 51 Like music with traditional harmony 52 or 54 Equal to face value
56 Pre-Little League game 58 Panache 59 Giant in streaming video 60 School attended by princes William and Harry 61 In ___ of (replacing) 62 Units of work in physics 65 Drunkard
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Superintendent Joris Ray oversaw two women with whom he was allegedly involved.
emphis-Shelby County documents do not specify when the Schools Superintendent alleged relationships occurred, other Joris Ray supervised at than a reference to the NDA signed by least two women his wife one of the women in January 2004. alleges he had affairs with, personnel Robert L.J. Spence Jr., the attorney files reveal. representing Ray, said in a statement Employee performance evaluato Chalkbeat last month, “Allegations tion documents from 2005, 2008, and asserted in court pleadings should not 2009, acquired by Chalkbeat last week be reported as truths.” via public records requests, show Ray It is also unclear whether either of was the direct supervisor of one of the alleged affairs fall within the scope of three women said in divorce filings to the school board’s investigation. Asked have engaged in a sexual relationship whether the breadth of the investigawith him. tion has changed, board chair Michelle Ray became an alternative schools McKissack responded with a statement: coordinator in 2002 and the head of “Under the guidance of our legal counsel the Office of Alternative Schools in the board must limit comments while the 2006. The woman’s personnel records investigation is underway.” for 2008 and 2009 don’t specify her position, but she held several roles, including as a records clerk, secretary, and administrative assistant in various district offices while employed at the district from August 2001 to October 2018. The woman received high marks from Ray in all performance reviews. Ray gave her a score of 30 out of 35 in a June 2005 review, when she was a records clerk, calling her a “dedicated and loyal employee.” “She far exceeds the job knowledge for the position,” Ray wrote. “I will not hesitate PHOTO: SHELBY COUNTY SCHOOLS/ FACEBOOK to recommend her for any desired position.” Ray admitted to having sexual In a June 2008 review, Ray relations outside of his marriage gave the woman a 4.4 out of 5, and a score of 4.7 in a July with three women in recent 2009 review. The woman’s court ﬁlings from his divorce. personnel file does not include reviews from 2006 or 2007. It also does not make clear when she left Current district policy “strongly the Office of Alternative Schools, but discourages romantic or sexual relashe received her first review from the tionships between a manager or other district’s policy office in August 2011. supervisory employee and their staff,” Last week, The Commercial Appeal according to the district’s employee reported another of the three women handbook, citing the risk of actual or was a subordinate to Ray in 2004, when perceived conflicts of interest, favoritshe is said to have signed a nondiscloism, and bias. sure agreement (NDA) about their afThe policy also requires parties to fair. Chalkbeat obtained those records. disclose any relationship to managThe timeline and other details ers. Chalkbeat on July 14th filed an regarding the two alleged affairs are open records request asking the school unclear, so it is not known whether the district whether Ray disclosed any such alleged affairs took place while Ray was relationships. On Friday afternoon, the supervising the women. Ray admitted district responded that it does not posto having sexual relations outside of his sess any such documents. Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organizamarriage with three women in recent tion covering public education. court filings from his divorce, but the
Experience the best Elvis tribute artists in the world performing on one stage at Elvis Week 2022 during FOUR nights of Ultimate Elvis events! Join us as they pull out their jumpsuits, blue suede shoes and black leather to show why they are the best in the world! hIghlIghts Include...
One Night Only
all the kIng’s men august 13 | 7pm | graceland soundstage
Hosted by Terry Mike Jeffrey and Andy Childs, this jam session includes James Burton, Glen Hardin and others who played alongside “The King”. You’ll hear their stories and their favorite Elvis songs.
conversatIons on elvIs: the man, the musIc, the legend august 15 | 10am & 1:30pm | graceland soundstage
Hosted by Tom Brown, these sessions will feature family, friends and collaborators sharing memories of Elvis - including a special appearance by Priscilla Presley and Elvis' close friend Jerry Schilling.
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Kenneth Wayne Alexander Karl Erickson Coe Lapoossy Sarai Payne Anthony Sims
NEWS & OPINION
Kenneth Wayne Alexander II, 'Tower of Babel', 2021. Digital video. Courtesy of the artist.
June 24 – Sept 11
Dear Shelby County Voters, I am running for Judge of the Shelby County Probate Court Division 2. I am a third-generation Memphian and a graduate of the University of Memphis Law School. I retired two years ago after practicing law for 34 years. My wife, Louise Palazola, was diagnosed with cancer throughout her body on her 60th birthday on January 20 this year. She died in my arms two and a half weeks later. When I went to Probate Court to open her estate, I learned that a problem of efficiency existed in Division 2. I thought someone should run to give the bar and the voters an opportunity to make it easier to have hearings set quickly and without unnecessary delay. Here are some examples of the inefficacy: A probate attorney used to be able to bring his clients to court and open an estate any day of the week in a matter of an hour or two; in Division 2 this currently requires a special setting approximately two months in advance. Contested matters previously might have required a special setting one to two months in advance with an immediate decision or order; in Division 2, a contested matter may take six months with another six months for the order to be handed down. In addition, there used to be open and fluid communication between the Judges in Divisions 1 and 2 and with the Clerk’s office; now there is very little communication. I decided to run for Judge to help the probate bar and citizens of Shelby County change Division 2 to be more responsive to the needs of our citizens by providing respectful, fast and timely hearings and decisions and open communication with the Division 1 Judge and the Probate Clerk’s office. Thank you for your consideration.
