Memphis Flyer 11/10/2022

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OUR 1759TH ISSUE 11.10.22

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November 10-16, 2022


JERRY D. SWIFT Advertising Director Emeritus KELLI DEWITT, CHIP GOOGE, HAILEY THOMAS Senior Account Executives MICHELLE MUSOLF Account Executive CHET HASTINGS Warehouse Facilitator 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 Chief Operating Officer KRISTIN PAWLOWSKI Digital Services Director MARIAH MCCABE Circulation and Accounting Assistant

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CONTENTS

SHARA CLARK Editor SAMUEL X. CICCI Managing Editor JACKSON BAKER, BRUCE VANWYNGARDEN Senior Editors TOBY SELLS Associate Editor KAILYNN JOHNSON News Reporter CHRIS MCCOY Film and TV Editor ALEX GREENE Music Editor ABIGAIL MORICI Arts and Culture Editor MICHAEL DONAHUE, JON W. SPARKS Staff Writers GENE GARD, COCO JUNE, RICHARD MURFF, FRANK MURTAUGH Contributing Columnists AIMEE STIEGEMEYER, SHARON BROWN Grizzlies Reporters ANDREA FENISE Fashion Editor KENNETH NEILL Founding Publisher

OUR 1759TH ISSUE 11.10.22 “Don’t forget to set your clocks from sunshine and happiness back to misery and despair this weekend.” These words appeared in meme format a few times in my newsfeed last weekend. So how’s everyone’s first week of misery and despair going? Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps falling back an hour and returning to “standard time” isn’t quite the doom and gloom so many of us make it out to be. But there is something to be said about missing that end-of-day sunshine. Statistics show that about 5 percent of the population — around 10 million Americans — experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), most commonly starting in late fall/early winter or coinciding with the end of daylight saving time (DST). And around 20 percent have mild symptoms of SAD, which can contribute to social withdrawal, mood shifts, sleep disruption, appetite changes, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and a slew of other not-so-fun, where’s-the-sun side effects. Yuck. Granted, I’ve seen some positive posts, from folks who are happy to have a sunny drive to drop the kids off at school, or whose children are elated at the prospect of not walking to the bus stop in the dark, or those who are now enjoying the sunrise on their morning commute. Maybe bedtime comes a little easier or earlier, eventually. But the effects one little hour can have on our brains and bodies are kind of astounding. Was Sunday the LDOAT (longest day of all time) for anyone else? The day dragged on, and the night, well, I woke up three different times thinking sleepy time was over when it was, in fact, not. Weird. It’s a lot like jet lag, it’s all kinds of confusing, and we all have to adjust. It’s interesting, though, how society just accepts that we move time twice a year. Can you imagine if I told my co-workers or friends that 10 o’clock was now 9 o’clock, officially, and that they had to follow that format for approximately four months? It’s dark now when you 9-to-5ers step out of work — get over it. As for daylight saving time, here’s a summary, courtesy of the Infinite Wisdom of the Internet: The idea was first suggested, in 1784, in a satirical note to the editor PHOTO: SIMON HOLLAND | TWITTER of The Journal of Paris from I feel this on a cellular level. Benjamin Franklin (to minimize candle usage). In 1895, a guy (an entomologist, if you want to get technical), George Hudson, proposed moving clocks two hours so he could have more time to study bugs in daylight (gotta commend his passion and effort). A British fella, William Willett, in 1907 said it could be an energy-saving solution (I see where he was going with that). The actual implementation of DST, however, has roots in transportation, and, as succinctly stated by CNN, “was put into practice in Europe and the United States to save fuel and power during World War I by extending daylight hours, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.” There’s a lot more to it, but you get the gist. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that more than 20 states currently have set forth legislation or resolutions regarding DST, with 18 states (Tennessee among them) seeking to stay on DST permanently, pending approval by Congress and the president, of course. Gah, so much power, moving time and all. Speaking of power, I’m seeing a lot of people talking about “things I cannot control” — the time change being among them. (Well, apparently someone can control time. *Cough.*) But there are some things we can control. Another meme I saw over the weekend read: “On Sunday, set your clock back one hour. On Tuesday, be careful that you don’t set the country back 50 years.” We’ve just passed election day. I write this before any results have come in, but I hope those of you who do wish to have some control over the few things you can got out and voted for the changes you want to see, for the people and things that will keep us movNEWS & OPINION ing forward for the greater good of all. THE FLY-BY - 4 Even beyond elections, remember that NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 you can support organizations right here AT LARGE - 9 in the city that pave the way for positive COVER STORY change in our community — whether “TOXIC AIR” BY DULCE TORRES GUZMAN, that be through monetary contributions TENNESSEE LOOKOUT - 10 or volunteering your time. Use your WE RECOMMEND - 14 voice, resources, and actions to make sure MUSIC - 15 we are no longer, in a broader sense, fallCALENDAR - 16 ing back, but forging ahead — away from FOOD - 19 any lingering misery and despair, toward TV - 20 sunshine and happiness. CL ASSIFIEDS - 22 Shara Clark LAST WORD - 23 shara@memphisflyer.com

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THE

fly-by

MEMernet

CITY REPORTER B y To b y S e l l s

‘Very Real Failures’

THAT GUY?

Groups want answers in Eliza Fletcher case, not “punitive” sentencing laws.

A private Facebook group created in May is titled with an intriguing question: “Are we dating the same guy?” The group says it “is a place for women to protect and empower other women while warning each other of men who might be liars, cheaters, abusers, or exhibit any type of toxic or dangerous behavior.” SNOWPLOWED

POSTED TO STATE OF TENNESSEE WEBSITE

November 10-16, 2022

Edited by Toby Sells

Memphis on the internet.

POSTED TO FACEBOOK BY ARE WE DATING THE SAME GUY MEMPHIS

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Questions, Answers + Attitude

Voting is open until November 30th for the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) contest to name snowplows for four regions across the state. Names from Memphis Reddit users will be tough to beat: “Snowmane,” by u/kindarcan; “Whoop that Slick,” by u/jgeebaby; “Justin Timberflake,” by u/sik_dik; “Wanda Plowbert — because they’re slow and inefficient,” by u/snyetha; and “Snowjunt,” by u/Cornballin_ POS for starters. COGIC AN XIETY Memphis Redditors were also bracing for the return of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) convocation next week. “Praying for Outback Union right now,” wrote u/maladybess. “And they still won’t tip or worse, leave a fake $20 prayer tract,” wrote u/waspinatorrulez. “Gotta find out the cool new things God said over the last year/s,” wrote u/MartyrMcFly.

