Memphis Flyer 10/14/2021

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OUR 1703RD ISSUE 10.14.21

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OUR 1703RD ISSUE 10.14.21

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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THE DELTA BOMBERS

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

Next week will mark the anniversary of the death, on October 22, 1965, of Memphian and bassist William “Bill” Black Jr., who died of a brain tumor. Black was most famous as Elvis Presley’s bassist in the singer’s early days at Sun, and his instrumental outfit, Bill Black’s Combo, recorded at Hi Records and sold millions of albums. According to local historian G. Wayne Dowdy’s On This Day in Memphis History, the headline announcing news of Black’s death was “Combo Man Dies of Brain Tumor.” Well, Black was undeniably a “Combo Man,” as the moniker of his solo instrumental group makes abundantly clear, though it might have been nice to include his name in that headline. At least it wasn’t “Elvis’ Former Bassist Dies,” which wouldn’t have surprised me. That’s the nature of a bassist, or any member of the “backing band,” to be honest — you get comfortable living in someone’s shadow. Bass is the bridge between melody and rhythm, the instrument that helps tie the whole outfit together. Unless we’re talking about famed Motown bassist James Jamerson, jazz aficionado Victor Wooten, or maybe The Who’s John Entwistle, the listener doesn’t always notice the bassist. But you would notice it if they weren’t there. “Quite often it was his joking around that took some of the heat off of Elvis, making the crowd laugh at Black’s comedy routines, and stopping them running the Mississippi Tupelo Flash out of town on a rail,” writes Peter Butler on the website for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Butler continues, saying that one especially enthusiastic PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA example of Black’s showmanship was caught on camera Bill Black at a performance at the Naval Station in San Diego in 1956. “He gets so worked up during ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ that, at one point, he looks like he’s just about to ride his instrument off into the sunset!” Maybe this story about Bill Black stuck with me, as Memphis magazine executive editor Michael Finger suggested, because I also play bass. I think, though, it’s because my mind has been occupied of late with thoughts of other people we notice primarily when something goes wrong. I had in mind, a few weeks ago, around the time that our “Best of Memphis” issue hit stands, to use this column space to offer public thanks to all the Flyer folks who keep this publication on schedule. But some item of local news caught my interest and seemed to take precedence, and the moment passed, an event that is itself emblematic of the phenomenon I’m describing here. So without further ado, please allow me to offer my compliments and thanks to the staff of this paper whose bylines you don’t see every week. Thanks to the sales staff, the designers in the art department, the folks in circulation who make sure this paper hits newsstands on time, and to the managing editor. Thanks to the copy editor, who makes sure that my “public thanks” don’t become something far more embarrassing to see in print. I hope that my readers will follow my lead and keep gratitude, patience, and empathy at the forefront of their thoughts as we enter the home stretch of the pandemic’s second year. Halloween is right around the corner, and after it, we’re due for another unusual holiday season. I wanted to get this note in early, though, before that season begins in earnest. To me, it’s always seemed like the end of the year — from the Best of Memphis party on through New Year’s Day — is a blur, a hallucination of altered print deadlines to make room for holidays and then the holidays themselves, a sprint through a festive tunnel toward a new year. I’ve worked in retail and in shipping, and neither of those industries is a cakewalk in the last quarter, even in the N E WS & O P I N I O N best of times. THE FLY-BY - 4 NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 Please be mindful of shipping delays, that AT LARGE - 7 the people working through staffing shortPOLITICS - 8 ages are working twice as hard to compenCOVER STORY sate. No one we meet is a robot, and they “WAITING/IN THE MOMENT” have likely lost friends and loved ones, made BY ALEX GREENE - 10 sacrifices, faced the uncertainty of the day WE RECOMMEND - 14 MUSIC - 15 with whatever strength they can muster. CALENDAR - 16 In other words, from one combo man to FOOD - 19 anyone who will listen, be kind, dammit. FILM - 20 Jesse Davis C LAS S I F I E D S - 22 jesse@memphisflyer.com LAST WORD - 23

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MEMernet Memphis on the internet. R AP P I N’

POSTED TO YOUTUBE BY DJ SMALLZ EYES 2

Memphis rapper Big Homiie G got honest about his hometown on the DJ Smallz Eyes 2 YouTube channel. Best thing about Memphis? The food. Worst thing? D-riding (sucking up to successful people). His solution? “Just stop.” How to stay safe visiting Memphis? “Stay in your surroundings, man. Don’t get caught out of bounds. Stay with your people.”

October 14-20, 2021

JAM M I N’ Memphis Reddit user u/E4R stirred up nostalgia and some helpful hints with this question last week: “Y’all still call JAMJAM1?” u/Karride: “Yup, I’m in IT and it’s my go-to number for testing phones.” u/MostOriginalNameEver: “Gives you time and weather. Also reminded you Captain D’s existed.”

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S PAC I N’ Hayley Arceneaux, the Memphis astronaut, shared her “favorite photo I took in space” last week on Twitter. “This unedited shot was taken over the U.S. The night passes were absolutely gorgeous!” POSTED TO TWITTER BY HAYLEY ARCENEAUX

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Questions, Answers + Attitude Edited by Toby Sells

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

Weirich, Strike, & Star Wars Group targets the DA, Kellogg’s on the picket line, and the force is strong in Central Gardens. N EW P LATES Tennessee’s new standard license plate will be blue with the state outline on top. More than 300,000 Tennessee residents cast votes in a statewide poll last month. The blue plate got 42 percent of those votes. New plates will be available online and in person beginning January 3, 2022, as residents complete their annual tag renewal. Up to 100,000 plates per week will be produced to meet initial inventory demands.

PHOTO: JESSE DAVIS

PHOTO: STATE OF TENNESSEE

Left to right: Design for the new standard Tennessee license plate; a sign at the local Kellogg’s factory, supporting workers’ strike.

WE I R I C H TAR G ETE D This story is co-published with MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit Memphis newsroom. Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich was the target of a new public education campaign launched last week. Canvassers with Memphis Watch, a newly formed organization that doesn’t have a web presence and does not appear to be led by Memphians, handed out pamphlets about Weirich’s controversial record. A mobile billboard labeled Weirich a “Repeat Offender” and circled 201 Poplar. The billboards’ messages are a condensed version of AmyWeirichFiles.com, which offers a blistering assessment of Weirich’s actions, some of which have drawn intense scrutiny, criticism, and in one instance, a reprimand from the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. The campaign comes just 10 months before voters choose the next Shelby County District Attorney. STAR WAR S CANTI NA The Lost Cantina Toy Store opened in Central Gardens last week. The store and Star Wars memorabilia collection come from Terry Ryan and Brian Spiker. The work friends bonded over their love of Star Wars, and items in the shop come from their personal collections. Customers can find action figures, lightsabers, character helmets, Millennium Falcon replicas, and other Star Wars memorabilia.