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August 4-10, 2022
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POLITICS By Jackson Baker
October Surprises Did two late-breaking events influence the outcome of the DA’s race? A phrase that has attached itself to presidential election years, especially between well-matched candidates struggling to get in the last and best word to the electorate, is “October Surprise.” That’s the name given to an unexpected event that sometimes occurs and sometimes doesn’t, but is always feared by each of the rival candidates. The October Surprise, so called because it occurs just before the final vote takes place in early November, is sometimes carefully hatched by one of the candidates and sprung against the other. Sometimes it occurs all by itself, without any obvious prompting or advance management. The late announcement in 2016 by FBI director James Comey that his agency was reopening its investigation of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails was an October Surprise. So was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The one circumstance benefited Donald Trump, the other Barack Obama, the then-president whose emergency efforts were enabled thereby to come to the fore. In the case of this week’s county election, one could speak of both a late July Surprise or an early August Surprise — both affecting the crucial and hard-fought race for district attorney general. The first was the brutal hijacking murder a week before last of beloved local pastor Autura EasonWilliams. The second was a controversy over the call-in appearance by incumbent GOP DA Amy Weirich, via Facebook and YouTube, on the talk show of “shock jock” Thaddeus Matthews. The murder, committed by a 15-yearold who had been the beneficiary of a restorative-justice program, fed directly and unexpectedly into the ongoing debate between Weirich and Democratic opponent Steve Mulroy over the pros and cons of transferring violent youthful offenders to adult criminal court. An issue that had been discussed in statistical, largely hypothetical terms — with Weirich taking the hard line and Mulroy a reformist view — suddenly became very real and very
concrete. It is fair to say that determining the right legal response proved a difficult task not only for the two candidates but for members of the deceased’s family and for on-the-fence voters as well. Was Weirich’s discussion of the state’s new truth-in-sentencing law with Matthews, who is the subject of ongoing prosecutions by her office, as seen both on Facebook and on YouTube, an open-and-shut case of conflict of interest, as charged by Mulroy? Or, was it, as Matthews maintains, a simple matter of venting an informed view on a matter of public interest? One thing is certain: Both of these circumstances could have had a seismic effect, whether small or large, and in whatever direction, on the outcome of a race which, in the well-established jargon of pol-watching, had been too close to call. • One of the most unusual — and in many ways most endearing — endorsements administered during the run-up to the August 4th election occurred at a fundraiser back in July on behalf of David Pool, a judicial magistrate seeking to become the judge of Criminal Court, Division 6, otherwise known as felony drug court. Before an audience including at least a score of other candidates for various offices at the East Memphis home of Dr. Kishore Arcot, Pool was steadfastly making his case. “What do you want in a Criminal Court judge?” he asked his audience rhetorically, then began dutifully listening to some of the likely answers to such a question: experience, dedication, knowledge of the law, etc., etc. Until he was stopped cold by an outburst from one of the several rows of listeners seated nearby. “Cute!” came a loud and enthusiastic voice. “Cute!” the voice repeated. “That’s what we want!” As the stunned audience beamed in surprise, the even more surprised Pool, a performing musician in his spare time, bounded over to where fellow lawyer and supporter Ellen Fite was sitting and gave her an appreciative hug. Then, he walked back to where he’d been talking and there, sober as a judge, resumed his remarks and his recitation of judicial attributes, to the group at large.
A T L A R G E B y B r u c e Va n W y n g a r d e n
Out of Bounds The new Saudi LIV tour is about more than golf.
Phil Mickelson may be unaware of the sea-change that has upended the PGA Tour this year. The Saudi Arabian government has lured several top professional golfers (and three-dozen mediocre professional golfers) to play in eight events around the world, instead of on the venerable PGA Tour. And by “lure,” I mean, pay them absurd amounts of money. Mickelson got $200 million to flip, plus whatever winnings he takes home. Dustin Johnson got $150 million. Consider that the greatest golfer of all time, Tiger Woods, has won a total of $120 million in his 26-year career. The Saudi LIV tour is not serious golf. Everyone gets paid, even the guy who comes in last. Winners get a ludicrous $4 million paycheck. The golfers ride in carts, tee off from different holes, and play on meaningless “teams.” Music blares from loudspeakers during the round. It’s goofy golf. So why are the Saudis doing this? Well,
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they do have some PR issues, which happens when 15 of your citizens attack the Pentagon and World Trade Center, and when your leader has a Washington Post journalist dismembered and murdered (in that order). So, maybe they’re buying European soccer teams and international gaming franchises, and, well, 47 professional golfers, in an attempt to appear, er, human? The Saudis also paid Trump a handsome fee to use his New Jersey course, and he had no ethical qualms about it. Shocker, I know. He showed up for the Thursday pro-am, drove around in a cart with the presidential seal, and pretended to play golf. (If you’re interested in Trump’s day, I recommend reading, “Watching Trump Play Golf: Decent Drives, Skipped Putts, Lots of Sweat,” which appeared in The New York Times on Friday. It goes about how you’d expect.) Lots of 9/11 survivor families showed up to protest outside the gates of Bedminster. And as they do at every LIV tournament, the golfers faced pointed questions from journalists about the ethics of selling out their profession to the murderous Saudi government. They don’t care. They’re rich. It’s easy to dismiss all this as meaningless — billionaires paying millionaires to play a silly game — but consider what astoundingly good things could be done with the $60 billion(!) the Saudis have committed to fund sports and games. And maybe consider why the Saudis have such an obscene amount of money to blow on ethically challenged morons like Mickelson and Johnson. It’s oil, of course. Under the vast deserts near the Arabian Gulf lie some of the world’s greatest deposits of fossil fuel, without which Saudi Arabia would be just, well, a giant sand trap, not a country President Joe Biden recently felt compelled to travel to and give a ceremonial fist-bump to a murderer and ask if maybe, sorta, kinda he wouldn’t mind lowering oil prices. Now think about the raging wildfires, the prolonged droughts, the empty reservoirs, the deadly heat waves, the record floods — all consequences of the global climate change caused by mankind’s inability to meaningfully reduce its global addiction to fossil fuels. And maybe think about the devastating impact on all the world’s economies when the price of gas increases by a couple bucks. Our dependence on oil is screwing the economy and the planet. The attempted deconstruction of the PGA is just another reminder of how it’s all connected — a birdie in the coal mine.
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olfing legend Phil Mickelson stands in the first-hole tee box, staring down the fairway, picking out his target. Several yards behind him, under a mound of freshly turned earth and a bouquet of white flowers, lies the recently interred body of Ivana Trump, ex-wife of Donald Trump (and mother of the three children he pays attention to). Mickelson takes a couple practice swings and waggles over his ball. As he pulls the club back, someone in the crowd shouts, “Do it for the Saudi royal family, Phil!” Mickelson steps away, a pained look on his face. After a moment, he resets and gives the ball a resounding whack. A fan in the gallery screams, “Let’s go, Brandon!” as the little white pellet soars into the blue, blue sky. All of the above is true. It happened last Friday at the LIV Golf Series tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. If you’re not a golf fan, you
VIEWPOINT By Bryce Ashby
A Referendum on Arrogance There will always be work to do in the city. Extending term limits will not change that.