Two organizations have asked “Did the Department of state officials for a special Corrections make a mistake in investigator to review the “very awarding Mr. Abston those time real failures that led to [Eliza] credits?” the groups asked in Fletcher’s tragic murder” and their letter to state officials. “Or, warned against using the case to was the department prohibited pass harsher sentencing laws. under current law from taking Memphis-based People back any credits he had earned? for the Enforcement of “Was the department Rape Laws (PERL) and the concerned about releasing Mr. Washington-based Families Abston, given his disciplinary Against Mandatory Minimums record, and if so, did they (FAMM) sent a letter Thursday share those concerns with to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee state prosecutors? Why did and Tennessee Attorney General prosecutors not criminally Jonathan Skrmetti with a host charge Mr. Abston for any of unanswered questions about incidents in which he was found why Cleotha Abston was free to to be guilty of possessing a allegedly murder Fletcher earlier deadly weapon?” this year. While the groups push Fletcher, a Memphis for answers in the case, they kindergarten teacher, was said they support incentives abducted while on a morning for incarcerated people to run in September. Police said encourage them to participate she was later killed with a single in rehabilitative programming gunshot to the head. Abston was and to reduce their risk of rePHOTO: MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT arrested for the kidnapping and offending after release. However, People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws murder. they do not want to advance the (PERL) and Families Against Mandatory Police later discovered that call for harsher sentences that will Minimums (FAMM) sent the Abston’s DNA matched evidence likely be touted in Nashville when request in a letter to state officials last week. the Tennessee General Assembly from a rape kit collected in 2021. He was later charged with that convenes in January. rape. “Proposing new and more Abston served a 20-year prison sentence for the 2000 punitive sentencing laws might allow some to claim kidnapping of a Memphis attorney. Abston was 16 at the they are seeking justice in Ms. Fletcher’s name, but their time of the kidnapping. During his sentence, he held a counterproductive solutions will not prevent future tragedies,” prison job, which allowed him to accumulate 1,000 days reads the letter. “Only an independent investigation into the of good time credit toward his release. However, during very real failures that led to Ms. Fletcher’s tragic murder — that time, Abston racked up and a commitment to address 53 disciplinary infractions, those failures and hold people many for exposing himself and accountable — can do that.” possessing a deadly weapon. Meaghan Ybos, executive He exposed himself to his case director of PERL, said at 16 manager just months before she reported a stranger rape to he was released two years early police. They did not investigate from his prison sentence. her claims or send her rape kit PERL and FAMM want for testing. Her assailant raped state officials to appoint an six more women and girls — outside investigator — not one including a 12-year-old girl — who works for Tennessee law over the next nine years. enforcement — to review a “Now, the Eliza Fletcher case cascade of questions they have about the case. All of the has shown that the police failure to investigate rape cases questions are underpinned by the notion that if Abston can have deadly consequences,” Ybos said. “We should not did not get early release, he would not have been able to allow this heartfelt tragedy to be exploited by new punitive allegedly kidnap and murder Fletcher. sentencing measures that will not make anyone safer.”

“We should not allow this heartfelt tragedy to be exploited by new punitive sentencing measures that will not make anyone safer.”


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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 Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Crossword ACROSS 1 Roast a bit 4 Tee off 8 Called on 14 Roast bit 16 Words in a threat 17 Contents of a football “shower” 18 Echelons 19 As many as 20 Last readout before an odometer rolls over 22 Kobe cash 23 Juillet’s season 24 Accordingly 25 Church recesses 27 A. A. Milne hopper 29 Self-help genre 31 Miscreant 35 Peddled 39 One of Snoopy’s brothers, in “Peanuts”

40 Surfing moniker 42 Wrath 43 Actress Adams 44 Strawberry, e.g. 45 Numerical prefix 46 “Little” one of old TV 48 Witness 50 Staggering 52 “The Simpsons” clerk 53 Beat 56 Noted Hungarian puzzler 59 Inflate, as a bill 62 Oaxaca whoop 63 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee John 64 “I am not what I am” speaker 65 Exerts 68 How some deposits are held 70 Fragrant compounds 71 Public

ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE V O W E C R O C R E M A A R C A N D H E I S I R S C O M P E S W A T U H U R N O N A G O T T O P I D I E

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November 10-16, 2022

LEGAL NOTICES PERSONAL PROPERTY PUBLIC NOTICE

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As required by Tennessee Code Annotated Section 67-5-903, the Shelby County Assessor will be mailing Tangible Personal Property Schedules to all active businesses within Shelby County on Friday, January 13, 2023. The filing deadline is March 1, 2023. Please call the Shelby County Assessor’s office at 901-222-7002, if you need assistance.

Audubon Deal

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33 Veil material 34 Spanish she-bear 36 Start some trouble 37 Harper’s Bazaar cover designer 38 Pricey 41 Darling of baseball 44 Betting game popular with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday 45 Alley-___ 47 Limit

CITY REPORTER By Kailynn Johnson

49 Symbol of durability 51 Big time 53 Like most repos 54 Beethoven honoree 55 Pool competitions 57 Andersson of Abba 58 It merges with the Rhone near Valence 60 Old Greek square

61 Old-fashioned in attire 63 ___ buco 64 Govt. watchdog until 1996 66 Sign of summer 67 Richard Gere title role 69 Goal for one trying to “collect ’em all”

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

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emphis City Council members Chase Carlisle and Ford Canale recently endorsed a reworked plan for Audubon Park Golf Course, one that saves green space for non-golfing park-users. The endorsement, which both recently shared on Facebook, comes after a public meeting on October 19th, where Carlisle said, “When we learned there were concerns from some members of the community, we worked quickly to meet with them and engage in a meaningful discussion about how to maximize the park for all stakeholders.” In September, neighbors voiced concern over renovations, and they claimed that they had received word of the $8 million renovations only through local media outlets. Many worried the plan would take away public green space to make way for more golf facilities. They voiced those concerns in a public hearing last month. In it, Memphis Parks, Carlisle, and Canale discussed the renovations in detail and gave the neighbors space to voice concerns and ask questions. After the meeting, golf course architect Bill Bergin got to work, installing those concerns into his plans. The new design will preserve 20 acres of green space south of the park’s service road. This, it seemed, clinched the support of some neighbors, including the administrators of the Saving Audubon Park Facebook group. “A compromise has been reached!” reads a post from the group last Tuesday. “Per press release shared by Councilman Carlisle, the new design will preserve all green space south of the service road! Great job, everyone!”

“A compromise has been reached!” Canale praised the new design, saying he was “pleased that Bill and his team were able to design a course that will have a meaningful impact on access to the game for all neighborhoods in Memphis as well as the potential economic development and tourism opportunities a facility like this will create while making sure all the needs of the community were met.”

