Memphis Flyer 12/23/2021 - DOUBLE ISSUE

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JERRY D. SWIFT Advertising Director Emeritus KELLI DEWITT, CHIP GOOGE, HAILEY THOMAS Senior Account Executives MICHELLE MUSOLF Account Executive 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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LAST WORD - 31

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

CARRIE BEASLEY Senior Art Director CHRISTOPHER MYERS Advertising Art Director NEIL WILLIAMS Graphic Designer

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

Ha! This is to be the Flyer’s last issue of 2021, and true to form, this strange year had one more trick for me. I began this column frustrated with recent messaging from the White House on Covid. I’ve been disappointed with the federal response to (again) rising case counts driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, a response that can be boiled down to, “Get vaccinated. It’s on you. What do you expect us to do?” I had planned to suggest that at-home tests and disposable masks be sent to anyone who wants them, free of charge. Well, today, news has broken that President Joe Biden intends to send 500 million at-home tests to anyone who requests them. I’m glad our president made that decision. It’s the right one, but I wish he would have thought about how inconvenient it will be for me to have to rework the column I had just finished. This is how we should have been fighting the pandemic all along. Personal responsibility is all well and good, but combating a global crisis requires teamwork. Anyway, if the government doesn’t exist to coordinate in a crisis, to protect the citizenry it represents, then it’s just a glorified caretaker of capital and property. Some anti-vaxxers will throw away test kits or masks sent to them. They might see the move as government overreach. So what? Who cares? They already think almost everything is government overreach. Why let other people suffer because a vocal minority has overdosed on the conspiracy theory Kool-Aid? With all due respect to former President John F. Kennedy, it’s fine to ask what you can do for your country, but I don’t think the country should worry about doing too much for anyone. If one out of every 10 tests gets tossed (or burned on TikTok while someone rants over an audio clip of a Lee Greenwood song), but those other nine tests help prevent super-spreader events, isn’t it worth it? This message, excerpted from a press briefing by Jeff Zients, the head of President Biden’s coronavirus task force, can be found on whitehouse.gov: “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.” Harsh words, but they’re likely true. Still, very nearly two years into this pandemic, we continue to do the same things while expecting different results. It’s a mistake to frame the ongoing pandemic as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Setting aside that all children younger than 5 years old are unvaccinated, that some immunocompromised people can’t get vaccinated, it’s a failure to imagine we can ever extricate ourselves from this mess by dint of personal responsibility alone. So send tests and masks to every home in the United States. I also can’t help but wonder what would happen if we issued a new stimulus payment contingent on vaccination status. Oh, and those vaccine patents? Waive ’em. Send vaccines to every country. Again, this is a global pandemic. What good will it do us to get Covid under control in the U.S. if the Pi or Sigma variant appears elsewhere? How many variants have to arise before we accept that national borders do not make for effective protection against disease? Even if its first emergence is on another continent, it just takes an asymptomatic case and a nonstop flight for us to be right back at square one. And no, this doesn’t mean I want everything to be free for everyone. I know I’ll get my fair share of emails from burner addresses and unsigned letters calling me a filthy communist (I do already), but I would N E WS & O P I N I O N THE FLY-BY - 4 like to think we can have a more nuanced NY TIMES CROSSWORD - 6 discussion. In matters of life and death, of POLITICS - 7 ever getting off the Covid carousel, I think it’s AT LARGE - 8 worth considering bold actions. FINANCIAL FEATURE - 9 That’s my hope for 2022 — that we take ROMANCE LANGUAGE - 10 the wider view, that we worry about who COVER STORY “WHAT’S NEW IN ’22” needs help instead of getting hung up on BY FLYER STAFF - 12 the idea that someone might get more aid WE RECOMMEND - 16 than they need. So, to our president and his MUSIC - 18 administration, I say that these 500 million CALENDAR - 20 at-home Covid tests are a nice start. SPIRITS - 23 Now … what’s next? FOOD - 24 FILM - 27 Jesse Davis C LAS S I F I E D S - 30 jesse@memphisflyer.com

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THE

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MEMernet Memphis on the internet.

Best of 2021 THAT C R AC K

POSTED TO TWITTER BY KJ BRITT

The crack in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge lit up the MEMernet in 2021. “I’m just really glad to finally have some alone time and be able to work on ME,” tweeted the Hernando DeSoto Bridge. “You don’t choose Infrastructure Week. Infrastructure Week chooses you,” tweeted Memphis Bridge Crack. “From the makers of the Bass Pro Pyramid: Flex Seal Bridge,” tweeted KJ Britt.

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

THAT S N OW

POSTED TO FACEBOOK BY MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Snow blanketed Memphis in February. Beautiful and fun for kids? Yes. Completely disruptive to a city already disrupted by Covid? Also yes. THAT S PAC E TR I P

POSTED TO YOUTUBE BY ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

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In September, Memphian, St. Jude physician’s assistant, and former St. Jude patient Hayley Arceneaux (upside down) served as the Inspiration4 medical officer aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience capsule.

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Questions, Answers + Attitude Edited by Toby Sells

Y E A R T H AT W A S By Flyer staff

Covid, the Bridge, & Blue Oval City Covid continued its reign, the Hernando DeSoto Bridge closed and opened, and here comes Ford. JAN UARY Covid case numbers remained high after the holidays. Shelby County was running out of its allotment of 12,000 Covid vaccine doses. Eight businesses were temporarily closed on Covid violations. The “Safer At Home” lockdown was lifted, allowing more capacity at stores, gyms, and restaurants. The move allowed the reopening of Memphis attractions like the Memphis Zoo and Brooks Museum of Art. Tennessee state Senator Katrina Robinson was charged on allegations of wire fraud and money laundering. F E B R UARY Covid numbers began to fall. Shelby County’s crime rate fell in 2020, but violent crime like murder and rape rose. Memphis City Council members were set to review opposition to the Byhalia Pipeline Connection project. Overton Park officials were reviewing suggestions from the public on how to use the 13-acre piece of property now used by the city’s General Services department. MAR C H The Byhalia Connection Pipeline project won approvals from federal agencies while it also gained national opposition from celebrities like Danny Glover and Jane Fonda. Memphis Light, Gas and Water lifted the water-boil advisory brought on by heavy snow and freezing temperatures in February. Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter resigned in the wake of a state investigation into vaccine supply chain issues. M. David Rudd announced he’d leave his post as president of the University of Memphis. The Tennessee Historical Commission approved the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the Tennessee State Capitol building. AP R I L Covid shots were opened to all adults. The Tennessee Valley Authority led a new “Electric Highway” project to install infrastructure for electric cars in 16 states. A federal agreement was set to improve Covid conditions inside local jails. South Point Grocery was announced for a spot on South Main. Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis was announced as the new director of the Memphis Police Department. Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a mosque-fighting, anti-Black Lives Matter, 9/11 Truther, January 6th terrorist, was approved by state

lawmakers to help pick textbooks for Tennessee schools. Memphis International Airport (MEM) was ranked as the busiest cargo airport in the world. New state laws made it harder for women to get abortions and transgender children to use the bathroom at school. MAY An enormous sign that would’ve read, “We have no time for things with no soul,” was rejected for Mud Island. The TVA said it would reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, but environmental groups said the plan was not aggressive enough. Steel rods were proposed as a temporary fix to the crack in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge. State lawmakers opted the state out of federal unemployment benefits related to the Covid pandemic. Jesse Davis was announced to be the next editor of the Memphis Flyer. A $140-million solar farm was announced for Millington to power an $800-million Facebook data center in Gallatin, Tennessee. Federal officials seized 42 rare PHOTO: TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Mexican turtles at the Port of Memphis. JUNE The first phase of Hernando DeSoto Bridge repairs was complete. Work began on Liberty Park, the $200-million renovation and re-brand of the Mid-South Fairgrounds as a youth sports

continued on page 6

PHOTO: STATE OF TENNESSEE


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The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Thursday, November 8, 2018

Crossword ACROSS

32 Main connections, of a 1 Pride Month sort inits. 34 Going rates? 5 Org. defending 39 Touching 1-Across rights 40 Carefully 9 At full speed explained 14 This and that 42 Profundity 15 “Yay!” 43 Fashion designer 16 1930s vice whose namesake president John brand features a ___ Garner rhinoceros in its logo 17 It might pop out 44 “Count me in!” of a kid’s mouth 47 Distort 19 Thus far 48 Swinger’s club 20 Seven-time All-Star Dave, 53 Eponymous who pitched for regatta-winning the Toronto Blue yacht of 1851 Jays 54 Bumbling 21 Wind instrument 59 Occupy, as a 23 Heavy metal table band whose 60 Ingredient in name is a some cocktails euphemism for … or a hint to the “Jesus Christ!” last words in 17-, 27 Notable times 23-, 32-, 43- and 48-Across 31 Pacific Northwest hub, informally 64 Occupied

ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

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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.

