Memphis Flyer 10/7/2021

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OUR 1702ND ISSUE 10.07.21

JERRY D. SWIFT Advertising Director Emeritus KELLI DEWITT, CHIP GOOGE, HAILEY THOMAS Senior Account Executives MICHELLE MUSOLF Account Executive BRYCE HAYES Classifieds Coordinator ROBBIE FRENCH Warehouse and Delivery Manager JANICE GRISSOM ELLISON, KAREN MILAM, DON MYNATT, TAMMY NASH, RANDY ROTZ, LEWIS TAYLOR, WILLIAM WIDEMAN Distribution THE MEMPHIS FLYER is published weekly by Contemporary Media, Inc., P.O. Box 1738, Memphis, TN 38101 Phone: (901) 521-9000 Fax: (901) 521-0129 memphisflyer.com CONTEMPORARY MEDIA, INC. ANNA TRAVERSE FOGLE Chief Executive Officer LYNN SPARAGOWSKI Controller/Circulation Manager JEFFREY GOLDBERG Chief Revenue Officer MARGIE NEAL Production Operations Director KRISTIN PAWLOWSKI Digital Services Director MARIAH MCCABE Circulation and Accounting Assistant KALENA MATTHEWS Marketing Coordinator

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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, 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

On Monday, October 4th, Facebook — and, with it, Instagram and WhatsApp — went down for a little more than five hours. Though I’ve read a few articles about the crash, I can’t say I completely understand it. The social networking company issued a statement apologizing for the brief lapse in service and explaining that “configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication.” In other words, the infrastructure of the internet has been built ad hoc over time, and behemoths of the ’net, themselves used by nearly half the world’s population, rely on seemingly insignificant components to work. If those small components go down, so too do the bigger systems that rely on them. Fair enough. The outage was short-lived, and I doubt too many users of Facebook or Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, were dramatically impacted. WhatsApp is another story, as it’s used by many Latin American customers as a way to avoid high mobile phone tariffs. But what if Facebook hadn’t booted back up? First, let’s try a little experiment. Tab over to Google, and type “Facebook admits” in the search bar. What results do you see? I got “Facebook admits Instagram is toxic,” “Facebook admits it messed up again,” “Facebook admits to social experiment,” and “Facebook admits to selling data.” Sure, this is hardly scientific, but what is it people say? “Believe people when they show you who they are.” Facebook is a business, of course, and not a person, but the point stands. So what would happen if the site — and those it owned — never booted back up? Admittedly, it would be a little more difficult to secure some interviews. Not everyone has their email address listed publicly. In fact, I might have missed out on a column pitch, as someone had sent me a question about a potential column on a Facebook comment thread just hours before the site went down. But let’s look beyond the immediate inconveniences that would be caused. Vaccination rates would probably skyrocket. It seems to take a steady stream of propaganda to keep people at the requisite anger levels needed to erode critical thinking skills. Because what social networking apps sell is user engagement. They’re geared toward keeping our eyes on the screen, our thumbs continuously caressing our precious fondle slabs. That way we see more advertisements on the sites, and we give them more of our personal data, which in turn allows them to better advertise to us. At this point I should probably say that, in general, I am a fan of any new technology that makes communication easier. I remember being younger and living 1,400 miles or so away from my dad. We used to buy long distance “minutes” cards because calling long distance on the landline was so expensive. With the advent of the internet, people can talk to each other from opposite sides of the globe, for free, as long as they have access to an internet connection. That’s amazing. Frankly, I don’t think we stop and marvel at it often enough. But we’ve given Facebook free rein to work with little oversight. It’s huge, and remember, Instagram and WhatsApp didn’t get their start as creations of Mark Zuckerberg and co.; they were bought because they threatened to take up a little slice of our attention. That’s the problem. In order to be successful, Facebook has to take up more and more of our attention. So things that make us angry are prioritized because anger boosts engagement. If psychologists and sociologists and ethicists and legislators sat down with a wide selection of potential users of a new technology and figured out guidelines for safe use, then wrote regulations based on those guidelines, we wouldn’t have a problem. N E WS & O P I N I O N Most of us never would have heard of the THE FLY-BY - 4 anti-vaxx group Global Frontline Nurses. NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 But the automobile is always invented POLITICS - 8 before the traffic light — or the seat belt FINANCE - 9 AT LARGE - 10 or airbag or shatter-proof windshields or COVER STORY anti-lock brakes. And those inventions “ON YOUR PLATE” are small potatoes anyway. What about BY TOBY SELLS - 12 the highway and interstate systems? Or BEST OF MEMPHIS PARTY - 16 the way that vehicles changed the basic WE RECOMMEND - 22 makeup of most American cities? No cars, MUSIC - 24 CALENDAR - 26 no suburbs, for example. SPORTS - 32 Social media is more or less ubiquitous, BOOKS - 34 and it’s relatively new. Maybe the time has ARTS - 36 come to, if not phase it out altogether, then ARTS FEATURE - 39 at least make sure it’s promoting the best inFOOD - 41 terests of the 3.5 billion people who use it. FILM - 43 C LAS S I F I E D S - 45 Jesse Davis LAST WORD - 47 jesse@memphisflyer.com

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MEMernet Memphis on the internet. D R IVE O UT I N F I N ITI

POSTED TO FACEBOOK BY MEMPHIS MEMES 901

Facebook user Tasha Jeffries bravely stepped up to explain this meme last week. “Within the last two years in Memphis, there has been an influx of people buying older model Infinitis (AKA Fin Fins). They are usually bought with body damage, twotoned, and most people never get actual license plates. “Typically, the drivers of these vehicles drive as if there are no laws to abide by. They go in between cars, cut people off, and tend to run red lights. If you see one — even if you have the right of way — treat them as if they are the police or an ambulance. You do not want to be hit by one of these vehicles because they are less likely to be insured.”

October 7-13, 2021

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POSTED TO YOUTUBE BY DIRTY GLOVE BASTARD

Memphis rapper A.R. The Mermaid was featured on Dirty Glove Bastard’s YouTube channel last week for a signature “Off The Porch” interview. When asked what’s life really like in Memphis these days, the East Memphian responded, “Shit, I ain’t gonna lie to you. You smooth. You straight. You gotta know where you at, who you fuck with, or be at. You can’t get fucked up being at the wrong place at the wrong time, you know what I’m saying. But, shit, they fuck with me out there. It’s love. So, I fuck with the city.”

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Questions, Answers + Attitude Edited by Toby Sells

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

Shooting, Greensward, & Blue Oval City School shooter apprehended, zoo resurrects parking plan, Ford plans $5.6B factory at West TN megasite. M E M P H I S PAR KS The city of Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods Division is now, simply, “Memphis Parks” after it unveiled a new, shortened brand identity last week. The new brand got a new logo, a new website, and new tagline — “meet on common ground.” LET’S K E E P MAS K I N G While Shelby County Covid numbers fell last week, a new health directive kept masks in place and told some businesses to be ready to implement mandatory vaccines or weekly testing via the federal government. “Shelby County is beginning to experience a small decline in Covid-19 cases, and while this gives reason to hope, the best way to continue on this path is to remain vigilant in our efforts to combat the disease,” read the directive. LET’S STO P MAS K I N G Tennessee’s attorney general sought a stay on the federal court decisions that allowed mask mandates back in some Tennessee schools. “These orders have impeded the goverCHART: MEMPHIS FLYER nor’s executive authority during an emerShelby County’s Covid numbers have been in decline for the past few weeks, gency to direct the state’s public health and to maintain this decline, a new health directive urges continuing vigilance. response,” Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in a statement. C U M M I N G S S H O OTI N G A middle school student was shot by another student last week B LU E OVAL C ITY at Cummings K-8 Optional School in South Memphis. The The Memphis Regional Megasite is proposed to become Ford shooter fled but turned himself in to Memphis Police DepartMotor Co.’s high-tech Blue Oval City in an $5.6 billion investment (MPD) after the shooting. The victim was slated to be ment expected to yield about 6,000 jobs. released from the hospital last weekend. Last week, company officials announced that Ford plans to build its F-Series pickups and advanced batteries at the West C OVI D -19 FALLS Tennessee site in Stanton. The 3,600-acre campus — covering Shelby County’s Covid-19 seven-day rolling average fell to nearly six square miles — will encompass vehicle assembly, settle around 300 new cases per day. Active cases fell by about battery production, and a supplier park. 1,500. The weekly average rate of positive Covid tests fell for the sixth straight week. LI B E RTY PAR K FO R M I M Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship BarZ O O AN D G R E E N S WAR D R E D UX becue Cooking Contest will call Liberty Park home next year Memphis Zoo officials said last week it will not build a parking as Tom Lee Park is under construction. deck but continue with a plan to reconfigure its main lot. The Liberty Park was selected “because of its unique size, new plan will take some of the Overton Park Greensward and put uninterrupted layout, existing infrastructure, and the public’s parking there while the lot is under construction. Construction is familiarity as a long-time entertainment location.” Barbecue slated to begin in January 2022 and be completed by spring. Fest was moved to the site in 2011 during the flood of the Mis- Visit the News Blog at memphisflyer.com for fuller versions of these stories and more local news. sissippi River.