The city of Memphis also said, “Under the course redesign, play will reach distances close to 7,000 yards,” and “the course and facilities will be able to host a myriad of tournaments and events, including, but not limited to, youth and high school events, women’s collegiate events, and the Tennessee State High School Championship.” At the October public forum, Walker said that the final decision would be

PHOTO: SAVING AUDUBON PARK/FACEBOOK

The plan’s construction will begin soon. based on a conversation between himself, the administration, and Memphis City Council. Walker also said that the funding had already been appropriated and approved and that the project has already been scheduled. He also said that the final decision ultimately rested with him. Last Friday, Memphis Parks posted this statement to Facebook: “We appreciate all of the input and feedback received concerning the Links at Audubon renovations. After much thought and consideration, we are moving forward with the revised site plans.” Park neighbors had pushed back on the original park design. After also noting they only heard about the plan through media and social media, a public hearing was held last month for information and feedback. Many neighbors did not want to lose parkland for golfers. “So, I can bring my dog over there to play golf?” neighbor Cathy Minch said during the hearing. Another neighbor said, “Give us our park back.” “You have little Hispanic kids, Asian kids, Black kids, and white kids,” the neighbor said. “They’re playing all the time in that field. You’re taking away the area where they’re playing.”


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n the front page of last It seems the Christ Church Memphis Wednesday’s Commercial folks don’t approve of the current LGBTQAppeal, there was a fasciacceptance policies of the United Methnating story by reporter odist Church, which is letting LGBTQ Katherine Burgess about a cow sanctuary Methodists (gasp!) get married to one in nearby Arlington. The farm is run by another. And they’re even allowing some a Hindu nonprofit organization and now of them to become members of the clergy. has almost 200 Gyr cattle, or as they are The horror! What would Jesus do? sometimes called, sacred cows. Ninety percent of Christ Church Hindus from all over, even India, have members seem to think Jesus hated queers made pilgrimages to the farm for worship. and wouldn’t let them become members Burgess quoted Purushotham Tandu, the of his church. And, to be fair, they ought to spiritual advisor at the organization: “The know, right? I mean, “Christ” is right there cow has many healing capacities. When in the church’s name, so these people are you go close to the cow, it will vibrate obviously true followers of Jesus’ teachings. on certain frequencies. We have certain Except for maybe they’re not. frequencies. So whatever unwanted emoHere are a couple of Jesus’ thoughts tions, it will take and will replace with they may have overlooked: “There is good emotions and cosmic energy.” Okay. neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor When it comes to religion, I’ve been free, nor is there male and female, for you a devout agnostic for are all one in Christ Jesus.” decades. I am from MisAlso this: “Love the Lord souri, after all. This is your God with all your not to say that I haven’t heart and with all your experienced certain inexsoul and with all your plicable feelings at times, mind and with all your emotions that seem somestrength. The second is how spiritual, connected this: ‘Love your neighbor to something beyond the as yourself’. There is no pale of this physical world. commandment greater These occasional mysterthan these.” ies remind me to keep So, the good folks my options open, even at Christ Church have though a formal “faith” obviously made a couple eludes me. addendums to those PHOTO: KELVINTT | DREAMSTIME.COM Atheists and true teachings, like, “Nuh-uh. believers have a lot in Jesus wasn’t talking about common, actually. You have to have faith them gays when he said those things. And to be an atheist. There’s no proof that God even if he didn’t condemn them, we do! doesn’t exist, so atheism is just another And this is our church, dammit!” faith-based belief system. Conversely, Jesus. those who proclaim there is a god, are As a certified agnostic, let me toss standing only on their faith to make that out some free advice on religion, okay? assertion. (The preceding is brought to If your church judges people of a certain you by every late-night dorm discussion I creed, gender, or sexual identity as had in college.) inherently evil, you need a new church. Now, when it comes to feeling the If your preacher preaches chastity and spiritual power of a Gyr cow, well, yes, I’m fools around with the congregation’s certainly agnostic. But who knows? Might teenagers, you need a new church. If be worth a trip to the ’burbs to find out. your preacher drives a new Mercedes They’re pretty impressive-looking beasts. and lives in a gated mansion, you need a Who knows what harmonic frequencies new church. If your preacher condemns they may have tapped into? abortion as murder and then endorses Oddly, there was another religion Herschel Walker for senator, you need a story (also by Burgess) on the front page new church. If your preacher is a MAGA of that Wednesday paper. This one was Trumper, run! You really need a new about Christ Church Memphis, a large church, and maybe a little remedial study local Protestant congregation that had just of the true tenets of Christianity. voted by a 90 percent to 10 percent marHere’s the bottom line, straight from gin to leave the United Methodist Church. Jesus: “Do unto others [all others!] as you I was raised in the Methodist Church, so would have them do unto you.” It’s the I was curious why this denomination had closest thing to a sacred cow you’ll find decided to sever ties with the mother ship. in the Bible. Take it in. Breathe it. Feel its Sigh. frequency.

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A tale of two religions.

NEWS & OPINION

Sacred Cows

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TOXIC AIR C O V E R S T O R Y B y D u l c e To r r e s G u z m a n , Te n n e s s e e L o o k o u t

FEDS OFFER FEW OPTIONS FOR SOUTH MEMPHIANS LIVING NEAR POLLUTING FACILITIES. PHOTO: TENNESSEE LOOKOUT/KAREN PULFER FOCHT

November 10-16, 2022

Sterilization Services of Tennessee in South Memphis is at the center of an Environmental Protection Agency investigation. The EPA is warning people who live near medical sterilizing plants about potential health risks from emissions of ethylene oxide (EtO), a chemical widely used in their operations.

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eona Golster loves her home in South Memphis, but sometimes it’s hard for the 78-year-old to breathe on her front porch. Every now and then, the wind blows the smell of chemicals from the Sterilization Services of Tennessee (SST), a facility that uses ethylene oxide (EtO) to sterilize equipment for businesses throughout Tennessee. “Smells like they’re burning something,” she said, pointing to the building less than a mile away from her home. For the past few decades since the facility moved into her community, Golster has gone inside to escape the smell or wore a mask to sit outside. Not much was known about EtO when the SST facility was founded in 1976, and the Shelby County Health Department’s air program granted the facility permits to operate in 1985. And while SST is following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s

current rules and regulations, officials have since learned that a lifetime of exposure to EtO, a known carcinogen, could lead to long-term health impacts should current emissions continue. Once, the smell bothered her, but “not like it used to,” she said. She loves her home, a one-story brick house. She moved into this house in the 1960s after marrying a man she met at a club. “He was a man, I tell you. He was a booga bear,” she recalled. She raised her children there, three of whom are now deceased. Her two oldest daughters died from health complications as adults. “She never did stop working,” she said of her second-oldest daughter. “We went to church, that Sunday she came home and died that evening. I gave her to the Lord, I said there ain’t nothing I can do, that’s God’s doing.” Her youngest daughter died of pneumonia at four years old. And since her husband died from a work-related accident seven years ago, Golster has lived alone, enjoying the quiet, seemingly abandoned neighborhood. Many houses are in disrepair, while others have been gutted. After becoming aware of new information on EtO, the EPA announced outreach efforts to the communities living near the SST facility to inform them of the dangers in constant EtO exposure. EPA officials met with residents on October 18th. About 292 households are located near the facility, according to the Memphis Community Against Pollution (MCAP). Although the EPA is supposed to be doing outreach to the neighborhood, MCAP volunteer Angela Johnson found few residents that knew about EtO or the EPA’s current involvement. “If you don’t know it’s there, you don’t PHOTO: DULCE TORRES GUZMAN

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Leona Golster sits on her porch but is sometimes forced to go inside to escape the smell of burning chemicals from the nearby Sterilization Services of Tennessee.