J U LY The Byhalia Pipeline Connection project was abandoned. OUTMemphis opened its Youth Emergency Center for LGBTQ+ young adults in crisis. Crews completed the section two phase of repair work to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge. The Delta variant was blamed for rising Covid case counts here. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee sent 300 Tennessee National Guard troops to the Texas border, responding to a “crisis.” Dr. Michelle Taylor was approved to be the new health department director. AU G UST The Hernando DeSoto Bridge reopened to traffic. The county mask mandate was lifted. Houston High School employees were under investigation for making antiSemitic remarks on social media. The county mask mandate was reinstated. Lee ordered Tennessee parents could opt their children out of school mask mandates. S E PTE M B E R Family members of Alvin Motley Jr. called for video evidence to be released of the man’s shooting death by a Kroger security guard over a dispute about loud music. A judge blocked Lee’s mask mandate opt-out order. A federal appeals court blocked Tennessee’s abortion ban. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was a central focus of the Inspiration4 mission to space. O CTO B E R Covid numbers began to fall after the summer’s Delta spike, but mask mandates remained in place. Ford Motor Co. announced it would build a new $5.6-billion production facility, called “Blue Oval City,” on the Memphis Regional Megasite site. Zoo officials announced a promised parking deck was too costly and would go ahead with a plan to reconfigure its main lot, a move that would pave parts of the

Overton Park Greensward. Kellogg’s workers in four cities, including Memphis, went on strike, demanding better pay and benefits for new employees. A United States Postal Service employee killed two workers and himself at a local postal facility. State lawmakers approved an $884-million incentive package to bring Ford to West Tennessee. N OV E M B E R The countywide mask mandate was lifted. State Republicans outlawed Covidrelated mandates on masks, vaccines, and more in a special session. The design for the coming Brooks on the Bluff museum was unveiled. Covid cases began to rise again after weeks of falling. Memphis rapper Young Dolph was fatally shot. Council member Edmund Ford Sr. insulted and berated county employees over gender pronouns during a public council meeting. He later claimed ignorance on the matter. D EC E M B E R Tennessee won a 16-year legal battle with Mississippi over water rights in the U.S. Supreme Court. Several groups threatened litigation against local leaders if they would not discuss reforms to the county’s money bail system. Lee said he’d send Tennessee National Guard troops to the Texas border, this time to stop a “surging drug crisis.” Visit the News Blog at memphisflyer.com for fuller versions of these stories and more local news.

PHOTO: STATE OF TENNESSEE


POLITICS By Jackson Baker

Plenty to Fuss About in Off Year 2021 Though there were no local elections in Shelby County in the past year, things were still busy on the political front. responsibility for the effort. Fights raged both statewide and locally over the right to prescribe public-health measures, with there being a correlation between self-described “conservatives” and opposition to mandates. In the end, the state legislature in special session would impose curbs on local initiatives, though the courts would preserve a measure of autonomy for school districts. The GOP supermajority had meanwhile eliminated curbs on gun carry, declared war on the wholly illusory menace of critical race theory, and extended partisan controls over state appeals courts. Locally, the “Battle of Byhalia” was a grassroots rebellion, which saw local activists like youthful Justin Pearson unite with such celebrity politicians as former Vice President Al Gore to block the construction of a petroleum pipeline through a South Memphis neighborhood

PHOTO: JACKSON BAKER

Al Gore at pipeline rally over the grounds of the Memphis water aquifer. A follow-up victory, in a longrunning legal fight with Mississippi, was a federal court decision confirming Memphis’ sole ownership of the aquifer beneath its soil. The courts were kept busy. With another election year just around the corner, a special judge lowered the boom on the lucrative practice of sample voting ballots, barring any further ones from dissembling as official party recommendations. Meanwhile, the Election Commission and County Commission continued to disagree over the right type of new voting machines and were locked in litigation. And two state senators from Shelby County, Democrat Katrina Robinson and Republican Brian Kelsey, faced felony charges.

WITH A SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY

PRISCILLA PRESLEY

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remote from the turmoil of January 6th and the subsequent second impeachment of Donald Trump. Tennessee — almost boringly reliable from the Republican point of view — was not one of the states seriously afflicted with post-election GOP attempts to pass regressive “election integrity” bills. The legislative fights to come largely involved the attempts by Republican Governor Bill Lee and his partymates in the General Assembly to restrain the more proactive anti-Covid efforts of health agencies in home-rule counties like Shelby and Davidson. Memphis state Senator Raumesh Akbari spoke for many when she condemned the “lax response” to the pandemic by Lee, whose interventions, she said, “started too late, ended too early, and did too little.” After some early miscues in the county health department’s supervision of local vaccination, the City of Memphis took over

NEWS & OPINION

There are, strictly speaking, no “off ” years in politics. The conspiring, conferencing, conniving, and cajoling is always going on at some level. But, for one year out of every four, Shelby County takes a reprieve from electioneering as such — at least of the regularly scheduled kind. 2021 was such a year. After the “blue wave” county election of 2018, the Memphis city election of 2019, and the Covid-inflected presidential election year of 2020, the local electorate got to take a breather of sorts. As did the population at large, as vaccines emerged to hold off successive iterations of a truly stubborn — and seemingly intractable — coronavirus. Early on, Tennesseans got to shelter in a cocoon of relative peace and quiet,

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

The Year After the Year Thoughts on the transitional 12 months of 2021.

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t was the year after the year of the big change, the year after the year we all stayed home, the year after the year the offices shut, the restaurants closed, the live music died, the planes stopped flying. It was the year after the last year of Trump. It was 2021. It began with the most egregious assault on American democracy in our history: The January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol — planned and instigated by the former president of the United States with the assistance and support of numerous Republican flunkies and traitors. It was a pseudo-insurrection that drew thousands of deluded Americans to Washington, D.C., to act out Trump’s final fantasy — that he could overthrow the democratic process and remain president, despite losing the election by 7 million votes. The cultish “patriots” who bought into this lunacy included a planeload of wealthy Memphis Country Club types who, as of this writing, have remained officially unidentified — and out of jail. Maybe they just watched from the hotel lobby. Or went shopping. We may never know. Screw ’em. As February came on, the first Covid vaccines were administered hereabouts. The state urged us to try the “Sign-Up Genius,” which sort of worked and sort of didn’t. There were long lines, short lines, last-minute cancellations, and sudden open cattle calls for shots. My daughter called me on February 2nd and said, “They’re giving the vax to whoever shows up at the Pipkin today. A bunch of people canceled. You should get on over there.” An hour later, my wife and I pulled into that strange building on the Fairgrounds, lowered our windows, and got the jab. It felt like a whiff of freedom after a year of suppression and worry. It felt even better 28 days later, when we got the second dose. Vaxxed, baby! March came and the Tigers missed the Big Dance. The Grizzlies made the play-in playoffs but it was soon over. No one seemed to care much. Maybe it was the shortened seasons, the missed games, the empty arenas, the sideline masks. The magic wasn’t there. In April, Memphis International Airport (MEM) climbed back atop the rankings as the world’s busiest cargo airport for the first time since 2009. And Amazon announced it was increasing its presence in the MidSouth with two new facilities: a delivery

station in North Memphis and a fulfillment center in Byhalia, Mississippi. Some good news at last. In more good news, I retired as editor of the Flyer in May and set off on a road trip to the East to see distant family and some old friends. The talented Mr. Jesse Davis stepped in as Flyer editor and hasn’t missed a beat since. Thanks, pal. As soon as I got back to town in June, inspectors discovered a crack in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge and shut it down. I don’t think there was a connection. Freed from having to be the official voice of the Flyer, I began to write about whatever sparked my fancy: Brooks Museum statuary cleaners, the Waverly flood, the 1919 Elaine (Arkansas) Massacre, Midtown ginkgos, Donald Trump’s email grift, the latest zoo/Greensward spat, kayaking Nonconnah Creek. It’s been very liberating, and I’m grateful to be able to do it in semiretirement. Or whatever this is.

PHOTO: ANDREW VANWYNGARDEN

The Saugatuck River I spent most of the summer putting together a collection of my past columns, travel articles, and features for a book, which the Flyer’s parent company, Contemporary Media, published in November. It’s called Everything That’s True, and it makes a great gift, I’m told. So go buy it. It’s at Novel, Burkes, and on the Memphis magazine Shopify site. All sales revenue goes to support the Flyer. End of commercial break. Thankfully, the year ahead looms with some promise that life can return to normal. Yes, there’s a new Covid variant, but 75 percent of us are vaccinated now and there are medicines that will keep most folks out of the hospital, even if they catch it. Those lines at the Pipkin building hopefully will not reoccur — and the “year after the year” will remain behind us. Onward.


FINANCE By Gene Gard

The Tough Truth The best budget plan in the world is worthless if you don’t make a commitment and stick to it.