The store is located at 620 S. Bellevue, on the corner of Bellevue and Harbert, across from the Checkers. It is open Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. K E LLO G G’S STR I K E Kellogg’s workers in several U.S. cities, including Memphis, went on strike last week. It began on Tuesday, October 5th, when the master contract between the Kellogg Company and the local Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International (BCTGM) unions expired, after a one-year extension that was put in place in 2020. Workers have been on a picket line at the local Kellogg’s factory at 2168 Frisco Avenue since the strike began. “We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike,” says Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner. Kevin Bradshaw, vice president of the BCTGM, said the union and the company agreed in 2013 to a “progressive format” for wages and benefits for new employees, who would be hired at a lower level of pay but with a path to top pay. “We’re not asking for more money,” he said. “We’re asking you to continue paying everyone who works at Kellogg’s the same amount of money, same amount of benefits and insurance. Don’t treat anybody different. Equal pay for equal work.” Visit the News Blog at memphisflyer.com for fuller versions of these stories and more local news.


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Water Fight U.S. Supreme Court hears Mississippi/Tennessee aquifer lawsuit.

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Mississippi took its 16-year battle against Tennessee for water rights to the U.S. Supreme Court last week, and justices compared the issue to wild horses in Mexico and fog over San Francisco. John Coghlan, attorney for the state of Mississippi in the case, said the court should reject the special master’s conclusions to the case. Last year, the judge said, basically, that Tennessee has not been stealing water from Mississippi. However, Coghlan said the case is not about whether or not Tennessee is asking for more than its fair share of the water. He said the Supremes should focus on another question: Can Tennessee control groundwater while it’s located in Mississippi’s sovereign territory? Justice Clarence Thomas replied, “But couldn’t Tennessee make the exact same argument about you? Couldn’t Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri all make the same argument that whenever you pump, you’re causing similar problems for them?” David Frederick, attorney for Memphis Light, Gas and Water in the case, told the court that Tennessee has lawfully pumped water from the Middle Claiborne Aquifer for more than 130 years. Traditional water-sharing rules don’t apply in the case and, therefore, Mississippi’s claim for $600 million in damages should be dismissed. “The undisputed facts are the aquifer’s water volume in the greater Memphis and northern Mississippi area has changed very little in the past 100 years,” Frederick said. “The aquifer is fully saturated and in a state of equilibrium, and Mississippi has increased its own pumping dramatically and can extract all the water it needs.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor reminded Coghlan of the case’s long legal history and asked, “When is enough enough?” Coghlan explained the case is relevant

still since it is for future damages, not seeking damages for the past. If the court ruled against Mississippi this time around, Coghlan said that, yes, the state would want the option to pursue the matter in the future. Chief Justice John Roberts compared the water to wild horses or burros in Western states, other natural resources that don’t obey state borders. Justice Stephen Breyer compared the water to San Francisco’s fog. “Suppose somebody came by in an airplane and took some of that beautiful fog and flew it to Colorado … and somebody took it and flew it to Massachusetts or some other place?” he asked.

PHOTO: FOTYMA | DREAMSTIME.COM

Supreme Court hears its first case involving a dispute over groundwater. Coghlan explained that he wasn’t arguing Mississippi owns the water. He said the state has the right to control the water while it’s within the borders of the state. Tennessee, he said, should not have the right to control it, by pumping it while it’s under Mississippi ground. In the end, the court seemed largely skeptical of Mississippi’s argument and worried the case would set a precedent for other states to sue one another for water rights.


A little gecko has immigrated to Memphis, but they mean us no harm.

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f you’ve felt a strange urge to buy car insurance lately, it could be because of the subliminal influence of the gecko invasion that has swept into Memphis and environs in recent years. To be precise, these new (-ish) residents are Mediterranean geckos. Speckled and almost translucent when they are young, they can reach about four inches in length in adulthood. They are sort of adorablelooking. At least, I think so. Your mileage may vary. I first spotted one of the MGs hanging out around my porch light on a summer night about five years ago. I took a picture of him, looked him up on the Google, and thought, “Cool, we have a gecko.” Little did I know. Now we have a lot of geckos. I still see them around the back-porch light at night, where I’m told they are very good at snagging the occasional careless june bug or moth. They also live in the rocky

crevasses around our flower beds and under the patio furniture. When I open the garage door, I can always count on seeing one or two scampering for cover. (I mean, if geckos can scamper. They kind of writhe for cover, if I’m being honest.) Our cat has nailed a couple and left them as trophies on the doormat. We have a thriving population, to say the least, one that has blossomed in the past couple of years. And we’re not alone, apparently. The MGs have been the subject of several posts on nextdoor.com, which means they’ve arrived — right up there with dog poop, fireworks, doorbell videos, and suspicious characters. One post — “Anybody know what kind of lizard this is?” — drew numerous comments. Turns out not everybody thinks they’re adorable. One commenter said: “I hate those see-through things. They give me the hebbie jebbies big time.” Another person warned that someone told her

PHOTO: BRUCE VANWYNGARDEN

No salmonella with this gecko — only smiles and car-insurance deals. that geckos carry salmonella as a “defense mechanism.” Which is misinformation. (I know, hard to believe that an internet comment could be wrong, but crazy stuff happens.) Salmonella is a phenomenon occasionally associated with pet geckos, but not our local wild MGs. And it’s not a defense mechanism. Jeez. On another gecko-related nextdoor.com post from September 24th, someone commented: “I’ve had two in my house the past week! I accidentally got the tail on one and it squirmed for a half hour after I put the gecko outside lol.” Whoa. That’s enough to give anyone the “hebbie jebbies.” So where did they come from? Why are they in Memphis? And what do they want from us? I turned to Matthew Parris, an associate professor of biology at the University of Memphis, for answers. “The Mediterranean gecko is an invasive reptile species native to southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East,” he

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

Invasion of the MGs

said. “It has expanded its range through unintentional introduction to the United States, with first reports of it in Florida from around 1910. It’s established populations throughout the southeastern U.S., and there have now been reported sightings in more than 20 states.” So when did these little dudes get to Memphis? Parris said the first reports of the species in the Memphis area were in 2007. “The species is very adept at surviving in urban landscapes,” he added, “and is relatively common in city environments within its range.” The geckos have also obviously become adept at finding ways to survive Memphis’ occasional sub-freezing temperatures. MGs appear to be hardy and resourceful little suckers, to say the least. “They’re nocturnal and feed on insects,” Parrish said. “Their impact on native reptile communities is unknown, but the animal causes no obvious harm to people, pets, or the natural environment.” Which means, no matter what you might read on the internet, they’re not suspicious characters. They won’t hurt you, even if you can see through them. They’re just friendly immigrants from the Mediterranean region who mean us no harm. They’re sending their best.