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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 Friday, October 26, 2018

Crossword ACROSS Dress down 6 El Chapo, notably 15 Caravan destinations 16 Western vacation spot 17 Split tickets? 18 1924 to 1953 19 Instagram filter shade 20 Trailer, e.g. 21 Gas 26 Roadside danger, for short 27 ___ Ski Valley, one of the highest municipalities in the U.S. (9,207 feet) 28 Effect of surplus oil 29 They’re indispensable 31 Household nickname

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Tennessee has three months to hire an executive director of the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission and to file a report on progress to the Tennessee General Assembly. That is the basic outline of the upcoming expectations for the commission, which met for the first time in Nashville last week. The group was established with a bill passed late in the legislature’s most recent session. Even though it seems like the schedule puts the work before the commission in hurry-up mode, the bill that established the group states Tennessee will not move ahead with any cannabis reform until the federal government removes the drug from the Schedule 1. That became closer to reality last week as the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved marijuana legalization. Last week’s meeting of the Tennessee Medical Marijuana Commission did not yield any firm decisions, as not enough members of the group were present to make votes. However, the commission heard advice from state Sen. Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), one of the sponsors of this year’s medical marijuana legislation. “Lots of folks are going to be pulling at you with their own agenda,” he told the commission before the meeting was underway. “Some are going to be special groups and lobbyists and nonprofits and members of the General Assembly. They’ll be lobbying you for a certain direction. “I’d encourage you to resist those and focus on the intent that we have here and don’t let them tilt the scale one way or another. What we want is something

ILLUSTRATION: GREG CRAVENS

Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commision held its first meeting last week. that’s workable for the state of Tennessee and, more importantly, the patients of Tennessee.” This year’s legislation gave the commission a budget of $302,700. That money is expected to pay salaries for the executive director and other staffers. It’ll also be spent on travel, office equipment, and other support items. The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) posted the executive director position on September 8th. In two weeks, more than 70 people applied for the job. Hiring this position will be the first order of business for the commission. There were no votes, but the commission did talk real-world details about Tennessee’s possible marijuana laws. Matthew Gibbs, TDH’s senior associate special counsel, discussed patient reciprocity. That is, how would Tennessee treat medical marijuana patients from other states? Gibbs gave two very different examples. In Arkansas, patients can show medical cannabis cards from any other state, get a 90-day visiting patient card, and be allowed to buy the drug at any dispensary in the state. In Missouri, though, patients from other states must jump through every legal hoop as state citizens before they can purchase cannabis there. A report is due to state legislators on the progress of the state cannabis commission in January. The group is slated to meet again in two weeks.


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POLITICS By Jackson Baker

Shaggy Dog Story You mean it was Bill Lee who did that!

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At the beginning of 2019, as a newly elected governor, Nashville Republican Bill Lee, an industrialist of sorts, prepared to inaugurate his first four-year term, it became my task — both self-assumed and officially assigned — to write as authoritative a take as I could possibly make on what this ascendant Tennessee executivein-chief had in mind to do. As the Flyer’s chief politics writer, my job at the onset of a new state administration would be to chronicle the opening of a new session of state government, focusing significantly on the early actions and intentions of the General Assembly. The problem was that the issue allocated (or, as we say, budgeted) for just after New Year would be on the streets before the first gavel was destined to fall on the opening of the 2019 General Assembly. The solution was to shift gears and write instead about the mind of the Governor-elect, and, if we could get to him beforehand, to dilate upon his plans and his intentions as against the actions of the General Assembly. The calendar permitted me to take in his formal inauguration (and with it access to the rhetoric of his acceptance address and the theater of the state ceremony). To accomplish my end, however, I needed to flesh things out with the kind of detailed explanations from him on his plans that would be unlikely to turn up in a formal acceptance address. Accordingly, I made overtures through what was then but a thin group of gubernatorial retainers and got his assent to take part in a remotely conducted interview on the eve of his installment. The result was done partly via phone calls and partly through his answers to a questionnaire I sent to him. I had covered his election campaign fairly extensively as well and had that to go on, along with one of those superficial and polite relationships writers have (ideally) with their sources. The piece, a Flyer cover story, begun on Memphis turf and completed in Nashville during inauguration week, turned out more or less successfully. Dated January 31, 2019, it was entitled “Fresh Start in Nashville” and focused

mainly on Lee’s expressed support for criminal justice reform, one of the few planks in his inaugural platform that could be called remotely “progressive.” (His views on that issue were actually praised by Tennessee ACLU head Hedy Weinberg!) Most of his positions on other issues — education, public safety, government spending, what have you — were antiseptic Republican generalities. All in all, the profile probably suggested the same thing that Lee’s campaign had: Here was a man who had a pleasant exterior and was something of an enigma, enough of one to allow such benefit of the doubt as one might have toward a political figure. Curiously, in the collection of bromides and generalities that constituted his answers to my questionnaire, there was one glaring omission. I had asked what he might do regarding the dormant industrial megasite that for more than a decade had been out there in Haywood County, a stone’s throw from both the needy cities of Memphis and Jackson, a bane to his several gubernatorial predecessors’ efforts to find a big-time industrial proprietor to make it more than a jumbo-sized vacant lot. Lee shied away from answering that part of the questionnaire, saying he’d have to think about it. And think about it he presumably did for the next couple of years, even as the more straightforward positions he claimed for other issues dissolved into his version of a bully pulpit, one in which the adjective “bully” predominated. Attacks upon “socialism”; idealization of guns and school vouchers; restrictions on LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and other non-insiders; clampdowns on efforts to minimize the spread of Covid-19 — all this was his legacy. Until, lo and behold, it is Lee, after the failures of all his immediate gubernatorial predecessors, who has actually succeeded in getting somebody big-time — the Ford Motor Company, for crying out loud — to commit to a $5.6 billion factory at the megasite, to make electric-powered vehicles (read: environmentally friendly ones) and to open up economic prospects for the beleaguered backwaters of West Tennessee. A nice pre-election move, that, and maybe enough to justify a new look at Lee’s developing legacy.


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No Time to Time It You can’t time the market. Really.

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There’s an old joke about gold miners who have an accident and are waiting outside St. Peter’s gate in a long line. An impatient miner in the back shouts, “Gold struck in hell!” and all the miners eagerly run away. Then the impatient miner starts to follow them, much to St. Peter’s surprise. The miner explains, “Well, I guess I’ll go with the gang — there might be some truth to that rumor.” In the same way, completely rational people — even investment professionals — will try to time markets even though they know better. It’s just too tempting. I have many conversations like this: Them: “Will you call me when the market looks like it’s about to go down, so I can sell first?” Me: “That’s not something we can do. Nobody in the world has ever demonstrated a sustained ability to sell at the top and buy at the bottom. There’s always bad news out there, but markets climb a wall of worry. If you do call a top, it’s even harder to buy back just at the right time because the market bottom will be at the moment of maximum pessimism and you won’t want

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the stock market. These questions usually come up when … • There has been a sustained period of good performance. (It can’t last, right?) • There has been a sustained period of bad performance. (Is this going to get worse?) • The markets have moved up and down a lot. (Don’t choppy markets signal danger?) Some people are always convinced that a big downturn is just around the corner.

to get back in. “You should focus on investing your money consistently over time, believe in the rebalancing process, and not worry about the small perturbations (or even large perturbations) in the markets. You’re in it for the long run. You’ll miss the big upside if you’re in cash waiting for the next big downside.” Them: “That all completely makes sense and I understand. I’m on board with the plan. But seriously, can you just please call me if the market looks like it’s about to go down?” Selling at the top is hard, but there is a way to buy lower consistently, and that’s through the magic of a bond allocation and a rebalancing process. The purpose of bonds is not just to produce income. They tend to perform well when stocks stumble (or at least they don’t fall as quickly), so they can provide a source of cash to buy stocks when they’re on sale. Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Say you have $100,000 with 80 percent in stocks and 20 percent in bonds. Your stocks decline 10 percent and the bond market is unchanged. Now your portfolio is $72,000 in stocks and $20,000 in bonds, or about 78 percent stocks and 22 percent bonds. If you rebalance back to target, you will sell about $1,600 of your bonds and use the proceeds to buy stocks. This small transaction might not seem like much, but it adds up in the long term. It’s a real way to buy stocks low(er) without having to worry about timing things perfectly. Market timing is exhausting and simply doesn’t work, in our experience. Rather than looking for a better market signal, committed market timers probably should look for more bonds to dampen the downside of a market correction and take advantage of that opportunity to buy lower. Even in a world of low expected bond returns, they perform a very important function for risk-averse investors. The time to sell high is in retirement, after a lifetime of compounding through good markets and bad! Gene Gard is Chief Investment Officer at Telarray, a Memphis-based wealth management firm that helps families navigate investment, tax, estate, and retirement decisions. Ask him your questions at ggard@telarrayadvisors.com and see telarrayadvisors.com/ events for upcoming online seminars.

NEWS & OPINION

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e get a lot of questions about how to buy and sell to take advantage of short-term volatility in

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2021-2022

SEASON

ASHLEY CAMPBELL

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October 7-13, 2021

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AT L A R G E B y B r u c e Va n W y n g a r d e n

Greensward Redux A Friday night news dump leads to anger at the city and the Memphis Zoo.

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et us hearken now to those halcyon days of 2016, back to the difficult final months of the Great Battle of the Greensward. For those of you new to the history of the Kingdom of Memphis, let me share the tale: The Memphis Zoo — led at that time by a rather intransigent fellow named Chuck “You and the Horse You Rode In On” Brady — had begun to allow increasing numbers of cars to park on the Overton Park Greensward, a large, flat, grassy field used by park patrons for Frisbee football, soccer, picnics, and the occasional drum circle. Over several years, the zoo kept expanding its parking footprint, finally going so far as to set up temporary fencing across the middle of the Greensward — usually on nice weekend days. On one side of the fence were people doing the aforementioned park things. On the other side were cars, SUVs, trucks, and the occasional bus, which left dead grass, mud, and deep, rutted tire tracks in the Greensward, rendering it useless for recreation even when it wasn’t being parked on. Things started getting really heated in 2014. Park lovers formed groups: Get Off Our Lawn (GOOL) and Citizens to Preserve Overton Park (CPOP). Activists stood on nearby street corners urging zoo patrons to park on nearby streets, rather than despoiling the Greensward. Aerial photographs were taken that showed just how much of the people’s parkland was being taken over by a private entity. The pictures got national attention. Protestors were arrested. Houses all over Midtown bore signs urging Memphis to save the Greensward. Then the zoo cut down some trees. Some activists threatened to begin spray-painting cars. A zoo sign at the park entrance was defaced. Things were tense. And then, in the winter of 2016, newly elected Mayor Jim Strickland managed to get both sides into mediation. After months of costly negotiation, a compromise was struck. The zoo would be allowed to enlarge its lot to 415 spaces, taking some of the Greensward, but with the great majority of the land being preserved. The zoo subsequently announced that it would build a parking garage on nearby Prentiss Place and wouldn’t need to expand its lot. Huzzah! Parking on the Greensward was a thing of the past. Peace reigned in the

Kingdom. At least it did until last Friday night at 5:06 p.m., when the zoo and city issued a joint press release stating that the Prentiss garage project was being scrapped because it was too expensive and that the zoo would go back to the lot-expansion plan, and, oh, while it was being expanded, the zoo would once again be letting its customers park on the Greensward. Enjoy your weekend. Nothing to see here. This is some seriously tone-deaf policy and very stupid politics. The zoo has amply demonstrated over the past five years that it can operate without parking on the Greensward. The zoo has also amply demonstrated that it has the resources to raise millions of dollars from its patrons and funders. Now it can’t afford a parking garage? There’s an aroma of fish here. You don’t do a Friday night news dump unless you know you’re doing something that doesn’t bear scrutiny in the light of day.