ver the last few weeks, or her and continue that work. That’s we’ve heard a few Strickland and Warren’s first mistake — grumblings of support contending that the work can ever be for the Memphis City finished. Their second mistake and the Council’s referendum seeking to extend much more troubling one is believing its own term limits from two to three that only they are capable of doing that terms. Unfortunately for the council, work. those grumblings appear to be coming Look around Memphis. We have so only from its own members and their many talented, energetic, and creative cronies. Nevertheless, they continue people working to make the city better. unabated in their effort to rally support Whether it is in business, nonprofits, or for this mistaken attempt to supplant the advocacy, Memphis’ greatest resource is will of residents. our sheer abundance of smart and caring Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has individuals working to build a more just VOTE ME! abandoned his previous promise not and equitable city. Working to build a to seek a third term in office if term stronger education system. Fighting to limits were extended. Now, showing a ensure that as we develop, we do so in an little mayoral leg to entice his voting environmentally sustainable way. bloc, Mayor Strickland said if the referendum passes, he will be more than happy to flip-flop his position to keep himself in office. 901 . 870 . 1650 katrina@thefi rmmemphis.com Meanwhile, Councilman Dr. Jeff CO-OWNER, 7475 McVay Station Court Warren — the referendum’s most vocal AFFILIATE BROKER #101 Germantown supporter — seeks to garner votes in his thefirmmemphis.com THE FIRM quixotic quest to remain in power. I’ve said this before: I like Jeff Warren. I appreciate his service. I appreciate his efforts to protect Overton Park. Although I’ve never voted for Mayor Strickland, he offered strong leadership through the pandemic and has offered a welcome, tempering voice as the city MLM Medical council unwisely sought to hop into bed Labs is currently PHOTO: COURTESY BRYCE ASHBY with the Carlisle group and have the city MLM Medical Labs is currently seeking Bryce Ashby carry far too much financial risk in the seeking Volunteers to donate blood for a One Beale project. Volunteers toseeking MLM Medical Labs is currently I have strong disagreements with research study. donate blood Volunteers to donate blood for a these men on a number of other issues, research study.for aresearch but even if I didn’t, their cynical efforts in backing the term limit referendum study. If you If you are between theare ages between of 18 and 80, the ages of 18 and 80, demonstrate a disappointing weigh more than 110lbs, and are currently taking aand bloodare thinner weigh more than 110lbs, currently taking a hubris blood thinner amount of and/or frightening IfBrilinta, you areEliquis, between thePlavix or Xarelto, or have such as Aspirin, Lovenox, misunderstanding of the goals of such as Aspirin, Brilinta, Eliquis, Lovenox, Plavix or Xarelto, or have been diagnosed withof Kidney Disease, may more be eligible to participate. public service. ages 18 and 80, you weigh than 110lbs, been diagnosed with Kidney Disease, you mayStrickland be eligible to participate. and Warren have primarily Instead of wasting their energy and and are currently taking a blood thinner This is a blood collection study only. No drug treatment will be provided. argued in favor of the referendum spending political capital on keeping such as Aspirin, Brilinta, Eliquis, Lovenox, because there is still work to be done. themselves in power, Mayor Strickland This is or a blood collection study only. No drugWell, treatment will bethat’s provided. of course, there is, but not a and Councilman Warren would be Plavix Xarelto, orforhave Participants will be paid blood donation. good reason to extend term limits. Th ere better off identifying young leaders who been diagnosed with Kidney Disease, you will always be work to do, challenges to are already contributing to our city and For more information, call: may be eligible Participants to participate.will be paid for blood donation. overcome, and improvements to make. encouraging them to bring their energy Extending term limits to three terms to public service. or eliminating them altogether will not Let’s bring this debate to a close on This is a blood collectionFor study only. No more information,change call: that fact. August 4th. What is on the ballot is drug treatment will be provided. Public service and governing not a referendum on term limits but should be about making as great a one on the arrogance of a few. For the contribution as you can while you have third time in 14 years, vote against this Participants will be paid for blood donation. the opportunity. Democracy is about cynical referendum. Once that’s done, making long-term, incremental progress, we can focus on what really matters, For more information, call: and a good public servant should work continuing the work of improving the to make those contributions and that lives of all Memphians. progress, but with an eye on developing Bryce W. Ashby is an attorney with young leaders to follow behind him Donati Law, PLLC.
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August 4-10, 2022
RESEARCH VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
RESEARCH RESEARCH VOLUNTEERSNEEDED NEEDED VOLUNTEERS
For the third time in 14 years, vote against this cynical referendum.
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Countdown TEN REASONS WHY MEMPHIS IS RECORD CITY, U.S.A. PHOTOS (ABOVE & LEFT): JUSTIN FOX BURKS
Memphis Record Pressing PHOTO (RIGHT): JAMIE HARMON
Memphis Listening Lab has thousands of LPs. PHOTO (BELOW): JUSTIN FOX BURKS
Take Out Vinyl’s Jeff Powell
COVER STORY By Alex Greene
August 4-10, 2022
t’s no secret that vinyl is resurgent. After being eclipsed first by CDs in the 1990s and then by streamed digital music, records were nigh impossible to find in mainstream stores for many years, until around 2008, when the manufacture and sales of vinyl albums and singles began to grow again. Since then, the trend has only accelerated, with market analyses predicting continued annual growth between 8 percent-15 percent for vinyl musical products over the next five to six years. What fewer people realize is how every step of the process that makes records possible can be found in Memphis. “The Memphis Sound … where everything is everything,” ran the old Stax Records ad copy, and that’s especially true in the vinyl domain: All the elements are within reach. Johnny Phillips, co-owner of local record distributor Select-O-Hits, says “There’s not very many cities that can offer everything we offer right here. From recording to distribution, from inception to the very end. Everything you need, you have right here. Memphis is like a one-stop shop for vinyl right now.” From the musicians themselves to the final product you take home on Record Store Day, here are the 10 pillars upon which our Kingdom of Vinyl rests, 10 12 domains which thrive in Memphis as in no other city.
A lacquer master, freshly cut on a lathe, offers a level of high fidelity that most listeners, even record aficionados, almost never hear. But Take Out Vinyl, run by Jeff Powell and Lucas Peterson from a room in Sam Phillips Recording, is that rare beast, a vinyl mastering lab, where raw audio from tape or a computer is first transferred to plastic and one can sometimes hear a lacquer playback. It’s not meant to be listened to. The discs cut here would typically be used to create the metal discs that stamp the grooves onto the records we buy, but the lacquer itself is too soft for repeated plays. And yet, for those who’ve heard a playback from a freshly cut lacquer, the quality is haunting. That was the idea behind the oneoff Bob Dylan record auctioned at Christie’s last month for $1.78 million. Spearheaded by producer T Bone Burnett, a new recording of Dylan performing “Blowin’ in the Wind” was cut onto a single lacquer disc, never to be duplicated or mass-produced. To help make it a reality, Burnett enlisted Powell, one of the world’s most respected mastering engineers. “Lacquers are very soft,” says Powell. “We can’t play these things after I cut them or it destroys the groove. You lose a little high-end every time you play it. T Bone’s idea was to try to capture that sound of a fresh cut lacquer, but one that you could play over and over
PHOTO: JASON MYERS
Producer T Bone Burnett
The notion of a vinyl record as fine art is not so alien to legions of collectors who curate their own personal galleries of albums and singles. But even the rarest of records were mass-produced at one time, and Memphis has that department covered as well. For decades, nearly all of the records recorded in Memphis were made at Plastic Products on Chelsea Avenue. Such was the pressing plant’s impact that an historical plaque now marks where it once stood. But in recent years, a new business has taken up the torch of vinyl manufacturing. In 2015, the Memphis Flyer alerted readers to the fledgling Memphis Record Pressing (MRP), which arose from a partnership between Brandon Seavers and Mark Yoshida, whose AudioGraphic Masterworks specialized in CD and DVD production, and Fat Possum Records, whose co-owner Bruce Watson first suggested that they move into vinyl production. Now, it’s in the hands of Seavers and Yoshida and GZ Media, the largest vinyl record manufacturer in the world, and the Memphis company is expanding dramatically. As Seavers points out, the world of vinyl has evolved as well. “When we started, we searched the world for record
presses, which was really a challenge. Back in 2014, there were no new machines being built. You had to scour the corners of the earth to find ancient machinery and bring it back to life. Fast-forward to 2018, when a few companies emerged around the world that invested in building new machines. We started bringing in these brand-new, computer-controlled machines that were very different from our old machines. And that started the process of expansion. Through 2018-2021, we replaced our aging equipment bit by bit, and in September of last year, we replaced the last of our old machines.” The pandemic was actually a boon to the young company. “We reopened in May of 2020, and by June our orders had skyrocketed. We were overwhelmed. And by the first five weeks of 2021, we booked three-and-a-half months’ worth of work in five weeks. So to say it overwhelmed us is an understatement. Now we’re sitting on a quarter-million units’ worth of open orders. So, it’s insane to see the demand grow. Before Covid, we had reduced our lead time to eight weeks. Now, it’s frustrating to quote nine months of lead time to new customers because that amount of time is life and death three times over for some artists. That’s why we’re so intent on expanding as quickly as possible.” Construction of additional facilities, expected to be operational in October, is now underway.