The envelope system is a more manual way of budgeting. Adherents to this system have a number of envelopes labeled with spending categories like “groceries” or “dining out.” Each month, they replenish the envelopes with cash, making it obvious how much is left in the budget for various items. This can be a good system, though it requires you to use cash, which is inconvenient at best and impossible at worst. What’s great about the envelope system, though, is that it’s a kanbanstyle system. Kanban is a Japanese term borrowed from the lean manufacturing world; most simply, it means “visual cues to communicate status.” You don’t have to log in to a device and update a database to check your money or budget situation. The amount of money in the envelope is both your source of funds and an indication of where you stand at

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PHOTO: SHARON MCCUTCHEON ON UNSPLASH

any given time. There is a way to get the experience of the envelope system with cash-free convenience. Rather than putting cash in envelopes each month, move a certain amount of money to a bank account (connected to a debit card) that is solely used for discretionary spending. Sure, you don’t get to fine-tune the amount of money that goes to each category this way, but having to be aware of a bank balance is a sure way to be more cognizant with your spending and know where you stand, big-picture, during a budgeting period. Note: It’s important to connect this card to a bank account as a debit card. It’s just too easy to overspend on a credit card with a high limit, even if you pay it off every month. The debit-card method has worked for me, but what’s most important is simply to have a plan. I had a professor at the Naval Academy, Col. James Kendrick, who offered a “gosh I’m really lost” guide for his students I’ll never forget. One of the items to consider was: “Have I deluded myself into believing I will be able to solve a slightly different problem on a test under pressure and time constraints even though I’ve never yet successfully solved this class of problem on my own?” As you consider making a personal or household budget, I propose this corollary: “Have I deluded myself into thinking I can address excessive spending under the stress of everyday life over time even though there is no evidence I’ve ever done this successfully and I have no specific plan or tracking system in place to address it?” The best plan in the world is no good if you don’t follow it. If you really are concerned about how much you spend, find any decent plan to address it — and stick to it. Gene Gard is Chief Investment Officer at Telarray, a Memphis-based wealth management firm that helps families navigate investment, tax, estate, and retirement decisions. Ask him your question at ggard@telarrayadvisors.com or sign up for the next free online seminar on the Events tab at telarrayadvisors.com.

Maximum loan amount $1000. Subject to credit approval. Payment Example: At 5% APR, 12 monthly payments of $85.61 per $1000 borrowed. Applications will be accepted 11/30/21 through 12/31/21. Loans must close on or before 01/07/22 to qualify for this special rate. Limit one loan per borrower. Other restrictions may apply.

NEWS & OPINION

B

udgeting is a little bit like flossing. Most people think it’s a good idea. Most people wish they’d been doing it all along. Unfortunately, few people actually do it regularly. Like extreme couponing or keeping up with your HVAC filters, it takes a certain personality to care deeply about budgeting and be excited enough to keep up with it day in, day out. Fortunately, there are tools that can make the process easy. Mint is a free service that pulls in data from various sources and aggregates them. You can make a budget and see your progress against it. YNAB (You Need a Budget) is a popular paid service that works in a similar way. Yet both systems require care and feeding to be meaningful.

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2021-2022

SEASON

ROMANCE LANGUAGE By Daphne Maysonet

It Ain’t Me, Babe Fools rush in, but it doesn’t take a fool to be blindsided by love — or disappointment.

I LINDA RONSTADT EXPERIENCE JAN. 15 / 7:30PM

Tristan McIntosh of American Idol sings Ronstadt strong & true: THAT’LL BE THE DAY – BLUE BAYOU – YOU’RE NO GOOD.

PURPLE PIANO TRIBUTE TO PRINCE

JAN. 22 / 7:30PM Marshall Charloff performs a heartfelt show honoring Prince: RASPBERRY BERET – 1999 – PURPLE RAIN.

TICKETS & INFO

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

901.385.5588 - Box Office Hours: 10am - 2pm M-F or 24/7 @ BPACC.org

“I take my lunch break at 9 a.m.” — MIFA VOLUNTEER

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am breaking my own rule not to discuss my current love life. That rule is meant to keep a comfortable distance from any unhealed bruises to my ego. It’s a technique to keep me from using this platform as a pulpit from which to indict lovers who could’ve been more. I am trying to favor reflection over catharsis. I believe in perspective. I know I have it in me, waiting to explode like a field of dandelions or a big drum solo. I know it’s coming. It’s not here yet. As I write, I am waiting for one final disappointment, the last unkept promise I’ll hear from my most recent lover. Once, at an art gallery, we walked into a room, and he gasped at one of the paintings; it was beautiful. Once we kissed under an archway of peonies. We dated for two weeks, spent Thanksgiving together. He dumped me. I’ve never been more classically dumped in my life. Fired by the book: “I’m busy,” “I’m not ready to commit,” “I’m in a strange place right now.” I’ve had lots of soft rejections. I’ve felt the vibes change before. I can tell when someone is slowly backing away, quietly gathering the confetti of defunct grand overtures. But I’ve never had someone dial me up to confess something nagging at “the pit of his stomach.” I was blindsided. I wish I wasn’t, but I still am. I’m gentle with people. I try to understand. There’s an armchair therapist inside me who desperately wants to connect the dots between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; yes, even when their effects hurt me. I’m tough on myself. I hold a swinging lamp to my memory when things don’t work out, trying to torture a confession out of some past self who was willingly duped by the lover. Where were the red flags? I demand. Show me how I failed me. None of this is revelatory. My friends are like this. We grill ourselves, and over the years, as we’ve gotten older and gripped with some self-development cocktail of psychiatry and yoga, we’ve toughened on each other. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had much support from friends in the vein of demonizing my once-lover in well-meaning consolation. But I’ve also had two friends mention, “I

wish men would just tell the truth,” to which I’ve asked, “That he’s just not that into me?” “Yes.” This one was already slated to be a challenging long-distance relationship, of which I was immediately suspicious. So much so, in fact, that during our very first kiss, I paused to say, “You’re not moving to Memphis” — a dramatic suggestion made to me on a few occasions that I simply found far-fetched. I trusted this would work out because I was told it would. For obstacles I hadn’t even perceived yet, solutions were presented. Timelines. A plan for how it would, indeed, defy the odds. So I became a believer. When someone is doing and saying everything right, and you feel appreciated and secure in a courtship, you believe. “Ain’t it nice to be courted proper for a change?” I joked on Facebook. And it was. What followed was a surprise in the way disappointment always is, and I was emptied of the hope that buoyed me. Plans to phone or see me never materialized over the course of about 48 hours until a break-up call that was so jarring I still cannot understand what happened to change the trajectory of this relationship. I’ve been so confused that I’ve entertained this kite catching a second wind even as I’ve cried and booked a spontaneous house-swapping trip to Sweden as a big self-love Christmas gift. But that’s just it. Life is mysterious. It is not for me to understand every lover — devil or angel — nor is it productive to accept so much fault in not being the psychic who could predict it wouldn’t work out. Sometimes the signs aren’t there. And even when they are, improve yourself with discernment, sure, but forgive yourself with sympathy, too. Outrage at what I didn’t and couldn’t and can’t know has never helped me move on or take care of my heart.

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COVER STORY BY FLYER STAFF

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What’s New in ’22

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

A forward look at business and development, music, film, and politics.

“I

f 2020 was the year of despair, 2021 appears to be the year of hope.” So we began our annual “look ahead” cover story this time last year. Nice try, Nostradamus. Okay, we’ll admit it; we might have misread the tea leaves on that prediction. In our defense, the hope in the air was palpable this time last year. The first few vaccines had been administered. The hotly contested presidential election was over. And a new year was beginning. That was before — well, in short, it was before this roller coaster of a year. In which many things happened — recordbreaking tornadoes and record-breaking Grizzlies scoring leads. It was another year of highs and lows, of times to mourn and to celebrate. We shared tragedies and successes as a city, and as individuals, but we do that every year. PHOTO: MEMPHIS RIVER PARKS PARTNERSHIP

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Work on the Tom Lee Park renovation will continue through next year.


Looking Ahead at Business and Development Construction crews work all over Memphis on a host of projects that will continue the transformation of the city. Some of those projects are slated to be finished next year, while others will get underway. One project, the proposed Loews Hotel, remains a question mark.

options, higher ceilings, larger gates, moving walkways, a children’s play area, and more. University of Memphis (U of M) Scheidt Family Music Center The new Scheidt Family Music Center and Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music will open on the U of M campus next year. The state-of-the-art, $35-million project will feature 82,000 square feet for a 900+ seat concert hall, stage space, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, and modern music laboratories. Hotels Developers can’t seem to build hotels in Memphis fast enough. Next year, a 178-room Dream Hotel will open in the former Royal Furniture space on Main

hotel to follow later in the year. The 113,000-square-foot casino complex will have 2,400 slot machines, 60 live table games, restaurants, bars, a parking garage, and a VIP lounge. The 300-room hotel will have 60 to 70 suites and 12 executive-level presidential suites. — Toby Sells

Live Music on the Horizon If 2021 was the year when live concerts became live again, if somewhat tentatively, the new year promises to double down on the necessity of in-person music even more. Most of the classic venues in town have their seasons in full swing, and right out of the gate, look to the Buckman

Tom Lee Park/Memphis in May Work will continue on Tom Lee Park’s $60-million renovation next year, but the park is not slated to open until spring 2023. Spearheaded by the Memphis River Parks Partnership (MRPP), the project will completely transform the nowflat and wide-open riverside park with small hills, paths through forests, a cafe with a porch, a covered space for recreation, a new entry plaza, a canopy walk, and more. Memphis in May events, traditionally held in the park, will call Liberty Park (the Mid-South Fairgrounds) home next year. Liberty Park Bones of the Memphis Sports and Events Center (MSEC) now rise from the ground at Liberty Park, the new name for the Mid-South Fairgrounds. The 227,000-square-foot youth sports facility is expected to open in 2022. The building is the centerpiece for hotels, entertainment space, office space, restaurants, retail, and apartments in the $126-million redevelopment of the Fairgrounds. Memphis International Airport Memphis air travelers will have a brand-new airport experience in 2022. Memphis International Airport (MEM) officials hoped to open the new, modern Concourse B sometime in 2021. Covidrelated supply chain interruptions and shortages delayed the opening until sometime in early 2022. The project began in 2014 at a cost of $245 million, though no local tax dollars have been used to fund it. The new concourse promises new food and retail