NEWS & OPINION

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

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POLITICS By Jackson Baker

The Race for County Mayor is On! Morgan’s announcement revs up the pressure on incumbent Lee Harris to decide course. The announcement Monday by Memphis City Councilman Worth Morgan of his candidacy for Shelby County Mayor resolves what had been enormous speculation about Morgan’s long-rumored intentions. But it does more than that: Its effect becomes the beginning of the 2022 election season in Shelby County. One of the first consequences of Morgan’s announcement is to wetblanket or even extinguish the previously indicated aspirations of such other potential Republican candidates as County Commissioner Mark Billingsley and City Council Chairman Frank Colvett Jr. Morgan’s command of big-donor money was amply demonstrated in his council races of 2015 and 2019, and his

announcement will accelerate the process of nailing it down again on his behalf. Pressures regarding 2020 have been raised among Democrats also. The imperative has been sped up for incumbent County Mayor Lee Harris to clarify his intentions regarding a re-election race. Rumors have abounded over the past several months — that he would cast caution to the winds and declare for the 9th District congressional seat now occupied by Steve Cohen, that he would seek the governorship, that he would ratchet up existing lobbying efforts for a federal judgeship, that he would be open to a job with the Biden administration, and that he would seek the soon-to-be-vacated presidency of the University of Memphis. All of these possibilities, at one point or another, have had a logic to them; all had obvious pitfalls as well. Consider the university rumor: Harris, for years, was a law professor at the university, he is now

serving as a high-level administrator, he has a background suitable for representing a diverse and upwardly mobile university population, and a U of M presidency could serve very well as a launching pad for higher political office. The hitch to that logic is that Harris has squared off against the university on a number of public issues — notably on the matter of funding the school’s natatorium, when he was eyeball-to-eyeball with current President David Rudd over the university’s foot-dragging on allowing its workers a $15-an-hour minimum wage. The university reportedly wants a quick resolution of its search for a successor to Rudd, who leaves next May, but how would its trustees regard the previous acrimony? An examination of Harris’ options leads back to what most others consider his most feasible course: running for re-election as county mayor. Rank-and-file Democrats see the mayor as being an odds-on favorite

against Morgan or any other Republican; they see Harris as an ideal head for the party ticket. His services as a supporting presence are sought by other candidates, as in his co-hosting last weekend of a fundraiser for judicial candidate Sanjeev Memula. It comes down to if Harris wants another dose of the mayorship; the job is more demanding than most outsiders imagine, and more riven with political pressurepoints. His chances of winning again next year are ranked as very good, more so than those of Ken Moody, the aide to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland who has announced a provisional candidacy. If Harris does not seek re-election, key Democrats may seek to prevail on County Commissioner Van Turner, who has expressed interest in becoming Memphis mayor in 2023, to alter course and run in Harris’ stead. In that event Turner would have a hard time refusing.

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COVER STORY BY ALEX GREENE

Waiting/ In the Moment October 14-20, 2021

THE RISE AND FALL AND RISE OF DON LIFTED. Stumbling Into Greatness

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urning a corner, producer/engineer Matt Ross-Spang had no idea what he was walking into. None of us did back in late November 2019, though that marked the birth of a certain spiked virus that would change all of us. That was a world away when Ross-Spang heard the murmurs from a show already in progress, and he walked in. “The Green Room in Crosstown Concourse has caused me to see a lot more live music, with how easy it is to sneak over there after work. So I walked in and 10 was immediately blown away. A string quartet was out in front, and the singer

was behind them, hiding a little bit. There was a light projector and two or three screens with video going on. There was this amazing visual aspect to the show, and he was using two different vocal microphones with different effects for certain parts of the song. I immediately was struck by the cinematic and genrebending music and lyrics I was hearing. And I noticed the crowd. Every walk of life was in there: old, young, Black, white.” The singer in question was Lawrence Matthews III, but the artist on the bill was Don Lifted. They’re one in the same, of course, or are they? After all, there were two microphones, two voices. And

at that point, having already self-released two albums, Matthews didn’t know if Don Lifted would be around much longer. “I was putting out the energy that I was not going to continue doing what I was doing,” Matthews muses in his softspoken manner, as we sit in the hushed environs of the Memphis Listening Lab. “I felt like I was at the end of what that body of work was. I was just not where I wanted to be.” Nonetheless, he booked a modest national tour, a last hurrah perhaps, with The Green Room show right in the middle of it. “And I had this moment where I was like, ‘Damn, I’m halfway through this tour and nothing’s

PHOTO: COURTESY LAWRENCE MATTHEWS

Lawrence Matthews, filming his music video for his single, “Lost In Orion” happening.’ I went on the tour to close the Don Lifted thing down, but also 50 percent of you is like, ‘I would love for something to happen.’ I’m traveling across the U.S., driving to San Francisco, going to L.A., going to New York. I would like for something to happen if this is going to continue being a thing.” Any artist would feel such ambivalence if their first two albums matched the quality of Don Lifted’s. Rooted in hip hop’s rhythmic rhyming,


“Pick How I’m Moving”

M

att Ross-Spang, it turned out, was beginning to spread the word. “I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t tell my friend Bruce Watson about him,” he recalls of his talk with the co-owner of Fat Possum. “The very next day after the show, I called Bruce. I never do that, really, but I was pretty blown away. So I told him, you should check this guy out. He doesn’t sound like anybody; he’s hard to pigeonhole. He’s really young, but he’s already figured so much out, and he’s working his butt off. And he checks all the boxes of what you’re looking for in an artist.” After that, Matthews recalls, “The higher-ups at Fat Possum and I had a meeting that was dope. They all had different goals in the conversation, and PHOTO: COURTESY LAWRENCE MATTHEWS

Lawrence Matthews and film crew on set for “Brain Fluid” music video

I was trying to balance it. As someone who has not talked to record label people regularly, I was like, ‘What’s happening?’ They wanted to know, like, ‘You haven’t released anything since 2018, what are you up to?’ So I wrote and recorded ‘Golden (The Wait)’ that week and gave it to them. And the energy I have in that first verse is like, ‘This is who I am. And this is why I am here. Fuck with me.’ And they were like, all right, let’s do it.” Pick how I’m moving Pick who I’m choosing The product is soothing I pray to God that he Fluid Flow how the way I be moving Cut to 2021, and the imminent release of Don Lifted’s new album on the label. It’s an apotheosis of sorts, not only solidifying the artist’s reputation as a performer with staying power, but Fat Possum’s ongoing reputation as a home for music that is beyond category.