Once the records are made, where do they go? Thanks to the decades-old SelectO-Hits, the answer is “across the globe.” Johnny Phillips reckons it’s the oldest distribution service in the world, and it may be one of the oldest businesses in Memphis, period. “In 1960, my dad, Tom Phillips, was Jerry Lee Lewis’ road manager. When Jerry Lee married his 13-year-old cousin, he couldn’t be booked anywhere. My daddy put all of his money into promoting Jerry Lee, and he lost it all. So, he came up from Mobile, Alabama, to Memphis and went to work with my uncle Sam, taking back unsold returns: 45s, 78s, and a few albums. We gradually grew into one of the largest one-stops in the South,
PHOTO: JUSTIN FOX BURKS
Shangri-La’s Jared McStay
supplying all labels to smaller retail stores. There used to be over 25 retail stores in Memphis, believe it or not. And then in the early ’70s, we started distributing nationwide. My dad retired, and my brother Sam and I bought him out.” Over the years, Select-O-Hits has seen every ebb and flow of the vinyl market, including a major uptick after the advent of hip-hop. “We were the first distributor for Rapper’s Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang in 1979,” notes Phillips. That tradition continues today. “We’ve released about half of Three 6 Mafia’s catalog that we control in the last two years, on colored vinyl. And we distribute it all over the world.” And if the distribution numbers are not what they used to be before CDs and then streaming took over, they are climbing steadily. “Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, we were selling half a million vinyl records. But now we’re doing 5,000, 15,000. Still, last year was our biggest vinyl year ever [since CDs became dominant], and this year is looking just as good.”
Record Stores and Record Labels
If Select-O-Hits is moving the product around the world, it needs to land somewhere, and in Memphis that means record stores. Though we no longer have 25 retail outlets for vinyl, there are several places to buy records here. The granddaddy of them all is Shangri-La Records, founded by Sherman Willmott in 1988, then taken
over in 1999 by Jared McStay, who now co-owns the shop with John Miller. “The first couple of years,” says McStay, “I had to bet on vinyl because I couldn’t compete with the CD stores, like Best Buy or whatever. I was getting crushed, until I realized I could never compete with them. In the early 2000s, they were phasing out vinyl, and even stereo manufacturers stopped putting phono jacks on their stereos. But I had tons of records.” Around the same time, Eric Friedl was running a small indie label, Goner, which ultimately became the Goner Records shop when Zac Ives joined forces with Friedl in 2004. They too leaned into vinyl from the very start. “I think Eric had done maybe two CDs at most when we joined forces and started expanding the label in 2004,” says Ives. “Out of his 10 or 11 releases, I think only The Reatards had a CD release. The rest were only on vinyl. There was no giant resurgence of vinyl for us. Those things came up around our industry, but we never left that model. And that’s how it was for most smaller, independent labels, especially in punk and underground realms.” Combining a record shop with a record label is a time-honored tradition in Memphis, going back to Stax’s Satellite Records, and it carries on today through Shangri-La and Goner, which have both been named among the country’s best record stores by Rolling Stone. Both stores’ dedication to vinyl relates to their continued on page 14
COVER STORY m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
again, even up to a thousand times, with no degradation to the sound. And that’s what we have accomplished.” The trick was finding a way to protectively coat the lacquer after it had been cut, and after years of R&D, the labs enlisted by Burnett found the right compound. “T Bone says the coating is only 90 atoms thick,” says Powell. “A human hair is about 300,000 atoms thick — that’s how thin the coating is. It was derived from a protective material used on satellites.” Ultimately, says Powell, the goal was to reassert the value of vinyl records over digital media. “The purpose of this was not to see how much money could be made,” says Powell, “but to show how music has been devalued to next to nothing. T Bone wanted to establish that a recording like this should be considered fine art.”
continued from page 13
August 4-10, 2022
investment in live bands. Gonerfest, which brings bands, DJs, and recordshoppers from around the world, will be enjoying its 19th year next month, and Shangri-La has hosted miniature versions of that for years. “We’re having Sweatfest on August 13th,” says McStay, “and we haven’t had one in three years because of the pandemic. There are going to be thousands of bargain records. We’ve been hoarding them for three years!” Meanwhile, local bands will perform in the parking lot, a pre-Covid mainstay of Shangri-La for most of its existence. Though Goner boasts its own label, and Shangri-La has spawned at least three (Shangri-La Projects, plus the loosely affiliated Misspent Records and Blast Habit Records), not all stores do so. River City Records opened last year and, along with Memphis Music and A. Schwab, is already doing a brisk vinyl business in the Downtown area. Meanwhile, the city has several vinyl-friendly labels untethered to any retail outlet, namely Back to the Light, Big Legal Mess/Bible & Tire, Black and Wyatt, Madjack, and Peabody Records. These local imprints and the bands they sign, in turn, feed into the doggedly local support that the above mastering, manufacturing, and distribution businesses offer. As Powell says, “Anybody
local, I’ll always try to move heaven and earth to get them ahead of the line a little bit and treat them special. Because you know, it’s Memphis, man!”