Street. Work will begin on two hotels — a Tempo and an Embassy Suites — next year in the $367-million first phase of the $1-billion The Walk development Downtown. Forward motion has seemed to halt, though, on the proposed Loews Hotel on Civic Square Plaza as developers look for financing. Construction on the $200-million, 350-room Grand Hyatt is slated to begin in October for the fourth and final phase of the One Beale project. However, the Caption by Hyatt Memphis, a 136-room tower built over the historic Wm. C. Ellis & Sons Iron Works & Machine Shop, is expected to open in 2022. Southland Casino Racing Construction is on track to open Southland’s new $250-million casino complex by early spring with the

(February 4th), Incubus (March 21st), Tower of Power (April 23rd), and Henry Rollins (April 28th). The Orpheum Theatre and the Halloran Centre have two of the city’s finest stages, and between the pair of them, look for national acts mixed with much local flavor: The Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s Robert Moody will present his popular Orchestra Unplugged series with Hallelujah Handel! (January 27th-28th), The Secrets of Strings (April 7th-8th), and Considering Matthew Shepard (May 5th-6th). Mark Edgar Stuart returns with his Memphis Songwriters in February-March, and another great Memphian, Garry Goin, presents A Tribute to Gospel Music Featuring Danny Cosby & Ephie Johnson (March 5th). Deadheads rejoice! Bobby Weir will appear with Don Was and Jay Lane (March 10th) before OG hometown heroes Larry Raspberry & The Highsteppers make a rare appearance (March 25th) and hometown heroine Wendy Moten leads an all-Memphis band (April 2nd). And then there are the mega-stars: Look for Bonnie Raitt (May 21st) and none other than Willie Nelson (to be announced). Meanwhile, the Crosstown Arts nonprofit continues its stellar track record of shows, with January alone boasting jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein (January 11th), Reba Russell (January 14th), flautist Adam Sadberry (January 15th) contemplating the relationship between writing and music, Rhodes alum Raneem Imam (January 20th) with her original songs, the Joshua Espinoza Trio jazz group (January 21st), and the up-and-coming Bailey Bigger (January 28th). Beyond that, the must-see show will be singer/songwriter Todd Snider (February 4th). — Alex Greene

PHOTO: COURTESY BUCKMAN ARTS CENTER

Guitarist Bill Frisell will perform at the Buckman Arts Center in January.

Films to Look Forward To

Arts Center for Bill Frisell on January 23rd and Matsuriza Taiko Drummers on January 28th. Many other artists follow in the season, culminating with Ailey II, Alvin Ailey’s junior performing company, in April. Meanwhile, the Iris Orchestra revs back to life at GPAC on January 29th, with pianist Jeffrey Kahane guest-conducting. The next afternoon finds Kahane playing a series of trios at the Brooks Museum of Art. Even now, don’t sleep on spring: Tickets just went on sale for Melissa Etheridge’s show at Graceland on May 6th. But before that, Elvis’ empire will present such stunners as Robert Cray (February 3rd), Drive-By Truckers

At this point, anyone who says they know what’s going to happen in 2022 is selling something. Movie release schedules have been little more than suggestions and wishful thinking for two years now, and that probably won’t change in the short term. Nevertheless, there are some big and interesting films slated for the new year. January 28th through 30th, the Sundance Film Festival partners with Indie Memphis for the second year in a row to bring a selection of the cutting edge of independent and art films to Crosstown Theater. It’s a can’t-miss event continued on page 14

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

So this time, as we say goodbye to 2021 and look ahead to a new year, we’re striving to be grounded. There will be more good and more bad; there always is. Few things in life constrain themselves to the border of a calendar year. That isn’t to say there’s nothing to look forward to. Without further ado, here are a few of the things — in business and development, music, film, and politics — we’re looking forward to in ’22.

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continued from page 13

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

for Bluff City cinephiles. Later this winter, there’s Cyrano starring Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage as the star-crossed poetic lover boy. Morbius stars Jared Leto as Marvel’s “Living Vampire,” and produced by Sony Pictures, it promises a grittier take than the usual candy-colored superfantasy. Kenneth Branagh’s take on the Agatha Christie classic Death on the Nile promises to be some middle-brow fun. The spring starts with The Batman, in which Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl to track down The Riddler (Paul Dano). Maybe this will be the film where we finally find out how Batman’s parents died! The new Downton Abbey installment, titled A New Era, introduces a new cast to the beloved TV franchise. The Lost City, an action comedy with Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, looks like fun. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a new A-24 sci-fi comedy by directing duo The Daniels starring Michelle Yeoh as a reluctant extra-dimensional traveler. The Harry Potter franchise belabors the point with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Nicolas Cage plays himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. May brings back-to-back blockbusters, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick, Legally Blonde 3, and John Wick: Chapter 4, but if you’re like me, you’re most excited about The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Then in June, the big guns continue to fire with Jurassic World: Dominion and Lightyear with Chris Evans voicing the beloved Toy Story character. Baz Luhrmann will unveil his Elvis biopic, which was shot in Australia for some reason and stars Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker and Austin Butler as the Big E. Late summer should see Taika Waititi returning to the MCU with Thor: Love and Thunder and Jordan Peele’s latest mind-bender Nope, which reunites the director with Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya. Then Dwayne Johnson enters the Shazam-verse as DC’s Black Adam. Fall is scheduled to begin with an adaptation of Stephen King’s vampires in New England chiller Salem’s Lot and Tom Cruise stuntin’ with Mission: Impossible 7. The sequel to a modern animated classic, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, opens October with a bang. And in November, the long-awaited Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for liftoff, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that one slipped due to 14 production chaos. Finally, the year will end with James Cameron’s Avatar 2,

which returns to Pandora after more than a decade of false starts. — Chris McCoy

The Political Outlook Surely the most anticipated development in the political sphere for the election year of 2022 is the ultimate reconfiguration of district lines for legislative and congressional offices in Tennessee, due to be completed in January. There is not much mystery about the guiding principles of the effort. The Republican supermajority in the General Assembly, which is in charge as a result of its numbers, will ultimately resort to some version of the time-tested gerrymander to get what the GOP wants. And what they want, among other things, is to diminish the number of guaranteed Democratic congressional districts from two (Memphis and

Everything Everywhere All At Once, a new sci-fi comedy comedy, will explore the extra-dimensional. Nashville) to one. Memphis’ 9th District, which is most of the core city, has long been held by Democrat Steve Cohen and, for demographic reasons, is hard to modify. But the 5th District in Nashville, represented for some time by Jim Cooper, brother of the city’s current mayor, is certain to be sectioned off — its parts scattered among at least four currently surrounding rural or suburban districts that have large Republicanleaning populations. The GOP game plan involves as well the task of folding together and combining into a single district as many legislative seats now held by Democrats PHOTO: JACKSON BAKER; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/LYNN FREENY

Lee Harris and Bill Lee

as possible, so that their incumbents will have to run against each other. The end result will be a further diminution of the Democratic minorities in the 99-member state House (26) and 33-member state Senate (5). This process will be especially notable in western Tennessee, including Shelby County, where population has stagnated or diminished relative to the fastgrowing region of Middle Tennessee. Districts in the west will be expanded in size or combined or, in some cases, eliminated altogether. The state’s two Republican senators won’t need to run again until 2024, in the case of Marsha Blackburn, or 2026, in that of Bill Hagerty. GOP Governor Bill Lee will be running for a second term in 2022, however, and, though polls show his level of acceptability with Democrats to be far lower than that achieved by his Republican predecessor, Bill Haslam, Lee has enough robust support from his fellow Republicans to easily win the general election against any Democrat now on the horizon. Unpopular or questionable actions by the governor and his party on gun availability (for) and concerted responses to Covid-19 (against) will count for relatively little against Lee’s success in attracting Ford Motor Company to the West Tennessee Megasite near Memphis. At the local level, the partisan imbalance will be otherwise. Democrats have such a majority in Shelby County that the newly reapportioned 13-member County Commission will have a probable nine Democraticleaning seats, as against the current number of eight. Because of retirements (either voluntary or due to term limits), roughly half of the commissioners elected in 2022 could be brand-new. Democratic County Mayor Lee Harris will be heavily favored for reelection over City Councilman Worth Morgan, the probable Republican nominee. The 2022 county ballot will be chock-full of other choices to be made, for sheriff, for various county clerkships, and for innumerable judgeships, both civil and criminal. A heated race is expected for district attorney general. In the course of the year, the holdover legislature in Nashville is virtually certain to have convulsive debates in the wake of a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision on the status of legal abortion, though the General Assembly has already passed and had signed into law by Lee a “trigger” bill that would declare abortion illegal if and as soon as the High Court does. As of now, 2022 is definitely a waitand-see year in politics.