While the Mississippi-based imprint has featured other hip hop-leaning artists like MellowHype, Patrick Paige II, and El-P, it appealed to Matthews precisely because of its eclecticism. “My approach with Fat Possum has been very much like, ‘Let’s not treat me

“How do I write about how bad things are right now without directly telling you how bad things are right now?”

like a hip hop artist.’ I’m liable to put out some of anything, so I try not to go through some of those traditional hip hop outlets, as I navigate the music industry. It’s still weird. I’ve been called alternative, indie rock, rap, even R&B from one publication. Everybody wants to genre you. I don’t know what it is, to be honest [laughs]. I was trying to get them to just call it a pop record.” Indeed, that may be the most apt way to describe the album 325i, to be released October 22nd. Once again named after the car he drove during events that inspired the songs, it’s notable that a BMW 325i is Matthews’ current ride, carrying him through recent times. This marks a new territory for the songwriter: the here and now.

In the Moment

“M

y previous works were built on reflection,” says Matthews. “Alero and Contour were both me going back five years, seven years, to reflect about a time, to build it and put it together and create a narrative and a timeline. This one feels more evolving throughout because I’m changing as life is changing me. I’ve had very large transformative changes working on that project, but also how I see the world, how I see myself within the world, how I see everything. Everything is completely changed. By the end of the record, I’m a completely different person with a completely different perspective and style than I had when I wrote ‘Golden.’” Of course, one reason for that is the timing. “Golden (The Wait),” which kicks off the new album, was the only track written in the relatively innocent last weeks of 2019. “Fat Possum liked the record,” Matthews recalls. “And they had me come down to Oxford and I signed in March 2020. A week before the shutdown.” Even for those who survived the spread of Covid-19, the isolation and anxiety of 2020 was a long, dark night of the soul. It was no different for Matthews, and, as he describes it, 325i, recorded in his home over those months, is the ultimate chronicle of that interior journey. “There were points where my anxiety was so crazy because of Covid, the election, the shootings. Everything that was happening,” he says. “I thought, ‘I may not make it to the end of this record.’ That was a serious anxiety of mine. I just stayed in the house, not just because of Covid, but because I didn’t want to end up dead. continued on page 12

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

but including elements of shoegaze rock and even smooth R&B, both revealed the artist’s fine sonic craftsmanship, limning the growing pains of his late teens/early twenties with equal parts hindsight and poetic furor. In both Alero and Contour, named for the respective cars he drove in those pivotal moments of his life, he crafted subtle, moody soundscapes over which his lyrics flowed like incantations. And from the start, he took great care with the presentation of his music. As he told the Memphis Flyer in 2017 when performing his Alero material with Blueshift Ensemble at the Continuum Music Festival, “I graduated with a painting degree [from the University of Memphis]. But I also did photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics. I don’t do shows unless I can do a selfcurated event in an alternative space. And I try to completely transform the space. So you might come into a space and see three projections, all in sync with the music. I’m just trying to curate a whole experience.” When Ross-Spang walked into his show two years later, he was still at it, with much critical acclaim but only middling sales and no record deal. “After The Green Room show, I literally had just had that thought of, ‘Damn, something has to happen between San Francisco and L.A.’ Those were the next two stops on my tour. ‘Something’s gotta happen, dawg.’ And then my phone started going ping ping ping ping! I looked, and it said, ‘Fat Possum [Records] has followed you.’ And then I got an email from my manager saying, ‘They want to meet with you.’ And I was just like, crying in the car.”

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October 14-20, 2021

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continued from page 11

is out here.”

“A lot of people died. I think that’s something we don’t really want to talk about. So I had a lot of anxiety, and you can hear it in the record. You can hear a lot of fear and unsureness in the record. But by the end, there’s also this realization of some kind of peace within the thing. So you work however many years, you receive this thing that allows you to pursue your art at a level you haven’t done before. This hasn’t been an opportunity provided to most folks from the scene that I came from. Anybody who’s transitioned on to higher aspirations has moved. I stayed. I got this deal. A week later, the world goes insane and stays insane.” And yet, 325i is not a “news of the world” experience. The upshot of quarantine, for Matthews, was living in close quarters with those nearest and dearest to him. “I was spending a lot of time in the house with my loved ones and writing about very personal, intimate experiences. There’s so much going on in the world right now, but I didn’t want to put a protest album out. I wanted to challenge myself: How do I write about how bad things are right now without directly telling you how bad things are right now? I want you to feel how bad it

Reach Out from the Inside

A

nd by “out here,” Matthews actually means “in here.” The album comes across as a very interior journey, between contradictory impulses to have loved ones see your full self, even as you fear to reveal it. “In what scenario are you longing for a person you can’t interact with?” Matthews asks. “Lockdown. You’re closed in with a person. You have an issue. You have to work through that. You’re in it together. In the past, when you could run from it, you maybe wouldn’t want to dig into certain insecurities and fears you might have with a partner. But this is the time. If we don’t deal with it now, we’ll never deal with it. So those moments inform that body of work, and there is this overall dread of that in the background.” Yet it’s a dread mixed with the determination to unpack one’s self. As Matthews notes, “There’s a series of lines on ‘Darla’ which essentially say, ‘I don’t know how to do this.’ A lot of us are products of divorce and failed marriages and weird family things, and now, getting older, I’ve realized, ‘Wow, I don’t have any proper examples of this stuff.’ You really have to relearn how to love somebody, not

based on how you’ve been taught to love folks. ’Cause I’ve got a whole series of lines that go: ‘I don’t know no way, so I can’t make my own.’ Basically, ‘I’ve never seen nobody do this right, so I don’t know how to do it. Nobody ever held my hand, so I can’t hold no hand.’” In the restless imagination of Matthews, all these interior reflections ultimately lead back to the world at large. He began with a challenge: How can an artist evoke the spirit of troubled times without simply describing the world as it is right now? And even now, he keeps returning to the political within the personal, the soul as an expression of the world’s corruption. It’s a natural extension of his art in general, both in his photographic work, grappling with topics as diverse as Black masculinity or gentrification, or his work with the Black arts nonprofit Tone, for whom he is the gallery director. An awareness of the wider forces around us informs even the most intimate moments of 325i. “I have to make my own way,” he muses. “Everything I was taught about going to college or getting married, or doing this or that, wasn’t working. I think of 2020 as a year of ‘Yeah, all this stuff we’ve been taught does not work.’ It’s a complete travesty. It’s collapsing

around us. Everything that’s dealing with humans is crumbling in front of our face and we see how sorry our infrastructure is. And people just think about that as a government or politics thing, or a healthcare thing. It’s all of that and how we are taught to love each other. How we are taught to show up for each other. ’Cause last year we saw the most insane selfishness, and still are seeing it to this day. People don’t really give a shit about other people. And we’re finding that out in real time, watching history unfold in front of our eyes, and seeing people making conscious choices not to take care of their grandparents, their children, folks around them, their loved ones, to risk things, to literally risk death to … go eat at Chili’s. See what I’m saying? It was like, ‘Oh wow! We don’t know nothing!’” Taking a breath, he turns his eye inward. “Hey, I myself have not been taught this stuff. I need love, I want love, but sometimes it feels like I’m not capable of giving it. And here are all the reasons why — I need you to work with me. That’s a tough thing to admit. A lot of guys, a lot of people, just try to pretend that they’re like some hard-shelled individual, closed off from other people. The reality is, you wanna be loved just like everybody else. You’re just scared of what that means.”