The toxic effects of EtO EtO, a colorless and flammable gas, has long been used to make other chemicals and products like antifreeze and plastic bottles, as well as sterilizing medical equipment and some spices to prevent contamination from bacteria and viruses, according to the EPA. And while EtO emissions at permitted levels today were

In the last few years, EPA officials have learned that EtO was more dangerous than they previously knew. Breathing the chemical may have increased the risk for cancer and other health risks, with risk increasing due to proximity. not considered dangerous, studies have since shown that a lifetime of exposure could lead to long-term health impacts, including elevated cancer risks. Breathing air containing EtO is the main method of exposure, since it is unlikely to remain in food or remain dissolved in water long enough to be eaten. As a known human carcinogen, studies found that years of exposure to EtO could lead to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, and lymphocytic leukemia. For women, long-term exposure increases the risk of breast cancer. Growing up around EtO can lead to devastating effects for children. Studies have shown that as children’s bodies develop and grow, they are much more susceptible to the toxic effects of EtO. As a mutagenic, EtO can damage DNA and can lead to long-term neurological effects. And because children are likely to play outside more often than adults are outside, they are more exposed to EtO, said Courtney Roper, assistant professor of environmental toxicology at the

University of Mississippi. Since the EPA is now investigating the negative impacts of EtO, changes in regulations may follow. The EPA announced its intentions to propose strengthening current regulations around EtO while taking into account risk to those exposed. But this could take years, said Roper. “It’s not going to be like, ‘Oh, tomorrow you have to change this,” even when regulations are in place, since facilities are given a set amount of time to kind of get into compliance,” she said. And while some facilities across the country are already working to reduce EtO levels and working with local and state health departments, said Roper, SST has not indicated it will do the same. An SST spokesperson offered no comment when this story originally ran early last month.

of situations like this, where individuals that don’t have the desire or ability to move from being near that facility are kind of like, ‘Well, I live by a facility that may be causing cancer,’” said Roper. “So it’s definitely a challenge and there are no resources that I am aware of in place to support something like individuals moving after getting notice of this. It’s more on a federal side of just letting people know of the situation than tangible funds to change it,” she added. And right now, the SST facility is in compliance with federal and state regulations, “so there’s no way to enact an expectation that they pay people to move,” she said. Without changes in regulations, consistent pressure from community groups could enact swifter change. MCAP members and volunteers are currently

porch next to empty chairs, showing off her brightly colored nails and braided hair. Her 11 grandchildren often come by for a visit, so she is not often alone. “They some booga bears too,” she said. EPA to South Memphians: Leaving your homes is the best option. At Monumental Baptist Church in South Memphis, local residents lined up to tell federal officials how cancer possibly linked to their environment had taken their loved ones, friends, and family. EPA officials flew into town to inform residents of the possible deadly consequences of living near Sterilization Services of Tennessee, a facility that has been located in the neighborhood since 1976. The company uses EtO to sterilize

PHOTO: TENNESSEE LOOKOUT/KAREN PULFER FOCHT

So you live near a toxic chemical plant, now what? The larger picture of course, said Roper, is how environmental racism remains a factor in South Memphis. Memphis, a majority-minority city, has for decades carried the burden of housing area industries emitting pollution. Over the past two years, Memphis Community Against Pollution, previously known as Memphis Community Against the Pipeline, gained national attention for resisting construction of the Byhalia Pipeline and for efforts to use eminent domain in a historically Black community to acquire the necessary property. Critics of the Byhalia Pipeline accused the developers of following a playbook for environmental racism by targeting Black neighborhoods that seemingly lacked the political power of wealthier, primarily white areas. Although plans for the Byhalia Pipeline were withdrawn, the environmental justice movement drew attention to the repeated pattern of industries producing pollutants operating in low-income, predominantly Black neighborhoods. In Memphis there are 66 facilities contributing to cancer rates four times higher than the national average, with half located in South Memphis, according to the Energy News Network. The area also has high asthma rates, has been deemed a hot spot for air pollution, and has received a failing grade in terms of air quality from the American Lung Association. The SST facility is among those polluting factors, and while the EPA is currently conducting community outreach and planning to inform residents about the dangers of EtO exposure, it did not indicate what other actions will be taken beyond changes in regulations. Once residents are made aware, the low-income community will most likely be unable to leave their homes to avoid further exposure. “That’s the environmental justice aspect

Houses near Sterilization Services of Tennessee at 2396 Florida Street in South Memphis are at the center of an EPA investigation.

enacting their own outreach efforts in South Memphis to alert neighbors. Roper has been collaborating with MCAP in learning more about the effects of EtO. Memphis officials and the Shelby County Health Department are also working to alert residents and collaborating with the EPA. “Shelby County Health Department has requested a cancer incidence study of the area surrounding the Sterilization Services of Tennessee facility from the Tennessee Department of Health to identify any higher-than-expected cancer rates among the population in that community,” said spokesperson Joan Carr, when she urged concerned residents to attend the EPA’s public meeting. A home near a polluting plant is still a home. Although Golster was unaware of the negative effects simply by living near pollution, she doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon. Most recently she celebrated her 78th birthday and her grandson paid for her nails to be done. She proudly sat on her

items as disparate as medical equipment and spices. It operates under the necessary federal and local permits and no protective measures are required to prevent EtO from escaping into the nearby community, including those who worked nearby and children who attended nearby schools. But in the last few years, EPA officials have learned that EtO was more dangerous than they previously knew. Breathing the chemical may have increased the risk for cancer and other health risks, with risk increasing due to proximity. Children are also more susceptible, said Daniel Blackman, an EPA administrator responsible for overseeing four states, including Tennessee. Controlled emissions are regulated by equipment designed to prevent EtO from escaping the facility, but fugitive emissions — or emissions that escape the facility — cause the most risk and are not covered under current regulations. “Risk in Memphis is high and we’re very concerned about that risk,” said continued on page 12

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

know it’s there,” she said. As for Golster, she is often annoyed by calls asking to purchase her house, which she intends to live in for as long as she can. “I stay to myself. I’ve been here for a long time. Nobody bothers me,” she said.