Photo by Michael Childers

MIKE SUPER MAGIC & ILLUSION

LUCIE ARNAZ January 15

GARRY GOIN PRESENTS

JASON BISHOP

A TRIBUTE TO GOSPEL MUSIC

February 25

March 5

January 21

VITALY AN EVENING OF WONDERS March 19

LARRY RASPBERRY & THE HIGHSTEPPERS

WENDY MOTEN April 2

March 25

ROBERT MOODY PRESENTS THE

ORCHESTRA UNPLUGGED January 27-28 • April 7-8 • May 5-6

THA N K YO U TO O UR S P ON S OR S

ORPHEUM-MEMPHIS.COM/ONSTAGE

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

February 17 • March 17

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steppin’ out (& stayin’ in)

We Recommend: Culture, News + Reviews

As Told Through Art

PHOTO: COURTESY DIXON

“Black Artists in America”

By Abigail Morici

“People have a sort of mythological thinking about the arts, that, oh, it’s open and it’s free and it’s inclusive. But the art world is not,” says Earnestine Jenkins, University of Memphis art professor. “It has the same issues with exclusion of many artists who do not happen to be white, just like any other discipline or sector.” As such, many Black artists have been left out of the canon, despite their vital artistic practices which reflected and often subverted art movements of the time. As scholars work to rectify this gap in art history, the Dixon Gallery & Gardens’ latest exhibition — “Black Artists in America: From the Great Depression to Civil Rights” — brings this conversation about racism in the arts to Memphis and the Mid-South. The exhibition of more than 50 pieces — sculptures, drawings, prints, and paintings from private and public collections in Memphis and throughout the states — chronologizes the Black artistic response to the social, economic, and political movements following the Harlem Renaissance through the 1950s. Two artists, who lived and worked in Memphis, shine in this exhibit: Vertis Hayes and Reginald Morris. Morris’ murals are on display for the first time, outside of their home at Second Congregational Church. In fact, Jenkins adds, “Most of the works in this exhibition have never been shown, not only in Memphis but in this entire region. To be able to finally see a lot of these works was a thrill even for me.” Admission to the Dixon is free through the end of 2021.

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THOMAS DUTOUR | DREAMSTIME.COM

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December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

“BLACK ARTISTS IN AMERICA: FROM THE GREAT DEPRESSION TO CIVIL RIGHTS,” DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS, 4439 PARK, ON DISPLAY THROUGH JANUARY 2ND.

Our food editor breaks down the changes in the 2021 restaurant scene. Food, p. 24

The U.S. should embrace immigration from our neighboring countries. Last Word, p. 31

VARIOUS DAYS & TIMES December 23rd - January 5th Handel’s Messiah Maples Memorial United Methodist Church, 8745 Goodman, Thurs., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m., $35 George Frideric Handel’s 1741 Messiah is nothing short of a miracle, and Maestro Robert Moody’s devotion to this beloved oratorio has made it a “can’t miss” event of the holiday season. Tickets can be purchased online at memphissymphony.org.

Pokeweed Comedy’s Boxing Day Show Lamplighter Lounge, 1702 Madison, Sun., Dec. 26, 7:30-9:45 p.m., $10 Former Memphis comedian Andy Fleming headlines this postChristmas show for those looking for a break from family and holiday festivities. Hosted by Charlie Vergos, the lineup includes Brieana Woodward, Al Christakis, and some of the funniest comics in Memphis. Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite.com or at the door.

Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees Museum of Science & History, 3050 Central, through Fri., Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Explore a forest of sparkling, awe-inspiring trees decorated by professional designers, individuals, and local organizations. Watch miniature trains twist and turn through a snow-covered village of scrumptious creations. From cozy cottages to majestic mansions, all are designed by local chefs, businesses, individuals, and groups.

Midnight Memories Moxy Memphis Downtown, 40 N. Front, Fri., Dec. 31, 7 p.m.-midnight, free It’s out with the old and in with the new, so toast to the new year with Moxy Memphis Downtown. Drag queen bingo is from 7 to 9 p.m., followed by a killer performance from singer/songwriter Raneem Imam. Cap your night off with a champagne toast and a showstopping drag queen drop to ring in 2022!


Live music at

PHOTO: COURTESY SHELBY FARMS PARK/REBECCA DAILEY

Buffalo are all aglow for this run.

Speed of Light

By Abigail Morici

With the last two years not being anyone’s year, we’re just going to have to run with whatever 2022 brings. But at the very least, you can start the year on a lighter note by joining in on Shelby Farms Park’s Starry Nights fun with the BuffaGLO Run. “It’s your last chance to see the lights for this year’s season,” says Rebecca Dailey, the park’s communications specialist. “And it’s a great way to kickstart your new year with some physical activity.” The 2.25-mile race is untimed, so you can stroll and stop and take pictures by the lights or, as Dailey puts it, you can “run at the speed of light.” Either way, the path will be aglow until 9 p.m., so don your favorite glow stick necklaces and neon running pants for this event. Plus, strollers and dogs are welcome, so the whole family can be a part of the fun. This year’s path will be a bit brighter than previous years with the park’s addition of more displays, including some Memphis-themed ones. “We have a display version of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge that’s lit up like the Mighty Lights,” Dailey points out as an example. Another addition to this season’s run is a new fundraising element. “Runners can personally fundraise or add an additional donation to their registration fee. Even something as simple as registering can help the park stay open 365 days.” After all, the park is beautiful year-round, even without the allure of Starry Nights. “People don’t think of winter as the peak park time, but it is a great opportunity for anyone who sets fitness goals for their New Year’s resolutions,” Dailey says. “We just want to encourage people to get out and enjoy themselves and use the park for rest and respite which is just as needed, for mental fitness.”

New Year’s Eve with

$ New Year’s Eve on Beale Beale Street, Fri., Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-3 a.m. Music on the street starts around 8 p.m. At midnight, expect fireworks, a confetti cannon, and a disco ball drop from the tower at B.B. King and Beale. Quintron & Miss Pussycat Hi Tone, 282 N. Cleveland, Fri., Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Ring in the new year with Quintron & Miss Pussycat, whose sweaty musical blasts are paralleled in spirit and performance by Miss Pussycat’s dreamy puppet worlds.

Hamilton Orpheum Theatre, 203 S. Main, performances through Wed., Jan. 2 Hamilton is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theater — a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster or through the Orpheum’s box office.

“Selected Works: Hooks Bros. Photographic Archives” Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar, opens Mon., Jan. 3 Exhibition of Hooks Brothers photos, circa 1910 to 1950, that document the world of a segregated Memphis and its local and social history. “Poetics of Gesture” David Lusk Gallery, 97 Tillman, opens Tues., Jan. 4 Exhibition of a series of oversized monochromatic abstract paintings by Tad Lauritzen Wright. Virtual tour Sat., Jan. 5, at 12:30 p.m.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Our film editor names the Twitter-thread-inspired film Zola the Best Picture of 2021. As for the worst film, well … Film, p. 27

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

BUFFAGLO RUN, SHELBY FARMS PARK, 6903 GREAT VIEW, SUNDAY, JANUARY 2ND, 7 P.M., $25, REGISTER ONLINE.

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MUSIC By Alex Greene

LIVE! WEDNESDAY

DEC 29 7:30 PM

ROBERT EARL KEEN’S THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

OPENING THE SHOW IS BRENT COBB

From gospel to hip hop to gritty indie rock, here are some of our favorite Memphis-made albums of the year.

H

ere’s a roundup of your faithful Flyer music editor’s favorite Memphis music from the year that felt far too much like the year before. Julien Baker Little Oblivions (Matador) Opening with the crass tones of a broken organ, this is an enervating shot across the bow from an artist typically associated with delicate guitar lines. Here, the production has widened. The constant is the hushed-to-frantic intimacy of her voice, and, as the album develops, she sings from darker, grittier depths than she’s ever plumbed before, propelled by a full-on rock band. Cedric Burnside I Be Trying (Single Lock) With a new dryness and sparseness, Burnside has crafted a unique approach to the blues that sidesteps preconceived riffs or licks; even those you’ve heard take on a new urgency and gravitas. Made with only guitar, drums, the occasional light touch of a second guitar (including Luther Dickinson), or cello, it’s the hushed vocals that cut to one’s soul.