PHOTO: SAVETHEGREENSWARD.ORG

Cars parked on the Greensward Activists are already meeting and planning. This move is not going to play well with those who went through all this drama five years ago. And I need not remind those who’ve lived here a while that Overton Park has been under assault before, and that its supporters (then derided as “little old ladies in tennis shoes”) once managed to defeat the mighty U.S. government when it announced plans to split the park with Interstate 40 more than 50 years ago. Overton Park is the only place in the country where I-40 was stopped and forced to take a detour. The force is strong in this place, this Old Forest, this people’s park. There is a history here, and the Memphis Zoo and the city of Memphis would be wise to take a cue from it.


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ON YOUR PLATE Vanity license plates are censored by state officials, often with limited guidance.

(Censored for your protection) COVER STORY BY TOBY SELLS

October 7-13, 2021

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ex and, maybe, sexual dominance were broadcast from the license plate of a Nashville woman who says the Tennessee Department of Revenue (TDOR) officials allowed the vanity tag for a decade but now say it’s illegal because someone complained to the department’s chief of staff. In July, the Flyer told readers about the woman who sued the state after it revoked the vanity plate, which reads “69PWNDU.” Leah Gilliam got the plate in 2011 to marry her loves of astronomy and gaming, her lawyer claims in the suit filed against TDOR in July. She said the “69” part references the 1969 moon landing. The “PWNDU” part references “pwnd,” a common gaming term for “owned.” So, “pwndu” means “owned you,” or something like “I have dominated you in this video game.” A ruling on the matter was expected early this week but was not available at press time. Check memphisflyer.com for updates.

WHO PWND WHOM? 12 No one — state officials or members of the public — lodged any formal

complaint against Gilliam for a decade. Her cars — a Volvo and two MercedesBenzes — carried the personalized banner until Gilliam received a surprise letter from TDOR on May 25th that the plate had been “deemed offensive.” She was instructed to return the plate immediately or face fines and up to 30 days in jail. In June, Gilliam requested a hearing about the plate, explaining its phrase “is a gaming term and — above all — not rude, mean, or implying anything other than a friendly term for ‘I won.’” “It is my hope I can get some younger jurors at my hearing who are familiar with the term and can enlighten the non-gamers in the crowd,” Gilliam wrote in June. In 2018, Gilliam requested three choices for her vanity plate: “69PWNDU,” “PWNDU69,” and “IPWNDU.” She preferred “69PWNDU” and explained on the form that “PWND = video gaming term. [69PWNDU] is my Google phone.” The plate was approved. By July 9, 2021, Gilliam’s case was before Administrative Law Judge Phillip Ewing. Daniel Horwitz, of the Nashvillebased firm Horwitz Law, represented

Gilliam. Camille Cline, assistant general counsel in TDOR’s legal office, represented the state of Tennessee. The conference was brief, set to establish that the attorneys would need time to gather documents for evidence and set future meetings. It also set the stage for a fight. Horwitz asked, “My question was whether or not the state is going to take the position that they screwed this one up and that they should not have demanded this revocation. Is that going to happen?” Cline responded, “No, sir. No, we are not going to take that position.” Tennessee state law “requires” TDOR officials (including the commissioner of the department) to refuse to issue any vanity plate “that may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.” As for “69PWNDU,” it satisfied this part of the law, according to state attorneys, as it “was deemed to have a sexual association.” “Specifically, the department determined that the significance of the configuration was likely interpreted to mean ‘69 pound you,’ which includes two terms or phrases with a sexual association,” reads the state’s explanation. “The numerical sequence ‘69’ is likely to

be understood to reference a particular sexual activity; whereas, ‘pound you’ is a colloquial phrase that is also likely to be ascribed a sexual association. “Additionally, the configuration could also be interpreted to mean ‘69 pwned [sic] you,’ with ‘pwned’ [sic] being a term frequently used by the gaming community in situations where one player has ‘owned’ or dominated another player. When this portion of the configuration is combined with the ‘69’ sequence, it could be read to signify sexual domination.” In his legal complaint, Horwitz argued Tennessee’s law discriminates against Gilliam’s federally protected rights to free speech. The law, and the revocation of her plate, violated the First Amendment, Horwitz claimed, on the basis of both content and viewpoint. That is, laws cannot stop speech based on what it says (the content). Laws also cannot stop speech because of the underlying views in the message (the viewpoint). “A law banning all political speeches in a public park would be content based,” according to the First Amendment Encyclopedia from the Free Speech


“LOSTN69” may even communicate a sweet nostalgia for a time gone by. Others may be easy to understand but hard to know the intent: “KARMA69,” “MAGIC69,” “COOK69,” “FROG69,” “HUB69,” “PONY69,” “SUMMR69,” and more. Some of them, however, are harder to decipher: “PM37369,” “ROATE69,” “VLB669,” “X69,” “52769,” “656909,” and “356911.” It does seem, though, that some naughty (but crafty) “69” aficionados got plates past the state censors. Consider “REAL69Z,” “TOPLS69” (both of which may be auto references), “694FUN,” or, simply, “I69.” The meaning of two plates are hilariously obvious, “42069” and

complained about the plate to Justin Moorhead, chief of staff in TDOR. After 10 years on the road, the department got that one complaint, reviewed the tag, and deemed it offensive. Why? “Because it represents the department and it sends a message to the constituents that the department released one … a license plate … what the license plate entails … ,” Hudson said. She said the “69PWNDU” plate was not protected by the Constitution because it was “harmful because somebody complained about it and took offense to it.” Asked about the department’s definition of “offensive,” Hudson said she wasn’t sure how state

Officials have interpreted these vanity plates as offensive, despite the car owners’ insistence otherwise.

“69420.” All of those, including “Gilliam’s “69PWNDU,” were approved at one point by officials in Nashville and released into the wild. So, who are these officials? How do they decide what gets stamped on a plate and what does not? These were the central questions in an August deposition by Horwitz to Demetria Hudson, TDOR’s assistant director of vehicle services. She said the plate caused no issues from May 2011 to May 2021. One day that month, someone verbally

law spells it out. However, she gave an impromptu definition of “offensive,” saying it means “anything … that makes someone uncomfortable, or readily angry, or upset … ” and said that was the department’s definition of it. She said she got the definition from Webster’s Dictionary but wasn’t sure the department relied on it totally to define “offensive.” Similarly, Hudson said her department did not have formal definitions of “good taste” or “decency” and no training materials defined them.

However, she said the department does have formal regulations to determine whether or not a plate can be deemed offensive. She was not sure, though, that those regulations were “published for the public to see.” But the rules include a glossary of prohibited terms. She described those as “anything that pertains to ethnic or racially … ethnic, racially, sexual, violence, patriot.” Asked about ethnic terms, Hudson said she didn’t know them all off the top of her head. When asked to name some she said, “things like white trash … or honky.” [Editor’s note: She was able to remember some other derogatory ethnic terms that don’t belong in this paper.] Asked about sexual terms, Hudson replied “things like screw you, 69 you,” but “that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.” As for formal vetting of plates, Hudson said “[O]ur objectionable table is checked and then we also check Google search and Urban Dictionary.” Answering questions from Horwitz, Hudson said “69420” should not be allowed on a license plate “because the 69 have [sic] sexual connotations.” Neither should “42069.” Neither should “694FUN,” “69BEAST,” “69BOSS,” “I69,” “69PONY,” “SMOKIN69,” or “TOPLS69.” Hudson did say that all of those plates should have been vetted before they were approved. She said “69” alone was not enough to disqualify a plate. The number’s context had to be sexually explicit. However, she said she was sure sexually explicit “69” plates have “slipped through.” UNSETTLED LAW Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, said Tennessee would have to show “extremely strong state interest” in banning any kind of speech from its license plates. He believed last week its regulations on them would be overturned. “Offensive speech is protected by the First Amendment,” he said. “In fact, you only need a First Amendment to protect offensive speech. You don’t need protection for speech that everyone agrees with.” So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on license-plate speech. Two federal court rulings have gone in opposite directions on the matter, he said, and Tennessee’s ruling will likely follow one of those. In 2001, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Missouri officials violated the First Amendment rights of a woman by denying her request for the license plate “ARYAN-1,” according to the Freedom Forum Institute. That same continued on page 14

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

Center at Middle Tennessee state University. “A law banning only political speeches by members of the Socialist Party would be viewpoint based.” Horwitz also complained the Tennessee law is vague, does not adequately describe what it prohibits, leaving “reasonable people to guess at its meaning,” and “leaves the definition of its terms to law enforcement officials.” For this and more, Gilliam and her attorney wanted to stop the state from revoking her “69PWNDU” plate, stop the state from revoking any vanity plate, the court judge to rule the law unconstitutional, for the state to pay court costs and attorney fees for Gilliam, and pay damages in the amount of $1 for every day she was forbidden from displaying her license plate. State attorneys argued Tennessee’s personalized license plate program could not violate First Amendment rights. The program “involves government speech, which is outside the scope” of free-speech rights. Also, the program “is a nonpublic forum” and laws regulating it cannot violate the First Amendment. They also argued, generally, that laws governing the vanity plate program are not “unconstitutionally vague.” They asked the judge to declare the law constitutional, affirm TDOR’s decision to revoke the “69PWNDU” license plate, dismiss claims against TDOR Commissioner David Gerregano, and to have Gilliam pay all costs associated with the matter. Interesting stuff emerged when state lawyers began handing over documents in the case. Horwitz wanted a list of every Tennessee license plate — personalized or not — that included “69.” State attorneys said the request was overly broad as there are over 250,000 license plates that contain the “69” sequence, including many non-personalized plates they deemed irrelevant to the case. Those attorneys, however, turned over a list of active vanity plates in Tennessee that include “69” and were approved by TDOR. Most of them — the lion’s share of them, actually — are harmless reference to cars like “69ETYPE,” “69BUG,” “69FORD,” “69VET,” or “STANG69.” At least two — “697IBEW” and “IBEW969” — are references to labor unions. Another — “USAFA69” — seems to be a reference to a graduation date from the United States Air Force Academy. “USMC69” seems to reference to service in the United States Marine Corps. Another — “ETSU69” — may communicate a graduation year from East Tennessee University. “ELVIS69,” perhaps, references the artist’s continued revival in that year.