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continued from page 11 Blackman. EPA officials also noted how there was little residents could do to minimize their risk beyond leaving their homes in South Memphis. There are no air filters that could protect them inside or outside their homes, and spending more time indoors does not reduce their risk. “The best solution to reducing this risk is to reduce the amount of currently not regulated EtO, fugitive emission that is going out of this facility,” said Caroline Freeman, EPA air and radiation division director. “As a matter of fact, spending less time near the facility would in fact reduce your risk,” she added. On October 18th, EPA officials addressed residents’ concerns. The Shelby County Health Department director, Dr. Michelle Taylor, also attended. As soon as the presentation was finished, residents from the affected neighborhoods, Riverside and Mallory Heights, left their church pews to stand in line and address the EPA officials directly. Maxine Thomas, a South Memphis resident, walked to the microphone, carefully balancing on her cane as she asked how residents were expected to protect themselves. “What are we going to do? Just die?” she asked. “I want to live a long life. I’m 83

years old.” Another resident told officials she was born and raised near Sterilization Services of Tennessee, and she lived close enough that she could throw a rock at the building from her backyard. Although she later moved away, she later developed breast cancer, and several of her neighbors had also have had cancer. “Some of us have lost parents. I lost my father,” said resident Carolyn Lanton. Due to the cancer risks, EPA officials and the Shelby County Health Department are looking into how many cancer cases were connected to the residents in the area. The department is also working on creating resources for residents without the means to get tested for cancer, said Taylor. “We are already working with all of our hospital partners in deep conversations about the number of resources that we will be able to bring there. We know that there are a lot of people in the community who are either uninsured or underinsured, don’t forget about that,” said Taylor. “So we have a lot of people, and a lot of that has to do with what’s going on at the state level, the fact that we are not a Medicaid expansion state. Don’t get me started on that.” The EPA is also planning to propose new regulations targeting EtO emissions in the coming months, and a final proposal is expected in 2023. Once the regulations

are set, the Clean Air Act allows facilities two to three years to comply with the requirements and the EPA has been encouraging facilities to work on reducing current emissions levels. But residents asked why they were still being asked to take on the risk of living near a cancer-causing facility that only employed eight workers, they noted. Others complained that EPA officials had offered few solutions. “We need something done now. We can’t keep dying for some [profit],” said Adrian Ward, a resident. “We don’t need nothing but a solution to the problem. Ask them to move somewhere else less populated,” he added. The problem is, said EPA officials, that Sterilization Services of Tennessee has not broken any regulations and has all the necessary permits. While the facility is one of 100 in the nation, the Memphis facility is one of 23 with higher risk — and no law prevented the facility from moving into a primarily low-income, Black community, a notion that many community activists have labeled as environmental racism. “We have been dying disproportionately, and what we’re being told is to wait. We can’t afford to wait,” said Justin J. Pearson, co-founder of Memphis Community Against Pollution. “It’s that we are being sacrificed for polluters. We are being sacrificed for their profits, and we are being sacrificed because people in

positions of power are not caring about our lives.” “The Sterilization Services has got to go,” he said. “It’s easy for you to say what you said, and I agree with the majority of why people are here. I think the challenge is that’s not how this process works,” Blackman retorted, adding that communities needed to challenge local zoning laws in order to make the facility move. Pearson then addressed the EPA panel directly about their efforts to inform the community about the risks they inherited just by living in South Memphis. “You have failed to adequately inform this community of what’s going on,” he said, adding that MCAP volunteers sent out thousands of flyers and text messages. The community cannot wait on new regulations, said Pearson, and MCAP planned on continuing mobilization efforts to enact swifter changes. “This is the movement that we’re talking about, and we need you to go back to Atlanta and do your job well and know that you’ve got Memphis to support you,” he said. “But we don’t have time to wait,” said Pearson. This story was written by Dulce Torres Guzman for Tennessee Lookout and originally published on tennesseelookout. com.

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november 11th The PRVLG

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november 16th Lettuce w/ special guest

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2 1 6 6 C e n t r a l Av e . Memphis TN 38104

We can all recognize Memphis as an arts hub, but is it a hub for NFTs? Maybe not yet, but the group NFT Memphis, founded in September by artists and collectors, is working to solidify the city as such. “There’s a bunch of stuff in Memphis that’s really popular and really influential,” says artist AnPHOTO: COURTESY thony Sims. “However, it seems to be that the artists here basically in perpetuity have been fucked ANTHONY SIMS over by like the rest of the world. … There are so many people that aren’t even from Memphis that Anthony Sims’ NFTs have leaned on this area [for artistic inspiration]. And it’s like, why don’t the people of the area actually claim ownership of what we’re doing for everyone else?” Some, like Sims, hope NFTs will bridge this gap by providing artists with consistent income, since they will receive residuals from every sale their NFTs make on the blockchain. “For artists to be working artists is for us to kill the notion of a starving artist,” adds digital artist Kenneth Wayne Alexander. “That’s the main plan [with NFTs and NFT Memphis] because we need more optional jobs out here. Being an artist can be a lucrative job, but we have to build it.” So far, the Southern arts community does not have as big of an NFT infrastructure as other regions in the U.S. “It’s our chance to be able to kind of say, ‘Oh, okay, Memphis, let’s put the peg there,’” says Meaty Graffiti gallery owner Jennifer Tiscia. For those who are still confused or just plain curious about the digital medium, NFT Memphis plans to offer classes and showcases, with its second-ever showcase planned for this Thursday. The show will include screens with digital art along with more “traditional” forms of art like paintings and prints — made by locals Sims, Alexander, and Cheeto Ryan, as well as PREACHER, an artist from New Orleans. “This is going to be more than just an art show,” says Tiscia. “This is gonna be about us having a true community of NFT collectors. This is art for the people. This is making sure that artists are gonna be compensated. This is about supporting our artists, supporting our community.” As such, the artists will participate in a Q&A not only to share their knowledge, but also to find out what Memphis needs when it comes to becoming an NFT hub and what the group can do to help other artists explore the medium. People can also submit questions through Meaty Graffiti’s website. Plus, NFT Memphis will distribute POAPs at the showcase. A POAP, which stands for Proof of Attendance Protocol, is essentially a “ticket stub” but in NFT form, explains Justin Hodges, who helped organize the event. “It’s basically proof you were there.” The new food truck, Tender Love, will also be making its debut that evening. To keep up with NFT Memphis, follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@nft_memphis). NFT ART SHOWCASE AND Q&A, MEATY GRAFFITI, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 4:30-7 P.M.

VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES November 10th - 16th “Simple Pleasures: The Art of Doris Lee” Dixon Gallery & Gardens, on display through January 15 “Simple Pleasures: The Art of Doris Lee” presents an important opportunity for rediscovering one of the most popular figurative artists in American art history. From the 1930s through the 1950s, Doris Lee painted some of the most recognizable images in American art. The exhibition gives overdue recognition of Lee’s significant contributions to American art and brings together paintings, drawings, prints, and ephemera spanning her impressive 40-year career, from public and private collections across the country. In exploring her life and work, the exhibition pays respect to her ability to conjure joy in life’s simple pleasures and erases the idea that her art was too unserious to take seriously.