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10 from ’21

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The City Champs Luna ’68 (Big Legal Mess) In which the instrumental boogaloo trio evokes the space-bedazzled sounds of yesteryear. In this group’s hands, even cymbal rolls and an organ can sound futuristic. Sitting comfortably in this minimalist mix is a new sound for the Champs: a synthesizer. Superbly composed like their earlier works, the grooves are peppered with stinging guitar and growling organ. IMAKEMADBEATS MAD Songs, Vol. 1 (Unapologetic) The founder of Unapologetic gets personal: The beats are atmospheric,

the chords are a little odd, the lyrics, whether MAD’s or his guests’, skew to the philosophical. MAD’s trademark slippery bass and beats in space underpin stellar guest artists, from deft raps by PreauXX, R.U.D.Y., Austyn Michael, and others, to silky melodies from Cameron Bethany and U’niQ. John Paul Keith The Rhythm of the City (Wild Honey) “There’s little Easter eggs all over the record,” says Keith, meaning the hints of Memphis music history that litter the tracks. With Box Tops-like jet, stray Stax licks, electric sitar, or two saxes cut live, the sound of a live-tracked band really pays off with Keith’s one-take guitar playing, some of the finest of his career. Elizabeth King Living in the Last Days (Bible & Tire Recording Co.) King’s voice is as indomitable as a mountain, as many have known for decades. Bible & Tire released King’s tracks from the ’70s in 2019, but label owner Bruce Watson wanted to capture her voice now. The band, relative youngsters compared to King, evokes classic gospel, and it gives her work a unique stamp in a genre now deeply shaped by jazz fusion and funk. Don Lifted 325i (Fat Possum) Don Lifted’s music has always been rooted in hip hop’s rhythmic rhyming, while including elements of shoegaze rock and even smooth R&B. His third album ramps up the artist’s sonic craftsmanship, with lyrics mixing the dread of quarantine with the determination to unpack one’s self. This solidifies the artist’s reputation as a performer with staying power, with a surer sense of sonic hooks than ever.

Loveland Duren Any Such Thing (Edgewood Recordings) The duo’s third album is the Platonic ideal of pop. Exquisite arrangements for the material include strings, French horn, flute, and a perfectly Memphian horn section. And while there are some flourishes of classic rock guitar on the stompers, the album as a whole is a keyboard-lover’s dream. But the heart of this album is the songwriting, with lyrics and melodies you can chew on for years. MonoNeon Supermane (self-released) Known as a bass virtuoso, this album presents the songwriter’s most focused material ever. The result is his idiosyncratic, yet more disciplined, take on the classic early George Clinton sound. Still, he makes it his own with the strongest singing of his career. “Supermane,” the song, also features the sax playing of Kirk Whalum. Its classic gospel feel is made more universal by MonoNeon’s pop instincts. Young Dolph Paper Route Illuminati (Paper Route Empire) The artist/label svengali’s horrific murder last month robbed us of future creations, but his swan song captures his spirit. “My office is a traphouse in South Memphis” tells you where his heart lived, as he and featured artists (including Gucci Mane) drop witty boasts of money and women. When he spits, “Have you ever seen a dead body?” a chill comes over the album, but when he raps, “I go so hard, make ’em hate me, my whole life a movie — HD,” it’s pure truth.


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CALENDAR of EVENTS:

Dec. 23 - Jan. 5

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

Bartlett Art Association December Virtual Showcase

The Bartlett Art Association (BAA) is proud to once again partner with WKNO Gallery Ten Ninety-One. Through Dec. 30. WKNO.ORG

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

This exhibition is the first of three that examine the AfricanAmerican experience in the visual arts. Through Jan. 2. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

“Borders”

Exhibition of sculptures by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Through April 23. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

“Color Personified!”

Display of art by Wanda Winsett. Tuesday, Jan. 4-March 1. FRATELLI’S

“Contingency Plan”

Showcases the work of nine graduating seniors in studio art and photography at the University of Memphis. Through Jan. 23. CROSSTOWN ARTS

“Everything That Rises”

Photography by Jenn Brandt. Gallery visits available by appointment, Tuesdays-Saturdays. Through Dec. 29. OFF THE WALLS ARTS

“FADED”

Exhibition of intricate, ethereal paintings of flowers and houses by Jared Small. Through Dec. 23. DAVID LUSK GALLERY

“Fearsome Flora and Graveyard Flowers”

Pieces by Jimmy Crosthwait, complementing Little Shop of Horrors. Through Dec. 29.

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.

Becky Ross McRae’s Plaza will be featured in Gallery Ten Ninety-One’s virtual exhibit at wkno.org throughout January. “Inside the Walt Disney Archives”

Exhibition celebrating the legacy of The Walt Disney Company archives, with behind-the-scenes access never before granted to the public. Through Jan. 2. GRACELAND EXHIBITION CENTER

“Mona Hatoum: Misbah”

Exhibition of a contemporary art installation where the viewer stands in a darkened room, lit only by a rotating lantern dangling from the ceiling. Through Jan. 9.

PLAYHOUSE ON THE SQUARE

MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

“IEAA Ancient Egyptian Collection”

“New Faculty: Connections”

ART MUSEUM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS (AMUM)

CROSSTOWN ARTS

Exhibition of Egyptian antiquities ranging from 3800 B.C.E. to 700 C.E. Ongoing.

Presents the work of the most recent additions to the department. Through Jan. 23.

“On Christopher Street” Exhibition of portraits of transgender residents by Mark Seliger. Through Jan. 2. MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART

“Poetics of Gesture”

Exhibition of oversized monochromatic abstract paintings by Tad Lauritzen Wright. Tuesday, Jan. 4-Feb. 5. DAVID LUSK GALLERY

“Selected Works: Hooks Bros. Photographic Archives”

Exhibition of Hooks Bros. photos circa 1910 to 1950. Monday, Jan. 3-Jan. 31. BENJAMIN L. HOOKS CENTRAL LIBRARY

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

Exhibition of items from the archives, including Isaac Hayes’ white and red tufted-velvet desk and chair, rare photographs of Otis Redding, and newly acquired Bob Abrahamian collection of rare records. Through Feb. 25. STAX MUSEUM OF AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC

December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

Savages & Princesses:

20

The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes

WWW.MOSHMEMPHIS.COM

Exhibit Opens Jan. 28 A Program of

and The National Endowment for the Arts


C A L E N DA R: D E C E M B E R 2 3 - JA N UA RY 5

WKNO.ORG

“Tight Register, Loose Change”

Exhibition of work by Kara Hamilton. Through Dec. 31. TOPS GALLERY

Victorian Yuletide

Enjoy lovely decorations and old Southern Yuletide customs from a bygone era. Through Jan. 9. WOODRUFF-FONTAINE HOUSE MUSEUM

ART HAP P E N I N G S

“Poetics of Gesture” Virtual Tour

Exhibition of oversized monochromatic abstract paintings by Tad Lauritzen Wright. Wednesday, Jan. 5, 12:30 p.m. DAVID LUSK GALLERY

B O O K EVE N TS

Tennessee R.E.A.D.S.

Use your library card to check out ebooks and audiobooks. Includes Big Library Read. Ongoing. READS.OVERDRIVE.COM

Pokeweed Comedy’s Boxing Day Show

A post-Christmas comedy show featuring former Memphis comedian Andy Fleming and a fun lineup of comics from all over. Sunday, Dec. 26, 7:30-9:45 p.m. LAMPLIGHTER LOUNGE

Gary Owen

Sunday, Dec. 26, 7:30; Monday, Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m. CHUCKLES COMEDY HOUSE

Kerwin Claiborne

Friday, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 1, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 2., 8 p.m. CHUCKLES COMEDY HOUSE

COM M U N ITY

CPOW Presents “Feed the Need” Community Christmas Eve Luncheon Concerned Pastors of Whitehaven presents the “Feed the Need” Community Christmas Eve Luncheon. Free. Friday, Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

month of walking. Tuesday, Dec. 28, 8-9 a.m. CORNER OF MISSISSIPPI AND GAITHER

E X PO / SA L E S

Gifts of Green

Memphis Botanic Garden will once again host its seasonal pop-up shop. Through Dec. 30. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

WinterArts

The South’s premiere holiday artists’ market presents its 13th annual showcase of exceptional and unique handcrafted works by our region’s finest artists. Through Dec. 24. SHOPS OF SADDLE CREEK

Woman’s Exchange Holiday Market

Consignment gift shopping for everyone on your holiday list. Features locally handmade art, cards, ornaments, wreaths, home decor, fiber wearables, edibles, and more. Through Dec. 23. WOMAN’S EXCHANGE OF MEMPHIS

PICCADILLY CAFETERIA

South Memphis Senior Walking Club

continued on page 22

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Virtual exhibition of photos by Becky Ross McRae. Monday, Jan. 3-Jan. 31.

C O M E DY

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

“Something for Everyone”

21


C A L E N DA R: D E C E M B E R 2 3 - JA N UA RY 5 continued from page 21 H E A LT H A N D F IT N E S S

BuffaGLO Run

RING IN THE NEW YEAR! FT. RADIOMAZE 6 PM & ALMOST FAMOUS 10 PM GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Ready, set, glow! See Starry Nights at the speed of light at the 2022 BuffaGLO Run. $25. Sunday, Jan. 2, 7 p.m. SHELBY FARMS PARK

Tai Chi

Classes held near Woodland Discovery Playground. $8. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 3 p.m. SHELBY FARMS PARK

Yoga

Join Peggy Reisser in the garden, weather permitting. Saturday, Dec. 25, 10:30 a.m. THE DIXON GALLERY & GARDENS

THE LACS

H O L I DAY E V E NTS

Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees

THURSDAY

JAN. 13TH

8PM

GEOFF TATE

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SPECIAL GUEST IMMORTAL GUARDIAN

SUNDAY & MONDAY

FEB. 6TH & 7TH

7PM

Don’t miss a Memphis holiday tradition. Explore a forest of awe-inspiring trees, the Gingerbread Village, and model trains as they meander through a snow-covered village. Through Dec. 31. MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY

Holiday Wonders at the Garden This year’s event runs select nights. This unique and expansive outdoor holiday experience is a delight for all ages to experience the magic of the season. $8, $12. Through Dec. 23. MEMPHIS BOTANIC GARDEN

T. GRAHAM BROWN December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022

Memphis NYE 2022 Bar Crawl

TH

7PM

CODY CANADA AND THE DEPARTED

Midnight Memories

TH

It’s out with the old and in with the new (year that is!) Toast with the host with the most – Moxy Memphis Downtown. Free. Friday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m.