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Come to Life By Abigail Morici “Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life,” says Dorimar Ferrer, executive director of Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group. “It’s not Mexico’s Halloween.” Though Dia de los Muertos takes place on November 1st and 2nd in Mexico, Crosstown Concourse, in partnership with Cazateatro, is celebrating a little bit earlier with their own Day of the Dead celebration — with an emphasis on celebration. “Dia de los Muertos has nothing to do with sadness or anything scary,” Ferrer says. “Knowing that, for two days, we have the opportunity to share and celebrate with our loved ones fills us with joy. Keeping them alive in our hearts and minds is part of this beautiful tradition that is passed from generation to generation.” Cazateatro Catrinas, Ballet Meztli, and other dancers in traditional garments PHOTO: WENDY ADAMS and Day of the Dead makeup will populate the first floor and invite you to join Dancer adorning traditional calaveras, along to the music by Tropical Fusion Latin Band, DJ Alexis White, and more. or sugar skull, makeup Kids can have their face painted and create a few crafts as well — all for free. Themed specials will also be available to purchase at a few of Crosstown’s restaurants. “Pop-a-roo’s Popcorn is staying open late for the event. They’ve got Mexican street corn in a cup,” says Bianca Phillips, communications manager at Crosstown Arts. But what will stand out the most for event-goers, Phillips says, are the intricately decorated altars lined up along the second floor for viewing, made by different community organizations in honor of loved ones who have passed on. “For a person who doesn’t know about this tradition,” Ferrer says, “our recommendation is to ask. Never assume that you are right or wrong in making an altar. With Cazateatro, we’re always open to talk to anyone who wants to know more about el Dia de los Muertos and how they can build an altar with respect.” DAY OF THE DEAD AT CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16TH, 5-8 P.M., FREE.

VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES October 14th - 20th The Tambourine Bash Levitt Shell, 1928 Poplar, Thurs., Oct. 14, 7-10 p.m., $25 In support of Music Export Memphis, enjoy a night of Memphis music collaborations by artists like Marcella Simien, David Parks, D’Vonna Taylor, and more. Fright-tober at Crosstown Theater: Coco Crosstown Concourse, 1350 Concourse, Sat., Oct. 16, 2 p.m., free Before attending the Day of the Dead celebration at Crosstown, enjoy a viewing of this Pixar movie about Miguel, a young aspiring musician who travels to the Land of the Dead. Register ahead online.

Brewfest and Brunchfest Liberty Bowl Stadium, 940 Early Maxwell, Sat.-Sun., Oct. 16-17, $45 Sip on unlimited beer samples from more than 40 breweries from around the world while taking in live music, food truck fare, games, and vendors. October Sunshine: Iris Orchestra with Michael Stern, Conductor Duncan-Williams Performance Hall, 1801 Exeter, Sat., Oct. 16, 7:30-9:30 p.m., $45-$70 The symphony begins with a dark work, Carlos Simon’s Elegy: A Cry from the Grave and The Warmth of Other Suns, before concluding with Tchaikovsky’s sunny and bright Souvenir de Florence.

“Black Artists in America: From the Great Depression to Civil Rights” The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, 4339 Park, opens Sun., Oct. 17 This exhibition of visual art explores the African-American experience in the last 70 years of the twentieth century, beginning with the stock market crash of 1929. Indie Film Festival Various locations, Wed., Oct. 20, $10-$20 Kick-off the festival’s first day and celebrate the national and international independent film community at the festival’s 24th iteration. Visit indiememphis.org for a schedule of screenings.


M

ost Memphians might recognize artist Cameron Bethany as the son of a Southern preacher with an extraordinary voice — but Bethany’s unique musical and life experiences have deeply shaped who he is today. His music, his lyrics, his style, his personality, and his passion for the arts have all been influenced by his ever-changing life journey. “It’s hard to measure who I was back then and who I am today,” says Bethany. “My life is always changing, and often, as people, we don’t even realize when we’re in those changes.”

PHOTO: COURTESY CAMERON BETHANY

Cameron Bethany The Covid-19 pandemic is a concrete example of one of those major life changes. “I released any idea of a plan because if there’s one thing 2020 has taught me, it’s that we don’t have control over what’s going to happen,” Bethany says. The pandemic has put many live-music events on hold, and after three years, Bethany returns to give Memphians a captivating and nervecalming experience at the Levitt Shell on Friday, October 15th, at 7 p.m. The secular artist’s love for music began at church and only bloomed from there. Born into a religious family, church was more than just a Sunday service for Bethany; it was a lifestyle. “We were in church two or three times a week. Choir, bible study, Thursday service, Saturday choir rehearsal, and then Sunday — church. I was literally there … all day,” he says. Although gospel music was the main

soundtrack to Bethany’s life, his naturally free-spirited nature led him to venture out into other music genres. But it wasn’t easy. Around the age of 20, Bethany experienced an internal struggle when he began performing and doing gigs outside of church. “I would do the gigs and hurry up out of town,” Bethany remembers. “I was afraid that someone would tell my parents that they saw me performing music that wasn’t gospel.” Worried by the idea that secular music was somehow “wrong,” Bethany was taken by surprise when he discovered that his mother was actually enthusiastic and supportive. While Bethany continued to do music part-time, a traumatic experience pushed him to leave the typical 9-5 job behind. “I experienced a murder where a resident took his sister’s and girlfriend’s life and then took his own life. It was that year that I said, ‘Enough is enough,’” Bethany says. “I don’t think I fully recovered from the shock of that.” After this experience, Bethany took some time to heal, tap deeper into himself, and think about his truest desires. In 2017, Bethany’s music career continued to take off with the release of his album YouMakeMeNervous. The album paints a picture of his transformative journey of healing and self-discovery. “I was going through some rough things in life,” he says. “I was trying to find my way as an adult, and the album incorporates my journey of navigating love, my identity, my sexuality, trials I faced with the world — period.” Bethany hopes that audiences will feel the rawness of his personality and expression through his performance. “I want it to be a nerve-calming experience. I want my audience to feel enchanted when they hear my music,” says Bethany. “I want them to feel my vulnerability.” In addition to performing new original music and covers from his favorite songs and artists, Bethany has other projects currently in the works. The multifaceted artist is honing his craft in digital and graphic art which will be sold at the Levitt Shell through Unapologetic. He is also hoping to create an animated television show inspired by the different zodiac signs. “Ultimately, I want to make great music, great sounds, great art and put that out into the world,” Bethany says. “This is something that I’ve been yearning for. This is something I was called to do.”