Meet the Author: Wynn E. Earle Jr. Novel, Thursday, November 10, 6 p.m. Novel welcomes elementary school principal and author Wynn E. Earle Jr. to celebrate the release of Early African American Schools in Memphis. Memphis’ African-American community, with the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation, placed a high priority on education. From the old Porter School to the old Greenwood School, AfricanAmerican children in Memphis now had a place to learn and grow. This book showcases some of these early schools, teachers, and principals whose contributions continue to influence education in the city today.

Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra Off the Walls Arts, Sunday, November 13, 10 a.m. Tatsuya Nakatani is an avant-garde percussionist, composer, and artist of sound. This is his third Memphis visit and the first with his amazing Gong Orchestra. Nakatani’s distinctive music centers around his adapted bowed gong, supported by an array of drums, cymbals, and singing bowls. Within this contemporary work, one can still recognize the dramatic pacing, formal elegance, and space (ma) felt in traditional Japanese music. His orchestra is composed of local players at each stop along his tour, making each performance unique. Also performing will be Memphis experimental harpist Yintang.


MUSIC By Alex Greene

S

eeing my dad holding my bass is really crazy,” says local bass phenomenon MonoNeon. “He’s like my first musical hero. He’s a very funky player. I’d just practice to all of his records, try to find anything he played on and just learn it. I wanted to be just like him and I still do.” It’s a moving testimony to the power of musical families to keep the spirit of creativity flowing across generations. But when MonoNeon refers to his father playing “my bass,” it’s not just his personal axe. It literally has his name on it: the new Fender MonoNeon Jazz Bass V.

PHOTO: HEATHER YOUMANS

MonoNeon with his signature bass Fender electric basses have long been the go-to axes for most professionals, and MonoNeon has been no exception, often seen playing a Fender Jazz Bass over the years. But he’s also been known to deviate from that standard, with a penchant for five-string basses. The new signature instrument combines all of that, not to mention a whole lot of MonoNeon’s aesthetics. The alder body sports a brilliant yellow polyurethane finish, setting off the neon orange headstock and pickguard. Other unique features include an active preamp and a three-band active equalizer to dial in the desired tone. Other Memphians have been so honored, as with the Peavey Steve Cropper Signature Telecaster, the Magneto Eric Gales RD-3 Signature Guitar, and the Fender Donald “Duck” Dunn Signature Precision Bass, but the new MonoNeon Jazz Bass V is the most distinctive, visually speaking. And it’s surely the only signature model that the artist himself plays upside down; the left-handed player has noted before that he favors “a right-handed bass. I guess it’s upside-down, you’d call it. I

flipped it over, so the G string’s on top and the E string’s on the bottom.” Beyond the experimentalism of his music, MonoNeon, aka Dywane Thomas Jr., has always followed his own sartorial star. Lately, his love of neon colors has morphed into a taste for quilted fabrics with subtler hues. A new video celebrating the new instrument on Fender’s YouTube channel features the bassist in all his quilted glory, speaking with his mother, grandmother, and father. Narrator George Clinton intones, “I’ll be your guide through the Monoverse, where cities were built on foundations of funk and adorned with microtonal detail.” The video’s animated portions amplify the whimsical hues of the new bass and its player. In the video, MonoNeon further explains the new model’s aesthetics and design: “I love how the construction workers look on the highway, you can see them far away. It’s inspired by that. Chose the gold [hardware] because I wanted to, you know, pimp out the bass a little bit. I chose the HiMass string-through bridge because of the sustain. And I’ve got my own custom MonoNeon jazz pickups.” But there’s more: Reflecting the bassist’s love of decals and his habit of hanging a sock over his instrument’s tuning pegs, each MonoNeon Jazz Bass V comes with a MonoNeon sticker pack and a custom headstock sock. Segments of the video featuring MonoNeon’s family are especially moving, as when he speaks of his Grandma Liz. “I really got close to my grandma because of music. The older I get, I’m starting to realize I get a lot from her, especially vocally,” he notes, adding that she’s also behind his love of quilts. “There’s a lot of love that’s put into making quilts, so I think I just feel that. I like to be covered up because it’s like a force field. I like to be safe.” Scenes of MonoNeon playing with his father, Dywane Thomas Sr. (son of jazz pianist Charles Thomas), reveal more about the family’s musical history. “I got to work with a lot of people just from being me,” recalls Thomas Sr., a celebrated bassist in his own right. “You tell me to go right, I go left. So that’s why I embrace what he does. It’s out of the norm, and it isn’t out of the norm. It’s something new. His style is his style.” Reflecting on his son having his own signature bass, Thomas Sr. muses, “I’m not surprised. It was going to happen, and it’s going to continue to happen.”

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DELFEAYO MARSALIS

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Fender honors MonoNeon with signature bass.

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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. DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS, ONGOING WEEKLY EVENTS WILL APPEAR IN THE FLYER’S ONLINE CALENDAR ONLY. FOR COMPREHENSIVE EVENTS LISTING, VISIT EVENTS.MEMPHISFLYER.COM/CAL.

CALENDAR of EVENTS:

November 10 - 16

ART HAP P E N I N G S

“Beyond the Emerald City” Artist Reception

An exhibition of Oz-themed comics and artwork by Dale Martin. Friday, Nov. 11, 5-7 p.m. PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE

NFT Art Showcase

Featuring local artists Kenneth Alexander, Anthony Sims, and Cheeto Ryan. Thursday, Nov. 10, 6:30-9 p.m. MEATY GRAFFITI GALLERY

Storytelling Through Costume and Set Design Explore the intersection of performance and visual art. Free. Wednesday, Nov. 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

UrbanArt Commission’s Silver Anniversary Celebration An evening of interactive art installations, delectable local treats and drinks, and music. Thursday, Nov. 10, 6-9 p.m. WISEACRE BREWERY

B O O K EVE N TS

A Celebration of Duane Allman & King Curtis Conversation, listening

Dale Martin’s Oz-themed exhibition will be on display through Dec. 28 at Playhouse on the Square.

Black Rosies.” Thursday, Nov. 10, 4:30 p.m.

session, and book signing with authors Bob Beatty and Timothy Hoover. Thursday, Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.

One of the largest touring illusion shows. Friday, Nov. 11-12.

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Friday, Nov. 11, 8:30 p.m. FEDEXFORUM

P E R FO R M I N G ARTS

Champions Of Magic THE ORPHEUM

T H EAT E R

A Wunderland Holiday

Enjoy musical numbers, brief skits, celebrity guests, and more. $27. Friday, Nov. 11-Nov. 19.

MEMPHIS LISTENING LAB

Circus Berzerkus!

Deliciously decadent drag cabaret. Thursday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.