Archives, Audio Technology, Community Radio, and DJs
A wide swath of this town’s music lovers are brazenly vinyl-centric, and that demographic has a ripple effect in other domains. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, for example, boasts the huge archive of Bob Abrahamian, a DJ at the University of Chicago in the 1990s, with more than 35,000 singles and LPs, now being cataloged by a full-time archivist. Then there’s the Memphis Listening Lab (MLL), founded last year on the strength of the music collection of John King, a collector’s collector if there ever was one. As a promoter, program director, and studio owner, he’s collected music all his life. Now, his roughly 30,000 45s, 12,000 LPs, 20,000 CDs, and 1,000 music books reside in the public archive of the MLL, free for the listening and even free to record. Further, MLL has hosted countless public events where classic or obscure albums are played and discussed in depth. The listening lab also benefits from a less-recognized aspect of vinyl culture in Memphis: the technology. Being
outfitted with high-end, locally made EgglestonWorks speakers enhances the listening experience at MLL considerably. And the city is also home to George Merrill’s GEM Dandy Products Inc., which markets his highly respected audiophilegrade turntables (one of which MLL hopes to acquire). Another archive boasting EgglestonWorks speakers is the Eight & Sand bar in The Central Station Hotel. The private bar was envisioned as a place to celebrate Memphis music history, and its dual turntables are duly backed by a huge vinyl library of mostly local music. “Chad Weekley, the music curator, is doing an incredible job there,” says Ives. The bar now plays host to the DJs who enliven Gonerfest’s opening ceremonies, and the hotel has even offered package deals combining room reservations with gift certificates to the Goner shop. And let’s face it, this town is crawling with great DJs. In a sense, they are the ultimate vinyl record consumers, and thus help to drive all the other institutions. “It’s similar to a band,” says Ives, “because you’re taking your knowledge of music and putting it back out into the world in some way. I love hearing somebody’s personality coming through their radio program or DJ event. … Sometimes at venues like Eight & Sand, sometimes on community radio.” The latter is clearly fertile ground for those who favor the sound of vinyl. Both
WEVL and WYXR sport turntables in their on-air studio rooms, not to mention their own vinyl libraries. As WYXR program manager Jared Boyd says, “I’m a record collector myself, and for a time I was DJ-ing at Eight & Sand and using those turntables. So, when we started the radio station, we wanted people to be able to have that experience without having to go down to Central Station. We wanted these people who collect deeply to broadcast these really unique finds. I particularly wanted to cater to people who use records.”
And so we come full circle, following vinyl’s great chain of existence back to the reason we all want it in the first place: music. And it’s undeniable that the music this city produces fits our predilection for vinyl — from Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano swipes to the guitar/organ growl of “Green Onions,” from the choogling riffs of power pop to the crunching, distorted damage of punk, the sounds of this city lend themselves to the weight and warmth of music’s greatest medium. Just drop a needle on your favorite band and you’ll hear the truth in Brandon Seavers’ words: “Memphis is the grit to Nashville’s glitz,” he says. “And grit sounds a lot better on vinyl.” 10
We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews
Live music at
PHOTO: COURTESY RAMONA SONIN
By Abigail Morici
Cinderella had her glass slippers, and Ramona Sonin had her white go-go boots. “I was about 5 years old, and my mom got me my first pair of white go-go boots,” she says, “and it was over. I wore those boots everywhere and everything became about those boots. Magic happened, I think, with a 5-year-old ready to take on the world walking in her go-go boots.” It was from that moment — if she had to choose a moment — she discovered her love of fashion. “It’s just kind of something you’re born with.” Today, Sonin channels her passion into designing couture dresses with sculptured bodices and tulle that pours, almost floats, out of the skirt in her latest exhibition of gowns at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. “There’s no machine involved,” she says. “Everything you see is completely hand-stitched, and so each gown and each couture piece you see is at least 300 hours of work a piece.” Though Sonin starts with a sketch outlining her general idea, once she approaches the dress form, improv and intuition take over, and the piece takes on a life of its own, thirsting for the artist’s creativity to feed and care for it. “I just kind of sculpt it on the body and on the form, … and all of a sudden I’m breathing life into these things,” she says, before referencing a quote from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that goes: “With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.” What lies at Sonin’s feet are the pieces of fabric already in her studio, which she upcycles into a fabric of her own to piece together and make three-dimensional appliques. For one gown in the show, Ophelia, she even uses fabric from her own wedding dress, showing that though the histories of her materials may come from vulnerable, some even forgotten, moments, these moments came together in support of this new creation, in support of the potential wearer. “The history of the material, there’s power and strength in that,” she says. At first glance, the dresses may seem overly delicate with their muted colors, tulle, sequins, and the embellishments that seem to have fallen in the perfect place, but they have a bit of “edge” to them, an ephemeral quality that’s haunting and intimidating. The gowns’ fragility is an armor in itself; it’s untouchable. As Sonin says, her gowns are a blend of “Viking shields and Brigitte Bardot.” Sonin also takes inspiration from other recognizable women, specifically Shakespearean women after whom she titles her gowns. “In what Shakespeare did,” she says, “many of the women were notable and very strong and powerful and free-thinking in a time where society actually commanded them to be delicate. Shakespeare’s women played both of those, that struggle between power and femininity.” And yet Shakespeare’s women, just like Sonin’s dresses, find power in the feminine.
august 5th Jive Talk
august 6th Queen Ann Hines
“FLOWERFUL: FASHIONING THE ARMORED FEMININE,” DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS, ON DISPLAY THROUGH OCTOBER 23.
Celebrating 10 Years of Carpenter Art Garden Carpenter Art Garden, Friday, August 5, 4:30-7:30 p.m., $25 Join the Carpenter Art Garden to celebrate 10 years with an afternoon of art, food, and creativity. Student artwork will be on display and available for purchase (70 percent of your purchase goes to the student artist and 30 percent goes to the garden’s free programs). You can also enjoy food prepared by program coordinator LaTonya Hunt who will use fresh vegetables from the garden. Riko’s Kickin Chicken will be on site. The Beauty Shop’s 20th Anniversary The Beauty Shop & Bar DKDC, Saturday, August 6, 4 p.m. A 20-year-celebration blowout at The Beauty Shop and Bar DKDC with Harlan T. Bobo, Jack Oblivian, and the Lucky 7 Brass Band.
Elvis Week Graceland, Tuesday, August 9-17 Elvis Week 2022 marks the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ passing and honors the man, the star, the icon — the King of Rock-and-Roll! The week offers an unforgettable lineup of concerts, conversations, tributes, and more. Highlights include Elvis Presley in Concert featuring Elvis on the big screen backed by a live band; The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley Dinner Show, where fans can enjoy Elvis’ gospel favorites; the annual Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and performances by many of EPE’s past winners; and the cornerstone event of the week, the annual Candlelight Vigil. The week will also feature a variety of guests — from friends and family to backing musicians, costars, and more, including special appearances by Priscilla Presley and Jerry Schilling, among others.
august 7th Bailey Bigger Vinyl Release Show
Mark Edgar Stuart
railgarten.com 2 1 6 6 C e n t r a l Av e . Memphis TN 38104
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Solid Gold Soulsville: A Celebration of the Music and Community Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Thursday, August 4, 5-6:30 p.m., free Stax Museum and Stax Music Academy present an indoor/outdoor event to celebrate Soulsville USA and kickoff the Stax Music Academy’s #MusicMustContinue fundraising campaign. The celebration will include performances on an outdoor stage by the Stax Music Academy Alumni Band, the Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section, and other local artists. There will also be games and activities, local food truck vendors, school supplies giveaways, Choose901 Summer Learning Kits giveaways, arts and crafts activities designed by the Stax Museum, and community partners with informational booths. The Stax Museum will be open and offering free admission to all attendees from 5-6:30 p.m.