THIS OCTOBER, BE A PART OF THE INAUGURAL MEMPHIS SOUL MUSIC FESTIVAL, A VIRTUAL CONCERT EVENT TO BENEFIT SISTERREACH

Love blues, gospel or soul music… and being part g of a great cause? Join us for the Memphis Soul Music Festival. Nationally recognized artists Eric Gales, Opal Staples, Chick Rogers, Frank McComb, Cherisse, Omar, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more are coming together to create this one-of-a-kind vi virtual concert event. Proceeds will help establish a housing community for vulnerable women and families in crisis. Learn more at sisterreach.org.

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

Unapologetic, vulnerable, and creative, Cameron Bethany performs at the Levitt Shell this Friday.

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CALENDAR of EVENTS:

October 14 - 20

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

“Black Artists in America: From the Great Depression to Civil Rights”

Hear the tales of the first families while viewing a beautiful Victorian mourning collection. Through Oct. 31.

THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

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

Vintage and Historic Retablos from Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala

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

BUCKMAN ARTS CENTER AT ST. MARY’S SCHOOL

B O O K EVE NTS

“The Yellowing”

“Fearsome Flora and Graveyard Flowers”

“In Time”

Gallery opening and reception. Friday, Oct. 15, 5-7 p.m.

MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

CLOUGH-HANSON GALLERY

PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE

New Works by Billy Moore Gallery Opening

Exhibition of paintings by NJ Woods. Through Oct. 31.

URBAN ART COMMISSION

Pieces by Jimmy Crosthwait, inspired by The Little Shop of Horrors. Friday, Oct. 15-Dec. 29

AVENUEART.CA

WOODRUFF-FONTAINE HOUSE MUSEUM

“Painted Odyssey”

Exhibition of sculptures by Raina Belleau. Through Oct. 16.

a juried painting competition. Through Oct. 31.

“Mourning Memphis”

Examines the African-American experience in the visual arts through the last 70 years of the 20th century. Sunday, Oct. 17-Jan. 2.

“Enchanted Forest Fire”

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.

A Novel Book Club: Mexican Gothic

Join your pals at Novel on for A Novel Book Club on Zoom. Wednesday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m. NOVEL

Meet the Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Presented by Memphis Museum of Tribal & Visionary Art Through Oct. 15.

Book signing by author of Troubles in Paradise. Thursday, Oct. 14, 5:30 p.m.

JAY ETKIN GALLERY

NOVEL

ART HAPPE N I NGS

Call for Artists: The Brush Off Project

Seeking new and exciting painters to submit their work to

C O M E DY

Stop by Memphis Botanic Garden’s Annual Fall Plant Sale, where expert staff and volunteers can answer any of your horticultural questions.

Jeff Foxworthy

Blue collar comedy. $47.50. Friday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. HORSESHOE CASINO TUNICA

MAKE YOUR CLOSET HAPPY, MANE.

VISIT US AT

ERCH MEMPHISFLYER.COM/FLYERM .

October 14-20, 2021

TO PLACE AN ORDER

STEAMFest WWW.MOSHMEMPHIS.COM 3050 Central Ave, Memphis, TN

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October 23rd

Featuring booths, talks, presentations, demonstrations & more.


CALENDAR: OCTOBER 14 - 20

Volunteer for a service opportunity, meet other people, learn from expert gardeners, and reap the harvest from your labor. Sunday, Oct. 17, 9-11 a.m. ORANGE MOUND COMMUNITY GARDEN

E X PO/ SALES

Memphis Botanic Garden’s Fall Plant Sale

Features plants ready to brighten the autumn landscape, as well as a great selection of perennials, houseplants, trees, and shrubs. Thursday, Oct. 14Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

RK Gun Show

Browse and shop available items. Through Oct. 24. LANDERS CENTER

FAM I LY

KangaZoo Outback Experience

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

Magic Carpet with Lucky 7 Brass Band Girls and boys ages 2 and up

BUCKMAN ARTS CENTER AT ST. MARY’S SCHOOL

Virtual Homeschool Day

Learn about techniques that artists have used throughout history to effectively express themselves and inspire emotion in others. Free. Thursday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

F ES TI VA L

Brewfest and Brunchfest

Food trucks, live music, games, vendors, and unlimited beer samples from 40+ breweries. $45. Saturday, Oct. 16-Oct. 17.

Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival

FOOD AN D DR I N K

Dixon Beer Garden

Highlights stories of the people, music, and history along the Mississippi River through discussion, performances, and presentations. Thursday, Oct. 14-Oct. 16. DELTAWILLIAMSFESTIVAL.COM

St. Ann Fall Fest

Music, games, carnival rides, chili cook-off, and more. Through Oct. 16. ST. ANN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SCHOOL

The Tambourine Bash

Benefits Music Export Memphis where funds go directly to the artists. Thursday, Oct. 14, 7-10 p.m. LEVITT SHELL

LIBERTY BOWL STADIUM

Deep Blues Festival

Celebrates traditional and alternative blues featuring music and musicians from all over the world. $10. Thursday, Oct. 14 CLARKSDALE, MS

Indie Memphis Film Festival

Brings a range of independent features, documentaries, and short films to Memphis from all corners of the world. Wednesday, Oct. 20-Oct. 25. PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE

Enjoy a variety of local brews and live music in a beautiful garden setting. Friday, Oct. 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Cemetery Cinema: Soul of the City Film & Nosferatu Double Feature

The laser light show has a second showing at 9:30 p.m. Ages 5 and up. $10. Friday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY

THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

Zootoberfest

P E R FO R M I N G ARTS

Guests can purchase a commemorative stein to sip beer from while they enjoy a fall afternoon at Memphis Zoo. $12. Saturday, Oct. 16-Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Beatles vs. Stones

MEMPHIS ZOO

ORPHEUM THEATRE

H E A LT H A N D F IT N E S S

South Memphis Glide Rides

The South Memphis Glide Rides are back! Saturday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. SOUTH MEMPHIS FARMERS MARKET

FI LM

Fright Lights Halloween Laser Shows

H O L I DAY E V E N TS

Creepville Market

An outdoor showing of our original film, The Soul of the City, and the 1922 black-andwhite Nosferatu! Friday, Oct. 15, 6 p.m.

A pop-up featuring spooky art, vintage Halloween, and more. Free. Saturday, Oct. 16, 1-6 p.m.