THEATREWORKS

Nana Kwame AdjeiBrenyah Reading

BLACK LODGE

In the Bryant family’s Hyde Park home, keeping a secret is next to impossible. $15-$20. Through Nov. 19.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the author of Friday Black. Thursday, Nov. 10, 6 p.m.

The Soldier’s Tale

A masterful retelling of Stravinsky’s classic. $45-$70. Saturday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.

UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

Reading and Book Signing with Shelley E. Moore

GERMANTOWN COMMUNITY THEATRE

S P EC IA L EVE NTS

Moore will read selections from Through A Blue-Eyed Lens: Memphis 1962-1972. Saturday, Nov. 12, 1-3 p.m.

Crafts & Drafts Holiday Market

A unique shopping experience that showcases a curated group of local artists, makers, and crafters. Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m.

BENJAMIN L. HOOKS CENTRAL LIBRARY

FA M I LY

Imposter

Crew members must complete hands-on activities and scavenger hunts to fix their rocket ship. Saturday, Nov. 12, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY

FI LM

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Screening Author Sheree Renée Thomas will make a special appearance. $30-$50. Thursday, Nov.

2022-2023

SEASON

CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE

10, 6-11 p.m. MALCO PARADISO CINEMA GRILL

Film Screening & Reception: Invisible Warriors

A special night to honor “The

S PO R TS

Memphis vs. Tulsa

Thursday, Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m. SIMMONS BANK LIBERTY STADIUM

Immediate Family

THEATRE MEMPHIS

The Evil Dead

One of the craziest theatrical experiences of all time. $25$35. Through Nov. 12. THEATREWORKS

The Rocky Horror Show

A cult classic brought to the stage. $20-$25. Thursday, Nov. 10-Nov. 12. UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS

The Wizard of Oz

Based on the classic motion picture, young Dorothy and Toto are swept away in a tornado to the magical land of Oz. Friday, Nov. 11-Dec. 22. PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE

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FOOD By Michael Donahue

THE JAMES F. RUFFIN LECTURE IN THE FINE ARTS AT RHODES COLLEGE

W

ondering what chef Josh Steiner’s been up to? He’s been bee-sy. Now a beekeeper, Steiner, former chef/ owner of Strano by Chef Josh, has more than a dozen hives around Memphis and in Germantown. He’ll use his honey to make bagels, which he plans to sell to the public online starting in December. Meanwhile, The Hive Bagel & Deli, his Downtown deli/bakehouse, is already in the works. It’s slated to open in six or seven months. Steiner, who describes himself as a “bee nerd,” became a beekeeper in 2016. In addition to his personal hives, he has a hive at Trezevant Manor. “As a charity thing I do for them. They reached out to me because they were interested in having a beehive. I kind of educate them and let them have a hive and show them how to crush their own honey.”

PHOTO: NANCY STEINER

Josh and Wallis Steiner Each jar of Steiner’s honey is specific to the queen of whatever hive she rules. And each queen bee has a name. These include Twinkie, Marla, Margarita, Tessie, and Beyoncé. “I’ve given them personalities, if you will.” Steiner plans to use his honey to make his bagels. “We’re putting the honey in our water to boil our bagels. That means anybody eating our bagels and our honey are not just getting local honey, but uber local honey, in a sense, because it’s our backyard bees.” He and his wife Wallis got the idea to open a deli/bakehouse during the pandemic. “My wife and I started selling pastries out of our kitchen and we got into it. We were doing a cooking series on Facebook.”

Steiner, who has been baking bagels for years, says, “I will bake a bagel before I buy one.” He took classes last year at the San Francisco Baking Institute, which specializes in bagels. “I wanted to learn the business side and sourcing local ingredients.” Steiner recently planted Mississippi red wheat in Germantown. “For our whole grain bagels and breads.” When The Bagel Memphis went out of business, Steiner bought a giant kettle and a 13-foot bagel oven, which will enable him to bake at least 300 bagels per hour. He already signed a lease for The Hive Bagel & Deli, but, he says, “That’s under construction.” In the meantime, Steiner will open a private catering kitchen to start producing bagels for online orders in December. He wants to build the brand and let everyone “taste what’s coming.” The Hive Bagel & Deli, which he describes as “a neighborhood bakehouse,” will feature sandwiches and multiple flavors of cream cheese, along with Steiner’s fresh bagels, baguettes, and sourdough breads. “The term is viennoiserie. It’s ‘laminated pastries.’ Like Danishes, stuffed croissants, and stuff like that.” “Laminated” is “when you fold butter into dough, and layer it over and over again.” “Pies and cookies won’t be our thing. It will be more of a French European pâtisserie.” And you never know. Something Sicilian might pop up at the bakeshop. “I’m working on a pizza bagel idea.” Steiner will be owner/operator of The Hive Bagel & Deli. “I’ll be considered the executive chef, or executive baker, whatever you want to call it. I will have a head baker, but I’ve got to train her. This is my passion. So, I want to be making the bread and milling the flour. Grinding the flour myself. So, I don’t know how I won’t be in the kitchen.” Customers will be able to see into the kitchen. “I’m trying to capture the romantic side of it. I find it romantic. Things being made from scratch. Things being made by hand or turned out. Flour being mixed or dough being pulled out of the mixing bowl. Dough going into the oven.” Steiner wants to eventually expand the business. “We plan on having two locations.” But, he says, that’s “on the back burner until we open up.” Meanwhile, Steiner and his wife spend a lot of time with their main honey — their daughter, Acie Clementine, who was born September 20th.

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TV By Chris McCoy

When The Rock Came to Memphis Dwayne Johnson’s bio-comedy Young Rock debuts its made-in-Memphis third season.

November 10-16, 2022

T

20

here’s one thing you can say about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — he’s big. Yes, the former Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle turned professional wrestler is physically large — officially, he’s a 6-foot-5, 260-pound pile of muscle and tattoos — but his personality and ambitions are also cartoonishly outsized. When he was in his wrestling prime around the turn of the century, he attracted the biggest audiences WWE ever saw. But for the last 20 years or so, Johnson has been a movie star. After making his debut as a supporting actor in 2001 with The Mummy Returns, he immediately booked his first lead role in that film’s prequel, 2002’s The Scorpion King. In 2011’s Fast Five, he gave the struggling Fast & Furious series a shot in the arm, introducing a new character and transforming the car-chase franchise into the weird semi-spy thriller thing that is scheduled to clock its 10th installment in 2023. Notice I called Johnson a “movie star” instead of an “actor.” That’s because actors transform themselves for each new role, while movie stars transform each role into a conduit for the persona they’re selling. John Wayne, for example, always played John Wayne, even when he was ostensibly playing Genghis Khan. Next year, people won’t go to see what Luke Hobbs is up to in Fast X, they’ll go to see The Rock drive cars real fast. Johnson’s larger-than-life persona, and how it got to be so dang big, is the subject of Young Rock, which is probably the first ever biographical comedy series about someone who is not a comedian — or even very funny. It’s 2032, and Johnson is running