7PM

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MOXY MEMPHIS DOWNTOWN

New Year’s Eve with 8 Ball and MJG

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7PM

Ring in the new year with this awesome event. $75. Friday, Dec. 31, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. RAILGARTEN

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22

Your wristband gains you access to Blind Bear, Kooky Canuck, Wet Willie’s, Flying Saucer, as well as a VIP viewing of the ball drop, drink and food specials, live music, and more. $30, $45. Friday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. BLIND BEAR SPEAKEASY

THURSDAY

FEB. 17

Ring in the new year with Liz Brasher. $20. Friday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. GROWLERS

WEDNESDAY

FEB. 9

Liz Brasher with Dirty Streets - NYE SHOW!

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball

This New Year’s Eve dinner and dance will be masquerade-themed and the perfect way to end a crazy year in

Selected photographs by the Hooks Bros. will be on display at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. style. $75. Friday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. THE HISTORIC WILSON THEATER

Ring in the New Year at Beck & Call Celebrate the new year overlooking the Mississippi River and Downtown Memphis. Friday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. BECK & CALL

Robert Earl Keen’s Christmas Show

S PO R TS

63rd Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State. Tuesday, Dec. 28, 6:45 p.m. FEDEXFORUM

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 7 p.m. FEDEXFORUM

Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs Friday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. FEDEXFORUM

Memphis Tigers vs. Tulsa Tuesday, Jan. 4, 8 p.m.

Live in the Duncan-Williams Performance Hall at GPAC. $45. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 7:30-9 p.m.

FEDEXFORUM

GERMANTOWN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, DUNCAN-WILLIAMS PERFORMANCE HALL

Take the journey with Ebenezer Scrooge as he goes from disgruntled miser to joyful benefactor. Through Dec. 23.

Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park

Experience the magic of the holidays at Shelby Farms Park’s largest event. Open on select nights. Through Jan. 1. SHELBY FARMS PARK

Winter Wonderland at CMOM

An air of excitement will surround the flurry of lively pop-up activities and everyday fun. Through Jan. 2. CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MEMPHIS

Zoo Lights

Truist Zoo Lights is back this year with tons more light displays and some of your favorite holiday activities. $12/ members, $14/nonmembers. Through Jan. 1. MEMPHIS ZOO

T H EAT E R

A Christmas Carol

THEATRE MEMPHIS

Hamilton

Featuring a score that blends hip hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theater. $59-$299. Through Jan. 2. ORPHEUM THEATRE

Streaming OnlinePastorela: Bilingual Comedy- The Last Christmas ... almost

The eternal battle between good and evil with a small twist. $10. Through Jan. 7. CAZATEATRO.ORG


S P I R ITS By Richard Murff

A Tale of Two Punches Holidays got you feeling punch-drunk? This recipe will have you feeling drunk on punch instead.

A lot of people around town have received and sampled some Fortuné Jaubert Christmas Punch — an old New Orleans concoction of my great-grandfather’s consisting of fruit, wine and whiskey, and, inconveniently, time. You really do need about a week to make it correctly. I only got the recipe by arguing birthright with my grandmother, so I can’t give you the recipe without getting disowned by my

Put the ice cream in the bowl first — and here you want to get French vanilla, not just the plain stuff — then the bourbon, followed by the java. The hot coffee melts the ice cream pretty quickly so you only need to give it a stir or two of a long spoon to get the right consistency. The beauty of this one is that you can whip up a punch for 40 people with about three minutes of prep time. Granted, twoscore wildly hungover people pummeling what’s left of your holiday cheer on New Year’s Day isn’t for everyone. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a five-gallon drum of ice cream and, let’s face it, sometime about a year ago we seem to have lost the ability to interact on a grand scale. If you buy one gallon of ice cream, just divide everything by five. Hint: a gallon and a pint of ice cream matches a pint of bourbon. Tweak to taste. Apart from being hella easy to make, the New Year’s Day punch has the benefit of being a hangover cure that would make our man Jeeves proud. The ice cream is a nice coating for a stomach lining ravaged by merry excess, the bourbon is a smallish nip of hair of the dog without too much bite, and the coffee is a wake-me-up that pushes it all through the system. It’s a great day-drinker in the bargain because it doesn’t really pack too much of a wallop, and as you’ve been hitting the sauce pretty hard since November, you really might want to settle down, Spanky. Although, admittedly, it is not going to do that Holiday Seven you’ve gained any favors.

CITIZEN COPE P E R F O R M I N G L I V E a t C R O S S TOW N A R T S m e m p h i s f l y e r. c o m

PHOTO: ANJELAGR | DREAMSTIME.COM

Jaubert relatives. Honestly, you don’t have the time to make it anyway, so I guess that we’re even. The same grandmother also produced a New Year’s Day punch that is not nearly so mysterious and much less involved. You don’t have to keep it to New Year’s Day, but if you are old-school enough to actually have a party on “the day after,” it is the perfect punch. Gran was a very social creature so her recipe was for 40 guests: • 5 gallons of French vanilla ice cream • 12 cups of dark roast coffee • A fifth of bourbon

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$45 FIRST-LEVEL SEATING $35 SECOND-LEVEL SEATING

For tickets, go to crosstownarts.org

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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he holidays were made for the closet bartender. A parade of special gatherings of family and friends where you can show off the skills you painstakingly honed in fits of alcoholic Covid boredom. Which is fine for the intimate gathering where people are likely to put up with your tedious mixology theatrics. If you’re dealing with a mob of friends, none of whom are going to settle down until after New Year’s, you’ll need something bigger. And you could do worse than the holiday punch. I don’t mean the undergrad party-ina-garbage-can stuff. You want something with style. If you approach it with the right spirit, a good holiday punch is actually like a great craft cocktail played out on a much larger stage … or bowl. It is something different that you can make your own with a clever twist. By that I mean that if you screw it up, just dump in some more champagne. So, with Christmas behind us but the show not quite over, I give you a tale of two holiday punches — but I can only share the recipe for one of them.

23


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FOOD By Michael Donahue

Turn & Face the Changes Popular restaurants mixed it up in 2021.

A

n interesting aspect of the 2021 Memphis food scene was the number of heavy hitters making changes to their restaurants. Kelly English decided to move his popular Restaurant Iris to the space previously occupied by The Grove Grill in Laurelwood. In June, English said in a Flyer interview that the new location is a much bigger space. “The dining room in Laurelwood is bigger than the entire property Iris is on,” he said. He opened Pantà in Iris’ location at 2146 Monroe Avenue in October. English told the Flyer he went with a Catalonian concept. It was something he wanted to do since he took a six-month trip in his early twenties to Barcelona. “I really do love this type of food and the way they live,” he said. “And what we want is to be known as a later-night establishment.” Explaining the name, English said, “Pantà is the Catalonian word for ‘swamp,’ which is reflected in the mural around the bar. Growing up in Louisiana, swamps played a big part of my youth. Mostly my mom trying to keep me out of them.” English plans to open the new Iris at 4550 Poplar Avenue “right around Easter. We are thrilled to see that come together.” Chef Jason Severs and his wife Rebecca moved Bari Ristorante e Enoteca from its old location in Cooper-Young to 524 South Cooper. The new location, which opened in August, is more than 300 square feet bigger. They can still seat 40 people in the dining room, but they also can seat 40 more outside on the patio and more people at the bar in the front of the restaurant. The new restaurant features wide, open spaces as opposed to the old restaurant, which, Jason said in a Flyer interview, was “a bunch of different, small rooms.” And Rebecca said, “You couldn’t expand there.” The food is the same as what they served at the old location, Jason said. “Southeastern Italian. Lots of fresh vegetables. From the earth. All local when we can.” Chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, who own several restaurants, reopened their popular Hog & Hominy at 707 West Brookhaven Circle after a fire in January 2020. The restaurant was rebuilt. It opened in November. In a Flyer interview, general manager Evan Potts said the new restaurant is about twice as large. They expanded it as far as it

would go in all directions. Hudman said he told his wife how the restaurant now has an “old Art Deco diner feel.” That rings true, from its silver metal lettered sign out front to the fluted light fixtures in the dining room and the general vibe. They are serving Neapolitan-inspired pizzas and “fun takes on traditional Italian fare,” Potts said. And their craft cocktails, which the establishment is known for. Finally, it’s not a restaurant per se, but people have been known to eat inside. Or maybe just pop a few cashews in their mouth. The Peanut Shoppe is closing at the end of the year at its old location at 24 South Main Street, where it has stood since — co-owner Rida AbuZaineh believes — 1951, and moving to its new location at 121 South Main.