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES August 4th - 10th
CALENDAR of EVENTS:
August 4 - 10
ART AN D S P EC I A L E X H I B ITS
“Faig Ahmed: Secret Garden”
Exhibition of work by Faig Ahmed, who is known for transforming the visual language of traditional Eastern carpets into contemporary, sculptural works of art. Through Aug. 9. MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART
“Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960”
Exhibition that explores women’s athletic and spectating attire from the 19th and 20th centuries. Through Oct. 16. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS
“The Art of Science”
Over 30 local artists will present a piece of art inspired by the work of area researchers and clinicians, which will also be on display alongside the works of art. Through Sept. 4. CROSSTOWN ARTS AT THE CONCOURSE
“Tributaries: Morgan Asoyuf | Royal Portrait”
Contemporary Ts’ymsen artist Morgan Asoyuf explores matriarchal power within the Northwest coast as a statement of Indigenous sovereignty. Through Sept. 25. METAL MUSEUM
“Wearable Art Exhibition”
Wearable art exists as an avenue for pure artistic expression within the world of fashion design. Through Sept. 30. ART MUSEUM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS (AMUM)
The dimly lit mansion will be staged as the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic will be recounted and martyrs remembered. Through Sept. 3. WOODRUFF-FONTAINE HOUSE MUSEUM
ART HAP P E N I N G S
“From Artisans to Artists” Talk
August 4-10, 2022
“From Artisans to Artists” at the Metal Museum brings
Send the date, time, place, cost, info, phone number, a brief description, and photos — two weeks in advance — to email@example.com. DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS, ONGOING WEEKLY EVENTS WILL APPEAR IN THE FLYER’S ONLINE CALENDAR ONLY. FOR COMPREHENSIVE EVENTS LISTING, VISIT EVENTS.MEMPHISFLYER.COM/CAL.
to the fore a crucial part of the artisan legacy in Memphis. Curator Earnestine Jenkins will give a guest talk at the library about the exhibit. Saturday, Aug. 6, 3 p.m.
The Leo Show
An all-Leo cast drag and burlesque show. $10. Saturday, Aug. 6, 9 p.m. LAMPLIGHTER LOUNGE
War on the Catwalk
Get ready for your favorite queens from around the world as they perform live on stage. All ages welcome. $33-$203. Sunday, Aug. 7, 8 p.m.
WHITEHAVEN BRANCH LIBRARY
Senior Studio: Vintage Sporting Fashion Inspired Acrylic Collage (ages 65+)
Over four weeks, participants will create large abstract acrylic collage paintings inspired by the exhibition “Outdoor Girls: Sporting Fashion 1800-1960.” Free. Tuesday, Aug. 9, 1-3 p.m. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS
B O O K EVE N TS
A Night of Poetry
Novel welcomes Melissa Ginsburg with Eleanor Boudreau and Sandra Simonds for a night of poetry to celebration the launch of Doll Apollo by Melissa Ginsburg. Saturday, Aug. 6, 6 p.m.
S P EC IA L EVE NTS
Morgan Asoyuf ’s “Royal Portrait” at the Metal Museum reimagines royal regalia to bring attention to the Indigenous matriarch. ReStore Blitz Day
Spend a fun morning at the ReStore, processing donations, staging furniture, and restocking the floor. Biscuits and drinks will be provided. To sign up, contact mthornton@ memphishabitat.com. Saturday, Aug. 6, 8:45-10:45 a.m. HABITAT FOR HUMANITY RESTORE
FA M I LY C O M E DY
Brandon T. Jackson
$60. Thursday, Aug. 4, 8 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 7, 8 p.m. CHUCKLES COMEDY HOUSE
Hosted by Doug Gillum. $50. Tuesday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m. CHUCKLES COMEDY HOUSE
COM M U N ITY
Celebrating 10 Years of Carpenter Art Garden
An afternoon of art, food, and creativity. Student artwork will be on display and available for purchase. $25. Friday, Aug. 5, 4:30-7:30 p.m. CARPENTER ART GARDEN
Beauty Shop’s 20th Anniversary
PHOTO: COURTESY MORGAN ASOYUF
Live music from talented young students, artists, and local bands. $10. Saturday, Aug. 6, 7-10 p.m.
Twenty year blowout at The Beauty Shop and Bar DKDC with Harlan T. Bobo, Jack Oblivian, and the Lucky 7 Brass Band. Saturday, Aug. 6, 4 p.m. THE BEAUTY SHOP RESTAURANT
of Elvis fans and friends in years. Tuesday, Aug. 9-Aug. 17. GRACELAND
Maribeth Fest 3
Benefiting local abortion causes. Featuring music by Eric Holm, Joshua McLane, JoyBomb, Rosey, and more. $10. Saturday, Aug. 6, 6 p.m. HI TONE
Memphis Chicken & Beer Festival
A beer fest with a chicken twist! $40/general admission, $20/designated driver. Saturday, Aug. 6, 6-10 p.m. LIBERTY BOWL STADIUM
THE SONG SHACK
Free Backpack Giveaway
This event will have plenty of activities, including a puppet show, park rangers and their little animal friends, and of course, plenty of backpacks! Saturday, Aug. 6, 1-3 p.m. LEVI LIBRARY
F E ST IVA L
The historic celebration marks the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, and Graceland is preparing for the largest gathering
Elvis Movie Screening
Watch Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis on the big screen. Tickets are limited to two per person. Tickets are free, but you must reserve them. Wednesday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m. GUEST HOUSE AT GRACELAND
Laser Bruno Mars
Laser Bruno Mars brings Bruno Mars’ retro showmanship and style to the dome in vibrant laser light. $13. Friday, Aug. 5, 7 p.m., 8 p.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY
FO O D A N D D R I N K
Cocktail Garden Planting Party (21+)
Memphis Whistle mixologists will show attendees how to craft two botanical beverages as you create a cocktail garden planter. $35-$45. Friday, Aug. 5, 6-8 p.m.
Solid Gold Soulsville: A Celebration of the Music and Community A free indoor/outdoor event with live music, food trucks, arts and crafts, and more to celebrate Soulsville USA. Free. Thursday, Aug. 4, 5-6:30 p.m. STAX MUSEUM OF AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC
MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN
Feast on the Farm
Enjoy this country-chic event that features music, live and silent auctions, and cuisine from featured local chefs. Proceeds support the educational programs of Agricenter International. Saturday, Aug. 6, 6-11 p.m. AGRICENTER INTERNATIONAL
P E R FO R M I N G ARTS
Lovin for Luna
A burlesque show and silent auction to help raise funds for a fellow show girl Luna Zul’s medical expenses. $20-$100. Sunday, Aug. 7, 2-6 p.m. BLACK LODGE
The Dragnificent Variety Show: The Gay Ole Opry The Dragnificent Variety Show is back! $27. Thursday, Aug. 4-Aug. 6, 8-10 p.m. THE EVERGREEN THEATRE
S PO R TS
901 FC vs. Hartford Athletic
Saturday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m. AUTOZONE PARK
All ages are welcome. $5, $15. Saturday, Aug. 6, 8 p.m. BLACK LODGE
Memphis Redbirds vs. Indianapolis Indians Monday, Aug. 8-Aug. 14. AUTOZONE PARK
T H EAT E R
Five Guys Named Moe
Nomax is broke and heartbroken, and he’s listening to the radio, out of which five guys named Moe appear and encourage Nomax to turn his life around. Through Aug. 7. HATTILOO THEATRE
How Memphis beat the odds to stop a pipeline. A podcast from the Southern Environmental Law Center
Broken Ground, a podcast from the Southern Environmental Law Center, is digging up environmental stories in the South. You’re invited to join us as the podcast heads to Memphis to share the story of how Boxtown beat the odds to defeat a crude oil pipeline. Here, residents brought together people young and old, and hailing from all corners of the city and beyond, to fight the environmental injustices and threats to their quality of life posed by the controversial Byhalia Pipeline.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Available wherever you get your podcasts.