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continued from page 13 year, the 2nd Circuit said Vermont officials could deny a vanity plate that said “SHTHPNS” because license plates are a nonpublic forum and government officials can regulate them. With no official ruling from the highest court in the land, states make up their own laws on plates and how to manage First Amendment protections on them. Paulson said two federal judges have decided what the Constitution says, and the rest is “fine tuning by state legislators.”

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CASE STUDY: CALIFORNIA Chris Ogilvie sued the state of California in March 2020 after he was denied his vanity plate. The plate, “OGWOOLF,” was a mash-up of two of his nicknames. “Og” was his military nickname, and “Woolf ” was his nickname back home. It was deemed offensive as “OG” could be read as an acronym for “original gangster” and was too offensive for other motorists. The Pacific Legal Foundation took up the case and added four others to join the suit. “DUK N A,” short for “Ducati and Andrea,” was rejected because it sounded like an obscene phrase. “BO11UX” was rejected because the term was said to have sexual connotations. “SLAAYRR,” a reference to the metal band, was rejected because it was considered “threatening, aggressive, or hostile.” “QUEER,” a reference to a musician’s identity and record label, was rejected because it was considered insulting, degrading, or expressive of contempt. The group won the suit in November as a federal judge ruled the state’s restriction of vanity plates it considers “offensive to good taste and decency” was unconstitutional. “This is a great day for our clients and the 250,000 Californians that seek to express their messages on personalized license plates each year,” said Foundation attorney Wen Fa. “Vague bans on offensive speech allow bureaucrats to inject their subjective preferences and undermine the rule of law.” CASE STUDY: RHODE ISLAND A Rhode Island man Sean Carroll and the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island argued to a federal judge in July 2020 that he should be able to put a plate on his all-electric Tesla that reads “FKGAS.” Carol contended the phrase read “fake gas.” He displayed the tags for six months until another driver complained to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Attorneys for the state contended vanity plates are sold to raise money for the state. They said the plates were

government property, and they are not a public forum to express themselves. However, the judge ruled that the state’s law on such plates was vague and violated Carroll’s First Amendment rights. “I am thrilled with [the judge’s] decision on my First Amendment right allowing me to express my views through my vanity plate,” Carroll said at the time. “The only thing better is to be able to continue to see all the smiles, laughter, thumbs up, and fist bumps in the rearview mirror as people continue to read and get the humor in my message.” CASE STUDY: MAINE Maine stopped vetting vanity plates altogether in 2015. The program was loose enough that WGME reporters this year found 40 vanity plates that straightup used the “F” word, and dozens had variations on it. Another review by the Bangor Daily News found as many as 400 “obscene” plates with phrases like “FARTN,” “KISMYAS,” and “PHUKU2.” But that may be coming to an end as lawmakers are mulling new rules to ban profane plates and remove them from the road. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, testified in support of banning the plates, according to a story from The Boston Globe. “The First Amendment protects your right to have any bumper sticker you want, but it doesn’t force the state to issue you a registration plate that subjects every child in your neighborhood to a message the government wouldn’t allow them to see in a movie theater,” she told lawmakers. The rules were not formally passed by the Maine legislature. Though, many expect the rules to face many legal challenges before they can be enacted. PRINTING PLATES AND MONEY Paulson agreed that the issues would all be cleaner if states just did not allow personalized license plates. They aren’t likely to stop, though, because they make money. In the 2020 fiscal year, Tennessee’s personalized plate program yielded $368,041.66 to state coffers, according to the TDOR. But Paulson noted that while these issues seem countless and the topic is “fascinating,” it’s hardly a “pressing level matter.” The First Amendment Center is nonpartisan, he said, and does not lobby nor litigate. “But as a matter of philosophy, we believe America is stronger if everybody is free to express themselves in any medium they choose,” he said.


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Bremont Watches

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THE PARTY Usually, the Best of Memphis winners go to the Memphis Flyer’s Best of Memphis party. This year, in an attempt to be responsible members of the community and to keep people safe, we at the Flyer put the usual festivities on hold. So this year, we brought the party to the Best of Memphis winners. Last week, the Best of Memphis Special Delivery Service ran all over town dropping off BOM winner certificates and prize packs, and snapping photos of the happy winners. Thanks to our BOM Special Delivery Service, the BOM winners, everyone who voted in this year’s contest, and, as always, to our readers and advertisers. Now, enjoy the party (on the go) pics!

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Shelby Farms Park

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Pavo Salon

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Christian Brothers Automotive


Continued on page 20 Todd Adams, Keller Williams Realty

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Orion Federal Credit Union

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Underground Art

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Continued from page 17 Brother Juniper’s

French Truck Coffee

Amro Music

Playhouse on the Square

Dan West Garden Center

September 30-October 6, 2021

Germantown Day Spa

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Continued on page 20 Levitt Shell

Sage+Honey Hair Co.

Crosstown Arts Kirby Wines & Liquors

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Goner Records

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Continued from page 19 Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz

Orpheum Theatre

Ugly Mug

Huey’s

The Majestic Grille

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steppin’ out (& stayin’ in)

We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews

Raise a Glass

PHOTO: BRANDON DILL, COURTESY COOPER-YOUNG BEERFEST

Three cheers for beers!

By Shara Clark

Three cheers for the return of the Cooper-Young Beerfest! The 11th annual event will feature more than 100 different beers to sample from 33 breweries and two home-brew clubs. “It’s exciting to get back to it,” says Cooper-Young Community Association (CYCA) treasurer and Beerfest committee chair Mark Morrison. “It’s been with its challenges though. We’re balancing community safety, the safety of volunteers and brewers … with the financial stability of the CYCA. This is one of our two major fundraisers, and we weren’t able to have either last year.” Part of that balance led them to require full vaccination for everyone attending. The number of tickets has also been reduced to limit capacity. Ten of the on-site breweries will be first-timers to the C-Y Beerfest. All featured breweries are “within a day’s drive,” according to Morrison. “It’s been the heart of our philosophy since we started in 2010. For one, to make people aware of all these great breweries we have both in Memphis and in the region, where people could go and visit.” It’s also an opportunity for regional breweries to consider expanding distribution here. Another thing unique to the festival is that organizers require all participating breweries to have a knowledgeable person manning the tent. “What that means for the attendee is that the person who’s pouring the beer could be the brewer who brewed it, the owner of the brewery, or a sales rep who works for them. We think that’s important because those people know about the brewery, they know about the beer.”

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COOPER-YOUNG BEERFEST, 795 COOPER, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9TH, 1-5 P.M., $50.

October 7-13, 2021

Animals don’t sing and dance in this “Enchanted Forest Fire.” Arts, p. 36

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Not every Southerner is intolerant. Not every Southerner has an accent. Last Word, p. 47

VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES October 7th - 13th Food Truck Thursday Court Square, N. Main and Court, Thurs., Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Choose fare from more than a dozen food trucks and enjoy music from DJ John Best. Rain or shine. Memphis Greek Festival Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 573 N. Highland, Fri., Oct. 8-Sat., Oct. 9, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., $3 Stop in or drive through to purchase Greek food. Hear Kostas Kastanis Band perform and shop the on-site marketplace. Free or discounted admission with canned good donation.

Fright Lights Halloween Laser Shows AutoZone Dome Planetarium, 3050 Central, Fri., Oct. 8, 4 p.m., daily matinees Wed.-Sun. in Oct., $10 Spooky Halloween-themed laser show set to music. Blind Mississippi Morris Levitt Shell, 1928 Poplar, Fri., Oct. 8, 7 p.m., free Part of the Orion Free Music Concert Series, blues legend Blind Mississippi Morris performs. Pre-show from Dre’ Walker & The Mississippi Boys at 5:45 p.m.

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit Graceland Soundstage, 3717 Elvis Presley, Fri., Oct. 8, 8 p.m., $69.50$125 Grammy Award-winning country rock artist Jason Isbell performs. Nashville-based singer-songwriter Brittney Spencer opens.

Fall Edge Motorfest Edge Motor Museum, 645 Marshall, Sat., Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., free to attend View more than 100 automobiles on display, purchase food truck fare, and enter the Pinewood Derby races hosted by MidSouth Derby and Ales.

Emo Night Tour Growlers, 1911 Poplar, Fri., Oct. 8, 8 p.m., $15 Emo Night DJs play your favorites from Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, and more.

V&E Artwalk Vollintine Evergreen Greenline, Avalon and Tutwiler, Sat., Oct. 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free to attend Featuring local artists, activities, food trucks, beer, wine, and more, benefiting upkeep of the V&E Greenline.


Live music at

PHOTO: COURTESY RACHEL MONIQUE TAYLOR

Haley Dawn Parker as Lulu in “Solus”

Soul Searching By Jesse Davis The spirits are ready to make their otherworldly debut. The spirit of indie filmmaking, that is. After five years of production, editing, and pandemic delays, the Memphis-made short film “Solus” will debut at the Mallory-Neely House this Saturday. “‘Solus’ is my second short film,” says director Rachel Monique Taylor. “It’s a gothic fantasy or a dark fantasy.” Taylor’s first foray into directing also dealt with the fantastic, so the sophomore short finds her treading familiar ground. The genre comes with challenges, though, especially for an independent filmmaker. “It took about five years to make, which was longer than I anticipated,” Taylor says. “The effects did really slow us down a lot.” After all the work of bringing a haunted house to the screen, two fundraising events, and a grant from Indie Memphis, Taylor hit another snag. “I was ready to screen it, and then Covid.” But the scheduling snafus may have led to an unexpected booking blessing. “October is the perfect time since it’s a haunted house movie,” Taylor says. And she’s especially excited about the location. “Solus” is about a girl whose soul is tied to a haunted Victorian mansion and must find souls to feed it, and it will be screened for the first time in a local Victorian mansion. In addition to the screening, there will be a food truck, vendors, a DJ, and an opportunity to tour the mansion. “I’m so excited to be able to show [the movie to] all of the people who contributed to the campaign,” Taylor says. “SOLUS” PREMIERE: A SOULLESS MASQUERADE, MALLORY-NEELY HOUSE, 652 ADAMS, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9TH, 6-11 P.M., $10/ONLINE, $12/DOOR. FACE MASKS REQUIRED.