PHOTO: PANTÀ/CALEB SIGLER

Pantà dining room AbuZaineh told the Flyer they weren’t informed until a few months before that the building where his shop is now located was going to be sold. It will be turned into apartments and condos, he said. The new location is similar to the current location. “The new one is rectangular shape. This one is rectangular shape but so narrow. The width is the difference … three times the width of this narrow store.” AbuZaineh said he will be open “through Christmas Eve. It’s an excellent day if it falls on the weekend like it does this year. We are always the last people to leave the area.” Which means Santa will have plenty of time to stock up on nuts and candy to fill all those stockings.


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26 December 23, 2021-January 5, 2022


FILM By Chris McCoy

The Best (and One Worst) Films of 2021 From the “Chocolate Galaxy” to West Side Story, these were the movies that mattered this year.

Worst Picture: Old “There’s this beach, see, and it makes you old.” “That sounds great, M. Night Shyamalan! You’re a genius!” Dishonorable Mention: Malignant WTF was that about? Best Memphis Film: “The Devil Will Run” Director Noah Glenn’s collaboration with Unapologetic mastermind IMAKEMADBEATS produced this funny and moving memory of childhood magic. Glenn topped one of the strongest collections of Hometowner short films in Indie Memphis history. Honorable Mention: “Chocolate Galaxy” An Afrofuturist hip hop opera made on a shoestring budget, this 20-minute film features eye-popping visuals and banging tunes. Best Performance by a Nonhuman: Puppet Annette This coveted award goes to Annette, Leos Carax’s gonzo musical collaboration with Sparks, which used a puppet to represent its namesake character, the neglected child of Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, because they couldn’t find a newborn who could sing. Medievalist: The Green Knight To create one of the strangest films of 2021, all director David Lowery had to do was stick to the legend of Sir

Gawain’s confrontation with a mysterious Christmas visitor to King Arthur’s court. Driven by Dev Patel’s pitch perfect performance, The Green Knight felt both completely surreal and strangely familiar. Best Animation: Cryptozoo Annette and The Green Knight were weird, but the year’s weirdest film was Dash Shaw’s exceedingly strange magnum opus. Think Jurassic Park, only instead of CGI dinosaurs it’s Sasquatch and unicorns drawn like a high schooler’s notebook doodles come to life. Honorable Mention: The Mitchells vs. the Machines Gravity Falls’ Mike Rianda pulls off the difficult assignment of making an animated film that appeals to both kids and adults with this cautionary tale of the connected age. Best Performance: (tie) Kristen Stewart, Spencer; and Anna Cobb, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Both Stewart and Cobb played women trapped in nightmarish situations, trying to hold onto their sanity while watching their worlds crumble around them. For Stewart, it was Princess Diana’s last Christmas with the queen. For Cobb, it’s a teenager succumbing to an internet curse. The success of both pictures hinges on their central performances, but the difference is that Stewart’s one of the world’s highest paid actresses, and this is Cobb’s first time on camera. MVP: Edgar Wright Wright started the year with his first documentary, The Sparks Brothers, an obsessive ode to your favorite band’s favorite band. Sparks’ story is so strange and funny, and Wright’s style so manic and distinctive, that many viewers were surprised to learn it wasn’t a mockumentary. Then, he dropped Last Night in Soho, a humdinger of a Hitchcockian horror mystery which evoked the swinging London of the 1960s. Wright continues to deliver the most fun you can have in a multiplex. Best Director: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story I feel like this Spielberg kid’s got potential. Hollywood’s wunderkind is now an elder statesman, but his adaptation of the Broadway classic proves he’s still got it. With unmatched virtuosity, he brings Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s songs to life and updates the story’s sensibilities for the 21st century. West Side Story stands among the master’s greatest work. Best Documentary: Summer of Soul The most transcendent on-screen moment of 2021 actually happened in 1969, when Mavis Staples and continued on page 28

Bene�iting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Nov. 20 - Dec. 31

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Mavis Staples and Mahalia Jackson in the electrifying Summer of Soul

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

T

his year was an up-and-down time for film, as audiences cautiously returned to theaters. But even if box office returns were erratic and often disappointing, qualitywise, there was more greatness than could be contained in a top 10 list. Since I hate ranking, here are my personal awards for movie excellence in a weird year.

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FILM By Chris McCoy

We're Brightening Up Your Holidays

continued from page 27 Mahalia Jackson duetted “Precious Lord” at the Harlem Cultural Festival. Questlove’s directorial debut gave the long-lost footage of the show the reverent treatment it deserves. Thanks to the indelible performances by the cream of Black musical talent, Summer of Soul was as electrifying as any Marvel super-fest. Best Picture: Zola I can hear you now: “You’re telling me the best picture of 2021 was based on a Twitter thread by a part-time stripper

from Detroit?” Hey, I’m as surprised as you are. But director Janicza Bravo turned a raw story of a road trip gone wrong into a noir-tinged shaggy-dog story of petty crime and unjust deserts. The ensemble cast of Taylour Paige, Nicholas Braun, Colman Domingo, and particularly Riley Keough is by far the year’s best, and Bravo shoots their ill-fated foray into the wilds of Tampa, Florida, like she’s Kubrick lensing A Clockwork Orange. Funny, self-aware, and unbearably tense, Zola is a masterpiece that deserves a bigger audience.

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THE LAST WORD By Michael LaRosa

Embracing America

THE LAST WORD

Joe Biden’s presidency — by all accounts — is on a ventilator right now, and many people want his administration to asphyxiate. He could save himself, and the country, by leading us toward an innovative reform of our immigration system. Our current system is based on an outdated, anachronistic visa system that rewards “skills” deemed necessary for the development of the United States economy and society. Specialized engineers from Slovakia, research scientists from South Africa, and concert pianists from Paraguay have been able to visit here, stay here, and thrive. But the vast majority of the world’s population is “unskilled” and thus, the contemporary conundrum. We can keep the current system intact and add in an “Americas exception,” which would acknowledge three realities. First, the USA shares a continent with Canada, Mexico, and seven nations of Central America. Second, those nations, with the exception PHOTO: THOMAS DUTOUR | DREAMSTIME.COM of Canada, are significantly poorer, in real economic terms, than the USA. Third, we’ve intervened in virtually all of the nations mentioned above, mostly in a hostile, negative, and menacing military manner. I would extend my plan of prioritizing visas for people of the Americas to the Caribbean nations, especially Haiti and the Dominican Republic Mexico is the first obvious nation to consider. About 44 percent of the population of 120 million are classified as poor. We share a 2,000-mile border with Mexico, a border that was artificially created in 1848 when the U.S. took 51 percent of Mexico’s territory in a war designed to … take Mexico’s territory. We wanted the land to extend cotton production into Texas and further west, and we wanted to extend our national border to the Pacific. We also wanted to extend slavery. How have we responded to this history? By building a wall and insulting the people who live in Mexico, referring to them as “rapists and drug dealers.” The vast majority of Mexicans who come to the USA want to work here, send money back to loved ones in Mexico, and improve their standard of living. Let’s make it easier for them to come here: We offer very few legal visas to unskilled workers — maybe 5,000 for the entire world. We could change this by simply prioritizing Mexico and recognizing our historic ties to the country and our 19th century “grand theft (half) nation.” Then there’s Guatemala. A fascinating new historical novel (Harsh Times) by the Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa offers an unpleasant appraisal of the U.S. role in deposing the legitimately elected president there in 1954. Vargas Llosa — hardly a leftist — reminds us that the USA stalled a legitimate attempt at socioeconomic reform in the small Central American nation while supporting some of the most repressive, reprehensible people in the region. The legacy of our actions? Sadness, civil war, authoritarianism, and about 300,000 deaths from 1960 to the mid-1990s when peace accords were finally signed there. And wide-scale misery: About 54 percent of Guatemalans live in poverty. We really do have an obligation to help the people of these places and we’ve certainly helped in many ways: Our nation has been generous with aid and support after natural disasters, we’ve offered people the opportunity to stay in the USA through TPS — “Temporary Protected Status” — designed for folks from countries ravaged by natural disasters and/or really absurd political policies (Haiti, Nicaragua, to name two). We also, in 2012, implemented a policy via presidential executive action called DACA, which protects kids who have come to the United States as infants with their parents. TPS and DACA are both “temporary” fixes — TPS is designated at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Both programs were attacked by a hostile Trump administration, both saved by the U.S. judiciary system. We need permanent solutions to support immigrants — we should focus on supporting people who want to come here, work here, and contribute to our economic and social development. We have a special obligation to our neighbors to the south. Without immigrants, we become Italy — an aging population, politically motivated low levels of immigration, escalating healthcare costs, followed by endless economic stagnation. The Italians, of course, did gift us Michelangelo and Buffalo mozzarella (we evened the score, contributing … Andy Warhol and Kraft Singles). But to avoid the socioeconomic Italianization of America, we have to bring in immigrants who can grow the economy and improve society. Let’s truthfully study our history. Let’s work in collaboration with our neighbors to the south and break out of this politically motivated, unproductive, and unkind immigration impasse that’s distorting our economy and just might, sadly, suffocate the Biden administration. Michael LaRosa teaches history at Rhodes College.

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We share a continent with our neighbors to the north and south. We should celebrate that fact and bring in immigrants who want to work here, live here, and build our economy and society.

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