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
Broken Ground uncovers the stories of how this Black community pushed back against the project through grassroots organizing, legal advocacy, and unwavering determination.
JULY 20 - AUGUST 17, 2022 VOTE FOR YOUR LOCAL FAVORITES! Winners announced in the September 29th Best of Memphis issue.
August 4-10, 2022
Vote for European Wax Center as the
Best Place To Get Waxed In Memphis VISIT https://bom22.memphisflyer.com and vote for us for BEST PLACE TO GET WAXED!
East Memphis | Cordova | Collierville 18
FOOD By Michael Donahue
Grill Grabz Catches Fire
OF SCIENCE & HISTORY
LASER LIGHT SHOW
Their “smoky” food-truck fare is a hit.
Lekendris worked for a medical company for more than eight years, when Danielle, a “business brand ambassador,” decided it might be time to capitalize on his cooking talents. “I help people develop their brands,” she says, “and develop their business.” When she saw how much money her husband made “in a matter of hours” with his cooking, she told him, “This is bigger than we could ever imagine. This is making you a lot of money.” And she added, “I believe God is pushing you into what he has for you.” Lekendris decided to quit his job and pursue cooking. “He was a little bit afraid,” says Danielle. “He’d always worked at a corporate job. He’d never done a full-on entrepreneurship.” Instead of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, the Chavers decided to “play it safe” with a food truck. “We wouldn’t have to worry about any overhead or anything like that,” says Danielle. They had their food truck custom-
AUGUST 5,12,19, 26
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PHOTO: PATRICK LIGGINS
Danielle, Lekenda, and Lekendris Chavers of Grill Grabz food truck
built in San Antonio. “Built from the bottom up,” says Danielle. “We watched the whole process.” The couple officially opened Grill Grabz on December 15, 2021, in front of the old Steak ’n Shake at 4199 Hacks Cross Road, where the family still operates their food truck on most days. Danielle used to own The Glam Palace beauty salon behind the Steak ’n Shake. “I closed that down to help pursue my husband’s dream,” she says. “I’m still a hair stylist.” Lekendris, who is from Indianola, Mississippi, began cooking as a child, when his mother was working a night shift. “I come from a long line of cooks,” he says. “Watching my mother and my aunties in the kitchen — that’s how I learned to cook. Go to the stove, cut it on, put something on the stove, season it, and make sure it doesn’t burn.” He was 10 when he came up with his “Smokehouse” burger. “My first time putting a burger on the stove it was smoking. I was thinking it was burning up, but it was really just cooking.” “Just the flame from the griddle and the meat on the griddle with the fat in the beef,” Danielle says of the process. “Once you cook it on the flame, it’s going to create smoke.” Lekendris continues to achieve the “smokehouse” flavor he discovered as a child because he uses a griddle on the food truck. The Grill Grabz menu includes the “Smokehouse Cheeseburger,” as well as party wings, catfish, and ribs. “Our main thing is to make everything fresh,” says Lekendris. Danielle adds, “We are also the home of the ‘Salmon Philly’ — fresh grilled salmon and white American cheese with a special sauce on a grilled, toasted bun.” Lekenda came up with her “Rockin’ Lemonade” recipe when she was 8 years old. “But it didn’t become an official business until she was 13, during the pandemic,” says Danielle. Lekenda’s first “corporate partnership” was at Kirby Wines & Liquors when she was 15. Her lemonade is now at Meals For You restaurant, as well as at Grill Grabz. “She has five different flavors,” says Danielle. “Pretty Passion, Azora Blue, Sunset, Original, and Pink Panther.” The family has considered opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant at some point, but for now, Danielle says, “We’re just trying to take it one day at a time.” When not parked at its home location on Hacks Cross, the Grill Grabz truck travels to multiple locations in the area. To keep up, go to grillgrabz on Facebook or Instagram, or call (901) 247-4312.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
he Chavers family defines the word “entrepreneur” deliciously. Lekendris Chavers came up with the recipes for his ribs and hamburgers. His wife, Danielle, came up with the idea to do something with her husband’s cooking talent. And their daughter, Lekenda, created the lemonade recipe. All of them — and their tasty accomplishments — can be found in the neongreen Grill Grabz food truck. “My husband has always done cookout food, backyard food,” Danielle says. “On Thanksgiving and other holidays, people know to come to him to get their ribs and turkeys and chickens — big orders of food. I noticed what a gift he had and how people, especially around the holidays, were wanting him to cater for them.”
FILM By Chris McCoy
Red State Revenge B.J. Novak is a fish out of water in the comedy/thriller hybrid Vengeance.
here are two Americas. That’s the conventional wisdom. But the real cultural divide in America is not red state vs. blue state — it’s rural vs. urban. Despite all the performative rivalries, the truth is we Memphians have more in common with Nashvillians than we do with the folks in the in-between places. Part of the divide is simply because things are different in the country than in the city. Agriculture, mining, and certain kinds of heavy industry are the dominant economic forces in the country. Things that depend on population density, like cultural institutions and restaurants, can’t survive in a rural setting. But part of it can’t be explained by economics. Urban populations are much more racially diverse. Rural populations are a lot more religious than urban populations — specifically, they’re a lot more evangelical Christian. If you grow up in a rural area as LGBTQ+, or a religious dissenter, or a disfavored minority, or a woman who falls on the
wrong side of the religious patriarchy, or if you’re just plain weird, you tend to leave for the city as soon as possible. Over the long term, this reinforces the cultural divide. Vengeance, the new film by actorturned-writer/director B.J. Novak, is all about that divide. Novak (who you probably recognize from The Office), plays Ben Manalowitz, a writer for The New Yorker and a “blue check on Twitter.” Ben is living the New York City dream, hobnobbing in the publishing and media worlds and swimming in the city’s notoriously wide and shallow dating pool. One night, while canoodling with a blonde girl known by his phone contact as “Brunette House Party,” he gets a weird call — a guy named Ty (Boyd Holbrook) telling him his girlfriend Abby (Lio Tipton) has been murdered. Ben was not under the impression that he had a girlfriend, but Ty is so insistent and distraught about his sister’s death, Ben can’t break it to him on the phone. Afterward, he figures out who Ty
PHOTOS: FOCUS FEATURES
B.J. Novak, Boyd Holbrook, and Ashton Kutcher star in Vengeance. was talking about — Abby, identified in Ben’s phone as “Texas,” was an aspiring musician he hooked up with a few times before losing track of her. Like so many before her, she was chewed up and spit out by the New York media machine and ended up back in her desolate West Texas hometown. Meanwhile, Ben is trying to break into the podcasting market and uses his in with Eloise (Issa Rae), a producer for an NPR-like media
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organization, to pitch an idea: He would go to Abby’s hometown and try to figure out how she died. Once on the ground, Ty and the family treat him well. Abby told them they were in love, and Ben tries not to lie about it while not exactly dissuading them of the notion, either, lest he lose his most valuable contacts for the story. This turns Abby’s funeral into an epic cringecomedy sequence at Ben’s expense.