October 7th - 8:00pm Neal Francis

October 8th - 8:00pm The Soul Shockers

10/7

Neal Francis

10/8

The Soul Shockers

10/9

Marcella Simien and her lovers

10/13

Duwayne Burnside Blues Hour

10/14

Daniel Donato Zootoberfest Memphis Zoo, 2000 Prentiss Pl., Sat., Oct. 9-Sun., Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., zoo admission + $12/stein, $6 refills Lions, tigers, and beers! Oh my! Sip brews from a commemorative stein while exploring the Memphis Zoo. Fright-tober Crosstown Theatre, 1350 Concourse, Sat., Oct. 9, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m., free with registration Join for a family-friendly screening of Beetlejuice at 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. Adults-only Night of the Living Dead screenings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The Sibelius Violin Concerto Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 255 N. Main, Sat., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m., and Sun., Oct. 10, 2:30 p.m., $17-$90 Memphis Symphony Orchestra, conductor Robert Moody, and New York Philharmonic concertmaster Frank Huang perform. Collierville Cruise Night Collierville Town Square, Wed., Oct. 13, 5-8 p.m., free Memphis Street Rods and Collierville Classic Cars host this biweekly event with vintage cars on display.

Fall Food Truck Garden Party Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry, Wed., Oct. 13, 5-8 p.m., $10/ nonmembers, $5/members Six food trucks, magic show by The Amazing Grayson, and live music by Eric Hughes. Cash bar available. Elvis Costello & The Imposters Soundstage at Graceland, 3717 Elvis Presley, Wed., Oct. 13, 8 p.m., $35$109.50 English artist Elvis Costello, who ranked among Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” comes to Graceland.

10/15

The Soul Shockers

10/16

Thumpdaddy

10/20

Duwayne Burnside Blues Hour

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

In the Palme d’Or-winning Titane, starring Agathe Rousselle (above), an unexpected reunion follows a series of crimes. Film, p. 43

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

10/10

Red Bull: Dance Your Style Memphis

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MUSIC By Alex Greene

Bringing It All Back Home to Memphis Songwriter Jed Zimmerman assembles a crew of Memphis musicians for his new album on Madjack.

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J

ed Zimmerman may be the most Memphis Texan you’ll ever meet. Or is he the most Texas Memphian? Living in the Fort Worth area, he’s clearly a Texan now, but this is one native son of Memphis who hasn’t forgotten his roots. It’s more apparent than ever on his new album on the local Madjack label, Below the Blooms, wherein our hero journeys back to the land of his birth to record his songs with players steeped in the Memphis sound. That was the goal from the outset, when Zimmerman called on his old friend Mark Edgar Stuart to produce the project. A core band was assembled at Delta-Sonic Sound that included Stuart, Danny Banks, Al Gamble, and Will Sexton (another Texas/Tennessee border jumper). Other odd players, like myself, were recruited to toss in a few chords, and, to hear Zimmerman describe it, it was a bit of a dream team.

“I don’t need my name in the credits, like ‘Jed on guitar’ ... And I was fine with that. It’s big boy music. There’s so much beautiful space on this record ...” “It’s almost like a little Wrecking Crew, this group,” he says. “I just wanted that authentic thing. With you Memphis guys, man, I was like, ‘Let it do its thing, man!’ There was nothing to think about here. I wanted to make a record with you guys, the way you guys feel it right when you hear it. There was no pre-planning. Let’s just get these guys together and let them interpret it the way they want to interpret it.” Zimmerman typically plays solo guitar in the classic troubadour style, but with the Memphis band, he found himself rethinking the arrangements. “I don’t need my name in the credits, like ‘Jed on guitar,’” he says. “I might try a guitar overdub. Well, maybe Jed’s inadequate, all right? And sometimes it just didn’t need it! And I was fine with that. It’s big boy music. There’s so much beautiful space on this record that we

PHOTO: JAMIE HARMON

Jed Zimmerman channels his Memphis roots in his album, Below the Blooms. didn’t need a lot of mandolins or guitar strumming. The breathing is important.” Case in point, the opening track, with nary an acoustic strum to be heard. “Oh my God, them birds are chirpin’!” Zimmerman sings. Okay, is this a nature lover’s song? “Oh my God, look at all the light!” Hmm, he doesn’t sound too thrilled about it. “Doin’ time for the crime of … murder.” Wait, what? And then comes the song title and punch line, all rolled into one: “I killed a day, last night.” As remorseful morningafter looks at tying one on go, it’s a gem. That craftsmanship is typical of the entire album, and Zimmerman’s approach generally. Not surprisingly, his craftsmanship has roots in Memphis as well. As he recalls, after graduating from Germantown High School, “I was 19 or something, living in Eads, Tennessee, and that’s when Cory Branan was starting to blow up. I’d hear the Pawtuckets, Jimmy Davis and the Riverbluff Clan — Jimmy’s like a brother to me. And then there was Mark Stuart. I’d play songwriter showcases at the Flying Saucer. Mark Stuart heard me and drove all the way out to Eads, and we sat on the front porch. He really thought I had something.” Encouraged, Zimmerman moved to

Midtown, ultimately reuniting with his high school sweetheart, Kelley Mickwee, to form a musical duo that lasted for years. That’s when a turning point came. “I was playing a Jed and Kelley gig when Keith Sykes walked in, and my knees started shaking! I was already a fan. We had a beer, and he liked the songs. So he ended up producing two Jed and Kelley records. He’s the ultimate songwriter. I have such respect for him and his comedic genius.” Today, having long parted ways with Mickwee, he’s still honing the craft exemplified by songsmiths like Sykes, and, Memphis Wrecking Crew or not, the new album lives and dies by Zimmerman’s pithy writing and unaffected delivery. “I’ve worked really hard on my songs,” he says. “A lot of people have this notion of ‘You gotta write a song every day if you wanna be this or that.’ But I pore over my stuff. I’ll fill up half a notebook on just a line or two. Because I don’t see the point in turning in a homework assignment or finishing a song just to say that you’ve finished a song. When I finish it, I’d like to sing it for the rest of my life.” Jed Zimmerman, Mark Edgar Stuart, and special guests will play a record release show at The Green Room at Crosstown Arts on Friday, October 15, 7:30 p.m. $10.


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CALENDAR of EVENTS:

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ART AN D S P EC I A L E X H I B ITS

“After the Storm”

Exhibition of new work featuring paintings and pottery by Meghean Warner and Amy Hertz in the Levy Gallery. Through Oct. 11. BUCKMAN ARTS CENTER AT ST. MARY’S SCHOOL

Lounge, featuring Kansas City-based Aaron Naylor. $10/ general admission. Sunday, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. LAMPLIGHTER LOUNGE

C O M M U N I TY

Community Garden Day in Orange Mound

“Mona Hatoum: Misbah” Contemporary art installation where the viewer stands in a darkened room, lit only by a rotating lantern dangling from the ceiling. Through Jan. 9.

THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

Claudia Keep

“Mourning Memphis”

ORANGE MOUND COMMUNITY GARDEN

Exhibition of metal sculptures by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Through April 23.

Exhibition of paintings. Through Nov. 6. TOPS GALLERY

“Enchanted Forest Fire”

Exhibition of sculptures by Raina Belleau. Through Oct. 16. CLOUGH-HANSON GALLERY

“Finding Place: Pam Hassler & Jimpsie Ayres”

New work by artists Pam Hassler and Jimpsie Ayres. Through Oct. 16. L ROSS GALLERY

“Genealogy”

Exhibition of watercolor paintings and films inspired by the patterns of blood, memory, and history. Free. Through Nov. 7. BYKRISKEYS.COM

“In Time”

Exhibition of work by Kate Roberts and Brittney Bullock. Through Oct. 15. 2021 PROJECTS

“Kaleidoscope”

Exhibition of work by members of The Artists Group of Memphis. Online viewing only. Through Oct. 31. WKNO.ORG

“Light Is A Place”

Exhibition of 20 photographs by Huger Foote. Through Oct. 9.

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Pam Hassler’s Undercurrents is on display at L Ross Gallery alongside paintings by Jimpsie Ayres.

Volunteer for a great service opportunity, meet other people, learn from expert gardeners, and reap the harvest from your labor. Sunday, Oct. 10, 9-11 a.m.

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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.

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Hear the tales of the first families while viewing a beautiful Victorian mourning collection displayed and staged throughout the mansion. Through Oct. 31. WOODRUFF-FONTAINE HOUSE MUSEUM

“On Christopher Street” Exhibition of portraits of transgender residents by Mark Seliger. Through Jan. 9.

Mutt Strutt 5K “Southern Landscapes” Exhibition of works by Jim Henderson. Through Dec. 2. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

“The Louisiana Project”

Art Explorers: A Class for Mini-Makers

Explore illustration, sculpture, and mixed media projects in this fun and interactive after-school class with Terri Scott. $120. Tuesday, Oct. 12, 3:30-5 p.m.

MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

Exhibition of works by William Eggleston. Through Oct. 24.

ARROW CREATIVE

“Painted Odyssey”

MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

Call for Artists: The Brush Off Project

Exhibition of paintings by NJ Woods. Through Oct. 31. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

“Realism”

Exhibition of work by Memphis artist Catherine Vaughn. Through Oct. 29. THE GRANGE AT WILSON GARDENS

“Solid Gold Soul: The Best of the Rest from the Stax Museum”

Exhibition of items from the archives including Isaac Hayes’ white and red tufted-velvet desk and chair, rare photographs of Otis Redding, and newly acquired Bob Abrahamian Collection of rare records and other memorabilia. Through Dec. 31. STAX MUSEUM OF AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC

“The Yellowing”

Exhibition of installation, painting, film, and sculpture works by Emily C. Thomas. Through Oct. 31.

Seeking new and exciting painters to submit their work to a juried painting competition. Through Oct. 31.