ELMWOOD CEMETERY

Music, folklore, dancers, altars, face painting, and crafts. Free. Saturday, Oct. 16, 5-8 p.m.

LAMPLIGHTER LOUNGE

Day of the Dead

CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE

Two of the greatest bands of all time face off in a high-energy, adrenaline-pumping musical showdown. $45. Wednesday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Iris Orchestra with Michael Stern, Conductor After a season of dark and dormant concert halls, Iris Orchestra welcomes back the sun. $45, $70. Saturday, Oct. 16, 7:30-9:30 p.m. CANNON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

S P EC IA L EVE NTS

Freedom Award

Features a live, on-site audience experience and a global virtual audience via livestream. Thursday, Oct. 14 NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

Stargazing

Walk to Defeat ALS

The walk is the perfect opportunity to channel the love and energies of family, friends, and colleagues who are committed to helping find a cure for ALS. Saturday, Oct. 16 WEBTN.ALSA.ORG

T H EAT E R

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. Friday, Oct. 1-Oct. 24 HATTILOO THEATRE

TO U R S

Lichterman Nature Center Talk & Walk Series

Guided tour of outdoor scarecrow displays. $10. Saturday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY

Stargazing on the Lawn

Celebrate the night sky with MoSH on the front lawn of the Pink Palace Mansion. Friday, Oct. 15, 7-9 p.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY

Get a closer look at the night skies with Memphis Astronomical Society (MAS). Saturday, Oct. 16 SHELBY FARMS PARK

SIT DOWN A GAMBLER

RISE A LEGEND Must be 21 years or older to gamble or attend events. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. ©2021, Caesars License Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

Community Garden Day in Orange Mound

are invited to grab their magic carpet for an adventure across the globe with the Lucky 7 Brass Band. Free. Saturday, Oct. 16, 10-10:45 a.m.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

C O M M U N I TY

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GRIZZLIES VS CAVALIERS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2O

KANE BROWN SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23

Martin Lawrence’s Lit AF Tour comes to FedExForum featuring Rickey Smiley, DeRay Davis, Tommy Davidson, and more. Tickets available!

Experience the Dudes up close and personal when they bring the action of their second live tour to Memphis. Tickets available!

Opening Night. Come out as your #GrzNxtGen tip-off the 2021/22 season. First 10,000 fans in attendance get a Beale Street Blue T-Shirt. Get tickets 901.888.HOOP | GRIZZLIES.COM

Award-winning entertainer Kane Brown brings his Blessed & Free Tour, featuring special guests Jordan Davis and Restless Road. Tickets available!

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obin Joyce didn’t dream beef with caramelized onions and bleu she’d own a restaurant by cheese” instead of typical sandwiches. the brewery when she found That led to A Catered Affair, which blueprints for the old Tenshe still operates. She began catering nessee Brewery. weddings, baby showers, and business Joyce, owner of By the Brewery, which luncheons. “It just grew.” faces the converted, circa 1890 brewery, She considered opening a restaurant. found the blueprints about 10 years ago on “I thought it would be great to have kind Craigslist. “I’ve always been interested in of a spot on the corner like Cheers, where things that are Memphis,” she says. everyone knew your name. Fine dining The hand-drawn blueprints are “renwould never have appealed to me.” derings of the expansion. … They were Joyce got serious after her children adding some extra brew tanks.” A notafinished school. She asked Orgel if he rized letter dated 1954 was included. knew where she could open “a breakfast A few years later, Joyce told Billy Orgel, and lunch place.” Orgel told her about the for whom she had done catering events, space by the old brewery. “When I first “I’ve got some blueprints for you.” Orgel looked at it, it was being used for storhad purchased the building. age. It had a dirt floor and that was it. No The blueprints hark back to Joyce’s electricity.” But, she says, “It very quickly original ambition. “My mother was very became a vision.” creative, and so we always were drawing or By the Brewery opened last March. Like painting or making our those box lunches, Joyce’s own wrapping paper.” creations aren’t traditional But, she says, “I was an breakfast and lunch fare. art major in school until An assortment of muffins I realized after six years filled with either sausage I just needed to get out and cheese or Nutella and of college. So I pieced chocolate chips are among together enough credits the breakfast offerings. to major in business.” The popular Avocado One of 23 children, Toasted, an egg grilled Joyce’s grandmother imin the middle of bread, migrated from Mexico to is served until closing at the U.S. Each year, some 2 p.m. Joyce also does of Joyce’s mother’s sisters specials, including Game visited and they’d make Day Bowl on weekends PHOTO: TIFFANY POINTER thousands of tamales. “to support the Tigers.” Robin Joyce “We’d roll tamales all afAs for the decor, she ternoon and freeze them says, “I wanted it simple, for the holidays. We always had Christmas but I also wanted it to look kind of old. Eve with tamales.” While this is in a new building, the corner Joyce, who graduated from rolling masa has history because this used to be the to cooking for the family, taught herself by distribution side of the Tennessee Brewery. reading cookbooks and watching TV. “Julia So the idea of coming in and having Child would have been what you watched if everything perfectly square and smooth you were interested in cooking.” didn’t seem right.” While working for a catering comShe found 10-and-a-half-foot-tall pany that set up hamburger trucks at the doors in New Orleans. She used reclaimed Mid-South Fair, Joyce thought, “I could cypress for the counter. And her daughter do this. But I would just do it better. I Hannah Joyce and Sarah Cooper painted would use fresher ingredients. Granted, the botanical mural on one wall. a burger’s a burger, but you don’t have to The brewery blueprints hang on anuse frozen patties.” other wall. “When I gave them to Billy, he She worked in an investment company used them and got what information he after marrying and having three children. could. When he gave them back, he had One day, her father asked if she could find them framed.” By the Brewery is at 496 Tennessee Street, someone to make box lunches for a meetSuite 101; (901) 310-4341. ing. Joyce volunteered but served “roast

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FILM By Chris McCoy

One More Martini No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s spectacular swan song as James Bond.