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FILM By Chris McCoy Novak, who has a considerable amount of experience writing for television, has swung big with his first feature film. He could have done an easy comedy like Old School or Night at the Roxbury. Instead, Vengeance is a strange, ambitious hybrid of fish-out-of-water comedy and mystery. Novak even gets mileage out of the tension by making the subject and tone of the podcast the subject of a running argument between him and his producer. Ben treats Abby as the Laura Palmer of West Texas, and he’s Special Agent Cooper, documenting everything via his ubiquitous digital recorder. His proposed name for the podcast is Dead White Girl. Behind his back, the production team has another name for it: Douchebag Goes West. Novak gets a lot right. As a director,
he’s much more sympathetic towards the flyover locals than Ben is. There are some genuinely funny moments, and a standout performance by Ashton Kutcher as a philosophizing country music record producer. The mystery story happening alongside the comedy features the kinds of twists and turns you want out of a true crime podcast. But ultimately, the clashing tones prove too much to handle. Novak writes himself into a corner and fails to stick the landing. But like the earnest Texans it gently satirizes, even though it is deeply flawed, there is a lot to admire about Vengeance. Vengeance Now playing Multiple locations
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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EMPLOYMENT • REAL ESTATE • SERVICES
testing methodologies, deployment scenarios, & maintenance/support models; Hardware & system software for host & desktop systems, local & wide area network technology concepts, & security awareness for applications and systems; Work with end users to ensure pre-release testing of vendor delivered enhancements & bug ﬁxes with both local & SaaS solutions; Integrating data & workﬂow processes between two or more disparate systems; Workﬂow/ ProcessMapping tools; Reporting and Business Intelligence / ETL tools. Email CVs to humanresources@cbu. edu. EOE - M/F/D/V.
ENGINEERING SYSTEMS ENGINEERTALEND DEVELOPER needed at AutoZone in Memphis, TN. Must have Bachelor’s in Comp Sci or related & 5 yrs of ETL exp, incl: design, build, test & deploy jobs that Extract, Transform & Load data from source to target systems; task estimation & planning skills in the ETL domain; expertise in HR data systems; maintain & manage data integration processes for HR systems; supporting data load jobs in Unix/Linux OS environments; building & supporting jobs with Oracle database as source &/or target system. Email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. EOE
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BUY, SELL, TRADE 2 ADJACENT BURIAL PLOTS at Memphis Memory Gardens. Selling each plot for $2800, includes transfer fees. 901-413-0926 RESTAURANT EQUIPMENT FOR SALE Refrigerator, stoves, ice machine, ovens and more. Please call Micheal at 423-645-1809 for appointment. WANTED: OLD WINDUP Victrolas & old 45 & 78 records. Call Paul 901-734-6111.
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The Truth About Extending Term Limits Experience counts as leaders guide Memphis through emergencies, budgets, economic development, and more.
I can understand why term limits are an attractive sell to the many Americans who are frustrated with the state of American politics. However, the data and research do not support these frustrations. According to political science research, term limits have had little to no impact on diversity, more distributive fiscal policies, or incentivizing legislators to be more responsive to constituents. In an article for the Brookings Institution, Casey Burgat, assistant professor at George Washington University, writes, “Term limits — despite their broad appeal to a politically dejected public — simply don’t provide the benefits advocates promise.” The broad consensus amongst political scientists is that term limits are not only gravely overestimated in their effectiveness but also come with a heap of unintended consequences. The most devastating unintended consequence is the loss of qualified, committed, and experienced elected officials whom voters can no longer return to office. Experience handling emergency situations is an important point to consider as our world continues to deal with the immediate and long-term fallout of the pandemic. Facing inflation, a looming recession, and political instability overseas, I believe we will need the steady hand of leadership shown by Mayor Jim Strickland and my colleagues on the council. Continuity and enough time in office is important for the city to continue to maintain the momentum we have worked so hard to achieve. Neither the mayor nor the city council have shied away from tackling ambitious projects during their time in office. However, short term limits threaten innovative public policy just the same. The administration and council have shown excellent partnership and cooperation by collaborating on the creation and funding for the Group Violence Intervention Program, a new and holistic approach to combating gun violence in our city. Started in 2021, violence interventionists are out in our communities working with PHOTO: CITY OF MEMPHIS individuals who are at risk of committing violent acts, and they are also immediately on the scene after an act Dr. Jeff Warren of gun violence is committed, to help reduce the likelihood of retaliation and get victims on the path to healing. This program is just starting to get off the ground but is showing immediate promise in reducing gun violence in our city. New policy approaches such as this are vulnerable without continuity of leadership. In the winter of 2021, the city council approved Mayor Strickland’s Accelerate Memphis plan that made a historic $200 million investment in Memphis parks, community centers, libraries, roads, and pedestrian safety. Continuity of city leadership is important to make sure these important projects get done. The lack of experience in municipal government caused by too short terms is another adverse impact. In fact, research shows that term limits are more likely to empower outside actors, such as lobbyists and bureaucrats, as newly elected politicians struggle to fill the knowledge and policy gaps. This lack of knowledge is not just related to the large bureaucracy at Memphis City Hall but also applies to the state of Tennessee and the federal government as well. So often our city is left out or behind on economic development, education funding, public works projects, and other investments. City leaders with intergovernmental affairs knowledge are crucial to advocating for our city getting the resources and respect it deserves from Nashville and Washington.
THE LAST WORD
Opponents of extending term limits focus on apparent benefits that scholarly research tells us are overestimated at best. Because the research so clearly favors lax term limits, the public debate has become personal. Arguments against extending term limits are more about why certain officials should not be reelected. I feel this line of thinking jumps the gun as extending term limits does not bestow a mandate to anyone to run. Mayor Strickland and several of my colleagues on the city council would have to make their case to voters once more next year. The term of any elected official ends with the next election; if constituents want change, they will vote change in. We saw during Atlanta’s city council elections last November six new officials unseat incumbents while, at the same time, longserving and returning members retained seats. The different outcomes signal voters prioritize results over time in office. I hope Memphians will vote “yes” on the referendum to extend term limits, so we may have the opportunity to vote for civil servants and their experience and expertise. Dr. Jeff Warren is a physician and a member of the Memphis City Council.
m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m
Continuity and enough time in ofﬁce is important for the city to continue to maintain the momentum we have worked so hard to achieve.
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VOTE FOR YOUR LOCAL FAVORITES! Winners announced in the September 29th Best of Memphis issue. bom22.memphisflyer.com
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