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“Yin & Yang: Duality of Structure and Expression”

Plein Air Season at the Garden

Exhibition of watercolors by Mary Anne McCraw and Howard Carman. Through Oct. 30. FRATELLI’S

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Animation for Mini-Makers

Create your own moving cartoons. $120. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 3:30-5 p.m. ARROW CREATIVE

Artists will be on-site painting and sharing Plein Air techniques. Sunday, Oct. 10, 3-5 p.m. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

V & E Greenline Artwalk

Features 60 local artists and other attractions celebrating the arts in the Mid-South, including artists’ booths, activities, food trucks, craft beer, wine, and more. Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. VOLLINTINE EVERGREEN GREENLINE

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Memphis Reads

Selected book, Thick: and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom, engages Memphians in the Black female experience in today’s America. Through Oct. 31. CBU.EDU/MEMPHISREADS

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Greg Gutfeld with Special Guest Tom Shillue Greg Gutfeld has been called “outrageous and outspoken,” neither of which he denies. $29.50, $175. Saturday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m.

Help save stray, abandoned, and abused dogs by walking or running in Mutt Strut 5K. All proceeds go directly to the care of the dogs at Dogs 2nd Chance. $35. Saturday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m.-noon. OVERTON PARK

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Memphis Modern Market at MoSH Shop and explore the work of local artists. Through Oct. 10. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY

RK Gun Show

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of conversation over art, cultural cuisine, and dialogue. $85. Saturday, Oct. 9, 7-9 p.m.

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Experience the outback and meet one of Australia’s largest marsupials, the red kangaroo. Free. Through Oct. 31. MEMPHIS ZOO

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Be our guest for a charming tea party with petite sandwiches, cookies, and tea service in an enchanted setting, followed by a tour of “Inside the Walt Disney Archives.” Sunday, Oct. 10, 1-2 p.m. GRACELAND

Food Truck Thursday

Features music and food trucks in Court Square. Thursday, Oct. 7, 11 a.m.

Dixon Beer Garden

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THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

Guests can purchase a commemorative stein to sip beer from while they enjoy a fall afternoon at the zoo. $12. Saturday, Oct. 9-Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Enjoy a variety of local brews and live music in a beautiful garden setting. Friday, Oct. 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Fall Food Truck Garden Party

Featuring 9Dough1, Lynnie’s Links & Drinks, New Wing Order, El Mero Taco, Voodoo Cafe, and Say Cheese! food trucks plus live music by Eric Hughes, a cash bar, and magic by The Amazing Grayson. $10. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 5-8 p.m. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

Zootoberfest

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Fright-tober

Featuring spooky, kid-friendly Beetlejuice at 2 p.m. and spookier adults-only Night of the Living Dead in the evenings at 7 p.m. Tickets are free, but capacity is limited. Registration is required. Saturday, Oct. 9. CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE

Mid-South Maze

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F ES T IVAL

Creative Works Conference

Featuring creative workshops and market. $399, general admission. $139, student. Thursday, Oct. 7-Oct. 9. THE HALLORAN CENTRE

Fall Edge Motorfest

Awards will be presented in over 20 classes ranging from classics to muscle, tuners, street rods, modifieds, and motorcycles. Saturday, Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. EDGE MOTOR MUSEUM

Memphis Greek Festival

Features Greek food, entertainment, dancing, fun, and games. $3. Friday, Oct. 8-Oct. 9. ANNUNCIATION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

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Run in the Mutt Strutt 5K and support the nonprofit Dogs 2nd Chance, which relies on donations to save stray and abused dogs. Urban Laughs Comedy Festival

Each night will feature showcases with comics from a submission process while being hosted by local comics and headlined by comics known nationwide. Thursday, Oct. 7-Oct. 10.

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Dinner and Dialogue (the history of African American cuisine)

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See a film, explore the historic house, purchase some spooky gifts from vendors, have a drink in the vampire lounge and food from a food truck. $10. Saturday, Oct. 9, 6-11 p.m.

Features a life-sized board game for the whole family. Children are guided through the forest maze to uncover the identity of a mysterious prankster. Through Nov. 28.

Enjoy rugby championship at AutoZone Park. $15. Saturday, Oct. 9, 1 a.m. AUTOZONE PARK

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South Memphis Glide Rides

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October 7-13, 2021

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Join health and wellness classes. For schedule, visit levittshell.org. Through Dec. 12.

The Lifespan of a Fact

Features laser show to music by Elton John at 7 p.m., Queen at 8:30 p.m., and David Bowie at 10 p.m. Not recommended for young children. $10. Friday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.

“Solus” Premiere: A Soulless Masquerade

Health and Wellness Series

Fab Friday Laser Shows

P E R F O R M I N G A R TS

Casting Call for Soul of the City Tour

Seeking three actors for this tour focusing on the history of Memphis as told through the lives of the individuals at rest in the cemetery. Friday, Oct. 8-Oct. 9. ELMWOOD CEMETERY

Proceeds from the V & E Greenline Artwalk will go toward keeping the Greenline clean, safe, and enjoyable. Fall-Back Fall Dance Series

Let’s get old-school in the park! Learn dances you can do to your favorite old-school music by artists like Al Green, The Drifters, and Smokey Robinson. Free. Saturday, Oct. 9, 6-7 p.m. FOURTH BLUFF PARK

S P E C IA L E V E N TS

Collierville Cruise Night

An evening with friends and family to check out some of the best rides the Mid-South has to offer with Memphis Street Rods. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 5-8 p.m. COLLIERVILLE TOWN SQUARE

True story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. $25, $125. Through Oct. 10. THE ORPHEUM

Marie and Rosetta

Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jimi Hendrix. $30. Through Oct. 24. HATTILOO THEATRE

Based on the book by Jim Fingal and John D’Agata, this regional premiere questions the concept of fact versus fiction and journalistic integrity. $27. Through Oct. 10.

The Secret Garden

An orphan is sent from India to live in her distant family’s gloomy mansion on the desolate English moor. $35. Through Oct. 10. THEATRE MEMPHIS

TO U R S

Haunted Memphis Bus Tour

Informative and entertaining guides will share tales of murders, hauntings, and dark history. $25. Friday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. THE BROOM CLOSET

Lichterman Nature Center Talk & Walk Series

During this walk you will learn about scarecrow folklore, vote for your favorite scarecrow, and stroll through the meadow and forest trails. $10. Saturday, Oct. 9, 9-10:30 a.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY


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T

he “D” word. It’s been a while since disappointing was used in describing the University of Memphis football program. The Tigers have won too many games and too consistently over the last seven years for such a word to sneak into the community lexicon. But these 2021 Tigers should be undefeated as they prepare for Tulsa this Saturday. Were it not for four fumbles — two each against UTSA and Temple — a 3-2 record could well be a glowing 5-0, the kind that earns Top-25 votes, even from college football’s perceived kiddie pool we know as the “Group of Five.” Memphis has lost consecutive games for the first time since December 2018 (the second loss coming in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl) and is now tasked with avoiding the program’s first three-game skid since November 2015. “All three phases [offense, defense, special teams] have work to do,” said, yes, a disappointed coach Ryan Silverfield after last Saturday’s loss at Temple. “We have to go back to the drawing board and figure some things out, especially with ball security.” • Fumblitis. Brandon Thomas has star power. The redshirt freshman from North Little Rock ran for 147 yards in the Tigers’ season-opening win, then sliced through Arkansas State for 191 the next week. He was solid (83 yards) in the huge Tiger win over Mississippi State. But Thomas was the culprit with two of those four key fumbles in losses to UTSA and Temple. He didn’t return to the field after the second-quarter mishap in Philadelphia. (One of his replacements, Kylan Watkins, also coughed up the ball, and merely inches from the Temple end zone.) This is the riddle Silverfield and his staff face: The Tigers are a much better team with Brandon Thomas on the field, carrying the football … but only if he doesn’t give the ball to Tiger opponents. Years ago during a Tiger practice, I witnessed former coach Justin Fuente enter a rage that concerned me for the man’s health. And it was over a fumbled football. An utter professional in front of cameras (and in the Tiger football offices), Fuente had zero tolerance — tactically or emotionally — for the sacrifice of a possession. Those guilty of this crime seldom saw the field, often for weeks. It’s hard to envision the 2021 Tigers being the best they can be without Brandon Thomas — clearly their

most talented running back — sidelined for punitive reasons. It’s also hard to envision an otherwise skilled and dangerous offense trusting precious possessions to soapy hands. This will be the most interesting drama to follow the next few weeks. “We’ve got to own the football,” emphasized Silverfield in addressing the matter last Saturday. “It doesn’t matter how good a back [Thomas] is. If we can’t hold on to [the football], we don’t give ourselves a chance.” • A stadium by any other name. The Tigers will soon play in Simmons Bank Memorial Stadium. After more than five decades as the Liberty Bowl, the city’s football headquarters will now carry the name of a financial institution headquartered in Little Rock. My first thought upon learning the news: Is it 1995? Why has it taken so long for the City of Memphis (owner of the stadium) or the University of Memphis (the stadium’s primary tenant) to tap into naming-rights revenue? Was this pursued or did a partner just finally show up with an offer to dance?

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Seth Henigan and Brandon Thomas The timing is a bit odd, as there is a renewed (or continued) movement to consider a new stadium for the Tigers, perhaps one on the U of M campus, and a new stadium would be healthy for Memphis football fans. The Liberty Bowl, er, Simmons Bank Memorial Stadium is a grand old lady and has delivered countless memories since her debut in 1965. But don’t attend a Tennessee Titans game in Nashville and expect to swell with pride over our stadium here in Memphis. Arenas are built differently now, with comforts and sight lines that weren’t priorities a half-century ago. Perhaps the new name (and revenue it generates) will ironically mark the beginning of the end for one football stadium, and the beginning of something exciting and new (Power 5 conference?) for a program that has earned it.