(top) Young Rock traverses the decades of The Rock’s life, with Uli Latukefu as the young adult Rock; (bottom) Becky Lynch guest stars as Cyndi Lauper.

for president. He appears on a chat show hosted by Randall Park (playing himself, as several people, including Johnson, do in the future-now world of 2032), where he starts telling stories about his life. As each story unfolds we flash back to the appropriate period of

Rock lore: Adrian Groulx plays him at age 10, Bradley Constant at 15, and Uli Latukefu as the young adult Rock. Johnson’s had a pretty interesting life to provide fodder for the show. He was a third-generation wrestler — his father was Rocky “Soul Man” Johnson,

the first Black champion in WWE history, and his mother Ata was the daughter of Samoan wrestling legend Peter Maivia. There’s also a colorful cast of characters, including André the Giant (Matthew Willig), The Iron Sheik (Brett Azar), and “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Kevin Makely), just to name a few. Both Soul Man and The Rock went through the famously wild Memphis wrestling market on their way to stardom. Rocky was a rival of Jerry “The King” Lawler. Later, Johnson would introduce memories of his stint in the Mid-South with the words, “I was working in Memphis, and it was a grind.” We know the feeling, Rock. But it must not have been too bad because after two seasons filming in Queensland, Australia, Young Rock moved company to Memphis. The first episode filmed in the Bluff City, “The People Need You,” premiered last Friday. At the end of season 2, Johnson had just lost the 2032 election to Senator Brayden Taft (Michael Torpey). As season 3 dawns, Park, who functions as the audience surrogate who listens to The Rock’s tall tales, has a new show with a co-host he hates. Johnson has gone into seclusion following his election loss, but after a viral video surfaces of The Rock signing a kid’s autograph, Park goes to visit his old friend, who is spending his time puttering around his farm quoting Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech.


TV By Chris McCoy The episode’s time jumps and wacky portrayals of real people show that Young Rock didn’t lose a step when it leapt continents. The production values are first-rate — at one point, Downtown’s Front Street is transformed into Saudi Arabia. Johnson recalls the events which led to the downfall of his father’s career, which included an international contract dispute with Vince McMahon (Adam Ray) and a visit to a music video release party for Cyndi Lauper’s (Irish wrestler Becky Lynch) theme song for The Goonies. Johnson has been pretty open about his ambitions to enter politics, and Young Rock seems designed to burnish his image as a saintly everyman while getting people used

to seeing the wrestler/actor as a political candidate. It’s a strategy that has worked before, first with Donald Trump’s stint on another NBC show, The Apprentice. The second time was TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was elected president of Ukraine in April 2019 and was then promptly extorted by Trump, who attempted to get him to lie about Hunter Biden in exchange for American military assistance. The incident led to Trump’s first impeachment. Now, Zelenskyy is a hero of democracy, leading his people against the genocidal Russian invasion. Let’s hope The Rock takes after him. Young Rock is airing on NBC and streaming on Peacock.

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T H E L A S T W O R D B y B r a d Wo l f

Crossing the Border into Ukraine I didn’t agree to this, and I’m guessing neither did you.

THE LAST WORD

Anyone can see it coming, right there on mainstream news. Writers don’t need to warn of the worst because the worst is already unfolding in front of us all. The U.S. “Screaming Eagles” have been deployed three miles from Ukraine and are ready to fight the Russians. World War III beckons. God help us. It all could have been different. When the Soviet Union fell on December 25, 1991, and the Cold War ended, NATO could have disbanded, and a new security arrangement that included Russia could have been created. But like the Leviathan it is, NATO went in search of a new mission. It grew, excluding Russia and adding Czechia, Montenegro, North MacePHOTO: DOBERMAN84 | DREAMSTIME.COM donia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Poland, and World War III beckons. Slovakia. All without an enemy. It found small enemies in Serbia and Afghanistan, but NATO needed a real enemy. And eventually it found/created one: Russia. It is evident now that the Eastern European countries who sought NATO membership would have been better protected under a security arrangement with Russia as a member. But that would leave the war industry without an enemy and, accordingly, without profits. If military contractors don’t generate enough war profiteering, they send in their lobbyists by the hundreds to pressure our elected representatives toward hot conflict. And so, for the sake of profit, the “Screaming Eagles” have landed, hovering three miles from the Ukraine border, waiting for the order to go in. And we, the people, the human beings spanning this planet, wait to learn if we will live or die in a game of brinkmanship. We should have a say in this matter, this business of the fate of our world. It’s obvious we can’t leave it up to our “leaders.” Look where they’ve led us: Another land war in Europe. Haven’t they taken us here twice before? This is strike three for them, and quite possibly for us. If we all live through this proxy war the U.S. is fighting with Russia, we must fully realize our power as members of the masses and be relentless in pursuit of global systemic change. In the U.S., the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed in 2001 (AUMF) must be repealed, the powers of war must return to a Congress answerable to the people and not weapons manufacturers, NATO must be disbanded, and a new global security system must be created which dismantles armaments as it increases peace and security through education, nonviolent resistance, and unarmed civilian protection. As for weapons manufacturers, those Masters of War, those Merchants of Death, they must return their gluttonous profits and pay for the carnage they wreaked. Profit must be taken out of war once and for all. Let them “sacrifice” for their country; let them give instead of take. And let them never again be placed in positions of such influence. Do the planet’s eight billion inhabitants have more power than a handful of corporations and the politicians in their pockets to accomplish all this? We do. We just need to stop leaving it on the table for the greedy ones to snatch. If more incentive is needed, here’s another line from the same CBS story cited above: “The ‘Screaming Eagles’ commanders told CBS News repeatedly that they are always ‘ready to fight tonight,’ and while they’re there to defend NATO territory, if the fighting escalates or there’s any attack on NATO, they’re fully prepared to cross the border into Ukraine.” I didn’t agree to this, none of it, and I’m guessing neither did you. If it’s war with Russia and nuclear weapons are used, we all will perish. If Russia is somehow “defeated” or turned away from Ukraine, the war profiteers have us in an even tighter vise. We have seen nonviolent movements succeed when people unite. We know how they are organized and deployed. We too can be “ready to fight tonight” in our nonviolent way, resisting all authority dragging us into war and repression. It is truly in our hands. We have the power to make peace. But will we? The War Industry is betting we won’t. Let’s “cross the border” and prove them wrong. Brad Wolf, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a former community college dean and executive director/co-founder of Peace Action Network of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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

Mihail Kogălniceanu, Romania — “The U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division has been deployed to Europe for the first time in almost 80 years amid soaring tension between Russia and the American-led NATO military alliance. The light infantry unit, nicknamed the “Screaming Eagles,” is trained to deploy on any battlefield in the world within hours, ready to fight.” — CBS News, October 21, 2022

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