O

October 14-20, 2021

ver the course of 25 films, James Bond movies evolved into their purest form. Or maybe the word is “devolved.” Eon Productions, founded 59 years ago to make Dr. No, came to believe that the appeal of the series was based on the flashy cars, expensive watches, and other indicators of wealth and class surrounding the posh secret agent. Bond became a luxury brand, and the films little more than extended commercials for wealth envy, punctuated by extraordinarily expensive stunt sequences. Ian Fleming’s marquee character ceased to be a hard-boiled pulp hero and became a moving mannequin for expensive suits. That tendency deepened as the Cold War waned, and the international spy game lost its capitalist vs. communist stakes. Bond was a violent solution looking for a problem. Remember 10 films ago, in The Living Daylights, when he went to Afghanistan and fought with the Mujahideen, aka the Taliban? Good times … Then there’s the misogyny. Commander Bond is a love ’em and leave ’em sailor at heart, but his manly charms, integral to early appearances like From Russia With Love, curdled into something ugly. The exception in the canon is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where George Lazenby, in his only outing as Bond, was paired

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with the great Diana Rigg as Tracy, an underworld princess depicted as his equal. They marry, and when she is killed at the end of the film by a bullet meant for Bond, he mourns her. The film was a flop, and Lazenby lost the job. In the next film, 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Bond can barely hide his contempt for women. But even as their relevance waned, the movies became more lavish and more expensive, until, in the 21st century, Eon Productions is eating up a significant chunk of British film financing. No Time to Die, the latest installment, is one of the most expensive films ever produced, costing an estimated $250 million to make, and at least another $100 million to market. Daniel Craig, Bond since 2006’s Casino Royale, is retiring, and he and True Detective director Cary Joji Fukunaga seem to have decided to try something different: What if we used all that money to make a good movie? From the trademark cold opening, it’s clear that this is a different kind of Bond movie. Instead of immediately throwing us into the middle of an action sequence, it’s a gauzy flashback from someone who isn’t even Bond. Madeleine Swann (Leá Seydoux), who eloped with Bond at the end of Spectre, remembers the day an assassin came to kill her father, a capo in Ernst Blofeld

The spy who loved me — Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas (above, l-r) star in No Time to Die; Craig (below) takes a final turn as James Bond. (Christoph Waltz)’s criminal syndicate. The revelation — which comes in the middle of a spectacular motorcycle chase through the Italian countryside — ruins the couple’s honeymoon. Five years later, Bond is retired, spending his time drinking on the beach of his home in Jamaica. When an advanced biological weapon is stolen from a secret lab in London, a new 007, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), a Black woman who loves to rock some ’80s Grace Jones sunglasses, is dispatched by M (Ralph Fiennes) to retrieve it on the down-low. When the CIA gets wind of the situation, Bond’s old buddy Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) knows who to call. When it comes to chasing madmen with WMDs, nobody does it better. He arrives at Bond’s doorstep to recruit him, with a Trumpite politico named Ash (Billy Magnussen) in tow. Bond immediately pegs Ash as a bad guy (“He smiles too much.”) but agrees to help out anyway. Naturally, Blofeld, who is still running SPECTRE from inside his Hannibal Lecter cage, is responsible


FILM By Chris McCoy Felix and Bond with genuine friendship, and Fiennes as a conflicted, alcoholic spymaster. Craig, who has shown his chops in Logan Lucky and Knives Out, delivers the best performance of his career. Sure, the old hero coming out of retirement for one last job is a cliché, but when the execution is this good, it doesn’t matter. You can take a guy out of MI6, but you can’t take the spy out of the guy.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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THE LAST WORD By Shara Clark

The Rent is Too Damn High

THE LAST WORD

Have you looked at the cost of housing lately? Hopefully you’re lucky enough to already be a homeowner or to be locked into a rental contract at a decent price — because it’s a damn nightmare out there. Recently, I had a scare. My landlord called to say he was sending someone to look at the house my boyfriend and I rent — he’d been approached by an investor who was interested in buying. I’ve lived in Normal Station for more than a decade and was forced out of my last rental under similar circumstances. An investor bought the house, kicked us out, slapped a coat of paint on it, and then raised the rent by $400 a month. Clearly renting isn’t ideal; there are tons of benefits to owning your own home — primarily, no one can kick you out at the drop of a dime. I’ve done my fair share of house-hunting, saved money for a down payment, and kept an eye on the market — and watched as prices climbed, well beyond what they were five years ago, even one year ago. Sure, interest rates are low, but how is anyone justifying the inflated price tags? Anyhow, I did what a person facing an unexpected boot from their home would do: downloaded housing apps, browsed the internet, and drove up and down what felt like every street in every nearby neighborhood, taking notes and making calls. It can’t be that hard to find a place to live, right? Yes, it PHOTO: KSENIYA RAGOZINA | DREAMSTIME.COM can. Properties that popped up on an app would be “unavailable” within 24 hours. As soon as I sent an What happened to reasonable rent? email or made a call to tour a home, they were already off the market. (The same goes for houses for sale, despite the outrageous list prices, but that’s another conversation.) At present, there’s “a housing shortage,” according to some property management companies’ listings. And what’s out there is mostly sitting between $1,500 and $2,000 a month. I understand that in the college area, the expectation is for a group of young adults to go in together, split the rent, and share the space. But what about those of us who don’t want to pile in with roommates? I have a partner and three small dogs. We make decent money and could spend most of it on rent, I reckon, but I can’t help but wonder about the folks out there who don’t and can’t. What about single parents? What about people working minimum-wage jobs? What about those who work for tips or don’t make enough on paper to qualify? From the ’burbs to across the state line in Little Town, Mississippi, you’d be hard-pressed to find a decent rental home below $1,500. How is this sustainable? Investors and corporations are buying up our area and pricing us out. This isn’t a new problem, but it’s clearly a worsening one. Flyer news editor Toby Sells reported on this in December 2019 in “Dream Denied: Corporations Buying Up Memphis Homes, Destabilizing Neighborhoods,” writing, “Some experts call these corporations ‘vultures,’ saying they use tactics comparable to the mafia. Across the country, they’re scooping up houses in low-income neighborhoods — sometimes by the hundreds — wringing what profits they can from them.” Sells also reported that in 2018, 65 percent of Memphis’ singlefamily homes were rented, not owner-occupied, and “Investor groups and large corporations own[ed] 95,604 of those properties; more than 40 percent of those owners [were] from outside of Tennessee.” While more current statistics are not available following the effects of the Covid crisis, one can assume these numbers have only grown. I have seen the proof in my neighborhood. Investors have bought up many of the houses to flip and profit. They’ve been given fresh paint, a mulched flower bed, and a high price tag. A two-bedroom home on my street recently sold to investors for $135,000, got a minor facelift, and went back on the market not a month later for $210,000. In my case, thankfully, my landlord declined the investor’s offer. For now, I’m staying put in a reasonably priced rental while I continue to plan for homeownership. My immediate fear of getting booted or being allowed to stay under new ownership with an exorbitant monthly increase has subsided. But that was a close one. And there are many people out there with no life rafts on the sinking Memphis housing ship. I know times are changing. Memphis has always been an attractive city for those looking to find affordable housing, but that dream is dying with every property owner willing to take the highest cash offer from an investor looking to buy out our city, effectively contributing to us becoming a nation of renters forced to overpay to live. Shara Clark is managing editor of the Flyer.

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The cost of housing has skyrocketed, and many of us are being priced out.

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