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ashville-born, Brooklynher aunt, and her sister. To help inspire based author Nichole herself, Perkins went to dollar stores and Perkins contains multibought soap like the soap her greattudes. She is also a poet, grandmother used to have. She would an essayist, and a podcast host. And, smell the soap to help encourage the of course, she’s a person, someone who memories to come. “I was living in New cannot be defined by a career. This York while I wrote the book, so a lot of weekend, Perkins will discuss her multhe Southern smells from my childhood tifaceted writing and life as a panelist are not here,” Perkins says. in the Southern Festival Sometimes I Trip on of Books, which is being How Happy We Could Be is presented virtually this at times heartwarming and year, giving Memphians an heartbreaking, honest and easy option for viewing the humane, humorous and usually Nashville-based haunting. It’s the chronicle literature festival. of Perkins’ growth into Virtual events have herself as a person, as a become a regular aspect Black Southern woman, as of Perkins’ life this year, someone who fully inhabas she has worked to proits her body, and as somemote her recently released one who has had to learn memoir, Sometimes I Trip by trial and error what all on How Happy We Could of that means. It’s a story, Be (Grand Central PubPHOTO: SYLVIE ROSOKOFF told in essays and with reflishing). Nichole Perkins erences to Prince songs, of “I wrote the bulk of someone coming into her it during the pandemic own “like a storm gaining last year,” Perkins says, strength just off the coast,” explaining that it was a as Memphis-born writer strange experience to delve Saeed Jones says on the deep into her memory back of the book. while feeling so discon“Serena is so many nected from anything things,” Perkins writes resembling a normal rouin “Softness,” noting the tine. She did experience a acclaimed athlete Ser“weird sense of timelessena Williams also owns a ness” as many people did clothing line, makes jewduring the pandemic, elry, and went to school to adding a wrinkle to the learn how to do nails, “but already difficult task of her focused athleticism writing a memoir. intimidates many, so they resort to the “That’s one of the reasons I wanted laziest insult. Her treatment reminds me to anchor the book in pop culture,” that for people who believe gender exists Perkins says of Sometimes I Trip, which as a binary, there are only absolutes. You uses seemingly disparate pop culture are either masculine or you’re feminine, icons as touchstones. “I’m not super and there’s no room for nuance.” great at dates,” she admits, “but I can In Sometimes I Trip on How Happy remember what I was listening to, what We Could Be, Perkins has made room I was watching, what were the TV for nuance, for her own multitudes. The shows we were talking about in class.” book is an excellent work of memoir, So by using Kermit the Frog, Prince, or and it should not be missed. Nichole Perkins is a panelist for the Frasier’s Niles Crane (played by David Southern Festival of Books’ “In ConversaHyde Pierce), Perkins is able to anchor tion: Brian Broome, Anjali Enjeti, and her memories. But her detective work Nichole Perkins” event on October 9th, doesn’t end with the pop culture refer4:15 p.m. To find out more or attend the ences elegantly infused in her essays. festival’s virtual events, go to sofestofShe wrote a chapter called “The books.org. Women” about her great-grandmother,


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ARTS By Abigail Morici

Little Fires Everywhere Raina Belleau’s “Enchanted Forest Fire” explores anxieties stemming from climate change.

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ire Danger Today! Prevent a disco-ball interior reflects light. The Wildfires,” alerts the sign raccoon stares at her hand with eyes that at the entrance of the swirl hypnotically and glow under black Clough-Hanson Gallery at light as if under a drug-induced trance. Rhodes College. In lieu of rating the day’s A life-sized bear sits in a lawn chair, with level of fire danger from low to extreme, crumpled silver cans lying around his feet, this sign carries the message: “I don’t want as exaggerated tears well up in his strained, to talk about it.” Alternative plaques say, cartoonish eyes. “He’s having a moment “Gestures broadly at everything” or “Well, where he doesn’t know how to feel the it’s been worse.” emotions he’s having,” Belleau says. “He Raina Belleau, a professor at Rhodes, may be indulging in some less-than-healthy considers this piece, entitled Fire Danger, to coping mechanisms.” be a pillar of her exhibition, “Enchanted Forest Fire,” PHOTO: ABIGAIL MORICI through which she reflects Portrait of the Artist as a Sportsman, 2019 on her climate anxiety. The messages on the plaques, she says, “are directly pulled from everyday phrases when we want to tell other people what a situation is like without causing alarm. These signs are scattered throughout the gallery to show that we’ve gone through these phases of denial or false reassurance [about climate change and To sculpt the forms of these animals, environmental issues], and we are now Belleau turned to her preferred medium in a place where we no longer lack the of found objects, particularly ones that knowledge to have the conversation that are difficult to recycle, like single-use needs to happen.” Instead, she suggests, styrofoam coolers or the air packets that we are unable to cope with our fears and come in online shipping orders. However, realizations; we feel static, stuck between unlike her usual style where these objects the choice to take accountability for the are recognizable — where the viewer can impacts of climate change we have caused recognize that leaves, for instance, are as humans or to ignore them. made out of recycled plastic bags — these “One of the ways that I approach that animals hide their recycled interior. “It was sense of anxiety in the exhibition is through important for them to have some of that humor,” Belleau says. “I think humor is artificiality, like a cartoon character would, a way to open up some of these heavier and not show what they are made of,” she subjects for discussion to acknowledge that says. “It’s been important for the work to there are feelings shared among a lot of reflect some of my personal commitments. different people in a lot of different places.” That doesn’t necessarily have to be seen by As such, Belleau took notes from some of the viewer, but that act is embedded in their the most widely familiar interpretations cores quite literally.” of nature — cartoons and fairy tales. “Like “There’s an element of escapism in Disney, the way they use animal characters movies, stories,” Belleau continues. “I think in children’s movies to elicit emotional that visiting an art exhibition is also a form responses.” of escapism, but letting you enter this realm But unlike the classic Disneyfied, fairyof the unreal or the imagined will never let tale Enchanted Forest, the animals who you fully let go of what’s happening in the inhabit Belleau’s exhibition are under a real world.” “Enchanted Forest Fire” is on display at the severe distress that evinces itself physically, Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College distorting their bodily forms. The polar until October 16th. The gallery is open from bear wears jeans, cuffed above his human 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. ankles and two left human feet; he has Vaccines and masks are required. no eyes, only sockets through which


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A R T S F E AT U R E B y A b i g a i l M o r i c i

A Colossal Collaboration Father-and-daughter team paints murals for the Mid-South Coliseum.

PHOTO: JAMIE HARMON

Theo James and Nisa Williams

T

wanted to portray. We were given a list of names, and we were also told we could do our own research on what provokes us. Theo James: After we decided what we were going to do, Nisa and I bashed around the idea of sticking to a graphic style. We didn’t want to go for a photorealistic look because we wanted it to be punchy from a distance. NW: We just got started doing stuff. I’d start painting in one area, and then he would do another, and it kinda just came together. I think I served the most in concept sketches and making sure that the framework of the murals, as soon as we started painting, was correct. TJ: Yeah, she was the one that organized how we were going about doing it. I was impressed with what she was capable of doing. There’s some difficulty in translating a screen-size thumbnail into a 15-by-15foot panel. I think I would’ve had a lot more difficulty without her. I felt that we had an eye-to-eye approach. What was it like to work together as father and daughter? TJ: For me, it’s probably the most flattering thing a parent can feel. I didn’t twist Nisa’s arm; she got into art on her own. She started doing little rudimentary things

and then it went from there, like people discovering fire to the internet, with her. She has a style already. I know it’s her stuff when I see it, and I’m amazed by it. I’m selftaught. Nisa — she’s taught herself a lot — but she’s had the benefit of good high school art classes. I’ve actually learned a lot from her. NW: I appreciate that a lot. You can ask him, I’m not really good at receiving compliments. He’s a really talented artist with a notable style. I learned a lot of techniques and more professional and streamlined ways to problem-solve and how to appeal to clients. I think a lot of people underestimate how influential he is in the city, and I think it’s cool that anybody can provoke you through art or make you think about something. That’s a hard thing to do.

What do you hope this project will provoke in onlookers? NW: We wanted to get people to inquire about the space and what’s happening to it. A lot of the composition has references to the people embodied in the picture. It functions almost as a timeline of the Coliseum. TJ: Every one of the people portrayed had a piece of history that happened at that location. You can’t live in Memphis without having a story about the Coliseum. You went there to see a show or you went there to graduate. This is a place that has history with a community already connected to it, a place that shouldn’t be demolished. It’s a large space where there’s so much potential. We have to have a place that people can bond over, a place that’s central. NW: A place to have a collective experience. 39 TJ: Yeah, I think that’s how a city gets its identity. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Memphis Flyer: How would y’all describe your process? Nisa Williams: The words were given to us, like prompts, from the coalition. We had a little more freedom of who we

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

he Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis’ first racially integrated facility, once host to concerts, basketball games, graduations, and more, has been closed to the public since 2006. This summer, the Coliseum Coalition, which has been advocating for the Coliseum’s revitalization, commissioned Nisa Williams, a Crosstown High School senior, and her father, Theo James, a textile and graphic artist, to add visual appeal to the landmark’s exterior. Within two months, Williams and James painted six 15-by-15-foot panels that illustrate Memphis values, with Otis Redding captioned as representing culture, Larry Finch as talent, Justice Constance Baker Motley as justice, a grad in cap and gown as community, Unapologetic as passion, and three children with a globe in their hand as imagination. The father-daughter duo finished the paintings in early August. I recently spoke with them about their project.


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FOOD By Michael Donahue

Where “Cheesy” is a Compliment Harrison Downing creates with cheese at Greys.

YOUR VOTES

Mullican also showed Downing how to properly eat cheese. “You warm it up in your hands, in between your palms, because cheese is supposed to be eaten at room temperature. You get all the flavor profiles out of it.” A native Memphian, Downing says, “My mom was an amazing cook. She sparked my love for cooking. I’d hang out with her. We always bonded and cooked together.” They listened to James Taylor, Carole King, as well as country artists while she cooked. “She’s a cheesy country lady.” Realizing college wasn’t for him,

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Downing eventually got a job at Jim’s Place Grille in Collierville, where he began as an expediter. “That’s when I fell in love with it — watching those guys on the grill. Watching the food come out really made me want to be on that side of the kitchen.” Under chef Nick Acosta’s tutelage, Downing rose to sous-chef before leaving the restaurant four years later. Schuyler O’Brien helped him get a job as a lead cook at Hog Wild Pit BBQ. But Downing was laid off when the pandemic hit. To “kill time,” he and his wife picked peaches and blueberries at Jones Orchard, and Downing made jam to sell and give away. A friend told him about Greys. “I got linked up with Kurt to help him organize his menu and do all that. Right when we talked on the phone, me and Kurt really hit it off. We knew it was going to be a good chemistry.” Downing originally was just going to make jams and cheese boards until he told Mullican, “I can build a couple of small plates. Based off of a cheese. “Like I have a ricotta dish, a feta dish. And people who don’t want to just eat meat and cheese, they can have a salad option. That blossomed to my obsession with all these sandwich creations. ‘Why not try to put a couple of sandwiches on the menu?’”

And, he says, “It blew up.” “Gabagool” is made of gabagool meat, house-made spicy pickles, Brie, and raspberry coulis. “Then I smash it on the sandwich press so it’s super hard. It comes out melting hot, spicy, and sweet with the raspberry.” For Sandwich Saturday, Downing makes a limited number of sandwiches that sell out between an hour and a half to two hours after the shop opens, he says. “I don’t tell anybody what I’m doing until Friday at lunch.” He describes the sandwiches as “all very wild.” “The challenge is to find a cheese I like and make something with it. These cheeses are so crazy when you taste them, it just sparks something in my head: ‘I can put this with this and it will taste like it should go with whatever.’ “I have all these cheeses from all over the world to play with that Kurt brings in.” Downing, nicknamed “Chef Harry,” says he probably used “American Kraft Singles” on those microwave sandwiches he made as a kid. His mother used “just like basics, jack cheddars and Parmesan and things like that. All of the things that will make Kurt’s skin crawl.” Greys Fine Cheese & Entertaining is at 709 Mendenhall Road; (901) 529-7046.

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

Harrison Downing perfects the craft of cheesy sandwiches, without Kraft Singles.

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“The challenge is to find a cheese I like and make something with it. These cheeses are so crazy when you taste them, it just sparks something in my head.”

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arrison Downing’s first cooking attempt involved cheese. “When I was super young, my mom would let me microwave cheese sandwiches,” says Downing, 30. “Probably the only thing she would let me cook. It’s still my guilty pleasure to this day.” Now the chef at Greys Fine Cheese & Entertaining, Downing’s sandwiches are more elaborate. A recent “Sandwich Saturday” creation was made with cotto salami, pepperoni, finocchiona, fennel, and Der Scharfe, a raw milk cheese. “Learning about a bunch of cheeses” is one of the benefits of his job at Greys, owned by Jackie Mau and Kurt Mullican. Mullican, aka “Cheesemonger Kurt,” “walks up to me every five seconds and hands me a piece of cheese,” Downing says. He “gets a cheese scraper and just scrapes off a little piece,” describes the texture and how long it’s been aged, and says, “Here. Take a sip of this wine with it.” Sommelier Bradley Sharp pairs the wine with the cheese.

THANKS

41


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FILM By Chris McCoy

Auto Erotic Palme d’Or winner Titane is a super weird road trip.

“Never, never kissed a car before” — Agathe Rousselle (above) stars in Julia Ducournau’s Titane. with custom autos. When random guys follow her into the parking lot to hit on her, she simply kills them. See, she’s not just a sexy technophile, she’s also a dangerous psychopath who has been terrorizing Europe for years. After gruesomely dispatching a would-be rapist with a chopstick, Alexia works off a little extra energy with a Cadillac lowrider that’s been giving her the come-hither headlight. A few recreational slayings later, she finds out that 1) the cops are onto her, and 2) she’s pregnant with the Caddy’s car-child. She goes on the lam, but a close call with the gendarmerie causes her to decide that she needs to radically change her appearance. After an excruciating sequence where she remakes her face with brute force, she poses as Adrien, a missing child whom she may have murdered. continued on page 44

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world’s most prestigious award — and, since Jane Campion’s The Piano tied with Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine in 1993, the first to win it outright. If you’ve heard anything about Titane, it’s probably that this is the movie where a woman has sex with a car. I’m here to report that yes, that absolutely does happen more than once, but there’s a lot more to it than that. We first meet Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) when she is a bratty tween. Angered by some unseen slight, she’s annoying her father (Bertrand Bonello) from the back seat as he drives on a French freeway. But the family conflict takes a tragic turn when Dad, chastising his daughter, takes his eyes off the road and crashes the car. He’s okay, but Alexia sustains a fractured cranium, which requires the implantation of a titanium plate to fix. She survives the injury, but the doctor warns Alexia’s parents to “watch for neurological signs.” When we flash forward a decade or so, there is no shortage of “neurological signs” with Alexia. You would think her youthful brush with death would have put her off cars, but in fact the opposite has happened. Alexia loves cars — I mean, she really loves them. She makes her living as a booth girl at automotive shows, getting paid to dance seductively

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

F

ilm, like all art, has its own cycles. It’s not just cycles of marketplace expansion and contraction, or the rise and fall of great stars — although those are things that affect film production — but of artistic direction and audience taste. In the 1990s, the so-called indie era began with a flowering of filmic weirdness. There was no shortage of social realism, like Kevin Smith’s Clerks, a no-budget look at the world of the service economy’s working stiffs. But there was also formal experimentation, like Quentin Tarantino’s timeline-scrambling structures; magical realism, like Spike Lee’s nods to musical theater; and downright surrealism, like Stephen Soderbergh’s experimental cul-de-sac Schizopolis. By the 2010s, the cycle had receded. Mainstream studio films had been taken over by magic and superheroes, so the underground reacted by swerving toward realism. Now, there are signs that the film weirdos want to get weird again. This January, the Sundance lineup was crowded with magic, such as Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney’s Strawberry Mansion and Dash Shaw’s animated tour de force Cryptozoo. Then in July, the Cannes Film Festival awarded the Palme d’Or to Titane. Director Julia Ducournau became only the second woman in history to win the festival

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FILM By Chris McCoy continued from page 43 Adrien’s father, Vincent (Vincent Lindon), is a fire captain who has been mourning his disappeared son for a decade. He accepts Alexia as Adrien because he wants it to be true. But Alexia’s Adrien gambit is destined to be short lived, as she grows more and more visibly pregnant. If you think it’s going to be awkward to explain to Vincent that she’s not who he thinks she is, throw in the fact that his “son” is also pregnant with a car baby. I’m a big fan of Ducournau’s film Raw, which transforms eating disorders into

cannibalistic urges for some cutting body horror. Titane is a lot messier and more uneven. It starts off strong, with Rousselle’s fearless performance channelling Malcolm McDowell’s charming psychopathy from A Clockwork Orange. But once she takes up with Vincent, and Ducournau ramps up the paranoid body dysphoria, the story loses momentum. Even if the director can’t quite stick the landing, Titane is a visually ravishing and thematically daring film unlike anything else you’ll see today. Titane Now playing Studio on the Square

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THE LAST WORD By Justin Howerton

No Hate for My Hometown

THE LAST WORD

At some point, everyone has felt like an outsider. For most, this sense of PHOTO: JESSE KUNERTH | DREAMSTIME.COM otherness begins in high school but evaporates after you leave its exclu“The diversity in this city promotes tolerance, for the most part, instead of stifling it.” sive cliques and pressures to conform. Alternatively, as was my case, it can follow you into early adulthood. I was born and raised in Memphis, but I chose to relocate to Oregon to attend college. Never had I felt so displaced, and the slew of comments regarding my hometown did not assist in making me feel welcome. I laugh at them now, but, in retrospect, I see how they contribute to an unfair and untrue perception of the South that perpetuates harmful, and largely false, stereotypes. Upon introducing myself and my hometown in my first days as a wide-eyed freshman, I quickly learned how non-Southerners perceived Memphis and the South generally. You see Southerners portrayed in the media as backwards, conservative bigots who will go to extraordinary lengths to preserve their depraved traditions. With this in mind, I had expected a couple of gasps when it came time for me to introduce myself. But this was Portland: a city I had hitherto regarded as teeming with a certain open-mindedness that accepted nearly everyone who meant well. Turns out even liberals can be guilty of harboring unfounded prejudices. I received a lot of questions and remarks that day and for the rest of the time I lived there. “But you don’t have an accent?” Yes, I grew up in a city. Not everyone speaks like the antagonists from Deliverance. Get a few drinks in me, and you may begin to detect a slight drawl. “Why did you move here?” To this inquiry, I responded, “Well, why did you?” That normally shut them up. The majority of my undergraduate class hailed from California and could simply not fathom why I would move out west, even after I explained I had secured a scholarship, financial aid, and other resources that made such a drastic move monetarily beneficial. They didn’t know how to talk to me; they couldn’t reconcile their preconceived notions of a Southerner, which they had learned primarily from media and hearsay, with the reality that stood before them. “It must have been hard to have grown up in such an intolerant place.” This seemingly sympathetic quip aggravated me the most. Yes, work still needs to be done in the South to ensure that everyone has rights regardless of class, race, or sex, but that same work must be done on a national level, even in progressive havens whose citizens think they have accomplished unconditional equality. And, to be fair, Memphis itself is a relatively welcoming city with a thriving community of diverse residents. Can Portland, where 77.4 percent of the population is white according to the U.S. Census Bureau, say the same? While all of these comments bugged me and continually reminded me of my status as an “outsider,” the pleasure of dispelling these misconceptions using my own personal experiences could not have felt any better. When someone offered pity as a response to learning my geographical origin, I volleyed back pride. I often said, and still proclaim, that I am proud to be from Memphis, warts and all, and that I am forever grateful for how this place has shaped my worldview for the better. Growing up in Memphis has taught me that you cannot simply turn a blind eye to injustices, such as systemic racism or social inequities; you see them every day. You interact with people who hold different political beliefs than your own, which, in turn, makes you critically examine why you harbor your own beliefs. You encounter people who challenge the ideas you hold true, and it makes you stronger for it. And you see people with wildly different backgrounds from yourself on a daily basis. Contrary to what many people would say elsewhere, the diversity present in this city promotes tolerance, for the most part, instead of stifling it. My main point is this: Progress needs to happen everywhere. The fabricated stereotype of the South as culturally inept reveals more about the believer of the stereotype than it does about the South. We collectively need to stop worrying about how the rest of the country is fairing with regards to social progress in order to accomplish the work that must be done in our own states, cities, and neighborhoods. And the rest of the country needs to seriously alter how it conceives of the South (Memphis included) so this derogatory perception can finally be put to rest. Justin Howerton is a Memphian since birth, an avid reader, and a lover of swimming and house plants. He likes cats but hates cat hair.

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

Southern misconceptions and why we should challenge them.

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